What with Battle Chasers imminently returning to print there’s been a distinctly turn-of-the-millennium feel to proceedings this week, but seeing as nu metal has already been back for a while, baby, at least in this house, and I refuse to stop sporting a wallet chain even while sleeping, I’ve had to think of other 2001 things to do while compiling this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, so I’ll suffice with cracking open this original can of Rockstar Energy drink and taking a big old swig right before catching up with this week’s Dilbert strips. What could possibly go wrong?
— Pascal Campion (@pascalcampion) February 25, 2023
This week’s news.
• Making the interesting choice to once more voluntarily become the main character of the internet, Scott Adams this week swapped a dog whistle for a megaphone and said the quiet part deafeningly loud, taking to YouTube to issue statements prominently reported as racist, causing Dilbert, which has apparently been running for over three decades at this point, to be removed from the funny pages of various newspapers, and dropped from syndication by Andrews McMeel. Adams has co-opted the recent glut of comic strip cuts from newspapers to support previously erroneous claims as to the cancellation of Dilbert in recent months, but this just goes to show that all it takes for that to actually happen is for your publicly available broadcasts to be widely reported as racist rants and tirades by the international press, as some publicity is indeed (very) bad publicity. The parallel question of why these particular statements from Adams, and not any of the other previous statements in the same vein, finally led to this removal from publication is likely answered by rubbing your thumb over your index and middle fingers and having dollar signs flash up over your eyes.
• The Beat shares the announcement that Tapas Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics have signed a deal to bring more of the digital comics platform’s titles to print, with the aforementioned Andrews McMeel already active in this regard, as Tapas (and parent corp Kakao Entertainment) looks to compete with Webtoon Unscrolled (and rival parent corp Naver Webtoon) - South Korean entertainment megacorps have been making inroads into western media markets for the last couple of years, facilitated in part by company acquisitions, leading to the now seemingly inevitable layoffs that follow such deals.
• Comic Book Workers United, the union for workers of Image Comics, announced this week that they have voted to ratify their first union contract, just over a year after voting to certify the union - CBWU stated "...we also want to take the opportunity to reaffirm that this contract is just the first step among many and we hope you will stick with us as we continue the fight for union representation and more equitable working conditions for everyone in the comic book industry and beyond."
• Broken Frontier shares the winners of 2022’s Cartoon Museum and British Cartoonists’ Association’s Young Cartoonist of the Year Competition, with prizes given to Harriet Bourhill, Corb Calow Davies, and George Whitehead.
• The Center for Cartoon Studies announced this week that Tillie Walden is to be appointed as Vermont’s fifth Cartoonist Laureate, with Walden’s elevation to the position to be recognised on the Vermont Statehouse Floor in April, taking over a role that will last for three years.
• Leslie Hung and Sloane Leong announced this week, along with guest judges Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh, the winners of 2023's Minicomic Awards, with prizes of $1,000 won by Edgar for <now I can never know you more than those white walls>, Bhanu Pratap for Sediment, Karenza Sparks for SPEIROCHORY, Gaia Papoila for Why Don't You Like Me?, and Leecie for When It Started - this year's full award ceremony can be viewed here.
— Tom Gauld (@tomgauld) February 25, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Chris Mautner reviews the sharp satire of Josh Cotter’s infinite ©uck - “The humor here is pitch-black and frequently shifts to another tone Cotter is well versed in: horror. UNCLEAnon, who also poses as a Colonel Sanders American businessman type, and eventually Christ himself, constantly shifts between being a comical figure and something truly frightening, especially towards the end, when we see his true form (as it were).”
• Tim Hayes reviews the nostalgic conundrum of Michael Molcher’s I Am The Law: How Judge Dredd Predicted Our Future - “I Am the Law describes plot points in Judge Dredd as if they came directly from the politically-sensitive people creating them, antennae twitching, as opposed to (maybe) having been typed up over a weekend to meet a deadline by people with freewheeling imaginations and a talent for concision after an apprenticeship in the Dundee school of hard comic knocks.”
• Justin Harrison reviews the frustrating choices of Bartosz Sztybor, Jesús Hérvas, et al’s Cyberpunk 2077: You Have My Word.
• Colin Moon reviews the aimless wandering of John Jackson Miller, James Mishler, Christian Rosado, et al’s Skull and Bones: Savage Storm #1.
• Timothy O’Neil reviews the middling narrative of Corinna Bechko, Agni R. Lobel, et al’s Avatar: Adapt or Die.
• Piper Whitaker reviews the slow-burn fascination of Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Hernández Walta, et al’s Phantom Road #1.
• David Brooke reviews the complex blend of John Carpenter, Sandy King, David J. Schow, Andres Esparza, et al’s John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: The Envoy #1.
• Megan O’Brien reviews the compelling chemistry of Emily Kim, Kei Zama, et al’s Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #1.
• Ellis Owens reviews the underwhelming story of Murewa Ayodele, Dotun Akande, et al’s I Am Iron Man #1.
• Lia Williamson reviews the stylish fun of Stephanie Phillips, Carlos Gomez, et al’s Rogue & Gambit #1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the charming silliness of Ralph Macchio, Andy Kuhn, Mike Miller, et al’s X-Men: The Animated Series – The Further Adventures.
• Christopher Franey reviews the curtain call of Tom King and Greg Smallwood’s The Human Target #12.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the bittersweet finale of Tom King and Greg Smallwood’s The Human Target #12.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the enjoyable blends of Stephanie Phillips, Juan Cabal, Jonas Scharf, et al’s Cosmic Ghost Rider #1.
• Tim Rooney reviews the thoughtful storytelling of Chip Zdarsky’s Public Domain Volume 1.
• Tom Baker reviews the dizzying confidence of John G. Miller’s The Collected John G. Miller 1980-89, 1990-1999, & 2000-2011.
• Andy Oliver reviews the brooding impressionism of Claire Napier’s The Magic Necklace, the atmospheric chills of Thomas Ott’s The Forest, and the engaging wit of Alex Potts' Standing Outside the Station, Sweating.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the final goodbye of Tom King and Greg Smallwood's The Human Target #12.
Rachel Cooke reviews the brilliant construction of Ana Penyas’ We’re All Just Fine, translated by Andrea Rosenberg.
Nick Smith reviews the dreamlike fantasy of Tama Mitsuboshi’s Call the Name of the Night Volume 1.
Martha Cornog has a capsule review of surreal beauty of Cathy Malkasian’s The Heavy Bright.
• Christopher Egan reviews the generic tales of James Tynion IV, Michael Avon Oeming, et al’s Blue Book #1.
• Kate Kosturski reviews the impactful symbolism of Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the grounded thrills of Cullen Bunn, Mike Deodato Jr., et al’s Red Zone #1.
• Joe Skonce reviews the minimalist tension of Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Hernández Walta, et al's Phantom Road #1.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The impressive delicateness of Briana Loewinsohn’s Ephemera: A Memoir.
- The emotional arc of Dan Santat A First Time for Everything.
• Alex Hoffman reviews the connective worldbuilding of Sas Milledge’s Mamo.
• Tasha Lowe-Newsome reviews the nuanced explorations of Iron Circus Comics’ The Woman in The Woods and Other North American Stories, edited by Alina Pete, Kel McDonald, and Kate Ashwin
Women Write About Comics
Paige Lyman reviews the vibrant details of Nicole Goux’s Rituals.
Did a risograph workshop yesterday with pals - here is an old two-headed swallow piece repurposed and given new life. First time I ever did anything with riso. pic.twitter.com/mFRu7blK7Z
— Reimena Yee (@reimenayee) February 21, 2023
This week’s interviews.
• Shanti Rai interviews Reimena Yee about My Aunt Is a Monster, Neopets origins, creative processes, and developing a visual vocabulary - “Generally, I have an image in my head which I expand by call-and-response debates on theme and character; once I have those nailed down, I establish an art direction that supports the story I'm making. Research is an ever-present part of the process from conception to the final colors; I do it how I learned in university, by picking up topically relevant books (sometimes unexpected ones) and making notes and finding things to build up my creative argument, similar to a thesis.”
• Zach Rabiroff interviews Michael Yates of Atomic City Comics about the store’s place in the Philadelphia retail community, avoiding fanboy mentalities, and the importance of PR - “ All the back issues we keep, pretty much - six to eight months of comics on the shelf at cover price at all times. Because since we’re not paying any more for them, there’s no reason that we really need to make you pay any more. So if you suddenly get interested in something, and you want to go get the back issues, there’s a good chance you’re going to be able to get at least seven or eight copies of the backstock for cover price.”
• Michael Guerrero speaks with Meghan Fitzmartin about Tim Drake: Robin, collaborating with Riley Rossmo, and building on the character’s recent continuity.
• David Brooke talks to Stephen Parkhorse and Geoffrey D. Wessel about War Birds and drone conflict, and to Dennis Culver and Chris Burnham about Unstoppable Doom Patrol and DC’s latest line-wide revamp.
• Zack Quaintance interviews Dennis Culver and Chris Burnham about Unstoppable Doom Patrol, getting the band together, and swapping studio space for Twitter DMs.
• Avery Kaplan chats with Archie Bongiovanni about Mimosa, the changing face of being in your thirties, and masturbation not being a big deal.
• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan interviews Claire Napier about The Magic Necklace, the advantages of comics as a storytelling medium, and vibe dedications.
Tatiana Flores speaks with Cédric Biscay about Blitz, opening a window to the world of chess, and collaborating with Garry Kasparov and Stéphane Bressac.
Josh Wiess talks to Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Hernández Walta about Phantom Road, looking to Vertigo classics for inspiration, and telling a story where nothing is as it seems.
• Milton Griepp chats with VIZ Media’s Kevin Hamric about holiday sales and market slowdown, and differences between online and bricks and mortar figures.
• Brigid Alverson interviews Yen Press’ Mark Devera about the publisher’s place in the manga market, supply chain recovery, and popular genres.
• Rob Salkowitz speaks with ComicsPRO’s Jenn Haines about this year’s event, focussing on data, and how to present that information.
ML Kejera talks to James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds, Steve Foxe, Dylan Todd, and Aditya Bidikar about The Department of Truth, and story abstractions.
The New Yorker
Françoise Mouly chats with Barry Blitt about the cover to this week’s edition of the magazine, childhood memories (or lack thereof), and scrapped projects.
Women Write About Comics
Rosie Knight interviews Sloane Leong, Joan Zahra Dark, Zach Hazard Vaupen, and Aaron Losty about the Cartoonist Cooperative, and the realities of self-publishing.
in honor of the whole art, ownership, and theft discourse (and because i have no intentions of reprinting), i've decided to post the entirety of Write Write Kill as a thread 🍽️ please enjoy pic.twitter.com/9taCy3oqRq
— shivana (@toastasaurus) March 1, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• For TCJ, Tegan O'Neil charts the histories of Jim Rugg and Dr Bruce Banner, and sees how well these combine in the production of Hulk: Grand Design - “I think Rugg’s Grand Design suffers, frankly, from its proximity to the conclusion of Ewing’ Immortal Hulk. Such an impassioned, empathetic, harrowing run - both an era-defining book and a resoundingly personal statement from the writer. A series that really tears your guts out. Ewing and Rugg were both essentially going at the same problem from different angles: how to make sense out of seven decades of history for a character who’s been in and out of the hands of hundreds of disparate creators.”
• Over at The Gutter Review, Tom Shapira chronicles Adam Warren’s tech-heavy work for Marvel Comics, and the big narrative swings to be found in those stories.
• For The Beat, Heidi MacDonald presents dispatches from 2023’s ComicsPRO event, as industry announcements and market analysis returned to in-person programming, amidst various ‘leaks’ of publisher presentations from the usual suspects.
• For analysis on Scott Adams’ self-fulfilling cancellation, and the long wind-up to saying the quiet part increasingly out loud, with fairly easy-to-predict results, look no further than coverage from Forbes, NPR, Time, and The Washington Post.
• ICv2 reprints a 90s piece from Wizard by Jim McLauchlin on comics business pioneer Phil Seuling, as part of a series celebrating 50 years of the direct market, and the changes to comics retail and events that Seuling ushered in.
• A triple bill, over at Shelfdust, as Steve Morris looks back on the complexities of Kieron Gillen and Rich Elson’s Journey Into Mystery #640 and the failings of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s The Walking Dead #193, while Alasdair Stuart examines the smart characterisations of Si Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s John Constantine: Hellblazer #4.
• From the world of open-access academia, editors Dona Pursall and Eva Van de Wiele present Sugar, Spice, and the Not So Nice: Comics Picturing Girlhood, comprising papers and research from the 2021 symposium of the same name.
• Writing in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Alessia Mangiavillano examines how Italian comics journalism contributes to the shaping of people’s understanding of crossing of borders in the Mediterranean region.
• For the Journal for Gender Studies and Visual Culture, Anna Rusinova and Dmitry Gusev detail their use of the comic book form to share their study of the history of the struggle for women’s rights in the context of Russia’s Bestuzhev courses.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat, over at the Daily Cartoonist, as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was drowned out by the misadventures of Scott Adams, with the cartoonist responses to the Dilbert creator’s racism covered by D.D. Degg.
So this is happening... the ATLAS COMICS LIBRARY from Fantagraphics will be a major, ongoing hardcover reprint project of Timely/Atlas comics. I'm doing as much of the restoration as I can. The first volume ADVENTURES INTO TERROR is available to order online now! pic.twitter.com/9IIBrocQiB
— Allan Harvey - Restoration not re-creation (@allanharveyres1) February 25, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Sitting in on recent meetings from the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium, as Vanessa Conte gave a talk on artistic inspirations, and creating work that avoids the reduction of power dynamics to simple themes of kink and BDSM; and members of Deadcrow Comix spoke at Parsons on the work of the collective, read from their comics, and answered audience questions on the production of the same.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden convened for a new edition of Thick Lines, as this week Jim Lawrence and Jorge Longarón’s Friday Foster: The Sunday Strips was discussed, following a quick chat about Scott Adams, who was unsurprisingly on the mind of many creators this week.
• David Brothers hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team gathered to talk about Kengo Hanazawa’s Under Ninja, what works about the manga’s construction, and the difficulties surrounding recommending Ninja Slayer.
• The return of 2000 AD’s Thrill Cast continues, as this week the microphone was turned to face MOLCH-R, appearing here in human guise as Michael Molcher, as Graeme McMillan spoke with Molcher about I Am The Law: How Judge Dredd Predicted Our Future, followed by some NYCC 2022 discussion of The Best of 2000 AD.
• Stepping inside the eyes of Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg’s minds, as Cartoonist Kayfabe this week took a look at Witchblade and Conan the Barbarian: Exodus, before being joined by Geof Darrow to talk about the making of Hard Boiled ahead of the trio taking a look at ROWLF.
• David Harper welcomed Al Ewing to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about writing processes and recent collaborative work at the House of Ideas, and avoiding repetition in the production of said work.
• Heidi MacDonald spoke with K. O’Neill about The Moth Keeper on this weeks episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, and got some insights into the contemporary comics scene in New Zealand.
Welcome to the Cartoonist Cooperative! We're so excited to have you become a member of the coop! We've gone ahead and put together a little explainer comic with @mopedcow to give you an idea of what exactly the coop does and how you can contribute! pic.twitter.com/7qfHq7X6xk
— Cartoonist Cooperative (@cartoonistcoop) February 26, 2023
That brings us to the end of another week of links, we can only pray that there’ll be more again soon.
Presenting Comics & Cognitive Science on March 25 at the @CartoonLibrary. Cartoonist Chris Ware and cognitive scientist Dr. Neil Cohn will fuse their interests and expertise in an event that promises to be original and thought-provoking! Learn more at https://t.co/RmbjQjo5YP pic.twitter.com/5vju9BmZ1u
— Ohio State Center for Cognitive & Brain Sciences (@OhioStateCCBS) February 23, 2023