As the dust settles from the Writers’ Guild of America winning important concessions from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, following 148 days of strike action, all eyes turn now to the next battle line being drawn - fans of billion dollar corporations’ commercial #content versus Martin Scorsese - as once again we must all step into the breach to protect the dignity of superhero cinematic universes, as there but for the grace of God, etc, etc, ours being not to reason why, but instead simply to click on this week’s links, below, because that will definitely help resolve this dispute in a timely, satisfactory manner for all parties involved.
— Chris Bachalo (@ShadeX6) September 28, 2023
This week’s news.
• A return to lawsuit country to kick of this week’s selection, as the Federal Trade Commission and 17 states filed an antitrust suit against Amazon, in an attempt to bring a permanent injunction against the tech giant for alleged anti-competitive practices, with FTC Chair Lina Khan arguing that “...as a result of Amazon's illegal practices, people are paying higher prices. Consumers are paying more. Sellers are paying more. I mean, sellers are having to give over one of every $2 to Amazon. These are, many of them, small businesses with low margins. And so we absolutely believe that if we're successful, there will be honest and fair competition in the marketplace and the public will benefit.” Amazon disputed the allegations, claiming that its practices are beneficial to the market, actually, and that the FTC’s allegations are misguided, if you were only to look at things from the point of view of a humble trillion dollar company.
• The Daily Cartoonist covers Gannett’s USA Today newspaper network shaking up its funny pages, as the company looks to standardise its comic strip offerings across the group, albeit with regional market variation, with the changes taking place over the next few months - it’s been a turbulent time for cartoons in newspapers of late, as cost-cutting measures that started being implemented over a decade ago continue to be rolled out.
• Ahead of this year’s event, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo announced the recipients of 2023’s MICE Mini-Grants, this year providing 15 awards of $100 to exhibitors at October’s show, to help the creators to print their work.
• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared this week of the death of historian and DC librarian Allan Asherman, who passed away last weekend, aged 76.
• Elsewhere, news was also shared of the death of artist and writer Gerry Shamray, known for work on American Splendor and John Darling, who passed away on Monday, aged 66.
class-cleaning duty time 🧹🪠 pic.twitter.com/F5AcfUP6RD
— winchestermeg🌟 (@winchestermegg) September 17, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Natsume Fusanosuke, translated by Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda, reviews the early experimentation of Ōtomo Katsuhiro’s The Complete Works 1: Jūsei - “Ōtomo had been an author who had had great support from a very special number of us manga maniacs. However, Ōtomo’s fine taste, the feeling of the era that he illustrated, and his new worldview, were all things that separated him from the rest of the pack of artists back then. He would amass a large group of followers, including Urasawa Naoki.”
• Helen Chazan reviews the contemplative terrain of Pigao's Haze Cave, translated by Orion Martin with Xinmei Liu and Jason Li - “Urban centers expel their residents - it is impossible to truly belong to a place that constantly pushes people aside for building projects. No matter how long you stay, a city is never truly your city. And yet the homes we've left are not unchanging; even if they remain the same, we change, we become new people, and we forget.”
• Keigen Rea reviews the surprising tone of Danny Lore, Karen S. Darboe, et al’s Bloodline: Daughter of Blade.
• David Brooke reviews the enjoyable interplay of Gerry Duggan, Juan Frigeri, et al’s Invincible Iron Man #10.
• Christopher Franey reviews the emotional build of Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham, et al’s Miracleman: The Silver Age #6.
• Piper Whitaker reviews the detractive aspects of Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Rafa Sandoval, et al’s Action Comics #1057.
• Michael Guerrero reviews the perfect start to Simon Spurrier, Mike Deodato Jr., et al’s The Flash #1.
• Eric Thomas and Piper Whitaker review the confident revamping of Leah Williams, Eduardo Pansica, et al’s Power Girl #1.
• Andrew Isidoro reviews the well-structured tumult of Dennis Culver, Chris Burnham, et al’s Unstoppable Doom Patrol #6.
• Kerry Vineberg reviews the informative history of Josh Tuininga’s We Are Not Strangers.
• Arpad Okay reviews the cryptic intensity of K Wroten’s Eden II.
• Michael Kurt reviews the raucous beauty of Stefano Cardoselli’s Don’t Spit In The Wind.
• Joel Savill reviews the atmospheric horror of Kenichi Kondo’s Dark Gathering, translated by Christine Dashiell.
• Zack Quaintance reviews the excellent core of Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, et al’s Second Coming – Trinity #6.
• Cori McCreery reviews the driving mysteries of Leah Williams, Eduardo Pansica, et al’s Power Girl #1.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the powerful immersion of Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s Roaming.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan Carey reviews the painstaking details of S.R. Arnold’s Perry Shitlife.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the raw honesty of Kyoko Okazaki's River's Edge, translated by Alexa Frank.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #105, Alpha Flight #2, Uncanny Avengers #2, Dark X-Men #2, Wolverine #37, Uncanny Spider-Man #1, X-Men Annual #1, Deadpool: Badder Blood #4, and Predator Versus Wolverine #1.
Tom Batten has starred capsule reviews of:
- The abstract depictions of Cyril Lieron and Benoit Dahan’s Inside the Mind of Sherlock Holmes.
- The exhilarating humour of M.S. Harkness’ Time Under Tension.
- The thrilling absurdity of Ed Subitzky’s Poor Helpless Comics!: The Cartoons (and More) of Ed Subitzky.
- The fast-paced mystery of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Where the Body Was.
• Alexander Jones reviews the enjoyable gravitas of J. Michael Straczynski, Jesus Saiz, et al’s Captain America #1.
• Matthew Blair reviews the transportative vibes of Ram V and Filipe Andrade’s Rare Flavours #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the remarkable beginning of Leah Williams, Eduardo Pansica, et al's Power Girl #1.
James A. Cosby reviews the welcome memorialising of Chuck D’s Summer of Hamn.
Deshan Tennekoon reviews the happy humour of Azuma Kiyohiko’s Yotsuba&!.
Women Write About Comics
• Carrie McClain reviews the important message of Ryan Estrada, Amy Rose, and Jeongmin Lee’s Occulted.
• Lisa Fernandes reviews the solid action of Stephanie Phillips, Alberto Foche, et al's Spider-Man Annual #1: Contest of Chaos.
— Mindy Lee RCCC table H 11 (@Mindyleedoodles) August 26, 2023
This week’s interviews.
Paul Neal interviews Diana Schutz about formative memories of comic books, a career in the comics industry, and convention memories - “Yeah, I really did not like [the role of Editor in Chief at Dark Horse]. Finally, I just stepped down after two years, took a big pay cut so I could go back to editing books, working one-on-one with creators instead of other editors. Though for a long time, I continued to be the person who trained all the junior editors coming in to Dark Horse.”
Chris Coplan speaks with:
- Steve Orlando about Sainted Love and being upfront about writing a story for mature readers.
- Dan Panosian about Savage Red Sonja and keeping the book accessible to new readers.
- John Ridley about The Ministry of Compliance and the big questions that the comic asks.
Anime News Network
Lynzee Loveridge talks to Masakazu Ishiguro about Heavenly Delusion, the manga’s origins and influences, and the specifics of monster design.
• Joe Grunenwald chats with Mark Waid about Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, returning to the world of Kingdom Come, and not worrying about current continuity; and with Simon Spurrier about The Flash, speeding into cosmic horror, and the thematic influences on the series.
• Dean Simons talks to Ian Edginton and D’Israeli about Helium, novel ways to get readers up to speed, and trying not to repeat yourself creatively.
• Jim McDermott interviews Daniel Warren Johnson about Transformers, a storytelling change of pace, and Mobile Suit Gundam inspirations.
• Taimur Dar speaks with Patrick McDonnell about The Super Hero’s Journey, favourite superhero teams, and how the book is ultimately about a love for comics.
• Deanna Destito interviews Rik Hoskin about The Wheel of Time, fantasy staples, adapting the books for the comic form, and favourite scenes.
Andy Oliver talks to Rob Williams and Pye Parr about Petrol Head, approaching social commentary through genre fiction, and the colour choices for the comic.
Tom Power speaks with Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki about Roaming, the origins of their creative partnership, and the driving impulses of the book’s characters.
The Gutter Review
Chloe Maveal chats with Eddie Campbell about The Second Fake Death of Eddie Campbell, the trouble with editors, and living a life while distracted.
The Hollywood Reporter
Borys Kit talks to Brian Michael Bendis about Masterpiece, getting Alex Maleev on board, bringing the story to the characters, and comics as the be-all and end-all.
• Rob Salkowitz interviews Terry Moore about Strangers in Paradise, the series’ origins and 30th anniversary, and the realities of single issue sales.
• Milton Griepp speaks with Oni Press’ Hunter Gorinson and Sierra Hahn about the comics industry being in a transitory period, and how the publisher is evolving.
• Kyle Welch chats with Steve Orlando about Sainted Love, crafting heart-driven stories, mixing crowdfunding a retail releases, and take aways from the book.
• James Dowling talks to Tom Parkinson-Morgan (aka Abaddon) about Kill Six Billion Demons, keeping yourself interested in longform storytelling, and university studies.
• Gilcy Aquino speaks with Katie Cook about Nothing Special, the comic’s move from digital to print, and the joys of making a story that’s entirely your own.
• Amanda Ramirez interviews S.H. Cotugno about The Glass Scientists, the appeal of steampunk, and formative experiences working in animation.
i've been informed it's saturday so pic.twitter.com/e6hf6HkgbT
— tonči zonjić (@tozozozo) September 16, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Michael Dean writes in remembrance of the life and work of Joe Matt, who passed away last week, at the age of 60 - “ If it was comparatively easy to forgive Matt his storied flaws, it may have been because Crumb’s idiosyncrasies helped make him not only a great artist but relatively wealthy, whereas Matt’s long list of sins required a devotion that ensured he would forever remain a starving artist, albeit a very talented one.”
• Also for TCJ, Austin English presents tributes to Joe Matt from friends and peers, “[Chester Brown:]I hope that Joe's death will prompt a revival of interest in his work. I see him as one of the most important cartoonists of his generation. He didn’t produce a lot of work — only four books — but three of those books (Peepshow, The Poor Bastard and Spent) are masterpieces. And Fair Weather is pretty good too. I was lucky to be one of his friends.”
• Finally for TCJ this week, John Kelly reports from the premiere of Married to Comics, directed by John Kinhart, which documents the lives of Justin Green and Carol Tyler - “Real life isn't always easy. Viewing Married to Comics can be a transformative, yet draining experience. This is not simply a movie about a pair of eccentric artists, nor is it a documentary cobbled together from poorly shot archival material. Kinhart puts Justin Green's and Carol Tyler's humanity into focus. His artful direction intensifies the couple's story with superb camera and editing work.”
• For the BBC, Cherylann Mollan covers the adaptation of Archie to a musical format in India, and speaks with Indian fans of the source material about why the comics hold such appeal.
• Over at Women Write About Comics, Melissa Brinks has an essay on the burlesque juxtapositions of Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne’s Oglaf, and wider contrasts between pornography and erotica.
• Coinciding with USA Today’s overhaul of the funny pages, for The Coloradoan, Belinda M. Paschal presents thoughts on the evolution of the American comic strip from Ohio State University’s Jared Gardner and Jenny Robb.
• For Shelfdust, Kelly Kanayama writes on Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi’s The Good Asian #3, and the varied performances that people can find making up parts of their lives.
• Paul O’Brien’s survey of the villains of Daredevil continues, over at House to Astonish, as consideration is given to the Owl’s gliding, so the Kingpin could soar.
• In the Journal of Cultural Analytics, Taylor Arnold, Lauren Tilton, and Justin Wigard present an article on applying computational study techniques to a dataset of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts strips, and the visual symmetries of Schulz’s work that can be gleaned from this.
• On a semi-related topic, following the release of the Snoopy watch face as part of Apple’s WatchOS 10, GQ has a piece talking to the people who made it happen about the design challenges inherent to this digitisation of Snoopy and Woodstock.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the retirement of Rupert Murdoch gave similar cause for celebration as the impending end of the WGA’s writers’ strike, Taylor Swift’s sporty new beau, and the increasingly fevered build up to next year’s presidential election.
⬩ShortBox Comics Fair is an online-only fair that takes place every October
⬩100+ artists participating from around the world!
⬩Each exhibiting artist makes a brand-new comic!
⬩All 100+ new comics are released digitally on our website, available through October! pic.twitter.com/65ohzjdGvV
— ShortBox Comics Fair (@SBComicsFair) August 2, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Austin English chaired the latest meeting of the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium, as Kevin Huizenga spoke on recent work, the struggle of staying focused, the odyssey caused by the failure of a hard drive, and the feedback loop of artistic influences and creation.
• Katie Skelly, Sally Madden, Claire Napier and Tegan O’Neil joined forces for a crossover episode of Thick Lines and Udder Madness (Thick Madness or Udder Lines (??)), as they discussed the work that goes into the chronicling of Top Cow, and the varied vibes of Witchblade.
• 2000 AD’s Thrill-Cast returned to the airwaves this week, as MOLCH-R charted spoiler-territory to speak about Judge Dredd: Poison with Rob Williams and Simon Fraser, and the end of the road for one of the comic’s long-running characters.
• David Brothers hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team convened to discuss Yasuhiro Nightow’s Blood Blockade Battlefront, whether there’s too much going on in the alliteratively-titled story, and if it would be enjoyable to read in Japanese.
• Brian Hibbs welcomed Derek M. Ballard to the latest meeting of the Comix Experience Graphic Novel Club, as they spoke about Cartoonshow, the realities of making comics while also handling life’s responsibilities, and working with Oni Press to publish the book.
• Gil Roth welcomed Patrick McDonnell to this week’s edition of The Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about The Super Hero’s Journey, revisiting comics of your youth, and meeting the Dalai Lama.
• David Harper was joined by Joshua Williamson for the latest episode of Off Panel, discussing the balancing of a fairly extensive workload, new licensed universes at Skybound, and plotting out crossover events.
• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Meg Lemke convened for the new edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they covered a busy couple of weeks for new comics companies and imprints, attempts to propel titles into the public domain, and also spoke on the passing of Joe Matt.
• Closing out the week with Cartoonist Kayfabe as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg were joined by SPX’s Warren Bernard for a look at the work of Alex Raymond, Neil Gaiman and Chris Bachalo’s Death: The High Cost of Living, Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot, Paul Chadwick’s Concrete, and TwoMorrows’ Silver Age monographs.
Don't miss @MassMICE, the FREE premiere #comics festival hosted by @BUArts this weekend! Dedicated to independent #comics & #graphicnovels. Info: https://t.co/xbDpCixbSg #MiceforMICE #Boston #CenterForTheBook @MassLibAssoc @mblclibraries @NEIBAbooks pic.twitter.com/yRi5o6YGo0
— Mass Center for the Book (@MassBook) September 27, 2023
That’s all for this week, the links shall return once the next inflammatory soundbite regarding superhero films is released to the general public.
Check out this groovy newspaper feature!
Created by Stan Drake and Brendan Boyd, “Pop Idols and the Disco Scene” was a newspaper feature that highlighted pop idols and only ran from April 1979 to January 1980.
Part of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. pic.twitter.com/kHnZ5PAk26
— OSU Cartoon Library (@CartoonLibrary) August 31, 2023