I’m battening down the hatches, here at This Week’s Links, a selection of which can be found below, as the UK is currently besieged by dual storms, but, taking a cue from the USPS, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this linkblog from the swift completion of its appointed comics round-up.
— Jillian Tamaki (@dirtbagg) February 17, 2022
Come to those who wait… This week’s news.
• Starting this week with an update on the status quo of 2022’s festivals season, as the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) announced that there would be no CAKE in 2022, with a future festival date still TBC; the Bay Area Queer Zine Fest announced a symposium, taking place as part of the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco’s ‘Meantime’ program, on March 19th and 20th; 2000 AD announced a virtual convention, celebrating 45 years of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, taking place online for free on March 26th and 27th; and The Beat rounded up what is known and unknown about the other big hitters in the comics event landscape for 2022.
• Checking in with the main character of the comics internet for 2022, tech companies posting their L’s, and there was widespread grumbling as comiXology’s long-heralded integration into Amazon’s proprietary systems came to pass, due to a perceived lack of understanding of the user experience, and disparities between services offered in different regions. Oh brave new world, that has such digital storefronts in it.
• Elsewhere, showing that maybe some publicity can be bad publicity, and Kickstarter have responded to user unrest over the company's move to embrace blockchain technology by slowing the integration process, and setting up an advisory council including user representatives to steer the next steps taken, while still, you know, moving to embrace blockchain technology, which was the main issue in the first place for those who left.
• A crossover between two ongoing stories, namely the banning of Maus and Penguin Random House’s adventures in litigation, as duelling accounts from PRH and the Internet Archive came in this week regarding whether or not the former had demanded the removal of Maus from the latter. PRH was part of a joint suit by publishers against the Internet Archive in 2020 with accusations of pirated ebooks, and is also currently the target of a DOJ antitrust case regarding its attempted acquisition of Simon & Schuster. Never a dull moment.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Julia Wertz, which will be used for childcare costs while working on back-to-back books - one “...about my years in NYC when I quit drinking and joined the real world,” and one “...where I quit NYC and join the world of parenthood.”
• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, as the news was shared that cartoonist Bill Woodman passed away earlier this week, aged 82, with The Daily Cartoonist providing an obituary along with a selection of Woodman’s work; and that illustrator and queer comics advocate John Jennison passed away earlier this month, aged 42 - Ricardo Serrano Denis wrote in remembrance of Jennison for The Beat, and a memorial fund can be donated to here.
鯉月 転生鯉と明治月 pic.twitter.com/4HFFHJHCjj
— めとろ🌷 (@metro000) February 14, 2022
Signed, sealed, delivered… This week’s reviews.
• Brian Nicholson reviews the tortured fury of Céline Hudréaux’ Maelstrom - “Hudréaux recasts the act of etching as something aggressive enough to appeal to a cartoonist. Her lines look more scratched out than most examples of the art. Lines wobble, each with the uniform weight of what you get from a ballpoint pen. Short on spotted blacks, we get thickets of hatching that don’t quite capture the sheen of light off a fish’s scales, but continually bend light in askew perspectives.”
• Tucker Stone reviews the emotional density of Dustin Harbin’s More Economies of Scale - “[Harbin] plays with language here in a way that is almost too honest, too corny, but within the context of what the comic is--a love song, a romantic poem, an extended note for another, composed in the medium the composer is most comfortable with--it works, landing on the safe side, the sweet side.”
• Eszter Szép reviews the organic visualisation of Theo Ellsworth’s adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s Secret Life - “The reader is often invited to return helpless or agitated looks; one of the first of these instances involves an employee whose pen got taken by the manager. The manager had grabbed the pen possibly without thinking, but for the employee this feels like being robbed of the memories he associates with his tool. The whole conflict is banal - equally funny and tragic.”
• John Schaidler reviews the iconic humour of Lynda Barry’s Come Over Come Over.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the striking rewards of Al Ewing, Bryan Hitch, et al’s Venom #5.
• Alex McDonald reviews the fantastic satire of Bryce Ingman, Mark Russell, Peter Krause, Joe Orsak, et al’s My Bad #4.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the special details of Chip Zdarsky, Carmine Di Giandomenico, et al’s Batman: The Knight #2.
• David Brooke reviews the beautiful mystery of Si Spurrier, Matheus Lopes, and Matias Bergara’s Step By Bloody Step #1.
• Colin Moon reviews the elegant finale of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, et al’s Primordial.
• Reg Cruickshank reviews the stellar action of Bryan Ruckley, Anna Malkova, et al’s Transformers #40.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the fresh romance of Archie Comics’ Archie Love & Heartbreak Special #1.
• Cy Beltran reviews the wonderful contributions of Marvel Comics’ Marvel Voices: Legacy #1.
Holly Raidl reviews the unique immersion of Ariel Slamet Ries’ Witchy: Volume 2.
Four Color Apocalypse
Rob Salkowitz reviews the devastating meticulousness of Darryl Cunningham’s Putin’s Russia: The Rise of a Dictator.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the captivating physicality of Lale Westvind’s Grip.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the undercut pay-offs of Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, David Messina, et al’s X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1-5.
Nick Smith reviews the in-depth history of Noël Simsolo and Dominique Hé’s Alfred Hitchcock: The Master of Suspense.
• Christopher Egan reviews the energetic reveals of Jenna Lyn Wright, Karl Slominski, et al’s Cult of Ikarus #1.
• Matthew Blair reviews the strong minimalism of Isaac Mogajane, Santtos, et al’s Land of the Living Gods #1.
• Joe Skonce reviews the satisfying nuance of Stephanie Phillips, Josh George, et al’s A Man Among Ye #8.
• James Dowling and Mark Tweedale review the memorable joys of Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Matt Smith, et al’s Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #4; and the powerful complexities of Mike Mignola, Rob Williams, Laurence Campbell, et al’s The Sword of Hyperborea #2.
The Paris Review
Jay Graham reviews the intimate balance of Mannie Murphy’s I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The wicked hilarity of Matthew Thurber’s Mr Colostomy.
- The enchanting immersion of Ray Fawkes et al’s In The Flood.
- The unsettling chills of Skottie Young and Jorge Corona’s The Me You Love In The Dark.
- The boisterous madness of James the Stanton’s Gnartoons.
Daniel Elkin and Alex Hoffman review the masterful nuance of R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else.
Women Write About Comics
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the bland beginning of Rainbow Rowell, Rogê Antônio, et al’s She-Hulk #1.
• Kat Overland reviews the emotional intrigue of Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, et al’s X Lives of Wolverine #2.
— Brian Box Brown (@boxbrown) February 16, 2022
You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel… This week’s interviews.
John Kelly reconvenes with Tony Millionaire, with input from Kat Gillies, to discuss quitting drinking, high comedy standards, and writing for different age groups - “Maakies has always been a kind of diary. After I had kids, it reflected where I was then. There were a lot more beautiful drawings…I became less interested in the bird continually blowing his brains out. And I was also doing more with the Sock Monkey character, which was directed toward kids—though it was also very popular among adults. The Gabby's Journey story just reflects where I am now in my life.”
Chris Coplan talks to Joshua Williamson about DC’s Dark Crisis, generational legacies in superhero comics, and a world without the Justice League.
• Hayden Mears speaks with Joshua Williamson about Rogues, finding the right home for a project, the joys of continuity, and formatting freedom.
• Avery Kaplan chats with Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue about Katie the Catsitter: Best Friends for Never, favourite scenes, and writing adult characters in stories for younger readers.
Jim McLauchlin talks to Galaxy of Comics’ Warren Jaycox about community building, retail expansion, and really good discounts.
Mark Tweedale speaks with Olivier Vatine about Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops, overcoming shyness, and collaborative storytelling processes.
Present transcript of an archive conversation between Terry Gross and Art Spiegelman, originally broadcast in 1987, about the family history behind Maus.
Alex Dueben talks to Jeffrey A. Brown about Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes, bringing fandom perspectives to academia, the growth of comics studies, and focusing in on what students want to study.
Abraham Riesman interviews Art Spiegelman about Maus’ contemporary banning, losing things, and the context in which Maus was created.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne talks to Emma Kubert about Brush Stroke, personal emotional context, animated artistic styles, and the Kubert Legacy; and to Richard Fairgray about Haunted Hill, real life character inspirations, and the joys of making comics the analog way.
Rear Window. Private commission. Watercolour, brush pen and pencil. pic.twitter.com/CYXQUACvwy
— Jonathan Edwards (@Jontofski) February 15, 2022
Lashings and lashings of words… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Zoran Djukanovic writes on the allure of the work of Zoran Janjetov, presenting a new English-language translation of an essay originally written for 2021’s Antibody exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina - “French comic culture has no idea what a comics storyteller genius it has lost, having never even found it. I tried more than once not to forgive Zoran Janjetov for not fighting to make the translation of Bernard Panasonik available on the French market. Needless to say, it would have needed to be expertly executed, for sure, as necessitated when it comes to such a piece of art. Janjetov, however, does not fight to prove his worth. That personality trait is missing, it slips through one's fingers.”
• Shelfdust’s Black Comics History series continues, as Matthew Cowans looks back to 1990 and the defiant satire of the Sims Brothers’ Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline; and Jay Rincher writes in celebration of the uniting of humanity by Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, and Ron Wagner in The Flash #138.
• Over at Solrad, Patrick Kuklinski writes on the varied Neopets fan-comics to be found at The Neopian Times and their raging against the dying of the light, while Jonathan Shipley looks back at the importance of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story for the civil rights movement in the US and beyond.
• For AIPT, David Canham examines Jonathan Hickman’s recent storylines concerning the X-Men, and determines whether the Krakoan era of Marvel’s mutants bears the hallmarks of a cult.
• Sent over to the This Week's Links mailbag by the author, Raighne Hogan writes on where 2dcloud is headed in 2022, the realities of what goes into a publishing endeavour, and info on a new subscription service and currently active (almost) line-wide sale, along with thoughts on Angela Fanche's Me & Night.
• For Women Write About Comics, Doris V Sutherland writes in remembrance of Robson Rocha, who passed away last summer, and looks back on Rocha’s energetic work on Aquaman.
• Gregory Silber celebrates a year of Silber Linings, returning to where it all began by examining once again on the comics writing of one Kevin Smith, and why it is that Green Arrow misses the mark.
• Drew Bradley hits reset for Multiversity Comics’ Ghosts of Comics Past series, this month covering notable comics happenings in the years of 1842, 1902, 1912, and 1922, as the comic strip form established itself and then was ushered in the age of syndication.
A quick little thing inspired by the Olympics pic.twitter.com/kKXkpMjddn
— Victoria Ying - City of Illusion- August 2021! (@victoriaying) February 16, 2022
The highest of definitions… This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Kicking off this week’s selection with a new edition of Thick Lines, and prepare for some dry heaving as Katie Skelly and Sally Madden are recording in appreciation of the grotesque beauty of Dave Cooper’s Ripple: A Predilection For Tina, as well as the Venus of Willendorf, and David Cronenberg.
• Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung reconvened Salt and Honey this week, welcoming Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh to the show to discuss Pixels of You, different styles and forms of robots that appear in fiction, and atmospheric influences on the book.
• Drawn and Quarterly hosted a fresh edition of At Home With… as Darryl Cunningham took viewers through the making of, and history behind, Putin’s Russia: The Rise of a Dictator, before joining Gil Roth for the Virtual Memories Show to talk further on the historical and political context surrounding the book.
• Brian Hibbs hosted a distinctly 18+ edition of Comix Experience’s Masterpiece Selection for February, welcoming Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne to the show to discuss Oglaf, problems with the Australian postal service, pen choices, and getting the word out there.
• A fresh February selection from Cartoonist Kayfabe as well, with Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor this week taking a look at Wizard #46, Darwyn Cooke on Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #11, Jack Kirby on Captain America #112, and Ed Brubaker’s Lowlife, as well as more McFarlane deposition, a breakdown of the Comics Code Authority, and a career-spanning shoot interview with Walter Simonson.
• 2000 AD’s Thrill-Cast hosted an in memoriam episode for Ian Kennedy this week, following his passing earlier this month, as Martha Julian, Phillip B Vaughan, and Mark Seddon spoke in celebration of Kennedy’s work, and shared their memories of the storied artist.
• Christopher Butcher hosted this week’s R rated edition of Mangasplaining, as the team read Mita Ori’s boys love manga, Our Dining Table, and discussed the comforting story beats of the genre, and the place of this book within it.
• Closing out this week with a pair of interviews about recent moves to Substack, as David Harper welcomed Tom King to Off Panel to discuss Love Everlasting, while Heidi MacDonald welcomed Khary Randolph and Joanne Starer to Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come to discuss new comics imprint Glass Eye Studios.
Darkseid. Pencils. 8.7 x 11.3. 2022.
Pencils for an ink drawing. I think I'll ink this with a brush. I like the way brush lines look on drawings of heads. Even a hard head like Darkseid's. :-) pic.twitter.com/2SIzU3mZFr
— Walter Simonson (@WalterSimonson) February 17, 2022
That’s all for this week, back again soon unless 70mph winds dislodge some of the precariously teetering piles of comics I have lying around just asking for trouble.
Pre-Sales have opened for our EXCLUSIVE Daniel Johnston Covers for Batman 121, shipping 3/1/22.
— AustinBooks & Comics (@AustinBooks) February 14, 2022