Spring has finally sprung, Helios punting Old Man Winter back into his cave to take the year into the second quarter, but surely there must be some more good news besides the sun choosing to come back out from behind the clouds? Nope! Well, maybe a little. As a treat. Links below.
batman and i have more in common than i thought pic.twitter.com/58xepakgDQ
— Tommy Siegel (@TommySiegel) March 22, 2022
Tripping the light fantastique… This week’s news.
• Starting off the week with more awards news out of this year’s Festival de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême, as Marcello Quintanilha took home 2022’s Fauve d’Or for Écoute, Jolie Márcia; Raphaël Meltz, Louise Moaty, and Simon Roussin‘s Des Vivants won the Prix Spécial du Jury; Émile Bravo‘s Spirou: L'Espoir Malgré Tout was awarded the Prix de la Serié; and Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby won the Prix du Patrimoine - a full list of this year’s awards can be found here.
• Staying in Europe, and following record earnings in 2021, and a promise to expand global business, Webtoon announced the establishment of a new European corporation, as it seeks to compete with rival content provider Kakao’s inroads into international markets - a report published to coincide with Festival de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême stated that comic sales in France saw a 50% jump in 2021, with every one in two comics sales being manga.
• In manga awards news, the Japan Media Arts Festival announced this year’s winning selection from a range of media, with wins in the manga category for Aki Mochida’s Golden Raspberry, Shun Umezawa’s Darwin’s Incident, Inio Asano’s Dead Dead Demon's Dededede Destruction, Tsuchika Nishimura’s The Concierge at Hokkyoku Department Store, Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, and Yama Wayama’s Onna No Sono No Hoshi, amongst others.
• Elsewhere in the heady world of comics business investment, Zestworld announced a $9.73m funding round at launch, as the platform looks to do some disrupting or somesuch, its web marketing stating “...you retain all rights to your work. Not only that, you own your e-mail list too,” positioning itself against both your traditional direct market comics publishers and new-money mailer platforms like Substack.
• PennLive reported on the latest graphic novel to be pulled from classrooms, as teaching of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, part of the curriculum for less than a year at Franklin Regional Senior High School, is on pause until its inclusion can be reviewed by the curriculum committee, despite having been previously approved by said committee and the governing school board.
• Jim Rugg, Fantagraphics, and The Beat respectively apologised for producing, initially choosing to publish, and initially choosing to promote a variant cover parodying Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a book that is rapidly becoming one of this year’s Main Characters, for Ed Piskor’s Red Room: Trigger Warnings series, with Rugg stating, after the fact, that said cover was indeed “...an inappropriate subject for the necessarily over-the-top Red Room treatment” - the cover in question will no longer be published.
• Auction news, and the ‘pay copy’ of Marvel Comics #1 sold last week for £2.4m to an anonymous “extremely passionate comic book collector and investor,” who also now owns the handwritten notes in the comic detailing how much each of the creators involved were paid, which I am sure was in no way a depressing sum of money to contemplate in this conte– I’m being handed a slip of paper... Oh.
• The Daily Cartoonist rounds up some awards news on the editorial beat, as Michael Ramirez was announced as the winner of the Overseas Press Club of America Cartoon Award; and Michael de Adder, Graeme MacKay, and Bruce MacKinnon were announced as finalists for the National Newspaper Award for Editorial Cartooning/Caricature.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $1,500 to Breena Nuñez, which will be used “...to create a comic book that summarizes what it's like to live in multiple places and not being able to fully settle down in one location.”
That time I inked Sergio Aragones on Fanboy, back in the late 1990s. pic.twitter.com/bb6T9xckxs
— Jerry Ordway (@JerryOrdway) March 23, 2022
Books, books, books, books, books(?), books(!)... This week’s reviews.
Leonard Pierce reviews the overbrimming beauty of Jonathan Hickman, Mike Huddleston, et al’s Decorum - “...the sheer quantity of world-building—the blessing and the curse of contemporary genre fiction—is simply bananas, with endless text features on everything from the various religious and political factions to star maps, recipes and dream journals clogging up the flow of the story and adding very little to the narrative.”
• David Brooke reviews the competent nostalgia of Larry Hama, Andrea Di Vito, et al’s Wolverine: Patch #1.
• Colin Moon reviews the compelling characters of Joshua Williamson, Leomacs, et al’s Rogues #1.
• Christopher Franey reviews the unexpected cliffhanger of Tom King, Greg Smallwood, et al’s The Human Target #6.
• Alex McDonald reviews the winning finale of Mark Russell and Bryce Ingram’s My Bad #5.
• John Schaidler reviews the sumptuous craft of Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran’s Chivalry.
• Keigen Rea reviews the meaningful complexities of Yeon Sang-Ho and Choi Gyu-Seok’s The Hellbound Volume 1, translated by Danny Lim.
• Cori McCreery reviews the effective solution of Mariko Tamaki, Amancay Nahuelpan, et al’s Detective Comics #1058.
• Hussein Wasiti reviews the incisive character-work of Christopher Cantwel, Lan Medina, et al’s Iron Man #18.
Andy Oliver reviews the nuanced contrast of Hannah Lee Miller’s Ambiguous Loss, the accessible fragmentation of Lesley Imgart’s Change, and the diverse perspectives of kuš! comics’ š! #43.
Four Color Apocalypse
Scott Cederlund reviews the shallow satire of Nick Dragotta, Caleb Goellner, et al’s Ghost Cage #1.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the disappointing filler of Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Klaus Janson, Ivan Fiorelli, Phil Noto, et al’s Marauders #22-27.
Nick Smith reviews the grim mood of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note Short Stories.
The Library Journal
Tom Batten has starred capsule reviews of:
- The fantastic complexity of Jim Woodring’s One Beautiful Spring Day.
- The unsettling details of Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class.
- The brilliant adventurousness of Jordan Crane’s Keeping Two.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the fast-paced fun of Mark Waid, Dan Mora, et al’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the superb visuals of Jon Clark, Travis Williamson, et al’s Playthings #1.
• Alexander Jones reviews the notable conclusion of Benjamin Percy, Federico Vicentini, et al’s X Deaths of Wolverine #5.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The breezy personality of Emma Grove’s The Third Person.
- The beautiful curiosity of Michael T. Gilbert’s Tops: The Complete Collection of Charles Biro’s Visionary 1949 Comic Book Series.
- The fragmented meandering of Norm Konyu’s The Junction.
- The slack quirkiness of Benji Nate’s Hell Phone.
- The powerful immersion of Kate Beaton's Ducks.
• Tasha Lowe-Newsome reviews the engaging personalities of Mary Fleener’s Billie the Bee.
• Nicholas Burman reviews the tense depths of Marie-Noëlle Hébert’s My Body In Pieces, translated by Shelley Tanaka.
Women Write About Comics
• Louis Skye reviews the thought-provoking reflections of ash s’ Let’s Get Burgers.
• Carrie McClain reviews the endearing romance of Ayujo Hatta’s Ima Koi: Now I’m In Love, translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash.
It’s been a while but, yes, I am finally drawing a comic again. pic.twitter.com/lvwHqNHieJ
— Mike Mignola (@artofmmignola) March 20, 2022
You say potato, and I say potato, &c… This week’s interviews.
Tasha Lowe-Newsome interviews Hunt Emerson about Phenomenomix, comics-making in Kenya, working with the Ruskin Foundation, and playing for an audience - “Mostly if I do work and I put it away for a couple of months then I look at it, I hate it. But if I’m looking at older work now I think, “That’s all right. That went well.” Something like Casanova is really well-drawn. I thought it was quite well-written as well. It’s a shame it didn’t sell very much. In terms of life I’d like to re-do most of my teenage years and my early 20s, as well. I’d like to do those again, and get it right this time. I’d like to do Art College again and get it right, ‘cause I blew it the first time round. But as for the work, I don’t know. I work quite fast, but actually drawing is quite a slow process, it takes a while to do, I churn out a lot of work and I don’t tend to go back much.”
Chris Coplan speaks with Tim Seeley and Aaron Campbell about West of Sundown, jamming on horror and westerns, tapping into lesser known American history, and grounding a vampire story.
• Deanna Destito talks to Brian Schirmer and Elena Gogou about Quests Aside, convention inspiration, genre melding, and TTRPG character choices.
• Heidi MacDonald chats to David Dastmalchian about Count Crowley, scriptwriting origins, editorial friendships, and history with horror.
Michael Leader speaks with Adrian Tomine about the comics work adapted for Paris, 13th District, the mysterious nature of their coalescing, and designing a poster for the film.
Claire Armistead interviews Art Spiegelman, Margaret Atwood, and PEN America’s Suzanne Nossel about ongoing book-bannings in the US education system, and the legislation being used to achieve this.
Shaenon Garrity speaks with Emma Grove about The Third Person, memories of dissociative identity disorder, animation process for comics structure, and sharing experiences to help others.
Alex Dueben talks to Kendra Wells about Real Hero Shit, mediaeval fantasy story genesis, juggling deadlines, and not reducing characters to bullet points.
Matthew Jackson chats with Joshua Williamson about killing the Justice League, the superhero comics experience, and DC’s upcoming Dark Crisis.
weight of the crown pic.twitter.com/ARvKaaO1eS
— rii abrego (@riibrego) March 17, 2022
Just write it down on this napkin… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Zach Rabiroff writes on the Methuselah-like existence of legacy comic strips, the dedicated readerships keeping them keeping on, and the formal experimentation that they can allow, speaking to creators and commentators involved in that corner of the comics medium - “Mary Worth is therefore a prime example of what has been termed a legacy strip: a comic strip that has outlived (often literally) its original creators, and been passed along to new hands while maintaining continuity in syndication. Glance at the comic page of a daily print newspaper, if you can still find one, and you’ll see that the list is long and, arguably, ignominious: Blondie, The Family Circus, Hagar the Horrible, The Wizard of Id, Beetle Bailey, Rex Morgan M.D. Not for nothing have these features been given the less charitable and more common description of zombie strips.”
• Also for TCJ, Andrew Field examines the comics of Gabrielle Bell, and their success as operating examples of the medium, but also in translating the behaviour and presence that they wish to convey into images on the page, parsed in turn on multiple levels by the reader - “Because of Bell’s mastery of tone in art and literature, there is a quality of her work that, while hoping not to reduce it to lexical modes of literature, feels closer to poetry and its interest in voice and states of mind and feeling. Perhaps this is because of the relationship between Bell’s work and silence. Images do not speak, and there is an inextricable relationship between silence and both religion and trauma, which are major preoccupations of Bell’s work.”
• In a mode of writing that is quickly becoming a 2020s staple, Lily Williams shares thoughts on seeing one’s own work banned - the graphic novel Go With The Flow, co-authored with Karen Schneemann - and why banning books simply serves to make childrens’ development less safe.
• For The Los Angeles Times, Darieck Scott writes on childhood inspirations gained from superhero comics, and the Utopian possibilities embodied in the character of Nubia, as well as stoking a lifelong desire for justice and fairness.
• Over at Polygon, also looking back to days of superheroes past, Eoin Higgins charts the completely arbitrary, but extremely important to readers of a certain age, power-rankings to be found on Marvel’s line of trading cards, and the 90s excess that they embodied.
• For IGN, Jesse Scheeden is joined by Grant Morrison for a retrospective of Morrison’s tenure overseeing the Caped Crusader at the start of this millennium, and how that 7 year run would weave into their wider ‘hypercrisis’, and DC’s unending rebooting of continuity.
• Shelfdust’s 500 continues, as Derek Moreland writes on the physicality to be found in the action of Chris Claremont and Paul Smith’s Uncanny X-Men #173; and Matt Terl interrogates the glib smartness that undercuts Brian K Vaughan’s writing in The Private Eye.
• Andy Oliver has an editorial at Broken Frontier, highlighting the gatekeeping elements that made themselves known (again) in the UK comics community when The Beano supported Pride, and 2000 AD included women speakers at their 45th anniversary event, heaven forfend.
• Elizabeth Sandifer’s The Last War In Albion continues, with recent chapters covering the end of Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, and the beginnings of a new chapter in western politics and interventionism, as well as the complexities of the character of Regis, given Morrison’s coming out as nonbinary and problematic elements in earlier works.
• A couple of comics-focused papers from the world of science academia, as Sathyaraj Venkatesan and Ishani Anwesha Joshi write in the British Medical Journal on graphic medicine’s perfect positioning for documenting the collapse of time seen during the COVID-19 pandemic; while Mireia Alemany-Pagès, Rui Tavares, Anabela Marisa Azul, and João Ramalho-Santos cover the potential that comics hold for conveying important scientific concepts for BioChem.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat for The Daily Cartoonist, as focus on Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine can only be wrested from the spotlight by party politics at home.
The Return pic.twitter.com/HRXRq2xk8V
— Rebecca Mock // MoCCA B184 (@rebeccamock) March 24, 2022
Foley work courtesy of the BBC… This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Looking ahead to some upcoming virtual events, as 2000 AD celebrate their 45th birthday with many online happy returns and talks taking place across this weekend and archived online afterwards for your viewing pleasure, while Wednesday has a virtual symposium coming up at OSU on Global Comics and the Rise of Modern Manga with a trio of talks on the cultural interplay between manga and western comics.
• Alan Moore’s BBC Maestro series on storytelling is now available, priced at a not insubstantial £80, but the first hit’s free if you’d like to listen to thoughts on rhythm in writing and a reading of Old Gangsters Never Die.
• Mangasplaining’s spring break continues, and this week there’s another special episode as Deb Aoki and Christopher Butcher interview Ken Niimura about the making of comics and manga, those who make comics and manga, and anecdotes from the times before COVID-19.
• Shelfdust Presents' mini-series The War Effort continues, and this week Al Kennedy was joined by Kelly Kanayama and Claire Napier to discuss Secret Wars #3, and the literary romances of Jim Shooter, available in both big/strong and small/wimpy flavours.
• Brian Hibbs welcomed Peter Bagge to March’s Graphic Novel Masterpiece Selection for Comix Experience, as they discussed Buddy Does Jersey, the changing accessibility of making comics, and hating story beats being broken up by ads in Big Two comics.
• A few trips up in the Word Balloon with John Siuntres, as Elsa Charretier joined proceedings to speak about Love Everlasting, Rodney Barnes discussed Killadelphia, Marc Bernadin spoke about Adora and the Distance, and Morgan Rosenblum and Jonny Handler chatted about Winds of Numa Sera.
• David Harper welcomed Books With Pictures’ Katie Pryde to Off Panel this week, as they spoke about the old year and the current year in the retail landscape, and the various booms and/or bubbles in the direct market at the moment.
• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons convened for a fresh More to Come over at Publisher’s Weekly, as festival prize wins, investment deals, and media deals were all on the docket.
• Fair to say, I think, that it was a fractious week for the hosts of Cartoonist Kayfabe, outside of their video endeavours - Oliver Ristau wrote on the besunglassed of the pair’s silence on the matter, and of the mouse in the room - but kayfabe exists not to be broken, one supposes, and so Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg were joined once more by SPX’s Warren Bernard to look at work by Matt Groening, Winsor McCay, Harvey Kurtzman, and Dan Clowes, plus some early Superman rarities.
Part 2 pic.twitter.com/Y2Oy8Yr1gx
— Luchie 🍳 (@heyluchie) March 22, 2022
I’ll close this week by saying a sad farewell to Steven Walsh, who passed away this week - he was a kind, enthusiastic, and friendly supporter of the UK comics scene, and a tireless promoter of the medium in general. Steve (rightly) took the piss out of me when I was handed the reins of this column, while still making sure to let me know he was reading each week. He was a good friend, and steered me into some excellent comics reading, as well as some atrocious (but still excellent) film watching. Broken Frontier inducted him into their Hall of Fame earlier this year, and you can read there what a loss his passing will be to the comics community. I will miss him very much, and am grateful to have had his friendship.
I'm incredibly sad to say that Steve Walsh - co-host of South London Hardcore and co-founder of Hold Fast Network, among many things - has passed away after being ill with a brain tumour. Steve was one of the kindest, funniest and most generous people many of us have ever known. pic.twitter.com/bdEADzTLJy
— SouthLondonHardcore (@SLHC) March 24, 2022