Busy old week for comics again, evidence of which can be seen in This Week’s Links, below - only time will tell as to whether 2021’s newcomer, True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, will outstrip 2020’s coverage champion, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist in terms of net column inches but a spreadsheet comparison and accompanying analytical PowerPoint presentation will be forthcoming, don’t you worry!
The artist R. Kikuo Johnson discusses his cover from this week's issue of the magazine. “I began preparing for this project by revisiting news coverage of anti-Asian hate crimes committed during the pandemic.” https://t.co/5ECxxnDG2b
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) March 29, 2021
What a palaver… This week’s news.
• Continuing the global game of throwing darts at a calendar and trying to predict whether events originally scheduled for where the point hits will be taking place, Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême have postponed June’s in-person programming to January 2022 and North Carolina’s HeroesCon 2021 will now be HeroesCon 2022, but New York Comic Con will apparently be hosting in-person eventing this October with LA Comic Con following suit in December. Your guess is as good as mine.
• The Tokyo District Court has ruled that unauthorized posting of dialogue text from manga, not necessarily accompanied by images, constitutes an infringement of copyright, after publisher Shogakukan took legal action to gain information on an individual who had made available online text from 63 chapters of Yabako Sandrovich's series Kengan Omega. This legal action represents the latest sortie in manga publishers’ ongoing fight against an uptick in traffic to spoiler/piracy sites, seen to be largely due to more people staying at home during COVID-19 lockdowns.
• ICv2 reports on the news that IDW Media Holdings’ ongoing application for a listing on the NYSE American stock exchange has revealed that IDW Publishing and Diamond are currently operating under an expired distribution agreement, a headline that probably wouldn’t normally gain much traction, if not for the recent exodus of comics publishers from Diamond to Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster for their distribution needs. Is all news good news? What even is news? Let’s find out!
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program this week, as Stanley Wany was awarded $1,000 - per Wany “I will use the funds to adapt my Ice Cream Truck Series from paper to large-scale canvases. This series is influenced by my youth, when I spent my summers in Queens, New York, and it comments on the melting pot that is culture.”
• The rollercoaster ride that is non-fungible tokens went wildly off the tracks this week, as what is either a ‘silent crash’ or a ‘period of price discovery’ took place, depending on your perspective, which saw the average NFT price fall heavily from the highs experienced in February just as comics publishers are still deciding which side of history they want to be on. Meanwhile, at The Atlantic, one of the inventors of the technology’s early iterations put out a piece decrying its current market use in authenticating artwork, quickly passing the buck to a faceless crowd of tech industry movers and shakers, as atmospheric carbon dioxide hit a record level and is now 50% higher than before the industrial revolution. Life comes at you fast.
• Simultaneously, showing that there'll always be room for analogue money-making schemes in this digital world, a highly-graded copy of Action Comics #1 has set a new record price for sale of an individual comic, raising $3.25 million on the block.
• The Overseas Press Club of America announced the winners of their 82nd Annual Award, that recognizes the finest international reporting, with cartoonist Kevin ‘KAL’ Kallaugher taking home the prize for Best Cartoons on International Affairs.
• The family of Frank Jacobs, a prolific writer for MAD Magazine, shared the news that he passed away earlier this week, aged 92 - MAD posted a tribute on their Twitter account, and DD Degg provided an obituary for The Daily Cartoonist with a look back at Jacob’s writing work.
• Youngstown’s Business Journal have an obituary for artist and writer Chris Yambar, who passed away at the end of last month, aged 59 - Yambar had most recently been writing on Bongo Comics’ all-ages title Bart Simpsons Comics, but had a varied creative career, more of which can be read about on his website here.
• News broke in the week that Joye Hummel, the first woman to write Wonder Woman comics, albeit largely without public recognition until more recently, passed away on Monday, a day after turning 97 - The Washington Post have an obituary for the writer, who won the Bill Finger Award in 2018, and The Daily Cartoonist collected a look back at her comics work.
• Al Día reported on the death of Mexican comic writer Francisco Haghenbeck, who passed away last weekend, aged 56, following COVID-19-related respiratory complications after being hospitalized for pneumonia - The Coordination of Cultural Diffusion of the National Autonomous University of Mexico stated that "Mexican graphic novels and comics would not be the same without the work of Francisco Haghenbeck”, and the Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México paid tribute to the prize-winning author.
a dance as old as time pic.twitter.com/6W120N97ZK
— haunted Rory Blank (@BoneJail) April 1, 2021
To the pain… This week’s reviews.
• Noah Berlatsky reviews the befuddled anger of Ted Rall and Pablo Collejo’s The Stringer - “The opening sequence captures the team’s misguided, unintentionally laughable didacticism. A middle-age white guy with greying Reed Richards hairline stares out at the reader and announces himself with a sub-Dickensian joke. “My name is Mark Scribner. I am a journalist.” Strings swell, trumpets blare, close-ups close-up. “Journalism can save the world. It’s the only thing that can.” Cheering, giggles, stifled fart.”
• Jean M Hodges reviews the grounded intimacy of Beatrix Urkowitz’ The Lover of Everyone In the World - “In The Lover of Everyone In the World, the figures are very solid, but also plush – more clay mold than chiseled granite. The gummy and stretchy nature of Beatrix Urkowitz’s artwork lends well to the often fragile workings of The Lover of Everyone In the World’s general story, making all the figures in the comic feel real and touchable even as they’re disappearing off-screen or just resting there at the corner of the page.”
• Jason Segarra reviews the forgettable abruptness of Cullen Bunn, Jon Davis-Hunt, et al’s Shadowman #1.
• Ben Morin reviews the fresh bombast of Geoffrey Thorne, Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci, et al’s Green Lantern #1.
• David Brooke reviews the thoughtful solemnity of Massimo Rosi and Alex Nieto’s Locust #1.
• Justin Harrison reviews the layered conspiracies of Steve Orlando, Patrick Pizzalunga, et al’s Project: Patron # 1.
• Rory Wilding reviews the pacy action of Tom Taylor, Daniele Di Nicuolo, et al’s Seven Secrets Volume 1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the raw horror of Chip Zdarsky, Michael Walsh, et al's The Silver Coin #1.
• Trina Brain reviews the rich grotesquerie of James Stokoe’s Orphan and the Five Beasts #1.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the stumbling exploration of Geoffrey Thorne, Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci, et al’s Green Lantern #1.
• John Seven reviews the effective urgency of Marc Ellison and Didier Kassaï’s A House Without Windows.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the fantastic balance of I Feel Love, edited by Julian Hanshaw and Krent Able.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the explosive setup of Jed MacKay, Ig Guara, et al’s Magic #1.
• Pete Redrup reviews the immersive education of Edward Ross’ Gamish: A Graphic History of Gaming.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the profound strangeness of Michael DeForge’s Heaven No Hell.
• Andy Oliver reviews the striking eclecticism of Till Lukat’s Amazing Athletes, the varied wonders of Colossive Press’ Colossive Cartographies #15-21, and the uncompromising darkness of SelfMadeHero's I Feel Love.
Gary Tyrrell reviews the excellent construction of Colleen AF Venable and Kathryn Hudson’s Maker Comics: Build A Robot.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the gleeful timelessness of Jack Turnbull’s The Wash-A-Shores, and the conflicted messages of Tiago Manuel’s Mishima: Manifesto De Laminas.
House To Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the muted closure of Fabian Nicieza, Brett Booth, et al’s X-Men Legends #1-2.
• Paul Lai reviews the sweeping versatility of Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner, and Tim Foley’s What Unites Us.
• Matthew Blair reviews the promising frights of Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, et al’s Shadecraft #1.
• Joe Skonce reviews the overwhelming unruliness of Jed MacKay, Ig Guara, et al’s Magic #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the exciting scale of Geoffrey Thorne, Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci, et al’s Green Lantern #1.
• Christa Harader reviews the entertaining formula of Chip Zdarsky, Michael Walsh, et al's The Silver Coin #1.
The New York Times
Ed Park reviews the bravura punchlines of Gary Panter’s Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise and Crashpad.
Zullo Valentino reviews the piercing urgency of Nate Powell’s Save It For Later.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The sincere lessons of Nate Powell’s Save It For Later.
- The distinctive absurdity of Keiler Roberts’ My Begging Chart.
- The riveting sharpness of Margaret Kimball’s And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir.
- The uplifting candidness of Roland Burkart’s Twister, translated by Natascha Hoffmeyer.
- The concise confidence of Luciana Cimino and Sergio Algozzino’s The Incredible Nellie Bly, translated by Laura Garofalo.
Ryan Carey reviews the arresting attitude of Rodger Binyone’s Miffed Ruffianz.
Women Write About Comics
• Rosie Knight reviews the joyful success of Kousuke Oono’s The Way Of The Househusband Volumes 1-3, adapted by Jennifer LeBlanc.
• Zoe Tunnell reviews the exciting strangeness of DC Comics’ Batman: Urban Legends #1.
— David Shrigley (@davidshrigley) April 7, 2021
Haggling in the marketplace of ideas… This week’s interviews.
Alex Dueben interviews Bianca Xunise about editorial relationships, the universality of the gatekeeping employed by Shondaland’s editorial team, and the complex sadness of the best cartoon strips - “I mean my work goes through several rounds of edits before it’s even published. Lots of eyes see my work. If there was ever an issue with something they would bring it up. And usually the only issue is when I forget to make things CMYK! But I’m lucky my editors [at King Features] are on my side. I’ve experienced the opposite many times in my life; it’s rather common that if you make too big of a fuss as a Black person, the only solution is to silence them through firing them.”
• Justin Harrison talks to Mark O. Stack and Mike Becker about Young Offenders!, finding collaborators who share your enthusiasm, and focusing on the characters living through big narrative events.
• David Brooke interviews Evan Dorkin about Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory, Shiba Inu, balancing depressing storytelling tendencies, and being behind the curve on pop culture references.
• Daniel Berlin chats with Jed MacKay and Ig Guara about Magic, the allure of the tabletop source material, the lore of the tabletop source material, and shifting the action to the page.
Hillary Chute speaks with Gary Panter about Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise and Crashpad, chasing commercial art, embracing the punk market, and comics as hypnosis.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis interviews Jed MacKay about Magic #1, bringing one of the biggest tabletop franchises in history to the page, and the transferable skills of writing for licensed properties.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to Jeff Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky about Black Hammer: Reborn, sticking the landing on a time-jump, and the challenges of perspective.
Lindsay Pereira speaks with Michael DeForge about Heaven No Hell, the retroactive cringe of pandemic art, cartooning elasticity, and aiming for the humor in relitigating trauma.
Sean Z and Allen Thomas interview Sanford Greene and Frederick Jones about fraternal bonds, the importance of developing diverse media, and incorporating perspectives from the African diaspora in creative projects.
Jean Marc Ah-Sen talks to Paul Pope about codifying a Tao of comics, the strange lands of the early 90s, and escaping the Hollywood maze to return to comicking roots.
Anja Webb chats with Mariko Tamaki about Surely Books, what goes into creating an imprint for a publisher, and showcasing the diversity of queer comics.
Elias Rosner interviews Michelle Krivanek about Alice and the Nightmare, form following aesthetic, the self-indulgence of high school writing, and accepting editorial help to kill your darlings.
Howard Chaykin speaks with Dan Panosian about differences between the art you make and the art you love, unsurprising genre favorites, and physical fitness.
• Shannon O’Leary convenes representatives from comic book stores and general trade bookstores, to discuss 2020’s annual comics retailer survey, digging into how you attempt to survive a pandemic in retail.
• John Maher talks to Luke Pearson about Hilda, animation workflow, creating for comics and the screen, and resonating with younger readers.
Alex Dueben speaks with Abraham Riesman about True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, Lee’s distance from the Jewish community, unclear legacies, and Troma connections.
Daniel Elkin interviews Sean Knickerbocker about Rust Belt Review, giving flexibility to anthology contributors, and trying to help prevent cartoonists from slipping through the cracks; and then shares L. Nichols' thoughts on what a comics publisher should provide for an artist, not working on spec, and the importance of confidence.
Ernie Estrella talks to Pornsak Pichetshote and Alex Tefenkgi about The Good Asian, subverting character tropes and stereotypes, and exploring existential questions through genre fiction.
Women Write About Comics
Dani Kinney speaks with Vita Ayala about New Mutants #15, the X-Writers’ group chat, running with characters who’ve been around since the 80s, and exploring the varied experience of body changes through the mutant lens.
I just posted a new comic! This one is about body image/weight loss issues and is potentially NSFW-ish (although no total nudity) https://t.co/NRGdGyNKQ2
— L Nichols (@wormulus) April 7, 2021
An awakening… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Helen Chazan examines Steve Ditko’s thriving within, and embodiment of, the restraints of the Comics Code - “Ditko was often able to subvert the creative and generic limitations of of the comics code, I suspect, because his philosophy and approach to genre often aligned with the code. Like the CCA, Ditko was anti-communist and highly concerned with the enforcement of (American) morals, and the upholding of these values within the framework of genre stories. Where he ultimately operates counter to the censorship of the CCA’s guidelines, whether he was working from within or striking out alone, is that his stories are always explicitly philosophical, and a comic that is intended to mean something will ultimately operate against the wishes of the CCA censor, who expects the work to mean nothing.”
• Also for TCJ, RC Harvey looks back on the erotica of Frank Thorne, who passed away last month, and the throwing off of mainstream shackles afforded by his comic Ghita of Alizarr - “Among us there are doubtless those who would find Ghita of Alizarr pornographic. No surprise. But Ghita is not, by most definitions, pornographic. The function of pornography is solely to excite. Ghita does that— but the book also delights. Joyfully. In pornography, there is little evidence of artistic concern; in Ghita, there is ample evidence of Thorne's endeavor to make a work of art— in character development, in language, and in the pictures he draws. A successful endeavor. Thorne's delicate lines lovingly limn the body of his heroine, but the same lines also create the world of Alizarr— and almost as lovingly. The carefully rendered setting with appropriate accoutrements is as important to Thorne's tale as his central character.”
• Tegan O’Neil’s The Hurting returns, and it’s Rogue season, as Caldecott County’s finest gets a solo series wherein the credit box tells a cautionary tale in itself, and the whole deal is extremely 90s and full of heartbreak on all levels, as you’d expect.
• Also returning from a short hiatus is Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion, as the wizard battle for storytelling supremacy, and control over the vast chaotic energies of the superhero comics market, shifts focus from Alan Moore to one Grant Morrison, who dives into the fray by reimagining Animal Man using the template of Swamp Thing - parts 1 and 2 are up now.
• Nicholas Barber writes for the BBC on Miss Fury, and her creator, June Tarpé Mills, as the character turns 80 this month, having spent large parts of the intervening years in the shadow of superheroes now fronting multibillion dollar media franchises.
• For Sequart, Sam Smith looks at the representation of Muslim women in (superhero) comics, post-9/11, and the increased visibility these characters have been afforded, as well as the harmful reinforcement and satirical subversion of stereotypes that they can embody.
• Brandon Schatz and Danica LeBlanc look at a new bad idea from Bad Idea, for The Beat, and try to come up with their own good idea to mitigate the added administrative burden of retailing the original bad idea. Never let it be said that marketing for clicks is an easy game to play.
• Over at Shelfdust, the X-Roulette wheel comes up 00 for Steve Morris as The Mimic returns and Roy Thomas can’t seal the deal, Jess Plummer unfurls Daredevil #283 wherein Ann Nocenti has Captain America embody a national existential crisis, Tony Highwind examines the bona fides of the main/worst Green Lantern and Shaun Manning those of his bosses for Infinite Crisis, and SE Fleenor determines that the lovably chaotic Harley Quinn deserves the Gotham’s most-wanted top spot.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial illustration beat for The Daily Cartoonist, in a week that saw Ted Cruz, Matt Gaetz, Mitch McConnell, and the concept of capitalism flop into yet more controversies.
• For NeoText, Jude Jones looks at the subversive conformity of Milestone Media’s Icon, while Chloe Maveal looks at the Western comic’s escape from dilution by the Comics Code in Jean-Michel Charlier and Jean Giraud’s Lieutenant Blueberry.
• Sticking to the publishing plan of ‘the first hit’s free’, The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics makes available the introductory article to their issue of academic papers from the Australian Comics Symposium at the inaugural Perth Comic Arts Festival, as Stuart Medley, Bruce Mutard, and Michael Fikaris ask - is there such a thing as ‘Australian comics’?.
• Some longform comics from the week, as LA Johnson and Eda Uzunlar have a new installment of NPR’s series on teaching in a pandemic, Pepita Sándwich embraces tearful catharsis for The Lily, Steve Teare looks at the old new normal of education via screen-time for The Believer, and Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg looks at pandemic life for Rattus norvegicus over at The Nib as editor Matt Bors retires from political cartooning.
• Following last year's daily re-runs, Meredith Gran's Octopus Pie returned for a check-in with its characters during the plague year, and some tying up of loose ends/creating of new ones, as the millennial set confronts impending middle-age during times of quarantine.
take care, lois. ???? pic.twitter.com/QWJYvo8SRv
— kenna! (@kennnajean) April 3, 2021
Also available on LaserDisc… This week’s recommended watching.
• A few upcoming events that you can watch from the comfort of your nearest video-playing, internet-connected device, as next week sees the Society of Illustrators hosting a virtual Comic and Cartoon Art Week from 12th - 17th of April, Goldwyn Hollywood Library is hosting an online anti-racism zine workshop with Tracy Park on 14th of April (link to register in their bio), and Boston Comics In Color’s virtual festival will be taking place from 22nd - 24th of April with a series of live panels and workshops.
• A couple of recent online appearances from Katie Skelly, first in conversation with Jaime Hernandez for Fantagraphics ahead of this summer’s publication of Queen of the Ring, and then appearing as a guest on Noah Van Sciver’s channel chatting about designing books and making it up as you go when painting murals abroad.
• Evan Dahm guested on TheoCon last week, right before Easter weekend, speaking with Shayna Watson, Will Rose, and Brian Bennett about The Harrowing of Hell, discussing the book’s depiction of Christ’s descent into Hell, how its publishing came about, and the politics of faith.
• The Believer and The Black Mountain Institute’s latest comics workshop saw Kathy MacLeod taking viewers through drawing your favourite place, and using comics to stay connected to locations you can’t currently visit, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic (starts around the 1m30s mark).
• Don Rosa welcomed viewers back to his comics vault over Easter weekend, looking through the various Ages of comics in his collection (up to 1970), telling some of the stories behind/within them, and answering viewer questions (starts around the 2 minute mark).
• Some more classic comics on Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at OMAC, Detective Comics #27, Superman vs Aliens, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Jamie Hewlett’s Fireball, Jim Woodring’s Frank, and TCJ #113’s conversation between R Crumb and Gil Kane.
• Presented as part of their MiniCon last month, HelioscopePDX hosted a conversation between studiomates Leila del Duca, Karl Kesel, and Ron Randall about how you go about crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter, and the realities of making creator-owned comics in the 2020s.
• Politics and Prose bookstore hosted an in-conversation between Nate Powell and Eleanor Davis, as they discussed Powell’s new book Save It For Later, organizing your thoughts while making comics, and effective methods of protesting to get the anger out.
• Providing our first deep-dive of the week into Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man, Salt and Honey’s Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung dug into the series’ satirical bent, Evangelion relationship parallels, and whether it sticks the landing.
“Hunting for Easter eggs with Werner Herzog” (for the @guardianreview a while ago). pic.twitter.com/Yb9eSnfofX
— Tom Gauld (@tomgauld) April 3, 2021
Also available on MiniDisc… This week’s easy-listening.
• Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, and so is Chainsaw Man this week, as Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner, Joe McCulloch, and Matt Seneca discuss the cross-generational popularity of the title in the comics community, why comic apps are a drag, and Chris Claremont relationship parallels.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes continue, and this week MOLCH-R welcomed Tom Foster to the show for a chat about Judge Dredd, and then dug into the guts of Intestinauts with Arthur Wyatt and Pye Parr.
• A slight change of pace for Make It Then Tell Everybody this week, as Dan Berry and Danielle Corsetto instead spoke about Making It Then Teaching Everybody, and what makes for an effective educator in the arts.
• Letting readers get in on (kind of) the ground floor, before the anime removes any kind of social cachet associated with being able to drop its title in polite dinner conversation, Mangasplaining saw Chip Zdarsky hosting the episode this week, as the team discussed volume 1 of Kousuke Oono’s Way of the Househusband, and its subversion of the series’ comedic setup
• David Harper welcomed Jenn Haines to Off Panel this week, talking about comics retail, the impact of the pandemic on brick and mortar stores, distribution upheaval, and being the President of comics retail trade organization ComicsPro.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More To Come was focused on crowdfunding this week, as Calvin Reid spoke to Kickstarter’s director of publishing and comics outreach, Oriana Leckert, about a boom time for comics projects on the site.
• Nate Powell joined Gil Roth for this week’s Virtual Memories Show, as they discussed Save It For Later, looking back over the administration of President Donald Trump, working with the late Rep. John Lewis, and the joys of thrash metal.
Apple & Onion commission https://t.co/NseGiJpvaZ pic.twitter.com/jAfs8fph1x
— ben sears (@bensears) April 3, 2021
That’s all the links for this week, back again soon with more data points for your personal industry tracking charts.
MY SCHEDULE IS A PROMISE by @boxbrown pic.twitter.com/70mjnkR6Sl
— Gumroad (@gumroad) April 5, 2021