Those Chosen By The Planet – This Week’s Links

I’ve read the words “quiet quitting” far more times than anyone would ever really want to in an entire lifetime over the last week, and so I solemnly vow here and now that when I eventually resign from my post it will be extremely loudly, and likely suffixed with ‘sir, you are making a scene,’ but in the meantime please find below a selection of this week’s links.

See you in September… This week’s news.

• Book banning news, and a Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge took less than two hours to rule that a Virginia statute under which an obscenity case had been brought against Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel Gender Queer is unconstitutional, as it breaches First Amendment protections and lacks due process, while the case failed to provide facts that the graphic novel is itself obscene - the plaintiffs are considering taking the case to an appellate court, and Gender Queer continues to be targeted elsewhere, most recently in Missouri where copies have been removed from library shelves due to a new state law (seen as unlikely to be enforced) criminalising ‘explicit materials’ for students.

• DC's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration plans went over poorly this week as a series of covers featuring superheroes predominantly holding a variety of Latin American foodstuffs was, somewhat unsurprisingly, seen as reductive by Latinx readers, before the publisher made things worse with confusing messaging surrounding a cover by Jorge Molina that pays tribute to painter Jorge González Camarena; the Molina cover may have been altered after submission, prior to the reinstatement of the original illustration following a reader backlash.

• Shueisha announced a collaboration with MediBang, developer of free digital painting software of the same name, to launch MANGA Plus Creators, a manga submission platform for English- and Spanish-speaking creators, which doesn’t appear to allow mangaka to monetise their work, except in the form of monthly prize draws, but does allow the platform to use submitted content for advertising and promotions, in a tale as old as time.

• Harking back to the heady days of 2020, when direct market distribution diversification was all the rage, DC announced this week that they have added a new distributor to their roster, welcoming Canada's Universal Distribution into the fold, joining Diamond (UK), Lunar, and Penguin Random House who were already in play for the publisher.

• Comics prize news, and the final shortlists for the 2022 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards were shared this week - industry professionals can submit their final ballots now, with winners to be announced on Saturday 29th October at Baltimore Comic Con.

• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, and news was shared last week of the passing of artist Lily Renée Phillips, aged 101 - Trina Robbins writes in remembrance of Phillips' life and work here at TCJ.

Changin’ the minds of pretenders… This week’s reviews.


• Tasha Lowe-Newsome reviews the informed illustration of Rebecca Hall, Hugo Martínez, and Sarula Bao’s Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts - “This history has been tamped down since the beginning, as if the perpetrators themselves recognized the wrongness of their actions. Even private companies that kept meticulous records, like Lloyd's of London and other institutions that insured the “cargo” of slave ships, which have maintained the records of policies and claims further back than the trade itself, are unwilling to let even certified historians delve deeply into those records.”

• Irene Velentzas reviews the ingenious conceptualisation of Jeff Lemire’s Mazebook - “The visual cues Lemire establishes on the very first page point to the story’s larger themes: grief; the space between life and death; guilt; memory; relationships; and most of all, loss - of a loved one, of oneself. Like Theseus’ tale, the death of one so young is an inescapable grief, a maze that may have no end.”



• Chris Coplan reviews the touching poignancy of DC Comics’ Saved by the Belle Reve #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the constant reinvention of James Tynion IV, Lisandro Estherren, Aaron Campbell, et al’s The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #5.

• David Brooke reviews the historic milestone of Marvel Comics’ Amazing Fantasy #1000.

• Keigen Rea reviews the bland entertainment of Gerry Duggan, Phil Noto, et al’s Devil’s Reign: X-Men.

• Rory Wilding reviews the compelling criminality of Chip Zdarsky and Jacob Phillips’ Newburn Volume 1.

• John Schaidler reviews the haunting dread of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, et al’s Ten Thousand Black Feathers #1.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the satisfying conclusion of Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Brandon Peterson, Will Conrad, Max Raynor, Miguel Mendonḉa, et al’s Superman: Warworld Apocalypse #1.

• Cy Beltran reviews the repetitive celebrations of Marvel Comics’ Amazing Fantasy #1000.

• Arpad Okay reviews the timeless folklore of Linnea Sterte’s A Frog in the Fall (and Later On).


Broken Frontier

• Andy Oliver reviews the powerful symbolism of Vivek Shraya and Ness Lee’s Death Threat, the oozing irreverence of James the Stanton’s Puke Banter, and the meticulous explanations of Darryl Cunningham’s Putin’s Russia: The Rise of a Dictator.

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the unforgettable truths of Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.

• Jenny Robins reviews the sensitive subtlety of Maria Herreros’ Georgia O’Keeffe.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the confident construction of Josh Pettinger’s Power Wash, and the ingenious cartooning of David Craig's Curse Of Brick.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the odd charms of Larry Hama, Andrea Di Vito, et al’s Wolverine: Patch.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The soaring vibrancy of Guojing’s The Flamingo.

- The heart-wrenching richness of Rick Louis and Lara Antal’s Ronan and the Endless Sea of Stars.

- The engaging insights of Don Brown’s We The People!.


Library Journal

Mary E. Butler has a starred capsule review of the loving tenderness of Will Betke-Brunswick’s A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings.


Multiversity Comics

• Matthew Blair reviews the barebones worldbuilding of David Andry, Tim Daniel, Sunando C, et al’s End After End #1.

• Jaina Hill reviews the disposable humour of Adam F. Goldberg, Hans Rodionoff, Will Robson, et al’s Damage Control #1.

• Joe Skonce reviews the bombastic fun of Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, et al's Thunderbolts #1.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The spirited narrative of Catel and Bocquet’s Alice Guy: First Lady of Film, translated by Edward Gauvin.

- The clever effectiveness of Ari S. Mulch’s The Prometheite.

- The charming execution of Magali Le Huche’s Nowhere Girl, translated by Jesse Aufiery.

- The empathetic resonance of Malaka Gharib’s It Won’t Always Be Like This.

- The evocative entertainment of Tom Humberstone’s Suzanne: The Jazz Age Goddess of Tennis.

- The meandering romps of Guillem March’s Laura & Other Stories, translated by David Soto Brown.

- The thoughtful finale of Fabien Toulmé’s Hakim’s Odyssey, Book 3: From Macedonia to France, translated by Hannah Chute.



Hagai Palevsky reviews the abrasive theatricality of Matt Wagner et al’s Grendel Omnibus, Volume 1.


Women Write About Comics

• Nola Pfau reviews the frustrating sparsity of David Andry, Sunando C, et al’s End After End #1.

• Lisa Fernandes reviews the unusual choices of Chris Claremont, Sid Kotian, et al’s Gambit #1.

Reminisce through all of this… This week’s interviews.


Jason Bergman interviews Kevin Eastman about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Words & Pictures Museum, story pitches and the evolution of intellectual properties, and working with the new generation - “Without being specific, there was a change in ownership, and with that comes more changes. Although I had a contract that I felt allowed my percentage of ownership to continue through all of these changes, a bunch of the chess pieces were moved around, and suddenly the Heavy Metal I had an ownership in doesn’t exist anymore, although another version of it does.”



Chris Coplan talks to Alex Segura, Rob Hart, and Joe Eisma about Blood Oath, prohibition vampires, indirect contemporary commentary, and not glamorising the villains.


The Beat

Deanna Destito speaks with Adam F. Goldberg, Hans Rodionoff, and Jeff Zapata about Garbage Pail Kids Origins, story inceptions, and taking the characters to World War II.



Esther Zuckerman chats to Owen Kline and Johnny Ryan about Funny Pages, photographing comics for the screen, compatible aesthetics, and inking hand models.


The Guardian

Thomas Graham interviews Alejandro Barrientos and Joaquín Cuevas about Altopia, El Alto and the history of the gas war, and the velocity of the city.


The Hollywood Reporter

Borys Kit speaks with Alex Ross about Fantastic Four: Full Circle, the shadow of Jack Kirby, Pop Art connections, and the inspiration of Neal Adams.


The New Yorker

Françoise Mouly talks to Martine Gossieaux, J.J. Sempé’s widow, about Sempé’s covers for The New Yorker, distillation of visual ideas, and memories of The New Yorker offices.



Justin Cober-Lake chats to Stephen Graham Jones about Earthdivers, slasher tropes and utilitarianism, the collaborative comics process, and provoking a visceral response.


Smash Pages

JK Parkin speaks with Stephen Graham Jones about Earthdivers, taking time for research, the chronology of comics, and lessons learned from All-Star Superman.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne interviews Joseph P. Illidge and Shawn Martinbrough about Judge Kim and the Kids’ Court, the importance of lawyers, and the importance of a name.

Worlds apart and out of control.. This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Helen Chazan breaks down the earnestly intricate familial traumas at the core of the stories of Kazuo Umezz, as VIZ releases a second volume of Orochi, translated by Jocelyne Allen - “The formula of a consistent narrator for self-contained stories casts Orochi and the Cat Eyed Boy in a role not unlike EC’s Crypt-Keeper or Charlton’s Mysterious Traveler; but unlike these omniscient, sarcastic commentators, Umezz’s observers inhabit their stories, wandering into the homes of those afflicted by supernatural distress to influence their lives and help them evade the threats lurking under their roofs.”

• As DC goes through various teething pains associated with corporate mergers and their attendant structural changes, Travis Clark writes for Insider on what to expect when the publisher’s Trinity starts to enter the public domain from 2034 (but, uh oh, a lawyer, &c &c).

• Also covering goings on at the Distinguished Competition, for The Beat, Ricardo Serrano Denis writes on the issues inherent in DC's line of Hispanic Heritage Month covers, and how publishers' attempts at representation in this manner often fall at the first hurdle, serving mainly to reinforce stereotypes.

• Over at Shelfdust, Sara Century documents the enduring strangeness and horror of Spider-Woman as embodied inMark Gruenwald and Carmine Infantino’s Eye of the Needle; and Leo Healy writes on the collaborative creation of Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison’s The Out for 2000 AD.

• For AIPT, continuing an examination of the conspiracies featured in James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ The Department of Truth, Peter Huston writes on the various UFO theories that were linked to the Third Reich.

• From the world of open-access academia, for the International Journal of Advanced Academic Studies, Raisa Rafaela Serrano Muñoz explores the feminist discourse of Soumya Menon’s An Ideal Girl.

• Writing in International Dialogues on Education, Shinta Dwikanti Larasati and Ira Rasikawati present a literature review covering the problems inherent in comics translation, and solutions suggested for their mitigation.

• From the fifth international workshop on comics analysis, Tsubasa Sakurai, Risa Ito, Kazuki Abe, and Satoshi Nakamura share their presentation on identifying speakers of text lines in manga.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as student debt forgiveness and geographical locations of classified documents dominated proceedings.

Ah, September in the rain… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• The New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium’s autumnal programming has begun, curated by Austin English, with all events running free and online, available to watch after broadcast (along with archives from the past year) on YouTube - this week’s event was a talk by Aidan Koch on environmental comics, and includes an introduction from Austin English on the Symposium’s wider aims and work - a schedule for the next 14 weeks’ programming can be found here.

• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining as the team covered their first cat manga, Konami Kanata’s Chi’s Sweet Home, as well as personal cat histories, and the adorable kitten action to be found in the books.

• Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die reconvened for a new episode of SILENCE! as they covered this year’s Small Press Day, along with some recent comics reading from Jon Chandler and William Potter x Phillip Bond, plus an interview with Mark Stafford into the bargain.

• Kieron Gillen welcomed Tom Humberstone to Decompressed, as they spoke about Suzanne: The Jazz Age Goddess of Tennis, Suzanne Lenglen’s place in tennis and social history, and portraying sports on the page.

• David Harper reported from this year’s Emerald City Comic Con for Off Panel, speaking with Mike Del Mundo, Jonathan Hickman, and Mike Huddleston about 3 Worlds/3 Moons and publishing comics on Substack.

• Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald spoke about recent news from the comics industry, for Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as Mad Cave makes inroads into the younger readers market with the acquisition of Papercutz, and the profit margins for monthly comics narrow.

• Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor present a fresh week of Cartoonist Kayfabe, as pages were turned on Punisher War Journal #1, Deathmate: Red, Batman: Gothic, Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1, WildC.A.T.s #21, Darkseid vs Galactus: The Hunger, and Thorion of the New Asgods, for those so inclined.

That’s the end of the links for this week, back again next week with a new batch.