The Plight of the Superhero Comic Book
Working his way through a stack of recent mainstream and alternative superhero comics, Ken Parille finds many drowning in clichés and a few that get it right.
Ghost World at Twenty: Daniel Clowes’s Dialogue
Innovation in the 1990s: a comic book in which people talk like people.
Everything Sells Everything
A Not-So-Secret History of Superman, Wonder Woman, and the American Superhero.
Leslie Stein: A Brief Appreciation
Leslie Stein makes great comics!
Lichtenstein and the Art of Letters
Roy Lichtenstein is one of the twentieth-century’s most important artists. He’s far from one of its best letterers.
Gag Cartoons with Naked People: Abner Dean’s What Am I Doing Here?
Revisiting the “Brave Nude World” of philosopher, psychologist, psychiatrist, anthropologist, and cartoonist Abner Dean.
Error Report?: Comics, Text, and Editing
Words, punctuation, and “orthographic consistency” on the comics page: theories and practices.
Comics Criticism: Seven Hot Takes for Summer 2016
She tweeted that “comics criticism is trash and must be destroyed.” Does “comics” agree? In this episode, Grid veers away from comics boosterism (and moves perilously close to parody) as we search for answers. That, and Frank Cho’s unmentionables.
Lulu Hitchcock Apocrypha!
Tim Hensley’s astonishing Sir Alfred #3, in which Alfred Hitchcock becomes what he already was: a comic-strip character.
Black Panther #1: 31 Thoughts
Perhaps the critic had unrealistic expectations.
“Unholy Momentum”: Daniel Clowes’s Patience
Digging into Clowes’s masterpiece with commentary and annotations on everything from the comic’s obscure allusions to its cosmic themes.
The Truth about America’s Superheroes; Or, Real-Life Revisionism.
In one image, Daniel Clowes defeats the superhero. Also: Eugenics, Fetishes, Word Games, Race, Feminism, Fredric Wertham, Corporate Branding, Libertarians, Pajamas, Stan Lee, Graffiti, The Austrian School of Economics, and much more!
Daniel Clowes and Eightball, 1988-1998: Highlights, Mysteries, and Fun-Facts
To mark the release of Daniel Clowes’s The Complete Eightball #1-18, we look at the cartoonist’s career and comics from 1988 to 1998.
A look at sentimentality in an Ivan Brunetti image and time in a Charles Schulz strip.
2014: Comics, New and Old (Part II)
More reflections on “the state of the art.” Along the way we talk Lichtenstein, meta-characters, the ideal format, page orientation, Spidey vs. Spiderman, “philosophical nihilism,” cat sneakers, and the like.
2014: Comics, New and Old (Part I)
Reflections on the “state of the art.” Along the way there’s talk of editorial malfeasance, lyrical ambiguity, feminism, fannish-ness, Kirby, Byron, motorcycle comics, etc. . . .
2014’s Critic of the Year!
The title says it all. Or does it?
“The Sponsor”: A Fourteen-Step Problem Comic
All about interpretation and responses to James Sturm’s comic strip “The Sponsor” . . .
2014: New Comics, Old Problems
A generally positive TCJ columnist goes negative, finding something wrong with five recently-released comics: Seconds, Vertigo Quarterly, Ragnarớk, The Death of Archie, and Multiversity. He also answers the question: “Who is the best American-comics-influenced British writer?”
Don’t Move: The Still Life of Pete Morisi
Ken Parille explores the work of Pete Morisi, an unsung master of un-action comics . . .
Five From Koyama
Toronto’s Koyama Press is releasing some great stuff . . .
Jack Kirby and Alex Niño: Innovation at DC Comics in 1972
Searching for the unusual in the sometimes formulaic world of mainstream comics, we travel back to 1972 and uncover Jack Kirby’s despair and Alex Niño’s faces.
“This Strange Profession”: Abner Dean Interrogates the Gag
The “Brave Nude World” of philosopher, psychologist, psychiatrist, anthropologist, and cartoonist Abner Dean.
Comics Survey: Words, Part II
Ken Parille digs through 60 years of comics and says things about words. He explores a diverse creative cast, from Bill Griffith, Gabrielle Bell, and Julia Gfrörer to Jerry Siegel, John Byrne, and Grant Morrison — with a brief appearance by Otto Binder.