Trompe le Monde

Tuesday is the day set aside for contemplating the week's new comics releases; let our own Joe McCulloch be your guide, bringing special attention to new projects by Emily Carroll and Gene Luen Yang.

And then read Sean T. Collins on Jillian and Mariki Tamaki's This One Summer, which has gotten the kind of mainstream attention this year that would have been eye-opening a decade ago but now seems almost par for the course, at least for the annual handful of comics that are deemed acceptable to be seen in normal society. Here's Sean:

At the beginning of This One Summer, its main character, Rose, splashes down into her bed, holding her nose and falling backwards as if leaping off a dock into the lake nearby. At the end she and a friend dig a hole in the beach big enough to contain her, and she lies in it, posing for her last picture of the summer -- this is how she wants to remember it. In between, nature, as drawn with preposterous skill by Jillian Tamaki, proves capable of enveloping her without her help. Big summer-night skies, full of stars and moonlight. Bright summer sun, hanging overhead like it will never set again. Wet, heavy summer rain, seemingly just as endless, pouring into puddles drop after drop. Trees and vines and bushes and grass and undergrowth, verdant, overripe to the point of hysteria. The lake, which is alternately drawn dominating a spread vertically like a monolith, suspending the joyous bodies of tumbling teenagers in its inviting murk, and enveloping them like a sunlit shroud when they no longer wish to be found. Against this brush-stroke backdrop stand Rose and the other impeccably cartooned characters, whose stylized simplicity (relatively speaking; no sense that these are real people is lost) when juxtaposed with those wall-of-sound environments makes them feel like inner tubes bobbing in the water, or stones tossed in it. Immersion is This One Summer's strength, and it works alarmingly well for the story that cousin-collaborators Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki are telling. It's a young-adult graphic novel, and young adults are constantly tossed into new circumstances by forces beyond their control, from puberty to parents. Out of their depth, do they sink or swim?

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Commentary. George Gene Gustines at The New York Times has a very rosy-eyed look at digital and print comics sales, including quotes from Mark Waid, Brian K. Vaughn, and retailer Brian Hibbs.

Jim Geraghty continues the recent spate of comics coverage at National Review (that's the place which hosted the editorial by Amity Shlaes calling for more conservative graphic novels, you might remember; it was "a bit of a manga," to use her expression). Geraghty writes about Marvel's announcement of a female Thor on The View last week, and it's not the Neanderthal-like misogynist response you saw from some dark corners of the internet. Tom Spurgeon has a response to the main thrust. More interesting to me is the fact that Geraghty copies and pastes much of his argument from an article by Comics Alliance's Andrew Wheeler complaining about the sexualized portrayal of superheroines. What does it mean when the National Review seems to take an ostensibly feminist position? Maybe this just hits the sweet spot of a demographic Venn diagram. Or perhaps reforming and strengthening the appeal of corporate superhero comics is an inherently conservative position.

Adam McGovern at HiLobrow has inaugurated a new series of critical posts on Jack Kirby's Fourth World comics.

Chris Gavaler has photos of comics-related murals in Angoulême.

—Giving/Spending Opportunities. Both Justin Green and Bob Levin note that July 25 is S. Clay Wilson's birthday, and provide information for fans and well-wishers who want to send letters or financial help. Wilson is still ailing after a 2008 head injury.

Steve Ditko has a new Mr. A Kickstarter. Gabrielle Bell is was selling original art from her "Oslo Diary". Dane Martin has an online store.

The Baffler, which was one of the best publications of the '90s, and which recently resurrected itself, has just put its entire archives online. The New York Times writes about the move, illustrating their article with a Joe Sacco drawing. TCJ readers may be interested to read a 1995-era Gary Groth piece excoriating Quentin Tarantino.