Trust The Fungus – This Week’s Links

It’s fully spring here in Olde London Towne, so picture me writing this from a pub beer garden, doggedly refusing to admit that it’s still far too cold to sit outside in shirt sleeves, rapidly clattering away on a keyboard as my fingers turn numb, praying to any and all deities that the heat of this week’s links, below, will thaw my digits out again before Reynaud’s phenomenon kicks in. And it’s hay fever season. Good grief!

This week’s news.

• Starting the week in Florida, and a school in Indian River County this week removed Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation from its library, following a challenge from conservative group Moms for Liberty, on the grounds of ‘sexually explicit content’, adhering to the increasingly tired crib sheet for book banning 101 in 2023. Elsewhere in the state this week, Republican State Representative Webster Barnaby apologised after comparing transgender people to the X-Men, ranting about 'demons' during a hearing on Bill 1521, which would somehow  require the enforcement of ‘exclusive use of restrooms & changing facilities by gender’, subsequently leading to calls for Barnaby’s resignation.

• Awards news, and San Diego Comic Con announced 15 of the inductees into this year’s Eisner Hall of Fame, with four more to be selected from nominees chosen by the Eisner judges - this year’s selection of automatic inductees to the Hall of Fame comprises Jerry Bails, Tony DeZuniga, Justin Green, Bill Griffith, Jay Jackson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Jack Katz, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Win Mortimer, Diane Noomin, Gaspar Saladino, Kim Thompson, Gary Trudeau, Mort Walker, and Tatjana Wood.

• In memorian, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared of the passing of writer and trans activist Rachel Pollack, who died last week at the age of 77 - TCJ’s 2022 interview with Pollack can be read here.

• News was also shared this week of the passing of cartoonist Al Jaffee, prolific illustrator of Mad’s Fold-In features, amongst many other feats of cartooning, who died this week at the age of 102 - TCJ’s 2020 interview with Jaffee can be read here.

This week’s reviews.


Tegan O’Neil reviews the soaring details of Cristian Castelo’s Wild! Volume 1: Or So I Was Born To Be - “It’s a comic with definite appeal to younger readers - readers who frankly might not be used to seeing comics that make these kinds of weird choices regarding moving the eye around the page. Not that the large majority of comics intended for the YA demographic are stylistically conservative to a fault or anything.”



• Nathan Simmons reviews the genre blend of John Lees, George Kimbadais, et al’s The Nasty #1.

• Timothy O’Neil reviews the expert opening of James Tynion IV, Fernando Blanco, et al’s W0rldtr33 #1.

• Eric Thomas reviews the enjoyable brutality of Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, et al’s Vanish Volume 1.

• Lukas Shayo reviews the bubbly energy of Marvel Comics’ Nova: Sam Alexander.

• Lia Williamson reviews the strong start of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Tochi Onyebuchi, et al’s Captain America: Cold War #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the gruesome delights of James Tynion IV, Lisandro Estherren, et al’s Nightmare Country: The Glass House #1.


The Beat

• Arpad Okay reviews the filthy fun of Yukinobu Tatsu’s Dandadan, Volume 3, translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian.

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan reviews the varied stories of Marvel Comics’ Marvel’s Voices: Spider-Verse #1.

• Michael Kurt reviews the wild action of Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano, et al’s Grim Volume 1.


Broken Frontier

• Jon Aye reviews the satisfying scrutiny of Jiří Franta’s Single.

• Tom Baker reviews the glorious creativity of Rich Tommaso’s Black Phoenix Omnibus.

• Andy Oliver reviews the poignant honesty of Dave Baker and Nicole Goux’s Forest Hills Bootleg Society.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the anarchic message of Bob Black and Bruno Borges’ The Abolition of Work.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the quiet moments of Rob Kirby's Marry Me a Little.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ Immoral X-Men #3, Wolverine #32, Rogue & Gambit #2, X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #81, and Marvel’s Voices Infinity Comic #47.



• Matthew Brake reviews the nuanced arguments of Ken Koltun-Fromm’s Drawing on Religion: Reading and the Moral Imagination Comics & Graphic Novels.

• Jason DeHart reviews the important insights of Neil Cohn’s Who Understands Comics? Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension.

• Jesse Matlock reviews the compelling discussions of David Stephen Calonne’s R. Crumb: Literature, Autobiography, and the Quest for Self.

• Chandler Mordecai reviews the timely focus of Laura Mattoon D’Amore’s Vigilante Feminists and Agents of Destiny: Violence, Empowerment, and the Teenage Super/heroine.

• Noah Mullens reviews the varied perspectives of University Press of Mississippi’s The Comics of Alison Bechdel: From the Outside In, edited by Janine Utell.

• Sophia Pan reviews the invaluable resource of Jing Liu’s Understanding China Through Comics, Volumes 1-4.

• Victoria Rahbar reviews the fantastic collection of University Press of Mississippi’s Ms. Marvel’s America: No Normal, edited by Jessica Baldanzi and Hussein Rashid.


Multiversity Comics

• Matthew Blair reviews the interesting ideas of Jimmie Robinson’s Junk Rabbit #1.

• Mel Lake reviews the expressive fluidity of Deena Mohamed’s Shubeik Lubeik.

• Kobi Bordoley reviews the intriguing premise of Dan Watters, Sebastian Cabrol, et al’s The Seasons Have Teeth #1.



Tahneer Oksman reviews the subtle elegance of Briana Loewinsohn's Ephemera.



• Kevin Brown reviews the significant questions of Paul B. Rainey’s Why Don’t You Love Me?.

• Rob Clough reviews the important narrative of Rob Kirby’s Marry Me A Little.


Women Write About Comics

• Bishop V Navarro reviews the solid setup of Christopher Cantwell, Alex Lins, et al’s Hellcat #1.

• Lisa Fernandes reviews the heartbreaking action of Daniel Warren Johnson et al’s Do a Powerbomb!.

• Louis Skye reviews the shallow simplicity of Alessandro Di Virgilio and Manuela Santoni’s Mary Shelley: The Eternal Dream, translated by Lucy Lenzi.

This week’s interviews.


Jacob Grubman interviews Daria Tessler about Cult of the Ibis, changes in the indie comics scene, storytelling patterns, and eschewing cheap art - “Common sense would have you think it gets easier over time, but the reality for me has been that it’s gotten progressively harder. I think the “death of print” and rising cost of living, combined with the way the internet killed illustration-for-hire work, all comes together to make it a tough time to be a full-time artist or illustrator.”



Chris Coplan speaks with Phillip Kennedy Johnson about 007: For King and Country, and introducing characters to the world of James Bond.


Anime News Network

Reuben Baron talks to Shiu Yoshijima about Poison Yuri Anthology, artistic influences, and mythical creature marriage.


The Beat

Avery Kaplan chats with Betty C. Tang about Parachute Kids, the books’ origins, thinking outside the box, and keeping readers engaged.


The Guardian

Dalya Alberge interviews Hy Eisman, James L Hussey, David Barsalou, Michael Daley, and Bradford R Collins ahead of the release of WHAAM! BLAM! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation.


Multiversity Comics

Chris Cole speaks with Jeremy Holt and Axel Alonso about Gatsby, the book’ shift from mini-series to graphic novel, and the art of retelling a story.



Jonathan Franklin talks to Pan Cooke about publishing Instagram comics on U.S. police brutality from overseas, and using comics to spread awareness.


Smash Pages

JK Parkin chats with William Potter and Philip Bond about Geezer, comic book and Britpop origins, Deadline history, and crowdfunding stretch goals.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna interviews Jerry Craft about New Kid, being the target of book bans in the U.S., the inclusivity of the books’ series, and the importance of young readers seeing themselves in books.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Bob Levin reflects on three recent comics titles, namely, The Essential Spread Love Comix edited by Uncle Gil, Scott Kraynack and Gary Dunn’s A Men, and Komikaze 21 edited by Ivana Armanini - “When I pick up a book, I am not looking for uplift. (Promise me I will “Feel good again,” and hear the door slam behind me.) Ask me what I really think, and I will tell you, “The drives of those motivated by greed and/or power will overcome the best within the rest of us.” (Watch the news; read Elizabeth Kolbert; see the Doomsday Clock near midnight. Who needs parallel universes?)”

• Also for TCJ, Michael Dean writes in remembrance of cartoonist Al Jaffee, who passed away this week, aged 102 - “Throughout his career, Jaffee was a cartoonist in the full sense of a writer/artist who wrote and executed his own gags. His art is so clear, and in some cases literally diagrammatic, that there is often little need for words to get the joke across. His drawings communicate instantly, inviting a viewer in with their simplicity while still packing a surprising payoff.”

• The passing of Al Jaffee was also covered by outlets around the world, including the BBC, CBS, CNN, Deadline, Forbes, The Guardian, ICv2, The Los Angeles Times, Multiversity Comics, Rolling Stone, Variety, and The Washington Post.

• The death of Rachel Pollack last week, aged 77, also received widespread coverage, with obituaries from The Beat, CBR, ComicBook.com, Euronews, Gizmodo, The Guardian, ICv2, and Multiversity Comics.

• The Beat’s Classic Comic Compendium continues, as d. emerson eddy looks back at the compelling comics craft of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo: Grasscutter.

• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Morris writes on the finale of Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s Moon Knight run, and the culmination of the arc’s journey through its protagonist’s mind; and Jim Dandeneau unearths the horrors of Spectacular Spider-Man #148, and Sal Buscema’s journey into nightmares.

• From the world of open-access academia, a new issue of ImageText brings with it essays on the setups and punchlines of Batman: The Killing Joke, Adventures from China: Monkey King and the homologous nature of comics and queerness, and the homage covers of one Todd McFarlane.

• In the Journal of Ethnic and Diversity Studies, Rachel Suet Kay Chan writes on the manga rush in Malaysia, and the ways in which homegrown titles make ethnicity and culture recognisable, compared to the imports that inspired them.

• More writing in Traverse on onomatopoeia in comics, as I Putu Mahendra Chandra Ardipa, Ni Made Verayanti Utami, and I Gusti Agung Sri Rwa Jayantini analyse the sounds to be found in Justice League.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, for The Daily Cartoonist, as coverage vacillated between two stalwarts of the contemporary news cycles - Donald Trump and mass shootings.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• In lieu of a new meeting of the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium this week, Austin English instead has a recent talk from Davidson College on his own work, given as part of a residency at the college, speaking on experimental art and improvisation, and answering audience questions on the creative process.

• Calvin Reid welcomed Chris Robinson to this week’s episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about the 75th anniversary edition of Orrin C. Evans’ All-Negro Comics, crowdfunding the anthology’s remaster, and the importance of the book.

• Mangasplaining returns, and this week David Brothers is at the helm to chair a discussion on  Keisuke Itagaki’s battle manga Baki and the Poochie vibes of its first volume. (nb. Don’t be fooled by a very quiet ad-read at the start of the episode and crank the volume - learn from my mistakes.)

• Gil Roth presents a live edition of The Virtual Memories Show, speaking with Noah Van Sciver at this year’s MoCCA about Maple Terrace: Tales From One Dirty Tree and other recent works, and creative influences from across media.

• David Harper welcomed Joe Sparrow to this week’s edition of Off Panel, speaking about Cuckoo, working in animation, the impact of that job on making comics, and publishing through Shortbox with Zainab Akhtar.

• Closing out the week with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as this week Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Spawn #30, Mr. Monster Attacks, Wizard #52, Uncanny X-Men #275, and Chakan: The Forever Man, as well as Heavy Metal’s 1981 interview with Richard Corben.

That’s all for this week, and rest assured that next week’s edition will be fuelled by generic antihistamine tablets.