Trying To Ice-Skate Uphill – This Week’s Links

It is, let’s say, interesting, to be writing on comics at a relative remove, in this decade, and so be able to augur patterns in the entrails of the industry, watching as collective bargaining movements ripple through the liminal space, this week picking up Marvel Studios’ VFX workers and bringing them into the union fold, or seeing Bill Willingham unilaterally releasing Fables into the public domain in response to DC’s alleged mishandling of the title - it might be that interesting times can actually be okay, in some regards, but for the times when they’re emphatically not there will always be this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below. 

This week’s news.

• Starting the week by looking once more to the ongoing problems faced by U.S. libraries in the current political climate, and ICv2 covers the withdrawal from the American Libraries Association by state libraries in Montana, Missouri, and Texas, as librarians themselves continue to be targeted by conservative activist groups which are primarily challenging books that include perspectives from LGBTQ* authors - smaller libraries caught in similar situations are beginning to find their funding at risk, as dog whistle arguments are now being used at a national level to support claims that book bans don’t, somehow, violate First Amendment rights.

• Heading now to the sunnier climes of awards news from a weekend of comics events just gone, and 2023’s Ignatz Award winners were announced at the Small Press Expo, with Olivia Stephens named as this year’s Outstanding Artist for Darlin’ And Her Other Names, Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years In The Oil Sands named as Outstanding Graphic Novel, and Daisy “Draizys” Ruiz’s Gordita: Built Like This named as Outstanding Comic - the livestream of the awards ceremony can be watched here.

• Elsewhere, 2023’s Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards winners were announced at last weekend’s Baltimore Comic-Con, with Kate Beaton named this year’s Best Cartoonist for Ducks: Two Years In The Oil Sands, James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera’s Something is Killing the Children awarded Best Series, and Zoe Thorogood taking home the Best Original Graphic Novel prize for It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth - the livestream of the awards ceremony can be watched here.

• In awards yet to be presented news, the National Book Foundation announced the 2023 National Book Awards longlist for Young People’s Literature, with Huda Fahmy’s Huda F Cares?, Dan Santat’s A First Time for Everything, and Betty C. Tang’s Parachute Kids all in the running.

• Comics lawsuits news, and the elder abuse case brought by the estate of Stan Lee against Uri Litvak, Lee's former attorney, ended this week with a judgment in favour of the defendant, after it was found that the original complaint was filed five days outside of the statute of limitations for such claims.

• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared of the passing of Buichi Terasawa, creator of Cobra, Goku Midnight Eye, and Takeru, who died of a heart attack last Friday at the age of 68.

This week’s reviews.


• Matt Seneca reviews the unique brilliance of Richard Corben’s Den - “Corben's writing never hits any emotional register. It's never funny or scary, or even sad or happy. It confines itself to simple presentation of the Strange and the Exciting. It is the mythic form of storytelling, a rote succession of plainly told events, each topping the last in imagination and outlandishness.”

• Irene Velentzas reviews the vibrant feats of Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s Roaming - “Mariko and Jillian Tamaki navigate their verbal and visual story around the reader as a fourth traveler throughout the story. The soundscape and scenery of the text are completely immersive, allowing the reader to imagine they are trailing around New York City with these characters and intimately sharing the trip.”

• Ben Austin-Docampo reviews the lifelike transitions of Julia Wertz’s Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story - “ It's a fresh perspective on themes that have bubbled up in Wertz comics for years, such as alcohol addiction, antisocial behavior, family relationships and the foibles of city life. I say “fresh perspective” because here you will find the clearest chronological account of the big moments that defined Wertz's alcoholism, and her turn to a new way of living.”

• Tegan O’Neil reviews the revelatory shocks of Rebellion’s Misty: 45 Years of Fear - “A comic book for girls with a strong misanthropic bent - a far larger demographic than American media would credit. Flip to the cover gallery, take a look at those pieces: intense, garish, indelible. Comic book covers to start a riot.”



• Connor Boyd reviews the resonant core of Joshua Williamson, Simone Di Meo, et al’s Batman and Robin #1.

• Piper Whitaker reviews the uneven pacing of Rafael Grampa, et al’s Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham #1.

• David Brooke reviews the interesting changes of Saladin Ahmed, Aaron Kuder, et al’s Daredevil #1.

• Crooker reviews the collaborative celebration of IDW Publishing’s Sonic the Hedgehog's 900th Adventure.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the balanced mayhem of of Scott Bryan Wilson, Max Alan Fuchs, et al’s Kill More #1.

• Alex Schlesinger reviews the vibrant return of Simon Spurrier and Matías Bergara’s Coda #1.

• Collier Jennings reviews the solid evocations of Tim Seeley, Eddie Nunez, et al’s Masters of the Universe: Forge of Destiny #1.

• Rory Wilding reviews the stylish follow-up of Ryan Parrott, Dan Mora, et al’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II.


Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media

Gordon Alley-Young reviews the illuminating engagement of Erica McCrystal’s Gotham City Living: The Social Dynamics in the Batman Comics and Media.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the kinetic action of Joshua Williamson, Simone Di Meo, et al’s Batman and Robin #1.

• Tim Rooney reviews the abandoned questions of Saladin Ahmed, Aaron Kuder, et al’s Daredevil #1.

• Marion Pena reviews the compelling pacing of Johnny O’Bryant III, Tre McIntosh, Nikolas Draper-Ivy, et al’s XOGENASYS Volume 1.

• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the dark potential of Scott Bryan Wilson, Max Alan Fuchs, et al’s Kill More #1.

• Khalid Johnson reviews the enduring relevance of Rob Williams, Trevor Hairsine, Travel Foreman, et al's Cla$$war.


Broken Frontier

• Andy Oliver reviews the appealing kindness of Ziggy Hanaor and Ollie Silvester’s Gory Rory Fangface Needs a Kiss, and the haunting questions of Emilia McKenzie’s But You Have Friends.

Lindsay Pereira reviews the narrative experimentation of Lily Thu Fierro and Generoso Fierro's Chua.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey has reviews of: 

- The light-hearted fun of Grayson Bear's Business Insider

- The enjoyable selection of Megillah Sunday Funnies, edited By Chad Bilyeu.

- The entertaining flavours of Alexander Laird’s Prestige Goblins.


Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Hillary Chute reviews the variegated insights of Beyond Maus: The Legacy of Holocaust Comics, edited by Ole Frahm, Hans-Joachim Hahn, and Markus Streb.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #103, X-Men #26, Immortal X-Men #15, Ghost Rider & Wolverine: Weapons of Vengeance Omega, Magneto #2, and Love Unlimited Infinity Comic #66.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The nourishing episodes of Blexbolex’s The Magicians, translated by Karin Snelson.

- The delightful escapades of Chris Grabenstein and Douglas Holgate’s Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library.


Multiversity Comics

• Brian Salvatore reviews the fantastic beginning of Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, et al’s Birds of Prey #1.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the family dynamic of Joshua Williamson, Simone Di Meo, et al’s Batman and Robin #1.

• Christopher Chiu-Tabet reviews the solid restart of Saladin Ahmed, Aaron Kuder, et al’s Daredevil #1.

• Matthew Blair reviews the intriguing mystery of Ethan S. Parker, Griffin Sheridan, John J. Hill, Bob Quinn, et al’s Kill Your Darlings #1.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The stylish action of Scott Peterson, Veronica Fish, and Andy Fish’s adaptation of Kiersten White’s Hide.

- The gory antics of A. Rasen’s GremoryLand.

- The snappy packaging of Koren Shadmi’s All Tomorrow’s Parties: The Velvet Underground Story.

- The candid vignettes of Emilia McKenzie’s But You Have Friends.



O.F. Stapledon reviews the striking insights of Derek M. Ballard’s Cartoonshow.

This week’s interviews.


• Jason Bergman interviews Caroline Cash about PeePee-PooPoo, childhood comics reading, the path to comics-making, and favourite comics shows - “I learned a lot about making comics by making [Girl in the World]. Before, I had only made comics that were 20 pages or less for the most part, the majority of them being 12 pages, because that was easy to print. I was figuring it out. I learned how to use Photoshop for the first time while making that book. I learned how to use a lightbox. I was really figuring it out a lot while making it.”

• Matt Petras interviews Brian ‘Box’ Brown about The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood, ageing consumer bases, and finding your own creative voice - “Not to toot my own horn too much, but a lot of the stuff that I talk about in my comics isn’t necessarily part of the conversation yet, and to watch it become part of the conversation is exciting.”



• Chris Hassan speaks with Ed Brisson about Alpha Flight, the struggles of a government-sponsored superhero team, and favourite characters.

• David Brooke talks to Satoshi Miyagawa about The Joker: One Operation The Joker, and the co-dependency of Gotham’s protector and its clown prince of crime.

• Chris Coplan chats with Phillip Kennedy Johnson about Green Lantern: War Journal, going for an 80s action movie feel, and the varied duties of John Stewart.


The Guardian

Rob Walker talks to Chuck D about Summer of Hamn, shifting from music to illustration, and the sickness of gun violence in America.


The Los Angeles Times

Andrea Flores speaks with Ricardo Padilla and Javier Hernandez about last weekend’s 11th annual Latino Comics Expo, and with creators attending the event.



Ayesha Rascoe interviews Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki about Roaming, returning to collaborate after This One Summer, and choosing 2009 for the story’s setting.


Smash Pages

JK Parkin talks to Joshua Viola about True Believers, Nebraskan comics origins, collaborating with The Colorado Festival of Horror, and the draw of transmedia storytelling.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Tegan O’Neil pens an in-depth retrospective on the career of one Marc Silvestri, as part of the Murderers’ Row series of features, and the overarching focus to be found at the core of Silvestri’s work - “That is, more than anything, the overriding theme of Silvestri’s career as an artist. Constantly learning. Paying attention to what was happening around him and figuring out how to make it work for him. As I’ve said, it’s a wonderful thing that his earliest real formative experience in comics was going nose to the grindstone with a title and character held at a conservative distance from the rest of the industry.”

• Also for TCJ, RJ Casey begins a new series of monthly features looking at recent minicomics, zines, self-published and micropress work, with this inaugural edition shining the spotlight on Heather Loase’s Boring Ass Autobio Trash, James Collier’s The Lonesome Shepherd, and John Vasquez Mejias’ Things to Do - “I chose the name “Arrivals and Departures” because I’m looking for cartoonists coming into their own, moving into a new (or perhaps their first) artistic terminal, departing the mainstream or whatever that means these days. There are plenty of comics being made and I’ll do my best—commenting out here from the cell phone lot—on the ones that get stuck in my craw or become thorns in my side.”

• Finally for TCJ, this week, Jason Bergman reports from last weekend’s Small Press Expo, canvassing the exhibitors and organisers on the show floor, as live events continue to search for equilibrium in a covid-endemic world - “Warren Bernard: I made that decision [on having a mask mandate] months ago. That's me. There are a couple of things. One, RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] was going around, and that's mask-abated. Two, if you look, every summer there's a COVID bump. And we have a number of people in the SPX community that are immunocompromised, or they have concerns about their health, and they're understandably risk-averse. And then you know, something? Me. Because people over the age of 50 shouldn't be getting COVID. It's very bad.”

• Also reporting from last weekend’s events, for The Beat, Heidi MacDonald visited SPX and Baltimore Comic Con, checking in on the differing vibes, and clientele of the two celebrations of comicked books.

• Over at ICv2, Rob Salkowitz surveys the new platform players on the digital comics stage, with Legend, Omnibus, and Global Comix all setting out their stalls to fill the gap in the market left by comiXology.

• Scott Cederlund’s Claremont Year continues at From Cover to Cover, as July and August brings with it the mid- to late-eighties entries run on Uncanny X-Men, and a focus on one Ororo Munroe.

• For Shelfdust, Armaan Babu writes on Roger Stern and Paul Smith’s Doctor Strange #65, the reductive approach to Asian cultures in the origin story of Stephen Strange, and Marvel Comics’ continued failure to address this.

• Paul O’Brien’s look back at the rogue’s gallery of Matt Murdoch continues, over at House to Astonish, as this week considers the shocking appearance of Electro in Daredevil #2.

• Hispanic Issues On Line presents an issue dedicated to The Graphic Past: Comic and History in 21st-Century Spain, with essays on contemporary Spanish comics and depictions of Spain’s past.

• In the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Eric Bao and A.J. Naddaff write on the anti-ideological motifs of R. Crumb’s Zap Comics, and the incorporation of these into wider contemporary media.

• In KN - Journal of Cartography and Geographic Information, Olaf Kühne, Karsten Berr, and Lara Koegst’s paper on graphic representations of landscapes touches on the techniques inspired by the ligne claire style of drawing.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as climate change concerns and the firing of Luis Rubiales managed to nudge Donald Trump out of the spotlight for a few brief moments.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium’s autumnal program of talks continued, as Bill Kartalopoulos hosted Margaret Galvan previewing In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s and speaking on the comics of Lee Marrs and Roberta Gregory, and Austin English hosted Mack White speaking on the varying processes of crafting a story to be told through the medium of comics and the enduring inspirations of classical mythology.

• Christopher Woodrow Butcher hosted the latest edition of Mangasplaining, as they discussed the surprises to be found in Minami Q-ta’s Not All Girls Are Stupid, the relationships found in the book, and Q-ta’s wider body of work, as well as the joys of short stories.

• Claire Napier and Tegan O’Neil served up a fresh pail of Udder Madness, as Lara Croft aka Tomb Raider arrives on the Top Cow scene, with discussions of friendships in fiction, and comparisons to other fictional archaeologists.

• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons reconvened for the most recent episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they celebrated Reid’s receiving the 2023 Tom Spurgeon Award from Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, and looked at last weekend’s busy schedule for comics events.

• David Harper welcomed Declan Shalvey to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about Old Dog, taking the comic to crowdfunding, the realities of being a freelance comics creator, and trying to manage those as social media platforms implode.

• A couple of recent At Home live Q&A events from Drawn and Quarterly, as Craig Thompson spoke on the 20th anniversary edition of Blankets, and Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki discussed Roaming with Nicole J. Georges.

• Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou returning series of Strip Panel Naked video essays continues, this week looking back at the visual storytelling of Darwyn Cooke, as found in The Spirit #1.

• John Siuntres welcomed Dan Slott to Word Balloon, as they spoke about plans for Spider-Boy and Doctor Who, and trying to schedule creator-owned projects around work-for-hire.

• Finishing up the week with some more Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and occasional guest host Tom Scioli took a look at Frank Miller’s Ronin #4, Todd McFarlane on Spider-Man #300, 1996’s Wizard #59, Seth’s Palookaville #24, and Heritage Auctions’ comics art catalogues.

That’s another lot of links for this week, and there will be another lot of links next week.