It is Banned Books Week, and if you are a regular peruser of this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, then you’ll likely know that this is, well, a banner year for banned books, with graphic novels increasingly being shoved into the spotlight by conservative activist groups looking to restrict the reading of young people by excluding increasingly wide-ranging material that apparently offends, with increasingly vague, amorphous reasons as to why it offends, usually boiling down to the usual dog whistle rhetoric one has come to expect in twenty twenty-three - PEN America covers this year’s Banned Books Week in detail here, including spotlight interviews with graphic novelists Maia Kobabe and Mike Curato.
Ultimate Love pic.twitter.com/heUOK8J6Mm
— Michel Fiffe (@MichelFiffe) October 5, 2023
This week’s news.
• Starting off this week with the autumnal awards season in full flow, as the winners of this year’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus Awards were announced last weekend, with Raina Telgemeier taking home the Transformative Work Award, Daniel Clowes winning the Master Cartoonist Award, and Evan Salazar receiving 2023’s Newly Emerging Talent Award which confers a $7,500 prize.
• Elsewhere, the jury’s selection for 2023’s Grand Prix du livre de Montréal was announced, with Julie Delporte’s Corps Vivante and Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class both in contention for the prize, with the winner to be announced in November.
• Looking ahead to next week’s New York Comic Con, The Harvey Awards announced 2023’s inductees to their Hall of Fame, with this year’s group comprising Chris Claremont, Bill Griffith, George Pérez, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, and Marv Wolfman - this year’s prize ceremony will take place on the 13th of October.
• Koyama Provides announced their next wave of grants, meant this time round as “encouragement to persevere” to artists, rather than being linked to specific projects, with $1500 awards given to Melissa Mendes, Jay Stephens, and Erin Williams.
• The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo announced the opening of applications to this year’s Cupcake Award program, a juried prize that supports the publication of a new minicomic by an emerging artist whose work is primarily self-published, with two prizes of $400 and a half table at CAKE 2024 up for grabs - the deadline for submissions is the 31st of October.
• Returning to the comics crime files, and ICv2 shares news of the theft of items from the collection of James Strand, in Portland, Oregon, following Strand’s death earlier this year - the FBI estimates the value of the collection at between $1 million to $2 million, and are currently trying to put together an inventory list with the help of local book and collectibles dealers.
• A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help support Marvel and DC artist Thomas Tenney, due to mounting healthcare costs and a foreclosure suit on Tenney’s home - Tenney lives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cannot currently attend comic conventions.
• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared last month of the passing of Ron Russitano, owner of Phantom of the Attic store in Pittsburgh, following a cardiac arrest - a GoFundMe to help Russitano’s family cover the medical costs incurred can be donated to here.
CUPCAKE AWARD APPLICATIONS ARE OFFICIALLY OPEN!! Check out our website for full details; https://t.co/DA1IeEiSj5. ✨💕
— Chi Alt Comics Expo (@CAKEchicago) October 1, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Hank Kennedy reviews the puzzling choices of Mr. Block: The Subversive Comics and Writings of Ernest Riebe, edited by the Graphic History Collective, with Paul Buhle and Iain McIntyre - “Those looking to learn more about Riebe’s enigmatic life are likely to be disappointed with this collection. Many details, including when and where he was born, when and where he died, or even what he looked like, remain unknown. One new piece of information presented in the Graphic History Collective's introduction is the assertion that he lived out his last years in China, but no source is provided.”
• Kevin Brown reviews the artistic flexibility of Lizzy Stewart’s Alison - “It would be easy to read Alison’s story as one of a female artist who overcomes the sexism of the art world in the latter part of the 20th century to become a great artist herself. Tessa’s story helps to remind the reader of the racism that also kept out a wide variety of Black artists as well.”
• Tegan O’Neil reviews:
- The interesting lines of Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson’s Parasocial - “Occasionally there’s an establishing shot in plain fluorescent light, the dull and descriptive brown and beige of modern American interior design. These flashes of realism feel more frightening than anything else in the book.”
- The hit rate of Oni Press’ XINO #1-3, edited by Zack Soto, Gabriel Granillo and Jung Hu Lee - “Am I being too nice? I worry sometimes, these days, that I'm too nice. But the facts are plain: anthologies like this only exist in the 21st century as labors of love on the part of hard-working editors. Even the best sell poorly. As it is, they managed to get three issues of a dynamite anthology out the door, and that meant cherry-picking from some of the best talent they could find. Makes sense the batting average is so good.”
• David Brooke reviews the important messaging of Sina Grace’s Superman: The Harvests of Youth.
• Alex Schlesinger reviews the daring hope of Emmett Nahil and George Williams’ Let Me Out.
• Collier Jennings reviews the unique vibe of Maria Ingrande Mora, Jo Mi-Gyeong, et al’s Ranger Academy #1.
• Crooker reviews the outstanding beginning of Daniel Warren Johnson’s Transformers #1.
• Colin Moon reviews the charged emotions of Tillie Walden’s Clementine Book Two.
• Steve Baxi reviews the transitional elements of Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, David Rubín, et al’s Cosmic Detective.
• Matias De la Piedra reviews the memetic edginess of Takeru Hokazono’s Kagurabachi, Chapter 1, translated by Camellia Nieh.
• Merve Giray reviews the competent construction of Manta Studios’ When Fate Finds Us.
• Zack Quaintance reviews the perfect restraint of Tyler Crook’s The Lonesome Hunters.
• Billy Henehan reviews the kinetic start of Daniel Warren Johnson’s Transformers #1.
Andy Oliver reviews:
- The cosmic eeriness of Joe Sparrow’s Cuckoo.
- The otherworldly atmosphere of Megan Llewellyn’s Jack.
- The oozing horror of Violet Kitchen’s Return to Sender.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan Carey reviews the lush fluidity of H.A.’s The Chromatic Fantasy.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the intriguing reestablishments of Daniel Warren Johnson’s Transformers #1.
James Smart reviews the thrilling shapeshifting of Daniel Clowes’ Monica.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #106, Jean Grey #2, Realm of X #2, Invincible Iron Man #10, Storm #5, X-Men: Days of Future Past – Doomsday #3, and Ms Marvel: The New Mutant #2.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the fun action of Ryan North and Derek Charm’s Star Trek: Day of Blood – Shaxs’ Best Day.
• Corrina Lawson reviews the fantastic silliness of Zachary Sterling’s Punch Up.
• Matthew Blair reviews the surprising reintroduction of Daniel Warren Johnson's Transformers #1.
Have a starred capsule review of the scintillating history of Chris Oliveros’ Are You Willing to Die for the Cause?.
Women Write About Comics
• Lisa Fernandes reviews the uneven messiness of Casey Gilly, Oriol Roig, et al’s Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #1.
• Adrienne Resha reviews the interesting developments of Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Carlos Gómez, Adam Gorham, et al’s Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #2.
— alex norris (@sillyalexnorris) October 4, 2023
This week’s interviews.
Zach Rabiroff interviews Matt Wagner about Grendel, the origins of the titular character, digesting and distilling influences, and the limits of pushing the envelope - “I'm surprised humanity's lasted this long, you know? I can look around and I see acts of great charity, and acts of great creativity and altruism. And there's acts of great barbarism and cruelty: I mean, my God, the way this country's divided now, the MAGA crowd doesn't seem to have any philosophy other than just cruelty. They don’t seem to have any political aspirations or any policies in mind. It's just the other guys. And a movement can't sustain itself on that. That’s just sheer nihilism, you know?”
• Chris Hassan speaks with Preeti Chhibber about Love Unlimited and Women of Marvel, mutant OTPs, and upcoming projects.
• Chris Coplan talks to:
- Sina Grace about Superman: The Harvests of Youth and giving younger readers a space to deal with complicated emotions.
- Shawn Kittelsen about Heart Attack and how you deal with a world you can’t control.
- Emmett Nahil about Let Me Out and making a book in reaction to apolitical 80s nostalgia-bait.
- Wyatt Kennedy and Luigi Formisano about NIGHTS and the joys of ‘silent’ panels.
- G. Willow Wilson, Chris Wildgoose, and Michele Assarasakorn about The Hunger and the Dusk and fantasy genre touchstones.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to Joanne Starer about Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville, romance being in the air in Kansas, and whether there is love for Ambush Bug.
• AJ Frost chats with Ed Piskor about Hip Hop Family Tree: The Omnibus, working with Harvey Pekar, bringing in outside readers, and future 500-page books.
Janelle Hessig interviews Daniel Clowes about Monica, the book as a Rorschach test for its readers, and the joys of classic noir movies.
The New Yorker
Françoise Mouly speaks with Nicole Rifkin about illustrating the magazine’s latest cover, the inspirations for the image, and making the move to music video directing.
Bryan Hood talks to Daniel Clowes about Monica, focusing on comics for the creative freedom they afford, and the parallels between cartoonist and cult leader.
— Nicole Rifkin (@nicole_rifkin) October 2, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Hagai Palevsky compares and contrasts Fujiwara Maki’s My Picture Diary and Yoshiharu Tsuge’s The Man Without Talent, and examines whether pairing the stories in such a manner paints an accurate picture - “ Context—being the very connection between Tsuge and Fujiwara, the fact that these two stories are at least partially the same story—is a shock to intertext, insofar as the two texts are distinctly separate, underlining the disconnect between the partners themselves.”
• Also for TCJ, Tom Shapira beholds the DC compendium treatment of Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse’s Tom Strong, and whether a bigger format means more to care about in the overall plot - “The best of Alan Moore’s work is in comics, but it’s not about comics. There’s certainly an element of comics critique throughout his catalog, because he has grown and worked within the industry, and his writing reflects that fact, but From Hell isn’t a comic about comics, nor is Swamp Thing, nor is The Ballad of Halo Jones, nor is Providence - not solely. Tom Strong is the kind of work that surrenders often to cheap and immediate references: a comic about comics and its broader lineage in pulp writing. It can only see itself.”
• Finally for TCJ this week, Chris Anthony Diaz brings the San Diego Comic-Con experience to your device of choice, presenting photographs from a visit to 2023’s edition - “Because of the Hollywood writers' and actors' strike, comics were the de facto centerpiece attraction at San Diego Comic-Con International 2023. I was fortunate enough to attend for one day on Thursday, July 20, 2023, and I tried to make the most of my brief attendance.”
• For The Guardian, Uki Goñi writes on the life and work of Héctor Oesterheld, as a Netflix adaptation of The Eternaut sees the work arriving to new audiences in a charged political climate.
• Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion continues, as the latest entry tallies up the numbers to be found in Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz’s Big Numbers and the philosophies at play in their deployment.
• For The Atlantic, Jeremy Gordon places Daniel Clowes’ Monica in the author’s wider body of work, and considers the character’s story in the context of Clowes’ evolving career.
• For Solrad, Rob Clough writes in appreciation of the comics of Archie Bongiovanni, the evolving construction of Bongiovanni’s work, and the refinement of this in Mimosa.
• Contributors to Women Write About Comics convene to share their recent graphic novel and manga reading, this time out loosely falling into the theme of exploration.
• Over at Shelfdust, Clark Urich looks back on the duelling narratives of Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving’s Annihilator, and the parallels therein to the traditional career trajectory of the average superhero tale-teller.
• Paul O’Brien’s deep-dive into the villain Rolodex of Matthew Murdoch continues, for House to Astonish, as the spotlight falls upon Daredevil #4’s The Purple Man, and the contemporary evolution of the character.
• From the world of open-access academia, in Glossa, Bien Klomberg, Irmak Hacımusaoğlu, Lenneke Doris, Joost Schilperoord, and Neil Cohn present a formal theory of visual co-reference, describing varying relations of co-reference based on graphics and their corresponding conceptual structure.
• For Mémoires du Livre, Eva Van de Wiele and Ivan Pintor Iranzo have a paper on Rudolph Dirks’ The Katzenjammer Kids, exploring the cultural adaptations made in transposing the strips for Spanish and Italian audiences.
• In the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Gareth Brookes has an essay on the different styles of drawing to be found in Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit, and how these produce different space times.
• Also for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Stella Oh writes on Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s Grass, and how its engagement with shame and the female body challenges the reader’s understanding of history.
• Finally for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Matt Reingold has an article on Dana Barlev’s David and Rina and Nadav Nachmany’s Ish HaSufganiyah, and how these webcomics deviate from mainstream Israeli comics.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the current president approaches a clash with the previous president, while the Speaker of the House made history, and National Newspaper Week finds little to celebrate.
— eli spencer ✺✵ (@goyagoat) October 4, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Austin English hosted the latest edition of the New York Comics and Picture-Story Symposium, as Juliette Collet celebrated the release of blah blah blah #4 with personal histories, comics readings, music, Comic Book Club chat, and a few special guests.
• Drawn & Quarterly hosted a new At Home With episode, as Francine Yulo talked to Ryan Holmberg about translating Fujiwara Maki’s My Picture Diary and Yoshiharu Tsuge’s Nejishiki (after some early technical difficulties.)
• David Harper welcomed Erica Henderson to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about Parasocial, approaches to making art and making a career out of art, and figuring out what comes next.
• Another week, another podcast crossover episode, as Publisher's Weekly’s More to Come saw Heidi MacDonald talking to Women of Marvel’s Ellie Pyle and Preeti Chhibber about the House of Idea’s roster of women characters, and tips for the ol’ podcasting game.
• A few more trips up in the Word Balloon with John Siuntres, who was joined this week by Tom King talking about Wonder Woman and Danger Street, Phillip Kennedy Johnson to discuss Green Lantern and The Incredible Hulk, and Kiel Phegly to speak about Strikers and Sonic the Hedgehog.
• Checking off another week on the calendar with more Cartoonist Kayfabing, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Valiant’s Unity #0, Hayao Miyazaki’s Shuna’s Journey, Daniel Clowes’ Monica, and Will Eisner’s Quarterly periodicals, before sitting down for a shoot interview with Seth on a career in cartooning and Palookaville origins and Joe Matt remembrances.
— Madeline McGrane (@madmcgrane) October 3, 2023
That’s all for this week, next time - Band Books Week, so let’s all read Lemmy’s White Line Fever.
— fracoco (@fracocoillust) October 4, 2023