We Are Strange, In Our Worlds – This Week’s Links

There’s something to be said for being awoken from a deep, contented slumber at 3am by an absolutely deafening crash of thunder followed by all the car alarms on the street going off simultaneously - if this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, seems more jittery than usual, then you can blame it on what a certain beagle would call ‘a dark and stormy night.’

Let the children play… This week’s news.

• Checking in with the state of book censorship in American school systems, and the temporary removal of Ari Folman’s and David Polonsky’s graphic novel adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank became the latest entry in a wider battle to prevent access by younger readers to titles that include LGBTQ* themes and/or characters, or engagement with critical race theory. A Fort Worth area school board, the new members of which were reportedly backed by ‘Christian conservative wireless provider’ Patriot Mobile, rewrote book-challenge policies requiring all previously challenged titles to be taken off shelves and re-reviewed, and, while the graphic novel in question was subsequently found to pass the required standards for reinstatement, Snopes later stepped in to clear up miscommunications that lead to social media posts intimating the title had been banned outright, along with the Bible, amongst other literary works.

• Manga piracy news, and TorrentFreak reports on the latest legal broadside by publishers against alleged operators of websites that contravene copyright law, as Shueisha has filed a fresh suit in the US for actionable information on overseas account holders, with the overall aim appearing to be the targeting of several piracy sites and their proxies and redirects.

• Elsewhere, Bloomberg covers the upcoming initial public offering of digital manga app Piccoma, due to hit the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2023, with a valuation of $6 billion - Piccoma and Line Manga are duking it out for top spot in the Japanese digital space, as their parent corps aim to expand into foreign markets, while valuations for tech firms have dropped recently due to market volatility.

• Publishing personnel news, and ICv2 shares the announcement that IDW’s parent company, IDW Media Holdings, has a new CEO, as board member Alan Granfman takes the spot formerly held by Ezra Rosensaft - IDW Media Holdings’ stock has fallen by around 50% over the last 12 months.

• Comics prizes news, and the Children’s Book Council of Australia has selected Safdar Ahmed’s Still Alive, Notes from Australia's Immigration Detention System as one of this year’s Eve Pownall Award Winners, while Paul Allor has won this year’s Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award for best genre author for writing on Hollow Heart.

• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Lale Westvind, which “...will go towards drawing supplies and printing costs for a new mini-comic to debut at Short Run Comics and Arts Festival later this year.”

• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, news was shared last week of the passing of prolific inker Tom Palmer, who died on 18th August, aged 81 - an extensive gallery of Palmer’s work for Marvel and DC can be found on his website here.

As long as it hits the store on time… This week’s reviews.


• Chris Mautner reviews the unsympathetic ciphers of J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman, et al’s Echolands #1-6 - “And yet despite all this inventive design and thoughtful construction, Echolands feels depressingly inert. There is nothing here to hang your hat on, mainly because the entire cast of characters has, to a man, the personality of drab wallpaper.”

• Laura Paul reviews the idiosyncratic history of Noah Van Sciver’s Joseph Smith and the Mormons - “By the end, Van Sciver’s longstanding preoccupation seems to be less with great men and more with how often they claim to be. Who would have thought this would unite both Joseph Smith and Fante Bukowski?”



• David Brooke reviews the smart mystery of Tom King, Greg Smallwood, Mikel Janin, Rafael Albuquerque, Kevin Maguire, et al’s Tales of the Human Target #1.

• Christopher Franey reviews the impactful action of Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checcetto, et al’s Devil’s Reign.

• Keigen Rea reviews the appetising narrative of Jackie Morrow’s Supper Club.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the compelling characters of Jordan Blum, Patton Oswalt, Scott Hepburn, et al’s Minor Threats #1.


The Beat

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan reviews the absurdist fun of Jody Leheup, Nil Vendrell, et al’s Shirtless Bear-Fighter 2 #1.

• Avery Kaplan reviews the accessible comedy of Adam Goldberg, Hans Rodionoff, Will Robson, Jay Fosgitt, et al’s Damage Control #1.

• Zack Quaintance reviews the impressive confidence of Gary Whitta, Darick Robertson, et al’s Batman: Fortress #4.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the timely post-apocalypse of Alba Ceide’s Salamanca Blues Part 1: Sand, and the all-ages joy of Rebellion’s 2000 AD: Regened (Prog #2296).


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the inventive cartooning of Carlos B.’s Material Dimensions.


From Cover to Cover

Mike Baxter reviews the impressive narrative of Deniz Camp, S. Morian, et al’s 20th Century Men #1.


Library Journal

Mary E. Butler has a starred capsule review of the sumptuous action of Sourya’s Talli, Daughter of the Moon, Volume 1, translated by François Vigneault.


Multiversity Comics

• Robbie Pleasant reviews the uninspired questions of Tom King, Mitch Gerads, et al’s Batman: One Bad Day – The Riddler.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the emotional coda of Jason Aaron, Kev Walker, et al’s Avengers 1,000,000 BC #1.

• Corrina Lawson reviews the confident compassion of Iron Circus Comics’ The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories.

• Christopher Egan reviews the loving homages of Patton Oswalt, Jordan Blum, Scott Hepburn, et al's Minor Threats #1.


The New York Times

Vera Brosgol reviews the whimsical delights of Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault’s Forever Truffle: Three Stories, translated by Susan Ouriou.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The gritty chills of Si Spurrier, Nathan Gooden, et al’s The Rush: This Hungry Earth Reddens Under Snowclad Hills.

- The satisfying individuality of Arnold Arre’s The Mythology Class.

- The overwritten exposition of Brian Michael Bendis and Stephen Byrne’s Joy Operations.

- The timely horror of Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, and Marco Finnegan’s The Keeper.

- The visceral surreality of Corinne Halbert’s Acid Nun.



Helen Chazan has capsule reviews of the cosmic horror of Ibrahim R. Ineke’s Eloise; the cool-looking horses of Osamu Tezuka’s Bomba!, translated by Polly Barton; and the nerdy novelty of Hideki Ohwada’s The Men Who Created Gundam, translated by Jason Moses.


Women Write About Comics

Paulina Przystupa reviews the unique quirks of Honami Shirono’s I Want to be a Wall, Volume 1, translated by Emma Schumacker.

Read in the regional accent of your choosing… This week’s interviews.


Valerio Stivé interviews Igor Tuveri, aka Igort, about The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks: Life and Death Under Soviet Rule, following Chekhov’s footsteps, seeing things from the perspective of the common people, and the good side of social media - “This suspiciousness is very common there, even more in Russia. People are not used to talking freely. I can tell you that because I spent two years in Ukraine. Yet I am not a journalist, my job starts when the journalist’s job ends. I am not interested in a scoop, or breaking news. I’m interested in people.”



Robert Reed speaks with Geoffrey Thorne about Blood Syndicate, writing irredeemable characters, getting the gang together, and trying to pick a favourite moment.


The AV Club

Bryan Reesman chats with Todd McFarlane about the return of Spawn/Batman, the thirtieth birthday of Albert Francis Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne’s autograph skills.


The Beat

• Avery Kaplan talks to Rachel Smythe about Lore Olympus, staving off burnout, the difficulty of drawing, and advice on making a comic.

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan speaks with Dacre Stoker and Chris McAuley about Dracula The Return: Cult of the White Worm, the interests of Bram Stoker, and the history of Count Dracula.

• Deanna Destito chats with Shannon Maer about Sirens Gate, speeding up the painting process, and working with Dynamite.

• Ricardo Serrano Denis talks to Stephen Graham Jones about Eearthdivers, prose and comics differences, using time travel to kill Christopher Columbus, and the research that goes into that kind of fictional assassination.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver interviews Emily McGovern about Twelve Percent Dread, the stress of intricate plotting, giving characters depth, and the elasticity of comics.



David-Christopher Galhea talks to Junji Ito about The Liminal Zone, the origins of that book’s title, Bruce Lee’s thoughts on water, and the process of writing short stories.


Entertainment Weekly

Christian Holub chats to Ryan North about Fantastic Four, following in Dan Slott’s footsteps, superhero marriages, and working with Alex Ross.



Melanie Fine speaks with Fanboy Marketplace’s Michael Rogers about bricks and mortar lessons learned during the pandemic, and giving the customers what they want.



Tres Dean interviews the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson about an enduring love of Naruto, sneaker collaborations, and a starting five of shinobi.


Los Angeles Times

Bruce Britt speaks with James Spooner about The High Desert, the book’s confrontation of race, and literary hindsight.


Multiversity Comics

Elias Rosner talks to Stephen Graham Jones about Earthdivers, the joys of Secret Wars, breaking into comics and the pitching process, and thoughts on time travel.



Steven Heller chats with R.O. Blechman about On the One Hand: The Art & Graphic Stories of R.O. Blechman and On the Other Hand: The Writing of R.O Blechman Published & Unpublished, and the necessity of chutzpah.


Publisher’s Weekly

Cheryl Klein speaks with Malaka Gharib about It Won’t Always Be Like This, transcending cultural references, explaining ska references, and avoiding the perpetuation of stereotypes.



Yusuke Monma interviews Gao Yan (with translation by Mimiko Goldstein) about The Song About Green – Gather the Wind, prophetic dreams, musical inspirations, and the differences between Japanese and Taiwanese culture.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna talks to Tom Batiuk about Funky Winterbean, writing what you know, not trying to avoid complaints, and letting characters grow.

Firm application and determination… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Cynthia Rose writes in remembrance of the life and work of Jean-Jacques Sempé, who passed away earlier this month, aged 89 - “Sempé's grandfather, whom he loved, was a Communist ("I marched with him, my puny fist in the air"). But it was radio, not politics, that shaped him - first, during the 1930s, with music and theatre; then, during World War II, with de Gaulle's Radio Londres. From them, Sempé said, "I learned everything. But, more than anything else, they taught elegance. Elegance is really what matters most to me; an elegance of feelings, manners and gestures."”

• Also for TCJ, Andrew Farago writes on the life and work of Paul Coker Jr., who passed away in July, aged 93, and collates remembrances from friends and peers - “Coker enjoyed success and acclaim in every one of his artistic endeavors and maintained such high standards throughout his career that, especially with his “Midwestern modesty”, it was easy to take for granted just how unique and how talented he was.”

• Finally for TCJ this week, Lane Yates audits Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class, the mastery of non-imagination found therein, and the blinkered thesis presented to the reader - “To recap: there is no outside of neoliberal reality as it pertains to these characters. There is no chance to effectively escape it, and thus it dictates both the mental landscape of the characters and Nick Drnaso’s mode of depiction. Imagination, as escape, is presented as the only mode of actualization insofar as it can be employed to create a simulacrum of reality; a reality more real than reality, but nonetheless a reality that must be a consensus reality.”

• Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion continues, as 2000 AD’s 1993 Summer Offensive gave rise to Grant Morrison’s one dimensional take on ol’ Stony Face in Judge Dredd: Inferno; and the collaborations between Morrison and Mark Millar that followed in its wake, as well as the latter’s solo contribution to the Summer Offensive.

• For The Washington Post, Michael Cavna rounds up the response of cartoonists to the FBI’s raiding of Mar-a-Lago, as former President Donald Trump continues to represent a rich vein to be mined for editorial content.

• Over at Sequart, Gerard Waggett writes on the use of them as a pronoun in Mike Sekowsky’s Wonder Woman #185, and the narrative and social context of the issue’s antagonists.

• For Shelfdust, Masha Zhdanova begins a new series looking back at the adventures of Hokusei Katsushika, Naoki Urasawa, and Takashi Nagasaki’s archaeologist-cum-loss adjuster (by way of the SAS), Master Keaton.

• The Beat presents Brian Hibbs’ latest Tilting at Windmills piece, covering the realities of distributor-based volume-driven discounting plans for monthly periodicals, and their failings to the retailer, in the year 2022 CE.

• Over at ICv2, Rob Salkowitz reports from the return of ReedPop’s Emerald City Comic Con, as abbreviated programming and a diluted exhibitor list sets the scene for a venue change in 2023.

• From the world of open-access academia, writing in the Community Literacy Journal, Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, Maria Isela Maier, Sarah Y. Jimenez, Jacob Martinez, and David Hernandez write on the use of comics to improve access in primarily Hispanic communities to educational resources for caregivers of people living with Alzheimers and other dementias.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, for The Daily Cartoonist, as the gender binary in sports, eyes on the 45th President of the United States, rivers in the UK, taxation representations, and secret documents all made for prime #content.

Eventually to be removed from streaming services… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Comic Books (and Cartoons) Are Burning In Hell this week, as Tucker Stone, Joe McCulloch, and Chris Mautner discussed Kazuo Umezz’s Orochi, and those Hanna-Barbera Beyond comics that DC put out a while back, could’ve been two years ago, could’ve been ten years ago, it’s a mystery.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden present a Thick Lines scene report from Minneapolis' Autoptic Festival, plus some bonus Prince and Betty Boop digressions, before diving into the experience of attempting to read Carla Speed McNeil's Finder in its collected form, and some paired advice for readers looking to do the same.

• Christopher Butcher hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team pitted four (free-to-read)  first chapters against each other, before choosing a victor to get a full episode to itself, including Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki’s Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma, Guido Amaguri’s Sweetness and Lightning, Horio Seita’s Kokkoku: Moment by Moment, and Miki Yamamoto’s How Are You?.

• Checking in with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as this week Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Vampirella #1, Wizard #49, Archer & Armstrong #8, Superpatriot, Happy Birthday Martha Washington, and Starman #1, plus a freewheeling chat with Michel Fiffe.

• John Siuntres was joined in the Word Balloon by Tom King, as they discussed Human Target, Love Everlasting, Batman: One Bad Day, and various other DC plans.

• Brian Hibbs opened the doors of Comix Experience for a couple more book clubs, as India Swift and Michael Doig spoke about The Girl and the Glim for August’s Kids’ Club pick, and Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss discussed What’s the Furthest Place From Here for the latest GN of the Month pick.

That’s everything for this week, back soon with more once I’ve mastered the art of standing in front of a window lit only by a flash of lightning without flinching at the attendant boom of thunder.