…and we’re back! Bumper catch-up edition this week, so let’s get stuck right into the links, for what we do in links echoes in eternity.
When ALS stopped genius Patrick Lee Dean (@PDean_Yeah) from making art with his hands, he learned to draw using eye gaze technology (!!!). Patrick, @laughingowlpres & I worked to make 6 of his beautiful eyegaze pieces into this set of letterpress prints. https://t.co/T6DH82jAq0
— Eleanor Davis (@squinkyelo) November 29, 2021
Cue the dramatic music… This week’s news.
• Diving back into the world of comics news with the announcement that Gina Gagliano’s time at Random House Graphic is at an end, having served as the founding editor for the imprint, which was first announced back in May 2018
• Elsewhere, continuing the now storied tradition of digital comics platforms with esoteric names, Zestworld, a subscription-based portal, was introduced to the world this week, promising to rebalance IP rights for creators, and presumably looking to rival Substack’s forays into the comics world, with Eric Canete, Amanda Conner, Phil Jimenez, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alex Segura, and Peter Tomasi lined up to develop the all-important first-wave of content that will keep the lights on and the investors happy.
• Washington’s Kitsap Sun reports on Port Orchard-based comics publisher Arledge Comics receiving a Human Rights Campaign and Showtime ‘Queer to Stay’ Small Business Grant, which will allow the publisher “to re-expand where we were forced to cut back [due to COVID-19]. This means new projects, debuting brand-new graphic novels and paying queer content creators to do what they love.”
• Reaching the climax of 2021’s book award calendar, and Roy Schwartz’ Is Superman Circumcised?, charting the parallels between the mythology of the Last Son of Krypton and Jewish culture and tradition, has won The Bookseller’s 2021 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, with Schwartz quoted as saying “The competition was stiff, but I’m glad I was able to rise to the challenge.” Nice.
• Finally this week, checking in on the riveting world of supply chain logistics, which is giving the comics industry no end of grief at the moment, as CNBC reports that threatening to fine carriers of shipping containers left sitting around at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles (through which 40% of US-bound sea freight travels) is having the desired effect, with a resultant 33% reduction in loitering cargo. There are now 22 days until Christmas.
The inventors of post-it notes pic.twitter.com/AmHkfisDih
— Leslie Hung (@lesliehung) November 22, 2021
Blinded by the light… This week’s reviews.
• Michael O’Connell reviews the frustrating beauty of Dave Sim and Carson Grubaugh’s The Strange Death of Alex Raymond – “In a photo of an awkward handshake between Raymond and Milton Caniff, Sim detects a glint of something critical in the eye of the creator of Terry and the Pirates. Is there something there? Maybe. But probably not. That’s what’s ultimately dissatisfying about reading SDOAR and makes it challenging to recommend. Sim wants us to sympathize with the creator’s struggle but does little to make us like him or care about his obsession. Like him and Grubaugh, the reader wants to just finish the damn thing.”
• Anya Davidson reviews the spectacular detail of Laura Weinstein’s The Gift of Time – “The same story forms exist in comics journalism as in print journalism: the editorial, the feature article, the explainer. Comics journalism has exploded in popularity since the early 90’s, when my personal aesthetic, and, I assume, Weinstein’s, was forming. Traditionally, I’ve been allergic to work that looked slick or digital, and storytelling that eschews the id, but something interesting has happened as I age. I’ve become less rigid, and more open to the idea of comics playing a variety of cultural roles.”
• Hillary Brown reviews the woogly intensity of Mirion Malle’s This Is How I Disappear, translated by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam – “Everyone understands that when you text someone a little yellow smiley laughing so hard that tears are coming out of its eyes, it’s not very likely that you’re actually amused to the point of crying. Hyperbole is the lingua franca of our era, with everything being best or worst, amazing or trash because we’re swamped by content and it’s the easiest way to get noticed. No one’s here for your take that such and such is a solid B-, even though the vast majority of creative efforts do fall into a middle range.”
• Timothy Callahan reviews the beautiful interpretations of Tobias Tak’s Canciones: Of Federico García Lorca – “Tobias Tak’s adaptation isn’t merely a batch of typeset lines of verse accompanied by drawings. Tak, very much in the vein of late-period Panter at his most supernatural and dreamlike, etches full pages and panel sequences in ink with delicate colors on every page. Tak also incorporates the García Lorca verse into the drawings, hand-lettering the poetry in both English and Spanish throughout the volume. Canciones is a masterful work, a collaboration across generational and international lines.”
• Paul Karasik reviews the unpredictable questions of R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else – “Like Chekhov, Johnson captures the plainness — and individual particularity — of ordinary lives on this Earth. Like Chekhov, what is not shown and said, shows and says plenty. Throughout the book, scenes begin in mid-action with conversations already in progress. Specificity of setting, gesture, costume, and dialogue gives readers all the data needed to fill those gaps, becoming curious visitors, noticing more, guessing, inferring, engaging.”
• Robert Reed reviews the assertive beginning of John Ridley, Juann Cabal, et al’s Black Panther #1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the bombastic introduction of Donny Cates, Ryan Ottley, et al’s Hulk #1.
• Ryan Sonneville reviews the odd meanderings of Tini Howard, Albert Foche, et al’s X-Corp: Volume 1.
• Holly Woodbury reviews the adorable accessibility of Victoria Grace Elliot’s Yummy: A History of Desserts.
• Christopher Franey reviews the perfect landing of Chip Zdarsky, Manuel Garcia, et al’s Daredevil #36.
• Alex Cline reviews the polished gags of Okina Baba, Gratinbird, et al’s So I’m a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters: Volume 1.
• Arpad Okay reviews the heartfelt perspectives of Mari Ahokoivu’s Oksi, translated by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the well-crafted action of Marieke Nijkamp, Enid Balám, et al’s Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1.
• John Trigonis reviews the immersive horror of Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook’s Harrow County Library Edition.
• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the long-winded insights of James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds, et al’s The Department of Truth Vol. 2: The City Upon a Hill.
• Andy Oliver has reviews of:
– The appealing showcase of Ramzee et al’s LDN.
– The haunting evocativeness of Gareth Brooke’s Home.
– The eloquent experimentation of Peony Gent’s Nottingham to London.
– The layered storytelling of Molly Naylor and Lizzy Stewart’s Lights, Planets, People!.
– The unsettling horror of Douglas Noble and Mark Stafford’s Ripple in the Dark.
– The foreboding melancholy of Zoe Maeve’s The Gift.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the powerful authenticity of R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else, the unfiltered absurdism of Chris Cajero Cilla And Greg Petix’s Swonknibus, and the cohesive weaving of Mike Freiheit’s Go Fck Myself: The Fckpendium.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund and Mike Baxter have capsule reviews of some recent releases, including Chip Zdarsky and Jacob Phillips’ Newburn #1; Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, et al’s Primordial #2; Tyler Boss, Matthew Rosenberg, et al’s What’s the Furthest Place from Here; and Walter Mosley, Tom Reilly, et al’s The Thing #1.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the odd morals of Gerry Duggan, Emilio Laiso, et al’s X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comics #5-12; and the superfluous plot of Rob Liefeld, Chad Bowers, Bryan Valenza, et al’s X-Force: Killshot Anniversary Special #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the odd artwork of Stephanie Phillips, Mike Hawthorne, et al’s Wonder Woman: Evolution #1.
• Matthew Blair reviews the glaring tropes of Brian Michael Bendis, Stephen Byrne, et al’s Joy Operations #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the exciting progressions of Jason Aaron, Christopher Rucchio, Ed McGuinness, Steve McNiven, David Baldeon, Javier Garro, et al’s Avengers #50.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the refined levity of Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Christopher Mitten, Ben Stenbeck, et al’s Hellboy: The Silver Lantern Club #2; and is joined by David Harper to review the inscrutable joys of Mike Mignola et al’s Sir Edward Grey: Acheron.
Zito Madu reviews the wonderful ambitions of It’s Life as I See it: Black Cartoonists in Chicago, 1940 – 1980, edited by Dan Nadel.
The New York Times
Ed Park reviews the blue shift of Matt Madden’s Ex Libris and R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else.
Have Capsule Reviews of:
– The frenetic playfulness of Julie Doucet’s Time Zone J.
– The contemplative empathy of Toranosuke Shimada’s Robo Sapiens: Tales of Tomorrow, translated by Adrienne Beck.
– The avant-garde drama of Tardi’s The True Story of the Unknown Soldier, translated by Jenna Allen.
– The delightful clarity of Peter Hoey and Maria Hoey’s Animal Stories.
– The imaginative gems of Ana Galvañ’s Afternoon at McBurger’s, translaed by Jamie Richards.
– The weighty trauma of Emily Carrington’s Our Little Secret.
Tom Shapira reviews the precise sensations of Yoshiharu Tsuge’s Red Flowers, translated by Ryan Holmberg.
Women Write About Comics
• Bishop V Navarro reviews the satisfying narrative of James Tynion IV, Tate Brombal, Chris Shehan, et al’s House of Slaughter #1.
• Kate Tanski reviews the obtuse distractions of Marieke Nijkamp, Enid Balám, et al’s Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1.
• Emily Lauer reviews the satisfying delights of Victoria Grace Elliot’s Yummy: A History of Desserts.
• Kathryn Hemmann reviews the exceptional honesty of Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit.
• Magen Cubed reviews the undermined action of Dave Franchini, Julius Abrera, et al’s Belle: Headless Horseman.
thinkin about………………………. hellboyes ass pic.twitter.com/ERG2QQX6Br
— Liz Suburbia (@ElSub) November 25, 2021
I’ve stopped being Russia now… This week’s interviews.
• James Romberger interviews R. Kikuo Johnson about No One Else, portraying a true depiction of Hawaii, changing approaches to storytelling, and living in the age of great debut graphic novels – “When I pick up a Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes collection, I find that I’ve read 20-30 strips before I realize that I’m even reading. I really wanted to try to make a book that was this inviting and intuitive to read. Also the wide range of emotion Schulz and Watterson achieve with so few marks was something I wanted to take a stab at.”
• RJ Casey interviews Derek M. Ballard about parenthood and childhood, experiences of juvenile detention facilities, life in Mobile, intellectual property rights, and post-eroticism – “You know, it took me a long time to do anything autobiographical. Especially after everything that’s happened to me over the last few years and then COVID, now I feel like it would be completely dishonest if I wasn’t talking about this and putting this stuff down on paper. I got to a point where I just had to. Hearing myself say it — you know what it is? When I make a comic about it, I can make it funny. Right now, I sound emo. [Laughter.]”
• Chris Hassan speaks with Lauren Amaro, Mark Basso, Drew Baumgartner, Sarah Brunstad and Anita Okoye about editing Marvel’s line of X-Men books, career paths, workflows, and job advice.
• David Brooke talks to Matthew Rosenberg about Task Force Z and DC vs Vampires, project planning, and keeping the status quo weird.
• Chris Coplan chats with Cynthia von Buhler about Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla, noir pulp conventions, death rays, and enjoyable research; and with Mark Millar about King of Spies, Netflix deals, challenging Britain’s status quo, and the cultural absence of spy fatigue.
Anime News Network
Lnyzee Loveridge interviews Sōsuke Tōka about Ranking of Kings, making a manga debut at the age of 41, loving happy endings, and peaceful media inspirations.
• Julio Anta and Henry Barajas talk about the social context of Latinx comics, personal privilege, guiding principles, and the comics industry’s lack of Latinx representation on all levels.
• Heidi MacDonald interviews Ashleigh Gardner about Wattpad Webtoon Unscrolled, corporate goals, market diversity, and distribution plans.
• Avery Kaplan talks to Terry Blas about Lifetime Passes, esoteric story pitches, intergenerational bonds, and the challenges of writing for licensed characters.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis speaks with Matt Kindt about Apache Delivery Service, collaborative conversations, the quirks of the human brain, and innate curiosity.
• Deanna Destito chats to Garth Ennis about Hawk the Slayer, lifelong fandoms, enticing new readers, and favourite characters.
Andy Oliver interviews George Wylesol about 2120, analog and digital adventure games, liminal spaces, and tactile texture processes; and Taki Soma about Sleeping While Standing, the therapeutic relief of tackling demons in comics, non-linear narratives, and making the move to digital processes.
Christian Holub speaks with Danny DeVito about Gotham City Villains, bringing Catwoman and the Penguin together, and bringing COVID-19 to Gotham.
• Rob Salkowitz talks to Comic-Con International’s
from Ultimate Comic Blog