One of the concepts Scott and I tossed around as we came up with the rough draft for From Cover to Cover is the idea of supporting the comic journalism and critic community. The easiest way to do that, of course, is to spotlight the writing about comics that sticks out at us. Here are ten or so picks from this past year.
PanelxPanel #53 ($) - I'm always mesmerized that we get this publication for a mere $4 an issue, $3 if you subscribe. We could easily recommend any issue of this series over the course of the year, but this one that features a cover story on Sas Milledge's incredible Mamo is especially strong. We picked Milledge's minicomic, Barn Owl, as one of our favorites from 2021, and Mamo is equally strong. This issue also features a great strip from Deniz Camp and Sinnerman and a recollection on Athena, among other treats.
For Solrad, Hagai Palevsky writes about and exceptional collection that would have undoubtedly made it into my favorites list if I read it earlier than last week - A Liminal World: Zuo Ma’s NIGHT BUS, Emotional Realities, and the Finished Unfinished
At Panel Patter, James Kaplan reviews Lunatic: A Wordless Story by Dan Mazur, Rachel Lapidow gives a personal analysis of book that has been showing up on a bunch of year end lists with Gaining On the Job Experience with Guy Delisle's Factory Summers, Kelli explores The Fever Dream of Taiyo Matsumoto’s No.5, and Sean Cohea and Rob McMonigal both analyze other year end favorites with Will McPhail Makes Us All Look Inward With IN and Halloween Horror: Dai Dark is Gloriously Drawn, Over-the-Top Murderfest.
Here's a trio of pieces from Ritesh Babu, two about one of our favorite writers, Ram V. For his newsletter, Letters from Limbo, he writes the piece about Laila Starr that I was dying to read given my ultra-limited background in Indian mythology and religion with The Avatars of Life and Death. He explores These Savage Shores and its themes of colonialism and racism in Civilized Monsters: These Savage Shores and the Colonialist Cage for Neotext. And, finally, at Comics Bookcase, he writes a beautiful appreciation for my absolute favorite letter, Aditya Bidikar - Love of Letters Presents: Comics Anatomy - The Letters of Absurd Realities
Sloane Leong has been more active with her blog as of recent, and I've enjoyed her dives into story construction - What Makes a Good Story? – trust not the eye; make of your meat an imaging device.
I never tended to write about Big 2 books even though they litter my bookshelves and shortboxes, and now I'm reading fewer and fewer superhero books, but anything that contains the Coffin Bound team of Watters/Dani/Bidikar is going to get my attention. David Brooke from AIPT proclaims ‘Arkham City: The Order of the World’ #1 could be the start to a masterpiece.
As we put together our year-end favorites list, Scott told me that Crisis Zone might be his favorite book of 2021 (and 2020). Rebecca Kaplan moderated and compiled a discussion for Comics Bookcase featuring Sophia Glock, Zack Quaintance, and Avery Kaplan that revels in the glory of the Hanselmann insta-classic.
For WWAC, Kate Kosturski summarizes the Comic-Con at Home panel about representation in Comics Journalism, featuring Heidi MacDonald, Tiffany Babb, and Wendy Browne.
Mark Newgarden interviews Glenn Head about his memoir, Chartwell Manor, at TCJ.com. Also, Alex Dueben interviewed Matt Lubchansky on the eve of the publication of the Antifa Super-Solider Cookbook (that Scott also wrote about here.
At Neotext, Sergio Lopez writes an incredibly thoughtful examination of How Pastiche Comic Books Help Us Rewrite Our Own History.
I truly enjoyed ComisXF's Laila Starr coverage from Andres Aryes and Armaan Babu.
It's hard to pick out one thing from The Daily Cartoonist, so, just have some fun poking around there. And, apologies for when you look down at your watch and find out it's two hours later.
I usually read Ryan C's Four Color Apocalypse to find things I'll never come across otherwise, but this three-part series - Of Comic Books, Capitalism, And Culture War Crackpots, Or : What A Bisexual Superman Means — And What It Doesn’t - sums up the state of affairs quite well.
Finally, my own favorite writing this year was a Panel Patter essay I wrote, The Apotheosis of a Punk in Gary Panter's Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise from NYRC.