Hass Otsmane-Elhaou is a comics critic after my own heart. A structuralist through and through, I and many others first fell in love with his work after discovering Strip Panel Naked, a hit video essay YouTube channel that analytically explores the tools that great cartoonists use to inspire, shock, and entertain readers. Now, Hass is taking his critical work a step further with PanelxPanel, a new monthly digital magazine of comics criticism that continues and expands upon the work he’s done with Strip Panel Naked.
Each month, PanelxPanel will have a series of articles dedicated to analyzing and exploring a specific title– think of it like a regular meeting of a book club. In this first issue, PanelxPanel will spotlight Beautiful Canvas #1, which is written by Ryan Lindsay, drawn by Sami Kivela, colored by Triona Farrell, lettered by Ryan Ferrier, and published by Black Mask. The magazine will feature an interview with Beautiful Canvas‘ creators, include process pieces that give readers a behind the scenes look at the artistic process of the spotlight title, and contain a special Strip Panel Naked article about Beautiful Canvas written by Otsmane-Elhaou himself.
In addition to spotlighting a new book each month, every issue of PanelxPanel will include a variety of regular columns written by fellow critics as well as writers and artists that you know and love. These columns range from creator-on-creator interviews to comics recommendations to actual full comics! This first issue features work from Rob Williams (Suicide Squad, Unfollow), Ollie Masters (Sons of Anarchy), Aditya Bidikar (Black Cloud, Motor Crush), and many others.
When asked for comment, Otsmane-Elhaou said that “PanelxPanel is a natural extension of the type of thing I do with Strip Panel Naked– that is, to look at comics and want to know how and why they connect with people. PanelxPanel as a magazine is designed to be my idea of what writing about comics could be, full of love, praise, and passion for the medium. A mix of voices, fans, critics, shops, creators, all contributing to a single magazine issue that captures why comics are a beautiful medium to tell stories in.”
The first issue of PanelxPanel comes out tomorrow alongside Beautiful Canvas #1. You can pre-order it now if you’re ready, but if you really need more convincing, check out the full text of Aditya Bidkar’s essay on how he approaches lettering from a philosophical standpoint.