§ I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Welcome to 2018. Let’s start this year with some nice art from Maddi Gonzalez, a Mexican-American illustrator based in Minneapolis. She’s worked on a number of anthologies, including Elements Anthology: Fire and Fresh Romance. I like her use of colour and the variety of characters she can draw. She’s working on a webcomic called Uncanny Valley High.
§ Please note that due to a combination of slower news month and the fact that I haven’t been able to devote as much time this column during the Christmas break, this is going to be much shorter than usual. It should be able to tide you over since the comics news cycle started again earlier this week.
§ Let’s start by showcasing the hard work of our team on the “Best of 2017” list. I think we managed to showcase a diverse array of books and everyone should be able to find a book they’d want to spend the gift cards they received in December. https://www.comicsbeat.com/the-beats-best-comics-of-2017/
§ Austin Lanari takes aim at comics criticism. Writing about comics doesn’t have standardized guides so each writes tend to have a different approach. Lanari takes exception to a specific type of criticism that analyze the individual page, the mechanic of it if you will, without explaining the effects of the choices made on the page. Don’t lose the forest for the tree basically. It’s an interesting read if you’re interested in how comics work and how criticism works
§ TCJ interviews Zainab Akhtar and Patrick Crotty of Peow Studio. They recently hired comic critic and entrepreneur Zainab Akhtar (Comics & Cola, Shortbox). Peow Studio makes really amazing book, it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this in 2018
§ Osvaldo Oyola on the jerkiness of Professor X. Oyola uses the watershed #metoo movement to address the history of abusive behaviour coming from Charles Xavier. Xavier is such a creepy jerk, particularly when it comes to Jean Grey. A great article from Oyola once again
§ Alex Dueben interviews Annie Koyama on 10 years of Koyama Press and the next 10 years
§ CBC’s comics coverage remains excellent, even if sometimes you hear the usual “Bam Pow Wham, comics aren’t for kids anymore”
§ I had missed this interview with cartoonist Jay Odjick on his illustrated children’s book with Robert Munsch. My son loves it and that’s the best compliment I can give this book. It’s great
§ While you could make a strong case for Marvel being hexed with a curse to give them one of the worst PR year in recent history, the Akira Yoshida/CB Cebulski story was probably the oddest comic book news of 2017.
§ Lina Gaibeh’s comic Education in Fear: Growing up in the Assad Regime over at the Nib is pretty powerful stuff.
§ Moving forward, I won’t showcase comics in this column. The Beat has been focusing free comics for the last year and I intend on giving cartoonist making great comics a bigger spotlight rather than burying their story in this column. Look for the year of free comics feature on the Beat!
If you see something I should know about, tell me in the comments or tweet at me @Leblanc_Phil. Happy New Year!
Philippe Leblanc is a Canadian comics journalist. In his regular life, he improves Canadian medical education, and is the co-host of the Ottawa Comic Book Club. He reads alternative, indie and art comics at night and write about them for the Comics Beat.