Previously on Comics: Season’s Gratings

Hello again, dear reader. Once a month it’s my turn to conceptualize all the things that happened in the past week and think about what, of everything, is too important to leave out, and how best to try to make sure it doesn’t get overlooked. Some weeks I manage that better than other weeks. Some weeks there’s a clear theme. And then there’s weeks like this week, where everything’s a jumbled mess that grates on one’s nerves.

Firstly, do you like sales? If you’re interested in some of those Vault Comics titles that WWAC has been telling you about both in Pubwatches and reviews, the publisher is doing something pretty cool from now through New Year’s.

They also have a Sci-Fi bundle digital “sampler” for $1 (or more) that is eligible for the promotion.

All semester, The University of Winnipeg held lectures in support of their One Book UW program, which spotlighted the indigenous comics anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. Last week, writer and comics creator David Alexander Robertson spoke at the keynote address on comics and indigenous identity. You can watch it, and all the other lectures, on the lecture series webpage.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt just announced it will be creating a children’s graphic novel imprint called Etch, to be overseen by Catherine Onder. I like the “imprint” approach because it makes it seem like the publisher is taking comics more seriously if they’re putting together an imprint for it. It also makes good administrative and logistical sense. The books also sound cool

Margaret Atwood wrote about her childhood reading comics and the upcoming anthology from Drawn & Quarterly, Little Lulu: Working Woman, for The New Yorker, and it reminded me of my favorite and potentially underrated Art Spiegelman comic, In the Shadow of No Towers, which also has, at its core, an exploration of ephemera and the meaning of it. It’s good for an existential crisis.

Jess Chen has been promoted to Editor of the Batbooks at DC, which seems very cool except she’s leaving the Superfam to do it, and I feel sorry for anyone who has to leave Superman for Batman.

Rebecca Hendin won an award for a derivative cartoon where Boris Johnson is sitting in a chair in a room on fire saying “This is fine,” and KC Green wrote a very classy response on twitter to people harassing her over it. The whole thread is well-worth reading.

I think I might buy a “This is Fine” dog.

In other news, Jesse Thorn has come forth about an extremely strange interview years ago with the creators of Penny Arcade. It’s the kind of thing that would’ve been a decent story to tell friends at parties, except after this interaction the Penny Arcade folks opted to craft an excoriating blog post and comic, thereby painting a target on Thorn’s back for their fanbase. Thorn opted not to run the interview back then, and has held silent about it for years despite consistent streams of abuse. When he finally did post the show on his own userboards, one of the Penny Arcade folks again took the opportunity to label him as “toxic.” Now, Jesse has detailed events from his perspective here.

Comics artist Joshua Luna has penned a thread detailing his abuse at the hands of his (ex-)brother Jonathan Luna. He details both emotional and physical abuse and clarifies that Jonathan was even controlling his cashflow, which is a common tactic of abusers to keep their victims in line.

Joshua’s thread is detailed, organized, and pretty damning. Jonathan has offered a limited public response of his own, calling the accusations ‘offensive’ and hoping they’ll be ‘friends’ again.

We’re nine days into December and I’ve finally hung my Christmas lights outside, and I’m filled with the holiday spirit of hey why don’t we help other people, and if you are so inclined to help people (or help people help people), you can help spread awareness about something important. Comics creator David Gallaher has had a rough time of it and the medical debt is making it worse:

I was 29 when I had my first seizure, and started having up to eight seizures a day. I was told that I might not live to see 30. However, I radically changed my diet and my medication, and through a lot of hard work and determination I got the disorder under control for almost 15 years.

Unfortunately last year, at 43 years old, a sudden resurgence of chronic seizures beginning in 2018 caused out-of-pocket and out-of-network medical expenses to grow to over $63,000. I have tried to appeal the expenses and have tried to work with the hospital to lower bills to $25,000. Even then, this is money that I just don’t have – money it will take years to pay off.

To be honest, the stress of this mountain of debt took its toll on me emotionally and mentally. The burden of financial responsibility has been overwhelming.

In the past six days he’s managed to raise $10,000 on his GoFundMe, which means the world is filled with amazing, generous people. Let’s help him find more.


Kate Tanski

Kate Tanski

Recovering academic. Fangirl. Geek knitter.