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Comics/Graphic Novels

Off-Panel: December 19, 2014

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

Here’s your weekly round-up of comics news stories we found interesting, from the gutters and beyond.



By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla
Archie Comics

One of the biggest surprises of the year has been how willing Archie Comics (the publisher) has been to take risks. Afterlife With Archie, where Riverdale has been overrun with zombies, really lets them cut loose. This is due in no small part to the stylish artwork of Francesco Francavilla, who approaches this book with a bold use of color and design that looks unlike any Archie Comic that has come before it. He and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa are taking this material seriously, mixing classic horror elements from the likes of George Romero, H.P. Lovecraft, and the Warren Publishing horror magazines of the 1970s with the core essence of characters like Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Mental Floss offers up the 25 Most Interesting Comics of 2014 (I find the lack of Letter 44 disturbing).



Ryan Adams is going to make comics, and Consequence of Sound has the rundown. He’s doing it all but the colouring, apparently, including soundtracking the comics, and it looks like IDW is going to publish them.

I still prefer Bryan Adams, but that’s because I bleed maple syrup, eh. (Oh my god, I would totally read a Bryan Adams comic.)


So it came as a particular disappointment when last week’s Batgirl #37 contained themes and imagery that were transphobic and transmisogynistic, leading several critics to call out the creative team for their insensitivity. This weekend the creators offered a statement of apology, saying, “we want to acknowledge the hurt and offense we’ve caused.”

Spoilers follow.

Comics Alliance ran a thorough round-up of the (valid, appropriate, necessary) criticisms of Batgirl #37 and the transphobia it displayed. I also encourage you to check out pieces by Mey at Autostraddle and Rachel Stevens at Women Write About Comics.



The Eisner judges for 2015 have been announced, and this is super weird you guys but I’m not on the list?


Everyone was reading them, and the people producing comic books at the time — illustrators, writers, creatives — were often immigrants and minorities who were shut out of more respected fields of publishing in one way or another.

If you don’t know the history of comics censorship in America — or even if you think you do — this Vox piece is a fascinating read about paranoia, fear, and the damage “think of the children!” can do.