The current sensation in (free!) webcomics is Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, a collaboration between DC Comics and Webtoons that takes Batman’s mentoring of various young sidekicks and Bat-branded superheroes in a humorous, manga-influenced direction. The first four episodes are here. Family Adventures updates every Thursday. The Family artists also have social media accounts packed with art: main cartoonist StarBite is on Instagram and Twitter, storyboard artist Maria Li is on Twitter, and background artist Lan Ma (responsible for the adorable Commissioner Gordon above) is likewise on Twitter. (Thanks to The Comics Beat for links to these accounts.)


More thanks to The Comics Beat for their recent interview with Chan Chau, the artist for the new Baby-Sitters’ Club graphic novel Kristy and the Snobs, based on the novel by Ann Martin. Interviewer Avery Kaplan includes images of Chau’s process, showing a Kristy page growing from rough digital “pencils” to a finished, brightly colored whole. Chau’s website also features some beautiful work, including the above playful cover for Batman: The Adventures Continue, Season II #3. (Looks like whimsical takes on Batman are our theme this week!)


To celebrate their BugFest (which wraps up this weekend), Raleigh’s North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has posted a YouTube video from the point of view of a drone dressed up as a bee, flying through the Museum and showing off the fantastic exhibits and the majestic dinosaur bones hanging from the Museum’s ceiling. And even though the Museum is now open to the public—with appropriate Covid protocols—they continue to program plenty of virtual events too. Look over the Museum’s website for more virtual tours, activities for all ages, and more!


On Previews World, the website for the biggest comic book distribution company in the U.S., Troy-Jeffrey Allen interviews Godwin Akpan, a Nigerian cartoonist and the co-creator of Iyanu: Child of Wonder, about an orphan who discovers, in classic superhero fashion, that she has “abilities that rival the ancient deities told in the folklore of her people.” The interview focuses on Akpan’s process for creates his character designs and pages, beginning with rough sketches and culminating in lush color. If you like Akpan’s art, you can find more samples at his ArtStation site and Instagram feed. Also, congratulations to Akpan, who got married last year; see beautiful photos of the bride and groom on Akpan’s Instagram too!


Some might not remember the comic strip Cathy, but for 34 years (1976-2010) the cartoonist Cathy Guisewite chronicled the travails of the single woman in our modern world who navigates the dangers of fad diets, domineering mothers, and bad boyfriends. GoComics has the complete run of Cathy available, beginning with the very first strip, published on November 22, 1976. And comedian and writer Jamie Loftus has completed Aack Cast, a 10+ hour, multi-part podcast exploring (in the words of the AV Club), “the strip’s place in comics history, the realities it showcases (or overlooks), and what we get wrong about the protagonist’s perpetual state of befrazzlement.” The AV Club’s review of Aack Cast is a rave: “If you think you don’t need several hours of content unpacking the enduring legacy of the Cathy comic strip and defending the character against her mocking detractors, prepare to feel as foolish as Cathy shopping for swimwear.” (Aack Cast is full of spicy language; it’s best for older teens and adults.)


This week Public Domain Review, a website dedicated to collecting and presenting online out-of-copyright materials, showcased “700 Years of Dante’s Divine Comedy in Art.” The Divine Comedy begins with “The Inferno,” as Dante Alighieri, the poet himself, is stuck in a mid-life crisis of belief, having “lost the path that does not stray.” What follows is Dante’s account of God’s structure of the Universe, from a tour of Hell and Purgatory, to a celebration of the joys of Paradise for those who remain devout to Christian doctrine. Dante’s epic poem has inspired centuries of illustration, especially of “The Inferno” and its descriptions of unique punishments—see Priamo della Querica’s 1450 image of Satan devouring Cassius, Judas, and Brutus in his three mouths, included here.  (Alert to parents: some of the images in the gallery on Public Domain Review include classical, non-prurient nudity.) For more about Dante’s writing, check out Columbia University’s Digital Dante site.

This weekly blog post is written and compiled by Craig Fischer. To send along recommendations, ideas, and comments, contact Craig at [email protected] [.]

Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #72 (September 10, 2021)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #74 (September 24, 2021)
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