Start reading the amazing Comics Journal and you may find yourself drawn in deeply, almost against your will. Equal parts trade publication, fanzine, and critical review, the monthly magazine covers its field with passion and knowledge–and a thoroughness that’s almost alarming.
Comics Journal takes comics seriously, whether it’s examining comic books, graphic novels, editorial cartoons, comic strips, mini-comics, or comics published only on the Web. Each issue is jammed with a staggering range of material, sometimes introducing little-known work by new artists and at other times delving into a deep analysis of issue #24 of Comic X.
Not just for insiders, Comics Journal should interest anyone who’s ever read and thought twice about the daily funnies, Zap Comix, New Yorker cartoons, Archie, or the politics of editorial cartooning. R.C. Harvey’s article ‘2001 in Remembrance and War’ and Dan Holloway’s ‘Ground Zero Newspaper Strips: The Boondocks in 2001′ (both January 2002) place Aaron McGruder’s work in a broader context, examining other cartoonists’ responses to the attacks of September 11.
Founded in 1976, the magazine also looks at comics from both an international and legal perspective, covering court cases involving publishers, copyright, and the estates of cartoonists. It’s also historical, running long interviews with comics veterans as well as contemporary artists, not to mention interesting obituaries.
Comics Journal occasionally publishes special editions that are practically coffee table books. The oversized Winter 2002 volume (‘Cartoonists on Cartooning’) contains a fascinating interview with Joe Sacco, as well as self-referential comics by 40 artists, including Art Spiegelman, Carol Tyler, Phoebe Gloeckner, and Jaime Hernandez.
While the Comics Journal Web site (www.tcj.com) reprints dozens of interviews and articles, they are just a small taste from this large ongoing banquet.
Subscriptions: $40 for 10 issues from Comics Journal, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.