Author Archives: Paul Lai

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Reviews
“After the Rain”

By | Jan 29, 2021 | Reviews

Sometimes with startling horror, the past pounces on you. It can be a sober, often terrifying, but ultimately liberating experience of reckoning. John Jennings is a creator whose growing contribution to comics as socially significant literary arts can hardly be measured. With Abrams ComicArts, Jennings has launched an imprint, MEGASCOPE, a line presenting speculative (sci […]

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Columns
My Comics Year: Still Reading

By | Dec 29, 2020 | Columns

“Because the city that says it’s freed itself of emotion… runs on emotion.” -“Far Sector” #9, NK Jemisin (Story), Jamal Campbell (Art and Color), Deron Bennett (Lettering) (DC Comics) In the year 2020, I almost quit on comics. I figure in a year like 2020, one could hardly be blamed for that attrition. But in […]

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Displacement Featured Reviews
“Displacement”

By | Nov 24, 2020 | Reviews

In “Displacement” (First Second), Kiku Hughes avails herself of several gifts of comics craft to imaginatively inhabit the hard and human history of the WWII Japanese American incarceration camps, which Hughes’ grandmother endured as a young woman, where a time-displaced Hughes winds up by a magic of fiction. “Displacement” utilizes how comics can bend time […]

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Reviews
“The Winter of the Cartoonist”

By | Sep 23, 2020 | Reviews

An able teller of subtle tales, Paco Roca retraces a pivot point in Spanish comics history in “The Winter of the Cartoonist” (Fantagraphics Books), showing with Mad Men-like nuance that there was nothing subtle about the forces shaping that vibrant and yet exploitative industry in the winter of 1957. Though specific to the cartooning heroes of Roca’s […]

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Reviews
“The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist”

By | Sep 2, 2020 | Reviews

The boutique-y material object, covered in black Moleskin-like wrappings, complete with “New York Times Bestselling Author” sticker, tips the reader off (in case you didn’t know) to the highbrow graphic novel event that is the release of Adrian Tomine’s “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist” from Drawn + Quarterly. But comics fans turned off by […]

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Reviews
“November Vol. 2: The Gun in the Puddle”

By | Jun 26, 2020 | Reviews

Do you feel that isolation? That lingering, spiraling alienation when, after enduring global and personal calamities, the world still keeps proving that it’s conspiring against you rather than lifting you up to fly? The timing of the second volume of “November,” subtitled “The Gun in the Puddle,” is eerily matched to our unique moment. As […]

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Interviews
Mark Russell Uncovers “Billionaire Island” and “Second Coming”

By | Apr 2, 2020 | Interviews

In the past five years, writer Mark Russell has emerged on the comics scene with a distinctive wit and sensibility that has critics lauding his wide-ranging work, from DC’s “Prez,” “The Flintstones,” “Exit Stage Left: Snugglepuss Chronicles,” and “Wonder Twins,” to his turns on “Red Sonja” and “Lone Ranger” (Dynamite) and “Judge Dredd: Under Siege” […]

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Reviews
“Dragon Hoops”

By | Mar 24, 2020 | Reviews

On its surface, Gene Luen Yang’s “Dragon Hoops” (First Second) tells a basketball story. An ensemble story about a team of high school ballers, the Oakland Bishop O’Dowd Dragons, their coach Lou Richie, the players’ intriguing and diverse backgrounds, and their road through a momentous 2015 campaign for the California State Championships in men’s hoops. […]

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Podcasts
Comics Syllabus 215: Mark Russell talks “Billionaire Island” and “Second Coming”

By | Mar 10, 2020 | Podcasts

Or download the podcast episode here. On this week’s episode, we’re graced by an interview with Mark Russell, writer of the Ahoy Comics series “Billionaire Island” with artist Steve Pugh and the newly collected first arc of “Second Coming” with artist Richard Pace. Mark Russell talks with Paul about the origins of these sharply satirical […]

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