Comics Lowdown | S. Clay Wilson passes away

Plus: ‘Brzrkr’ orders, ‘Immortal Hulk’ #43, Stan Lee, John Porcellino and more!

Underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson, creator of the Checkered Demon, Captain Pissgums and his Pervert Pirates, and numerous other transgressive characters, all of whom he wedged into his signature hyper-detailed panels, has died at the age of 79. Wilson grew up in Nebraska and eventually moved to San Francisco, where he was a contributor to Zap Comics and an integral part of the underground comix scene. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008 and the condition worsened in 2010.

Brian Cronin sums up his life and career at CBR, but if you really want to get your heart broken, read this 2010 interview with Wilson’s sister about his early work and how the brain injury affected him. And for a fuller appreciation of his art and thought, here’s a Comics Journal interview that was done shortly before his injury.

Marvel will change the artwork for digital releases, future printings and collections containing Immortal Hulk #43, due to accusations that the comic includes antisemitic imagery. The artwork in question, by Joe Bennett, is for panel depicting a jewelry shop window where the “L” is missing, showing it as “jewery,” with a Star David displayed beneath it. In his write-up for CBR, Brian Cronin contrasts it against anther incident where an artist put antisemitic images into his artwork — Ardiaf Syaf artist for X-Men Gold #1. Meanwhile, at The Beat, Joe Gruenwald asks how the artwork made it past the numerous people involved with creating the comic, including the editors, colorist and letterer.

“I failed to understand this troubling and offensive stereotype, and after listening to you all, I now understand my mistake,” Bennett said in a Facebook post. “This was wrong, offensive, and hurtful in many ways. This is a mistake I must own, and I am sorry to everyone who I hurt by this.”

The American Library Association’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table has released its very first “Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List,” which is a nice addition to its annual “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” list.

“While the growth of comics for children and young adults has received well-deserved praise and attention across ALA, the same hasn’t held true for adult comics,” said GNCRT President-Elect Matthew Noe. “I’m thrilled that the GNCRT is now addressing that gap with the launch of this list! I look forward to the continuation and growth of this work within the round table. Not only will the Best Graphic Novels for Adults list continue in the years to come, but we are also continuing our collaboration with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in creating a series of Black Lives Matter Comics Reading Lists – highlighting and celebrating Black creators and stories in comics.”

The Biz

Meanwhile, in Japan: The manga series Ajin: Demi-Human will come to an end with volume 17. The final chapter was published on Friday in Japan and on Crunchyroll, which is simul-pubbing the chapters.

Berserk over Keanu: Orders for the first issue of BOOM! Studios’ upcoming title Brzrkr, co-written by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt with art by Ron Garney, came in at 616,841 copies, according to ICv2 — the second-highest announced orders for a single comic book in this century. It’s second to Star Wars #1 from Marvel, which saw orders of 985,976 back in 2015.

Recommended Reading

Books at length: Stephanie Burt reads and discusses True Believer, Abraham Reisman’s bio of Stan Lee, at the New Yorker.

Singular comics craftsmanship of the highest order“: AJ Frost talks to John Porcellino about the reissue of King-Cat Classix and other books from his library of work by Drawn + Quarterly.

Awards: The Scotsman spotlights Tomorrow’s Kitchen, a graphic novel cookbook featuring artwork by Shuangshuang Hao that has been nominated in the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards 2021.


Canceled! The organizers of Anime Boston have canceled the show for the second year in a row, due to COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts; the 2022 show is scheduled for May 27-29.

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