Review: David Welsh analyzes the first volume of Satsuma Gishiden, which combines extreme violence, political maneuvering, and public works projects to good effect.
Review: Rob Vollmar on all seven volumes of Oishinbo, which is not your typical shonen-battle cooking manga:
Often, Yamaoka and crew will help a struggling business turn around by showing them the error of mishandling a vital ingredient to their menu. Even if only patiently explaining how minor differences in procedure or food quality can effect a given dish, Oishinbo reveals its most important function; namely, holding a sustained and very personal dialogue between writer and audience about the nature of food and our relationship to it.
Review: Tom Ewing discusses the Image series Phonogram:
For one of the friends I lent Phonogram to, the phonomancy parts crystallized “the indie-teen conviction that indie people are magically better at feeling music than other people are.” What would it be like, Phonogram asks, if listening to your special music actually did make you special?
The answer, Ewing concludes, is “It would suck,” but how he gets there makes interesting reading.
Religious studies: R.C. Harvey checks some cameos by God in various comic strips and concludes that the funny pages reflect society’s casual attitude toward Him.
Fandom: Dante only had nine circles of hell, but Matt Blind manages to tease out ten levels of fandom.
Review: Larry “El Santo” Cruz analyzes the Zuda comic Bayou and finds there is much to recommend it despite the annoying interface.
Underrated: Ben Morse explains what he loves about X-Men 2099, even if no one else sees it.
Mythology: At Myth and Manga, Akemi has a brief look at the Japanese folk tale that Masashi Kishimoto borrowed for Naruto.
Perspective: Erica Friedman, the newest contributor to The Hooded Utilitarian, introduces herself:
My perspective is that I do not read comics like most women, nor do I read comics the same way men do just because I’m a lesbian. I don’t like big breasted female characters with tiny waists AND I don’t like sunken-chested, sparkly lads, but I do like strong women. I have this utterly weird belief that comics don’t owe us reality in situation, but they do owe us realistic portraits of people acting consistently within the rules of the world portrayed in the story.