Another amazing issue of TCJ! Departing editor Dirk Deppey goes out with a bang. Starting with the instant classic cover by the mega-talented newcomer R. Kikuo Johnson in which he parades his chops by expertly mimicking the styles of a host of comics art greats, this 272-page monster of an issue is almost certainly the single most interview packed issue in TCJ's history (and we're hard pressed to think of any issue of any other comics publication that can lay claim to equalling this): The major interview is with the cover artist Johnson, but there are a slew of excellent shorter interviews with: Chynna Clugston, the wickedly intelligent talent behind Blue Monday, Scooter Girl and much more; Chris Staros, the chief executive of the major indy comics publisher,Top Shelf; classic comics critic, Donald Phelps; Comico and Dark Horse Comics editor, Diana Schutz; Jean-Chrstophe Menu; Chris Onstad; Mark Siegel; Dallas Middaugh; Joey Manley; and... the transcript of Gary Groth's aborted 1996 attempt to interview the now recently deceased comics great, Alex Toth -- which turns out to have been the last time the two ever spoke. There's also a heartfelt tribute to Toth by perhaps the single most significant inheritor of his style, Howard Chaykin. The three-part history of the ups and down of the direct market peels the lid off a critical component of the business side of comics and provides a fascinating (well, maybe not to you) look at how the form and content of comic books have been (and continue to be) intimately related to how they are distributed and -- some might say unfortunately -- to the people who are responsible for their distribution as well; for, in the final analysis, this is where the money is. Michael Dean's piece on the inception of the direct market should be required reading for anyone who considers themself a student of comics history. And then there's the piece de résistance of the issue: a beautiful reprint of the entirety of It Rhymes with Lust, "An Original Picture Novel" written by Drake Waller (probably a psuedonym) and drawn by golden age great, Matt Baker. This 128-page work -- which was originally printed as a pocketbook paperback, and is here reprinted in a 2-up, side-by-side, horizontal format that works to capture the original reading experience -- can lay claim to being a progenitor of the modern graphic novel, but most importantly is the fact of its existence -- a sustained long form work by one of the greatest golden age artists, Matt Baker!