Brainiac On Banjo: Hey, Kids! VIOLENCE!!!

Brainiac On Banjo: Hey, Kids! VIOLENCE!!!

I’m a mean mistweetah, A wabbit feastah, And I pwedict, A bwoody Eastaw, A scuwowing shadow, And dah shadow was dis wabbit, And dah night aiwah echoes, Kill dah wabbit! — Bob Rivers, Kill The Wabbit, 2009

Felix The Cat was our first animated hero, making his debut in Otto Messmer’s Feline Follies in 1919. The plot: A stereotypical old lady goes out for the evening, leaving her house in the hands of her kitty, Mister Tom (played by Felix – look, just go with that). Being a tom cat, once the coast is clear Felix splits to his girlfriend’s house for an off-screen tête-à-tête.

Of course, while the cat’s away the mice will play. In fact, they’ll rip the old lady’s house apart. By the time Felix returns, the house is decimated but he’s too blissed out to notice. Then the owner returns, freaks out at all the damage, beats the poo out of Felix and slings him out of the house.

The slightly indignant Felix doesn’t care. He goes back to his girlfriend’s house and is greeted with open paws. Then about a billion newborn kittens, each looking exactly like Felix, swarms all over their papa. Evidently, cartoon kitties have a remarkably short gestation period. Be this as it may, it is now Felix’s turn to freak. He runs away, straight to the nearby gas field where he attaches a hose to an in-ground spigot and commits suicide.

Was there general outrage over Feline Follies? Was there an upsurge of kids running to gas fields to off themselves? Did anybody ban the sale of brooms to cat-owners?

Hell, no. People didn’t take this stuff seriously. It was a cartoon, not a documentary.

Was Messmer advocating violence by mice, cats or old ladies? Was he advocating unprotected kitty sex? Was he suggesting suicide was the best way to handle trauma? Again, hell no. It was a cartoon.

Because my brain is wired differently than yours, I thought of Feline Follies when I heard of a comics writer/artist being accused of being a fascist for working on a best-selling heroic fantasy comic book. Said writer/artist was accused by another writer/artist, who was no stranger to the concept of cartoon violence. If you labor in the fields of heroic fantasy, evidently, you are wearing an invisible SS uniform. Well, as Lenny Bruce pointed out, “Gestapo? I’m the damn mailman!”

Violence has been the cornerstone of heroic fantasy going back to the Year Gimmel. The line was blurry when the major source of such stories was in the realm of the religions that are now regarded as mythology as well as the religions that various warring factions today regard as gospel. But once it is removed from these trappings of conviction, fictional violence is just a plot device. If Elmer Fudd inspires your kid to want to get a shotgun, your kid needs professional help.

But once parenting became perceived as a science – which it is not; it’s an art form – “cartoon violence” had to be… edited. ‘Doilies for the mind’, to quote Mason Williams. The Three Stooges have been entertaining people since 1922, but their oeuvre became scissor-fodder in the early 1960s. How many of you have great-great grandparents whose eyes were poked out? Bugs Bunny is a latecomer, having debuted (as developed) some 80 years ago. He, too, has suffered the fate of a thousand cuts.

Entire generations of humans have been raised since we became smotheringly overprotective. Are we now a less violent society? Maybe you’ve never read a “newspaper,” but if your knowledge intake is limited to even the most anti-social of social media you should be aware that real-world violence remains a VERY Big Deal. Maybe we should deal with the real, physical issues that lead to such behavior instead of emasculating Wile E. Coyote and Larry Fine.

I have been known to toss the fascist tag around myself. I understand the definition of the term because I know how to work a dictionary. I try to use it appropriately, even when I’m being purposely offensive. Simply working on a heroic fantasy story that involves such violence does not make you a fascist, it makes you a storyteller. Batman could be perceived as a colloquial fascist, yet many of his better stories have been created by the late card-carrying liberal Denny O’Neil as well as by his opposite number on the right, Chuck Dixon. This does not make either a fascist.

Owning a gun, let alone writing about owning a gun, does not make you a fascist. Believing Smith and Wesson, Ruger and Colt should be in charge of our foreign policy just might – but any student of 20th century history should know better.

With Further Ado #150: The Prescience of Superman

With Further Ado #150: The Prescience of Superman

Last week I presented my interview with Roy Schwartz about his new book Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero. This time around, let’s take another look at Superman, albeit in a decidedly batshit crazy way.

Rescued from the Bargain Box

Recently, I rescued a copy of Superman #184 from the bargain box at Ravenwood in Utica, NY.  This comic, originally from February 1966, sports a cover by Superman stalwarts Curt Swan, George Klein and Ira Schnapp.  Or at least ¾ of the cover. I love three-quarter-covers, although this mutilation renders it a pariah by many collectors. We used to see more of these ripped covers in the old days. Before the direct market was established, retailers would be required to send back their unsold comics for credit. After a while, that proved to be too cumbersome, so the practice of sending back only the cover, or only the top logo from the cover, was adopted.  The leftover comics were often not destroyed and instead illegally resold at a discount. Continue reading “With Further Ado #150: The Prescience of Superman”

Reviews: New Number Ones for the Week of 6/2/2021 – Basilisk #1, The Nice House on the Lake #1, Out of Body #1, and The Worst Dudes #1

Reviews: New Number Ones for the Week of 6/2/2021 – Basilisk #1, The Nice House on the Lake #1, Out of Body #1, and The Worst Dudes #1

It has been a while since we did one of these, but if you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have four books for you. They are from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Dark Horse Comics and Boom! Studios.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones.

Three of the books that we reviewed have heavy conflicts with somber moods and one is a hilariously entertaining romp.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: Basilisk #1, The Nice House on the Lake #1, Out of Body #1, and The Worst Dudes #1

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order:

Basilisk #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Jonas Scharf
Colors by Alex Guimarães
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover Art by Scharf

9.03

This book is excellent. The entire creative team lends wonderful craftsmanship to the completed work. The pacing of the beginning pages sets a foreboding mood and the colors marry perfectly with the tone of the line art. There is not a lot of dialogue but Ed Dukeshire does a great job laying it out. Cullen Bunn crafts an interesting premise in this first issue that portends an epic supernatural conflict in the coming issues. We are looking forward to more.


The Nice House on the Lake #1
DC Comics / Black Label
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Andworld Design
Cover Art by Martínez Bueno

9.35

James Tynion has done it again. This book is gripping. There is an opening sequence that sets the stage for this book, but we were sucked into the backstory that occupies the majority of the book, and it is captivating. This is a super dense first issue, but it flows nicely. The art is simply gorgeous, and Jordie Bellaire’s colors are sublime. The story is paced so well, and the end of the book raises the stakes to a level that belies the innocuous narrative that makes up the middle section of the book. We are on the edge of our seat waiting for the next issue.


Out of Body #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Inaki Miranda
Colors by Eva De La Cruz
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover Art by Miranda

9.00

This is book is haunting in multiple ways. Peter Milligan is again developing an intriguing supernatural mystery. The point of view shifts between two primary characters as they interact on the fringe of each other’s existence, and that technique is executed marvelously. Inaki Miranda’s linework is wonderful, particularly the facial acting. The colors by Eva De La Cruz are nothing short of spectacular, and Sal Cipriano’s lettering is critical to maintaining the reader’s focus through the multiple scene and point of view changes. Well done all around.


The Worst Dudes #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Aubrey Sitterson
Art by Tony Gregori
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover Art by Gregori & Kindzierski

8.35

This book is a raucous romp. It is a completely different mood from the other books on this list. While Aubrey Sitterson is developing an interesting narrative, the story is full of outrageous and edgy imagery. The book is a fun space adventure. The innovative character designs by Tony Gregori are well crafted. The bright and iridescent colors that Lovern Kindzierski uses let you know not to take this too seriously and fit the tone of the book. Taylor Esposito’s letters are a wonderful addition to the book. A very enjoyable read.


DISCLAIMER: 

We use a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously. Everyone has their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side, normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

  • Great
  • Good
  • OK
  •  No
New Number Ones: New Comics Titles Coming in June 2021

New Number Ones: New Comics Titles Coming in June 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in June. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

There are a bunch of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Scout Comics, and Black Mask Studios.

There are a few one-shot comics on this list. We usually stay away from those and stick to ongoing or mini-series, but these are too good to ignore.

We will bring you reviews of most of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 6/2/21
Week of 6/9/21
Week of 6/16/21
Week of 6/23/21
Week of 6/30/21


Week of June 2


Basilisk #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Jonas Scharf
Cover Art by Scharf

Who Can Stop The Chimera?

Five individuals bound by a cult-like hivemind, they terrorized small towns with their horrifying supernatural sense-based powers, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Regan, one of the Chimera, escaped and has been in hiding, with her murderous eyes bound, overcome with guilt.

Until now… when a victim from her past forces her to hunt down the other four of her kind.

New York Times bestselling horror writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jonas Scharf reunite to unleash a supernatural horror series for fans of Killadelphia and Stillwater rooted in the way we process the world – our senses.

Release Date: June 2, 2021

PCS NOTES: Let’s start out with a bang. The super-prolific Cullen Bunn leads off this month’s list with an intriguing new story. Don’t think this is Mr. Bunn’s only entry on this list.


Cherry Blackbird #1
Scout Comics
Written by Joseph Schmalke
Art by Schmalke
Cover Art by Schmalke

Rockstar Cherry Blackbird sold her soul for fame. Now at the age of 26, time is running short. The day she turns 27, she’ll be dragged to Hell. But Cherry is not one to go quietly. The Devil tasks her with collecting seven demonic souls that have escaped the Abyss. If she can do this before her next birthday, she’ll be released from her infernal pact and spared eternal damnation. Heaven help anyone who gets in her way!

Release Date: June 2, 2021

PCS NOTES: We are excited to get our hands on this Joseph Schmalke effort.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Titles Coming in June 2021”

With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?

With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?

It’s getting to be that time of year when I want to get my summer beach reading all lined up. That’s one reason why I was so eager to speak with author Roy Schwartz about his new book Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero.  Here’s my five-and-a-half questions and Roy’s five-and-a-half-answers:

Question 1:

Ed Catto: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Roy? And are you a comic fan?

Roy Schwartz: I’m a huge comic fan. I grew up on comics, it’s how I taught myself to read and write. My favorite has always been Captain America—and this goes way back, when people would say “who?”

I used to have a decent collection. 42 long boxes, which isn’t huge, but it was well-curated. I had a complete run of every Cap comic published from October 1964’s Tales of Suspense #58 (signed by Lee & Kirby!) to October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my storage unit and with it my lifelong collection overnight.

I’d like to give a shout-out here to Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics, who heard about it and sent me a few boxes of back issues. It was the sweetest gesture. This is a guy who spends his time and money volunteering for homeless causes around Denver. He’s a real-life superhero.

I don’t collect with the same gusto anymore, but my home office looks like a comic shop. I have a framed copy of Avengers #4, Cap shield and helmet replicas, life-size bust of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, a bunch of Hot Toys and other cool stuff.

When I’m not in fanboy mode I’m disguised as a mild-mannered director of marketing & business development for a great metropolitan law firm.

Question 2:

EC: Your book, Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero looks fascinating. What’s the book about? Continue reading “With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?”

With Further Ado #148: Two Giants Among Men – Kubert and Anderson

With Further Ado #148: Two Giants Among Men – Kubert and Anderson

In recent weeks, I’ve written about Bill Turner, who has been running the ITHACON comic convention for over 45 years. It’s quite a feat.  And when asked how it all started, Bill will tell the tale of the local comic club – where fans would meet to discuss and trade comics.

In today’s world, so many of those actual clubs have been replaced by online groups. I’m in a few comic-focused groups, and I find them to be (generally) fun and enlightening.

One group is dedicated to the DC character Hawkman. Ever since I was a kid in 1967 and I laid my eyes on Brave and the Bold #70, I’ve been a fan. This dynamic Carmine Infantino cover, with inks by Joe Giella, shows – astonishingly – Batman and Hawkman locked in a particularly brutal struggle. They aren’t messing around. Their costumes are shredded. The Batmobile is smashed-up.

”How could this be?”, my five-year-old mind screamed!

That sparked my Hawkman fascination. Just one step over from my Batman obsession.

Fast forward to today: Tim Board’s Hawkworld FB group has re-ignited my Hawkman passion. I’ve written about Tim back in With Further Ado #23.  And really, how could any classic comic fan not like Hawkman when so many fantastic creators have contributed their talents to this character?  Favorites like Gardner Fox, Ryan Sook, Rags Morales, Tim Truman, Mike Gold, Robert Vendetti, Tony Isabella, Graham Nolan, Tim Truman, Bryan Hitch …the list goes on and on.  And it includes two of my favorite, undeniable comic legends:  Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson.

Joe Kubert worked on Hawkman in the Golden Age and then helped relaunch the character during the Silver Age. After a few try-out issues in Brave and the Bold (that was a thing back then), he handed the artistic reigns over to fellow New Jerseyan Murphy Anderson.

Note: Murphy would become the cover and interior artist when Hawkman #1 debuted in 1964.

I had the supreme honor of getting to know both Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson a bit. Their artistic talents were off-the-charts. Beyond that I was really struck by how kind, humble and professional each of these gentlemen was. These were both exceptional people, in addition to being exceptional entrepreneurs, exceptional family men and exceptional artists.

That’s why, when I recently purchased a copy of Mystery in Space #87, one of the tryout issues for Hawkman, I was surprised-not-surprised to find the following letter in the letter column.  In this issue Joe was officially passing the baton to Murphy.  I was so impressed to find this gem as the first letter in the Letter to the Editors page, entitled (underwhelmingly) Via Rocket Mail.

Kubert rolls out the red carpet for his successor, Anderson. Does it get kinder, classier or more professional than this?

{And sharp-eyed comics fans will note editor Julie Schwartz stealing Stan Lee’s “nuff said” in his response to the letter.}

Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson. Geez, what great guys.

*Although I will always think of Murphy as a true-blue Tarheel!

As Is with Mike Gold: Boob’s Job

I’m a loser and I’m not what I appear to be / What have I done to deserve such a fate / I realize I have left it too late / And so it’s true, pride comes before a fall / I’m telling you so that you won’t lose all — John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I’m a Loser, 1964.

At the risk of repeating myself — something at which I’m quite good — the reason why the 1938 cartoon “Porky In Wackyland” is my favorite is because it has proven to be remarkably prescient.

83 years ago director Bob Clampett and writer Warren Foster created a seven and-one half minute affirmation of Dr. Sigmund Freud’s declaration that humor arises from breaking taboos, an observation voiced by historian Steve Schneider in his 1988 book That’s All, Folks! The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Clampett and Foster broke more societal norms than Bill Hicks on a dexedrine tear. Wackyland was a place so surreal that it could melt Salvatore Dali’s mustache.

It’s not really a fun place. Wackyland is quite scary, even by the laws of cartoon physics. In contemporary terms, the best corollary I can think of is the state of Florida.

To illustrate this point, I offer you the thousands of reports from our legitimate news media ever since the 2000 election, the one where their hanging chads led the Supreme Court to give, quite randomly, the presidential election to George W. Bush. Their present governor, the remarkably dangerous and morally obscene dictator Ron DeSantis who is gifted by Cult Leader and Presidential Loser Trump with new kneepads each week, is one of the most disgusting bigots of our current political class. If you think about that for a minute, that’s one hell of an achievement.

Student Riley O’Keefe, before alteration (L) and after (R). New York Times.

So it should come as no surprise that one of their public high schools has banned that tiny line in girls’ yearbook photographs that might indicate said girls were wearing a bra. I believe that line is referred to on The CW as “cleavage.”

WTF, you might ask? Yup. It’s true. At least 80 photos in the new Bartram Trail High School (just south of Jacksonville) were altered to eliminate any indication that these students had naturally maturing bodies. These alterations were made without the consent of the photographees or their parents. None of these particular students were male, but to be fair high school yearbook photos rarely include tight crotch shots… of male students.

Adrian Bartlett, the mother of a student whose visage was subject to the school’s reactionary computer molestation, told The St. Augustine Record her daughter’s picture was edited in her chest area to add more shirt coverage. “It sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies, and I think that’s a horrible message to send out to these young girls that are going through these changes.”

Bartram Trail High School

The school says these photos did not follow the policies dictated by their dress code. The parents of these girls say this is not the case in the least, and of course, the easily produced “before” photos stand as evidence to this point. Many of these censored portraits are quite easy to identify as the Photoshopping job often was done poorly and recklessly.

Not to mention needlessly. Their website states “all individual student pictures must be consistent with the St. Johns County School District Student Code of Conduct or may be digitally adjusted.” However, as noted, many parents do not believe those photos were in any such violation. Evidently, nowhere in their Code (which, in and of itself, is quite discriminatory) does it suggest teenage girls who possess bodies common to teenage girls must wear hazmat suits.

This is a new high bar in body shaming, done by people who obviously believe that teenage girls’ bodies are indeed shameful. If, young lady, you are not a slut your high school seems quite likely to show the world you are. Natural cleavage is bad and must be exorcised, at least at Bartram Trail High School in St. John’s Florida, where Principal Chris Phelps can be reached at (904) 547-8340.

If cleavage were to be forbidden in Florida, their tourism business would be destroyed. It is a deeply hypocritical moral Wackyland down there.

As for those of you who are saying to yourself “Well, sure, Mike, but it’s Florida and, like you said, they’re kinda weird!” I ask you this: if you really think this is happening only in Florida, check your local newspapers. If you’ve still got any. Check back around – oh, you know, prom time.

Brainiac On Banjo: Publish and Perish?

Brainiac On Banjo: Publish and Perish?

“I need you, but I hate to see you this way / If I were Superman then we’d fly away / I’d really like to change the world / And save it from the mess it’s in / I’m too weak, I’m so thin / I’d like to fly but I can’t even swim” — Ray Davies, (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman, 1979.

You might have heard the news. It’s been bombarding El Casa de Oro all week, and it’s been blitzing the interwebs to the point where I’m thinking of upgrading my dial-up. But just in case you’ve been away chasing after the Perseverance Rover, I’ll make my journalism teachers happy.

This past weekend, AT&T sold control and most of their ownership of their WarnerMedia division to Discovery Networks, owners of the many, many Discovery “cable” channels, HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, the Magnolia Network, and the Discovery+ streaming operation. They call this stuff “reality programming” but, as we all know, reality is in the mind of the beholder. As far as I’m concerned, that million-dollar vaccine lottery is the only reality show.

AT&T had only recently bought what they now call WarnerMedia — Warner Bros, CNN, HBO, Cinemax, the Cartoon Network, TCM, TBS, TNT, and a bunch of other stuff. If you can read the six-point type, you’ll discover they own some publishing as well, such as whatever is left of Mad Magazine and the meandering DC comics. Ma Bell went into so much debt to do this deal that, upon reading the report, King Midas reflexively picked his nose.

After acquiring that Denali of debt load, AT&T came down with a severe case of buyer’s remorse. I’m sure the stay-home-or-die principle that governed most thinking humans these past fourteen months did not help one bit, but it wasn’t a very good deal in the first place. After all, what does AT&T know about running the Home Insurance Building of media (sorry; “I.P.”) companies? Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Publish and Perish?”

With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner

With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner

Andrew Sumner is a dynamo wrapped in a fireball with the limitless energy of a blazing supernova. I’m always fascinated by everything he’s doing and the launch of his new podcast, Hard Agree, (I’ve become a regular listener) provided a great excuse to catch up with him!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: You’ve got so much going on now and such a cool origin story, Andrew.  Can you tell us a little about who you are and how you ended up at your current position at Titan?

Andrew Sumner: My grandfather and best friend, Pops Smythe, served with an American unit in Normandy in WWII, and when he came back to Liverpool, England in 1947 (after spending two years as an MP on clean-up duty in post-Nazi-occupied Paris), he came back with a great love of America, Americans and American popular culture – as personified by movies, big band music and the comic books he’d received as part of his US Army rations. He transferred all of those passions to me – when I was three, he bought me my first US comic (Batman #184) and I was hooked for life. Continue reading “With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner”

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

You’ve read Adam Philips work for many years, but you may have not known it. He’s one of those hard-working, behind-the-scenes guys.  But now he’s embarking on a new stage of his career and it all seems fascinating. So, let’s catch up with Adam Philips in 5 and ½ questions!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: We’ve known each other a long time, Adam, but for this column, can you please give us a little background on who you are and how you came to be?

Adam Philips: Sure! I’m a lifelong comics fan – I was a Marvel zombie in the 1970s and an early proponent of the Indie comics scene. I got started in the field in the 1980s when I wrote articles for Marvel Age magazine, which led to me being hired as the assistant editor on Marvel Age, as well as the Doctor Who reprints, a Howard the Duck one-shot, and a few other Marvel projects. I also did freelance work for Archie, Eclipse, Topps, and Fantagraphics, and I even wrote about comics for Entertainment Weekly in an early issue.

After a few years in magazines, I joined Welsh Publishing Group as an editor, where I worked on titles for young readers starring Superman and Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Real Ghostbusters, DuckTales, Garfield, the Simpsons, and more. I was hired by DC Comics in 1994 as their first-ever copywriter, where I conceived and wrote ads and posters. I then moved into marketing, where I ran DC’s solicitation process, created their retailer emails, and created and presented content at retailer events, and lots more. I left DC this past February.

Even after all that, I’m still a comics fan at heart! I’m currently blogging the entire run of Marvel Age at MakeMineMarvelAge, and I’m working on two comics-related podcasts that will debut soon.

Question 2:

EC:  Your new venture, Untold Stories Marketing sounds fascinating. What’s the idea behind this agency? Did you see an unmet need in the marketplace?

AP: A few months ago, I was having conversations with some comics companies about what my post-DC life might look like, and over the course of those chats we identified certain areas where they thought they could use some marketing help. That, aligned with something I’ve heard from retailers so many times, which is, “If I knew more about it, I would have ordered more.” What clicked for me was the idea of an agency that would provide information on new series to retailers so they can order with confidence and tell their customers what those titles are all about.

I’ve worked closely with publishers, writers and artists, distributors, and retailers, which makes me uniquely qualified to take a publishers’ direction, get information direct from the creative team, and use the distributors’ platforms to communicate to retailers in language they respond to.

Question 3:

EC: 3. Love the logo. What can you tell us about it?

AP: It’s orange! I worked with a friend who’s a logo designer and gave him some direction. I wanted it to have the vibe of a “Hello, my name is…” sticker, and the name itself is a play on the old “imaginary stories” and the concept of “untold stories of your favorite hero.” And I want to help creators tell their untold stories.

Question 4:

EC: Do you think it’s mandatory that an agency like Untold Stories Marketing is run by a long-time comic fan/enthusiast? Could the firm still succeed if that wasn’t the case?

AP: You probably don’t have to be a comics fan, but it helps. This is a quirky industry like no other, and while there are marketing concepts that can apply to just about anything, knowing the players and the institutions is important. There’s no substitute for familiarity with the history of the field, or with having actual relationships with retailers.

Question 5:

EC: 5. You’ve been in thick of it for a long time. What’s the most interesting thing, or the most challenging thing, about the industry today?

AP: The most interesting thing to me is the breadth of product out there. A lot of smaller publishers have come along in the past few years with some great titles – publishers like Aftershock, Ahoy, Vault, or Scout, to name just a few. That said, retailers are stretched thin in trying to keep up with it all. Helping publishers sharpen their messaging so retailers can take away what they need to know and order with confidence…well, that’s what Untold Stories Marketing is all about.

Question 5 1/2:

EC: How will your experiences at comic conventions – when they start up again – be different, Adam?

AP: I can’t wait to get back to conventions so I can run into folks like you, Ed! In the past, my convention experience tended to mostly be me running back and forth between panels, where I would run the A/V for a PowerPoint I created for DC. That let up a bit in the past couple of years, which gave me the opportunity to focus on my work as a retailer liaison. I anticipate a lot of meetings with publishers and retailers, and I’ll probably spend more time than I have in the past walking and talking in artists’ alley. And picking up some comics here and there!


You can find Untold Stories Marketing on their website or on Twitter and Facebook.