Weird Scenes Inside The Good Mind 068: None Dare Call It Reason

Weird Scenes Inside The Good Mind 068: None Dare Call It Reason

Here’s a sequence of letters I never thought would flow from my fingertips: I miss the Republican Party.

Two-party systems suck. We do not live in a binary world. There are no “both sides of the issue,” there is a myriad of sides. There is a right and there is a wrong, but only by comparison. In other words, Ayn Rand was a purveyor of sociological science fantasy.

Of course, there is something worse than a two-party system. When one of those parties is nothing to write home about and the other one is brain dead (a popular term this week), and the two parties we’re stuck with rigged the system so that there can not be any more parties, what we are left with is America 2019.

It wasn’t always like this. There was a time, 111 years ago, when the Republicans were, by and large, the progressives in Washington. This ended when Teddy Roosevelt decided not to run for reelection in 1908. His chosen successor, William H. Taft, was the dude who pulled the party of Lincoln to the right. Appalled by this, Teddy, who did not speak quietly, challenged Taft in 1912. By then, Taft and his cronies had instituted a massive patronage system that prevented any outlier from having a chance. In his typical fashion, TR started his own party. A “third” party. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Good Mind 068: None Dare Call It Reason”

With Further Ado #071: Rescued from the Bargain Box

With Further Ado #071: Rescued from the Bargain Box

Bargain Boxes! I love them!

My mom was quite the shopper. She’d always come home from the stores and provide a detailed account of the amazing price she paid for each and every item, detailing the sales she’d find and the arcane combinations of coupons she’d use. Looking back, I think she just wanted to my dad to say, at the conclusion of her sales presentations, “Gee Cassie, you convinced me – you couldn’t afford to not buy it!”

There is great love between the two of the them, and anything she wanted to do was just fine with my dad.

I think (worry?) I inherited some of this discount mania from my Mom.  And one way it translates is with Comic Shop Bargain Boxes.

In some ways, the jury is out on these boxes. Some stores don’t like them. One of my favorite shops, The Joker’s Child in Fairlawn, NJ has never had them, subscribing to the notion that they devalue the new, full-priced product that’s on sale.  Other stores, like Comics For Collectors, in Ithaca, NY, always has a few bargain boxes ( 5 comics for a dollar).  For them, it’s a great way to blow through old inventory, and provide an occasional treasure that adds to a customer’s in-store experience.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #071: Rescued from the Bargain Box”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in December 2019

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in December 2019

Welcome back to New Number Ones!!

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

There is a bunch of new series of interest starting in December. There is a good mix of both existing properties and new concepts featured in these books. Below you will find a slate of new books from a wide variety of publishers. Some of our favorite comic book talents are bringing us some of these new series.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. 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.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in December 2019”

Preview Review for the Week of 11/13/2019: Vampironica: New Blood #1

Preview Review for the Week of 11/13/2019: Vampironica: New Blood #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

A reminder for you. Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we feature a new book from Archie Comics. It is Vampironica: New Blood #1 by Frank Tieri & Michael Moreci and Audrey Mok with Matt Herms and Jack Morelli. This book will be featured in our New Number Ones column for December. You might want to see what else we are looking forward to there.

You can find Vampironica at your LCS on December 4, 2019.

Vampironica: New Blood #1
Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri & Michael Moreci
Art by Audrey Mok
Colors by Matt Herms
Letters by Jack Morelli
Cover Art by Mok

Original Solicitation:

BRAND NEW SERIES! Riverdale’s own bombshell bloodsucker is back! Following the events of the Jughead the Hunger vs. Vampironica crossover, Veronica returns to her own universe, still a vampire. She’s not the same, and she knows it. And now she needs answers. But she may not be ready for what she’s about to discover!

PCS Review:

This is an excellent introduction to this series. Having never read anything in the Archie Horror world, this story was easily accessible to me. It does not explain everything that came before, but give just enough to let the reader know where the protagonist has been and the challenges she faces.

The pace and dialogue through the narrative is brisk and relatable. Tieri and Moreci do an excellent job in this first issue of presenting characters with depth and a conflict that is interesting. There are plenty of plot lines that are organically uncovered that give the story several paths to travel.

Audrey Mok’s line art is beautiful. She grabs the reader’s eye and leads it on an exciting journey through this book. Her panel designs and camera positioning are perfect for the pacing of the narrative. The style feels like it is just the right amount of rough edge to make it feel like a horror book, but still a Veronica Hodge story.

Matt Herms’ colors are sublime. The overall color theme is important to the feel of the book. His work is well thought out and expertly implemented. The lettering job by Jack Morelli should not be overlooked. The word art is truly excellent, but managing the amount of dialogue and the bubble placement is impressive.

Overall, we highly recommend this comic. It is a fun and exciting book with engaging characters and beautiful artwork.

Brainiac On Banjo #063: Again With The Event Bitching?

Brainiac On Banjo #063: Again With The Event Bitching?

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Sigh. It’s a living…

For about three decades, I’ve been bitching about how our friends at DC and Marvel have abandoned the storytelling racket and are drowning themselves in the pool of “Event publishing.” During that time, line average comic book circulations have plummeted by about two-thirds.

(Explaining The Stupid Math Trick: “Line averages” are compiled by adding up the circulations of each individual issue printed by each publisher during the year and then dividing the total by the number of different issues involved. Variant covers and extra printings confuse the issue, but, screw it, they’re cheesy hustles that only complicate the processes. I refuse to acknowledge a second printing unless the publisher tells us what the first printing was. If Marvel Comics printed only 750 copies of Amazing Fantastic Fury #7 and then celebrated that success with a second printing, the whole thing is as meaningless as a fart in a blizzard in the dead of winter.)

So why am I carping about this now? And, not to mention, again? As is their wont, Marvel and DC each issued their February 2020 catalogs. On the cover of Marvel Previews – Wolverine #1!!! Another stunning concept from the House of Idea! Oh, and it’s got at least 12 different variant covers – not counting those that might be done for individual retailers – and this includes a virgin variant (wait… what? Alex Ross is a virgin???), hidden gem variants, a party variant, a die cut variant, and an adamantium variant – which, by way of disclaimer, is not even made of adamantium.

To honor their own Event, Marvel is reprinting three previous Wolverine #1’s as well. Will all this hubbub restore Wolvie to his former sales glory? Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #063: Again With The Event Bitching?”

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #052: Things I’m Thankful For – 2019 Edition

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #052: Things I’m Thankful For – 2019 Edition

It’s about to be that time again. I know it’s likely my article drops after all y’all done gorged yourselves  all day on good foods. But it’s still time to reflect on the year that is almost over, and figure out the bests, the worsts, and what-have-you. As I’ve written on other sites, I like to assemble a list of those things I am most thankful for at the time of writing. A time capsule of positivity, if you will. Except we live in cynical nasty times, so, well, this is what you get. Enjoy it. Hate it. I don’t care anymore!

(Because some people will like to throw stones… this list is purposefully built in random order, and should not be dissected for importance. Jerks.)

1. I’m thankful for Bill Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vinman, Jennifer Williams, Kurt Volker, Tim Morrison, Gordon Sondland, Laura Cooper, David Hale, Fiona Hill, and David Holmes. As of this writing, we’ve no idea if Donald Trump will be impeached or removed from office. And while his blatantly obvious scheming would have me personally hurl the book at his orange mush so fast, it’d break the sound barrier… I am not in the House of Representatives. So, I digress. I am thankful that those above testified openly and honestly about what they saw, heard, and felt about this whole Ukraine situation. Because as it was plainly (and brilliantly) put: “This is America… Here, right matters.”

2. Schitt’s Creek, GLOW, Orange is the New Black, and The Good Place. Somewhere between my terrestrial cable subscription (it’s retro chic, don’t you know) and my Netflix account, I’ve enjoyed an amazing smattering of peak sitcom joy. And those shows listed above all have, at their core, belief in joy. Despite our joyless world, these shows have all touched my heart, and remind me of the good in the world.

3. AEW and NXT. Well, no doubt you knew this one was coming. AEW and NXT have both reminded me what good professional wrestling can be when it wants to. Well-crafted in-ring stories paired with over-the-top-but-still-plausible storylines are literally incomparable to the standard dreck dealt to me by the still-Vince-driven RAW and Smackdown shows. And make note: I will be doing a best-and-worst list of wrestlers / storylines in 2019 before the end of the year. You’ve been warned.

4. My wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. While we’ve been a couple now for nearly 19 years, it’s the last ten that have been the legally sanctioned ones. This year, I went all-out gifting the love of my life into a complete stupor. A custom-made Funko (err, Fishko) Pop figure was paired with a cameo video message from my wife’s true bae, Joey Fatone (of NSYNC fame). How did I know I did well? My wife said plainly “Well now I feel a little bad, cause I can’t compete with those gifts.” Damn straight. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #052: Things I’m Thankful For – 2019 Edition”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Some of Buddy Holly, the working folly / Good Golly Miss Molly and boats / Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet / Jump back in the alley, add nanny goats

Today, you may have noticed, is Thanksgiving. I will step away from the issues involving Puritans, Christopher Columbus, and native Americans for the nonce solely because, go figure, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks.

I’ve never seen more that distracts us from this reasonable goal. The United Nations released a major report on Earth’s environment and where it’s going (spoiler alert: to hell in a plastic bag), while many of us feast today many more go hungry, and we remain stuck with a sociopathic, petulant five-year old brat of a president who acts as though he just broke the neighbor’s picture window. I’m not thankful for any of that, but in the spirit of the holiday I am taking this day off from Bughouse Square duty.

We all need to take a breath, together.

Which, by the way, is the meaning of the word “conspiracy.”

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it / You’re welcome, we can spare it, yellow socks / Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty / Going on forty, no electric shocks

I think those who tell us to appreciate the small wonders of life are absolutely right. Yeah, things suck – they’ve always sucked, they always will suck. But as the 18-wheeler of life comes barreling down the hill aiming to crush us all, it passes by all sorts of stuff that entice us to get out of its way. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful”

With Further Ado #070: 2019 Yuletide Gift Guide

With Further Ado #070: 2019 Yuletide Gift Guide

It’s been a busy year and it’s time to either (a) help spread the word or (b) reward yourself for getting through another year.  And either way, my Annual Yuletide Gift Guide  is here to help. Here’s a few ideas for you to chew on, after you’ve chewed on your turkey.

 

BATMAN: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF THE DARK KNIGHT IN COMICS, FILM AND BEYOND

By Andrew Farago and Gina McIntyre

Insight Editions

This is the type of the book that you start in the morning, and when you look up again it’s bedtime.  This lovingly thorough history of Batman touches all the bases, provides new information and is loaded with goodies.  I must admit it’s a thrill, for example, to be reading about the Batmobile from 1950s comics, and then to fold-out a set of Batmobile blueprints.

$75.00 • 400 pp. • hardcover  • ISBN-10: 1683834372

 

A MARVELOUS LIFE: THE AMAZING STORY OF STAN LEE

by Danny Fingeroth

This one might be the comic-lovers go-to gift for the 2019 season.  Danny Fingeroth takes readers on a deep dive into Stan’s life, stuffing this book with balanced analysis and long-lost stories. It’s a page turner and there’s something for everyone inside.

$29.99 400 pp. • Hardcover  • ISBN-10: 1250133904

 

 

 

Continue reading “With Further Ado #070: 2019 Yuletide Gift Guide”

Spotlight Interview with Love and Capes Creator, Thom Zahler

Spotlight Interview with Love and Capes Creator, Thom Zahler

What happens with super heroes when they are not fighting crime. Do they date? What are their private live like? Who are the people they interact with out of uniform? This are the questions that writer/artist Thom Zahler wanted to explore and decided to make a story about the personal lives of superheroes.

The first volume of Love and Capes was published by IDW in 2008. Three subsequent trade paperback volumes were published culminating in Volume 4 “What to Expect” which was published in 2013.  Since then, Zahler has worked on a bunch of excellent different creator owned properties and licensed material. All the while, he has been peppered with questions of when the will be more Love and Capes.

Recently, he has returned to Chronopolis and the world of the Crusader. Volume 5 of Love and Capes, titled “The Family Way”, will be published by IDW in February 2020, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We sat down and talked with Thom about what it was like to come back to the story after so much time and what has changed.

Check out our SquadCast interview on this page and a part of the interview that we transcribed below: Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Love and Capes Creator, Thom Zahler”