So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #071: 84 Questions I Have About WW84

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #071: 84 Questions I Have About WW84

The other evening, with nothing better to do… I put WW84 on while I drew comics. Suffice to say, I wasn’t exactly in love with Patty Jenkins and Geoff John’s script. The overlong-underbaked flick drove yet-another-nail into the coffin of the Extended DC Universe of gritty, sappy, crap-fests. And while it had a handful of high spots… WW84 ultimately left me with more questions than answers. So here’s 84 of them.

Spoilers abound. You’ve been warned. And I apologize that these questions will be out of order of the sequences of the flick. I’m shootin’ from the hip.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #071: 84 Questions I Have About WW84”

With Further Ado #130: Unidentified Flying Obsession

With Further Ado #130: Unidentified Flying Obsession

One of my friends, prolific author Jim Beard, has been documenting (via social media) his episode-by-episode viewing of the old Gerry Anderson show, UFO.  When I was a kid, it was a favorite. They re-ran this British series on Saturdays in syndication, and my brother and I loved it.  UFO detailed the efforts the efforts of a secret organization called S.H.A.D.O. and their clandestine efforts to save the world from an ever-imminent alien invasion.

There’s so much to like about this 70s show!

  • There were cool vehicles (submarines, jets, tanks and even spaceships) they’d employ every episode (who cared if it was always the same stock footage shots).
  • It was set in the “future” – in the 1980s! And the future never looked better with the cool cars, slick hairstyles, and engaging “at work” attire. (The women’s work attire is a bit prurient, to be fair.)  And they even got some of it right.  Various episodes explored  the reliance on computers, wireless communications,  the frustrations of bureaucracy and fingerprint/voiceprint databases.
  • The brilliant theme song by Barry Gray was like no other. It’s an engaging, swinging call to arms, heralding the idea that “now we’re going to get down to business!”

Let the Music Be Your Guide

The theme song always stuck with me.  A few years ago, when I was working for the Reed Elsevier division that would become ReedPop (the group that manages New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic-Con, PAX and more), I was attending a business meeting in Berlin.  I don’t speak German, but prior to the trip I had been diligently listening to language tapes. The idea was  to try and absorb some of the simple phrases that would facilitate rudimentary communication.

One night, walking back to my hotel, I heard a familiar song. It was a funky variant of the UFO Theme song! Like Ulysses being lured by a siren call, I followed the music to an urban park where an outside bar had created a “pop-up shop”, complete with a DJ. Our mutual appreciation of, and passion for, the UFO theme song allowed me to communicate with, and be accepted by, the locals.  I guess I didn’t need those language tapes after all. Continue reading “With Further Ado #130: Unidentified Flying Obsession”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview: Vito Delsante Has a Kickstarter You Need to See

Spotlight SquadCast Interview: Vito Delsante Has a Kickstarter You Need to See

We have another great interview to bring to you. This one is with comic writer Vito Delsante. He has a current Kickstarter campaign in progress for the long awaited graphic novel World War Mob: La Collezione Completa .

We spent some time discussing the origins of this comic project. It sounds and looks fantastic. We highly recommend backing this project.

The elevator pitch for the book is simple.

“It’s the mob from the 1930’s, they take a hit out on Benito Mussolini and I think it is pretty self explanatory from there. If I am worth any kind of salt as writer, there will be obviously nuance involved, but I will let the audience suss that out as they read it.”

The goal of the campaign is to complete and print the book that had been solicited a few years ago but never made it to print.

Artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo is utilizing a fantastic watercolor style bring a unique look to this book.

The Kickstarter campaign ends in twelve days on January 27, 2021, and this is one that you won’t want to miss. The rewards for this project are reasonably priced and as we discussed in the SquadCast, this is one of the projects that you want to see succeed because it deserves to be in the world.

Take a listen to our conversation for more about the history and content of this interesting comic project.

Of course, Vito and I discussed his creator owned book Stray that he developed with co-creator and artist Sean Izaakse. We talked about the plans for the next volume of Stray that he hope to get going this year with artist Marcelo Mueller.

For more of my feelings about Stray check out the Continued After The Next Page column that I wrote about it.

Fans of ’80s comics will enjoy the last third of the SquadCast as we dive into collecting X-Men comics, and you will find out what Chris Claremont has to do with “Luke and Laura” and “Bo and Hope”.


Here is some more art from the Kickstarter campaign.

World War Two! Five men, all members of different crime families, all US soldiers, undertake a clandestine mission ordered by the heads of the Five Families; for crimes against the Mafia, Benito Mussolini must be killed! They must overcome bad blood and family rivalries, the Nazis and the men loyal to Il Duce, and go behind the Army brass’ backs to do it for “La Cosa Nostra!


 

 

 


You can follow Vito’s work at www.incogvito.com

He is @Incognvito on Twitter and Instagram.

And for updated information on what is going on with Stray follow the Facebook page or the Kickstarter page.

With Further Ado #129: “Scout’s Honor” Earns AfterShock A Merit Badge

With Further Ado #129: “Scout’s Honor” Earns AfterShock A Merit Badge

I was never a Boy Scout. But from the outside looking in, it seemed like a pretty neat club: secret rituals and goals and uniforms and badges.  And they have that “Knights of the Round Table” mindset: to do some good in the world.

Way back when I was a kid, the only Boy Scout rule I ever knew was “As a Boy Scout I promise to do my best and the help the girl scouts get undressed.” And you know what? I don’t think that was a real rule. (I can’t believe the things we used to say back then.)

Fast forward to my professional adult life. When I worked at Nabisco on cookies like OREO and Chips Ahoy!, we really did plan around the inevitable sales dip for when Girl Scout Cookies went on sale. They were a force to be reckoned with.

When I worked at an agency in midtown Manhattan (in the original, beautiful Tiffany’s building, in fact) the National Headquarters of the Girl Scouts was right around the corner. They had a nice open area with benches in front of the main entrance where you could sit and have a sandwich during lunchtime.  I was always surprised that nobody ever tried to sell me a cookie.

I’m thinking about the Scouts because AfterShock Comics has just come out with an innovative new series called Scout’s Honor. The premise is clever. In a dystopian future, the ragtag survivors use the Scout Handbook (they are called Ranger Scouts in this reality) as their “instructional manual” for survival. Continue reading “With Further Ado #129: “Scout’s Honor” Earns AfterShock A Merit Badge”

With Further Ado #128: That Comic Book Movie Starring That Statuesque Raven-Haired Beauty That Stumbled

With Further Ado #128: That Comic Book Movie Starring That Statuesque Raven-Haired Beauty That Stumbled

So that statuesque, raven-haired beauty makes the leap from comics to a big time movie! And the leap, by most accounts, lands with a resounding thud.  How could it be? The actress was perfect for the part. The public adores her. The camera loves her too.  And there’s a real fondness for the comic/source material. But still fans are unhappy with it.

I’m talking, of course about the comic-to-cinema movie, Tamara Drewe. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t remember this picture.

A decade ago, I wasn’t familiar with the UK strip, Tamara Drewe or the creator Posy Simmonds.   But Simmonds’ art looked engaging and I thought the movie might have a Love, Actually vibe to it all.  Meaning: both my wife, Kathe, and I might enjoy it. Inviting her to see a comic movie that is kind of like Love, Actually is easier than dragging her to…for example…Marvel’s Captain Marvel.  Although she’s patient and open-minded, I remember her eyes glazing over when I tried to explain, in preparation for Captain Marvel, about the Skrulls and the Kree. Continue reading “With Further Ado #128: That Comic Book Movie Starring That Statuesque Raven-Haired Beauty That Stumbled”

Superheroes Deal With the Pandemic in “Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid.”

Superheroes Deal With the Pandemic in “Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid.”

Press Release:

1/5/2021 – Timberlake, OH

The Harvey-nominated superhero romantic comedy Love and Capes is taking on an unlikely foe: the coronavirus. In the recently-released free online comic, the heroes and their families take a light-hearted look at lockdown, masks, social distancing and all the other hardships of the last year.

“I was living through the lockdown like everyone else and have been keeping it out of the comics I was writing hoping it’d be over before it was an issue,” says series creator Thom Zahler. “Obviously, that didn’t happen. And then I got to thinking about how my Love and Capes characters would deal with the world today… and before I knew it, I had twenty pages of ideas.”

Zahler used this latest chapter of Love and Capes to launch a Patreon campaign. It quickly found an audience, and a new page appears every Thursday. For the New Year, Zahler has decided to make the older pages available for free on his website. Each Monday, a new page will be released to the public.

“Writing and drawing this story has helped me deal with the way things are right now. I think, even separated, we have a lot of shared experiences and there’s a lot of humor to be found in them. I hope it becomes a little moment of respite for everyone who reads it.”

The Patreon continues to provide members-only content, too, including weekly sketches voted on by Patrons, “Lost Tales” of pitches than never became comics, and more.

This is not the first pandemic-related Love and Capes venture. In the early days of March when comic companies and distribution centers were shut down, Zahler created a direct-to-shops version of the six-issue series Love and Capes: The Family Way and got those to local stores, even including local store branding on each cover. The books were printed with the assistance of Jones Printing in Eastlake, Ohio.

 


Thom Zahler lives in Northeast Ohio and has been creating comics for over fifteen years. Love and Capes launched as a hybrid print and web comic in 2005. Since then, the series has been self-published by Zahler’s imprint, Maerkle Press, and by IDW who also publishes the collections. The latest, Love and Capes: The Family Way, came out in November of last year. He also created the Webtoon series Warning Label and Cupid’s Arrows, and writes for IDW’s My Little Pony series.

Link to webpage: https://thomzahler.squarespace.com/love-and-capes-in-the-time-of-covid

Link to Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/thomzahler

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in January 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in January 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in January. 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 about the new comics in question.

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 1/6/21
Week of 1/13/21
Week of 1/20/21
Week of 1/27/21

 


Week of January 6th


Eternals #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Esad Ribić
Cover Art by Ribić

NEVER DIE. NEVER WIN. ETERNALS. What’s the point of an eternal battle? For millions of years, one hundred Eternals have roamed the Earth, secret protectors of humanity. Without them, we’d be smears between the teeth of the demon-like Deviants. Their war has waged for all time, echoing in our myths and nightmares. But today, Eternals face something new: change. Can they—or anyone on Earth—survive their discovery? From the thought provoking minds of Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribić comes a new vision of the classic Marvel mythology!

Release Date: January 6, 2021

PCS NOTES: I have always enjoyed the Eternals storylines, and I can’t wait to see what Kieron Gillen does with it.


The Last Witch #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Conor McCreery
Art by V.V. Glass
Cover Art by Glass

It’s the one time of the year when the witch known as Cailleach hunts the children of the village – so Saoirse, a brave and reckless young girl, decides this is the perfect opportunity to defy her father and discover the secrets of the witch’s tower!

But when the Cailleach captures Saoirse and her brother Brahm, their lives are forever changed in ways they never expected.
Now, Saoirse will have to save everyone she loves by discovering the truth about the mysterious mark on her shoulder – and embracing her secret magical powers!

Release Date: January 6, 2021


Scouts Honor #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by David Pepose
Art by Luca Casalanguida
Cover Art by Andy Clarke

Years after a nuclear apocalypse, a new society has risen from the ashes…and their bible is an old Ranger Scout manual.

A young Ranger Scout named Kit has endured the harsh survivalist upbringing needed to conquer the irradiated Colorado Badlands. But after discovering a terrible secret once lost to history, Kit must risk everything on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth behind the Ranger Scouts’ doctrine.

From multiple Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose and artist Luca Casalanguida comes a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age tale that proves when all you know is a lie, a Scout’s Honor is the only way to move forward.

Release Date: January 6, 2021

PCS NOTES: We are big fans of writer David Pepose and have been waiting to get our hands on this book for a while.

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

Continued After the Next Page #017: Looking Back At The Good In 2020

Continued After the Next Page #017: Looking Back At The Good In 2020

Well, we made it to the end of 2020. I am sure that it didn’t turn out like any of us expected. There have been plenty of low lights, and there are too many people who have been irrevocably harmed by the local and global tragedies that happened this year. That is awful.

However, someone told me something recently that stuck with me. Despite the horrible dumpster fire that 2020 has brought, your mental health can benefit from the activity of looking at the good things that happened in this past year. So, that is what this final post of 2020 will be about.

The SquadCast

This year I finally got off my tush and started presenting the interviews that I do with comic book professionals in a podcast format. In the past, I had merely transcribed the interview, but I found that there was more interesting content in the discussions that people would enjoy that didn’t quite fit in a text post.

So, I went to Buzzsprout and created a hosting site for the Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition. I learned enough of Audacity to edit the interviews and splice some sound together, and here we are.

I need to say thanks to our artistic genius Marc Allan Fishman for the logo and episode art. Also Space In Time is the band that we use for the intro and closing music. You can check there music out at Bandcamp.

And of course, thanks to the pros who to took the time to talk to me about their work.

The Books

While all of you Pop Culture Squad Members know about our digital presence here on the site and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there is now physical printed evidence that Pop Culture Squad exists. On the back covers of two trade paperback collections, I have blurb quotes for reviews.

I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see my name on a comic book. I could not even have ever imagined that five years ago.

Both of these books are special to me. Hyperbreed from Louise Simonson and Guy Dorian is a fun YA space story from Storm King Comics. Did you notice that? My name is on a book written by THE Louise Simonson!!!!

I have been following the Love and Capes stories that Thomas Zahler creates for years, and when he told me last year that he would be coming back to that universe, I was stoked. He totally made it work, and I am grateful for his putting my review blurb on the back of the book in some seriously impressive company.

The Comics Industry Adapts and Supports Itself

This year has hit the comics industry hard. Publishers and retailers had to deal with a nearly two month shutdown of new comics distribution. But through it all, people worked hard to support each other and save the industry that relies a lot on in-person contact.

So many great new comics were made and you can check out our list of the years best here.

Fundraisers and charity auctions popped up all over the place. We detailed some of those as they occurred.

Give Comics Hope is one of the charities that we highlighted through the year and will continue to do so.

There were plenty of Kickstarter campaigns launched to find different ways to publish and create comic book content. You better believe that we covered them.

Conventions Happened… Sort of

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit America hard in March, comic conventions were scrapped as we all needed to isolate to stop the spread of the dangerously contagious disease. But plenty of talented people scrambled to turn the experience of seeing pop culture personalities and comic creators in virtual cons.

Some were better than others, and none truly replaced the experience of strolling down artists alley and chatting with creators and friends. However, they were good enough to be a decent placeholder for the time that we will be able to be vaccinated and able to go out and see each other in person.

Geek Culture TV

There was a massive amount of quality television programming that was produced and broadcast this year. There are more outlets, streaming and otherwise that are now committed to delivering high quality shows. Here is a list of some of our favorites in no particular order:

  • SCHITT’S CREEK: SEASON 6 – AMC
  • WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS: SEASON 2 – FFX
  • HARLEY QUINN: SEASON 2 – HBOMax
  • THE BOYS: SEASON 2 – Amazon Prime Video
  • THE MANDALORIAN: SEASON 2 – Disney+
  • LOVECRAFT COUNTRY: SEASON 1 – HBOMax
  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: SEASON 2 – Netflix
  • STARGIRL: SEASON 1 – CW
  • I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS: SEASON 1 – Neflix
  • STAR TREK: PICARD: SEASON 1 – CBS All Access
  • KILLING EVE: SEASON 3 – BBC
  • PERRY MASON: SEASON 1 – HBOMax

And don’t forget there were some other shows like Tiger King (Netflix) and The Vow (HBO) that left us captivated, or horrified, or both.

Based on the announcements from Disney, Warner Bros, and others, it looks like this trend of high quality serialized episodic programming with continue.

Pop Culture Squad Thrived

Even before the pandemic shut down a lot of the world, we worried that this would be a slow year for PCS. However, we persevered and continued to bring you content as best you can.

If you are not a regular reader of Mike Gold‘s two columns here, you are missing witty and entertaining stories and opinion.

Ed Catto’s regular With Further Ado column finds new ways to look at comics, books, film and other cool stuff.

While we have bigger dreams for what is to come, it was a pretty good year for Pop Culture Squad and we are excited for making them happen in the next year.

Thanks for being here, and READ MORE COMICS!

With Further Ado #127: 2020 – The Year of the Drive-In ..?

With Further Ado #127: 2020 – The Year of the Drive-In ..?

As the pandemic wreaked havoc on life and so many marketing promotions and businesses this past year, there was one retro-idea that gained traction: Drive-Ins.

I love Drive-Ins. We had two in my hometown growing up, and I have clear memories of seeing so many films there.  When I became a parent, I took my girls to the Drive-In once a summer. We all had a ball. I don’t remember the movies all that well, although Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds and an Austin Powers movie come to mind.

Before Covid, Pop-Ups were becoming a hot marketing tool. It seems as if so many of the ideas behind Pop-Ups just migrated to all the 2020 Drive-ins.  And hey, as long as everyone was having fun and staying safe, it sounds good to me.

So it’s appropriate that the last book of 2020 I spotlight is all about a Drive-In: More Better Deals published by Mulholland Books.  It’s from a favorite author, Joe R. Lansdale,  and is another bumpy ride in a beat-up car on the back roads of noir fiction.

Many feel that Double Indemnity is the pinnacle of Film Noir. If you’re one of those folks, then this thriller, which has so many similarities, will lead you to inevitable and excruciatingly delicious, comparisons. Continue reading “With Further Ado #127: 2020 – The Year of the Drive-In ..?”