With Further Ado #234: The Next Time I Die – Review

With Further Ado #234: The Next Time I Die – Review

Before we “cut the cord” for TV, we really enjoyed spending a chunk of New Year’s Day watching The Twilight Zone Marathon on the SyFy channel. They show episode after episode. There’s something special about being immersed in Rod Serling’s alternate realities for more than just the usual ½ hour episode. There’s a creepiness, and a paranoia and sense of reflection that ensnarls your brain. You begin to look at the world a little differently.

If you are like me, you almost expect Rod Serling to be standing off to one side, in your living room or kitchen, smoking a cigarette, and intoning some clever little summary that usually ends with the phrase “The Twilight Zone”.

Reading Jason Starr’s thriller, The Next Time I Die, is like spending a few hours in the Twilight Zone. It’s compelling, thought-provoking, more-than-a-little creepy and wickedly delicious.

As this thriller is published by one of my favorite imprints, Hard Case Crime, it’s more mystery/noir than science fiction. And that works fine. Like the best Film Noir thrillers, there is a sense that you, as the reader, are plunged into a nearly out-of-control situation and you’re hurtling along at 100 mph. Continue reading “With Further Ado #234: The Next Time I Die – Review”

Happy Colorist Appreciation Day – Live SquadCast

It is January 24th. This is officially Colorist Appreciation Day. Today we celebrate the artist who give life to the black and white images that are drawn for comic books. Colorists add texture to the storytelling and set the temperature for the scenes that take place. They are often left out of the discussion but they are a vital part of the art team that makes modern comic books.

On our Facebook and YouTube Channels we will be broadcasting a live round-table discussion with a great group of colorists. Bob Harrison will have Chris Sotomayor as his guest co-host, and Tamra Bonvillain, Marissa Louise, Paul Mounts, and Anthony Tollin will be their special guests. You can see the feed below:

 

Preview Reviews for 1/25/23: Archie VS The World #1 & Bulls of Beacon Hill #1

Preview Reviews for 1/25/23: Archie VS The World #1 & Bulls of Beacon Hill #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a couple of New Number Ones for you. We were able to review Archie VS The World #1 from Archie Comics and Bulls of Beacon Hill #1 from AfterShock Comics.

You can find this book at your LCS or wherever you buy books on January 25, 2023.

Also the rest of the #NewNumberOnes for January are here.


Archie VS The World #1
Archie Comics
Written by Aubrey Sitterson
Art by Jed Dougherty
Colors by Matt Herms & Doug Garbark
Letters by Jack Morelli
Cover Art by Dougherty

Original Solicitation:

In a post-apocalyptic future, our hero Archie Andrews is cursed to walk the world alone-well, alone with his souped-up jalopy. But Archie can defend himself-in fact, he’s the master of a brutal, deadly form of martial arts and must use his skills when he comes face-to-face with his rival and evil mirror image, Reggie. This action-packed one-shot is equal parts Mad Max: Fury Road and The Fist of the North Star, and reunites the Jughead the Burgarian team from 2022’s smash-hit comic THE BEST ARCHIE COMIC EVER!

PCS Review: Continue reading “Preview Reviews for 1/25/23: Archie VS The World #1 & Bulls of Beacon Hill #1”

Brainiac On Banjo: The ComiXology Kamikaze

Brainiac On Banjo: The ComiXology Kamikaze

When I look over my shoulder, what do you think I see? Some other cat looking over his shoulder at me. And he’s strange, sure is strange. – Donovan Leitch, “Season of the Witch.”

When it comes to the digital world, sometimes all those zeroes and ones just don’t add up. Let’s look at ComiXology, what I once considered to be a genuine revolutionary force in the medium.

In the history of paper publishing going all the way back to papyrus, it’s often been a crappy way to make a living. Oh, sure, some folks have been enormously successful, but on the same hand some folks win the lottery. Expenses are high and nobody knows what the market wants. Paper is getting hard to find (soon we will have to make a choice between having paper and having oxygen and trees), and places to buy the finished product have run thin. “Book browsing” and impulse purchases have become 21st Century rotary dial telephones.

We needed an alternative way to get comics. In 1981, Marvel Comics published Dazzler #1 and made it available only to the then-growing number of dedicated comic book stores, and that showed us there just might be life after the newsstands and candy shops. To make a long story short, around that same time I turned to theatrical producer Rick Obadiah and said “hey, you know, we could do this.” And that’s the shortest origin story for First Comics ever told.

Things went pretty well until the overwhelming number of distributors bellied up after exclusive distribution deals kicked in. As those distributors were coughing up blood, the “smaller publishers” (meaning just about everybody except Marvel and DC) started getting paid late, if at all. Again, I’m making a very long story short. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The ComiXology Kamikaze”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Tony Fleecs and Tim Seeley about Their Upcoming Book Local Man

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Tony Fleecs and Tim Seeley about Their Upcoming Book Local Man

In the latest episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast we sat down with a pair accomplished comic creators and talked about the book that they are creating together.

Both Tim Seeley and Tony Fleecs are known for creating excellent and inventive comics over the past couple of decades, and this one is off to a great start.

The two cartoonists are creating a book called Local Man that focuses on a superhero who is at a low point in his life and has to go back to his hometown and solve crimes without using his super powers.

Local Man is being published by Image Comics and issue one comes out next month.

We spent some time in our conversation talking about the interesting way that Seeley and Fleecs have worked together to create this comic. Since both have been writers and artists and letterers on comics, they are able to divide up the work in creative ways.

We also talked about their take on the state of the comic industry and what being and independent creator means today.

We hope you enjoy the conversation.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s start off with Local Man. How fun is making this book?

Tony Fleecs

Tony Fleecs: It’s pretty great. Like, I’ve done a lot of collaborating and Tim’s done a lot of collaborating and co-writing and working with people, and it’s always fun working with somebody who’s also
a writer/artist because it’s sort of like both of us. We both do things differently, but we both can sort of do the, the whole thing, which is neat. I can send something to Tim and just be like, “Can you draw on this? Or can you fix this writing or whatever?” Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Tony Fleecs and Tim Seeley about Their Upcoming Book Local Man”

Upcoming Release: Boom! Studios Announces New Book From Dan Watters and Sebastian Cabrol – The Seasons Have Teeth

Upcoming Release: Boom! Studios Announces New Book From Dan Watters and Sebastian Cabrol – The Seasons Have Teeth

Boom! Studios has had a really good run of publishing excellent creator owned original series over the past few years, and we are hopeful that this new series from Dan Watters and Sebastián Cabrol will join that list.


Press Release:

BOOM! Studios Announces Brand New Series THE SEASONS HAVE TEETH

LOS ANGELES, CA (January 19, 2023) – BOOM! Studios is thrilled to announce THE SEASONS HAVE TEETH, a brand new 4-issue horror series from Home Sick Pilots writer Dan Watters, Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts artist Sebastián Cabrol, coming to a comic shop near you this April. Continue reading “Upcoming Release: Boom! Studios Announces New Book From Dan Watters and Sebastian Cabrol – The Seasons Have Teeth”

With Further Ado #233: Cheesy, Cheap & Charming – The Silver Surfer in a 1962 Charlton Comic

With Further Ado #233: Cheesy, Cheap & Charming – The Silver Surfer in a 1962 Charlton Comic

I recently rescued another treasure from a bargain box. It is Space Adventures #44 (Feb. 1962). It’s published by Charlton Comics. They always seemed to be a B-level (at best) publisher, but that doesn’t mean that some of my very favorite comics weren’t published by Charlton. In many ways, this issue is typical of Charlton – cheesy, cheap and charming!

(I’m really looking forward to reading Charlton Companion by Jon B. Cooke, in fact. Cooke is an outstanding historian and author. You can never go wrong reading anything he writes.)

Judging a Book by Its Cover

The cover copy above the logo proclaims that this issue of Space Adventures is “New! Different!”, but that might be an overstatement. From the vantage point of 60 years later, it almost seems like it should be magically changed to read “Nostalgic! Predictable!”

The cover features repurposed artwork from two interior stories. The heroic figure, “The Mercury Man” is miscolored, unfortunately. Come to think of it, the scary looking aliens are miscolored too. Continue reading “With Further Ado #233: Cheesy, Cheap & Charming – The Silver Surfer in a 1962 Charlton Comic”

Upcoming Release: Second Coming Is Coming Back with “Trinity”

Upcoming Release: Second Coming Is Coming Back with “Trinity”

Sometimes items show up in our inbox here at PCS, and they just make us shout, “Hell Yeah, Bring it on!!” This press release was one of them. We are huge supporters of Ahoy Comics here as you can tell from Mike Gold’s latest column.

Second Coming is also very dear to us in particular, and any time we can let people know that more Second Coming is on the way, we are happy to do it.


Press Release:

AHOY Comics’ Controversial and Acclaimed Comic about Jesus Christ and His Superhero Roommate is Resurrected with SECOND COMING: TRINITY

2022 Eisner Winner Mark Russell, Co-Creator Richard Pace and Artist Leonard Kirk All Returning for the Third Series

(January 17, 2023) You welcomed Jesus with open arms in SECOND COMING. You marveled at his miraculous return in SECOND COMING: ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. Now the book that turned the comics industry upside-down with “quite a bit of humor…[and] a lot of heart” (The New York Times) is back for its third act with SECOND COMING: TRINITY. Continue reading “Upcoming Release: Second Coming Is Coming Back with “Trinity””

Preview Review for the Week of 1/18/2023: Barbaric – Hell to Pay #1

Preview Review for the Week of 1/18/2023: Barbaric – Hell to Pay #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a great book for you. We were able to review Barbaric: Hell to Pay #1 from Vault Comics.

You can find this book at your LCS or wherever you buy books on January 18, 2023.

Also the rest of the #NewNumberOnes for January are here.


Barbaric: Hell to Pay #1
Vault Comics
Written by Michael Moreci
Art by Nathan Gooden
Colors by Addison Duke
Letters by Jim Campbell
Cover Art by Gooden & Duke

Original Solicitation: 

Barbaric is back and headed straight to hell in an all-new arc so big and bloody, it’s getting an extra issue!

While Owen tames a dragon with an old friend, Soren and Steel cross paths with someone else from our cursed barbarian’s past…who isn’t looking nearly as friendly. Hell hath no fury like a woman stabbed through the heart by an ugly f***ing orc.

Oh, wait! Who’s carrying Axe?

PCS Review:

Hell Yeah! The Axe is Back! Listen, we love this property. This is the start of the third main arc. I think there were a couple of one-shots thrown in. If all out carnage and mayhem are things you enjoy, you will love this book. If humanity and exploring the meaning of regret, companionship, and honor are what you like to see in comics, this is the book for you.

Michael Moreci, Nathan Gooden, et al. have crafted a crazy story about a barbarous axe and the beings that surround it that just brings all kinds of emotions with it. This latest issue jumps the protagonists a few steps from where the last arc ended and ups the ante in terms of the peril that they find themselves in.

Nathan Gooden and Addison Duke work some masterful images to evoke strong emotional beats while also bringing the gore. Gooden’s panel layouts are particularly interesting and important to the flow of the story. Jim Campbell has been slaying on Barbaric from the start and keeps the high quality lettering coming in this issue.

If you are looking for a fun comic that will subtly draw you in emotionally, don’t miss this book.

 

 

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #079: “Dear Dwayne”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #079: “Dear Dwayne”

Dear Dwayne,

I know you prefer to be called by your full moniker,  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but I want to speak to the person behind that particular mask. Put the eyebrow down. Send your posse on a 20 minute break. Place your phone on airplane mode, and place it face down on the table in front of us. It’s just you, me, and the millions (AND MILLIONS) of my fans reading this. Cool? Cool. 

You need to stop it. Seriously. C’mon, man. You know what I’m talking about. Really? You’re going to make me say it out loud? Fine.

“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

We loved when you dabbled your toe into acting. That turn as your own father in That 70’s Show? Great. Playing an alien version of yourself in Star Trek: Voyager? Uhhh… let’s come back to that.. And hey… your first trip to Saturday Night Live? Pitch perfect. Seriously. Better than any “sports stars” they featured prior. You then took the summers off in 2000 so you could become the Scorpion King (which, I assume was why you were on SNL). Like many fans… I actually went to the theater to catch your first starring role. Because it would either be good, or we’d have something to replace that one flick where Hulk Hogan made a dude crap himself.

And hey. It was fine. 20 something years later? I can’t recall a single scene, line of dialogue, or action sequence. But I do recall you fighting the late Michael Clark Duncan, and thinking it was cool. 

After that? I really want to commend you. You started taking interesting roles. Get Shorty. The Rundown. Walking Tall. Southland Tales. Were you “generic badass tough guy” in most of them? Sure. But the scripts were smart. And because of it, you looked smart. Not just catchphrases and stuntman body slams. Versus previous wrestler-turned-actors — Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Jesse Venture — you seemed to have more depth, better comedic timing, and pathos (when called for).  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #079: “Dear Dwayne””