Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street

Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street

With the current format of comics publishing, it makes sense at times to wait and and evaluate the work after it has been completed. When I was younger, the norm was that when a comic series was green lit and published, it was perceived to have no end date. The limited series or mini-series were the exceptions, but more recently, the never ending ongoing series has become the exception. The limited series tend to have an intentional story and are filled with overarching themes that are better explored as a whole rather than issue by issue.

My point here is that with a complete story, evaluating a series as a whole feels like something I should be doing more of, and I am going to start that with the recently completed Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. The eight-issue series was written by Tom King with lineart by Bilquis Evely and colors by Matheus Lopes. Clayton Cowles did the lettering, and Brittany Holzherr edited it.

It is important to note that comic creators are telling the stories that they want to tell more often without continuity constraints. The concept of shared universes and continuity really began to take shape in the sixties and came to a head in the eighties.  At the very beginning, there were issues with it. Legend says that the Avengers were a thrown together group intended as a sort of a one-off, and not part of a grand concept of one great Marvel Universe. Stan Lee is said to have given the reason for the original Avengers leaving and being left with Cap’s Quirky Quartet because it was too difficult to keep stories straight between the Avengers and the individual heroes’ books. While a lot of deluge has flowed under the bridge of comic continuity, both Marvel and DC Comics have more recently provided readers with stories about their favorite characters that may or may not be in continuity.

Tom King while working mostly for DC has been a master of telling compelling comic stories that do not necessarily fit into current or historical continuity. His Mister Miracle, Strange Adventures, Omega Men, and even Vision for Marvel are all complete stories that can be read without any context of what is going on in the larger comic universes. I think that is a good thing. When the time is taken to tell an extended story, and the creative team executes that story without continuity interference, it makes for excellent comic book storytelling, and that brings us Supergirl. Continue reading “Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street”

With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike

With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike

Maybe cinema isn’t the way to go. Maybe big screen movies aren’t <always> the end all be all.

Sure, I just enjoyed the latest Dr. Strange movie. We made it a family outing– with my wife, my dad, my aunt, and my cousin. And I really enjoyed taking my college students to see the latest Batman movie at the local theater.  There’s something wonderful about the shared experience. And something even more wonderful about that theater buttered popcorn.

But maybe…just maybe…some beloved franchises are meant to thrive on the small screen.

I’m saying this because I’m just loving the new Star Trek series, Strange New Worlds. It’s all about the crew of the Enterprise, focusing on untold past stories, that are all set in the far future, of course.

Captain Pike was supposed to be the star of the first Star Trek TV show. That didn’t quite click with the powers-that-be, during the Golden Age of Television, so there was a redo.  The new version, with Kirk and Spock and the gang, found a foothold on NBC for a time and in the hearts of fans for … forever.  But instead of just dismissing the original concepts and characters as a “nice try”, they became part of the mythology. Ravenous fans have wanted long wanted to enjoy the early adventures Enterprise. Continue reading “With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike”

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing – May 2022 Edition

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing – May 2022 Edition

We have a ten-pack of fantastic crowdfunding projects to bring you that are all ongoing and will be ending in the next month. It has been a while since we have done one of these, but honestly these are one of the favorite type of columns that we do at Pop Culture Squad. Right now there are 436 active campaigns on Kickstarter and these are our ten favorite.

Each of these campaigns offer excellent backer rewards and we hope that the creators are able to accomplish their goals and get to make cool stuff for all of us. Some of these projects are already funded, and we are happy to highlight them knowing that backers will get the rewards that they sign up for. Others still need some help to get over the finish line, and we are on their side.

The projects are listed below in chronological order of the end of the campaign. So, the ones that end soonest come first. However, the entire list is banging. We feel there is something for everyone on this list. Enjoy!


Fa Sheng: Origins #1 by Rylend Grant and Dexter Wee

Campaign Link
Ending: Tue, May 24 2022 11:59 PM EDT.

PCS Thoughts: This looks like a great comic for fans of Martial Arts comic books.  There are plenty of digital and physical reward options. We are excited about this.

From the Campaign:

Fa Sheng: Origins is an all-new wuxia comic created by Peter Shiao, written by Rylend Grant and illustrated by artist Dexter Wee, about the humble beginnings of a great Shaolin Master. If you like Shang-Chi, Kung Fu, Warrior, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ip Man, or The Grandmaster, this all-new series is for you.

Fa Sheng is a death-cheating, mind-bending Shaolin Master… but he carved a long bloody road to get there. Fa Sheng’s story begins in the latter days of the 19th century when the propaganda and carnage of China’s Boxer Uprising force him to reevaluate his purpose in life, to dedicate himself to helping those in need. It isn’t easy. Between Fa Sheng and his goal of enlightenment stand ruthless adversaries, backstabbing power grabbers and cowardly charlatans… any of whom would gladly dispose of anyone in their way.


Continue reading “Kickstarters You Should Be Backing – May 2022 Edition”

With Further Ado #198: Beyond the Stars with Ron Fortier

With Further Ado #198: Beyond the Stars with Ron Fortier

This one looks like fun. One of my favorite comic writers, Ron Fortier (you may remember him from NOW’s Green Hornet) is working with an Italian artist Andrea Bormida on a new Kickstarter. It’s called Beyond The Stars, a six-issue mini-series, from Silverline Comics.

Ron Fortier is not only a great writer but a focused entrepreneur too. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with him in several different roles in his position as a prose book publisher over at Airship27.

This series is something completely different. “The concept originated with Andrea,” explained Fortier. He saw pages on a social media board where Bormida was seeking feedback from industry professionals. “They were completely penciled, inked, and colored…and incredibly beautiful.”

Fortier reached out to Bormida, and they began working together. Fortier crafted an outline for the six-part cosmic adventures. Shortly thereafter, Fortier reached out to Silverline editor Roland Mann.

“I’m a big science fiction fan anyway,” says Mann, “but when I read Ron’s pitch and saw Andrea’s art…well, we jumped on it right away! Even more impressive was that Ron had assembled his entire team so quickly. I’m a big fan of Mike W. Belcher’s work, and Ron already had him lined up to do lettering and design.”

The Anxiety of a Launch

“It’s my first crowd-funded project,” said Bormida. “Will it work? Shall I be able to reach out to new fans? Such a new adventure.” Continue reading “With Further Ado #198: Beyond the Stars with Ron Fortier”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/18/22: The Fox, I Hate This Place, and Shaolin Cowboy

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/18/22: The Fox, I Hate This Place, and Shaolin Cowboy

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a three terrific books for you. The first is a one-shot called The Fox: Family Values #1 from Archie Comics, and the second is I Hate This Place #1 which is from Image Comics. Finally, there is Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel To Be Kin #1 from Dark Horse Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS or wherever you buy books on May 18, 2022.

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


The Fox: Family Values #1
Archie Comics
Written by Dean Haspiel, Vito Delsante, & Alex Toth
Art by Haspiel, Richard Ortiz, & Toth
Colors by Matt Herms
Letters by Jack Morelli
Cover Art by Haspiel

Original Solicitation:

Archie Comics is setting the stage for the return of everyone’s favorite “Freak Magnet” Paul Patton, Jr. in The Fox: Family Values #1. Coming to comic shops and digital retailers May 18, 2022, the new one-shot comic will follow the adventures of the Pattons, The Fox, She-Fox, and their son Ghost Fox, as they try to be the best hero family of Foxes they can be! Featuring all-new stories by writer/artist Dean Haspiel, writer Vito Delsante, artist Richard Ortiz, and colorist Matt Herms with veteran letter Jack Morelli, The Fox: Family Values #1 will also include a reprint of a classic The Fox story by Alex Toth, providing new readers with a perfect introduction to this family of iconic characters.

PCS Review:

This book is chock full of goodness. There are three stories in this thirty-four page book. Each of them are fun morsels of comic excellence. The first story, written and drawn by Dean Haspiel, is in the same vein as his previous endeavors with The Fox. Haspiel takes some metaphysical swings in the storytelling and delivers a dynamic story filled with heart that leaves us wanting more from this incarnation of the character.

The second story written by Vito Delsante with art from Richard Ortiz goes back to the wedding of The Fox and fits in very nicely with familial themes of the first story. Delsante and Ortiz do an excellent job of crafting an action packed tale with an emotion filled ending. Solid storytelling by the whole team on this one. Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/18/22: The Fox, I Hate This Place, and Shaolin Cowboy”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell

In this episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast we spoke with writer Mark Russell. It’s been about seven years since Mark burst on the scene with his breakthrough book The Flintstones from DC comics.

Since that time, he has delivered a string of smart, thought provoking stories in the medium including Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Second Coming with Ahoy Comics, Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment, Billionaire Island, Not All Robots from AWA Studios, and so much more.

We spent some time in this conversation talking about his two upcoming series which are Superman: Space Age on which he is work with legendary artist Mike Allred. And The Incal: Psychoverse that he is doing with Yanick Paquette.

If you are a fan of Mark Russell’s work at all, you know that we had to touch on some current events and nature of human society. It was a lot of fun.

We transcribed some of the interview below but also listen to the SquadCast to hear the whole conversation. We hope you enjoy it.


PopCultureSquad: You’ve written Superman before in Wonder Twins and One Star Squadron. How does this new story differ for you? Is it the same version of Superman?

Mark Russell: I wanted to write him as like sort of a wise old stoic, you know, sort of like Marcus Aurelius or Suetonius or something, but he doesn’t start out that way. And I think what is different about this story is it tells Superman from his beginnings to becoming that. So, it is much more about trial and error. It is much more about the process of him becoming Superman, about him absorbing the wisdom of the Kents and Lois lane, and synthesizing all of the influences that they have on his life and becoming what you would recognize as my Superman. He is an unflappable, wise character who realizes that he has to be the voice of reason, that he has to be the most generous soul in the room, because anything less than that would be a nightmare for the human race.

PCS: Right. And it’s interesting because the Superman that you have written is very different from Sunstar from Second Coming. Superman that you’ve written has that heavy gravitas to him. And you can tell that everyone who’s talking to him, or stuck talking to him, knows that they are talking to the most powerful person on the planet, and he is not acting like it.

MR: So. Yeah. When I had originally pitched the Second Coming story, I wanted it to be Superman, but, Dan Didio at DC said, “I get death threats when Superman fails to say the Pledge of Allegiance. You are not going to involve me in your blasphemy here.” So, luckily he said no to Superman, but he said, “You can write it as a creator own character, and I’ll approve it.” So, that’s when I created Sunstar. and it really turned out to be a good move, because Sunstar, I think makes a much better paring for Jesus Christ than Superman.

If it was Superman, then you just have two nice guys, two really wise guys bouncing off each other, and no one wants to read that. There is just really nowhere to go with that. Whereas, Sunstar is not that wise. He’s a guy who’s kind of spoiled, someone who’s leaned into his privilege, and Christ has to sort of dial him back a little. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell”

With Further Ado #197: Winner of the Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 – Reece Clausen

With Further Ado #197: Winner of the Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 – Reece Clausen

I have reached the end of this year’s Ithacon season. The class of Ithaca College students that promote, plan, and execute the convention have come to the end of their tasks. As has become a tradition, this column has become a venue to host the winner of the “guest columnist” assignment that the students complete.

Last week, we published the runner-up Tyler Haraden’s piece. This week we are publishing the winner’s column. Reece Clausen combined some new pop culture news with a bit of opinion and some genuine fanboy emotion while discussing the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga video game. Those are the three things we strive for in this column.

I look forward to bringing next year’s winners to you and hope that they are as wonderful as this year’s.

The Urge to Purchase Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is Destroying Me

by Reece Clausen, Ithaca College

The balance of the force has been shaken. The draw towards the dark side of the force is consuming me faster than Anakin Skywalker being told that he can save his wife from certain death. In case you somehow did not read the title of this article, I’m talking about Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga that just released. Now, I’m a 21 year old college student and I have fond memories of playing Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga when it released in 2007. Now, I and many other people my age can tell you that this game was our childhood. I have so many fond memories, from starting fights in the cantina hub, smashing my controller over the podracing level, and constantly killing my friends for no reason other than it was funny to see them fall apart into many Lego bricks. Like I said, good times.

Now when I found out back in 2019 that there was going to be a new Lego Star Wars game that would include levels based on all nine films, my hype levels were through the roof! Fast forward three years and delays, and the game has finally arrived! The gaming community has been giving nothing but praise for this game and all the new things it has brought to the table. Over 300 characters, open world environments, expansive levels, and all the humor you would expect from a Lego game, this masterpiece has it all! It even has Obi-Wan saying “Hello there.”, and multiple jokes about Anakin Skywalker not liking sand! What more could I want? The world is falling in love with this game, and I’ve waited so long for it. Except there is just one problem. I am a broke college student. Continue reading “With Further Ado #197: Winner of the Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 – Reece Clausen”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/11/22: Eight Billion Genies #1 and Grim #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/11/22: Eight Billion Genies #1 and Grim #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a two great books to review for you. The first is Eight Billion Genies #1 from Image Comics, and the second is Grim #1 which is from Boom! Studios.

You can find these books at your LCS or wherever you buy books on May 11, 2022.

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


Eight Billion Genies #1
Image Comics
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Ryan Browne
Letters by Chris Crank
Cover Art by Browne

Original Solicitation:

If you had one wish…what would you wish for? Now, what if everyone else had one wish too? That’s EIGHT BILLION GENIES, the new eight-issue series from CHARLES SOULE & RYAN BROWNE. At exactly the same moment, everyone on earth gets a genie and one wish. All hell breaks loose, in a very entertaining way…and that’s just the beginning. Buckle in for the wildest ride of the year!

PCS Review:

This book feels very much like a book that was made by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne, and that is a wonderful development. This issue is a excellent mix of a high concept global events that localizes the reader to a single location. Charles Soule has a wonderful habit of encouraging his readers to dream about the impossible, and then just as the bubbling wonderment begins to float them off, he slams down rules and consequences for touching the untouchable.

Ryan Browne is a perfect partner for Soule’s high concept scheming. His rendering of a world that experiences eight billion individual genies is brilliant. Besides the grand chaos that he brings to the page, Browne also creates endearing characters that help with the localization of the story. Crank is a great letterer and does excellent work in this book.

We are definitely interested in seeing how this world develops and what happens within the Lampwick Bar and Grill.


Grim #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Flaviano
Colors by Rico Renzi
Letters by Tom Napolitano
Cover Art by Flaviano

Original Solicitation:

Jessica Harrow is dead. But her journey has only just begun!

PCS Review: Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/11/22: Eight Billion Genies #1 and Grim #1”

Free Comic Book Day is Tomorrow – Back Where It Belongs

Free Comic Book Day is Tomorrow – Back Where It Belongs

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. This has traditionally been the biggest day of the year on the comic book retailers’ calendar. The free comics that are available at local comic shops encourage the offering of sales, promotions, parties, signings, and all forms of revelry. Historically, Free Comic Book Day has been the first Saturday in May, but in the past two years it has been moved to later in the year due to the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the cool parts about FCBD for consumers is that not only are there free comic books to get, but there are usually some terrific deals on back issues and also collectibles at the shops. It is also important to remember that while the free comic books are no cost to the consumers, the retailers most definitely have a cost to pay for the comics.

Almost all comic publishers are participating in some form. Some comics are reprint material that is intended to give readers a glimpse of what the comic is about. Some are all new special stories and some are previews to upcoming events or books that the publisher is planning for this year.

Click Here to find a Local Comic Shop in your area.

In the spirit of planning, we offer this post which highlights the comic books that will be available this year on Free Comic Book Day. This will let you know which books are of interest to your sensibilities. Check out the list of seventeen of the announced free comics below:

 

Free Comic Book Day 2022: Avatar The Last Airbender/The Legend Of Korra #1
Dark Horse Comics

Both your favorite avatars return in two all-new stories from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra! Dive into the fun for Free Comic Book Day, and expect excitement, familiar faces, and a hefty helping of shenanigans!

Exclusive Original Material

PCS Notes: This is a welcome release of new material in this property. It is a slightly surprising in the best way.  


Free Comic Book Day 2022: Avengers / X-Men #1
Marvel Comics

OF DEVIATION AND MUTATION / BLOODLINE / LET’S TALK ABOUT KRAKOA
Written by Kieron Gillen with art by Valerio Schiti, JUDGMENT DAY will see the Avengers try desperately to avert a war between the Eternals and the X-Men. Fans will get their first glimpse at the conflict in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN with a prelude story by Kieron Gillen and artist Dustin Weaver. Also coming this summer will be the X-Men’s second annual HELLFIRE GALA! Last year, mutantkind terraformed Mars and announced a new team of X-Men… what do they have in store for the Marvel Universe this time around? Find out in a lead-in story by X-MEN scribe Gerry Duggan and artist Matteo Lolli! FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN #1 will also mark the exciting debut of a new hero that Marvel has big plans for this year! Meet BLOODLINE in an introduction story by writer Danny Lore and artist Karen Darboe!

PCS Notes: This is one of those preview comics that we talked about earlier. You probably want to get your hands on this.


Free Comic Book Day 2022: The Bone Orchard Mythos #1
Image Comics

A troubled writer books a secluded cabin on a serene lake in an attempt to get away from his struggling marriage and his impending deadlines. But what he can’t know when he arrives is that he is already in the cabin. In fact he may have always been there.

Face-to-face with his own demons, the writer discovers the first terrifying pieces of The Bone Orchard Mythos a sprawling new horror interconnected universe from the Eisner Award winning team behind Gideon Falls and Primordial, Andrea Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire!

PCS Notes: Yeah. This looks like some good stuff. Continue reading “Free Comic Book Day is Tomorrow – Back Where It Belongs”

With Further Ado #196: Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 Runner-Up Tyler Haraden

With Further Ado #196: Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 Runner-Up Tyler Haraden

Well it is that time of year again. Spring is finally really here, and kids are getting antsy because school is coming to an end. As I have mentioned, I teach the Promoting and Managing ITHACON Class at Ithaca College, and we have developed a bit of a tradition that ties this column to the class.

Each year, I ask the students to submit a column on pop culture as if they were the author of this space. The crack editorial staff at PCS pours over the submissions and selects a winner, and they get published on this website. (The fact that it gives me a couple of weeks break right after Ithacon is of no concern to anyone but me.)

Anyway we have decided that we will publish two columns this year. The first one is the runner-up and the winner will be posted next week.

Just a reminder the first year we did this, there were two columns published Anthony Hernandez and Tyler JennesLast year we published three winners: Jordan Green, Maya Lewis, and Caleigh Clarke.

The runner-up of this year’s fill-in columnist contest is Tyler Haraden and his lament for the lack of Grand Theft Auto VI.

Will we ever see Grand Theft Auto VI?

Guest Columnist Tyler Haraden – Ithaca College

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is one of the greatest gaming titles ever released. Developed by the famous game development company, Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Auto can be traced back to its first game of the series, Grand Theft Auto One, released back in 1997. Since the release of GTA One, we have seen many great games including Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto Four, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and more. Continue reading “With Further Ado #196: Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 Runner-Up Tyler Haraden”