With Further Ado #117: Oh Demokratia! Voting is Your Super Power!

With Further Ado #117: Oh Demokratia! Voting is Your Super Power!

It’s a rainy day here and one of my first thoughts was, “Am I ready to stand out in the rain if it’s like this on Election Day?” And just yesterday the absentee ballots for my Mom and Dad arrived at their house. They’ll get them into the mail ASAP. It’s that kind of season. I think we’re all planning ahead on how to ensure that our vote counts.

Everywhere there seems to be a focus on it.  Even in this past Sunday’s Prince Valiant. The classic newspaper strip was created by Hal Foster and now capably continued by Mark Schultz and Thomas Yeates.  In this week’s adventure, Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles, remarks upon a unique form of government she had heard about. It’s an idea where self-rule by the common folks.

“Oh, Demokratia!”, she exclaims. And they she remembers that the Greeks “tried it that centuries ago! It worked well for a time…but then the people grew lazy and timid, and decided to just let a tyrant do their thinking for them.” Continue reading “With Further Ado #117: Oh Demokratia! Voting is Your Super Power!”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/21/20: The Scumbag #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/21/20: The Scumbag #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.

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 this book.

This week we have a new series from Rick Remender and Lewis Larosa called The Scumbag from Image Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS on October 21, 2020.

The Scumbag#1
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Lewis Larosa
Colors by Moreno Dinisio
Letters by Rus Wooton
Cover Art by Larosa & Dinisio

Original Solicitation:

NEW ONGOING SERIES from the writer of DEADLY CLASS!
RICK REMENDER launches an all-new comedy espionage series, THE SCUMBAG-the story of Ernie Ray Clementine, a profane, illiterate, drug-addicted biker with a fifth-grade education. He’s the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon because this dummy accidentally received a power-imbuing serum, making him the world’s most powerful super spy.

This new ongoing series will feature a murderers’ row of all-star artistic talent rotating each issue. The first issue showcases the stunning work of LEWIS LaROSA, with subsequent chapters and covers by brilliant talents such as ANDREW ROBINSON, ERIC POWELL, TULA LOTAY, WES CRAIG, ROLAND BOSCHI, SIMONE DI MEO, MARGUERITE SAUVAGE, DUNCAN FEGREDO, YANICK PAQUETTE, MIKE McKONE, DAVE JOHNSON, MORENO DINISIO, and many more!

PCS Review:

The lead character in this book is a complete scumbag. He is damaged and unrepentantly atavistic. There is a tiny glimmer of pity that the reader can feel for this character, but even that empathy comes with heavy dose of guilt. Rick Remender does an excellent job of giving the reader no reason to root for this character other than the fate of the world is in his hands. The series looks to be off to a fast start with the storytelling in this issue.

The art by Lewis Larosa and Moreno Dinisio is incredibly dynamic. There is a Rube Goldberg machine feel to the visual narrative in this book. While most of the book is not filled with action sequences, the reader gets the feel of constant movement, with each panel leading forcefully to the next. The rough edged and over-the-top look to the characters in this issue is a perfect choice for the tone of the book.

While this is billed as a comedy, and there are some ironically humorous moments, it is truly a window into the depths that people will fall and what they will do when they hit rock bottom. This is a well crafted tale with a good hook and definitely leaves you wanting to see what comes next.

With Further Ado #115: The Sprawling MetaVerse of a Virtual Comic Con & the Simple Joy of an Old Comic Story

With Further Ado #115: The Sprawling MetaVerse of a Virtual Comic Con & the Simple Joy of an Old Comic Story

The best part about conventions, for me, is that they that they transcend commerce and blow past marketing to blossom into big parties where you spend time with old friends and make new ones (who all share the same pop culture interests).

Days gone by…

New York Comic Con was held virtually this past weekend. I was surprised how nostalgic so much of fandom and the industry was for “the good old days”.  And I was surprised how much I missed it.  Make no mistake, I had so much fun there for so many years, but I didn’t expect to be sappy about it. I thought the ache of my feet and the crush of the crowds was still fresh in my mind, but as time floats by we tend to forget all the crummy aspects of things and just remember all the cool parts.

Hats off to Reed Expo’s Mike Armstrong, Lance Fensterman, Larry Settembrini, Mark Fitch and their merry band who pulled this all together. This 2020 NYCC virtual convention, also branded as Find the Metaverse,  had some very interesting parts.  The exhibition floor was, by and large, a pretty straightforward conversion to an online version. Certain companies, like BlueFin, created incredible virtual booths where attendees could roam freely…and discover treasures. Continue reading “With Further Ado #115: The Sprawling MetaVerse of a Virtual Comic Con & the Simple Joy of an Old Comic Story”

Blackout: The Latest Season of the New Brooklyn Saga is on Webtoons

Blackout: The Latest Season of the New Brooklyn Saga is on Webtoons

What do you do when your Psychotic Vigilante Mother gets hold of an Apocalypse Sword?

Comic creator Dean Haspiel has been working on his original metaphysical superhero story The New Brooklyn Saga for a few years now, and the fourth season has just premiered on Webtoons.com.

The latest installment is called Blackout. Here is how Dean describes the new season:

When The Green Point’s apocalypse sword is reactivated by the malice of The Coney, The Red Hook must combat and convince his psychotic, vigilante mother to help finally destroy it, only to accidentally rebirth the wrath of an unexpected villain who threatens to save earth from the hierarchy of humanity by sending New Brooklyn back to the stone age! Does The Red Hook have to break bad in order to restore the goodness of society?

The Red Hook, crook turned reluctant hero, is an engaging character, and the world that he lives in is full of interesting characters. The big ideas that Haspiel explores in this series have always raised the quality of the story to lofty heights. The previous season ended with the sun being reignited by love; so, where do you go from there? Continue reading “Blackout: The Latest Season of the New Brooklyn Saga is on Webtoons”

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 14, 2020: Commanders In Crisis #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 14, 2020: Commanders In Crisis #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.

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 have a new series from Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto callled Commanders In Crisis from Image Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS on October 14, 2020.


Commanders In Crisis #1
Image Comics
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Davide Tinto
Colors by Francesca Carotenuto
Letters by Fabio Amelia
Cover Art by Tinto

Original Solicitation:

The last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. A new twist on strange superhero comics, with a bleeding-edge eye on the modern moment, COMMANDERS IN CRISIS follows in the footsteps of Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts as five unexpected heroes come together to solve a murder unlike any other. The victim? Compassion itself…This is ideacide!

A new series by acclaimed writer STEVE ORLANDO and artist DAVIDE TINTO, an intense, weird action thriller reminding us about the importance of compassion and hope in the present moment, and putting fists to faces along the way!

PCS Review:

This is a great superhero comic book, but it is also more than that. Steve Orlando is bringing big ideas to this series. I am not often a huge fan of text introductions to comic books. I feel that the story should be told in the narrative, but the introduction by Dan Didio in this book really sets the stage in a meaningful way.

The introduction of the characters in a battle and the follow up sequences are natural,  and Orlando provides easy access to the plot. There is a spark of hope and light that is often missing from other contemporary new superhero universes. I am immediately invested in these characters and their plight.

Davide Tinto and Francesca Carotenuto deliver a bright and vibrant visual narrative, and the plot and art mess in a wonderful way to achieve a completely immersive experience. Fabio Amelia‘s lettering is well crafted to accommodate the necessary introductory information in this debut issue.

There has been a lot of positive buzz about this book, and it is well deserved. Orlando and Tinto are doing big things and we are here to see where they go.

 

Also please check out our SquadCast interview with Steve Orlando to here what he has in store for this series.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. In this session, we spoke with comics writer Steve Orlando.

Steve has recently fulfilled his exclusive contract with DC Comics and is planning his expansion into lots of new types of projects and genres. He is well known for his work on Midnighter and Martian Manhunter, but also wrote Justice League of America, Unexpected, Electric Warriors, Wonder Woman, and others. He has written Crude for Image Comics, and Dead Kings for AfterShock Comics which were well reviewed here at Pop Culture Squad.

His latest bold project is a collaboration with artist Davide Tinto called Commanders in Crisis, and it debuts this week from Image Comics.

We has a wide ranging discussion of his past work, his influences, and how he views himself in society. It was a wild conversation and one that defies the written word. I tried to pull some highlights as you will see in the abridged transcription below, but this is an interview that needs to be heard.

Steve is a fascinating man and incredibly talented writer who knows what he wants to say and has done an excellent job of accomplishing that up to this point.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


Squadcast Highlights:

Pop Culture Squad: You said that Commanders In Crisis “is a fight for comics as they need to be.” What does that mean?

Steve Orlando: Commanders in Crisis will give you hope. It will talk about the current moment, and it will do so with some wild comic book s#!t that you could never see at DC.

PCS: What was it like working with Philip Kennedy Johnson on To Kill A Man, soon to be released from AfterShock Comics.

SO: I love working with [Philip]. We make each other better. I am very proud of that book. I think it’s one of the best if not THE best thing that I have been part of as a collaboration, and a lot of that is because [Philip] and I aren’t precious about s#!t. We sort of know when to lean in and lean out so that everything feels real and authentic. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics”

Comic News Roundup: Comics News for the week of 10/5/2020 -10/9/2020

Comic News Roundup: Comics News for the week of 10/5/2020 -10/9/2020

Welcome to our new feature Comic News Roundup. We are giving you a run down of the news from comic book publishers and other pop culture news that was released throughout this week. We have news from NYCC/Metaverse, Archie Comics, Boom! Studios, Scout Comics, Valiant Entertainment, and Amazon Prime.

 


Archie Comics

South Side Serpents:

Archie Comics announced a new one-shot comic that comes out in January 2021. It is set in the world of Riverdale and stars Jughead Jones and the South Side Serpents biker gang.

From the press release:

“I’ve known David and Richard a long time and have wanted to work with both of them,” said Archie Comics Co-President Alex Segura. “David’s a pro — a journalist who’s written some great comics. Richard has a clean, memorable line and is an editor’s dream. So, when we knew we wanted to spotlight the South Side Serpents corner of the Riverdale universe, it made sense to pair them together. The end result is a dark, compelling, and unique take on some of fans’ favorite characters — plus plenty of surprises.”

Here is the cover and solicit:

RIVERDALE PRESENTS: SOUTH SIDE SERPENTS ONE-SHOT
FP Jones is worried for the future of the South Side Serpents. The biker gang is getting old and finding it hard to attract fresh blood. But FP has a plan, and it revolves around his son, Jughead. Hunted by the most fearsome biker gangs in the state, an unwilling Jughead has to step up into the role of leader to guide the Serpents on a perilous journey. There will be adventure, there will be thrills, there will be chases, and there will be death in this special one-shot event featuring fan-favorite characters from the CW Riverdale series.

Script: David Barnett
Art: Richard Ortiz, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Richard Ortiz
Variant Cover: Tyler Boss
On Sale Date: 1/27
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.


New York Comic Con / Metaverse

This weekend is ReedPop‘s virtual New York Comic Con. As will all comic conventions this year NYCC is not an in person event. Metaverse is hosting the virtual experience that consists of live programming panels, artist alley “booth”. vendor kiosks, and lots of other cool stuff. There is content from the world of comics, anime, film/tv, as well as paid experiences and lots of exclusives. You can find all the fun stuff at https://www.findthemetaverse.com/.

A highlight is the 2020 Harvey Awards Ceremony tonight at 7:50PM EDT.
https://www.findthemetaverse.com/videos/_MW18JGRHko

There was some news that was released regarding a new project by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore which is sponsored by the Travelers Insurance company. Simone broke the news of this heartwarming project that supports the campaign to reduce distracted driving on Twitter yesterday. Here is the thread to Gail’s storytime, but be warned you may need a tissue, or a box of them.


Boom! Studios

Power Rangers:

Boom! Studios has announce a few new comics this week. They include a new graphic novel in the Hasbro licenced Power Rangers universe called Power Rangers: Sins of the Future.

From the press release:

“BOOM! Studios, under license by Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS), today revealed a brand new look at the original graphic novel POWER RANGERS: SINS OF THE FUTURE, written by Matthew Erman (Bonding), with story by Trey Moore (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro (Saban’s Power Rangers: Soul of The Dragon), and lettered by Ed Dukeshire. This all-new graphic novel, available on October 28, 2020, features two of the most popular Rangers of all time and what happens to them after the events of the hit Power Rangers: Time Force television series!”

Continue reading “Comic News Roundup: Comics News for the week of 10/5/2020 -10/9/2020”

With Further Ado #115: Overstreet and the Hero Initiative

With Further Ado #115: Overstreet and the Hero Initiative

I’ve often said that The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is more than just a much-anticipated book release with a bunch of back issue prices. It’s really an annual book release wrapped up as a pop culture celebration. Every year, collectors look forward to the new edition and opine on which cover – Gemstone Publishing releases many cover options each year – is their favorite.

But there’s another tradition within this tradition- a special charitable tradition that’s been going on for a decade. I caught up with Gemstone’s J.C. Vaughn, Gemstone’s V.P. of Publishing, to get the skinny!


 EC: Can you explain to me exactly what these Hero Initiative Editions are and how they work?

 JCV: Each year, beginning with The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #40 in 2010, we produce a limited, hardcover-only edition of 500 copies of the Guide exclusively for the Hero Initiative, always with covers by top artists. Hero and their affiliates are the only source for these books. Gemstone Publishing does not sell them, and as a matter of fact, we don’t take a penny for them, and neither do our printers. All of the proceeds go to the Hero Initiative. Continue reading “With Further Ado #115: Overstreet and the Hero Initiative”

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 7, 2020: Getting It Together and Stanley’s Ghost

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 7, 2020: Getting It Together and Stanley’s Ghost

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.

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 have two great new books to preview. The first is a new series called Getting It Together from Image Comics, and the second is a one-shot from Storm Kids (the young adult imprint of Storm King Comics, called Stanley’s Ghost

You can find these books at your LCS on October 7, 2020.


Getting It Together #1
Image Comics
Written by Sina Grace & Omar Spahi
Art by Jenny D. Fine & Grace
Colors by Mx. Struble
Letters by Sean Konot
Cover Art by Fine

Original Solicitation:

SERIES PREMIERE! Newcomer artist JENNY D. FINE shines alongside Marvel Comics’ Iceman writer SINA GRACE and co-creator OMAR SPAHI in the all-new modern dramedy you didn’t know you needed! Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s indie rocker sister and roommate. When Sam and Lauren open up their long-term relationship, skyrocketing tensions send social shockwaves through their friend group and the entire Bay Area. And Jack, caught in the middle of it all, may be forced to take sides in a conflict he never wanted to be a part of. Life gets pretty messy when you’re in your 20s and your friends are your family.

PCS Review:

This book is just lovely. I often find myself enthralled with the writing of Sina Grace. The casual relaxed nature of his dialogue is mesmerizing. There is an immediate attraction to the characters in this book and the opening sequence probably has a lot to do with that. The collaboration with Omar Spahi is wonderful. The two combine to tell a compelling story about relationships that are damaged and have a very real-life feel to them.

Jenny D. Fine does a phenomenal job in realizing the essence of this story and generating a wonderful visual narrative. While there is a cartoony aspect to the art, the facial expressions, background details, and character interactions are spectacular. The color work by Mx. Struble is excellent, particularly the textured backgrounds and the lighting elements. With a book that is mostly conversational the letterer needs to be extra careful to get the dialogue in without obscuring the art, and Sean Konot takes advantage of panel borders in an fantastic way to do exactly that.

I am very excited for this book and and looking forward to the next issue. Don’t miss it.


John Carpenter Presents Stanley’s Ghost: A Halloween Adventure #1
Storm King Comics / Storm Kids
Story by Jeff Balke & Paul Storrie
Written by Paul Storrie

Art by Dave Alvarez
Colors by Jeff Balke
Letters by Janice Chiang
Cover Art by Alvarez & Balke

Original Solicitation:

Oh no! Who’s been stealing fruit from all the gardens in Arbordale? Was it the prankster Chester Chipmunk? Or maybe Baby Fang? Accusations fly until someone suggests that maybe it was the Ghost of Bunnyburrow Manor! Neighbors have claimed to have seen it flying around, but are ghosts even real? And if they are, why would they be stealing fruit? Stanley Squirrel offers to lead an expedition into the house to see if it really is haunted and find out just what’s been going on. But as the gang creeps around the house looking for answers, what they find isn’t what any of them were expecting!

PCS Review:

Sometimes there is a book that just fits the time and this book does in unconventional ways. This is a fun cartoony adventure that fits the spooky season. It is a breath of fresh air in world of chaos. Paul Storrie and Jeff Balke crafted a lively tale that has a bunch of anthropomorphic cartoon friends investigating a mystery that turns scary. The dialogue in this book is engaging and charming.

The line art by Dave Alvarez is joyfully sweet,  and he does a great job with expression and characterization. The colors by Jeff Balke are vibrant, and Janice Chiang is just a fantastic letterer who always bring high quality work to everything she does.

This book is a perfect gift for young readers, but also a wonderful Halloweeny comic experience for every age.

Weird Scenes #109: Constitution Much?

Weird Scenes #109: Constitution Much?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – The Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment 1, enacted 1791, up for virtual repeal, Fall 2020.

Our Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of our land, yet the above paragraph has never carried the full weight of law, certainly not as written. That’s a shame, as these 45 words are very specific, clear-cut, and quite elegant. They mean we can’t pass laws that favor individual religious philosophies, no matter how unpopular they may be, or laws that obstruct other religious philosophies, no matter how popular.

Freedom of religion always means freedom from somebody else’s religion: your right to exercise your religious beliefs ends where the next person’s religious rights begin, and so on to all 332,000,000 Americans. It does not say “except for Mormons, Santerians, Scientologists, Muslims, Jews, and whomever else offends the beliefs of those who run things.” Marginalizing them as “cults” is bigotry.

Therefore, Supreme Court designate Amy Coney Barrett is, arguably, the most unAmerican and most dangerous person in the nation today.

This is not because Ms. Barrett is conservative. Some of my best friends, as they say, are conservative. It is because she is fully committed to ramming her specific religious predilections down everybody else’s throats. According to the New York Times, she is a member of the People of Praise group and is accountable to a personal adviser, called a “head” if male and a “handmaid” if female. Husbands are the heads of their wives and therefore run the family. Current and former members say that these advisers direct all important decisions, including who its followers can date or marry, where they can live, whether to take a job, and how to raise their children. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #109: Constitution Much?”