With Further Ado #288: Brit Brilliance – Hope and Holmes

With Further Ado #288: Brit Brilliance – Hope and Holmes

Andrew Sumners of Titan Books just zoomed into one of my Ithaca College classes, as he frequently does. Andrew is one of those guys who gets students to open their eyes that much wider – and imagine new possibilities. And like so many Brits, he does it in a way that’s fun and engaging from start to finish.

I was reflecting on a couple of other British efforts I’ve recently been enthralled with and wanted to shine the spotlight on them too.

Hope

Jimmy Broxton is a brilliant British comics artist, who, like many comic characters, uses a secret identity. (Fancy people call it a pseudonym.) There’s nothing with that. I’ve enjoyed his work on projects like Goldtiger and Vampirella, but I worry I miss much of his UK focused work. Continue reading “With Further Ado #288: Brit Brilliance – Hope and Holmes”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/21/24

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/21/24

Welcome to the New Number Ones!

Each week we bring you the list of new series and special editions coming this week. We are highlighting what you need to put in your cart at the comic shop or digital marketplace.

We have an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this week. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

It is a relatively light week for new series, but there are some very interesting books on the list and a couple of long awaited collections in the One-Shots and Specials section. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, DSTLRY Media, Oni Press, Archie Comics, and Image Comics.

We will bring you reviews 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.

New Series
New One-Shots and Special Editions


New Series This Week 


Alien: Black, White & Blood #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Ryan Cady, & Stephanie Phillips
Art by Dev Pramanik, Marcelo Ferriera, & Michael Dowling
Cover Art by Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer, & Edgar Delgado

THE ALIEN UNIVERSE AS ONLY MARVEL COULD IMAGINE IT! Black, white, red—and GREEN! Marvel Comics and 20th Century Studios present a kill-fest of an anthology in chest-rending artistic detail! Superstars Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing (CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) and brilliant artist Michael Dowling (BLACK CAT, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) kick off a generations-spanning story that will continue through all four issues! Fan-favorite writer Ryan Cady explores the limits of compassion in “Maternal Instincts.” And rising stars Stephanie Phillips and Marcelo Ferreira bring you “The Hunt,” a tale of guts, glory and the most exhilarating of games…

Release Date: February 21, 2024

PCS NOTES: Three new groups of creators taking swings at the Xenomorphs? Sound like a fun read.


Blasfamous #1
DSTLRY Media
Written by Mirka Andolfo
Art by Andolfo & Gianluca Papi
Letters by Fabio Amelia
Cover Art by Andolfo

From international superstar MIRKA ANDOLFO (SWEET PAPRIKA, MERCY, UNNATURAL, Harley Quinn, Punchline…) comes a new horror comedy that only Andolfo can deliver—asking the question: how many fans is your soul worth? In a world where pop stars have ascended to divinity, and the masses bow in veneration to a new generation of viral superstars, angels and demons thrive on this exaltation, and revel in this spotlight that grants them unimaginable power. Clelia, the reigning queen of pop, finds her throne shaken by a newcomer radiating with enigmatic charm. As her fans waver and the public eye threatens to wander, Clelia and her demonic agent, Father Lev, are thrust into a battle for dominance on this exhilarating stage of music and mysticism. How far will they go to defend her reign and unravel the mystery of this sensational new threat? Mixing the sacred and profane, Harvey Award-winning Mirka Andolfo effortlessly merges the mythological urban fantasy of American Gods with the sardonic wit of The Good Place in a brand new dark series featuring stunning visual and narrative intensity set in the glittering world of pop music.

Release Date: February 21, 2024

PCS NOTES: This is the NEW NUMBER ONE OF THE WEEK. DSTLRY keeps the hits coming. We can’t wait for this one. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/21/24”

Breaking News: Oni Press Is Bringing Back EC Comics With New Content This Summer.

Breaking News: Oni Press Is Bringing Back EC Comics With New Content This Summer.

Fans of comic books and storytelling in general should be VERY excited by the latest news from Oni Press. The foundations of modern horror storytelling were incubated and nurtured in the pages of EC Comics stories by some of the greatest comic book creators of all time. Oni Press has now partnered with the family and estate of William Gaines, the late publisher of EC, and has plans to release new comics in the spirit of EC Comics under that label.

The list of current creators already involved in the new series is impressive and encouraging. With new stories scheduled to begin in July 2024, new comics from the granddaddy of thrilling comics is not far away.  See the below Press Release and stay tuned to PCS for future updates as more information becomes available.

PRESS RELEASE:

EC COMICS IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE – AND ALL–NEW PUBLISHING LINE – AT ONI PRESS

The Infamous and Influential Comics Imprint That Redefined Pop Culture Returns with Staggering New Titles and Superstar Creators – Beginning Summer 2024 Continue reading “Breaking News: Oni Press Is Bringing Back EC Comics With New Content This Summer.”

Brainiac On Banjo: It’s Good News Week!

Brainiac On Banjo: It’s Good News Week!

The American bookstore landscape is rebounding with a significant increase in bookstores, including the expansion of Barnes & Noble, which plans to open fifty new stores in 2024. This revival is not expected to harm well-managed independent bookstores. An old bank in Chicago’s Wicker Park is being transformed into one such Barnes & Noble, indicating a trend towards creating more intimate, theme-focused bookstores and promoting the fundamental act of reading.

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/14/24

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/14/24

Welcome to the New Number Ones!

Each week we bring you the list of new series and special editions coming this week. We are highlighting what you need to put in your cart at the comic shop or digital marketplace.

We have an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this week. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

February is in full swing and we are getting more new and interesting books this week. It feels like the publishers are finally coming out of the end-of-year / beginning-of year hiatus for new titles. So let’s hit the comic shops and get some books. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Titan Books, Fantagraphics Books, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Ahoy Comics, and Image Comics. Oh Yeah, and Penthouse too?!

We will bring you reviews 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.

New Series
New One-Shots and Special Editions


New Series This Week 


Blue Book: 1947 #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Michael Avon Oeming
Letters by Tom Napolitano
Cover Art by Oeming

This ambitious, non-fiction comic book experience depicts true stories of UFO abductions with an eye to capturing the strange essence of those encounters. In 1947, Kenneth Arnold flew his Call-Air A-2 over the skies of the Pacific Northwest when all of a sudden he saw a blinding flash of silver light. What followed was a bizarre and difficult to explain encounter with several flying objects that would change the course of his life forever. Tiny Onion Studios and Dark Horse Comics present a line of upcoming creator-owned work from the mind of James Tynion IV across a broad spectrum of his interests. Also includes a True Weird backup story by Zac Thompson, Gavin Fullerton, and Aditya Bidikar!

Release Date: February 14, 2024

PCS NOTES: This creative team absolutely picked the perfect genre for their combined talents. We are excited about this book.


The Cabinet #1
Image Comics
Written by Jordan Hart & David Ebeltoft
Art by Chiara Raimondi
Cover Art by Raimondi

Mini-Series Premiere.

In this vibrant, tongue-in-cheek adventure series, atypical teen Avani and midwestern jock Trent teleport across a post-Cold War landscape to collect bizarre relics. Why? Well, because they need to summon the arcane powers of a resplendent 17th-century cabinet to fix a teeny-tiny mistake the last time Avani used it… unleashing an ancient evil from its prison and accidentally slaughtering her parents. Courtesy of Eisner-nominated writer Jordan Hart (Ripple Effects) and co-writer David Ebeltoft, and introducing the technicolor wizardry of artist Chiana Raimondi! Each issue features a variant interconnected cover by artist Marguerite Sauvage!

Release Date: February 14, 2024

PCS NOTES: This looks fun. We will definitely check it out.


The Displaced #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Luca Casalanguida & Dee Cunniffe
Cover Art by Casalanguida & Cunniffe

The city of Oshawa, Ontario has vanished without a trace. Even worse, nobody remembers it or the 170,000 missing residents that disappeared along with it.

As the survivors also fall into the forgotten, they must seek each other out, if they hope to have any chance of surviving in a world where no one believes they exist…

Highly acclaimed writer Ed Brisson (Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Predator), rising star artist Luca Casalanguida (Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body, James Bond), and red hot colorist Dee Cunniffe (Barnstormers, Crossover) pose the question… how can you feel connected to reality or each other if by all veritable means, you don’t exist?

Release Date: February 14, 2024

PCS NOTES: This has a intriguing premise and we love the work of everyone involved with this book. Add it to Pull List. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/14/24”

Super Bowl LVIII Reaction – Commercials and Trailers

Super Bowl LVIII Reaction – Commercials and Trailers

Well, the latest season of NFL football is over. It has been quite the spectacle and veered closer into the Pop Culture atmosphere than it has in recent years. With the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime, there is no way you can say this season was not filled with drama.

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. PHOTO: EZRA SHAW/GETTY

Much of the added attention had to do with the intersection of music and sports with the very public romantic relationship between Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce and mega pop star Taylor Swift. Swift’s presence anywhere generates buzz, and this season, her travels to support her boyfriend and the camera time that she received on NFL broadcasts were the cause of a buzz that rivaled the rumble of a 747 on takeoff. A lot of the noise was generated by those same folks who were upset that a quarterback had an opinion and kneeled to protesting police brutality. For many of us, the apoplectic reaction to a woman attending a football game to support her romantic partner was gloriously rewarding karma.

The Super Bowl is the ultimate showcase for new advertisements and film trailer releases, and this year despite prices around seven million dollars for thirty second ads, plenty of companies and organizations plunked down their cash to try to ride the Taylor wave of football viewership. Let’s breakdown what we saw.

PSAs – Hit or Miss

There were a bunch of spots during the game that were not trying to sell anything at all. Some Public Service Announcements were well done, and some were head scratching to say the least. On the positive side, there was a body positivity ad sponsored by Dove and a couple of anti-bullying promos staring NFL players as well as a PSA calling attention to homelessness and another calling for people to stand up to hate. Continue reading “Super Bowl LVIII Reaction – Commercials and Trailers”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/7/2024

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/7/2024

Welcome to the New Number Ones!

Each week we bring you the list of new series and special editions coming this week. We are highlighting what you need to put in your cart at the comic shop or digital marketplace.

We have an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this week. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

February is upon us and this is the time of year that comics turn to thoughts of romance. The One-Shots and Specials section is loaded with Valentine’s Day Specials. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Titan Books, AWA Studios, Archie Comics, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics.

We will bring you reviews 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.

New Series
New One-Shots and Special Editions


New Series This Week 


Dark Souls: The Willow King #1
Titan Books
Written by George Mann
Art by Maan House
Cover Art by Stephanie Hans

FALLEN DECAYING WORLD OF DARK SOULS WITH AN ALL-NEW TITAN COMICS SERIES!

The mighty king USTRAD OF UTHREL linked the flame, after his servant Herad failed and was consumed by the fire, reduced to ashes. Now, the time has come to link the fire again, but Ustrad now refuses to do his duty to his kingdom. HERAD, resurrected as unkindled, returns to unite three mighty warriors to venture into the WILLOW KING’S domain, and do what needs to be done.

Release Date: February 7, 2024

PCS NOTES: Man! This looks like a pretty cool horror adventure book.


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Return #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Amy Jo Johnson & Matt Hotson
Art by Nico Leon
Cover Art by Goñi Montes

In an alternate universe, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers finally defeated Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, but at a terrible cost… In the wake of tragedy, the team went their separate ways.

22 years later, the long-disbanded team reunites to mourn the losses of beloved friends, but Zack and Billy have some unexpected information to share-Jason, the Red Ranger, has been operating as a lone vigilante, and has since disappeared.

Will the remaining Rangers be able to track him down, especially with a mysterious figure in pursuit?

Written by actress, screenwriter, and director Amy Jo Johnson, the original Pink Ranger herself, along with rising star co-writer Matt Hotson (Titans) and renowned artist Nico Leon (Spider-Man, Catwoman), fans can experience something unlike anything they ever have before in the Power Rangers universe, in TV or comics!

Release Date: February 7, 2024

PCS NOTES: I am super happy to see Amy Jo Johnson diving into other mediums with this franchise. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/7/2024”

With Further Ado #285: American History Comics -without the comics (kind of)

With Further Ado #285: American History Comics -without the comics (kind of)

I’m fascinated and impressed by America Redux: Visual Stories from Our Dynamic History by Ariel Aberg-Riger. This one took me by surprise – it’s a series of short stories each focusing on an event, or topic, from various points in American history.

It’s told visually, but not will illustrations, as is so familiar (and expected) to comic fans like me. Instead, each segment comes to life in clever “collage-y” and lettered pages.

The collages are clever – photographs, old maps, documents and graphic design. And lettering would certainly not be approved by someone like Todd Klein. It’s rough and uneven, but somehow it lends the homegrown feel of it all. Continue reading “With Further Ado #285: American History Comics -without the comics (kind of)”

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

The place was the scene of some kind of horrible crime; another postal worker had lost his mind. Couldn’t stand the tension, lost his pension, afraid of growing old out in the cold, no one to hold. As he did his stalking, that Glock did his talking, he settled the score up and down the floor. SWAT team sniper caught him at the door. The mailman put in a fresh clip, turned and slipped through a crack in the universe. “A Crack in the Universe” written by Wayne Kramer.

If America had only one musical Mecca — and we have about a dozen — that one place would be Detroit, Michigan.

Among the many talents who get their start or made their bones in Detroit, in politically-correct alphabetical order (more or less): Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, George Clinton, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Bootsy Collins, Alice Coltrane, Alice Cooper, Marshall Crenshaw, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Glenn Frey, Marvin Gaye, Grand Funk Railroad, Bill Haley, John Lee Hooker, Tommy James and the Shondells, Yusef Lateef, Little Willie John, Martha and the Vandellas, MC5, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Phil Ochs, Parliament-Funkadelic, Wilson Pickett, Iggy Pop, Suzi Quatro, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Patti Smith, Edwin Starr, The Stooges, The Supremes, The Temptations, Sippie Wallace, The White Stripes, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder…

The MC5. Photo by Leni Sinclair

…to name but a very, very few. I could triple this list without looking at the internet; the total would run longer than the entire roll-call for The Avengers. If there’s anybody above with whom you might not be familiar — that’s why we’ve got search engines. It’s worth the effort.

I’m not going to play the “who’s best / who’s most important game” because it’s childish, stupid, deceiving and totally irrelevant. My guess is that your AI-based streaming service devotes an incredible percentage of its playlists on these Detroit performers. But I will note the efforts of Wayne Kramer, frontman for the revolutionary hard-rock group The MC5. Their stuff was to the point, it encouraged not only awareness but action, and by today’s standards some of the least woke stuff engraved in wax since “Barnacle Bill.” Don’t mention this to the MAGA Party; it’ll destroy their tiny little minds.

Ahh, screw it. Tell them anyway. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God”

With Further Ado #284: Up, Up, and Away! So long, Sid Friedfertig

With Further Ado #284: Up, Up, and Away! So long, Sid Friedfertig

It with great sadness that I reflect on the passing of my pal, Sid Friedfertig, who died on December 30th in Brooklyn at age 69. Sid was the man behind preserving a special bit of comics history – the daily Superman newspaper strips. Partnering with the American Library of Comics and IDW Publishing, Sid worked to publish these strips in beautiful hardcover collections.

It was honor to invite Sid to exhibit, and lecture, at recent ITHACON comic conventions. He was gentleman and a professional – always kind and patient with fans at his booth. And when on panels, he was informative and upbeat; never stuffy.

Every year at ITHACON I’d buy one more volume of this superb series – and ask him to autograph it, of course. ITHACON is a wonderful event, but for me, it will shine just little less brightly this year. Fandom will be just a little bit dimmer with the loss of this hard-working comics historian.

So long, Sid. It was great to know you – all too briefly. And thanks for being a great guy, a great father and an outstanding Superman Fan.

For this week’s column, I’d like to re-present an interview that I had the pleasure of conducing with Sid a few years ago.

With Further Ado #39: Look! Up in the Newspaper – A Super Interview with Sid Friedfertig
Originally published April 24, 2019

The irony of a reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper appearing in the funny pages of a great metropolitan newspapers, and quite a few rural newspapers, is not lost on me.

Superman in comics, in the movies, on TV or the in the newspaper inspires the best in us. I had the pleasure of catching up with entrepreneur and super-fan, Sid Friedfertig, at the 44th annual Ithacon and it was a such a treat. He’s a guy with great passion inspired by Superman. Through his Herculean efforts (or should I say “Kryptonian efforts”?) , fans can enjoy so many lost Superman adventures – and rediscover old adventures in longer stories with better, but still vintage, art! “What is this?”, you say? Well, read on and enjoy my chat with Sid Freidfertig:

Ed Catto: Can you tell me why you are such a Superman fan, and why do you feel Superman is so enduring?

Sid Friedfertig: Superman endures because he is unique. With every other costumed hero the plots must be crafted so the hero’s ability is able to counter the menace facing him. Superman is the reverse, he is the All-Good, the ideal. To me that makes him more interesting.

EC: How did you get hooked on the Silver Age Superman, and how did you develop such an interest in the Superman Newspaper Strips?

SF: I grew up reading the Silver Age Superman comic books, which featured covers mostly drawn by Curt Swan, while at the same time watching the Adventures of Superman TV series. George Reeves was Swan’s Clark Kent come to life. Sometimes though, the story inside the comics was drawn by another artist. I wanted to see Swan’s artwork that went with those glorious covers. Later I realized that Swan had drawn those same stories for the Superman newspaper strip. Here were the stories that went with those covers, and I decided that I was going to find all of them.

EC: I love how you partnered with IDW for this effort. Can you tell me a little about the relationship?

SF: I own the only known collection of Superman newspaper strips. I knew that fans had been for years demanding from DC that these stories be reprinted but DC did not have them. Due to a decision that is lost to history DC published the strips once then threw them away. No copies were made, no individual titles were recorded, we don’t even have an accurate list of which newspapers carried the strip in its final years, so I created a website to showcase my collection; it received a great deal of attention. IDW approached me and we have been working together ever since. They have a wonderful imprint called The Library of American Comics, headed by Dean Mullaney, whose aim is to publish as many lost American comic strips as is possible, not only Superman.

EC: How many books in the series do you have out now, and what’s coming up next?

SF: IDW picked up in 1943 where Kitchen Sink Press left off. In the late 1990’s they reprinted the first three years of dailies and Sundays. Each dailies volume covers 2 to 2 ½ years of episodes. The final Golden Age volume will be in stores in May. Next year we will enter the Atomic Age of comic strips after which comes the one I am looking forward to most, the final book in the series, the beginning of the Cambrian explosion of creativity also known as the Silver Age.

EC: The covers to these books are wonderful! How are they designed?

SF: The beautiful covers, front and reverse, were drawn by the great Pete Poplaski. Lorraine Turner designs all the books. I think each cover conveys the lighthearted spirit that permeated 60’s comics.

EC: What makes these Superman Newspaper Strips so special, and why should Superman fans read them?

SF: If you love Silver Age Superman stories that appeared in the comics, you will love these books. Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel was rehired by DC to transform scripts written for the comic books into strip format. The added length of the strip versions allowed Siegel to give the stories more depth and characterization than their comic doppelgangers. These strips were Siegel’s last Superman work and in my opinion the best work of his life.

EC: You recently were a guest at ITHACON. What was that like? Were there any surprises there?

SF: I loved attending Ithacon. The only surprise was how appreciative of my efforts were the comics professionals in attendance. It was very fulfilling.

EC: These newspaper strips have so many familiar supporting characters. Did they also introduce new characters or narrative elements to the Superman mythology?

SF: Because the comic books have a longer lead-time than the dailies, several episodes appeared in the strips first. As a result, the first appearance of arch foes Brainiac, Bizarro, Metallo, and Mr. Myxptlk occurred in the strips. Supporting characters like lovely Lyla Lerrol also made their debuts in the strips.

EC: Which creators worked on these strips and who do you feel delivered the best work?

SF: Wayne Boring was so adept at drawing the Superman strip that he drew both dailies and Sundays for a time and he remained on the Sunday strip for a quarter of a century. But the most fulfilling part of my journey has been publishing Jerry Siegel’s final Superman work that had been lost for over half a century.

EC: What’s your favorite Superman Newspaper adventure and why?

SF: Siegel’s story ‘Superman’s Return To Krypton’ is my favorite. In the comics, it appeared as a full-length novel, which means the single story occupied the entire comic book. When Siegel wrote the newspaper version he told the same story using about 50% additional panels giving the story great depth. The interaction of Superman and his doomed parents achieves great poignancy, those scenes always break my heart.

EC: Thanks so very much for your time and for all your efforts, Sid.