Weird Scenes #106: COVID Don’t Give A Peep!

Weird Scenes #106: COVID Don’t Give A Peep!

We had time and space and freedom, / We had love and peace to spare / Though we ran out of things to smoke and say and eat and wear / And the morning of the avalanche / The Yeti kidnapped Blanche / And took her to his cave up in the Rockies. – Colorado, by Christopher Guest, Sean Kelly, and Tony Hendra, 1973

I will concede most of us are going crazy from the COVID lockdown. For a social Darwinist like me, though, is there is a bright side. Those who are not going crazy are out infecting and being infected by their fellow science deniers. As my father often told me, “you always gotta learn the hard way, don’t you?”

Uh-oh. There goes another chunk of my bleeding heart liberal street-cred. Well, easy come, easy go.

I feel sorry for the kids, although most have made out pretty good. Every politician claims the kids are desperate to go back to a real school. Yeah, you betcha. I have no doubt a small group of tiny freaks do feel that way, but the rest are just pissed off they’ve run out of things to do and friends to do it to. It’s the parents (certainly not the teachers, as they tend to value life) who want real school to start. They feel they have earned the right to chose sanity over safety. But parents already knew they made that sacrifice the day they decided to have kids, so um tut sut, mofos. You people brought these beings into this world, and you are obligated to keep everything kosher until they are old enough to change your diapers. Revenge is a dish best served old. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #106: COVID Don’t Give A Peep!”

With Further Ado #111: Wheatley’s The Witch of Everwhen

With Further Ado #111: Wheatley’s The Witch of Everwhen

Some people are just overflowing with talent, and when it spills over to other media, it’s a truly wondrous thing. Mark Wheatley is one of those people.  You may know him as an award-winning comics creator, a frequent exhibitor at San Diego Comic-Con & Baltimore Comic-Con, or as an industrious entrepreneur.  Knowing all those things about him, I was even more impressed when he told me about his newest project, a song & music video called The Witch of Everwhen.  Checkout the teaser trailer:

 

 

Wheatley is working out the details for the full-fledged Witch of Everwhen video debut. The announcement should be made soon, and you can keep up with it all here at the Mark Wheatley Gallery.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised because he’s created music videos before for previous projects like Dance with Your Brothers , Surrender and Earth’s Farewell.  But nonetheless, I had to find out more.

Ed Catto: This is a fascinating project – tell me how The Witch of Everwhen came about!

Mark Wheatley: I have been composing and recording music for as long as I have been writing and drawing comics professionally. In my early days looking for work in New York, while I was beating the pavement to show my portfolio to art directors and editors, I was also sending demo tapes to A&R reps at the various music companies. I was doing this right up until I landed my first monthly comic series, MARS.

The only musical “success” I had during that period was one of my tunes was picked for airplay on WNEW and one of their DJs was calling me to brainstorm how I would get more attention for my music. But when Marc Hempel and I signed our MARS contract [with First Comics], I decided that the time required to write and pencil a monthly comic was going to eat my life, and I stopped recording and sending out demo tapes. So, of course, two weeks after I signed the MARS contract Capitol Records offered me a three record deal, and I had to turn it down. A few months later, Columbia Records offered me a one record deal. Both of these offers would require me to also hit the road for live tours, so it was just impossible. After that, aside from recording some soundtrack music for radio and TV commercials, my musical efforts were limited to recording theme songs for my comic book creations. Continue reading “With Further Ado #111: Wheatley’s The Witch of Everwhen”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #069: Cobra Kai Has No Mercy… For My Love

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #069: Cobra Kai Has No Mercy… For My Love

I know I don’t write often much these days; the pandemic has a way of making me feel like time is both infinite and unending. Is that vague enough an excuse? Unlikely. But much like the fists flying in faces throughout Cobra Kai, the snake has awaken my desire to act once again here on Pop Culture Squad. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #069: Cobra Kai Has No Mercy… For My Love”

Weird Scenes #105: Zombie Fires!

Weird Scenes #105: Zombie Fires!

Talk with your mouth full / Bite the hand that feeds you / Bite off more than you chew / What can you do? / Dare to be stupid — Al Yankovic (Weird), 1985

When it comes to wildfires, we here in the States tend to think of California… as well we should, particularly right now. This year’s deadly conflagrations have spread to Oregon and Washington State. Or, as President Tang says, “those antifa anarchist states.” Wildfires have done a world of harm to Australia as well. And, now, Russia.

But… the arctic circle? And… zombie fires? ZOMBIE FIRES IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE?

Wow. That one didn’t even make it into the bibles. And they sadly shit-canned the revered Weekly World News, so you might not have heard of zombie fires.

According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic Program Director Peter Winsor, a zombie fire is one that starts in the permafrost layer. Those things consist of frozen soil, silt, gravel, frozen plants and animals and sand bound together by frozen water. Such layers can be hundreds of meters thick – or, in midtown Manhattan terms, about two blocks thick, which is deeper than many Broadway potholes. A good place to find permafrost is in the arctic circle, where its less likely to break down due to lower warming conditions. Those last two words are known in the writing racket as “foreshadowing.” Continue reading “Weird Scenes #105: Zombie Fires!”

With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide

With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide

Just like with sports or politics, there are many anticipated milestones throughout the year in Geek Culture.  As kid in the late ’60s and ’70s, I knew that summer meant over-sized Annuals and the Justice League & Justice Society of America team-up.

Before Covid-19 interrupted every aspect of business and culture, there was a rhythm to the convention season, kicking off in spring with shows like Emerald City Comic Con and C2E2, reaching a summertime crescendo with Comic-Con International in San Diego, and then celebrating one last burst with New York Comic Con in the fall before a handful of smaller regional conventions.

One highly anticipated tradition that’s been around for fifty years is the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  Ostensibly, the place to turn for authoritative price documentation on comics, it’s morphed into a scholarly celebration of all domestic comics, an exploration of retailing trends, the last word in listings, a showcase for top artists and a validation for nerds everywhere.

Defying Covid’s grasp, the Overstreet Guide has delivered again.

Got it Covered

Each year, the Guide invites a top artist to contribute illustrations.  Back when I was a kid, we were enthralled with 1976’s Overstreet #4 with the Justice Society heroes on a cover. (All-Star Comics, home of the JSA, was revered in those days). We also loved the Joe Kubert Tarzan cover and the Will Eisner Spirit of ‘76 cover.  I remember laughing with our local comic shop owner, Kim Draheim, how Overstreet #7, spotlighting Porky Pig, missed the mark.  And Bill Ward’s Torchy cover on Overstreet #8 forced that year’s volume into the hide-it-from-your-mother category.

This year again offers top artists contributing cool covers featuring big properties.  This year fans can choose from:

 

  1. Spider-Man and Spawn sharing a cover by Todd McFarlane
  2. The Valiant heroes by John K. Snyder III
  3. Wynonna Earp by Chris Evanhuis
  4. The Defenders by one of my favorite artists, Kevin Nowlan

Continue reading “With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide”

Brainiac On Banjo #097: Yeah, Baseball!

Brainiac On Banjo #097: Yeah, Baseball!

Steve Goodman

Give me a doubleheader funeral in Wrigley Field / On some sunny weekend day – no lights / Have the organ play the National Anthem / And then a little ‘Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye’ / Make six bullpen pitchers carry my coffin / And six groundskeepers clear my path / Have the umpires bark me out at every base / In all their holy wrath — Steve Goodman, A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request, 1983.

One of the many differences I have with the Conventional Wisdom is that I see professional sports as part of our popular culture and not as a religion. If every player on the New York Mets were from New York City, and so on, that might be different. Root, root, root for the home team. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #097: Yeah, Baseball!”

Weird Scenes #104: Crossing The Line

Weird Scenes #104: Crossing The Line

Hey Jessica, you’re so funny / You’ve got teeth just like Bugs Bunny / Oh, so you think you know me now / Have you forgotten how / You would make me feel / When you dragged my spirit down? / But thank you for the pain / It made me raise my game / And I’m still rising, I’m still rising – Jessie J, written by Abrahams Kyle James and Astasio George, 2011

Whenever Donald Trump, a.k.a. the John Wayne Gacy of American presidents, does something that “crosses the line” — and this only happens on days that end in “y” — I am reminded of a classic Bugs Bunny routine. I’ll bet most of you folks already know the bit.

Bugs is being chased (and vice versa) by Yosemite Sam. Bugs stops and draws a line in the ground. “I dare you to step over that line,” Bugs challenges Sam, who then crosses the line. “How about this line?” He crosses that line as well. Bugs continues drawing lines and Sam keeps on crossing them, now by rote. Eventually Bugs draws the last line, on the edge of a cliff, and Yosemite Sam crosses it and falls to his cartoon death.

Here on Earth-Trump, the one in which we are compelled to live, we have yet to see that final scene. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #104: Crossing The Line”

With Further Ado #110: Lest We Forget…

With Further Ado #110: Lest We Forget…

When we were in college years ago, my pal Paul Barresi overheard two girls talking about music as they listened to a Wings song.  One girl was astonished when she learned that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings.

That’s the way it often goes. The new generation is oblivious to that which is dear to the previous one.  But a wonderful thing that’s really different about Geek Culture is that it’s so accessible.  I always use the example that if you like rock music, it’s unlikely you’d be able to spend time with the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. But if you like comics, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be able to spend a little time with Neal Adams at one point or another.  It’s almost magical how the world of comics, especially when combined with conventions, provides robust opportunities for fans to meet, and spend time with their artistic heroes.

And with all that, it’s always debilitating when creators are not acknowledged. There’s been a bit of it lately. Continue reading “With Further Ado #110: Lest We Forget…”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2020

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2020

Welcome back to new month of New Number Ones!!

This is where we give our readers a preview of the exciting new comic book series debuting each month. 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 some more about the new comics in question.

There are a lot of excellent new series of interest starting in August. This is a list of just some of the new series coming this month. Check with your LCS or wherever you get comics to make sure you find new things to thrill you.  We are very excited for this list of books.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. 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. We hope that will help if you come back to check this list of books weekly.

 


Week of September 2nd

 


BLACK WIDOW #1
MARVEL COMICS
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Elena Casagrande & Jordie Bellaire
Cover Art by Adam Hughes

Best-selling, Eisner-nominated writer Kelly Thompson and rising star artist Elena Casagrande launch a new BLACK WIDOW series that changes everything! Natasha Romanoff has been a spy almost as long as she’s been alive. And she’s never stopped running, whether she was working for the good guys…or the bad. But Natasha’s world is about to be upended. Beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate lies a mystery that only the Marvel Universe’s greatest spy can solve. Don’t miss the heartbreaking thrill ride of 2020!

Release Date: 9/2/20

PCS NOTES: This book was a casualty of the Diamond shutdown and has finally been resolicited and makes its debut. Fans of the character should be excited to see what Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande have in store for Nat. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2020”