Continued After the Next Page #20: Representation Matters Even in the 30th Century

Continued After the Next Page #20: Representation Matters Even in the 30th Century

As Pride Month 2022 comes to a close, I want to highlight what I feel is an often overlooked relationship in comic books. In the last couple of decades, gender and sexual identity in mainstream comic books have made great strides in diversity. I always have fond memories of the first same-sex relationship involving two superheroes that I saw in DC Comics.

The “Five Years Later” run of the Legion of Super-Heroes that started with Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 4 #1 (1989) has often been the subject of derision from fans as it represented a significant break in the history of the team. I am not sure how well received the book was at the time of publication, but it took almost thirty years for it to ever be collected. However, as a long time LSH fan, I find it to be one of the most daring, unique, and compelling version of one of my favorite super hero teams.

The initial run of this volume of the Legion was plotted and penciled by Keith Giffen with scripts by Tom and Mary Bierbaum. Within the pages of this run, particularly at the beginning, the reader is exposed to a slightly older group of familiar characters coming to grips with the reality of the political world that they live in and searching for the thing that is missing in their lives. For many, that thing is the Legion and their friends.

Lightning Lass – art by Steve Lightle

In the five years since the end of the Magic Wars, the characters of Salu Digby (Shrinking Violet or just “Vi”) and Ayla Ranzz (Lightning Lass) have suffered trauma but come through it with a love for each other that will forever remain truly special in my heart. I could go through all the details of what happened to them and how their relationship was portrayed in each individual issue of this series, but that has been done, and done well, by others [see below]. I want to focus on why this relationship means so much to me.

Shrinking Violet – art by Keith Giffen

I have wanted to write this article for some time. However, I have struggled with it as I am not confident that mine is the voice that needs to be heard. For full disclosure, I am a cis, hetero, white male. I believe that love is love and celebrate diversity in every medium and support inclusive representation in pop-culture and society as a whole. It is with that perspective that I approach this article. Representation is important. Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #20: Representation Matters Even in the 30th Century”

With Further Ado #204: Greg Hildebrandt Part 4 – Dissatisfaction as Part of the Process

With Further Ado #204: Greg Hildebrandt Part 4 – Dissatisfaction as Part of the Process

Let’s get into the fourth part of our With Further Ado conversation with Greg Hildebrandt. The real purpose of this is talk about his two amazing 2023 calendars. During our last conversation, we were in the middle of a story, as Greg and Jean had just received an enthusiastic invitation for a one-man show at a prestigious Manhattan art gallery.

Please enjoy Part 4 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:


Greg Hildebrandt: Twenty minutes later Lou Meisel calls. He loved it! And he said “Okay, what are you talking about?” She <Jean> said, “A show. A one man show.” And he said, “Okay we’ll talk.”

Ed Catto: That’s incredible!

GH: And I got the same model back. Plus, another model in the meantime. Plus, a bunch of the jobs that I’m working on with about three other pinups. Get the model. Shoot the pictures. And Jean is talking with Lou. Lou is saying, “I’m going to need at least twenty-four paintings. I mean, how many does he have?“ And Jean replies, “Just this one, and he’s working on three photos.”

“That’s right – it’s three years until the show,” replied the gallery owner.

“No, no, no, no, at the end of this year you’ll have all the art,” said Jean.

He says, “What are you, kidding me?” She says “No, I guarantee you’ll have it.”

So now Lou wants to see them live – the paintings- so I finished off two more. We put them in the car, go into the city. He loved them. And he said “Okay!” We decided well what date was for the show, and we went home. And that’s all I did for the next ten or twelve months: it was pin-ups.

I put everything away, because she (Jean) manages everything – current business, family. You name it: she does it! I draw. I got twenty-four paintings done.

That show was terrific and that started a whole new thing. Of course, you’ve got to react, or respond to the kind of situation, where some people are saying, “Pin-up Artist?!? He does dragons and stuff. What do you mean pin-up art?” Continue reading “With Further Ado #204: Greg Hildebrandt Part 4 – Dissatisfaction as Part of the Process”

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 – A Fan’s Eye View

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 – A Fan’s Eye View

Looking for news about the latest Star Wars releases, trailers for the new season of the Mandalorian, or interviews with the biggest guests from Star Wars Celebration 2022 Anaheim? Move along, move along. This is the not the article you are looking for.

True, this is an article about Star Wars Celebration 2022 Anaheim, but we will leave the trailers, spoilers, and celebrity interviews to the other news sites. Instead, we will look at what those other outlets won’t cover and what is at the very core of Star Wars Celebration: The fans and the fan experience. The other guys are missing a lot just focusing on the big names.

It is fair to say that Star Wars draws fans from all around the world with varying degrees of interest in the fandom from the casual to the super nerdy die-hard have a 4-foot stormtrooper in the hallway of my house type fan (I may or may not be the latter). Despite the reputation of having a toxic and divisive fanbase, I found nothing but love and kindness from my fellow celebration attendees especially at the FedEx office.

I believe that is because Celebration welcomed and offered programming for all types of fans from a collectors track that focused on vintage and modern toys to workshops on cosplaying the galaxy far, far away to building and racing droids. There was something for everyone and my group of friends, with vastly different interests within the Star Wars fandom, all found plenty to make our weekend memorable.

For me, the best part was attending with people who love Star Wars as much as I do. I am usually that weird, nerdy chick with the major Star Wars obsession. Not at Celebration. For one glorious weekend I was just another fan among thousands of others who adore Star Wars. It was nice to be able to display my love for the franchise without eye rolls or comments about how much of a nerd I am, it was nice to finally fit in. While I have been to celebration several times before, this time I went with my usual Comic Con Crew: my twin Scott, his wife, Alex, and Nick our best friend since kindergarten. My husband unfortunately couldn’t take the time off work (due to the change of date from August to May).

Even though I did go with three of my favorite fans, the second-best part of the convention was meeting new fans and conversing with like-minded people. While my companions were off exploring and attending panels that fit their interests, I was attending as many new panels and fan experiences as possible. The following is the highlight reel of my fan experience at Celebration Anaheim 2022.

These Are the Droids You Are Looking For

Continue reading “Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 – A Fan’s Eye View”

With Further Ado #203: Shelton Drum and an Incredible Achievement

With Further Ado #203: Shelton Drum and an Incredible Achievement

We’ve got to pause our multi-part conversation with Greg Hildebrandt – I’ll be back with more next week – to celebrate an incredible achievement. Shelton Drum, the owner of Charlotte’s Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find comic shop is celebrating his astounding 40th year running a truly outstanding comic con: Heroes Convention!

This amazing show bills itself as “America’s Favorite Convention”, and you know what? I don’t think that’s hyperbole. Shelton is a comics guy’s comic guy. He knows this industry and still loves it all. He’s created an amazing show that celebrates the medium and has found a way to still stay focused on comics.

Running a show for 40 years is nothing short of incredible. Fans and pros recognize this, as does longtime convention promoter Teddy Hanes. (He’s certainly no slouch in running great comic conventions over the long haul.) Teddy calls Shelton’s efforts, “The Gold Standard for Comic Book Convention Promoters to try and get close to his achievements.”

I was in Charlotte this past weekend and briefly caught up with Shelton in his wonderful store. As the convention was just one week away, he was hip-deep in managing and preparing for the show – it’s June 24 – 26th. (Next year Heroes Con will shift back on its usual Father’s Day Weekend calendar slot). Continue reading “With Further Ado #203: Shelton Drum and an Incredible Achievement”

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing – June 2022 Edition

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing – June 2022 Edition

This month we found another ten-pack of crowdfunded campaigns available to support on Kickstarter. This is a pretty interesting group of projects. They range from new comic material, to art books, to collections, to figurines? Yep. A lot of cool things.

Kickstarter is a platform available at Kickstarter.com where creative individuals have the ability to design and run a crowdfunding campaign. The concept is that individuals pledge to support the project, and if the project reaches the planned goal of pledge money in the time that campaign is running, then the project will get made. There are usually many various tiers of backer pledges, and different pledge levels come with different backer reward items. It is a fantastic way for creators to fund the projects that they love and want to create while getting new interesting things into the world.

The campaigns we highlighted for this month are in various states of funding. Some are fully funded and into the state of trying to hit stretch goals that come with even more cool stuff for backers and some are still in need of backers to hit their goal and get their project made.

The projects are listed below in chronological order of the end of the campaign. So, the ones that end soonest come first. Make sure you click on the Campaign Links for each campaign to get all the detailed info about the rewards and creators. We feel there is something for everyone on this list. Enjoy!


PLASTIC FARM: The 4th (and FINAL) Collection
Concluding Rafer Roberts’ epic underground fever-dream of a comic! Includes an exhaustive bonus section AND limited edition bookplate!

Campaign Link

Ending: Thursday June 23, 2022 7:00PM EDT

PCS Thoughts: This campaign is a true testament to the power of Kickstarter. This project fills a life long goal of a very talented creator, and that is a great thing. The backer rewards for this campaign are fantastic. Tons of indie, underground-style comic content by a master.

From the Campaign:

Written and (mostly) drawn by Rafer Roberts, PLASTIC FARM follows the life of a man named Chester, his slow descent into complete insanity, and how that madness reshapes the world around him. Chester had a rough childhood, has a magic cowboy that rides a dinosaur living inside his head, and is now, late in life, sitting in a nameless airport bar telling his life story to a group of people who really couldn’t care less.

I began drawing PLASTIC FARM in 1999 shortly after graduating college and with no real sense of what it would eventually balloon into. Over the following 15 years, I self-published 25 issues and one original graphic novel, which only represented HALF of what I had planned. Staring down another 15 years of work to finish the book, coupled with the fact that I was starting to get actual paying gigs meant that in 2016, PLASTIC FARM was put on indefinite hold.

In 2021, mid-pandemic, I decided to simply skip a thousand pages, go right to the end, and finish the damn thing.

And it turned into the best thing I’ve ever drawn.

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

With Further Ado #202: Greg Hildebrandt Part 3 – Rita, Bettie, Shannon and a Pin-Up Calendar

With Further Ado #202: Greg Hildebrandt Part 3 – Rita, Bettie, Shannon and a Pin-Up Calendar

In the third part of our With Further Ado conversation with Greg Hildebrandt, we (finally) get to discussing his two new calendars, and start with why this famous fantasy artist has a new Pin-up Calendar coming out.

Please enjoy Part 3 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:

Ed Catto: That’s fantastic! And let’s shift – I want to be mindful of the time – let’s shift to the Pin-Up calendar. You’ve been inspired by pinups and it looks like it’s going to be beautiful.

Greg Hildebrandt: Well, I was born in 1939. So, I was aware of these things. You became aware of these things, even before you got to puberty. I was a little kid, and my grandfather had all the calendars. My father’s father. We’d go over to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and back in the day, they were very “old worldly” almost, even though my grandfather was born here, his wife was born in Austria. He had all these calendars in the basement, but basically, they were all Gil Elvgren‘s! (i.e., Pin-Up Calendars)

And I remember them lined all up. And going down (to the basement). Tim and me would go down and study them. Aside from once you were interested in girls, aside from that aspect. and we would go down and study them. We were just blown away by the painting of them, especially the style – that broad painterly look that he did. That was my first really focus for knowledge, or information. about Pin-Up art.

And then, of course, a man would always have the magazines. You would look at the magazines. With the photography that would never match the art. It would never match the art in those men’s magazines. They just didn’t have it.

EC: Yeah, the Vargas painting would be better than the photography.

GH: Absolutely. Absolutely! It’s like they’re trying for some perfection thing, or idealization. You know, I know, it’s dangerous to talk about this stuff these days, but there was a certain standard that they were after.

For a lot of them, their women start to look alike, and then there’s almost too much of a kind of a similarity. When I started my series, I wanted to have very individualistic people.

My approach was for each to be individual, and in each of these are I’m trying to tell a little story.

EC: There is so much story in each image!

Editor’s Note: There is more art from the calendar past the jump.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #202: Greg Hildebrandt Part 3 – Rita, Bettie, Shannon and a Pin-Up Calendar”

With Further Ado #201: Greg Hildebrandt Part 2 – Warm Light, Cool Shadows

With Further Ado #201: Greg Hildebrandt Part 2 – Warm Light, Cool Shadows

In last week’s With Further Ado (the 200th Smash Issue), in the first part of my interview with the talented Greg Hildebrandt, we focused on that famous Star Wars poster. In part two of our conversation, Greg and I talk about color theory, art school, classic movies and how these all inspire his approach to art (and specifically his creation of a Tolkien work-in-progress). This candid conversation offers a fantastic way to learn more about what makes this incredible artist tick.

* * *

Ed Catto: I will ask you about these two amazing 2023 calendars on sales soon. But one of the things I love about work, and your collaborations with your brother in the old days, is that you always have such a sense of warmth; warm ‘glowy’ colors and that sense of cool colors.

Greg Hildebrandt: Yep! That’s a big, huge thing for Tim and me, I know that our awareness starts with Technicolor movies. Hollywood Technicolor movies. I can remember those biblical Epics. Where you’d have the set. They would be outside. They have beautiful blue lights coming in through the window, torch lights – tungsten 25 kelvin type lighting…and then the cool light! That was like – waugh! I remember, there was one movie: Forever Amber. (Note: a 1946 Linda Darnell movie) I haven’t seen it in about ten years, but the incredible lighting! The tints! Warm and cool, warm and cool. Hollywood was huge.

Then when we discovered Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth. He became our “main man”, as far as American illustrators go. Wyeth, you know Treasure island…

And we kind of grew up on them. My parents had those books. I remember growing up on that stuff as a kid. And Technicolor movies! Lighting was always an issue. It wasn’t always only the lighting in Technicolor films, but the black and white movies. You take Gregg TolandCitizen Kane – the lighting; that was a key thing for Tim and me, is to grasp it. It’s still there. It’s one of the main devices that I am still focused on. Continue reading “With Further Ado #201: Greg Hildebrandt Part 2 – Warm Light, Cool Shadows”

Comic Book Publishers are Celebrating Pride Month

Comic Book Publishers are Celebrating Pride Month

As most people know June is Pride Month. It is a time to celebrate diversity and support all people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. For the past couple of years, there has been a conscious effort by publishers to spotlight stories related to those who are part of the community. DC and Marvel are at it again, and it is nice to put those words together with a positive connotation.

DC Comics has a special anthology that is out this week called DC Pride #1, and it has an excellent line up of stories celebrating the identity diversity within it’s fictional universe. There are also some other books that are branded with it’s special Pride Logo. Those books are centered around characters who identify as LGBTQIA+.   There are several other initiatives that DC Comics is engaging in this month that include partnerships with LGBTQIA+ organizations such as The Trevor Project, Family Equality, Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally, Mermaids, and Inside Out, as well as themed merchandise and inclusive comics in their digital storefronts. They have detailed all their Pride Month activities on their website and have developed a Pride Hub for readers and viewers to more easily navigate the content they are searching for.

Marvel Comics also has a special Pride Month Anthology called Marvel Voices: Pride #1. It is an 84-page comic that will be released on June 22, 2022. It is a collection of stories focusing on characters that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community created by many creators who also identify that way. There are some amazing stories that we are interested in reading in this book. Continue reading “Comic Book Publishers are Celebrating Pride Month”

With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt

With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt

I never was sure what “200th Smash Issue” meant. Was it a certain kind of celebration? Was a “smash issue” celebration different from the usual comic book milestone? I vividly remember one of my neighborhood pals, George Riley, (who usually only collected war and western comics) boasting that he had a copy of Batman #200, the so-called ‘200th Smash Issue”. I was SO envious and curious.

No matter how you slice it – doing something 200 times on a regular basis is sumpthin’. So, I am proud of to be celebrating the “200th Smash Issue” of With Further Ado. And I’m grateful for the many people who have helped and supported me along the way.

So, this week, we’ll be celebrating a pop culture milestone – one of the most widely known – and loved- movie posters of all time; the Hildebrandt’s Star Wars poster. It’s just the start of a multi-part interview with the alarmingly talented Greg Hildebrandt. The “main” focus will be his two amazing 2023 calendars, but that all comes next time.

This week we’ll focus on Star Wars, the entrepreneurial hustle that it takes to be a successful illustrator, and why none of this would have happened without Mel Brooks!

Please enjoy Part 1 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:

Ed Catto: Well, this is quite a treat. I’m sure so many people you talk to all say, “I’m your biggest fan!” I’ve been loving your work for all those years so I’ll just get that all out of the way. but on a personal level, I feel like 11-year-old speaking to you. It’s a great treat for me.

Greg Hildebrandt: Thanks a lot, man. It’s always interesting to hear that, because of course I’m still 11 myself. I feel like the people that I enjoyed all my life. To have people tell me that back …now it’s always like “wait a minute” …that doesn’t quite fit!

EC: I’ve been with you, on this ride for many, many years.

GH: But do you know me for my toilet training book?

EC: I don’t know you for that one!

GH: That was that was one Tim <Hildebrandt, his brother> and I did. I think in 1974. Oh, to stay alive in the city, in New York, you have got to just take everything you can get and this one rose up, and I say “Yeah, what the hell.” There were these two young pediatricians that were really sticklers for detail. The mother and the kid and the father comes in, and we kept drawing sketches over and over and over again.

So, I’ll hold up that and the Star Wars poster – or the Lord of the Rings or something -, and say, “You may know me for this, but….”

EC: I guess every great painter has got one or two of those in the past…

GH: You take every job. You learn. And you need to make a living. Continue reading “With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in June 2022

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in June 2022

Summer is just around the corner, and there are excellent new comics series coming in June! We have compiled 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 month. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This month we spotlight books from the usual suspects: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, AfterShock Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Mad Cave Studios, Ahoy Comics, Vault Comics,  Dark Horse Comics, and Scout Comics.

It’s a FIVE-WEDNESDAY MONTH; so, we have five glorious weeks of new comics. The bulk of the new releases are in the middle weeks with the first and last being very light with new series.

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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 6/1/22
Week of 6/8/22
Week of 6/15/22
Week of 6/22/22
Week of 6/92/22


Week of June 1


The Closet #1
Image Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Gavin Fullerton & Chris O’Halloran
Cover Art by Fullerton

Thom is moving cross-country with his family and dragging the past along with them. His son, Jamie, is seeing monsters in the bedroom closet and will not let them go. A tale of existential familial horror by JAMES TYNION IV and GAVIN FULLERTON.

Release Date: June 1, 2022

PCS NOTES: The current reigning master of horror comic storytelling is at it again. We are intrigued by this book. 


Code 45 #1
Scout Comics
Written by Benjamin Hunting
Art by Joe Ng

There are dragons lurking in the tunnels beneath Montreal’s city streets – at least that’s the rumor that confronts new metro driver Vanessa. Terrified by these mysterious and horrifying apparitions, the night shift turns to self-medication, losing the ability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Pulled in deep by the underground raves that blast through the system’s abandoned stations, Vanessa quickly finds herself on the verge of crossing into a dark world she never knew existed.

Release Date: June 1, 2022

PCS NOTES: This is an ominous solicitation, and we are interested in checking it out.


New Think #1
AWA / Upshot Studios
Written by Gregg Hurwitz
Art by Mike Deodato
Cover Art by Rahzzah

This Black Mirror-style anthology examines the rapid proliferation of technology, the cultural and political polarization of the country, and the technocrats that have driven us to such extremes of thought that we need to present the present as something…futuristic. Each of the five issues is a stand-alone tale with its own art team

Release Date: June 1, 2022

PCS NOTES: I am intrigued by the rotating art concept in this series and Gregg Hurwitz’s return to comics. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in June 2022”