Beat JENeration #034: Six: The Musical is making it possible for me to survive this week

Beat JENeration #034: Six: The Musical is making it possible for me to survive this week

Remember all the feels the Hamilton soundtrack gave you in the first year — before it blew up into something so much bigger than itself that we all forgot how truly revolutionary it actually was? Those were some good times for us history-loving musical theatre nerds and there was so much hope that our time had come.

Broadway, however, decided to move its focus to high school angst and misery. Dear Evan Hansen, Be More Chill, Jagged Little Pill, Mean Girls — the Apple Music play counts do not lie, I enthusiastically love them all, but it wasn’t the trend I’d wanted. Yes, I know a well-researched and written musical masterpiece takes time, but they couldn’t throw us a revival of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson? (If you are even thinking about bringing up the return of 1776do not even — that is shlock even if director Diane Paulus promises it will be a different approach).

Thankfully, there’s a British invasion setting things right. Six: The Musical has brought all the feels of Hamilton on first 100 listens AND is as equally woke. Actually, it makes Hamilton feel almost dated for they way the Schuyler sisters are pitted against one another over some arrogant, wordy, cheating dude with a ponytail.

Henry VIII did all his wives wrong, and so they formed a girl group to publicly comparing notes. Six is powered by a diverse cast boldly declaring their very modern #MeToo sentiments for the whole show. 

In pre-Gilead times like these, I need some chick empowerment. (And that’s all I can say on the subject right now, lest I cry and turn this into a darker, very different column).  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #034: Six: The Musical is making it possible for me to survive this week”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: Crawling Through The Wreckage

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: Crawling Through The Wreckage

“Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” Alexander Graham Bell shouted to his assistant. Watson didn’t hear him directly — but he did hear Bell over that newfangled telephone invention of his. “Screw you,” Watson replied. “You’re using social media to harass me!”

I’d rather avoid contradicting Marshall McLuhan. He said his piece to Woody Allen on-screen, but, damn, the medium is not the message. It only seems that way because we have a tradition of shooting the messenger. Social media has been made out to be a great evil, spreading fear and danger across the globe.

I have no overwhelming affinity for social media. You’re unlikely to find me gazing at my iPhone while blocking pedestrians at Grand Central Terminal. Social media can be a shit magnet, but it is one made of mirrors. Facebook did not invent White Supremacy, no more than D.W. Griffith did. Twitter didn’t invent body shaming; we’ve had teenage angst since the creation of acne vugaris. They provide the platform for anybody and everybody. We’re blaming these companies for delivering on their promises. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: Crawling Through The Wreckage”

With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup

With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup

What do you get when you take a guy who loves comics, was mentored by Stan Lee, spent time with Spider-Man (and especially Venom) and has an incredible publishing track record?  Throw in a dollop or two of “he’s an awfully nice guy” and you have Jim Salicrup. 

I’m eager to drag Jim up to Ithaca College as a guest speaker for my entrepreneurial and comic-con courses. But until then, I had to catch up with him and find out about his new endeavor, Super Genius! 

Ed Catto: You have an amazing history in comics, Jim. Can you remind me how you started and how you got to this point?

Jim Salicrup: Like most people working in comics today, I fell in love with comics as a kid. In fact, my childhood dreams, back when I was a kid living in the projects in the Bronx, were to work at Marvel Comics and to live in Manhattan. I even applied to the High School of Art and Design, where so many comic book artists went, thinking that would prepare me to work in comics. Imagine my surprise, when after sending a postcard to Marvel offering to be their slave, they actually took me up on my offer! Well, I wasn’t technically a slave—I was paid a salary. And this happened in the Summer of ’72 before I even started attending The High School of Art & Design. Once I was at Marvel, I was there for twenty years, eventually editing most of Marvel’s top titles—from the Claremont/Byrne X-MEN to SPIDER-MAN by Todd McFarlane.

After I left Marvel, I was the Editor-in-Chief at Topps Comics, where I worked with everyone from Jack Kirby to Ray Bradbury! After Topps, I was back working with Stan Lee again as Senior Writer/Editor at Stan Lee Media. And after that, I was involved with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) and co-founding Papercutz with NBM publisher, Terry Nantier. Our first graphic novels came out January 2005, and we’ve been dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages ever since.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup”

East Coast Comicon 2019 Cosplay Pics!!!!

East Coast Comicon 2019 Cosplay Pics!!!!

Hey Folks!! If you didn’t know, we were set-up at the East Coast Comicon this past weekend in Secaucus, NJ.

One of the great benefits of having a table is that fantastic cosplay continuously strolls past you all day long. We took tons of pictures and have a slideshow below of some of the best cosplay that we saw during the weekend.

We weeded out the many Deadpools, but overall there were a lot of interesting and creative costumes. Some of the kids were just magical.

Little Death was one of our favorites.

Continue reading “East Coast Comicon 2019 Cosplay Pics!!!!”

Lions, Dragons & Wolves #007: GoT S8E6 Recap: Stark Relief

Lions, Dragons & Wolves #007: GoT S8E6 Recap: Stark Relief

Warning: This recap contains nothing but spoilers for the last episode of Game of Thrones. If you are reading this before seeing the episode “The Iron Throne” or whatever they’re calling it, you are doing it wrong.

[Editor’s note: Also this is being posted late because the PCS HBIC hadn’t seen the episode yet & editing a piece full of spoilers sucks but also it’s hard to spot errors]

Continue reading “Lions, Dragons & Wolves #007: GoT S8E6 Recap: Stark Relief”

Preview Reviews for the week of 5/22/2019: Road of Bones #1 and Incursion #4

Preview Reviews for the week of 5/22/2019: Road of Bones #1 and Incursion #4

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.

A reminder for you. Here at PopCultureSquad, 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 preview comics. The first is the debut of Road of Bones by Rich Douek and Alex Cormack, published by IDW. This is one of the books that we were eagerly anticipating and featured in our New Number Ones column for May.

The second book is the conclusion to Incursion by Alex Paknadel and Doug Braithwaite, published by Valiant. We have been excited about this story since the debut issue.

You can find Road of Bones and Incursion at your LCS or on Comixology on May 22, 2019.

Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the week of 5/22/2019: Road of Bones #1 and Incursion #4”

Brainiac On Banjo #037: Everything You Know Is Wrong, part ∞

Brainiac On Banjo #037: Everything You Know Is Wrong, part ∞

Followers of this column, as well as its predecessor somewhere over there, are well aware of my observation that our friends over at DC have a tendency to hit the reset button as though they were voting against Trump. The latter is admirable. The former is… confusing.

Case in point: The Batman. Or, as more popularly known… Batman. This has been his 80th birthday year, and it’s being celebrated by the complete lack of a major motion picture showing at a theater near you. I’m not being sarcastic — at least, not in this instance. After the past decade’s worth of Batman theatricals, the most respectful celebration is sans-movie. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #037: Everything You Know Is Wrong, part ∞”

The “Mars Attacks” Circle of Life

One fateful day in 1962, during a trip to a local corner drugstore on Chicago’s north side, a colorful box of garish trading cards on the counter suddenly caught my eye. Prominently featured on its red and yellow pop-up teaser top was a menacing bug-eyed alien flanked by the faux blood-dripping logo: “Mars Attacks.”

Intrigued, I plunked down my nickel, eagerly tore open a pack, and was immediately mesmerized by the most amazing trading cards I had ever seen. I’m sure I walked home in a near trance, thoroughly absorbing the colorful imagery on the front of the cards, and stories on the card backs. The Topps trading card company, in a brilliant bit of marketing savvy, put teaser images in a small box on the reverse side of every card highlighting the next card in the sequence, so if kids like me didn’t have that card, they knew exactly what they were missing.”

Resistance was futile for my eight-year-old brain. Like some sort of inescapable pop culture black hole, “Mars Attacks” had pulled me in — hook, line and sinker. I somehow scraped up another nickel or two – probably by scrounging pop bottles from area garbage cans so I could cash in on the bottle deposit money – and bought some more. But with duplicates starting to pop up, and more and more exciting teaser images tantalizing my brain, I needed some big money if I ever wanted to complete the set.  Continue reading “The “Mars Attacks” Circle of Life”

And now for a bit of humor from the Fish, man.

And now for a bit of humor from the Fish, man.

Sometimes, I make the jokes. This would be one of those times. Since I am here in New Jersey, getting ready for the East Coast Comic Con… I couldn’t attend my regular open mic night. So, they played this instead. Enjoy it…. Or don’t (in which case this becomes perfect anti-comedy)!


Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics

Last summer, as we were getting this site up and going, one of the first things that I did was reach out to legendary comic letterer and artist John Workman. I had met him at a couple of conventions in the past, and he had told me some interesting stories about how comics were made in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I felt that the stories were amazing insights into the world of comic making, and I wanted to get all the details so that we could share those incredible stories with all of you.

My intent for our initial interview was to clarify some details he had told me about making Thor in the 80’s with Walter Simonson. What ended up happening was an almost two-hour conversation and a truly life changing event for me. I clipped out a little bit of our conversation for a column last year called When Thor Road the Bus.

Before I get too far along, I must say that John Workman is one of the nicest people that I have ever met. He is thoughtful, considerate, inquisitive, and incredibly talented. Since our initial phone conversation, John and I have spoken a couple of more times over the phone, and my wife and I spent a lovely afternoon with John and his wife Cathy at their home last November. He has become a regular email pen pal of mine. I consider John a friend, and I am lucky for it.

The purpose of this article is to share with the world some of the amazing things that we spoke about. The topics range from the page counts for comics in the 70’s to his time at Heavy Metal. There are some funny stories about Harlan Ellison and Wally Wood. There is the tale of the “Lost Mignola Batman Story”, and much more. So hang on and I will try my best to navigate all this history and bring it into the world so that we can all share in its wonder.

Jeannette Kahn and Dollar Comics

I had mentioned to John that the title to my column on PCS would be called “Continued After the Next Page” as a throwback to comic days of yesteryear. He broke out into some pretty cool comics production history.

John Workman: I worked at DC from 1975 to 1977 before I went to work at Heavy Metal. During that time, as had been true since the early 1950s, there were thirty-six pages [thirty- two interior and four for the front and back covers] in a regular comic book. Of those pages, somewhere over 20 (27 in the ’60s) were devoted to actual comics material with the rest being made up of a combination of paid ads and “house ads” that let readers know about other DC publications. Shortly after I arrived at DC, the number of comics pages dropped to seventeen, and I remember two things that we had to do. We [the production department] had to white-out all the pages numbers down in the corner so people would be a little less aware that they were only getting seventeen pages of comics, and we had to go in a lot and put in “Continued After Next” or “Second Page” or whatever, because the seventeen pages of comic material was broken up by more ads. There were a lot of in-house ads to fill out the issue because seventeen pages was only one more than the total number of pages in a book.

I was shocked at this and felt the need to clarify Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics”