With Further Ado #174: I Love a Parade

With Further Ado #174: I Love a Parade

It seems like it should be a rigorous process for a brand, or a character, to achieve the crowning achievement of being featured as a balloon in the Macy’s Day Parade. But it doesn’t work that way.

Way back when, when I was working in marketing for Lever Brothers on Snuggle Fabric Softener, I learned how it all really worked. It was simple economics. If you could pay, you could get your brand, or character, into the parade.

You might not see him so much now, but Snuggle was the cuddly bear mascot for the Snuggle fabric softener brand. In network TV commercials back in the day, we were forever throwing the Snuggle Bear into a pile of super-soft towels. They were so soft because, and you have already guessed it, the head-of-household had used Snuggle fabric with every load of laundry. You see, back then, parents expressed their love for their family through soft towels.

And yes, I know it all sounds silly now.

Anyways, Lever Brothers had created a Snuggle Balloon for the Macy’s Day Parade in 1989, and we ran it again in 1990. My firstborn was just a month old then, so I decided to forego the VIP seats. In retrospect, I do regret that!

Faster Than A Speeder Bullet

Still, I’m always surprised that Superman, who debuted in 1938, appeared as a balloon in the 1940 Macy’s Day parade.  According to the Macy’s Fandom Wiki, it was designed by the parade director, who evidently didn’t realize that Superman usually wore a red cape.  From the Wiki:

The colossal “Man of Steel” balloon was designed by a former Parade Director Tony Sarg and constructed out of neoprene coated rubber at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company  at Akron, Ohio headquarters. The “Giant Superman” measured 75 feet in height and 44 feet in width with 9,000 cubic feet of helium needed to help the superhero fly down the streets of Manhattan. A crew of 27 husky handlers helped guide the balloon down the street, all donning Superman-themed apparel. 

The original Superman balloon was retired after making only one appearance in the 1940 procession and was refurbished into Hugo the Football Hero the following year.

It really speaks to Superman’s instant, overwhelming success, that he could be in the Macy’s Parade so soon after his debut.  And by the way, who is Hugo the Football Hero?!?

But you may have seen Baby Yoda, although we call him Grogu now, in the parade last Thursday. He debuted in the 2019 Disney+ series The Mandalorian, and there he was in the parade, just two years later.

“Incredible!”, you say?  Maybe not. It’s not really the Star Wars character. It’s really the Funko version of the Star Wars character. This effort was driven by toymaker/collectible maker Funko, as detailed in this NYTimes article.

One more triumph for Geek Culture. And it also makes sense that this effort was a also a way to sell exclusive toys at Macy’s. From the NYTimes article:

For the occasion of the parade, Grogu Pop merchandise, including T-shirts, hoodies and figurines, will be sold at the Herald Square Macy’s and Funko stores.

“We’re beyond excited for the product to the hit shelves at Macy’s flagship store in a few days,” Jordan Dabby, Senior Director of Partnership Marketing and Media for Macy’s branded entertainment, said in an interview last week. “We expect the limited-edition Grogu Macy’s Parade balloon-inspired merchandise to go quickly.”

One can’t help but wonder what characters are in development right now for next year’s parade.

Mike Gold’s As Is: Everybody Look What’s Going Down!

“He don’t know me very well, do he?” – Bugs Bunny, “Rebel Rabbit,” 1949

I’ve been taking some time off from political proselytizing. The truth has been quite blatant and either you recognize it for what it is or you are so deep in the Rabid Right’s tank that reality testing is a waste of energy. There’s extraordinarily little middle ground anymore, and you don’t need this fool on the hill to tell you squat.

On the other hand, I’ve been pontificating since 1965 and this doesn’t feel like the right time to stop. As Bob Dylan said, “If my thought-dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine.” So I’m going to pundit on, with the proviso “he that pundits is verily full of shit.”

There’s been a great deal of talk about the 2024 presidential election. I don’t know why; political years are akin to dog years and there’s a lot of dogs to be wagged. But I do recognize what is missing from our uncivil discourse.

Everybody is acting like the race will be between the current president and the criminal poser with the giant Mussolini complex. I’m not as certain that’s the way it will come down. Both men are really, really old – several years older than I am, in fact – and one of them has a digestive track that is as rotted out as his moral compass. If, next year, the Republicans fail to take back the house, which is an if that is somewhat larger than those other pundits let on, our nation’s dipshit il duce will likely be under indictment if not in prison – unless he picks up an AR-15 and starts murdering Black Lives Matter Wisconsinites, which is now perfectly legal.

The current White House keyholder presently enjoys a popularity rating only slightly higher than his predecessor, so, of course, now the wags are predicting he won’t run for reelection and/or his party will dump him. Yeah. Um tut sut.

This reveals the Democratic Party’s overwhelming dilemma. It’s always something, but this time at this moment they’re completely screwed and those other soothsayers ain’t ponying up much in the way of revelation. Not me. I’m always the guy who farts loudist in the swimming pool.

People don’t like the incumbent as much as they did a year ago. Well, that will happen – but those running down-ticket don’t want to risk drowning in the undertow. As we learn time and time again, politicians love their phony-baloney jobs more than they love America.

But if they dump Joe Biden, or if he dumps himself, the pressure to promote the candidacy of Vice President Kamila Harris will be enormous. A whole lot of people went blue last year with that very understanding. The non-White vote will have a hard time backing another old White man – promises inferred are promises made. The non-male vote will have a hard time voting for any man. In politics, perception is reality and such “promises” are nothing more than perceptions.

So let’s say the Democrats back Harris. That will prove interesting. You might remember Barack Obama, the president who recently inducted Jay-Z into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. His election and his subsequent reelection empowered the Pathetic Right and titillated the big money monsters who want to keep all the loot they’ve stolen from what once was the middle class. These people either could not abide by the concept of a Black president or have profited enormously from the reaction one-third of Americans have to the reality of a Black president.

Just imagine how these liquored up bible-babbling assault weapon hugging democracy hating marionettes are going to react to the concept of a Black WOMAN as president! It’s like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all rolled into one! The very prospect will make the little bigots crawl out of their heads. They will come out en masse to prevent Harris from ever putting her hand on any bible. They will do so more aggressively than they have been doing since The Great Pumpkin floated down his escalator informing us the Mexicans are all drug dealing rapists, Satanists, and Communists.

As the kids say, these people will lose their shit. You know, like they did, literally, when they invaded the Capitol building this past January.

In other words, the Democrats are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Roll on, roll on. Keep a happy thought.

And happy Thanksgiving.

 

With Further Ado #172: Five-and-a-Half Questions with Tyler Jennes

With Further Ado #172: Five-and-a-Half Questions with Tyler Jennes

Tyler Jennes is a newly minted comics professional who’s on a career rocket ride. He’s currently working at Modern Fanatic, but there’s so much more to what he does. I was so impressed with everything he was doing and involved with at NYCC that I just had to catch up with him. I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say.

Question 1:

Ed Catto: What sort of comics and pop culture things did you like before you became part of the industry, and how deep into it were you?

Tyler Jennes: Well, I did go to Ithaca College as a film major, so I was definitely trying to watch as many movies as I possibly could. Besides that, I know I watched a hell of a lot of sitcoms when I was supposed to be doing work, so I can always talk shop about the Norman Lear and James L Brooks output! And I’d like to think I was pretty deep into the comic book scene before I was ever officially in the industry! I would go to NYCC annually and try to meet as many creators as I could (some of whom I now have the pleasure of working with!). But in terms of avidly following characters, there was a period of time where I’m pretty sure I had read every Deadpool title ever published. Now I try to keep myself caught up on all the hot new titles for work purposes!

Question 2:

EC: At Ithaca College, you were very involved with Ithacon (the nation’s second longest running comic con). Can you tell me a little bit about it?

TJ: Like you said, Ithacon has been around for a WHILE. I’m pretty sure it was even one of the first conventions that Frank Miller ever attended. It has a deep, rich history in the comic world, and what makes it even more special is that it’s now student-run! Of course, they still have the original organizers around to supervise things, but the convention is now hosted at the Ithaca College campus, and the student put together the whole thing, from handling guests to setting up events to running booths. I’d also like to add that you can find some amazing stuff at these booths. I vividly remember looking at used comic trades and coming across a Superman collection signed by Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, Julie Schwartz, and John Byrne. The seller didn’t even realize what he had on his hands, so do you know how much I paid for that? Eight dollars.

Question 3:

EC: There’s a general consensus that many professionals have got to find their own way into the industry -there’s no set plan (unlike a classic profession like, say accounting). How did you get involved?

TJ: I was a junior poised to go off for a semester in LA and start the production assistant grind many film students go through when the pandemic kicked in. At the time, I was in the class for Ithacon, gearing up to put all our convention plans into motion. Obviously, the con wasn’t going to happen that year, so to make it up to us, our professor, the one and only Ed Catto, started having industry folks join the remote classes every week to talk about the biz. These were folks like Rob Salkowitz, Paul Levitz, and even Dan DiDio. But one of those guests was an IC alum, comic editor Will Dennis, who was involved with just about every title Vertigo put out. During the class I tried to make myself stand out by asking a bunch of inside baseball-type questions. He had also mentioned being overloaded with work recently and probably needing an assistant. So, I crossed my fingers and contacted him afterwards, and the rest is history. I started working on Scott [Snyder]’s stuff with Undiscovered Country, and after about a year, I fully hopped on the Best Jackett train and I’ve been running with those two guys ever since. Continue reading “With Further Ado #172: Five-and-a-Half Questions with Tyler Jennes”

Preview Reviews for the Week of November 24, 2021: Good Boy #1 and Black’s Myth #5

Preview Reviews for the Week of November 24, 2021: Good Boy #1 and Black’s Myth #5

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have two books to review for you. The first is Good Boy #1 from the Source Point Press, and the other is Black’s Myth #5 from Ahoy Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS on November 24, 2021. Pick them up for your long weekend.


Good Boy #1
Source Point Press
Written by Christina Blanch & Garrett Gunn
Art by Kit Wallis
Colors by Wallis
Letters by Dave Lentz
Cover Art by Nick Bradshaw

Original Solicitation:

Set in a world where humans and dogs are equals, Good Boy is a thrill-packed treat for anyone who loves action, dogs, and good stories.

Flint Sparks and his human Jon, both former mercenaries, have settled down in quiet retirement from an industry where the job is supposed to be forever. But, unlike anyone before, they found a way out. However, this new life, filled with peace and joy, is not to be. In the dead of night, some of their former “colleagues”, who disagree with their decision to retire, break into their home and murder Jon, leaving Flint alive in the bloody aftermath.

That was their FIRST mistake.

But don’t worry – they haven’t seen anything yet

PCS Review:

This story, which is clearly a take on the John Wick movie franchise, is super fun. It is bombastic and action packed. The tone of the story has a strong beat of determination. The writing pair of Christy Blanch and Garrett Gunn have developed a compelling tale of vengeance. There is a sense that the reader may know where this story will end from the get go, and that is still ok. It is so interesting that you want to see it through. The book is full of heartfelt emotion with some different types of humor sprinkled in to keep it light enough. It is a well written book.

Kit Wallis really completes this book. The thematic color scheme combined with over-the-top action sequences are just breathtaking. Every page of this book is perfectly laid out and moves the story forward. There is care, thoughtfulness, and fantastic art in each panel.  The lettering by Dave Lentz is really well done. While the dialogue is generally sparse, the narration boxes are excellently crafted and placed.

I haven’t been as excited for a new series as I am for this one in a while. Now that it is finally coming out. You won’t want to miss it.


Black’s Myth #5
Ahoy Comics
Written by Eric Palicki
Art by Wendell Cavalcanti
Letters by Rob Steen
Cover by Liana Kangas

Original Solicitation

Final issue of the hit werewolf crime story! Will Strummer figure out who shot her? Is it the same person who stole the bullets? Will there be a “why” to go with the “who?” Will Ben and Aster ever get their beer?

Find out in the thrilling conclusion of Black’s Myth!

PCS Review

This review is a combination piece for both the final issue and the series itself. Both are excellent. This series, a black and white noir detective story with magical creatures, has been delivering high quality issue after issue. The finale give the reader a fantastic conclusion to the mystery that has been explored for the previous four issues.

Eric Palicki writes entertainingly wry humorous dialogue. The characterization of the lead characters is tenderly crafted by both Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti. Cavalcanti’s ability to render an immersive visual experience with just black and white pages is truly masterful.

This book is smartly crafted and woefully underhyped. This issue marks the end of what I can only hope is the “first” arc. The world building in the series is excellent. I do not want this to be the end of our time with these characters. While I highly recommend this issue, the trade paperback for the series is already solicited for February.  Check it out.

Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021

Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021

On our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list, we found a bunch of great books that we have been wanting to talk about for some time.  This column features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

There were not a whole lot of new series that came out this week but the issues #2’s and #3’s for some newer series were excellent.  We encourage you to go out and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, Mad Cave Studios, Titan Comics, Vault Comics, Marvel Comics, and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

Some of the books on this list are also on our New Number Ones for the month of November. You can see them noted with the New Number One tag and can check out the solicitation for the series on our previous article.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:


Aquaman: The Becoming #3
DC Comics
Written by Brandon Thomas
Pencils by Scott Koblish
Inks by Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by Adriano Lucas & Alex Guimarães
Letters by AndWorld Design
Cover Art by David Talaski

This book is now officially promoted as the Prequel to Aquamen, and while that is interesting, it is a disservice to think of this book only as service to something else. Brandon Thomas is building characters and telling an intriguing story. The execution of the fast-paced chase elements to this book are a credit to the storytelling skills of Scott Koblish. The rest of the art team and letter compliment the theme and tone of the issue. As a midpoint book in this limited series this issue definitely raises the stakes.


Bountiful Garden #3
Mad Cave Studio
Written by Ivy Noelle Weir
Art by Kelly Williams
Colors by Giorgio Spalleta
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Williams

You should be reading this book. It has been excellent through this third issue. The story exploration and development are well paced. The art by Kelly Williams is as terrifyingly foreboding as it is gorgeous, and it is really gorgeous. The color work by Giorgio Spalleta accentuates the shadowy nature of the story. Justin Birch does excellent work lettering this book and meshes the tone well. The complete book has a feel that there is a monster in the shadows, and there are shadows everywhere.


Chicken Devil #2
AfterShock Comics
Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Hayden Sherman
Colors by Sherman
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Art by Sherman

What a treat this book is!! I am tempted to go full chicken metaphor in this review, but I will corral that urge.  This book is visually exciting. The bright color work combined with interesting panel layout and camera angles command the full attention of the reader. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou proves again why he is one of the best letterers in the business. The story that Brian Buccellato is telling is captivating, and I cannot wait for the next installment of this book about a Chicken entrepreneur who’s life has become more chaotic than he ever dreamed possible.


Eat the Rich #4
Boom! Studios
Written by Sarah Gailey
Art by Pius Bak
Colors by Roman Titov
Letters by Cardinal Rae
Cover Art by Kevin Tong

For the very little amount of in-panel violence depicted in this series so far, it is consistently terrifying. This issue’s plot and accelerating action make for a captivating read. The mental gymnastics that writer Sarah Gailey has Joey, the protagonist, employ to maintain some semblance of sanity begin to take their toll in this issue. The delicate balance of willful ignorance and outrage that she has been maintaining falls to pieces and Pius Bak’s panels bring it all down in a pulse pounding last few pages of this book. A special shout out to the use of word art in this book. It is excellent in its design and placement. Do yourself a favor and read this series. Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021”

What The Heck Happened? Comics News for the week of 11/15/2021 – 11/20/2021

What The Heck Happened? Comics News for the week of 11/15/2021 – 11/20/2021

This is our roundup of news and press releases from the comics industry for this past week. There are some interesting comic projects coming in the near future, and you can find out about them here.

Z2 COMICS AND HIP HOP LEGEND THE RZA ANNOUNCE BOBBY DIGITAL: IN THE PIT OF SNAKE ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL 

The comic publisher continues to build its catalogue of graphic novels inspired by and created by music superstars. This latest addition by hip-hop artist RZA will be released in June 2022, and can be pre-ordered on Z2’s website  Now

From the Press Release:

NEW YORK, NY—Z2 Comics proudly announces the larger-than-life rapper, actor, and filmmaker is the latest artist to bring his storytelling skills to the comic book medium with the announcement of Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes, an original graphic novel to be released in 2022. 

The founding member of the multimedia supergroup The Wu-Tang Clan first introduced the world to his alter-ego with the 1998 album Bobby Digital in Stereo, with lush digital orchestral sounds and inventive beats, putting the rapper’s love of comic books on full display through its concept and execution. Now, exactly 23 years since its original release, RZA announces a partnership with Z2 Comics to give the character a story in the medium which inspired his creation!

RZA says “Out of all my creative personas and alter egos Bobby Digital is probably the best fit, for comics and graphic novels. It’s a pleasure for me to collaborate with Z2 Comics and bring this lush world of creativity into the comic space. The readers are going to be hit with something they never seen coming. Bong-Bong.”

Who are you, what is real? This is the question Bobby Digital is seeking to answer. Embracing his id, ego and superego he embarks on a quest to figure out the nature of his reality and himself. He will be ambushed by enemies unknown, he will be tried in ways most men can’t endure. Will he be victorious? Most of all, will he survive the Pit of Snakes?! From the mind of the legendary RZA, Bobby Digital and The Pit of Snakes will coincide with the relaunch of the iconic character and be synced to music that will melt your mind.


Oni Press announces the debut of LatinX series exploring heritage, culture, and magic in 2022

Family Magic and Cultural Lore Take Center Stage in this Action-packed Creator-owned Series from Oni Press

Season of the Bruja will be released as five issue series starting in March 2022. It is written by Aaron Durán with art and colors by Sara Soler and letters by Jamie Martinez. The concepts and preview cover art that we have seen make this a book to keep an eye out for. The press release is below:

PORTLAND, OR: Oni Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming Latinx single-issue series, Season of the Bruja, written by Aaron Durán, illustrated and colored by up-and-coming artist Sara Soler (Us), and with lettering by AndWorld Design’s Jaime Martinez, coming Spring 2022. 

“Season of the Bruja is an exploration of forgotten culture and heritage I’ve been trying to tell for years,” said Aaron Durán. “Working with Sara has been a dream; her art and energy elevated our comic to levels I would never have imagined, and Shawna [Gore, Oni Press senior editor] does what all great editors do: she found the strongest story within the pages and helped Sara and I bring it to life.” Season of the Bruja is Durán’s debut project in which he adapted much of the lore for the series from his own family’s traditions. 

Althalia Cabrera might seem like any other witchy Portland hipster whiling away her days behind the counter of a freaky occult museum, but there’s more to her whole deal than a trendy pursuit of the craft. Althalia is a bruja by blood—the youngest in a long line of powerful magic users from a long-ago culture indigenous to Mexico. In her twenty years, Althalia has studied with her loving abuela by her side, supporting and mentoring her use of the family magic, and protecting her from the darkest parts of their practice’s history. But just as Althalia’s inner light and power begin to shine, the darkness of the past finds its way into her world and strikes a tragic blow, testing Althalia in ways she might not be prepared to survive.

Sara Soler said, “Season of the Bruja is a story that vindicates culture and diversity, the fighting for one’s own rights and also of learning, forgiveness, and the love that you can find in the family, whether of blood or not. Aaron is an exceptional storyteller, not only because of how he tells the story, but because of the values with which the script has been infused. And […] I couldn’t have asked for a better editor! [Shawna] has fought tooth and nail to carry out this project throughout some of the most difficult years I can remember (Hi there, 2020!) […]. Aaron and Shawna have made Season of the Bruja the kind of project I’ve always wanted to be involved in!”

According to Durán, “Season of the Bruja is an ongoing journey of discovering our roots, and I think everyone will see a bit of themselves in the series.” 

Inspired by Aaron Durán’s lifelong love for his Mexican family’s cultural traditions and his devoted fandom of horror stories, comics, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season of the Bruja is a five-part series and will be available where comics are sold March 16, 2022. 


NEW REGENCY SIGNS EXCLUSIVE DEAL WITH GROUNDBREAKING COMICS PUBLISHER TKO STUDIOS TO ADAPT GRAPHIC NOVELS INTO TELEVISION SERIES

TKO Studios has been working with some extremely talented creative comic professionals in its short history and produced some great storytelling. Working with a studio like New Regency is an encouraging sign that if their stories are translate to a cinematic medium that they will be treated well. This is exciting news for TKO, their creators, and their fans.

From the Press Release:

Los Angeles – New Regency announced that it has entered into a development and production partnership with ground-breaking publisher, TKO Studios. Under the terms of the deal, New Regency will have the right to exclusively develop television projects from TKO Studios’ expansive library of IP. TKO’s Salvatore Simeone and Tze Chun will develop, produce, and package all shows with New Regency. 

Yariv Milchan, New Regency’s Chairman and CEO, stated, “Since the company’s inception, the team at TKO Studios have been innovators and leaders in their field and we have been longtime fans of their exceptional material. We are delighted to be partnering with Salvatore, Tze, and the rest of the team and look forward bringing their impressive collection of IP to television audiences all around the world.”

TKO Studios CEO Salvatore Simeone and President Tze Chun stated, “TKO is proud to partner with New Regency. Their track record creating groundbreaking film and television aligns with our history of publishing critically acclaimed thought-provoking genre stories. We feel our companies’ combined strengths make an ideal partnership and forges a new model for TV adaptation that will benefit all parties, including our incredible creators.”


Free Comic Book Day 2022 to Return to First Saturday in May

With the past two years of Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) being collateral damage to a worldwide public health crisis, Diamond Comic Distributors is bringing the fan favorite event back to its expected date on the calendar for 2022. This is traditionally one of the most important days for comic retailers across the country. The comic distribution process has changed drastically since the last May FCBD  in 2019. Diamond is not the only distributer in the game, and we will have to see how the event shakes out with some publishers no longer using Diamond for their distribution. Despite that we are excited to see this event back in its scheduled time. It is another sign of recovery and a return to a semblance of normalcy.

(Hunt Valley, MD) — (November 18, 2021)– Diamond Comic Distributors is pleased to announce that Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), one of the comic book industry’s most beloved and anticipated celebrations, will return to its traditional “First Saturday in May” date in 2022. The celebration is set to take place at local comic shops across the U.S. on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

“We are so excited for Free Comic Book Day to make its return to the first Saturday in May. We know it’s an event fans look forward to each spring, and we’re working with our retailer and vendor partners to make this year’s event one of the best yet!” said Free Comic Book Day spokesperson, Ashton Greenwood. “Free Comic Book Day is a great opportunity for newcomers to dive into the world of comics and for longtime readers to try a new title they may not have picked up otherwise. We encourage fans everywhere to visit their local comic shops on Saturday, May 7 to celebrate!”

Free Comic Book Day 2022 will feature forty-five free titles available at participating local comic shops. The titles will be comprised of eleven gold and thirty-four silver sponsor titles. Titles will be announced to the public in December and will appear in the January 2022 edition of the PREVIEWS catalog.


TOP COW COLLECTS THE ORIGINAL CYBERFORCE INTO A LIMITED EDITION 30TH ANNIVERSARY HARDCOVER EDITION VIA KICKSTARTER 

In a sign that I am getting old. There is a  30th Anniversary Edition for an Image Comics book. Unsurprisingly this book is already funded with 30 days to go. That means that there is no risk to backing this project if you are interested in getting your hands on this special edition.

From the Press Release:

November 18th, 2021 — Los Angeles, California — In celebration of Top Cow Productions/Image Comics’ 30thanniversary, CYBERFORCE is being collected in a special action-packed 664-page hardcover collection of the original stories that launched the Top Cow Universe. The original CYBERFORCE run features the work of legendary creators Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Walter Simonson, David Finch, Joe Chiodo, Scott Williams, Brian Haberlin, Joe Benitez and Michael Turner which has not been reprinted in any format since 1994. Top Cow is inviting fans to take part in the excitement and push how far the campaign’s exclusives can go via Kickstarter stretch goals. 

This exclusive CYBERFORCE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 1 Hardcover Kickstarter collection will feature the cover art by the original series creator and founder of Top Cow and Image Comics, Marc Silvestri with fan favorite colorist Bryan Valenza. In addition, every physical backer will receive a special edition bookplate signed by Marc Silvestri and Kickstarter exclusive dust-jacket!


Zoop campaign for John Paul Leon’s ‘THE WINTER MEN Artist’s Edition’ raises over $190,000 for late artist’s family

The loss of artist John Paul Leon this year to cancer has been a devastating hit on the comics industry and also to his family. Many of his friends and admirers contributed to a campaign on Zoop to create a special collected edition of John Paul’s only creator-owned work “The Winter Men”.  This type of creators supporting creators is an important aspect of the comic industry and unfortunately extremely necessary. We lend our full throated support to this news and any other projects like it.

Original Press Release:

Los Angeles, CA – Zoop is thrilled to announce that the fundraising campaign for John Paul Leon’s THE WINTER MEN Artist’s Edition has successfully been fully funded, with an astonishing 992 individuals pledging over $190,000 and claiming over 1,000 copies of the book, with all proceeds going to the late artist’s family. THE WINTER MEN Artist’s Edition is the most successful fundraiser to date on the Zoop platform.

Contributors included some of the renowned artist’s closest friends, including Tommy Lee Edwards, Bernard Chang, Bill Sienkiewicz, Lee Weeks, Duncan Fegredo, Sean Phillips, Walter Simonson, Kim Jung Gi and Peach Momoko, who created brand-new signed and numbered art prints for the campaign, which will also be featured in the edition. In celebration of the astonishing and inspiring body of work by John Paul Leon, THE WINTER MEN Artist’s Edition features 200 pages of full-size 12 x 17 scans of all of the original comic art pages, along with never-before-seen concepts, sketches, and unused art.

“On behalf of the Leon family, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for all the love and support each and every one of you have shown in helping JPs dream come true. His legacy will continue to grow strong with the Artist’s Edition release
which commemorates one of his most celebrated accomplishments. We will never forget the amount of love and passion JP had in his work. We would also like to give a special thanks to all the personnel working with this project, who organized and dedicated their time and support in making it happen. Thank you, Bernard, Tommy, Scott, all the artists that have contributed, and last but not least Zoop,” said John Paul Leon’s wife Christina.

“JP gave all of us 30 years of his heart, soul, and talent. It’s so wonderful to see so many of you all giving some back,” said artist and contributor Tommy Lee Edwards, who was close friends of John Paul Leon.


Marvel-DC veteran Bobbie Chase will be leading Webtoon’s transition to print comics

Newsarama release the news that Webtoon Unscrolled will be led by veteran comic editor Bobbie Chase.

Webtoon Unscrolled is the print graphic novel imprint of the webcomic publisher webtoon.com and it will begin its twelve graphic novel per year release schedule in 2022. The genres will cover both adult and children’s books.

We are excited to see Chase in this role. Her expertise and reputation in the comic industry are unquestioned and while the webtoon platform has countless readers, being able to have a physical copy of the stories is definitely something that the fanbase is interested in. There are also plenty of comic readers who prefer hardcopies of their comics and this is a chance to reach those readers. We have no doubt that Chase will excell in this position.

According to the article some of the initial release will include:

  • Tower of God by SIU
  • True Beauty by Yaongyi
  • Doom Breaker by Blue-Deep
  • Boyfriends by Refrainbow
  • Cursed Princess Club by LambCat
  • Everything is Fine by Mike Birchall

From <https://www.gamesradar.com/webtoon-unscrolled/?fbclid=IwAR1kt6ljZmICvLtlNHcItvRIP1AzclXmL9-7Tvqywb7t0r_NzxLKvvGi00k>


New Archie Comics Anthology Delivers Heartwarming Rom-Com This February

Archie Comics announced a Valentine’s Day special this week. Releasing on February 9, 2022 is Archie: Love and Heartbreak Special #1. The one-shot comic will include the talents of Thomas Pitili, Stephanie Cooke, Sina Grace, Lisa Sterle, Iolanda Zanfardino, with colors by Matt Herms and letters by Jack Morelli. As the weather finally turns colder, this is heartwarming news and something that we look forward to:

Ride down the tunnel of love with the Riverdale gang in ARCHIE: LOVE AND HEARTBREAK SPECIAL #1, arriving February 9, 2022 from Archie Comics. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the special one-shot follows Archie and his friends during a romantic night out at the Riverdale carnival as romances burn bright, while others fizzle out and some are just getting started.

Cupid has his eye on Riverdale as Archie and his friends find themselves embroiled in the uncertainty of young love. As Archie and Veronica hit a speed bump in their relationship, Jughead explains his unique philosophy on love to Betty, while Kevin finds himself in too deep on a date of his own! As new bonds begin to form, our key characters find themselves relishing in the high-highs and low-lows associated with young love in this rom-com one-shot spearheaded by Archie’s Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante.

The modern-style anthology features a welcomed mix of beloved and unexpected pairings: Veronica and Dilton, Kevin and Devon, and Betty and Jughead. The special one-shot also builds upon the recent KEVIN KELLER CELEBRATION Kickstarter by placing Kevin right in the midst of his own romantic debacle alongside Devon, his boyfriend from the classic Archie comic series. Brought to life by writer/artist Thomas Pitilli, writers Stephanie Cooke and Sina Grace, and artists Lisa Sterle and Iolanda Zanfardino, the all-new romantic one shot is perfect for fans of the modern Archie Comics series.

“Coming off the heels of our 80th anniversary, we wanted to welcome fans of the modern comics back to the romantic core of Riverdale with this special one-shot,” explains Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante. “Capturing the ideals of young love, readers get to experience firsthand the ups-and-downs of new relationships and what it means to discover yourself in a way we haven’t seen before in Archie comics. We hope readers see a little bit of themselves in each of these stories.”


Non-Comic News:

Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Finally Arrives

The eagerly anticipated trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home dropped this week, and it sent fans into a tizzy of speculation. The movie releases in theaters only on December 17, 2021, and while we know for certain that Tom Holland will be appearing as Spider-Man, the trailer gave theorists more ammunition for the idea that Toby Maguire and/or Andrew Garfield will also appear based on both what is in and what isn’t in the clip. Check it out for yourself and tell us what you think.


Cowboy Bebop is released on Netflix

The live action reboot of the fan-favorite classic anime Cowboy Bebop was released on Netflix this week and the reception has been mixed. Some fans are clearly not happy but what do you think of this series?

Here is an example of a thoughtful take on the show.


What Else Happened on PCS:

We had a review column of a bunch of good comics from last week.
Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Ed Catto found a gem of advertising and comic history in a bargain bin at a show last weekend.
With Further Ado #171: Come Fly With Me

Mike Gold explored the DC Comics January catalog with a calculator and the numbers are batty in a dark and brooding way.
Brainiac On Banjo: How Many Batmans Does It Take To Screw Up A Catalog?

Brainiac On Banjo: How Many Batmans Does It Take To Screw Up A Catalog?

BATMAN. Don’t stop dancin’. Do it, do it, do it, do it. BATMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN. Don’t stop, don’t stop. Let’s do it. Don’t stop dancin’. Let’s do it, BATMAN. Let’s do it, BATMAN. Don’t stop dancin’. Don’t stop dancin’. No, damn it! Turn the music back up! You son of a bitch! – Batdance, written by Prince, 1989.

Between 1960 and 1993, Harvey Comics published (I could have ended the sentence right there) some 48 different Richie Rich titles. Screw Casper and Hot Stuff, Richie was the big breadwinner in the Harvey household. Whereas I’ve got way too short an attention span to plot this out on a spreadsheet, a great great many were released at the same time, over the same two-month publishing cycle.

Pumping out Richie stories was a tonnage operation because Richie Rich was that successful. It’s not as though most titles had an aura of individuality – aside from Richie Rich and Casper; that series was a lot of fun and, for that matter, pretty weird. Harvey Comics published whatever the newsstand market could bare at that time. I highly doubt anybody at Harvey ever said “Shit! Richie Rich $ucce$$ isn’t selling, so let’s hurry up and replace it with Richie Rich Gems.”

Artist Frank Brunner once quipped they needed a title called “Richie Rich’s Tax Shelters.”

Which brings us to the matter of Batman.

Take a look at DC’s product catalog for January 2022. The catalog is called DC Connect and it’s available at most comics shops and maybe your more refined pet shops and hardware stores. Count the number of different Batman titles. I’m including all the titles that prominently feature members of the Batman Family – including The Joker. Each of their Batteam books – Robins, Batgirls – count, as do those other teams that put a Bat on the cover. I’ll wait.

If my math is correct (and I’ve only got so many fingers and toes) DC Comics is releasing 31 different “Batman” comics titles in January 2022 alone. That’s roughly two-thirds the number of different Richie Rich titles Harvey Comics published over 33 years, but I repeat, DC is doing this in just one month.

Should you want to purchase them all – which will make your friendly neighborhood comics retailer very happy – all you’ll need is $352.72. Personally, I’d ask for a discount, but not all comics shops can afford to do that.

Apples to apples, in constant dollars using 1993 as our vanishing point, 352.72 dollars right now would have only cost you 184.27 dollars in 1993. But given this whole supply-and demand COVID inflation thing going on, you might want avoid stalling your purchase.

Can the marketplace handle 31 different Batman comics titles for the cumulative price of $352.72? Ask me again in, say, February. Take comfort in the fact that Batman is not appearing in The Peacemaker teevee series. Batman completists wouldn’t be able to make their rent.

Richie Rich has been unemployed these past several decades, although, really, when did he ever hold down a real job? Nonetheless, he’s got the money to go into any business he might like. Please note the Rich Family does not seem to be lining up to buy DC Comics.

Come to think of it, I might ask “Would Richie Rich spend all that money on a 10-minute ego trip to inner-most outer space? The answer is “I have no doubt he already did.”

With Further Ado #171: Come Fly With Me

With Further Ado #171: Come Fly With Me

I found this kooky little comic in a bargain bin at Ken Wheaton’s Empire Comic Fest last weekend. It’s a promotional comic for American Airlines, presumably given away to young kids to keep them busy during a plane ride.  This is the issue of Harvey’s AstroComics from 1975. Although sometimes they also spell it as Astro Comics.

I found it absolutely charming.

Despite the fact, that when you really think about it, one of the main characters is a dead child. I am not sure what Casper’s official origin story was at this point, or if he even had one.  But isn’t it kind of creepy to encourage a young kid (maybe it’s their first time on airplane) to read a story about a deceased little boy?

This promotional comic includes a team-up story with Richie Rich and Casper. I didn’t realize they shared adventures, but apparently they often did. In fact, Harvey published  a comic called Richie Rich & Casper that ran for 45 issues in the 70s. Kind of like Harvey’s very own version of World’s Finest Comics, I guess.

Of note: the team-up story is from Richie Rich & Casper #20, and most of the stories included are reprinted from past Harvey comics.

But Astro Comics #1 was designed to keep kids even busier with several innocuously fun American Airlines pages (i.e., corporate propaganda).  Things like a connect-the-dots activity page, a “Story of your Flight Attendant” text page, another text piece called “All about your Flight Crew” and an American Astro Comic Flight Quiz.  This quiz has questions like “Whose football team does Joe Namath play for?”*

The back cover might just be a milestone. I think it’s the very first Back Sketch Cover! Could it be? I do need to do a little more research before I wake up Overstreet’s J.C. Vaughn at 2:00 am with this amazing “find”.

But can you imagine if every kid on a plane got a free comic to read during their flight? Oh sure, they might rather play with their phone, but wow – what an introduction to comics that would be.

Hot Stuff

One more thing: I love this Hot Stuff cover!  One of my fellow faculty members, at Ithaca College’s School of Business has great memories of reading Hot Stuff comics. He’s not a “comics guy”, per se, but he got a few issues for his young son. I make it point to rescue any issues of Hot Stuff I find in bargain boxes at comic shops (like the excellent Heroes Your Mom Threw Out in Elmira or Wonderland Comics in Rochester) and pass it along to my co-worker. I recently grabbed a couple of issues with that in mind, but I love this cover so much I had to find a spot for it in my collection!


*The answer to this question ties into one of the American Airlines destinations, but you have to unscramble the answer.   It is listed as “weN rYko”.

Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week we read a bunch great comics.  We encourage you to go out and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, Mad Cave Studios, Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

Some of the books on this list are also on our New Number Ones for the month of November. You can see them noted with the New Number One tag and can check out the solicitation for the series on our previous article.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Action Comics #1036
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Daniel Sampere
Colors by Adriano Lucas
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover Art by Sampere & Alex Sinclair

Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been waiting for this point in his run with Superman for a while. This is where he shifts the vehicle into high gear and puts the pedal to the floor. Superman taking the fight for justice to the evil Mongul is the story that he wants to be telling. You can feel it in each panel. With Daniel Sampere’s line art and the colors from Ardriano Lucas, the beginning an epic story filled with gravitas unfolds in this issue. I want to call special attention to the three page prologue to this issue. It is beautifully drawn and colored, and the storytelling engulfs the reader with astonishment and curiosity. It is impossible not to turn the next page and find out what this is story is all about. We are all in on this Warworld saga.


 

Mazebook #3
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Lemire
Colors by Lemire
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover Art by Lemire

This book from master storyteller Jeff Lemire is filled with heart wrenching sadness. It is lovingly depicted in a minimal toned color palette that aids significantly in setting the mood of the piece. Lemire loosens his already normally loose pencils in a way that illustrates the protagonist Will’s tenuous hold on both reality and hope. While there is a deep melancholy that permeates this story, it is nonetheless compelling, and Lemire inspires investment by the reader in the outcome of Will’s quest. This was a great issue.


My Date With Monsters #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Andy MacDonald
Colors by DJ Chavis
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover Art by MacDonald & Chavis

New Number One

We have seen stories where monsters dwell among humans. It is a setting that we have expectations for, but what makes a story set in that kind of universe successful is quality character development and interesting wrinkles in the plot that engender uniqueness to the story. This book has both of those elements. Paul Tobin and Andy MacDonald present a visually interesting narrative with satisfying plot construction. Letterer Taylor Esposito does a fantastic job developing an understandable method of presenting a complex plot structure. Without his execution, the overall product might be hurt. Everyone on this book worked to deliver a really fun and interesting first issue for this series. We will definitely be looking for more. Continue reading “Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021”

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing: November 2021

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing: November 2021

It has been a few months since we did one of these columns but it is not for a lack of quality Kickstarter campaigns. In the last couple of years, as the publishing and distribution channels for independent comics have changed, independent creators have been finding their way to Kickstarter.com with some amazing comic book material. We will continue to highlight campaigns that we believe in through spotlight posts like this one and through creator interviews on our site and social media platforms.

Speaking of social media platforms reminds me to let everyone know that if you are looking for good Kickstarter campaign recommendations, besides following Pop Culture Squad, the @KickstarterReads twitter account is a great vehicle to get a heads up for worthy campaigns.

This month we have seven campaigns that we want to highlight for you. I did say there is a lot of quality content out there. Some are ending really soon and you definitely want to check them out and put your support behind these independent creators. We listed the campaigns below in order of the ending of the Kickstarter with the soonest coming first.


Outrage Volume 1

The print edition of the hit webcomic from Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown!

From <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rocketship/outrage-volume-1>

This campaign ends today, so make sure you jump on it. It is the printed volume of the hit comic Outrage that first premiered on webtoon.com. It is written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Reilly Brown, Jay Leisten, Matt Herms, and lettered by Pat Brousseau. It is a modern day exploration of internet behavior and consequences. We were big fans of the series when it was released on webtoon but this campaign is allowing fans and new readers to put the book in their hands and on their shelf.

We also want to spotlight that Rocketship Entertainment, recently selected favorite Publisher at the 2021 Ringo Awards, is printing and fulfilling this project. Backers should find that to be a major positive aspect to this campaign.

There are some pretty cool physical book and art rewards available for this project. I will leave you with this teaser that gives you an idea of where this story will take you.

How many times have you wanted to reach through the Internet and strangle someone? Or, at the least, give `em a swift kick in the nuts? Yeah, everyone feels the same way. But… what if you could? Anonymously. Quickly. Violently. Would you…?

Campaign Ends: Friday, November 12, 2021 3:00 PM EST.

Click Here for More


Spider-Squirrel #2 — A Buddy-Hero Multiversal Adventure

In this penultimate issue, we wrap up the indiechronomultiversal crossovers, meet the bad guy, and set things up for the finale!!

From <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/watchguard/spider-squirrel-2-the-next-chapter-is-here?ref=profile_saved_projects_live>

This Kickstarter project is for issue #2 of this series and this is an example of creative teams using Kickstarter to fund books for the fans who want them. Spider-Squirrel is a superhero adventure story with plenty of humor from writer Charlie McElvy and artist DC Stuelpner. John Rauch does the colors, and HdE lettered the book.

There are plenty of interesting and affordable options for backer rewards on this project, both physical and digital. The synopsis that the creators provided plus the preview art has us looking forward to this campaign’s completion:

The main characters Spider-Squirrel and Trash Panda get into all sorts of seemingly random hijinks right out the gate. Well, right after dealing with some dating issues and checking out a local night club, then having Spider-Squirrel bounce around time and the indie comics multiverse while Trash Panda is stuck at home in Richmond (VA) fighting Ultra-Urbanite and then meeting the girl of his dreams…

Campaign Ends: Monday, November 15, 2021 9:30 PM EST.

Click Here for More



NARCO (original graphic novel) + PLASTIC: DELUXE EDITION

NARCO, a 136-page original graphic novel by Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, and Dave Stewart + PLASTIC: DELUXE EDITION Hardcover

From <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/12gauge/narco-original-graphic-novel-plastic-deluxe-edition?ref=profile_saved_projects_live>

This is an interesting Kickstarter campaign from 12-Gauge comics. It is campaign to fund two projects at once. They are calling it a “Graphic Novel Double Feature”. The purpose of the Kickstarter is to fund a new graphic novel called Narco and the deluxe edition of Plastic, which was originally published in 2017. This special edition includes a new cover and an exclusive six-page bonus story.

According to the creators, the primary focus is to get Narco made. It is created by Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard, the same creators of Plastic and also Vinyl, with colors from Dave Stewart and letters by Ed Dukeshire. It has a pretty intriguing concept:

MARCUS WESPHAL suffers from severe narcolepsy. His condition is peculiar—if he gets overly excited or stressed, he passes out.

However, he’s adapted well. He has all his groceries delivered; he’s got good friends, he’s developed quite a following as an online sleuth, and he admires the girl of his dreams, JESSICA WRIGHT, through his front door peephole (he’s working up the courage to ask her out, OK?!). Marcus has crafted the perfect bubble for himself. But when he watches Jessica get murdered right before his eyes, helpless to do anything about it before passing out, that bubble bursts.

Marcus is now the prime suspect in Jessica’s murder. If he’s going to prove his innocence, he will have to leave the safety of his apartment and track down the real killer. Or, could he possibly be the killer and not even know it?

The new collection of the widely acclaimed Plastic series is just one of the multiple levels of backer reward options on this innovative campaign. There is a bunch of preview art on the project site that you can check out.

Campaign Ends: Wednesday, November 18, 2021 4:12 PM EST.

Click Here for More Continue reading “Kickstarters You Should Be Backing: November 2021”