Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!

As you read these words, and thank you for that, you are one up on me. You’re reading this after the Barr Report is released. I’m writing this the evening before the Barr Report is released.

I’ll bet you don’t know a hell of a lot more about this report than I do, or I did last night, which, for me, is right now. Can we predict future history based upon past history? George Santayana be damned! Have a little patience!

Then again, one person’s patience is another person’s deadline.

It is my belief that the Barr Report isn’t going to do squat aside from raising the volume of our already ostentatious national discourse. It’s not the Mueller Report; it’s a gaily colored, heavily-censored phone book marked up by our nation’s most talented obfuscator, William Barr. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #034: Barr None!”

Spotlight Interview with Comic Legend Gene Ha, Creator of Mae

Spotlight Interview with Comic Legend Gene Ha, Creator of Mae

Hey! Welcome back to our special feature Spotlight Interview column. When we are fortunate enough to get to talk to creative professionals, we love to bring those conversations to you folks.

Last month on March 24, 2019, we were able to get together with comic legend Gene Ha and talk about his current project and his career in comics.

Gene is well-known for working with Alan Moore on Top 10 from the America’s Best Comics imprint of Wildstorm. He has done work for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Malibu comics. Gene has won four, count them folks, four, Eisner Awards.

Beginning in 2015, Gene has focused mostly on his creator owned stories. His all ages story Mae was originally published by Dark Horse and has now been picked up by Lion Forge. It is the story of sisters, monsters, and magical dimensions. The second volume is finishing up in single issues and the first volume trade was re-released last year. We are big fans of Mae.

PopCultureSquad: What is your process like these days? Are you still using traditional materials or are you moving to digital?

Gene Ha: Honestly, I have hit the bifocals age. So, it’s hard for me to see anything except for the two distances where my lenses are set.  Having pinch and zoom on an iPad Pro in Procreate and drawing there is a lot easier for doing fine detail. So, I have abandoned paper mostly, unless I am doing sketches at a convention.

PCS: Where does Mae’s voice come from?

GH: It comes from having a lot of female geek friends and realizing that I hadn’t heard a lot of voices that actually talk like them, who are the heroes of their story. There are so many stories that have a female geek character, but she tends to be support or the best friend of the hero.

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Legend Gene Ha, Creator of Mae”

With Further Ado #038: Planet of the Nerds from Ahoy Comics

With Further Ado #038: Planet of the Nerds from Ahoy Comics

I’m not sure why I’m generally not eager for 80s nostalgia. “I lived through it once,” I’ll jokingly say. But I had so much fun that decade. A lot of fun – that was a fantastic time for me in so many ways.  But generally, 80s nostalgia seems too kitschy for me.

But… that was before I read AHOY Comic’s newest series, Planet of the Nerds. It’s a fun fish out-of-water story with a great premise: What if 80s jocks were put into today’s world, where Nerd culture is so dominant?   Continue reading “With Further Ado #038: Planet of the Nerds from Ahoy Comics”

Preview Review for the week of 4/17/2019: Incursion #3

Preview Review for the week of 4/17/2019: Incursion #3

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’s preview comic is Incursion #3 from Alex Paknadel and Doug Braithwaite, published by Valiant Entertainment.  It is rare for us to preview a book in the middle of the run, but that might tell you how much we think of this series.

Continue reading “Preview Review for the week of 4/17/2019: Incursion #3”

Brainiac on Banjo #034: A Matter of Perspective

Brainiac on Banjo #034: A Matter of Perspective

If you’ve ever had any inclination to be an artist, or if you’re old and decrepit enough to have had art class in grammar school, you probably received at least a rudimentary education in topics such as perspective, gravity and physics. Drawing remains (for the time being) a two-dimensional experience and so the pencil pushers in the comic book medium must figure out how to represent our three-dimensional world in a medium that lacks visual depth.

Our friends in the closely-related field of animation figured this out long before most of us were born. You ignore physics and keep the story running so fast the viewer is undaunted by technicalities. Bob Clampett’s Porky In Wackyland – the best cartoon ever – employs this concept in nearly every frame. It’s the very purpose of the cartoon. Chuck Jones’ Road Runner series, for the same studio, uses perspective manipulation as a running gag throughout the run: Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff but does not fall until he realizes he’s run off that cliff. Then he falls into a chasm so deep it would make the Grand Canyon cross its legs. He survives the fall even though the intensity of the drop is so great he’s pounded into the ground – still alive – and usually gets hit on the head by a chunk of that cliff.

In this, Wile E. has defied all three of the laws of motion. I think Isaac Newton would have laughed his ass off, but then again, he very well might have been deeply offended.

We’ve seen all kinds of wacky science in comics. Sometimes, defying physics comes off just fine. After all, if The Hulk really existed and he really could get from point A to point B by scrunching down and leaping into the air, that “equal but opposite reaction” thing would cause quite a stir. So which laws of physics do you obey, and which can you ignore? Continue reading “Brainiac on Banjo #034: A Matter of Perspective”

Game of Thrones: S8E1 “Winterfell” Recap

Game of Thrones: S8E1 “Winterfell” Recap

Warning: This recap contains nothing but spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones. If you are reading this before seeing the episode “Winterfell”, you are doing it wrong.

Continue reading “Game of Thrones: S8E1 “Winterfell” Recap”

Everything We Read This Week – 04/03/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 04/03/2019

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 is an abbreviated edition of EWRTW. We picked the top 8 books that we wanted to read from our pull list and are bringing them to you. There are a bunch of New Number ones in the list and some other really good books.  There are plenty of other great comics that were release this week. Make sure you go and find them.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, AfterShock, Dynamite, and Boom! Studios this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 04/03/2019”

Lions Dragons & Wolves: Pregame of Thrones

Lions Dragons & Wolves: Pregame of Thrones

Are you ready for Game of Thrones: Endgame?

After a brief break of 595 days, HBO’s pop culture juggernaut is airing its final six episodes starting this
Sunday. While author George RR Martin was hunt-and-pecking his way through the eternally upcoming
Winds of Winter, the television series lapped the published books late in season 5, leaving readers no
wiser than their fellow viewers as to their favorite characters’ fates. HBO has been marathoning the
entire series to get you prepared, but you squandered that time working. You could have watched an
episode a week since Presidents’ Day 2018, but you didn’t and now you have mere hours to catch up.
We got you. We’ve picked one episode from each season for you to get you ready. You’ll still
need to pay attention to every “previously on…” segment, but you’ll have the raw emotional wounds
required to properly appreciate the last six episodes.
So, run out to the store for the GoT branded Oreos, wine, and whisky. Stop by the blood drive to donate
your GoT branded blood (seriously, the American Red Cross is giving away an Iron Throne replica and
free posters). Bake up a batch of lemon cakes and direwolf scones. Settle in. Continue reading “Lions Dragons & Wolves: Pregame of Thrones”

Beat JENeration #031: Is this Grease Prequel The One That I Want?

Beat JENeration #031: Is this Grease Prequel The One That I Want?

Obviously the big news of the week was the announcement of Summer Loving – the prequel to the 1978 musical Grease currently in development by Paramount Players.

So many feelings about this — some are actually hopeful. Many are weary. And others bitter —falling along the lines of “why now?” and “why this?” And then there’s also rage over how Grease 2 has been bitch-slapped around in all the coverage. 

Wholesome and pure, oh so scared and unsure

Grease is sacred it me. I cannot tell you how many times I saw it in the theater, but I feel like it played in theaters for years. I know I went to see it pretty much weekly for that first summer. It was the late-1970’s and my parents saw no reason why their six-year old daughter shouldn’t ride her bike almost a mile to the AMC Orange Mall 6 to spend the day memorizing every line in a movie about high school thugs, teen-age pregnancy, and succumbing to peer pressure. Of course, I only really saw John Travolta’s dimple, the 50’s fashions, and the choreography. It wasn’t until I was an adult (a full-fledged adult in her late-20’s all married and careered) that I would for the first time truly hear and understand the lyrics in “Greased Lighting” — so truly, no harm, no foul.

The soundtrack album to Grease is the one object that sums up my childhood. I still have it. I still treasure it. I would sit on the floor of my room studying the pictures in the middle fold out as I wore out the vinyl. Of course when I wasn’t dancing around my room and singing on the top of my lungs. This was the soundtrack to all of my hoping and dreaming for my future. It’s only real competition for turn-table time was the Annie Original Broadway Cast Album until 5th grade when The Go-Go’s and Duran Duran came into my life.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #031: Is this Grease Prequel The One That I Want?”

With Further Ado #037: Stepping into the Twilight Zone with Nick Parisi

With Further Ado #037: Stepping into the Twilight Zone with Nick Parisi

In one of those summers of my youth, my buddies and I would always wrap up our nightly mischief so that we could get home in time to watch The Twilight Zone reruns at 11 pm. The next day, my buddy David Locastro and I would eagerly ask one another, “Did you see that one last night?”  With our utmost fanboy authority, we’d begin to dissect the most recent episode.

Fast forward to late March when the 44th Annual Ithacon hosted Twilight Zone expert and Serling aficionado Nick Parisi. His recent book, Serling, His Life, Work and Imagination is a fascinating and engaging work. As Rod Serling was a professor at Ithaca College and Ithacon was exhibiting treasures from the Serling Archives this year, it made perfect sense to invite Parisi as a guest.

The show was great fun but, as all shows are, it was also a blur of activities. So, it was after Ithacon that I caught up with Nick to speak more about this book.

Ed Catto: So many of us grew up with The Twilight Zone and we all have our stories.  For me, I have fond memories of watching it on WPIX out of New York City. What was your interaction and how did you become so much of fan that you’re now an author and expert?

Nick Parisi: Ed, I have similar memories of WPIX. I started watching TZ on WPIX when I was nine or ten years old and I still remember the nightly schedule: The Odd Couple at 11, The Honeymooners at 11:30, Star Trek at midnight, and The Twilight Zone at 1 am. I would do my best to stay awake and I would usually make it! The show mesmerized me pretty much immediately and I became a fanatic for it pretty quickly. Then Marc Zicree’s Twilight Zone Companion came out and it kicked my fanaticism into another gear. That was a truly revolutionary book.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #037: Stepping into the Twilight Zone with Nick Parisi”