Author: Bob Harrison

Pop Culture Squad at Baltimore Comic-Con 2021

Pop Culture Squad at Baltimore Comic-Con 2021

Pop Culture Squad will be returning to Baltimore this weekend for “America’s Greatest Comic Convention”. Baltimore Comic-Con will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from Friday 10/22 – Sunday 10/24. Mike Gold and I will be there catching up with old friends and hopefully making some new ones. You can find Mike at booth 3606 with our friends at Insight Studios.

For those who are planning to attend the show, please note that vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test are required for entry and masks are also required to be worn. You can see the health and safety requirements here.

We hope to see a bunch of you all there. We will be updating the site and our socials as much as we can over the weekend and beyond; so, stay tuned.

Programming Notes:

I will  be hosting discussion panels all three days of the convention and will be dragging Mr. Gold along for a couple of them. The details are as follows:

FIRST COMICS REUNION

Friday October 22, 2021 starting 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm | Room: 322
Come see the forces behind the groundbreaking independent publisher that changed the comics landscape as they recount how it began and what its legacy is. Hear the history from the ones who made it happen. Guests: Mike Gold, Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel, and Joe Staton. Hosted by Bob Harrison.

80 YEARS OF HAWKMAN

Saturday October 23, 2021 starting 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Room: 326
Join Robert Venditti, Jerry Ordway, and Mike Gold, with host Bob Harrison for a retrospective with the ageless hero. They will be discussing the character with perspective from creators who brought their own unique experience to the legendary winged warrior.

CREATING COMICS FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Sunday October 24, 2021 starting 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Room: 322
Stop in as we explore what goes into creating comics for teens and young adults in today’s world. With guests creating in multiple genres and formats, we will discuss how these creators curate their comics for their intended audiences.  Guests: Kami Garcia, Gene Ha, and Thom Zahler, with host Bob Harrison. Sponsored by The Hero Initiative.
Pop Culture Squad Will Be at New York Comic Con

Pop Culture Squad Will Be at New York Comic Con

Hey there Squad Members!!!

The comic convention season is in full swing and we are going to be at the biggest in person event so far. ReedPop Expo’s New York Comic Con is being held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York beginning today 10/7 until Sunday 10/10.

We will be walking the halls and talking with guests and attendees during the show. There are hundreds of vendors and professional presenters. There is a pretty full slate of panel programming including one from our own Ed Catto.

Stay tuned to Pop Culture Squad on this page or at our social media for updates of what we find.

 

 


Here are some good links on the NYCC site to find your way around at the show:

Panel Programming

Cosplay Contest

Family HQ


The show has strict health and safety guidelines for attendance. If you are planning to attend, please familiarize yourself with the requirements. The show requires ALL guests and attendees to be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative Covid-19 Test within 72 hours of the event.

Health and Safety Guidelines

 

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in September. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers. 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: AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Titan Books, and Bad Idea Comics, but we threw in a couple from smaller publishers that we don’t normally have on the list like Ablaze Comics and Comics Experience Publishing.

There are several crossover type things in the works from DC and Marvel and we spotlighted two “Alpha” books that will lead you all over their comic line to follow the story from beginning to end. This is not something that we are super fond of, but if you are reading books that are in the crossover’s path, getting the Alpha issue might help when you get to the event issue in your favorite series.

Also, Pay Attention!! Five Wednesdays of comics this month!!!!

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 9/1/21
Week of 9/8/21
Week of 9/15/21
Week of 9/22/21
Week of 9/29/21


Week of September 1


Almost American #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Marco Castiello

Spies…like us? In 2008, husband-and-wife Russian intelligence operatives walked into the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic in order to defect, making a deal to trade secrets for new lives. But instead of the American Dream, Janosh and Victorya Neumann found themselves caught up in red tape, bureaucracy and turf wars between the FBI and CIA – all while their past tries to kill them.

Based on the real-life story of real-life spies, ALMOST AMERICAN is written by comics master Ron Marz in close consultation with the Neumanns, with art by rising star Marco Castiello.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: I feel like Ron Marz is the perfect person to be telling this story.


Batman: Fear State Alpha #1
DC Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Riccardo Federici
Cover Art by Ben Oliver

The event over a year in the making begins. . . Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0. . . and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy. . . Batman might have more than he can handle!?

Release Date: August 31, 2021

PCS NOTES: This is the first of those line-wide (or at least Gotham-wide) crossovers. You can follow the checklist here.


Dark Ages #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Iban Coello & Brian Reber
Cover Art by Coello

This is what the Watcher has been watching for! A danger older than the Earth threatens everything. For once, the heroes who have saved the planet so many times are almost powerless in the face of it. X-Men and Avengers assemble. Spider-People and Fantastic Four come together. Heroes for Hire fight alongside Champions. None of it will be enough. The lights are about to go out. The world outside our window…is about to end. An all-new saga of the Marvel Universe as you’ve never seen it before from Tom Taylor and Iban Coello!

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: I am really excited about this story.


Monster Kill Squad #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Tomas Giorello & Diego Rodriguez
Cover Art by Giorello

Once upon a time, monster attacks were rare. A forest witch might murder a few hikers, a killer clown might eat a few children, or a malevolent ghost might drive a young couple insane just for the hell of it. But these events were scarce, easily covered up, and soon faded into campfire stories good for a laugh. But no one’s laughing now. Over the past 90 days, cryptozoological attacks have increased a hundredfold, and the arcane has become everyday. Monsters of every shape and size strike at will, and the good, taxpaying folks of the US of A have had enough of this nonsense. Enter: THE MONSTER KILL SQUAD. A Government Unit of the most dangerous motherfuckers on the planet, the deadliest folks alive are here to put a bullet in the brain of everything that walks, crawls, flies, or hides in shadows. And if it doesn’t have a brain, all the better — we’ve got a gun for that, too. Witches and wraiths. Demons and deadites. Goblins and ghosts. There have always been monsters. Now there are monster killers, and the MKS will kill it, and kill it good.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: Bad Idea Comics has no shortage of interesting comic story ideas. If you want this book, you have to get it from a limited list of retailers. Find one here.


Pyrate Queen #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Adam Pollina & Tamra Bonvillain
Cover Art by Pollina & Bonvillain

This September, embark on a tale of love, loss, life, death and bloody revenge! Meet Monday Ryan, a pyrate with a bad reputation and a price on her head. To be a pyrate is to live a short and merry life and to live it free. It ends for most with a length of rope and a four foot drop. After a series of successful attacks, Monday Ryan, her husband, and her crew of bandits are targeted and pursued relentlessly by the British Royal Navy. When a violent trap leads to their capture, Monday and crew are fitted for the gallows — until the Royal Navy learns that Monday’s pregnant. Civility prevents the hanging of a pregnant woman, and Monday is spared the noose, but her crew and husband are not. Set adrift on a small raft and left to her fate on the open sea, Monday vows that the life growing inside her will be born into a world where its father’s death has been avenged. She will find and kill every last soul responsible for her husband’s death, and her baby will enter into this world free of vengeance, free of bloodshed, and free of a future drenched in violence.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: See above!!


Red Sonja #1
Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Mirka Andolfo
Art by Giuseppe Cafaro
Cover Art by Andolfo

MOTHER, PART ONE.

Industry icon MIRKA ANDOLFO presents an all-new vision for the She-Devil With A Sword, in a thrilling new ongoing series! Our story begins in a village on fire, set by members of the dreaded Three-Eyed Shezem. When Red Sonja arrives, the only survivor of the flame is a lively child with curious white tattoos. The child will become Sonja’s travel companion, on a journey from hardened ice to imposing forests, where dangerous secrets wait to be revealed…

Begin a trailblazing adventure with MIRKA ANDOLFO and incredible artist GIUSEPPE CAFARO!

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: Pretty excited to see what Mirka Andolfo has in store for Sonja. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021”

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Comics Writer David Pepose

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Comics Writer David Pepose

In our latest Squadcast interview we caught up with comics creator and writer David Pepose.

David is known for his creator-owned titles Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, Scout’s Honor, and The O.Z.

His work has been nominated for multiple industry awards and his catalogue of work is continuing to grow into new publishing venues.

His latest work, The O.Z., is a book that he is publishing through Kickstarter. The first double-sized issue was funded last year and currently the campaign for the second installment is underway. Backers have until September 15th to get behind this excellent comic.

Since David and I spoke for this Squadcast, the first issue of The O.Z. has been nominated for best single issue for the 2021 Ringo Awards.

David has grown as a writer and creator over the years that Pop Culture Squad has been around and he continues to be one of our favorite interviewees.

Check out the interview and the Kickstarter campaign below.


THE O.Z. #1-2 – A Fantasy Classic Reimagined for Comics

What is the O.Z?

What if The Hurt Locker took place in The Wizard of Oz? Find out in The O.Z., an action-packed fantasy comic series from Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, Scout’s Honor) and superstar artist Ruben Rojas (Proton) that transforms a childhood classic into a war story for the ages. Returning to Kickstarter with our double-sized, 44-page second chapter, this campaign is dedicated to bringing this adrenaline-fueled twist on L. Frank Baum’s iconic Oz novels to life. Fans of Mad Max: Fury RoadThe Old Guard, and Fables will not want to miss out on The O.Z.

THE HUNT FOR THE SILVER SLIPPERS

Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Comics Writer David Pepose”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson

In our latest episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast, we spoke to comic book writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Phillip’s catalog of published comic work has increased significantly in recent years. He created and wrote the hit DC Comics Black Label series The Last God and currently is writing for both DC and Marvel comics. He is penning Action Comics for DC and the newly launched Alien book for Marvel, among others.

Phillip has an amazing “day job” as a member of the United States Army and has come to comic book writing later than others. His roots in comic publishing come from the creator owned space with books like Last Sons of America that was published by Boom! Studios,  and his collaboration with Steve Orlando on the AfterShock Comics book Kill A Man was a significant topic in our conversation.

Phillip is often found to be thoughtful and excited about telling stories in the comic medium. It is always a joy to spend some time talking comics with him. Our conversation touched on a bunch of different topics including his current projects.

We delved into the world building that Phillip does in his storytelling and how from The Last God to Superman and Alien you can see the care that he takes in making the setting authentic. The topic of alien languages came up and people interested in how to make that work will be very interested in that conversation.

As a reader of comics, I often wonder how the dynamic of two writers works in the practice of writing the story. Phillip went into detail about how the project Kill A Man was proposed to him and about how he and Steve Orlando traded off on scenes and then came back to collaborate and create a fluid single voice to the book.

The concepts and plans that are coming in the second arc of Alien from Marvel were discussed, and Phillip has taken great care to tell interesting stories in the world of Alien that respect the fan base but also push the boundaries. He laid out the premise for “Alien: Sanctuary” which begins in September.

We hope you enjoy the conversation and it inspires you to seek out Phillips work. You won’t be disappointed.

 

You can find Phillip on Twitter at @PhillipKJohnson and also on his website phillipkennedyjohnson.com.

2021 Ringo Awards Finalists Announced

2021 Ringo Awards Finalists Announced

The news has dropped on one of the premiere comic book awards nominations. The Ringo Awards are coming up on their fifth award ceremony and instantly developed into a prestigious honor for all nominees and winners. The final ballot has been released and is available for comic industry professionals to vote on. Reviewing these nominees reveals a fairly good cross section of the comics publishing industry and there are some extremely appropriate nominations.

We encourage all eligible voters to participate in the process and contribute to the recognition of deserving creators.

Press Release

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – August 25, 2021 – The 2021 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards are to be presented on the evening of Saturday, October 23, 2021 as part of the fan- and pro-favorite convention, The Baltimore Comic-Con.

The Ringo Awards are thrilled to announce the 2021 nominees. The nomination process was completed with the participation of our esteemed 2021 jury as well as the voting public. Fans and comic book professionals alike showed strong support in promoting the voting process on their websites, channels, and via social media.

Voting on the 2021 Final Ballot is restricted to comic book industry creative community — anyone involved in and credited with creating comics professionally. We now present the 2021 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards Final Ballot.

“We are really happy with this ballot. It’s such a pleasure to watch this thing develop and see the range of genres, creators, publishers, topics, nations of origin, and more. These creators and titles represent the best in comics from 2020 as voted on by the public and our jury, and we’re proud to present them here. If you haven’t read these books or checked out these talents’ works, do yourself a favor.” – Marc Nathan, Baltimore Comic-Con Promoter.

Fan and Pro Nomination Categories

* Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)

• Derf Backderf
• Mongie
• Stan Sakai
• Rachel Smythe
• Adrian Tomine
• Sophie Yanow

* Best Writer

• Penelope Bagieu
• Anthony Del Col
• Jason Douglas
• N.K. Jemisin
• Marjorie Liu
• James Tynion IV
• Ram V

* Best Artist or Penciller

• Josh Adams
• Jamal Campbell
• Elsa Charretier
• Hanza Art
• Sana Takeda

* Best Inker

• Sanford Greene
• Brett Hobson
• Jjolee
• Gabriel Hernandez Walta
• Tonci Zonjic

* Best Letterer

• Deron Bennett
• Aditya Bidikar
• DC Hopkins
• Micah Myers
• Chas! Pangburn

* Best Colorist

• Toyin Ajetunmobi
• Laura Allred
• Tamra Bonvillain
• Aladdin Lee Grant Rutledge Collar
• Jacob Phillips
• Joe Todd-Stanton
• Christian Ward

* Best Cover Artist

• Gian Carlo Bernal
• Stephanie Hans
• Maan House
• Steve Lieber
• Peach Momoko
• Kevin O’Neill
• Joe Todd-Stanton

* Best Series

• The Department of Truth, Image Comics
• Far Sector, DC Comics
• Lore Olympus, WEBTOON
• My Deepest Secret, WEBTOON
• Usagi Yojimbo, IDW Publishing
• Wonder Woman: Dead Earth, DC

* Best Single Issue or Story

• All-America Comix #1, Image Comics
• Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds (BOOM! Studios)
• Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx, Flying Eye Books (US) / Nobrow Press
• “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” from Ice Cream Man Present Quarantine Comix Special #1, Image Comics
• The O.Z., self-published
• Parallel, Source Point Press

* Best Original Graphic Novel

• Buried But Not Dead, Source Point Press Continue reading “2021 Ringo Awards Finalists Announced”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Jeffrey Burandt

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Jeffrey Burandt

Our latest Pop Culture SquadCast features comic writer Jeffrey Burandt who is in the midst of campaign to fund his latest comic on Kickstarter. Burandt’s style is satirical with warm heart. The best part about his writing is that while the things he writes about run the gamut from straight humor to life and death sci-fi, the reader gets the sense that Burandt is enjoying the telling of the story regardless of topic or genre.

We got a chance to talk to him about his new project with Jason Goungor called Killer Bad, and we also talked about his other projects including Odd Schnozz from Oni, anthology projects Love is Love and Pandemix, and more.

Killer Bad looks to be a hell of ride. This first issue that is being Kickstarted is a superhero slasher story set in the 90’s.

 

Check out the campaign information for Killer Bad and then go and back it.

 

 

The comic is described by the creators  this way.

KILLER BAD is a brand new, superhero-horror comic book series with ’90’s comix flair! Each issue is a done-in-one story reflecting a different horror genre through the superhero lens, but with connective tissues of plot and character that run through the entire series. And you can start at the beginning right now with issue #1!  

When an elite super-group travels to a remote island to retrieve a powerful artifact, they are stalked and killed by a super-slasher, serial killer. Killer Bad #1 is a grindhouse, gore-fest of world-shattering death and destruction!

The campaign ends on September 1 and is super close to being funded. There are terrific backer rewards tiers available.  Below you can see the  preview pages.

 

 


We want to thank Jeffrey Burandt for sitting down with us and sharing the info about Killer Bad and his craft. You can find him online at jefwrites.com and on Twitter at @jef_uk

Continued After the Next Page #018: What is a Substack and Why Do I Care?

Continued After the Next Page #018: What is a Substack and Why Do I Care?

After decades of predictable delivery methods for comic book content, the past twenty years has been full of novel delivery mechanisms, and now we are being presented with an new option: Comics via Newsletter. The New York Times reported on the announcement that several high profile writers are joining Nick Spencer at Substack.com and creating comic content for their subscription based newsletters.

Writers Jonathan Hickman, James Tynion IV, Saladin Ahmed, Molly Ostertag, and Scott Snyder are the first group of creators that are announced to be creating on the Substack platform. Substack is a website that bills itself as “a place for independent writing.” If you want to try to determine what the platform is trying to accomplish, you can start with their About Page, and I wish you luck. George Gustines of the New York Times did a good job of covering the details of the announcement, and if you have access to the NYT, I recommend checking it out, as it is a big deal in comics news.

I would like to look at this concept from a consumer’s perspective. This development is indicative of the difficult economics behind comic book publishing. Print publishing in general seems to be in great turmoil in terms of making things profitable as the world moves further away from paper.  I get that writers and artists are struggling and do not begrudge anyone the opportunity to get paid for their art.

This newsletter platform concerns me as a consumer of comics. It raises questions in terms of delivery expectation and content. I wonder how often a subscriber will be paying for expected content on a subscription and be disappointed that someone fails to deliver. The difference in this type of platform versus Patreon.com is that while Patreon is advertised as a support mechanism for creators, Substack is promising a product in return for the subscription. Without corporations and publishing companies absorbing the liability for delays and errors in products, the creators on Substack will have no one to hide behind if the product does not make it to market as anticipated. This is a big risk for future revenue and reputation.

There has been little said to this point as to what the subscribers are actually entitled to and what the subscription tiers actually cost. A concern is that the typical subscription is around $5 per month, and that generally works out to the cost of a single issue of a comic book.  Will these Substack Comics be generating a full single issue per month? Other digital platforms such as Webtoon or Comixology deliver products that are either free or complete at time of consumption. Therefore. the consumer knows what they are getting for their “money”.

My last concern is that as a consumer, I now have to determine if reading and purchasing comic content from some of my favorite creators is worth supporting Substack. There are plenty of reservations about the way the platform does business and who it does it with. A simple google search should give you plenty of reading material. The comic book consumer’s budget is now divided between Direct Market Retail shops, Online Digital delivery of published comics, Kickstarter campaigns, and bookstores. Adding this new expense may require thoughtful deliberation on the part of the consumer.

Ultimately, this is a way for creators to take more control of the monetization and delivery of their art. I applaud that. There is a feeling that comic creators are underpaid and under supported. I want comics to thrive and survive. I wish the creators who are endeavoring to deliver comics in this innovative way all the luck for success. I am not sold yet on this, but for the creators and fans, I hope it works and we get the next great comic story delivered in our inboxes via Substack.