Author: Ed Catto

A voracious reader, Ed has been enjoying “books on comics” ever since he’d read Jule’s Feiffer’s classic The Great Comic Book Heroes a chapter at a time at a local book store. The cover price was $14.95 and he knew that he could never afford such an enormous sum to actually buy this treasure. Things changed, and Ed could eventually afford the books he loved. His reading, and history illustration and art has guided him through a life-long love of comics, collections and graphic novels. As a branding and advertising executive, Ed’s career has evolved to include a focus on entertainment marketing in many ways: A founding partner of Bonfire Agency, Ed helped establish the world’s first marketing firm focused on connecting brands, in authentic ways, to passionate and enthusiastic fans of comics, graphic novels, games and movies. Ed has also shepherded the rebirth of the iconic 60s toy, Captain Action, in collectibles, books, comics and even a national toy line. An animated television series is currently being shopped for development. A convention enthusiast, Ed helped develop Reed Pop’s New York Comic-Con (now the nation’s largest con) and is currently doing the same for Syracuse’s Salt City Comic-Con. 
Ed speaks nationally as a panelist and moderator at conventions, leading conversations on entertainment marketing and comics history. Ed has also appeared on CNBC’s Squawkbox, BNN Business News Network , and PBS’s Superheroes documentary. Ed recently started teaching at Ithaca College, sharing his experiences and enthusiasm for business and entrepreneurship to both MBA’s and undergraduates. As an artist, Ed also leads graphic novel classes for kids of all ages. In October of 2018, The Adventures of Captain Graves will mark Ed’s debut as an illustrator for publisher Airship27. Ed and his wife Kathe currently live in New York’s State’s Finger Lakes Region, enjoying the area’s local comic book shops and wineries. Between consulting, teaching and drawing, Ed continues to work very hard to whittle down the teetering tower of books on his nightstand.
With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate

With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate

Following up on the theme from last week’s entry, here’s another winning entry from our annual student competition:

Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate
By Oliver Rucker

So, I am super late to the party. Being the Star Wars fan that I am, I’m frankly embarrassed, but I finally got around to watching Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series diving in on the beloved Jedi’s life in between the fall of the Republic at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and our introduction to Luke Skywalker and the gang in A New Hope.

For starters, I’d like to attempt to explain myself. I was coming off of The Bad Batch and The Book of Boba Fett, both of which I did not care for. I can go on and on, but to keep it brief, if I was twelve, I’d love Bad Batch, and I simply found Boba Fett to be remarkably boring. So as excited as I was to see what Obi-Wan was getting up to on Tatooine, my spirits were down, expectations low, I was dejected, and honestly just a little but Star Wars’d out.

Before going any further, I’d like to explain that I am not like every other Star Wars fan in existence, who just has a fiery hate for everything new that is put out into the cosmos. In fact, I find myself to be in the strong minority that really enjoyed Attack of the Clones. Sure, the dialogue is just awful, but the story is incredibly strong and it evokes emotions like sadness, anger, jubilation, memorization, and the anticipation of imminent disaster. All things I love in a movie. Continue reading “With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate”

A Eulogy for Comic Book Creator Don Perlin, Passed Away at 94 Years Old

A Eulogy for Comic Book Creator Don Perlin, Passed Away at 94 Years Old

DON PERLIN, R.I.P.

Second Acts can be a beautiful thing. Who knows when they will come or even if they will come? I feel like we live in a culture that expects and secretly nurtures, or least prepares for second acts.

I became friends with Don Perlin just when he was about to shift into his second act. He was part of the comics publisher Valiant in the early days, right alongside folks like Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, and Steve Massarsky. From today’s vantage point, it’s hard to understand the incredible success that Valiant, as an entrepreneurial start-up, was enjoying. They “came out of nowhere” is an oversimplification, but they seemed to be hitting all triples and homers.

At that time, I was in marketing at Nabisco. We were producing TV ads and in-store retailer programs, but I thought that there were opportunities to market brands like OREO and Chips Ahoy! with comics, or at least through geek culture. Companies like Marvel and Valiant welcomed a corporate guy like me, as they didn’t have to explain the power of comics. They know a collector/nerd like me totally “got it”.

So, in the 90s, I would wander up to the Valiant offices during my frequent trips to NYC. Hanging out with guys like Don Perlin was a treat. Don was gracious and garrulous – always eager to show me what he was working on. Valiant had a full floor of office space in Midtown Manhattan then, and Don, toggling between editing and drawing, would often be crouching over his drawing board. Seeing those first few Valiant issues of Eternal Warrior or Solar, Man of the Atom was something special to behold.

In fact, when Bloodshot #1 debuted, it was a big hit, and Don enjoyed a certain amount of celebrity, especially on the convention circuit. I remember him telling me that a young fan approached him to autograph a copy of the comic. The boy looked up and proclaimed to Don, “You’re my favorite!” Don beamed with pride as he told the tale.

Unsurprisingly, Don was always encouraging and kind to me as well. He embraced, or embodied, that warm-hearted uncle approach to friendship. As he’d tell me the industry goings on, I always felt like I was along for the ride with him. He couldn’t believe how hot his comics were and he felt very fortunate. Continue reading “A Eulogy for Comic Book Creator Don Perlin, Passed Away at 94 Years Old”

With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Is Superhero Fatigue Real?

With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Is Superhero Fatigue Real?

You might have heard (maybe from me?) that we had another outstanding ITHACON. As part of Promoting and Managing ITHACON, a class I teach at Ithaca College, each year we embrace this annual tradition with the With Further Ado column.

Each spring, I ask the students to submit a column on pop culture as if they were the author of this space. Our crack editorial staff pours over the submissions and selects a winner, and they get published on this website. (The fact that it gives me a little break right after ITHACON is of no concern to anyone but me.)

Anyway, we have several amazing columns to publish this year. Our first winner runner-up of this year’s fill-in columnist contest is Nina Amato and her thoughts on superhero fatigue. (Nina just got finished working on ITHACON, and was on our program team creating a fantastic publication.) Congrats and thanks for all the hard work, Nina!

* * *

Is Superhero Fatigue Real?
By Nina Amato

Whether we like it or not, superheroes are ingrained in our everyday media. Today, more than ever, we can see superheroes all over our film, television, and even literature. In fact, movie and television studios introduce the public to a new superhero almost bimonthly. It makes sense for them too, as superhero movies have been proven to serve as box office decimators. But why? While we’re seeing these movies succeed, they’ve also been heavily scrutinized by critics, especially recently. So, are superhero stories getting worse, or are we just getting tired of them? Continue reading “With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Is Superhero Fatigue Real?”

With Further Ado #296: Those Moments That Only Happen at Conventions

With Further Ado #296: Those Moments That Only Happen at Conventions

We just folded up the tents and struck the sets for ITHACON 47, the nation’s second longest running comic convention. It was a rousing success We have so many folks to thank. And I’m eager to write all about it too.

But I was struck by one conversation I had on the showroom floor, and it made me connect the dots on one big idea.

Just about every ITHACON exhibitor/dealer with whom I spoke gleefully explained their sales were strong and/or better than last year. That’s really important for a small show like ITHACON. We want to keep it comfortable for everyone, but we need to attract the right attendees. Folks who will be engaged in panels, cosplay, activities and who are eager to see what the dealers have brought.

However, one high-end comics dealer (who’s an ITHACON regular now) said that his sales were soft. But he blamed that on trends and not the show per se. He told me that his CGC graded comics have been selling better via online auctions that at comic conventions. That’s a fair point, and next year I would like to find a clever way to entice the type of customer he’s looking for to come to our show.

But it got me thinking about the amazing types of things that can only happen at conventions. And I have a great example for you. Continue reading “With Further Ado #296: Those Moments That Only Happen at Conventions”

With Further Ado #295: ITHACON Preview

With Further Ado #295: ITHACON Preview

We’re getting to launch ITHACON again. It’s the nation’s second longest running comic convention, and I’ve had to the privilege to be involved with this one for the last few years. This year, we have some amazing guests and some very clever panels!

And of course, there’s more information here and if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, what are you waiting for? They are available here!

Re-Awakenings: Disney’s Gargoyles 30th Anniversary Panel:
11:30 Saturday

Thirty years ago, a new type of hero hit the airwaves as part of the Disney Afternoon: stone statues called Gargoyles who came to life at night to fight crime! Blending history, mythology, sci-fi, and romance, Disney’s Gargoyles ran for 78 episodes, boasted a Marvel Comics tie-in, a video game, and toys. Now, at Dynamite, the Gargoyles live again! Meet Joseph Rybandt, Editorial Director at Dynamite Entertainment, the publisher of Gargoyles record-setting revival, and other panelists for a discussion of the show’s history, its current success in comic book form at Dynamite, and its future in the recently announced live-action Disney+ reboot! Moderated by Jonathan Chalmers

Editing Comics 101: with Shelly Bond
2:30 Saturday

What does a comic book editor actually do? Find out with ITHACON 47’s Guest of Honor, Shelly Bond. She’s had an impressive comic career, and it started with she was a student at Ithaca College. We’re excited to roll out the red carpet for Shelly -and her husband, artist Philip Bond. In this panel, Shelly will deconstruct the process of making comics. Don’t miss it!

Continue reading “With Further Ado #295: ITHACON Preview”

With Further Ado #294: Robot Monster 3-D Comic

With Further Ado #294: Robot Monster 3-D Comic

One of the most fun things I do is host the Screams & Screens movie series at Auburn Public Theater. We celebrate old movie, with a real emphasis on 50s/60s/70s Science Fiction and Horror movies. You know, the type of thing that makes life worth living.

And don’t worry, we’re about to announce the new season. Keep an eye out on the Auburn Public Theater website!

Robot Monster is one of those movies that we really should include in our line-up. It’s schlocky, cheaply made and totally wonderful. And it was filmed in the Bronson Canyon area, which you’ve seen in dozens of movies and every time the Adam West and the Batmobile roared out of the Batcave.

My old pal Paul Castiglia is part of a new comics project focusing on this forgotten property. Only it’s never really been forgotten.

ROBOT MONSTER COMICS IN 3-D is truly an ‘alpha and omega’ project,” says editor and contributing writer, Paul Castiglia of ARCHIE’S WEIRD MYSTERIES fame. “It features both the first comics fiction scripted by noted teenage comic book historian, Carl Scheckel, and the participation of the film’s last surviving cast member, Gregory Moffett, among other points of fascination for pop culture fans everywhere.”

I’m excited for this one. Here’s their official Press Release: Continue reading “With Further Ado #294: Robot Monster 3-D Comic”

With Further Ado #294: Tripwire Explains that Crime Does Not Pay

With Further Ado #294: Tripwire Explains that Crime Does Not Pay

5 and ½ Questions with Tripwire’s Joel Meadows

Joel Meadows is always juggling the most interesting projects, so I’m elated that I was able to speak with him and ask him 5 and ½ Questions about the next issue of Tripwire Magazine.

Question #1
Ed Catto: Can you give us a little background on Tripwire?

Joel Meadows: Tripwire has existed as a print magazine covering the worlds of comics, film, TV and art since 1992 and online since 2015. We publish a print magazine three times a year, currently in a high production value of a 100-page format. We have garnered a lot of industry fans over the years:

“Tripwire is research done right celebrating and investigating the love of comic books.” – writer/ artist Jimmy Palmiotti (Harley Quinn, Jonah Hex, Pop Kill, Paper Films)

“Tripwire is a vibrant part of entertainment coverage – specifically comics and geek culture. Supporting them, we support ourselves.” – writer Alex Segura (Pete Fernandez book series)

“Tripwire is always well-researched and enthusiastic, by people who truly care about the importance of story. It’s analytical without losing heart.”–JH Williams III (artist, Echolands, Promethea, Batwoman)

” Tripwire has been for over three decades the touchstone of comic book culture in the U.K and one of the leading periodicals dedicated to this narrative art form. Incisive, smart and always relevant.” – Guillermo del Toro (Oscar winning director, The Shape of Water)

“Tripwire covers such a wide variety of topics in the world of news, entertainment and the arts, and covers them so well, that it’s pretty much become my go-to source for what’s going on in media. I know if Tripwire is covering a subject, it’s not only interesting, fun and informative, it’s also legit.” –Bill Sienkiewicz (legendary artist and illustrator)

Question #2:
EC: The current issue of Tripwire looks especially fun. What’s it all about?
Continue reading “With Further Ado #294: Tripwire Explains that Crime Does Not Pay”

With Further Ado # 292: The Prescience of Otto Binder

With Further Ado # 292: The Prescience of Otto Binder

I dropped by a comic shop in Elmira, NY with a clever name: Heroes Your Mom Threw Out. It’s run by a passionate retailer named Jared Aiosa. You might remember I talked about a signing event he hosted last year with Ed Brisson. This shop is packed full of treasures, and it’s just the type of place that Burgess Meredith would love to get locked into if the world ended (provided he doesn’t break his glasses).

Jared had just acquired some beat-up Silver Age comics, and they caught my eye as they hadn’t been filed yet. Jared sold them to me at bargain prices, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. They were more for reading rather than collecting.

But Superman #188 (July 1966) was a shocker. Wrapped in a glorious Curt Swan/George Klein cover is a story by Otto Binder that’s illustrated by Al Plastino (not my favorite Superman artist) that could have been written last week. It’s all about AI, fake news and the anxiety of elections! Continue reading “With Further Ado # 292: The Prescience of Otto Binder”

With Further Ado #291: From Convention to Comic Shop

With Further Ado #291: From Convention to Comic Shop

Conventions can be the perfect place for discovery. Here are three comics that I wouldn’t have stumbled across if not for first learning about them at conventions:

The Displaced
By Ed Brisson and Luca Casalanguida
Published by BOOM! Studios

After the recent ComicsPRO industry meeting, all the attendees traveled to various comic shops in the Pittsburgh area. The first stop was Pittsburgh Comics, owned and operated by Colin McMahon. Wow – what a fantastic store-it’s laid out well, upbeat and fun. Plus, it’s stuffed with so many treasures!

During this visit, Ed Brisson was on site signing and selling copies of his new comic, The Displaced. Brisson is an innovative writer and an industrious entrepreneur. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I read his time traveling Comeback comic series. He always seems just as happy selling his books as he is creating them. I bought two issues of The Displaced #1 from him. Upon reflection, I wish I had bought his variant issue. He explained that sales from that comic fuels his signing tours.

The Displaced is a moody thriller with a disastrous event and then a creepy cover-up. It almost seems like it could be a modern-day version of one of the best The Twilight Zone episodes that never existed.

I had enjoyed Luca Casalanguida’s art on Scout’s Honor from AfterShock Comics a few years ago, and he’s only gotten better. (That one was written by David Pepose, and I’m eager for his new take on Space Ghost for Dynamite). Continue reading “With Further Ado #291: From Convention to Comic Shop”

With Further Ado #290: SXSW 2024 Reactions Part 2- Flatstock

With Further Ado #290: SXSW 2024 Reactions Part 2- Flatstock

It was my second time at that business/start-up/technology + music convention, SXSW. I’ve been describing this festival-convention to folks as San Diego Comic-Con without the comics.

During the second half of the show, they have a portion of their exhibit floor focused on the total creativity that is Flatstock 92. It’s a true event-within-an-event.

Here’s the official description:

Flatstock is an art exhibition of the world’s most influential and exceptional gig poster artists, featuring handmade, limited-edition posters from artists around the globe. The show features an incredible range of visual styles, techniques and colors for sale by the talented artists who created them.

I love these posters, but I focused my purchases on stickers from the artists rather than the posters per se.

As I joked last year, if “a picture tells a thousand words”, this column may become longer than War and Peace and Don Quixote. I’m going to let these amazing poster artists do the heavy lifting for the rest of this With Further Ado column. Continue reading “With Further Ado #290: SXSW 2024 Reactions Part 2- Flatstock”