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 #82: Contemplating with Kirk

With Further Ado #82: Contemplating with Kirk

There are so many great Christmas comics. As a kid, I always loved those “very special issues” where the adventure would take place during the Yuletide season.  I still do. I always read a few Christmas comics on Christmas Eve, and I’m always careful to finish them and turn out the light before Santa comes.

In comics, celebrating other holidays has always been a little hit or miss.  Oh, sure, there’re lots of creepy Halloween stories. Superhero teams always seem to gather together at Thanksgiving, but I’m not sure if I have ever a had a favorite St. Valentine’s Day comic story.

I do now. IDW’s Star Trek Year Five: Valentine’s Day Special is a mouthful of a comic title, but it’s a wonderful Star Trek story, that – like all the best Trek tales – is about more than just spaceships and phaser blasts.

Paul Cornell is a gifted writer, and here he deftly uses the long history of Star Trek: TOS, and Captain Kirk in particular, to tell a tale of lost love, in a fresh and mature way.  This isn’t another story of Jim Kirk romancing some hot babe in the middle of danger and adventure. Instead, Kirk meets his equal: a woman of similar drive and passions. They are drawn together through the years. Continue reading “With Further Ado #82: Contemplating with Kirk”

With Further Ado #81: Staying in the Business, A Tribute to Victor Gorelick

With Further Ado #81: Staying in the Business, A Tribute to Victor Gorelick

It was a real drag to learn of the passing of Victor Gorelick over the weekend. The longtime Archie Comics Editor-in-Chief was quite a guy, and the industry will be that much smaller without his contributions.   Just one of the most amazing things about Victor was that he knew how to keep a job. He started at Archie at age 16, and stayed there for over 60 years!

When I graduated UNC with my MBA many years ago, the conventional path was finding a job with a big company. This was well before the current fascination (rightly so!) with entrepreneurial ventures.  I chased after the big company jobs, just like everyone else.  But even back then I had an idea that “geek culture”, although we never called it that, had the potential to be a big deal both creatively and for business, although I never anticipated the unparalleled success of something like the Marvel Movies.

So, during my job search at business school, I reached out to comics companies, most of whom had no idea of the job I was envisioning.  I was offered the opportunity to interview with Archie Comics. Publisher Michael Silberkleit invited me to their famous Mamaroneck, NY headquarters.  We had a great time getting to know one another and discussing the industry and where it might go. Continue reading “With Further Ado #81: Staying in the Business, A Tribute to Victor Gorelick”

With Further Ado #80: Digging for Treasure

With Further Ado #80: Digging for Treasure

I’m all about buried treasure lately. Next week I’ll tell you about my wild ride that led to the PIRATES book, soon to be published by Clover Press & Yoe Books.  But this week, I want to write about my travels to the exotic and mystical land called New Jersey, and my adventures in three comic shops and the treasures I found.

The Joker’s Child

The Joker’s Child, a long-lived comic shop nestled in the northern part of New Jersey, used to be my hometown store when I lived there. I brought my daughters, the Catto Girls, there when they were little. They are all grown up  now, and I was back in town to help celebrate one daughter’s bridal shower.  Tempus Fugit!

Continue reading “With Further Ado #80: Digging for Treasure”

With Further Ado #79: Doing Your Homework for Star Trek: Picard

With Further Ado #79: Doing Your Homework for Star Trek: Picard

I vividly remember watching the debut episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. I was in Boston at that time, recently graduated, and living with my great pals Pete (Hoff) Hoffman and Hans (Hadji) Rempel. I was the guy deepest into comics, but they each had their favorites and Pete, especially, was a big Trek fan. In fact, we had grown up together in the same little town and watched the original Star Trek series reruns every Saturday night on WPIX. And then, we’d go out and get into the usual high school mischief. Both activities were baked into the core of who we are.

So it was perfectly fitting years later that we were watching Star Trek on another Saturday night before we went out to find more mischief in Boston. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a different Trek from what we were used to. I will be the first to admit that I thought of the original series as the adventures of three friends who wandered about, broke the rules, and sometimes met exotic beauties along the way. TNG, in contrast, was much more disciplined. It seemed to be all about working in teams and overcoming obstacles with creativity. I remember one episode in particular, where Commander Ryker was trying to motivate Lt. Commander Data to manage a planet-side situation, and it was exactly what we had been talking about in my MBA management class that week.

Fast forward to last Saturday night, and my wife and I watched the debut of Star Trek: Picard. How come we all got so much older since the last outings, but Patrick Stewart is ageless? The message is clear – we all really must drink more Earl Grey. Continue reading “With Further Ado #79: Doing Your Homework for Star Trek: Picard”

With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders

With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders

As a kid, I wasn’t into war comics, but I sure did love the “war comic for people who hate comics”: Marvel’s Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  That was the tagline that Marvel  developed for this offbeat war comic.  (I assume Stan Lee, as both writer and in-house ad agency, wrote that line.)

This series quickly became the print version of a WWII buddy movie.  The Howling Commandos were a special task force, more like Army Rangers than the British commandos, who were dispatched on fantastic, all-odds-against-them missions. The Howling Commandos joked and kidded their way through every adventure.  It all seemed like great fun, and in contrast to real war, downright happy and hilarious.

As we all got older, it was harder to choke down Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  We learned about the horrors and atrocities of war, and the meandering silliness of  this comic seemed to trivialize an admittedly awful subject. We could draw the line at glamorizing war, especially when used for macho adventure, but before long, treating it too lightheartedly was verboten.  In fact, in the waning days of the Sgt. Fury series, Marvel began swinging the pendulum in the other direction, most notably with titles like War Is Hell.

Still, there was so much to love about that series. Especially when it really hit its stride with Gary Friedrich scripts, Dick Ayers pencils, and John Severin inks.  Those were gripping, dense and clever comics.  One of my all-time favorite covers depicted on character on his way to a court-martial. Not the standard stuff of war comics.

That was then, and this is now. And I have some good news!  Ron Marz and Darryl Banks have reunited (You will remember them from their groundbreaking Green Lantern series.) to collaborate on a new “war comic”: Harken’s Raiders.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders”

With Further Ado #067: Gramercy Park

With Further Ado #067: Gramercy Park

Last week in this column, I celebrated Halloween with a look at the latest Yoe Books collection, GHOSTS: Classic Monsters of Pre-Code Horror Comics by Steve Banes. It features a smorgasbord of creepy comics from the 1940s and 1950s.  This week I need to tell you about another treasure, a just-published comic that takes place in the 1940s and 1950s. And in stark contrast to those old comics produced domestically, this a translated European comic. I started out kind of liking it, but by the end I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Gramercy Park, written by Timothée de Fombelle and illustrated by Christian Cailleaux, is a comic that the rest of the world will definitely feel more comfortable calling a graphic novel. It’s tight and clever, scattering just the right amount narrative breadcrumbs to keep the reader involved. Author de Fombelle mixes intriguing characters and thoughtful dialogue that rope you in. I had planned, in fact, to just read a few pages at a time. But at one point, about halfway through, the creators had me and wouldn’t let me go.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #067: Gramercy Park”

With Further Ado #042: The Spirit …of Creativity and Entrepreneurialism

With Further Ado #042: The Spirit …of Creativity and Entrepreneurialism

Will Eisner was an astonishingly creative guy who was also quite the entrepreneur. All these years later, another very creative person with a strong entrepreneurial streak is combining these two strengths, with a dash of Einser thrown in. I was very excited to catch up with Chris Irving on his latest project:

Ed Catto: This new Spirit project sounds fascinating. Can you tell me about it?

Christopher Irving: Denis Kitchen and I have been talking about comics, comics history, and trading cards for a while, and it just seemed natural for me to create a set of cards on Will Eisner’s classic The Spirit. Truthfully: I’ve been jonesing to do a set on Denny Colt and company for a while, and am grateful to Carl and Nancy Gropper of the Eisner Estate, as well as Denis, for giving me this chance.

Also, this is a chance to work with Denis, who has long been one of my heroes as a publisher, creator, and advocate for comics. Funny thing is I was once going to intern for Kitchen Sink Press, but they then closed shop. In a way, this is my chance at finally getting to that internship.

The card set is fully funded, so far, for 50 cards and a tuck box; the stretch goals we’ve met include putting the character cards on old school vintage chipback (like the trading cards of yore!) and, hopefully by the time this sees print, a high quality thick card stock for the splash page cards. I think the real kicker with this set, and the reason I really want fans of Will’s work to know about the campaign, is there will be no backstock. 

In short: I won’t have packs for sale after the campaign and the only chance to get them is to pledge by May 17th.

[check it out here RIGHT NOW!  -Adriane Continue reading “With Further Ado #042: The Spirit …of Creativity and Entrepreneurialism”