Category: Books

WIth Further Ado #009: An interview with Jacque Nodell

WIth Further Ado #009: An interview with Jacque Nodell

An interview with Jacque Nodell, author of How to Go Steady: Timeless Dating Advice, Wisdom, and Lessons from Vintage Romance Comics

As a young reader, I would have told you out loud that I loved all comics. But that wasn’t really the case. I didn’t have much use for humor comics back then. Teen comics? Well, once my Aunt Elissa gave me a box of Archie comics, I warmed up to them.  War Comics and horror comics weren’t my cup of tea, but I’d read them now and then.

Romance comics, however, were never on the list.  Too icky. Just like girls. So icky.  Like many young boys, my tastes would do a 180 in just a few years. But I still wouldn’t read a romance comic.   

Over the last few years, however, I’ve relaxed these standards. I’ve started to enjoy them occasionally. In fact, I am on a Quixotic quest  for romance comics featuring Jay Scott Pike art. He was a master, and beyond that Showcase issue with the Dolphin story, I never really knew anything about him.  There’s many other great artists in vintage romance comics. It’s a great place to stumble across the early works of favorites like John Romita or Gene Golan, as discovering new favorites.

So it’s not a surprise that I enjoy Jacque Nodell’s Sequential Crush. It’s a celebration of romance comics. And out this page has come her first book.  I had a lot of questions for Jacque, and despite planning for a wedding (true love wins!) she found some time to answer them all!  Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #009: An interview with Jacque Nodell”

Brainiac On Banjo #014: Should We Ban Banned Books Week?

Brainiac On Banjo #014: Should We Ban Banned Books Week?

Do you remember all the way back to last Tuesday, when the Washington Post still was referred to as a “liberal” newspaper? Many people believe that. The following day, Wednesday September 26th, was the day the Post just might have turned the corner.

Ron Charles, the Post’s book critic, opined we might not need Banned Books Week any longer. “I just wish Banned Books Week didn’t appear to exaggerate a problem that’s largely confined to our repressive past… Are we winning any converts with this annual orgy of self-righteousness?”

He contradicted his point when he reported how many books were, indeed, banned last year. The label of self-righteousness rarely is self-imposed.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that, over the years, I have edited or contributed to a decent number of “banned books” and have been railing against banning books for, damn, a very long time. When it comes to the Pop Culture Squad, well, suffice it to say I am not alone.

Mr. Charles states, among other things (and I urge you to read his piece, to which I conveniently posted the link in my second paragraph), “Doesn’t Banned Books Week carelessly lump together the interested mother with the book-burning Nazi?” Well, part of the parenting process is the unfortunate imposition of mommy and daddy’s more disgusting values onto their children. Such is life, and many kids challenge those “values” as part of their maturation process. But my blanket response to this sort of challenge is “If you don’t want to be conflated with book-burning Nazis, stop acting like a book-burning Nazi!”

I am opposed to removing any book from any library or any bookstore. The librarian and the bookseller have no right to impose their self-indulgent mores upon an unsuspecting audience. By removing that which they find objectionable, they believe they have the right to transplant their views and politics onto everybody else. They most certainly do not.

For the record, I would not even ban Mein Kampf. Indeed, I encourage teenagers to read this book and to discuss it from both the moral and the historical perspectives. As I often do, I once again quote George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Arguably, that is the most important aphorism of all time.

You may ask “OK, smart-ass. Would you edit a graphic novel adaptation of Mein Kampf?” I’m hardly your go-to-guy for far-right-wing subject matter, although I have proudly worked with many conservative and right-wing talent and I never interfered with their points of view. Adolf Hitler… well, my own backstory just might get in the way of that.

In the hands of the right creative team, a Mein Kampf adaptation might work. But it most certainly would not get racked in libraries or placed on Apple Books.

Librarians are teachers and… well… teachers teach. That means discuss, exchange points of view, and listen. Point out the problems with allowing a person with a small gaggle of follows to shove his or her will down everybody else’s throats. That’s particularly important these days, no matter what your worldview might be. If we don’t keep these discussions going, the next thing we’ll see is these same librarians and teachers cart away all the copies of the greatest American novel, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Actually, we’ve been seeing this for a while now, but most of these culture vultures seem content to merely censor the hell out of the book – thereby voiding the author’s point.

I understand his concerns and I think Mr. Charles’ piece was well-written and rather clever. But when it comes to bringing attention to censorship and the imposition of limits to the acquisition of knowledge, his heart is in the right place but his head’s up his ass.

I say that with respect.

Seriously.

 

Kreigh Collins’ Classic Comic Strip, Mitzi McCoy, Collected

Kreigh Collins’ Classic Comic Strip, Mitzi McCoy, Collected

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND—Lost Art Books, the award-winning publishing imprint devoted to the graphic arts, is proud to announce the release of The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. This volume collects the entire two-year run of the Mitzi McCoy strip for the first time.

While illustrator and comic artist Kreigh Collins is not well-known to today’s audiences, his adventurous globetrotting life, combined with his skillful storytelling and superior illustration, never fails to enthrall new readers. This volume showcases his picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimming with detail and charm.  Continue reading “Kreigh Collins’ Classic Comic Strip, Mitzi McCoy, Collected”

WIth Further Ado #005 Why Don’t You Know About Emanuele Taglietti?

WIth Further Ado #005 Why Don’t You Know About Emanuele Taglietti?

Here in the US, in the late 70s and early 80s, we were reading comics like Marvel’s The Human Fly. But there was something entirely different going on in Italy. The ‘sexy fumetti’ craze had taken hold. This fad put the the scariness of horror films and twisted humor into blender, and then topped it all off with another dollop of unabashed sexiness.  Some people have called them “the most shocking comics ever produced”, and I say that’s an understatement.

A counterbalance these lurid, prurient comics is the outstanding art of Italian master Emanuele Taglietti.  He painted over 500 covers for many comics including Sukia, Magnum 44 and Ulula.  Each painting has a sense of urgency combined with an off-the-charts level of skill.

Korero Press has recently published Sex and Horror: The Art of Emanuele Taglietti.  Clearly, it’s not for the faint of heart or the prudish.  Even liberal thinkers probably need to take a deep breath before reading this one.  Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #005 Why Don’t You Know About Emanuele Taglietti?”

With Further Ado #004: (Not) Afraid of Flying

With Further Ado #004: (Not) Afraid of Flying

I was struck by how many smaller publishers were exhibiting at San Diego Comic-Con. Maybe “smaller” is the wrong word. It diminishes the efforts and passion that’s behind all these efforts. Maybe I should instead call them up-and-coming publishers.

And I’m drawing a line between this idea – the hopes and dreams of small publishers –  and the fascinating book I’m reading, Double Ace by Robert Coram.  It’s the story of one of the most celebrated World War II pilots, Robert Lee Scott, Jr.  He was a war hero who shot down an astounding number of enemy pilots during WWII. 

Comic fans used to love aviation heroes. There were titles like Wings, Flying Aces and Air Fighters. There were heroes like Airboy, Blackhawk, Flying Jenny, Black Venus ( a couple of them, in fact) and Sky Wolf.

Guys of a certain age, like me, graduated from the TV steam punk of the Wild, Wild, West to Baa Baa Black Sheep, a (mostly) fictionalized TV series about another real life war pilot, Pappy Boyington.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #004: (Not) Afraid of Flying”

Beat JENeration #004: Fangirls of a Certain Age

Beat JENeration #004: Fangirls of a Certain Age

I recently started reading and watching Outlander. Hold on to that thought.

If having children has taught me anything, it’s that personalities are pretty much cemented at age 10. Yes, we all grow and change with each new experience or trauma, but the core essence of who we are stays the same. This, is my non-scientific proof that no one should expect me or any of my sisters-in-arms to outgrow our penchant for being super enthusiastic about fictional characters and the actors who play them.

Fanboys need no one’s permission to go forth and geek out about whatever kicks their Serotonin and Dopamine into action be it sports or Star Wars. Whereas women are often met with hostility on the matter — and the stigma runs deep, even amongst our own.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #004: Fangirls of a Certain Age”

With Further Ado #001: Logo-A-Gogo

With Further Ado #001: Logo-A-Gogo

Did you ever wonder about a brand and why that brand grabbed you? It may have been something about the business proposition, or it might have been the way that idea was communicated in the brand’s logo.  So why don’t we kick things off with a column about logos?

My name’s Ed Catto and this is the first “With Further Ado”, my new column for Pop Culture Squad. I’m an entrepreneurial marketing guy and long-time comics fan. I’ve recently joined the faculty of Ithaca College were I teach business, with a focus on entrepreneurism, to MBAs and undergrads while I continue with my management & marketing consulting. In this column, I’ll be covering the crossroads of comics, entrepreneurial business and geek culture. I’m so happy you’re here.

Logo-a-gogo

Logos have long been an important part of the comic experience.  The iconic Superman logo has been one of the most copied, and parodied, logos ever.  But in a medium that’s about story as much as it is about art, a strong logo reinforces what a brand is while doing the necessary work of grabbing a customer’s attention and helping make the sale.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #001: Logo-A-Gogo”

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY

VIZ Media, LLC (@vizmedia), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, expands its renowned Studio Ghibli library with the release of a new hardcover edition of THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY on March 6th.

Continue reading “VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY”