Category: Celebrities

Spotlight Interview with Comic Creator and Artist Craig Rousseau

Spotlight Interview with Comic Creator and Artist Craig Rousseau

Hey folks!

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. This time we interviewed comic creator and artist Craig Rousseau!

Craig has worked for a bunch of comic publishers including Marvel and DC. He is well remembered for a long run on Impulse with DC and he is the co-creator and artist of the Perhapanauts with Todd Dezago.

Craig and I talked about the new books he has coming out including Killing Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment and a re-release of Kyrra: Alien Jungle Girl from Scout Comics.

We also reminisced about some of his other work and talked about what his art process looks like today.

It was a great chat. I hope you enjoy it.

Below you will find the audio recording of our conversation. We also transcribed the majority of the interview for you, but there are still a couple things that you will only find in the audio.

 

Interview with Craig Rousseau on 3/10/2020

Pop Culture Squad: Thanks for doing this. Let’s talk about Killing Red Sonja from Dynamite. How did that gig come about? What can you tell us about the story for that particular book? I believe it is a five-issue series?

Craig Rousseau: I believe that it is six, but I could be wrong. So, it actually it came about because I’ve worked with Nate Cosby in the past. He was my editor over at Marvel way back when, and every now and then, I would do a cover or a pin-up or a couple of pages for him over at Dynamite. And I said, ”Hey, if anything ever comes up, I would love to work with you again.” Originally, he was looking for an artist to do some samples for Red Sonja/Vampirella, and quickly, we realized, that I was much more attuned to drawing grumpy old men and weird monsters and not so much hot chicks in bikinis.

PCS: Or onesies?

CR: Yeah! So, after a few quick samples, we kind of switched gears, and he said “I think we have something else that might work better for you.”  That is when he pitched the idea of Killing Red Sonja. Which, I thought, was a lot of fun and really much more my wheelhouse. Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Creator and Artist Craig Rousseau”

Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping

Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping

DEAD COLLECTOR (Eric Idle): Bring out your dead! / CUSTOMER (John Cleese): Here’s one. / DEAD COLLECTOR: Nine pence. / DEAD PERSON (John Young): I’m not dead! DEAD COLLECTOR: What? / CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here’s your nine pence. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not dead! / DEAD COLLECTOR: ‘Ere. He says he’s not dead! / CUSTOMER: Yes, he is. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not! / DEAD COLLECTOR: He isn’t? / CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He’s very ill. / DEAD PERSON: I’m getting better! / CUSTOMER: No, you’re not. You’ll be stone dead in a moment. • Monty Python and The Holy Grail, 1975, written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Sir Thomas Malory

What… too soon?

I really did not want to write about The Plague. Or Donald Trump, a.k.a. The Other Plague. I wrestled with this while reading texts from my younger friends about waiting outside of Costco for 45 minutes only to be stuck in a 60-minute check-out line behind a plethora of people buying their daily limit of rolled corpses of dead trees. Yeah, no disease spread there, right?

There’s little we can do about stopping The Plague itself, and there’s nothing we can do about The Other Plague until November… assuming The Other Plague grows balls big enough to try to call off the election. My latter comment does not fit the textbook definition of paranoia.

There are other things going on. For example, Tulsi Gabbard just quit the Democratic Party presidential race. I’ll pause while you go Wiki her. Ah, Tulsi, we hardly knew ye. Then again, given her exceptional loathing of the LGBTQ community, we hardly want to. She tossed her massive support – she won two delegates in American Samoa – to Joe Biden, who responded: “Thank you. And you are…?” Continue reading “Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping”

Gail Simone Is Having #ComicsSchool on Twitter

Gail Simone, renowned comic book writer, is planning something interesting on Twitter. She says that she is planning out a five-day course of information for new comic writer. In the spirit of the forced isolation the world is experiencing, we support any way to bring positive interaction into the inter-webs.

Below is a link to the beginning of the thread. It is sure to be entertaining and, hopefully, informative to people looking to write comics.

Don’t forget to keep checking back on the thread for updates.

 

Update #1: #ComicsSchool begins at 1:00PM PDT/ 4:00PM EDT. You need a Box, Notebook, Phone, Pencil AND an 8 sided die if you have one (but don’t worry if you don’t).

Brainiac On Banjo #068: Award-Winning Awards

Brainiac On Banjo #068: Award-Winning Awards

I can’t say I’m a fan of teevee awards shows. Overlooking their propensity for vapidity and fecklessness while acknowledging their complete commitment to style over substance, I agree with those who say that it is truly stupid to pit masterpieces against each other strictly because they were released within the same period of time.

Case in point: the nominees for Best Picture of 1939 – I’m talking the Academy Awards here – were Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Of Mice and Men, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Wuthering Heights, Ninotchka, Dark Victory and Love Affair. One’s own personal predilections aside, it’s hard to parse out a qualitative analysis of these films in order to determine a clear “best.” At least eight of these movies are among the very best Hollywood has had to offer, and the other two are no slouches.

(For the record, I would have voted for Stagecoach – and then shot myself for passing over Ninotchka and Of Mice and Men.)

However, I do enjoy a fun live teevee show. I enjoy watching the Oscars with my daughter because she keeps me in stitches with her faux-catty commentary. I love watching the Golden Globes because it’s more relaxed, it is largely bereft of stupid song-and-dance routines, it is comparatively un-overproduced… but, mostly, because Ricky Gervais may be the most honest and one of the most fearless comedians to ever walk the red carpet on the way to work. If I’m watching an awards show and the only person I’m cheering on is the host, I’m still having a good time. Gervais did not disappoint. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #068: Award-Winning Awards”

Pop Culture Squad was at Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 and it was a BLAST!

Pop Culture Squad was at Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 and it was a BLAST!

The weekend of October 18 – 20, 2019 was the twentieth anniversary celebration of Baltimore Comic-Con. It is consistently one of our favorite conventions of the year. That is a sentiment that is shared by visitors, invited guests, and exhibitors alike.

A consistent refrain you will hear is that it is a “comic book convention that is about comics”. The vendors and guests are heavily weighted toward the comics side of fandom. The show is sponsored by Cards, Comics and Collectibles in Reisterstown, Maryland, and there is a very family-like atmosphere to the event. It is not easy to pull off an event of this magnitude as an independent convention. Marc and Shelly Nathan, the showrunners, put their heart and soul into this weekend, as do all the people who work on planning, logistics, and making sure everyone has a blast.

This is the sixth time that I have attended this convention, and it never disappoints.

Location

The convention was held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD. It is located across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the heart of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. There is a light rail station across from the Convention Center, and there is also a ton of parking garages in easy walking distance to the event.  The convention partners with Parking Panda to provide easy access to pre-paid parking from its website.

The convention floor was an easy escalator ride down from the main entrance, and the programming panel rooms were one flight up. Continue reading “Pop Culture Squad was at Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 and it was a BLAST!”

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Without a knowing the bigger picture, you could think he was delusional. But with the whole story, there is no other way of looking at it than he is a manipulator.

Did you insert yourself into someone’s trauma for personal reasons? Are you being a supportive person or just an angry one?

Was that an “innocent flirtation” that you just made, or are your comments actually harassment?

These questions are important. Actions have consequences. Even online actions can lead to real damage.

The world we live in is changing all the time. Sometimes for the worse, and sometimes for the better. One of the ways that our society has been changing for the better over the last couple of years is that there is greater accountability required by people who have preyed upon the vulnerable and engaged in inappropriate personal behavior. The #MeToo movement has made it more difficult for everything from unwanted overly familiar innuendo to sexual assault to be brushed away or excused.

There are two types of goals for exposing unacceptable behavior publicly. The first is punishment. Punishment for the offender. Unfortunately, even though the victims are justified in their desire for some level of retribution, that doesn’t always work out.

An example of that is the public declaration of Chris Hardwick‘s behavior in a past relationship by Chloe Dykstra. He laid low for a short time and made some public statements without admitting guilt, and now he is back on TV and getting paid.

Sometimes, people are cast out from their positions of celebrity. Truly, it should be a privilege to be a public figure and be celebrated. That includes comic book writers and artists. Companies are free to employ whom they chose, and consumers are free to support who they want, but people have a right know when someone is behaving badly, especially if that person is in the public arena.

We saw, last year, that Eric Esquivel was fired following revelations of abusive behavior, and recently Dark Horse Comics stated that they would no longer work with Brian Wood because of multiple allegations of unacceptable actions. In the case of Jai Nitz, comic writer and college guest lecturer, it took the reaction of the University of Kansas banning him from the campus for the comics community to take notice of what had been a pattern of terrible acts.

The second goal for exposing inappropriate behavior is awareness. Awareness that the actions are wrong, and that the perpetrator is engaging in this behavior. We mentioned awareness that the behavior is wrong, and that is the meat of this post.

There are people who prey on the vulnerable and the abused by portraying themselves as an ally. Some people use the trauma of others for their own benefit. They frame the other people’s injuries with their own feelings.

One such person is comic writer C.W. Cooke. He is a pretty well known in the indie comic circuit, especially online. Until very recently, he has been quick to comment and insert himself in the raging at bad actors in the comic community.

There is a difference between being a predator that breaks laws and someone who crosses the barriers of acceptable social interactions. The latter can cause personal pain and often result in very real trauma.

Continue reading “Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?”

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

This past weekend of August 23 – 25, 2019, PopCultureSquad attended the Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.  It was an entertaining convention. There were high level celebrity guests and a good collection of comic professionals. Tom Holland was the big celebrity draw.

The “Artist Alley” set up was very well laid out, and even on a surprisingly busy Sunday, getting through the aisles was easily manageable. The amount of incredible creativity on display and produced was amazing. Unfortunately, we were made aware of some behind the scenes drama among the guests, which was not very pleasant. The show was not interrupted by any personal issues.

This show was definitely designed for all types of fans of pop culture. There were two types of gaming areas; tabletop and video. There was also a wrestling ring on the show floor for fans of the grappling arts.

The vendor areas flowed nicely around the guests and had a good variety of crafts, bargain comics, and high-end comic resellers. The food vending area had an interesting array of menu items and was appropriately sized for the population of the show.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable late summer show. We would be interested in going back. We would hope that the show would grow to the point that there would be a larger selection of comic pros, but that is what we hope from every show. Also, this relatively new show contended with FanExpo Canada in Toronto, and Wizard World in Chicago on the same weekend.

In parting, let us leave you with some excellent cosplay that we saw. Continue reading “Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics”

Brainiac On Banjo 048: Tragedy, Horror and Justice Denied

Brainiac On Banjo 048: Tragedy, Horror and Justice Denied

 

I entered the first grade in 1956 and I graduated from high school in 1968. During those dozen years, I did not hear one word from my teachers about the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. I did not read about it in any of my schoolbooks. I didn’t hear about it from my family, or from newspapers, radio, or television.

Being something of a history freak and heavily under the influence of George Santayana, I initially stumbled across this horror in fairly superficial terms. As time went on and we moved from incarcerating Asian-Americans in America to killing the natives of southeast Asia, I had been able to gather a great quantity of information about the internment camps… but, even so, I had only scratched the surface. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo 048: Tragedy, Horror and Justice Denied”

Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics

Last summer, as we were getting this site up and going, one of the first things that I did was reach out to legendary comic letterer and artist John Workman. I had met him at a couple of conventions in the past, and he had told me some interesting stories about how comics were made in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I felt that the stories were amazing insights into the world of comic making, and I wanted to get all the details so that we could share those incredible stories with all of you.

My intent for our initial interview was to clarify some details he had told me about making Thor in the 80’s with Walter Simonson. What ended up happening was an almost two-hour conversation and a truly life changing event for me. I clipped out a little bit of our conversation for a column last year called When Thor Road the Bus.

Before I get too far along, I must say that John Workman is one of the nicest people that I have ever met. He is thoughtful, considerate, inquisitive, and incredibly talented. Since our initial phone conversation, John and I have spoken a couple of more times over the phone, and my wife and I spent a lovely afternoon with John and his wife Cathy at their home last November. He has become a regular email pen pal of mine. I consider John a friend, and I am lucky for it.

The purpose of this article is to share with the world some of the amazing things that we spoke about. The topics range from the page counts for comics in the 70’s to his time at Heavy Metal. There are some funny stories about Harlan Ellison and Wally Wood. There is the tale of the “Lost Mignola Batman Story”, and much more. So hang on and I will try my best to navigate all this history and bring it into the world so that we can all share in its wonder.

Jeannette Kahn and Dollar Comics

I had mentioned to John that the title to my column on PCS would be called “Continued After the Next Page” as a throwback to comic days of yesteryear. He broke out into some pretty cool comics production history.

John Workman: I worked at DC from 1975 to 1977 before I went to work at Heavy Metal. During that time, as had been true since the early 1950s, there were thirty-six pages [thirty- two interior and four for the front and back covers] in a regular comic book. Of those pages, somewhere over 20 (27 in the ’60s) were devoted to actual comics material with the rest being made up of a combination of paid ads and “house ads” that let readers know about other DC publications. Shortly after I arrived at DC, the number of comics pages dropped to seventeen, and I remember two things that we had to do. We [the production department] had to white-out all the pages numbers down in the corner so people would be a little less aware that they were only getting seventeen pages of comics, and we had to go in a lot and put in “Continued After Next” or “Second Page” or whatever, because the seventeen pages of comic material was broken up by more ads. There were a lot of in-house ads to fill out the issue because seventeen pages was only one more than the total number of pages in a book.

I was shocked at this and felt the need to clarify Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics”