Category: Comics

With Further Ado #102: Interview with F.J. DeSanto about Bleed Them Dry

With Further Ado #102: Interview with F.J. DeSanto about Bleed Them Dry

Bleed Them Dry is a new comic series created by Hiroshi Koizumi, written by Eliot Rahal and illustrated by Dike Ruan, with colors and letters by Miguel Muerto and AndWorld Design, respectively . It’s published by one of those industrious “upstart” publishers, Vault Comics. This one looks like fun, and I appreciated the new twists and turns the creators brought to the party.

It turns out my old buddy F.J. DeSanto is involved with this one. Recently, as an invited guest speaker (via ZOOM) he enthralled my Ithaca College students  (and me!) with insights into his work developing comics (Vagrant Queen) and big properties (Transformers, Shazam) and bringing them to the screen. After enjoying the first issue of Bleed Them Dry, I was eager to catch-up with him and learn more about it.

Ed Catto:  How do you describe Bleed Them Dry to folks who ask, “What is this is about?”

F.J. DeSanto: I can usually hook someone with two simple words: Ninja Vampire.

EC: What makes Bleed Them Dry different from other vampire or sci-fi, or even cop stories? Continue reading “With Further Ado #102: Interview with F.J. DeSanto about Bleed Them Dry”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in July 2020

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in July 2020

Welcome back to new month of New Number Ones!!

After a three month break, we are finally able to give you a run down of the new comic series coming in the month of July.

This is where we give our readers a preview of the exciting new comic book series debuting each month. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from PREVIEWSworld. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you some more about the new comics in question.

There are a bunch of new series of interest starting in July. Some very familiar titles are coming back, and there are a lot of new series from some of our favorite creators, by a diverse set of publishers. We are very excited to see what they have in store for us.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. We will bring you reviews of most 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.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in July 2020”

Brainiac On Banjo #090: Powers Roughly Equivalent of God’s

Brainiac On Banjo #090: Powers Roughly Equivalent of God’s

Deep in the dark / I don’t need the light / There’s a ghost inside me / It all belongs to the other side / We live, we love, we lie – “The Spectre” written by Gunnar Greve, Jesper Borgen, Tommy Laverdi, Marcus Arnbekk, Anders Froen, Alan Olav Walker, and Lars Kristian Rosness, 2018

The comment expressed in our headline above was made by the fabled Jules Feiffer in his groundbreaking 1965 book The Great Comic Book Heroes. It was groundbreaking because Feiffer was the first to take the history and craft of comic books seriously — so seriously, in fact, that it was excerpted in Playboy.

The Spectre was created by Jerry Siegel, and if truth be told it’s probably my favorite of his creations — including the Big Red S. Feiffer was right: it’s a bitch to write a series where the lead isn’t really a “hero” and yet has, as Jules noted, powers roughly equivalent of God’s. And we’re not talking about the New Testament’s cosmic muffin — this is the Old Testament’s hoary thunderer, and The Spectre is his personal instrument of vengeance. Yup, the after-life might not be as sweet as you’d hoped.

I don’t know if the kids who were reading comics at the every end of 1939 were ready for that. Within two years the series was lightened up by a bumbling guardian angel called “Percival Popp, the Super Cop.” Think Frank Capra, but stupid. The Spectre became a founding member of the Justice Society, but when World War II ended he was out of the group, out of More Fun, and living off of Officer Popp’s police pension.

Still, the character made an impression and when Julie Schwartz was looking for another golden age character to revive after The Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, and Hawkman, he chose The Spectre. That was odd, but with the arguable exception of Zatanna (or, really, her dad Zatara), The Spectre was the first character he brought back that Julie hadn’t edited during the Golden Age. Despite some decent scripts from Gardner Fox and artwork from the always amazing Murphy Anderson, it just didn’t click. The series was handed over to a relative newcomer named Neal Adams, who did some truly wonderful artwork, but it also did not find success.

But the guy still remained in the hearts of DC’s creative community. Editor Joe Orlando needed a new lead for Adventure Comics, so he brought in Michael Fleisher and Jim Aparo and let them go nuts. The Spectre took this “vengeance of God” thing to a fundamentalist level, and he would kill the bad guys with such creative cruelty that they might have made EC artist “Ghastly” Graham Ingles genuflect at his porcelain throne. It was great. And it lasted 10 issues.

Since then The Spectre has been floating around the DC Universe in all its forms, incarnations, and mistakes. Lots — and I mean lots — of A-listers handled his adventures, including my buddies John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. They enjoyed one of the longest runs.

So it was with absolutely no surprise whatsoever that I stumbled across a DC Digital First thing called Ghosts. At first I thought that odd — thus far they hadn’t done resurrections of their mystery anthologies in their new digital line. Then I saw “Ghosts” was just another way of saying “The Spectre” and then I noted it was written by Dan Jurgens.

I really like Dan’s work, both as an artist and a writer. We worked together on Green Arrow for a long time, and instead of just leaving the series to do something new, he told me he was making a play to do Superman and, if he got it, he’d be moving on. As much as I liked Dan’s stuff — he and Mike Grell made a great team — he certainly earned the right to take a shot at the Man of Steel. I successfully fought back my overwhelming desire to mindfuck him into staying, although I did think about it. Dan did some remarkable work with the brightest of DC’s corporate jewels. Right now he’s writing Nightwing, and is damn good.

Dan, along with artists Scott Eaton and Wayne Faucher, did a fine job on the story. I don’t know if Ghosts is a one-shot or a play to resurrect The Spectre again, this time without having to resort to paper and staples. They were somewhat restrained in their story… if you compare it to the Fleisher / Aparo run. Then again, a head-on collision between two 10-car passenger trains would seem equally restrained.

DC has done a number of very entertaining stories in their almost-daily Digital First line, unburdened by a continuity that mutates as often as amoebas commit mitosis. Seeing The Spectre pop up in this format evoked a response characters rarely have when they cross his path: I was pleasantly surprised.

New Number Ones for the Week of 6/24/2020: Ash & Thorn, Bleed Them Dry, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood

New Number Ones for the Week of 6/24/2020: Ash & Thorn, Bleed Them Dry, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood

Welcome Back to NEW NUMBER ONES!

If you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have three books for you. They are from Ahoy Comics, Vault Comics, and Image Comics.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones. As the distribution of new comics is still getting underway, expect a monthly look ahead for July’s new series.

The books this week are all introducing massive conflicts that will threaten the status quo of the newly introduced protagonist. Interestingly, all three books feature a female badass protagonist.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: Ash & Thorn #1, Bleed Them Dry #1, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order: Continue reading “New Number Ones for the Week of 6/24/2020: Ash & Thorn, Bleed Them Dry, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood”

Legendary Comic Inker Joe Sinnott Passes Away at 93

Legendary Comic Inker Joe Sinnott Passes Away at 93

The family of Joe Sinnott has announced that the long time comic artist has passed away this morning June 25, 2020. He is a member of the Will Eisner Hall of Fame and is well known for his long run at Marvel Comics starting in 1965.

He is the recipient of multiple industry awards and is well respected among past and current comic professionals. His work on Fantastic Four is often cited as one of his greatest accomplishments, and he was still active into his nineties.

We wish to offer our condolences to his family and friends.

With Further Ado #100: 100th Smash Column

With Further Ado #100: 100th Smash Column

Do you think wedding anniversaries are big deal? Anniversaries for comics series are a big deal too!  Fans of a certain age were trained to expect a mandatory celebration when a series reached a certain numerical milestone, and usually the celebration was self-congratulatory, and promotional. And the fans would be soaked for a higher cover price too.

As a kid, I remember when my neighborhood pal George Riley proudly proclaimed he had a copy of the Batman #200 Smash Issue.  I was perplexed.  How could George, whose forte was always war comics, have this important Batman comic? And one that I didn’t have?  And just what was a Smash Issue anyways?

<Note: I still don’t know what a Smash Issue is.> Continue reading “With Further Ado #100: 100th Smash Column”

Brainiac On Banjo #089: Riddle Me This, Keaton!

Brainiac On Banjo #089: Riddle Me This, Keaton!

“I’ve seen the future and it will be / I’ve seen the future and it will be / BATMAN, BATMAN / I’ve seen the future and it will be / BATMAN / And where, and where … is the BATMAN?” – Batdance, written by Prince, 1989.

I enjoy going to comic book convention trivia panels when Mark Waid is on the dais. Not just because Mark knows almost everything, no matter how obscure, but because he is actually embarrassed that his knows minutiae as well as he knows trivia.

But this question might blow his brainpan right out his neck. Therefore, this Spoiler Warning is just for Mark Waid.

Question: Name all the different actors who have played the part of Bruce Wayne.

Follow-up questions: If he signs the new multi-picture deal, should Michael Keaton be counted twice? And will Bruce Wayne meet Adrian Toomes?  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #089: Riddle Me This, Keaton!”

Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20

Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. It’s been a long time. Too long. This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week we read a bunch great comics.  We encourage you to go out (or order in) and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, IDW Publishing, AWA/ Upshot Studios, Albatross Funnybooks, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20”

New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020

New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020

Welcome Back to NEW NUMBER ONES!

If you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have two books for you. They are from Boom! Studios, and Image Comics.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones. As the distribution of new comics is still getting underway, expect a monthly look ahead for July’s new series.

The books this week are both original series which is refreshing. There are so many fantastic ideas out there, and we are thrilled when new characters and stories are published.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: A Man Among Ye#1, and Wynd #1 

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order: Continue reading “New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020”

Shari’s Suggestions #001: A Review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Shari’s Suggestions #001: A Review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Welcome to the first edition of Shari’s Suggestions. In this column, I will be reviewing original graphic novels (OGNs). The majority of books I review will be aimed at young to young adult readers. So, if that is what you like or are looking for, keep coming back. The first OGN I am reviewing is Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
DC Comics / DC Ink
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Steve Pugh
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual
Release Date: September 3, 2019

This book is a an alternate story of the origin of Harley Quinn. This graphic novel is for teenage readers and up. There is some violence and a few curse words.

The story starts with Harleen Quinzel arriving in Gotham on a bus from her hometown because her Mom had to take a job out of the country. She is going to stay in an apartment with her Grandma for the time being. She enjoys staying there, but since she is high school age, she needs to attend the local high school, where she meets the girl who will become her best friend. That’s right, Ivy is here too. The two hit it off right way and Ivy has some positive influence on her. Continue reading “Shari’s Suggestions #001: A Review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass”