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”

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”

Brainiac On Banjo #037: Pat Mills and the Mitzvah Patrol

Brainiac On Banjo #037: Pat Mills and the Mitzvah Patrol

Back when books were still printed on papyrus, those of us in comics fandom did what the Ashkenazis call a mitzvah. We started honoring the men and women in the comics world shortly after the time they had been been identified by Congress, the Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest and Dr. Frederick Wertham as something akin to child molesters. We showed these talented people that their work entertained us and maybe even inspired us, and that we appreciated them for those efforts. These were creative people who, at parties and family gatherings, would self-identity as “commercial artists” in order to avoid being ostracized.

Most of us continue to shed light on creators who have not received their proper due. One such gifted human is well-known in his native United Kingdom, but here in the States… not so much. He probably doesn’t feel wronged, and if I’m helping to strip away some of that anonymity, I owe him an apology. But, hey, he signs his work. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #037: Pat Mills and the Mitzvah Patrol”

Webcomics: They Are Out There, Now Go Read Them!!!

Webcomics: They Are Out There, Now Go Read Them!!!

Comics are changing. You can’t find single issues of comics at the newsstand or in the convenience store anymore. On the plus side, there are multiple outlets for creative talent to deliver amazing comics to the public.

While traditional single issue comic books continue to be a great source of visual narrative no matter if the delivery platform is physical or digital, there are other formats that have evolved into some incredible comic material. With the advent of internet comic platforms, creative talent can deliver their stories in strip form without having to rely on newspaper syndication.

Webcomics have sprung up pretty much since the dawn of the internet. You can find comics in narrative form, slice of life strip form, individual single panels, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Most are even designed for mobile delivery and can be read on phones and tablets using apps.

There are many webcomics that we look forward to updates from on a regular basis. We want to bring you some of the most amazing webcomics that we have found and think people should be reading.

Click on the images or the website listings below to check out each of these wonderful comics. Also we recommend thenib.com for fantastic satire comics.

Continue reading “Webcomics: They Are Out There, Now Go Read Them!!!”

With Further Ado #041: Making Comic Cons Look (Big) Easy

With Further Ado #041: Making Comic Cons Look (Big) Easy

Just about every year, I spend a week in Louisiana.  Sometimes I get over to New Orleans, but most of the time I’m with old friends in New Iberia parish.  My pals are folks like Dave Robicheaux, his daughter Alafair and his best friend Clete Purcell. They are good people, but boy, do they get into a lot of trouble.

My visits are facilitated by author James Lee Burke, and he’s been writing about these characters for years.  He’s prolific and his novels never disappoint. Have you read a James Lee Burke story yet? Ostensibly they are thrillers. He’s superb at ratcheting up the suspense each and every time.  Beyond that, Burke also has a way to peer into humanity’s soul and wrap it all up in poetic prose. His brilliant writing is achingly beautiful.

I just finished the second most recent one, called Robicheaux. His newest, which I should read soon, is called New Iberia Blues. Burke also writes other books outside of this series, and I’ve been enthralled by them too.  I’d strongly suggest you give them a try.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #041: Making Comic Cons Look (Big) Easy”

Preview Review for the week of 5/8/2019: Excellence #1

Preview Review for the week of 5/8/2019: Excellence #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

A reminder for you. Here at PopCultureSquad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week’s preview comic is Excellence #1 from Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph, published by Image Comics. This is one of the books that we were eagerly anticipating and featured in our New Number Ones column for May. You can find Excellence at your LCS or on Comixology on May 8, 2019.

Continue reading “Preview Review for the week of 5/8/2019: Excellence #1”

Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!

Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!

Avengers: Endgame passed the $2,100,000,000 mark ten days after release, so in honor of that momentous event, here is a photo of my all-time favorite superhero team-up, even though it has yet to happen on-screen.

Now that the Avengers movies have made about as much money as your average Wall Street cocaine dealer, I think we can say the “women heroes don’t sell movies” bullshit is behind us. It’s time to do the A-Force movie.

Seriously. It’s well past time, but before this weekend the banks might not have financed such a film. I think an A-Force movie will inspire more young girls than a woman president, though that is not an either/or proposition. And the prospect of women getting their boyfriends to take them to a big super-hero movie epic is the very meaning of “turnabout is fair play.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!”

Everything We Read This Week – 5/1/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 5/1/2019

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week.  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 is a short list. We took the top seven books that we were most eager to read from our pull list and present them to you here. It is a good cross section of publishers and genres, with a a couple of New Number Ones thrown in.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Abstract Studios, AfterShock, and Action Lab this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

 

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 5/1/2019”

Continued After the Next Page #008: Happy Geek Day!!!

Continued After the Next Page #008: Happy Geek Day!!!

We are living in a golden age of fandom. Gone are the days of hiding your comic collection in the closet when school friends came over. The time when liking sci-fi books was cause for odd glances in the cafeteria is in the past. There are incredible things happening in the world today.

Let’s take for example the things we can point at that show the geek/nerd culture is popular in the mainstream;

Avengers

The best selling motion picture in the world is Avengers: Endgame. It is the epic conclusion to over ten years of movie storytelling. I was moved to tears of joy while watching it at the massive amount of comic book characters from my your being translated to the big screen. This move was highly anticipated and it shattered box office records left and right.

Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #008: Happy Geek Day!!!”

With Further Ado #040: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Victory Lap or Too Much of a Fan?

With Further Ado #040: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Victory Lap or Too Much of a Fan?

It’s an amazing time to be a comic fan. The latest Marvel movie, Avengers: Endgame, shattered box office records, earning $350 million domestically and $1.2 billion worldwide…in the first weekend of release. Everybody’s happy: movie goers, theater owners, Disney stockholders.  There’s a heaping amount of fan validation packed into it all. This incredible box office debut, combined with positive reviews, afford longtime fans the opportunity to say to the world at large, “See? I told this stuff is great!” 

But a funny thing happened on the way to the victory lap.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #040: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Victory Lap or Too Much of a Fan?”