Category: Comics

Weird Scenes #105: Zombie Fires!

Weird Scenes #105: Zombie Fires!

Talk with your mouth full / Bite the hand that feeds you / Bite off more than you chew / What can you do? / Dare to be stupid — Al Yankovic (Weird), 1985

When it comes to wildfires, we here in the States tend to think of California… as well we should, particularly right now. This year’s deadly conflagrations have spread to Oregon and Washington State. Or, as President Tang says, “those antifa anarchist states.” Wildfires have done a world of harm to Australia as well. And, now, Russia.

But… the arctic circle? And… zombie fires? ZOMBIE FIRES IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE?

Wow. That one didn’t even make it into the bibles. And they sadly shit-canned the revered Weekly World News, so you might not have heard of zombie fires.

According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic Program Director Peter Winsor, a zombie fire is one that starts in the permafrost layer. Those things consist of frozen soil, silt, gravel, frozen plants and animals and sand bound together by frozen water. Such layers can be hundreds of meters thick – or, in midtown Manhattan terms, about two blocks thick, which is deeper than many Broadway potholes. A good place to find permafrost is in the arctic circle, where its less likely to break down due to lower warming conditions. Those last two words are known in the writing racket as “foreshadowing.” Continue reading “Weird Scenes #105: Zombie Fires!”

With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide

With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide

Just like with sports or politics, there are many anticipated milestones throughout the year in Geek Culture.  As kid in the late ’60s and ’70s, I knew that summer meant over-sized Annuals and the Justice League & Justice Society of America team-up.

Before Covid-19 interrupted every aspect of business and culture, there was a rhythm to the convention season, kicking off in spring with shows like Emerald City Comic Con and C2E2, reaching a summertime crescendo with Comic-Con International in San Diego, and then celebrating one last burst with New York Comic Con in the fall before a handful of smaller regional conventions.

One highly anticipated tradition that’s been around for fifty years is the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  Ostensibly, the place to turn for authoritative price documentation on comics, it’s morphed into a scholarly celebration of all domestic comics, an exploration of retailing trends, the last word in listings, a showcase for top artists and a validation for nerds everywhere.

Defying Covid’s grasp, the Overstreet Guide has delivered again.

Got it Covered

Each year, the Guide invites a top artist to contribute illustrations.  Back when I was a kid, we were enthralled with 1976’s Overstreet #4 with the Justice Society heroes on a cover. (All-Star Comics, home of the JSA, was revered in those days). We also loved the Joe Kubert Tarzan cover and the Will Eisner Spirit of ‘76 cover.  I remember laughing with our local comic shop owner, Kim Draheim, how Overstreet #7, spotlighting Porky Pig, missed the mark.  And Bill Ward’s Torchy cover on Overstreet #8 forced that year’s volume into the hide-it-from-your-mother category.

This year again offers top artists contributing cool covers featuring big properties.  This year fans can choose from:

 

  1. Spider-Man and Spawn sharing a cover by Todd McFarlane
  2. The Valiant heroes by John K. Snyder III
  3. Wynonna Earp by Chris Evanhuis
  4. The Defenders by one of my favorite artists, Kevin Nowlan

Continue reading “With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide”

With Further Ado #110: Lest We Forget…

With Further Ado #110: Lest We Forget…

When we were in college years ago, my pal Paul Barresi overheard two girls talking about music as they listened to a Wings song.  One girl was astonished when she learned that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings.

That’s the way it often goes. The new generation is oblivious to that which is dear to the previous one.  But a wonderful thing that’s really different about Geek Culture is that it’s so accessible.  I always use the example that if you like rock music, it’s unlikely you’d be able to spend time with the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. But if you like comics, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be able to spend a little time with Neal Adams at one point or another.  It’s almost magical how the world of comics, especially when combined with conventions, provides robust opportunities for fans to meet, and spend time with their artistic heroes.

And with all that, it’s always debilitating when creators are not acknowledged. There’s been a bit of it lately. Continue reading “With Further Ado #110: Lest We Forget…”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2020

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2020

Welcome back to new month of New Number Ones!!

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 lot of excellent new series of interest starting in August. This is a list of just some of the new series coming this month. Check with your LCS or wherever you get comics to make sure you find new things to thrill you.  We are very excited for this list of books.

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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released. We hope that will help if you come back to check this list of books weekly.

 


Week of September 2nd

 


BLACK WIDOW #1
MARVEL COMICS
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Elena Casagrande & Jordie Bellaire
Cover Art by Adam Hughes

Best-selling, Eisner-nominated writer Kelly Thompson and rising star artist Elena Casagrande launch a new BLACK WIDOW series that changes everything! Natasha Romanoff has been a spy almost as long as she’s been alive. And she’s never stopped running, whether she was working for the good guys…or the bad. But Natasha’s world is about to be upended. Beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate lies a mystery that only the Marvel Universe’s greatest spy can solve. Don’t miss the heartbreaking thrill ride of 2020!

Release Date: 9/2/20

PCS NOTES: This book was a casualty of the Diamond shutdown and has finally been resolicited and makes its debut. Fans of the character should be excited to see what Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande have in store for Nat. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2020”

Brainiac On Banjo #096: At Last – My Flying Automobile!

Brainiac On Banjo #096: At Last – My Flying Automobile!

Sweet birds are flying like the wings of my soul / The warm breeze / The eyes to the sky / Feel the even flow of the change in time — Trey Anastasio, Flying Machines, 2015

I blame Julius Schwartz.

Julie was a major editor at DC Comics from 1944 until he retired in 1986 and, before that, he was one of the nation’s first science-fiction agents. Julie represented — among others — Alfred Bester, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and H. P. Lovecraft. He co-founded the World Science Fiction Convention, and before that, co-founded Time Traveller, one of the first science fiction fanzines, partnering with Mort Weisinger and Forrest J. Ackerman. So when it comes to the realms of speculative fiction in prose and visuals, Julie was the nexus of all unrealities.

As a child, I grew up gawking at his science fiction titles Strange Adventures and Mystery In Space, which featured many of the top talents that would soon join him in creating what we refer to as the Silver Age of Comics. In true s-f faction, those stories thrilled us with tales about flying skyscrapers, flying gorillas, and flying cars. The first two were amusing but outside the bounds of likely possibility. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #096: At Last – My Flying Automobile!”

With Further Ado #109: Dropping by the Frazetta Museum

With Further Ado #109: Dropping by the Frazetta Museum

I’ve been meaning to visit this spot for way too long. And that’s all the more reason I’m ecstatic I was finally able to make it out to the Frazetta Art Museum this past weekend.

This privately run museum, located in the middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania, was still surprisingly easy to get to. It’s just a few minutes off of Interstate 80 in the charming town of East Stroudsburg.

The museum is run by one of Frazetta’s children: Frank, Jr.  Although, he was quick to tell us, he’s not really a junior but “everybody” just calls him that.  When we arrived, my wife and I started walking about, but as soon as Frank, Jr. had finished with the previous guests, he stepped right on over to give us a guided tour.

That really made it special. The framing of Frazetta’s life and career was deeply fascinating, but Frank Jr. was able to deliver the highlights without getting too deep. On the other hand, even a long-time fan like myself learned a few new things. And Frank Jr. was able to provide so many humanizing details to Frazetta from the unique perspective of a son.  I quickly reached the conclusion that Frazetta’s temperament and disposition was very similar to many of my Italian relatives.

The whole museum is laid out smartly – starting out  with two display cases of paperbacks with Frazetta covers, and then showcasing Frazetta family portraits, his early work, the most famous paintings and even a recreation of his studio. His camera collection (it turns out he was a passionate collector) is on display and just makes the great talent Frazetta seem like a more ‘real’ guy. Continue reading “With Further Ado #109: Dropping by the Frazetta Museum”

Preview Review for the Week of 8/26/20: Broken Gargoyles #1

Preview Review for the Week of 8/26/20: Broken Gargoyles #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.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, 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 we feature Broken Gargoyles #1 from Source Point Press.

You can find it at your LCS on August 26, 2020 or on September 2, 2020. Comic shipping for Independent publishers in today’s world is still a little hit or miss.


Broken Gargoyles #1
Source Point Press
Written by Bob Salley
Art by Stan Yak
Colors by Marco Pagnotta & Robert Nugent
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Raymond Gay, Jeremy Clark, & Juan Fernandez

Original Solicitation:

In this Dieselpunk post-WWI mini-series, two men come home from the war scarred and forgotten. One man is looking for redemption as the other looks for revenge. Both are on a collision course toward each other and nothing can stop them.

PCS Review:

The world building in this book is well crafted. There are subtleties that are woven into the narrative that give the reader the right frame of reference to navigate how this interesting new world fits in our existing historical backdrop. The characters are intriguing, and Bob Salley does an excellent job of differentiating the voices of each character that is introduced. The story in this issue is built through various scenes of action and dialogue, and Salley and Stan Yak manage to produce a very good understanding of what this series is going to be about.

The art in this book by Yak with Marco Pagnotta and Robert Nugent is beautiful. The character designs have a strong influence on the tone of the book. The retro-futuristic setting is gorgeously rendered and adds an exciting aspect to the book.  The lettering by Justin Birch  is strongly executed and over all the production value of this book is very good.

This is a fun and intriguing story that we are looking forward to exploring.

Brainiac On Banjo #095: Fair Play Is Terrific

Brainiac On Banjo #095: Fair Play Is Terrific

Middle fingaz in the air / We gonn make it multiplayer / If the game ain’t fair / Better play it multiplayer — Khontkar and Bixi Blake, Multiplayer, 2017

The first golden age comic book I ever purchased was Sensation Comics #7, 1942. It cover-featured Wonder WomanH.G. Peter and William Marston, of course — and it co-starred features of which I had never heard. I thought Irwin Hasen and Bill Finger’s Wildcat was a great character, and I still do. Shelly Moldoff and Gardner Fox’s Black Pirate was adequate but dramatically drawn. A remarkably bad series from Jon L. Blummer and Bill Finger called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys lived up to the ambiance of its name, and that is a name you do not want to say too quickly. There was some filler material about stamps and things… and, oh yeah, there was a costumed superhero by Hal Sharp and Charles Reizenstein dubbed Mr. Terrific.

That was not exactly the best-named superhero on the block. “Mr. Terrific” smacked of desperation and lazy thinking, as if showrunners Shelly Meyer and Max Gaines said “Oh, screw it, let’s just call him ‘Mr. Terrific’ and hope for the best.” His abilities were negligible, and to draw attention to that his stomach was emblazoned with the legend “Fair Play.” This hardly was “Truth, Justice and the American Way” or “The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit.” This was just a wee bit better than “Sockamagee.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #095: Fair Play Is Terrific”

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing:  August Edition

Kickstarters You Should Be Backing: August Edition

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the latest edition of Kickstarter campaigns that we think you should check out. There are lots of creators taking advantage of the slowdown in comic publishing and lack of comic conventions by running campaigns for crowdfunding their work. We have been keeping our eyes on the stream of great projects that are being offered and come up with a list of campaigns to spotlight.

Below you will find a list of Kickstarter campaigns listed by the order of the end of the campaign. We will give you the details and a quick word or two about why we like them.

Cupid’s Arrows Volume 1 by Thom Zahler

Campaign Ends: August 27, 2020

This is the collected edition of the hit Webtoon series Cupid’s Arrows by Thom Zahler. It is a fun, light hearted, but moving romance series with a great concept. There are plenty of extra options for backer rewards.

BACK IT HERE

Note: You can check out the last time that we talked with Thom about his other upcoming publication, the 5th volume of Love and Capes, here.


Continue reading “Kickstarters You Should Be Backing: August Edition”

Press Release: Boom! Studios Extends Comic Book Returnability for Retailers

Press Release: Boom! Studios Extends Comic Book Returnability for Retailers

BOOM! Studios has been extremely active in its efforts to support Local Comic Shops who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, they announced that they are extending and enhancing their Retailer Support Services Program. As the retail direct market for comic books continues to struggle with limitations resulting from lack of product and shutdowns, the efforts that BOOM! is making are clearly intended to help that marketplace.

Press Release:

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 20, 2020) – BOOM! Studios today announced historic new benefits to their BOOM! RETAILER SUPPORT SERVICES PROGRAM, the industry-leading initiative to aid comic book shops worldwide affected by the current health crisis, that will take effect beginning September 2.

The BOOM! RETAILER SUPPORT SERVICES PROGRAM will initially deliver the following benefits to qualifying accounts pending details being finalized with Diamond Comic Distributors:

Full Returnability Through December: BOOM! Studios will extend the industry’s best returnability program, the BOOM! Guarantee, in an unprecedented manner by making all items that ship between September 2, 2020 through December 30, 2020 fully returnable via affidavit in order to allow retailers to order with confidence. Any retailer not already enrolled in the BOOM! Guarantee can sign up for free right here.

  • Full Returnability Through December: BOOM! Studios will extend the industry’s best returnability program, the BOOM! Guarantee, in an unprecedented manner by making all items that ship between September 2, 2020 through December 30, 2020 fully returnable via affidavit in order to allow retailers to order with confidence. Any retailer not already enrolled in the BOOM! Guarantee can sign up for free right here.
  • More Monthly “Thank You” Variant Covers: BOOM! Studios will now provide at least two new, previously unannounced “Thank You” variants every month through December 30, 2020 free to qualifying Diamond accounts. These variants will appear on two different series each month and will ship one-per-store. Diamond accounts must be eligible to receive free promotional material in order to receive these variants. This move now doubles the commitment BOOM! Studios previously announced.
  • BOOM! First Look PDFs: BOOM! Studios will provide downloadable PDF previews of all major launches before FOC that retailers can share with customers via e-mail, social media and more to ensure fans are informed and excited to place their pre-orders for the best new series of 2020.

Boom Studios’ BOOM! RETAILER SUPPORT SERVICES PROGRAM, announced in March 2020, is the industry’s first comprehensive set of initiatives to bring comic shops an unrivaled slate of discounts, returnability, and sales tools including extensions and expansions of previously announced benefits, as part of their commitment to ensuring comic shops remaining a thriving part of every community.

“Comic shops are the lifeblood of the industry and this artform, so this is the next step in offering even more support to our retail partners during this time,” said Filip Sablik, President of Publishing & Marketing, BOOM! Studios. “These new benefits in the BOOM! RETAILER SUPPORT SERVICES PROGRAM allow retailers to grow sales on their best-selling series – like Something is Killing The Children, Once & Future, and Seven Secrets – while also ordering without risk on their next guaranteed hits, including We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, BRZRKR, Mighty Morphin, Power Rangers and Dune: House Atreides, with even more tools to engage their customers.”

Diamond Comic Distributors and BOOM! Studios will be sharing more information directly with retailers as soon as it is finalized to clearly outline how to receive these new benefits from the BOOM! RETAILER SUPPORT SERVICES PROGRAM.

For continuing news on the BOOM! RETAILER SUPPORT SERVICES PROGRAM stay tuned to boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.