Category: Comics

New Number Ones: New Comics Coming in May 2021

New Number Ones: New Comics Coming in May 2021

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

There are a bunch of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Fantagraphics Books, and Dynamite Entertainment.

There are a few one-shot comics on this list. We usually stay away from those and stick to ongoing or mini-series, but these are too good to ignore.

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.

Week of 5/5/21
Week of 5/12/21
Week of 5/19/21
Week of 5/26/21


Week of May 5th


Becstar #1
Mad Cave Studios
Written by Joe Corallo
Art by Lorenzo Colangeli
Cover Art by Sweeney Boo

Becstar is a star hopping mercenary-gone-full time-gambler light years away from Earth. Leaving her old life behind with the help of her magical luck dagger and her fan-turned-regret filled-friend Sally Soolin, Becstar ekes out a living under the nefarious Shadow Syndicate’s radar. But when a mysterious girl appears with grim news and an urgent quest where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance, Becstar has no choice but to join… and regret it immediately.

Release Date: May 5, 2021

 


Eden #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Dalibor Talajic
Cover Art by Talajic

Tattoo artist Niles lives his life in a kind of daze. Minute after minute, he muddles through the repetitive moments of his job, his life and his guilt. All that changes when Eden walks through the doors of the tattoo shop. She’s looking for something…different…and she finds it with Niles. But Eden is a woman surrounded by deep mysteries…not the least of which is how and why her new tattoos vanish after only a few days. As Niles learns more about Eden, he is driven to fathomless depths of both love and horror.

A prestige format “One-Shock” featuring top creative talent, EDEN is a harrowing horror/romance conceived and written by Cullen Bunn, drawn by Dalibor Talajic and colored by Valentina Briki. Be prepared to accompany the notions of love, creation and heartbreak to terrifying places.

Release Date: May 5, 2021

PCS NOTES: We are lucky that the fountain of ideas in Cullen Bunn’s brain is everflowing. This is a one-shot, but damn do we want to check it out.


Eve #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Victor LaValle
Art by Jo Mi-Gyeon
Cover Art by Ario Anindito

For fans of Undiscovered Country and Little Bird comes a new adventure series from award-winning author Victor LaValle and rising-star artist Jo Mi-Gyeong about a dangerous journey across a future dystopian America to save the world.

When the ice caps melted, most of humanity was lost to the hidden disease that was released.

Now, a mysterious girl named Eve has awoken in secret and must deal with a world that’s nothing like the virtual reality she was raised in.

In order to save her real father, Eve must embark on a deadly quest across the country, but she has no idea of the threats that await her – or the price she will pay to restore life to a dying planet…

Release Date: May 5, 2021 


The Good Asian #1
Image Comics
Written by Pornsak Pichetshote
Art by Alexandre Tefenkgi
Cover Art by Dave Johnson

Writer PORNSAK PICHETSHOTE’s long-awaited follow-up to the critically acclaimed INFIDEL with stunning art by ALEXANDRE TEFENKGI! Following Edison Hark-a haunted, self-loathing Chinese-American detective-on the trail of a killer in 1936 Chinatown, THE GOOD ASIAN is Chinatown noir starring the first generation of Americans to come of age under an immigration ban, the Chinese, as they’re besieged by rampant murders, abusive police, and a world that seemingly never changes.

Release Date: May 5, 2021

PCS NOTES: This is a heavily anticipated and already critically acclaimed book. You will want to see what the buzz is about. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Coming in May 2021”

With Further Ado #142: ITHACON 2021

With Further Ado #142: ITHACON 2021

When I was a little kid, my family spotted a flyer on the bulletin board at a Fay’s Drug Store for ITHACON – a comic con that was going to be held in nearby Ithaca, NY.  I could barely contain myself as it sounded like a glorious event.  My family had been to Ithaca many times, as my dad was a Cornell University alumnus, and we’d often go back for homecoming.

I probably should have won some award that year for “kid who nagged their parents the most”, but somehow it worked.  And it was a glorious day! So many comics! So many collectibles! So many professional comic creators! And a building full of fans – just like me – who loved this stuff.

Fast forward to today – this amazing comic convention is still going on. And it is the 2nd longest running convention in the nation, right after The San Diego Comic-Con, also known as Comic-Con International.

And by a strange twist of fate, I teach at Ithaca College’s School of Business – and one of the classes I teach focuses on tradeshows and conventions. In fact, the students have a hands-on opportunity to plan and manage an actual convention – ITHACON.

These students work with the “senior management team” of ITHACON  – longtime enthusiasts and volunteers – through a unique partnership with Ithaca College.

Bill Turner is the visionary guy who started it all, and he’s still working hard on ITHACON- –  forty-six years later! “For my part, I find it hugely gratifying that what we began just as a celebration of something we personally loved has been embraced by new generations and the broader society  – not only the convention itself, but the comics,” said Bill.  “In the 1970s we were a source of amusement; press coverage leaned toward “Can you believe that a grown man reads comics?” Now our geeky fan activities have become mainstream. I’m especially pleased to see that the creators who we wanted to meet and honor are finally receiving the recognition they deserve, even if they were not allowed to retain the rights to, and reap the financial rewards from, their work. And an educational institution like Ithaca College adopting ITHACON into its programs is something wonderful that I had never foreseen.”

“Ithacon is a family tradition,” said Becca, who is also part of the management team. “We enjoy sharing our love of costumes, science fiction, art, and games every year.”

And we’ve brought in some amazing professionals to get the students up to speed. Just last week, in fact, Word Balloon Podcast’s John Siuntres held a workshop to help hone the students’ moderation and interviewing skills.

The students are energized and ready go!

“I’ve been to a few different virtual events during Covid but I’m excited for Ithacon because I got to be a part of how this virtual event came to be,” said Maddie Jacobs, a senior at Ithaca College.

Tess Kneebone, also a senior at Ithaca College, shared some thoughts too. “Ithacon 45 is allowing me to put my Live Event minor into action while adapting to real world circumstances like the pandemic,” said Tess. “This experience has changed my close-minded perspective on virtual events and has allowed me to see the endless possibilities virtual events can offer. As graduation is just around the corner, I can confidently say that I am ready for anything the world throws at me.”

Stan Lee

Like so many other conventions, ITHACON will be virtual this year. It’s coming up fast – Saturday April 24th and there’s so many cool events planned on platforms like ZOOM and Discord.  Admission is free.  (So is parking!) You can see the full schedule here , but let me also call out:

The Lost Stan Lee Tapes: It turns out that in 1975, Stan Lee came to speak at Ithaca college. We have the “long-lost” recording of his talk, and we’ll be analyzing this with noted Stan Lee author Danny Fingeroth.

Ross Richie

ITHACON hosts Ross Richie: The charismatic CEO & Co-Founder of BOOM! Studios, Ross Richie, was a guest lecturer in class recently.  The students really enjoyed to speaking with In fact, they couldn’t get enough of him, so they’ve invited back for a panel Saturday at noon (9 am PST).

We’ll be spotlighting two of our favorite publishers, AfterShock Comics and AHOY Comics!

There will be plenty of bargains, collectibles and crafts available at this year’s special ITHACON Virtual Dealers’ Room featuring both retailers and entrepreneurial artisans.

Gaming: While these panels and experiences are expected to be the highlight of the online convention, there will be a number of gaming rooms via Discord with different games ranging from social deduction games like Among Us to party games like The Jackbox Party Pack.

WandaVision captured the attention of everyone, and ITHACON is celebrating with two panels- one is a deep dive into the WandaVision series and the other is a creator spotlight with comics writer Roger Stern – the creator of Monica (Captain Marvel) Rambeau, the breakout character from this Disney+ series.

And there’s so much more, including Cosplay, an LGTBQ panel, Crafting for Kids and an illustration workshop featuring one of my favorite artists, Steve Ellis.

Fans are encouraged to visit the ITHACON website, Ithacon.org , for additional details and information about the event. And don’t be shy about following their socials: Instagram (@ithaconny), Twitter (@ithaconNY), and Facebook Group (Ithacon).

I hope you can join in the fun and I’ll “see you” there.

Snarky Six: Gorilla My Dreams

Snarky Six: Gorilla My Dreams

With Kong v Godzilla lighting up movie theaters real and virtual, it’s time to revisit that wonderful phenomenon, our gorilla-laden comic books.

The big apes have been a cultural force since staples started to bend and popcorn started to pop. I’m sure there have been thousands of doctoral theses written explaining why people are so attracted to our simian brethren, but I am certain about one thing: in the 1950s and 1960s, when you slapped a gorilla on the cover, you sold comic books.

By the time the Comics Code came into being, publishers were trying to cater to their horror-story-loving audience by deploying these colossus of sinew and fur as the Big Bad. Fine. But, just as those horror comics before them, things started to get kind of weird – particularly at DC Comics, and then, particularly when editor Julius Schwartz was involved. Here are six stunning examples of the form, each completely lacking in the type of realism that readers of the time demanded.

6. Tomahawk. As we began to realize the whole cowboys-and-Indians thing was exploitative, inaccurate and bigoted, Tomahawk — one of DC’s longer-lasting features — switched from chasing native Americans to protecting America from the evil British. It’s nice to see that by this time Tomahawk and his Rangers opened their ranks to the people they conquered. Obviously, when you’re taking on a gorilla so huge King Kong would cross his legs in shame you need all the help you can get.

5. Strange Adventures. I haven’t counted, but it’s possible that this particular s-f title had more gorilla covers than the Planet of the Apes. This one is my favorite, as it explains exactly why reading is, indeed, fundamental. I should point out that the covers to this Julie Schwartz title were by and large quite compelling. So compelling, in fact, that the actual stories rarely matched their impact.

4. Judge Dredd. The big ape thing was not just an American thing, to be sure, but in the world of Judge Dredd having a big ape Judge was just another day in Mega-City One. In fact, I’d say it was about as surprising as the sun coming up. Note that this guy is called “Judge Heston,” in tribute to the astronaut who inspired one of Jack Kirby’s best covers. Take a closer look and you will see the name “Heston” was engraved on the badge by, evidently, someone who’s penmanship was lacking in an opposable thumb. Evidently, Judge Heston had a thing for doing Batman-like poses.

3. Bizarro Titano. If all you know of Bizarro is the current not-well-defined Solomon Grundy pastiche, you’re missing out on “Tales of the Bizarro World,” one of the most unusual, bizarre, and clever volumes in the greater Superboy oeuvre. The original Bizarro was manufactured by a malfunctioning duplicator ray that was shined upon the Boy of Steel. Bizarro wasn’t an ape, but he sold comics during the JFK administration as though he was. Before long, there were Bizarros made of all the members of the Superman family and many of the members of the DCU at the time… not to mention a Bizarro Marilyn Monroe hanging out with a Bizarro-President Kennedy. God, those were good times. It wasn’t too long before Superman’s simian foe Titano got his own Bizarro doppelgänger. Fair is fair. Which leads me to…

2. The Real Titano. Talk about upping the ante: Not only was Titano a truly great ape, but he had Kryptonite rays beaming out of his eyes. This made Superman’s day all the more difficult. Like the original Superboy Bizarro story, Titano’s initial appearance ended quite nicely and in a laudable, humane fashion. But, as noted above, later somebody found that Bizarro duplicator ray. I loved this story, and I even remember where I was when I first read it

1. Grodd. There’s no contest (in my feeble brain, at least) that Gorilla Grodd is the most impressive ape in all comics gorilladom. He is one of the most evil of all the DC villains. He’s got one of the best backstories in all bad guy history, and his world (Gorilla City; I would have given it a more impressive name) is fully developed, fascinating, and fodder for many a good subsequent story. Grodd looked great in The Flash comics, and he looks even better on The Flash television series. In fact, he’s one of the three reasons I still watch that show. I don’t think he’s in next year’s movie (the one with several Batmans), but I’d hardly be surprised if he shows up. Just as long as you’re not sitting behind him at the theater.

Honorable Mention. There were plenty of gorilla covers in the pulp days. This particular one deserves notice because the name of the magazine is Zeppelin Stories and, therefore, the stories therein are built around zeppelins. Those things were to biplanes what King Kong is to Detective Chimp. So, yeah, that’s a gorilla hanging from the ladder hanging from the gasbag, which is why the story is called… “The Gorilla of the Gas Bags.”

I swear, if there’s just one more comic book in me and I can find the right publisher, it will have an absolute killer gorilla cover.

Thanks to my pal Marc Alan Fishman for unknowingly yielding me his snark space.

With Further Ado #141: Discussing “Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books”

With Further Ado #141: Discussing “Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books”

At Ithaca College, I teach a business course called Hidden Entrepreneurs. In this class, we explore and dissect entrepreneurial lessons from the lives and activities of non-traditional entrepreneurs.  These are the folks who are NOT on Shark Tank. These people are the often unrecognized entrepreneurs who nonetheless “make it happen.” Their stories are amazing, and there is so much to be learned from studying them.

Author Ken Quattro has done me one better in his brilliant new book, Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books. This new book details the lives and careers of black comic book creators.  Some are astonishing, some are heartbreaking, and they are non-traditional artists.  Their stories, for the most part, have been forgotten in the mists of time. So, it’s all the more important that historian Quattro, a real life comic book detective, has hunted down all the information and connected all the dots.

Quattro has done this all in a fun, engaging book. The stories of these artists’ trials and tribulations are almost all more interesting than the short comic stories included in this volume.   It shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us, though. His The Comics Detective site is brilliant and always informative. Continue reading “With Further Ado #141: Discussing “Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books””

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in April 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in April 2021

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

There are a bunch of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, AWA/Upshot Studios, and Bad Idea Comics.

Both DC and Marvel are continuing to debut new series this month with some interesting offerings. DC has a couple of notable crossover series starting this month that you will see below. This month is very heavy on new books in the first two weeks; so, get your wallets adjusted accordingly.

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.

Week of 4/7/21
Week of 4/14/21
Week of 4/21/21
Week of 4/28/21


Week of April 7th


Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer
Art by Benjamin Dewey
Cover Art by Dewey

The eight-time Eisner Award-winning comic book series blending fantasy and humor returns in a historical adventure blending Japanese and Western occult! An elder member of the occult-battling pack of Wise Dogs recalls a harrowing mission-in U.S-occupied Japan after World War II, a mysterious curse creates an army of crawling, disembodied heads which threatens to overwhelm the region. Emrys and a team of canine companions attempt to solve the mystery, bringing them into conflict with shape-changing tanuki, evil oni, and a horde of vengeful demons.

Release Date: April 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Even if you are not familiar with this series, this solicitation is intriguing.


Geiger #1
Image Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Brad Anderson
Cover Art by Frank

Industry heavyweights GEOFF JOHNS and GARY FRANK of DC’s DOOMSDAY CLOCK reteam for what will be one of the most anticipated new series of 2021 in the forthcoming GEIGER. This mind blowing new series will take local comic shops by storm in April from Image Comics.

Who are the scavengers of a dying earth? GEIGER is set in the years since a nuclear war ravaged the planet, desperate outlaws battle for survival in a world of radioactive chaos. Out past the poisoned wasteland lives a man even the Nightcrawlers and Organ People fear. Some name him Joe Glow, others call him The Meltdown Man. But his name… is Geiger.

Release Date: April 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Superstar comic creators brining their original story to Image this month. 


Green Lantern #1
DC Comics
Written by Geoffrey Thorne
Art by Dexter Soy & Marco Santucci
Cover Art by Bernard Chang & Alex Sinclair

THE SOURCE OF PEACE

As this new Green Lantern series begins, the newly formed United Planets and the Guardians of the Universe hold an intergalactic summit to decide who can best serve and protect the cosmos from danger. With the majority of Green Lanterns called back to Oa, John Stewart arrives alongside Teen Lantern Keli Quintela, whose powerful gauntlet could be one of the most powerful and unstable weapons in the universe. With the entire landscape of the universe in flux, is this the end of the Green Lantern Corps…or a new beginning?

Release Date: April 6, 2021

PCS NOTES: Fans of the Emerald Light will need to check this out for the state of the ring slingers in the current DCU. Our own Mike Gold opined on the history of GLs earlier today on his Brainiac On Banjo column.


Magic: The Gathering #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Jed MacKay
Art by Ig Guara
Cover Art by Matteo Scalera

A new beginning for the pop culture phenomenon of Magic starts here from Jed MacKay and Ig Guara, perfect for new readers and long time fans.

Across the vast Multiverse, those gifted with a “spark” can tap into the raw power of Magic and travel across realms: They are Planeswalkers.

When coordinated assassination attempts on Guildmasters Ral Zarek, Vraska, and Kaya rock the city of Ravnica and leave Jace Belleren’s life hanging in the balance, a fuse is lit that threatens not just these three Guilds, but the entire plane of Ravnica.

Now these three must covertly infiltrate the wild plane of Zendikar and form a tenuous alliance to uncover why the targets of the assassins have all been Planeswalkers…

…which will lead them straight to one of the most enigmatic characters in Magic history!

Release Date: April 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: New series for fans of the card game that looks like an interesting new storyline. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in April 2021”

Brainiac On Banjo #110: With This Ring…

Brainiac On Banjo #110: With This Ring…

It’s gone away from me / The thrill is gone baby / The thrill is gone away from me / Although, I’ll still live on / But so lonely I’ll be / The thrill is gone – The Thrill Is Gone, Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell, 1951

Today, as we currently reckon time, is the day DC Comics launches a brand-new Green Lantern title. Have they done this previously? I mean, previously in 2021. I know it’s only early April, but every week they do not introduce a new Green Lantern title, or at least a new Green Lantern, seems to me to be a rare week indeed.

I’m not complaining about this new series. I haven’t read it. I haven’t even decided not to read it, but, as the song goes, the thrill is gone.

I clearly remember buying the first silver age Green Lantern in late July of 1959. I was a week shy of nine years old, and new superhero launches were very few and quite far between. I took to it as though it were a barbecue beef sammich. A rocket crashes (I’m telling you the short version) and inside the rocket is a dying alien. His ring — his ring! — sought out the nearest fearless person worthy of herohood and found a test pilot named Hal Jordon. Go figger; a handsome white American dude. He said “OK, fine, you’re worthy. Put on this ring and go figure it out. I’m dying here.”

It was really cool. The artwork, storytelling, and design work were stellar, and the new guy could do anything as long as he wasn’t using that ring on anything yellow. Yellow? Do you know how much stuff out there is yellow? For crying out loud, yellow and green are next to each other on the color wheel! Yet the stories were so compelling I accepted that, just the way I accepted his tedious, time-consuming oath. I eagerly followed the three Showcase issues, I was pleased to see he was in the original Justice League of America six months later, and then I was thrilled that he got his own series — all within 10 months!

In no more than a few years, Green Lantern’s bosses thought there should be a standby GL just in case Hal meets the same fate as his predecessor. Guy Gardiner wasn’t around all that much, but he was there when he was needed.

Several years after that, the little blue men with the Dr. Zorba haircuts decided the neighborhood needed still another backup Green Lantern. It was nice to see, John Stewart, a Black man get the gig, a very rare thing for 1971. But I got to thinking…

The little blue men, who took to calling themselves the Guardians of the Universe (the other Guardians have a tree), had divided all of the universe into 3600 sectors (that number later doubled; after all, the universe is ever-expanding). Each sector had its own Green Lantern. OK, initially that was really cool because most of the other GLs did not appear to be humanoid, and such diversity was not so fully embraced in the comics of the time. Hal, and Guy, and John all worked in Sector 2814 and by now all three were full-timers.

Why does Earth get three while every place else only gets one? There’s something really unfair about that.

Kyle Rayner became still another Earthman Green Lantern. That’s four from the same sector. In the ensuing years Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz and now Keli Quintela became part of this overwhelmingly Earthish group of heroes. Even the original-original Green Lantern, Alan Scott from the 1940s, got retconned into this horde, and others in history have popped up from time to time. Sojourner “Jo” Mullein is or was or will be a greenie as well.

Is Anya Savenlovich still a Lantern? Probably; in comics, nobody ever disappears forever. Does anybody remember Charlie Vicker? I think he grew up to be Ryan Reynolds. And then there’s Donna Parker, and I think Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, a.k.a. Jade — Alan Scott’s kid — is back on the scene along with her father’s increased exposure in the DC universe du jour.

I won’t go into the Green Lantern who appeared in last month’s Zack Marathon. That wasn’t a comic book, and if it was supposed to be it never would have been published.

To be fair, I don’t mind the GLs from those thrilling days of yesteryear. History goes back a bit, and it makes sense that the ones from the 20th century were not the first. But I’m not as certain about all those many Green Lanterns from the “future” that lurk around every corner.

The whole Green Lantern concept is no longer special, but, then again, I’m no longer nine years old, my behavior notwithstanding. Soon there will be as many Green Lanterns as there were Elvis impersonators — and Green Lanterns have a much longer shelf-life. Of course, now somebody is going to come up with an Elvis Presley Green Lantern, but I doubt AT&T will pony up the licensing fees.

You may very well be a Green Lantern. If so, please don’t take this personally — I’d take the gig too, if offered. But my power ring wouldn’t work on anything gray.

With Further Ado #140: Vintage Marketing & The Power of Comic Book Storytelling

With Further Ado #140: Vintage Marketing & The Power of Comic Book Storytelling

“Bob West, Who IS This Woman?!?”

I am still enjoying, and sharing, my copy of Comics Ad Men by Stephen Brower. It’s a fantastic recent book, published by Fantagraphics, that celebrates the advertising work created by comic book artists like Neal Adams and Frank Robbins. I wrote about it recently here.

There’s a certain irresistible charm to those old ads. And that’s coming from someone who just loves new ads and all the innovative marketing that surrounds us today.  With that in mind, let’s take another look at vintage ads with a comic book connection.

The White Rock Fairy

The White Rock Company has been selling spring water for 150 years. The idea is that spring water, in this case from Waukesha, Wisconsin, is a little better for you than Royal Crown, Nehi or even Nesbitt’s sodas.  This independent company continues to innovate and keep afloat in an incredibly competitive market.  They are still independent.

Back in 1894, the company showcased a version of the Geek goddess Psyche as a spokesperson. She is often considered  the Goddess of Purity. That’s why they chose to use her in that iconic pose, leaning over a rock peering into a spring.   The corporate logo they created was based on the painting “Psyche at Nature’s Mirror” by German artist Paul Thumann.

The cynic in me can’t help but think that the strategy may have been more straightforward.  It doesn’t’ take a marketing genius to realize that a topless blonde is simply bound to be memorable.

In mythology, Psyche was gorgeous and that enraged her boyfriend’s mother, who happened to be Venus.  And when the Goddess of Love gets into a catfight with you, you know you have real problems. In the end, it all worked out and she married Eros. (Only he wasn’t a baby like you imagine when you use his other, more popular name: Cupid.)

The product itself, White Rock Seltzer, would enjoy an aura of glitziness, Celebrities of  yesteryear, including Gloria Vanderbilt (aka Anderson Cooper’s mom), Charles Lindbergh and the King of England, served White Rock in a showy way.

And that’s why this series of comic-style ads are so enchanting and perplexing. In the 1940s, White Rock launched this series of print ads, employing traditional panel-by-panel storytelling traditions (that’s comics to you, me, and Scott McCloud) to push the narrative forward. It looks like Holm Grey was the artist. Continue reading “With Further Ado #140: Vintage Marketing & The Power of Comic Book Storytelling”

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Comic Edition: Part 3 – Colorists and Letterers

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Comic Edition: Part 3 – Colorists and Letterers

As we continue our Women’s History Month tribute to Women In Comics History, we focus on two areas of comic making that are often overlooked: Colorists and Letterers. Both of these disciplines have changed radically since the women in this list began working in comics.

The technological innovations of the last couple of decades have revolutionized comics coloring and lettering. They have also opened the doors of opportunity. Both of these careers were at one point considered part of the in house production department of comic book publishers. These women who were innovators and trailblazers made great strides in their fields and showed that they are part of the creative team deserving of recognition.

Colorists:

When these women were working in the industry the process of coloring a comic involved using dyes and creating color maps on copies of comic book pages to give printers instructions on how to apply color to the pages. Today almost all comics are colored using digital software to add tones, hues, and effects. Without those tools, these women were able to generate amazing depth to comic books for decades.


Glynis Oliver (Wein)

Glynis Oliver spent most of her career working for Marvel Comics. She colored the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, New Mutants, Thor, and Uncanny X-Men among many others.  She also worked at DC Comics and contributed to titles such as Batman, Superman, and Adventure Comics. For a time she went by her married name in the comics and was credited as Glynis Wein. She was a constituent contributor to some of the most important comics for over twenty years.


Adrienne Roy

Colorist Adrienne Roy has special meaning to me as she colored my childhood. Her work on the New Teen Titans and Infinity Inc. series was glorious. She worked primarily for DC Comics during her coloring career with long runs on the afore mentioned series as well as Batman, Detective Comics, and the Outsiders titles. There was richness and depth that Adrienne brought to the comics she colored. Her life was cut short by cancer at the young age of 57.


Christie “Max” Scheele

Christie Scheele worked as a comic book colorist for over two decades. She is most well remembered for her long run coloring Daredevil for Marvel Comics. The famous Frank Miller and Ann Nocenti Daredevil stories were painted with color by Christie Scheele. Her use of tone and hues give those stories important emotional narrative. Besides over one hundred issues on Daredevlie, Christie worked mostly for Marvel on titles like Squadron Supreme, Defenders, and The Avengers.


Lynn Varley

Award winning colorist Lynn Varley created the color pallet for some of the most critically acclaimed comic books of the last half-century. She was the colorist on The Dark Night Returns, 300, Sin City, and Electra Lives Again. The color work on each of these books is a critical factor in the texture of the story and how the reader experiences the comic.


Tatjana Wood

Tatjana Wood began working in the comics in the 1950s doing uncredited work in issues published by EC Comics. By the 1970s, she was the primary colorist on covers for DC, and that role lasted into the mid 1980s. She had long runs for DC on Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man. She brought the color to the well regarded Brian Bolland line work in Camelot 3000. She has over 1000 comic book credits to her legacy. Chances are that some of your favorite historic covers from the ’70s and ’80s were colored by this legend. Continue reading “Celebrating Women’s History Month – Comic Edition: Part 3 – Colorists and Letterers”

Brainiac On Banjo #109: What Jessica Walter Means To Me

Brainiac On Banjo #109: What Jessica Walter Means To Me

Don’t you ever miss your house in the country, and your hot little mamma too? Don’t you better get a shot from the doctor, for what the Road Ladies do to you? – Frank Zappa, Road Ladies, 1970

I was just 21¼ years old. Old enough to know better. And, well, I did know better.

I had started on the radio about two years earlier, doing freeform “underground” shows overnights on Chicago FM stations. Back in those days, FM wasn’t on most car radios and station owners bought them just so that their competitors could not. At that time, nobody made money on overnight FM except for those slots that were purchased — brokered — by churches, far-right-wing political howlers, and foreign-language shows. That is, nobody made money until we came along.

In short order, my peers warned the 19-year-old me that, from time to time, women would call the studio in the middle of the night and make it clear that a personal appearance need not involve guitars and amplifiers. Remember, this was during that hallowed time between the invention of the birth control pill and the onset of HIV, and it was a wonderful period to be a 19 year old with Y chromosomes that screamed louder than a pack of shock-jocks.

My peers pointed out that these ladies had never seen me, and that I had never seen them. All they knew was I was on radio which, admittedly, can be an intimate experience at 3 in the morning. According to my instructors, other than an hour’s pleasure nothing good could come out of such parlances… and quite often there’s a world of hurt around the corner.

Yeah. Right. I was pushing 20 and I was full of three things… one of which being myself.

I had just started at a station in Evanston, Chicago’s northern neighbor and their studio was along the Chicago River about two miles from the fabled “L” trains. As is wont to happen, one night my car broke down in their parking lot and I had to choose between a long walk or an even longer wait for repair. I was three hours into my five-hour shift and I knew that walk would be annoying. I mentioned my situation on the air. At three in the morning. Sadly, my “Uh-Oh Sense” declined to stop me. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #109: What Jessica Walter Means To Me”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Editor Heather Antos

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Editor Heather Antos

We are proud to bring you the next installment of the Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition.

This episode we caught up with comics editor Heather Antos.

She  began her career as an assistant editor at Marvel Comics and is currently a Senior Editor at Valiant Entertainment. Heather’s secret origin story was recently chronicled by Kat Calamia at Newsarama.

We talked to her about a bunch of different topics including: assembling talent, editing covers, diversity in comics, the Fabulous Flo Steinberg, and much more.

We transcribed a good portion of the interview below, but there is plenty more in podcast.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s dive in to your work with Valiant these days.  As a comic book consumer, I have enjoyed the fresh takes on the classic Valiant characters that you have been producing over the last few years. How does the process of putting together a creative team with a direction work nowadays in that shared universe?

Heather Antos: A great example to start off with would be that when I came in I was handed Livewire. That wasn’t a story that I helped put together. I think Vita (Ayala) and Joe Illidge (the previous editor) did a great job, but that was something where I was finishing it out. I just want to respect the previous work that is done. A lot of what I did there was asking if things made sense and fit in canonically.

Quantum & Woody #1 (art by David Nakayama)

The first Valiant book that I launched was Quantum and Woody that came out in January 2020. When I joined Valiant, there were really two books that I knew I wanted, and they were Quantum and Woody and then Shadowman (which is going to be on sale in April finally). Quantum and Woody is whacky odd couple-esque type humor. Coming off of Deadpool for three years at Marvel. That is the kind of book that I excel at, and I knew exactly the creative team to go for.

Shadowman #1 (art by Jon Davis-Hunt)

For me, as an editor, I always like to give the creative teams as much freedom as possible. I am hiring Chris Hastings and Ryan Browne for a reason on Quantum and Woody. The same for Cullen Bunn and Jon Davis-Hunt on Shadowman. I want them to feel as free as possible to tell the story that they want to.

The only time that I will put the gavel down and steer the ship is in the case of something majorly universally oriented. If Quantum and Woody somehow go down to New Orleans in Shadowman’s territory, then we have to play by Shadowman’s rules and whatever is going on in that Shadowman book at that time.

Note: I tried to see if we could get some secrets about the plans for the Valiant universe out of Heather. Listen to the podcast to see if I was successful. (Ouch that is the most shameless plug I have ever written.)

PCS: One of the things that we like to do is get into the process of how comics get made and demystify it a bit. As an editor, what do you do in relation to direction and/or assignment for regular and variant covers?

HA: Every editor has a different philosophy in this regard. There are artists like Mike Del Mundo, and the way they conceptualize and think about things are just so beyond what the average human can do; so, whenever I worked with Mike on a cover I would just say, “Hey Mike? This character. You interested? Go nuts!”  He might as  a story element or two to work in, but there are absolutely artists who just do their own thing. With them, I trust that it will be good, because they have a track record.

Valiant typically has three or four covers on every issue. The main “A cover”, two variants, and a pre-order. My personal philosophy is to have the main cover have some sort of a story element in it. For example in X-O Manowar #4, we debut his new suit, and so, on that cover, you can see a new suit morphing on him but you can’t quite make it all the way out. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Editor Heather Antos”