Category: Comics

With Further Ado #211: Still More Actual Comics at SDCC – Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano

With Further Ado #211: Still More Actual Comics at SDCC – Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano

As I described last week, one wonderful San Diego Comic-Con panel in which I annually participate is called How to Get News Coverage. This panel is a way to focus on what do after you’ve created a comic; how to build a marketing buzz.

There’s a lot of great advice offered from smart folks like Tim Chizmar (Fangoria, co-chair of the Horror Writers Association, First Comics News), Glenn Hauman (Comic Mix), Michael Kingston (Headlocked Comics, BOOM! Studios), Heidi MacDonald (Comics Beat), Alexander Raymond (Monstar Public Relations), Rob Salkowitz (ICv2, Forbes), Amanda Sheriff (Gemstone Publishing), Francis Sky (First Comics News, Massacre Twins), and Josh Waldrop (Ultima Digital Media). Usually, J.C. Vaughn and Holly Golightly are on the panel too.

During this panel, I like to make an offer for creators to promote their comics in With Further Ado.

We did that last week, and let’s continue with a look at another creator: Arnon Z. Shorr. He’s not only a passionate comic creator, but he’s a film maker too. And unlike so many comic + film folks, he did it backwards. In other words, he made the film first and then made the comic. Here’s a look at Arnon Z. Shorr and his creative effort: José and the Pirate Captain Toledano:

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Arnon is a writer/director and author of character-driven adventures and thrillers, where heroes grapple with the extraordinary, and in doing so, learn important truths about themselves. He spent most of his childhood between worlds: a Hebrew speaker in America, a private school kid with no money, a suburbanite in a rented apartment. Whenever he’d set foot in one world, his other foot would betray him as different. For that reason, Arnon tells stories that embrace the peculiar, where encounters with the strange reveal who we are. Continue reading “With Further Ado #211: Still More Actual Comics at SDCC – Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Shelly Bond about Fast Times in Comic Book Editing

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Shelly Bond about Fast Times in Comic Book Editing

Our latest spotlight SquadCast interview is with comic editor and publisher Shelly Bond. She is a returning guest and we were able to spend some time talking about her latest project Fast Times in Comic Book Editing.

Her latest effort from Offregister Press, the company that she runs with her husband Phillip Bond, is part memoir and part editorial handbook focusing on her time working on the Vertigo Imprint at DC Comics.

She had a hand in some of the most important comics of the 90s and that helped shape her into the superstar comic editor that she is today.

We talked about Shelly’s projects including the recently completed Filth and Grammar: The Comic Editor’s Secret Handbook, and Geezer. We also talked about comic books in general and why they became her passion.

The latest book, Fast Times, is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and you can find out more about that project below the SquadCast recording.

We hope that you enjoy the conversation.

 


FAST TIMES IN COMIC BOOK EDITING

A Love Letter to New York City in the ’90s.

About the Campaign:

A collection of stories and comics that chart the rise and fall and rise of a career-driven editor working in New York City in the ’90s, who’s in over her head as she tries to secure a place in the male-dominated comic book industry.

FAST TIMES IN COMIC BOOK EDITING is told through a series of short comics, photo/visual montage timelines, prose, and experimental art including a satirical TTRPG “How to Climb The Corporate Ladder From Hell.” Guest writers and artists including Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Paul Pope, Michael Allred, Steven T. Seagle, Mike Carey, and Peter Gross provide brief encounters along the way.

At its core, FAST TIMES celebrates the hustle of monthly comics and the rustle of feathers and heart chambers—the universal love for story and longing to connect through words and pictures. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Shelly Bond about Fast Times in Comic Book Editing”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview and Review with Cecil Castellucci, writer of Shifting Earth

Spotlight SquadCast Interview and Review with Cecil Castellucci, writer of Shifting Earth

We have a special post today. This is a presentation of an interview that we did with writer Cecil Castellucci a few weeks ago as well as a review of her newest graphic novel, Shifting Earth.

Cecil is a fantastic writer and never fails to capture my attention. She has written comics, graphic novels, prose, opera, and was a rock singer at one point. Some my her favorite works of hers include: The Plain Janes, Shade: The Changing Girl, Girl on Film, Batgirl, and Female Furies just to name a few. We are very excited to get this recorded conversation to our audience. We delved into some of the interesting process that she uses in her writing and talked about her motivation for the stories she tells.

Cecil created her latest book, Shifting Earth, with artist Flavia Biondi for Dark Horse Comics’ Berger Books imprint. It is in stores now and it is wonderful.

The Squadcast linked below is a fun conversation that covers a lot of her work as well as her super interesting hobbies. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


 

Shifting Earth
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Cecil Castellucci
Art by Flavia Biondi
Colors by Fabiana Mascolo
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover Art by Biondi & Mascolo

Original Solicitation:
In a not-so-distant future, a freak particle storm has landed botanist Dr. Maeve Millay on an idyllic yet strange parallel Earth, with no way back home.

Here, two moons rule society, and nature outshines science. But just like her own climate ravaged planet, this verdant Earth has a sinister side. Children are rare. Humans must serve a purpose or pay an unthinkable price. Astronomer Zuzi battles this underlying darkness every day—just like Maeve did at home. Both women are fighters, and both face a choice: forge new paths, or save the worlds they’ve always known? Maeve will have to decide, and fast—because she’s fighting for more than just herself.

PCS Review:
I was blown away by this book. There are a lot of moving parts to the plot to this book and it is difficult to land on the proper cadence and pace of the story. Castellucci does not falter in that endeavor. The plot reveals seem to always come at the appropriate moment throughout the book. The interesting environmental and political topics that are explored in this book serve as a backdrop to a tale of two brilliant women and their struggles to both be heard and save their respective worlds. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview and Review with Cecil Castellucci, writer of Shifting Earth”

With Further Ado #210: More Actual Comics at SDCC – Powers Squared

With Further Ado #210: More Actual Comics at SDCC – Powers Squared

One of the most fun panels I participate in at San Diego Comic-Con is called How to Get News Coverage?.  This brainchild of Rik Offenberger (the mastermind behind the First Comics News and G-Man Comics) has become an SDCC tradition, and for good reason. This panel is very focused on giving up-and-coming creators real-world advice about how to build buzz for their properties. Let’s face it, creating a comic is a lot of work ….and then promoting the comic is a lot more hard work too.

During the panel,  I like to make an offer for creators to promote their comics in this column. We’ll feature one this week and another next week.

Let’s start with David Hankins. He  is an engaging, passionate creator who’s found a way to make creating comics a family team effort.  Here’s a look at his Powers Squared:

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The comic book Powers Squared tells the story of identical twins Marty and Eli Powers, who discover on their first day of college that they share superpowers that they had been granted when they were young. These powers originate from an encounter with a Kitsune, a magical fox yokai, whom the boys rescued from under a fallen tree branch. As the boys learn how best to use their powers, they have to deal with the evil Dr. Atlas, who believes they have a special compound in their bloodstream that he wants to synthesize and weaponize to create an army of super soldiers. Continue reading “With Further Ado #210: More Actual Comics at SDCC – Powers Squared”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in August 2022

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in August 2022

August has a massive list of new series hitting the stands! We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this month. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This month, we have books on the list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, AfterShock Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Ablaze Comics, AWA/Upshot Studios, A Wave Blue World, IDW Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Abstract Studio, and Scout Comics.

This is another fun five Wednesday month. The bulk of the interesting new number ones will be found in the first week with just a couple in the last week.

We will bring you reviews 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 8/3/22
Week of 8/10/22
Week of 8/17/22
Week of 8/24/22
Week of 8/31/22


Week of August 3


Batman: White Knight Presents – Red Hood #1
DC Comics
Written by Sean Murphy & Clay McCormack
Art by Simone Di Meo & Dave Stewart
Cover Art by Murphy & Stewart

“Bruce Wayne is Batman.” Four words that saved Jason’s life and destroyed his future forever. Banished by his mentor and damaged by The Joker, the former Robin is left to become something different, something stronger, a relentless force for justice in the city…Red Hood! With nobody to answer to, he walks the dangerous line between hero and villain. That is until he meets Gan, a local girl from East Backport who needs his help to save her neighborhood from a super-criminal terrorizing its citizens. And she’s willing to fight alongside him, whatever it takes!

Release Date: August 2, 2022


The Dead Lucky #1
Image Comics
Written by Melissa Flores
Art by French Carlomagno & Mattia Iacono
Cover Art by Carlomagno

San Francisco is changing. Tech consortium Morrow is building the city of the future with “peacekeeper” robots looming on every corner—and wherever Morrow isn’t, the Salvation gang is. Bibiana Lopez-Yang is changing too. She came back from Afghanistan with PTSD and the ability to control electrical currents. If she can hold it together, she might be the hero San Francisco needs. But against an enemy this big, it isn’t enough to be good. She’ll have to be lucky.

From debut writer MELISSA FLORES and superstar art team FRENCH CARLOMAGNO and MATTIA IACONO  comes the newest book in the MASSIVE-VERSE!

Release Date: August 3, 2022

PCS NOTES: I am interested in this superpower inclusive book from newer creators.


Edge of Spider-Verse #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Dan Slott, Alex Segura, Karla Pacheco, & Dustin Weaver
Art by Mark Bagley, Weaver, Pere Perez, Martin Coccolo, Caio Majado, D.J. Bryant, & Brian Reber
Cover Art by Josemaria Casanovas

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES / THE HERO WITHIN / SPIDER-REX!! / MY DAME… MY DESTINY
THE END OF THE SPIDER-VERSE IS COMING! edge (’ej) noun – 1. outermost limit of an object. – 2. the sharp side of a blade. The leading edge of the Spider-Verse brought you Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker. This final edge will introduce you to some of the most important characters in the future of the Spider-Verse…but it will also slice the final strand of the web. IN THIS ISSUE: SPIDER-MAN NOIR! ARAÑA’S NEW STATUS QUO! SPIDER-REX AND MORE!

Release Date: August 3, 2022

PCS NOTES: Spideriffic stories from some great creators. Looks good to me.


Elle(s) #1
Ablaze Comics
Written by Kid Toussaint
Art by Aveline Stokart
Cover Art by Stoikart

Elle is just another teenage girl…most of the time. Bubbly and good-natured, she wastes no time making friends on her first day at her new school. But Elle has a secret: she hasn’t come alone. She’s brought with her a colorful mix of personalities, which come out when she least expects it…

Who is Elle, really? And will her new friends stand by her when they find out the truth?

Release Date: August 3, 2022

PCS NOTES: This is a book where the cover image and solicitation are intriguing enough for us to add a super low hyped book to this month’s list

Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in August 2022”

With Further Ado #209: Actual Comics at SDCC

With Further Ado #209: Actual Comics at SDCC

There’s a certain number of critical conversations, many would categorize it as “moaning”, amongst longtime fans that San Diego Comic-Con isn’t about comics anymore.  Some fans of traditional comic get overwhelmed by all the media hype and complain that SDCC has lost its way.

Of course, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when industry publications, like Adweek, celebrate all the Pop-Ups surrounding the convention center.  I’m not sure I agree with their “Top Nine” Activations/Pop-Ups, but their recent listing is here.

I’m fascinated by everything at San Diego Comic-Con. I love the big ideas presented and promoted at the show, as well as the smaller, oddball collectibles, original art, and back issues.

So, my best shopping was with a back issue dealer who had “reader copies” of comics priced for a dollar.  (Reader copies simply refer to comics that aren’t in the pristine condition that many collectors seek out.) What a deal! Each comic cost only $2.50.  Let me celebrate these treasures that I rescued, and maybe you will agree that San Diego Comic-Con, while not exclusively about comics, still is a great place for comics.

Around The World Under the Sea – This is a 1964 Dell comic is based on a movie I never heard of. But maaaaaan, I wish I could’ve seen it at a drive-in!  It’s kind of Jules Verne-y. But it starred Shirley Eaton, who the whole world will always remember from Goldfinger, so it is sort of James Bond-y too.  Here’s the trailer.  The cover has all those things that teenage me and my teenage buddies needed in a movie: Scuba guys fighting, sea monsters and a girl in a bikini.  I was crestfallen when I realized the interior pages were by Jack Sparling. He’s never been my favorite. In his defense, I will say he just nails the Lloyd Bridges likenesses. Continue reading “With Further Ado #209: Actual Comics at SDCC”

TerrifiCon 2022 Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

TerrifiCon 2022 Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

We spend the past weekend strolling the aisles of TerrifiCon at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. It was the third time that we had been there and the first show we have been at back to back years post-pandemic.

The organizers did a great job putting on a show that attendees and vendors seemed to have a wonderful time. Saturday was the most attended day as is usually the case with most cons, but all three days were filled with people exercising their nerdy needs. We saw plenty of people meeting creators and celebrities. The vendor aisles had lots of activity and everyone that we talked to was having a good time.

Of course we did take notice of some of the cosplay that was on display. We were especially encouraged by the families that we saw cosplaying together. Check out some of what we saw below: Continue reading “TerrifiCon 2022 Thoughts and Cosplay Pics”

Milestone Generations on HBOMax is Comic Book History That Must Be Watched

Milestone Generations on HBOMax is Comic Book History That Must Be Watched

Comic books is an artform that is founded on community. The best comics are ones that reflect and explore humanity through both realism and fantasy. The people who make comics do it because they love it. The new documentary released on HBOMax Milestone Generations is about a group of people who loved comics and changed the industry by believing in themselves and making comics that had not been done before.

The film follows the foundation and the rise, fall, and resurrection of Milestone Media. It is full of real stories of how the inception of the groundbreaking comic company went down. It chronicles the successes and downfalls that the creators went through. The theme that is conveyed throughout is that the company is and always was about telling diverse stories about diverse people created by diverse people,

Throughout the history of Milestone, their comics have dealt with important and sometimes controversial issues facing society. Sometimes those issues caused backlash, and the film does a good job of highlighting some of those events. Continue reading “Milestone Generations on HBOMax is Comic Book History That Must Be Watched”

With Further Ado #207: End of an Era

With Further Ado #207: End of an Era

San Diego Comic-Con, officially called Comic-Con International, is about to start up again as a live, in-person event. The past couple of years it’s sprung to life as Comic-Con@Home, and that’s been fun, but there is an eagerness amongst fans and professionals to get back to business.

Many changes are expected, and there’s been a lot of chatter about the big changes to the exhibitor line-up on convention floor. On The Beat and in Publisher’s Weekly, Heidi MacDonald’s reported on the absence of SDCC mainstays like Warner Bros/DC and Dark Horse. You can read more here.

For me, the one that “hurts the most” will be the absence of Graphitti Designs. Bob Chapman, called Chappy by many, is a guy who’s lived at the epicenter as a passionate entrepreneur and knowledgeable fan.

As a celebration of his extraordinary SDCC run, and the impressive business he’s built, I’d like to re-run this column. It was originally presented on ComicMix in 2016, right before that year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

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Ed Catto: Culture & Commerce – Bob Chapman’s Graphitti Designs

Over the past 47 years the SDCC has grown to become a pop culture behemoth. More than just a grand celebration of fan passion, it’s a driver of serious commerce. SDCC’s impact now makes waves on a national and international economic scale, far beyond the initial fan-centric puddles of the early days.

Bob “Chappy” Chapman is a fan and business owner who was part of the early days and is still actively involved today. He’s an energetic entrepreneur who’s built his business Graphitti Designs, catering to Geek Culture. Graphitti Designs has been creating fan-focused merchandise like T-shirts, statues, action figures, prints, books and more. And Bob has found a way to survive – and thrive – throughout the many iterations of SDCC over the years.

Bob is likeable, charming, infectiously enthusiastic, and effortlessly employs an extensive vocabulary. You just know he’s a big reader! He’s nostalgic, but always looking forward. As we prepare for the annual nerd prom that world calls SDCC, I was eager to learn how the convention got his business started and how it’s changed over the years.

The Secret Origin

All great superheroes have a great origin story, and Bob Chapman is no exception. Bob and his brother were rabid Silver Age comic fans and had accumulated an impressive comic collection. By the late 70s, they had become disillusioned with collecting and decided to sell their comics. They dutifully trotted their overflowing comic boxes to a myriad of dealers, but were shocked at how little money was offered.

In what would become a life changing decision, they decided that they could do better selling the comics directly to fans directly. They signed up for dealer’s table at SDCC.

(Hard to believe it was once that easy to secure exhibition space at SDCC.)

“We didn’t know what we were doing,” confessed Bob. But despite that, the brothers managed to walk away with several thousand dollars. And they made this profit by selling off only 10% of their collection. More importantly, they loved the comic convention culture, and they were in the thick of it with all their peers and favorite creators. For example, their dealer’s table was situated right next to comics legend Wally Wood.

The Creation

In the early days, there was a lot of camaraderie,” said Bob. He explained that they were all on a learning curve, and there were no official guidelines. “We all helped each other, learned from each other. It wasn’t contrived and was never articulated.”

When he started in 1982, there was no merchandise or specialty marketing. There wasn’t even a place for distributors. The direct sales market was evolving, but the marketplace was, at that time, still focused on the monthly sales cycle of periodicals. Evergreen products and licensed merchandise were rare and usually dismissed.

But in 1981, Bob developed a straightforward idea. He knew the screen-printing process, and he knew comics. He approached SDCC’s management team with an idea that was radical at the time, although it has become startlingly commonplace now: to make and sell official comic convention T-Shirts!

On the Frontier

That first shirt. Now in the Comic-Con Museum

In planning for this first T-shirt project, Bob told me how he was hopeful to work with one of his favorite artists, like Jack Kirby, or to use an iconic hero, like Batman or Spider-Man, in order to design a powerful shirt and logo. Instead, he was disappointed when the convention management team asked him to work with an up-coming-artist he hadn’t heard of and old comics character that hadn’t been published in years.

Crestfallen, he was determined to make it work.

The character was Sheena, an iconic super heroine (pre-dating Wonder Woman) and the artist was Dave Stevens. Bob soon met Dave and they hit it off. And Bob, like the rest of the world, would soon discover that Dave Stevens was a phenomenal artist. Together, they would create many gorgeous items for Bob’s fledging start-up. In fact, many of Graphitti’s “firsts” involved Dave Stevens. The first book Graphitti published was a Dave Stevens Book. The first cloisonné pin featured Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer character. The first statue Graphitti created was based on Dave Stevens’ artwork.

“He was our unofficial art director for all those years,” said Bob.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

The classic Dave Stevens shirt also in the Comic-Con Museum

As Bob talked about the business, he reiterated that he owes much of his success to all the kind people who wanted to see him succeed.

One particularly influential person was Will Eisner. The legendary storyteller and creator of The Spirit approached Graphitti to make Spirit T-shirts. “He allowed us to make Spirit T-shirts,” recalls Bob. “It had never been done before.” Looking back, this was especially important, as Eisner was also known as a very focused businessman.

Business Grows as Comic Cons Grow

Graphitti was, in many ways, the first specialty company to create statues and comics-focused hard cover books for the collector’s market. The entire collectible statue market can easily trace its parentage back to Bob Chapman’s efforts at Graphitti.
As a merchandising company, Graphitti blazed new trails and usually enjoyed first mover advantages.

“Now there’s a plethora of merchandise. I spawned some of that,” said Bob.

He’s practically a founding father of merchandising in the comic book industry.

“Not so sure how proud I am of that…it’s so saturated <now>,’ he muses.

Bob explains that they were “…a product of the times. On one hand… the timing was extremely fortunate. But at the same time, the timing was bad – as there was no guideline or framework. In hindsight, ignorance persevered.”

Graphitti was focused on being a champion for artists and comic artwork. “Being a facilitator to the vision is other is part of what gave us this look,” reasoned Bob.

“And now, we’re fortunate to be evolving back into creating books,” said Bob. He’s very pleased about that.

And Graphitti was purposefully small and was able to be malleable. They weren’t shackled to preconceived ideas.
In the beginning, Graphitti was the only game in the geek merchandise town. But things changed quickly. Bob had to learn how to juggle his money and still produce items.

“I had numerous opportunities to go out of business, and had to learn how to juggle air financially,” said Bob.

The Romantic Entrepreneur

Bob is a unique mix of the classic nuts-and-bolts businessman and the idealist romantic entrepreneur.

That’s evident in his love for the medium, and comics in general. But’s also evident in his staffing.

You see, Bob’s lovely wife Gina often works with him at the Graphitti Convention Booth. So much so, in fact, that she too has become a staple of the SDCC.

“I work more than I should,” lamented Bob. And to that end, he’s grateful that his wife often joins him on the convention circuit and at SDCC in particular.

“Sometimes it’s an asset to have such fresh eyes,” said Bob. “She’s not star struck and she’s a good sounding board. She makes the shows more enjoyable. It’s nice that she’s there with me.”

Standing Tall at San Diego Comic Con 2016

Bob makes it very clear about his relationship with SDCC. “I wouldn’t be here without it,” he said.

And he’s contemplative about the state of the industry. “We got what we wanted,” concludes Chappy. “The stink of comics from the fifties has dissipated.” But with the growth comes issues, and it’s a “double-edged sword.”

“I built Graphitti, but I didn’t do it properly,” Bob admitted. “I don’t want to be the poster child for doing it properly.”
As an entrepreneur, I just scratch my head and think that Graphitti’s amazing success, innovation and longevity all seem pretty proper to me!

 


Much of this article was published on ComicMix on July 11, 2016

With Further Ado #206: Conventional Fun

With Further Ado #206: Conventional Fun

You know how “The Holiday Season” starts right after Halloween and continues until a little while before the NFL playoffs? For comics, and geek culture, I feel like we’re in that time right now. We’re in the thick of convention season.

This past weekend, when driving home past Morristown, NJ, I decided not to stop at a convention there. It looked like a great con: with top guests like Louis Simonson, her husband Walter, Howard Chaykin and more. But you know what? I reasoned there were so many conventions, for me, on the horizon, and I kind of needed to get back home anyways.

Locally, this weekend in Rochester, specifically July 16th, there’s another comic convention. It’s the third Empire Comic Fest. They seem to keep getting better and better. These are fun shows run by professionals, like Ken Wheaton, who just love comics. And especially love back issues. Mike Grell is the featured guest and I’m sure he’ll be lots of fun. More info here.

Any visit to Jared Aiosa’s comic shop, Heroes Your Mom Threw Out, in Elmira NY is almost like a visit to a comic convention. Jared clearly loves comics, and boy, does he have a lot of comics for sale. Walking through this store instills one with a sense of wonder. Continue reading “With Further Ado #206: Conventional Fun”