Category: Conventions

Weird Scenes 082: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…

Weird Scenes 082: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…

Instant Karma’s gonna get you / Gonna knock you right on the head / You better get yourself together / Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead…

Welcome to our first edition of Weird Scenes Inside The Covid Mind…

Yin: According to published reports, crime is down about five percent; of course, your results might vary.

Yang: On the other hand, domestic violence is up 10%. Add that to the ridiculous increase of gun sales – what, you’re gonna shoot Covid-19? – and we might have a whole ‘nother problem real soon.

Wha?: The term “coronababies” is a thing. If you think diapers are hard to get right now, just wait until November.

Hmm: If we make it through this relatively intact, and keep a pleasant thought, we will have the internet to thank. It doesn’t prevent the stir-crazy, but it does mitigate it.

Feh: Bailout for Boeing? Well, I try to be loyal to my landsman companies, but these profit-over-lives money worshippers deserve to go blooie – even if they swear on a pile of Boeing 737 Max 8 parts that they won’t spend a penny of it on stock buybacks. I should point out that when the government bailout terms were near completion two days ago, Boeing’s stock skyrocketed. 33 billion dollars to the greatest gathering of corporate assholes in America – the airline industry – while the Blue states are given Green Stamps. And when it comes to buybacks… Continue reading “Weird Scenes 082: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…”

The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive

The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive

The world is changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Almost daily, we are receiving new news that changes the status quo.  Schools are closed across the country. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and many more are under stay-home orders. Non-Essential business are shuttered in many states. That includes comic shops.

Today, Governor Larry Hogan issued the order for non-essential businesses to close in Maryland, the home of Diamond Comic Distributors. How does that order affect the already severely wounded comic industry? We will find out.

Comic Publishers React

We have seen public statements from several comic book publishers over the past few days reacting to the anticipated drop in orders and revenue due to the fact that most of the country is following the #StayHome orders for the immediate future. They have implemented programs to make more comics returnable, and reduced the or postponed shipments of books that have been anticipated. Below is a list of what we know at this point. Continue reading “The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive”

Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping

Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping

DEAD COLLECTOR (Eric Idle): Bring out your dead! / CUSTOMER (John Cleese): Here’s one. / DEAD COLLECTOR: Nine pence. / DEAD PERSON (John Young): I’m not dead! DEAD COLLECTOR: What? / CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here’s your nine pence. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not dead! / DEAD COLLECTOR: ‘Ere. He says he’s not dead! / CUSTOMER: Yes, he is. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not! / DEAD COLLECTOR: He isn’t? / CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He’s very ill. / DEAD PERSON: I’m getting better! / CUSTOMER: No, you’re not. You’ll be stone dead in a moment. • Monty Python and The Holy Grail, 1975, written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Sir Thomas Malory

What… too soon?

I really did not want to write about The Plague. Or Donald Trump, a.k.a. The Other Plague. I wrestled with this while reading texts from my younger friends about waiting outside of Costco for 45 minutes only to be stuck in a 60-minute check-out line behind a plethora of people buying their daily limit of rolled corpses of dead trees. Yeah, no disease spread there, right?

There’s little we can do about stopping The Plague itself, and there’s nothing we can do about The Other Plague until November… assuming The Other Plague grows balls big enough to try to call off the election. My latter comment does not fit the textbook definition of paranoia.

There are other things going on. For example, Tulsi Gabbard just quit the Democratic Party presidential race. I’ll pause while you go Wiki her. Ah, Tulsi, we hardly knew ye. Then again, given her exceptional loathing of the LGBTQ community, we hardly want to. She tossed her massive support – she won two delegates in American Samoa – to Joe Biden, who responded: “Thank you. And you are…?” Continue reading “Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping”

How The Comic Community Is Coping with Mass Event Cancellations

A national disaster has been declared due to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are being told to employ social distancing and further the work of the isolationist tendencies that our nerd culture has employed for decades.

The reality is that there is a very serious illness that is spreading through humanity and it is fatally dangerous to a large segment of our community. Unfortunately, the solution that have been implemented includes the cancelling of numerous chances for our normally isolationist community to get together.

I was listening to a special video version of John Siuntres’s Word Balloon podcast with Ed Catto. They were lamenting the understandable cancellation of Ithacon45, and noted that “Con Season” is a great way to get together with friends and colleagues. This is absolutely true.

The economic cost of this coronavirus pandemic cancelling mass gatherings is felt throughout various industries including air travel, hospitality, food service, and more. An often ignored real cost for the cancellation or postponement of events like Emerald City Comic-Con, SXSW, Planet Comicon, Wonder Con, and others is the loss of revenue for artists and creators who depend on those shows for a significant portion of their income.

In the spirit of coming together in crisis, we would like to highlight both the effects of these cancellations and offer ways to help those who are affected. Continue reading “How The Comic Community Is Coping with Mass Event Cancellations”

Brainiac On Banjo #075: Nice Guys Finish

Brainiac On Banjo #075: Nice Guys Finish

If you’re a regular reader of this slice of pop culture pie, you might be surprised by today’s week-opener. Perhaps you should get comfortable, put down the vape pen and pull over to the shoulder. We’ll discuss your driving habits later.

I’m very disappointed Dan DiDio is no longer co-publisher at DC Comics… even though I still don’t understand how you can have “co-publishers.” But that is not something we’ll discuss later. It’s Publishing, and that’s the next town over from Chinatown.

On many occasions I have used this vessel of bubbling hot ether to criticize Dan and DC – and Marvel, for that matter – for being too quick on the reboot pedal. I won’t repeat myself at this time (except in my sleep) because you get it. You might not agree, which is fine, you might agree, which is fun, or you might be somewhere in between. No matter. I remain disappointed.

As I have only a limited ability to convincingly blow smoke up a great many asses simultaneously, I shall share my reasons. First, and most important, as publisher Dan was not afraid of trying out new things and new approaches. Because necessity is indeed the mother of invention, this is – to me – is the most important skill set a publisher can have… and Mark Waid, who has just taken a similar position at Humanoids, Inc. should consider this license.

Wednesday Comics, the most ambitious endeavor DC had undertaken this century, was created by Mark Chairello when Dan was DC’s executive editor; he green-lit it, which is part of the job. Mark said Dan (and then-publisher Paul Levitz; DC goes through more publishers than CatCo) were constantly after him to edit something. He sure did.

I could cite many more examples – his interest in many of DC’s lesser-known characters led to some wonderful character revivals. Every such example entails risk, and if too many of those risks do not pay off, one’s job can be handed over to somebody else. It also provides fodder for Brutus when corporate politics goes nuts. Of course, corporate politics is a self-replicating virus that it is nuts – and almost always is anti-creative. Publishing is a very risky business.

It’s also one that does not inure to the expansion of your database of friends. Not everybody is going to accept your weird ideas, particularly when someone thinks that their toes are being tread on. Imagine how Curt Swan might have felt when he was offed from Superman.

Fact is, Dan has quite a reputation as a nice guy. From his many associates and his great many convention appearances, it is clear he is the real thing… unless, perhaps, you feel it is your ox who is about to be gored. Sadly, that comes with the job.

My personal experiences with DiDio are limited. He was overwhelmingly kind to me at his Suicide Squad movie pre-party and at the world premiere; I hadn’t worked for DC for a while, and he was under no obligation to be so swell. Sometime later, I was at my old pal Jamie Graham’s booth – Graham Crackers, get it? – at some comic book convention (after over a half-century, they all run together), and Dan was there, diving through the long boxes trying to complete his collection of Marvel ComicsWhere Monsters Dwell – which, after all, was a reprint title. He looked up, very slightly embarrassed, and pointed out that he was, after all, a comics fan and collector.

Damn straight, pal! That should be in every comics publisher’s job description. Every single one. And here’s the best reason: whenever corporate brings in somebody from Earth-Prime who thinks publishing comic books is the same as publishing greeting cards or hawking toothpaste, they fail. Always. They also make asses of themselves.

The good publishers only make asses of themselves when it sells comic books. That’s called “priorities.”

Should Dan have been fired? I don’t know. There are plenty of rumors, but decades ago I learned such rumors are at best untrustworthy and, more likely, complete bullshit. I don’t know. You don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if DiDio still doesn’t know the complete story. Did I mention corporate politics are so revulsive I wouldn’t be surprised if AT&T eventually hires Donald Trump for the gig?

I hope Dan remains in the comics racket. So many long boxes, so little time.

With Further Ado #83: Shiver My Timbers, Matey

With Further Ado #83: Shiver My Timbers, Matey

There’s a truism in comics that “everybody knows”. Pirate comics don’t sell.  However. every piece of common wisdom needs to be shattered at one time or another, and we were just the scurvy knaves to do it. Sit back, sip your rum, and let me tell you the true tale of how we made a pirate comic!

Last year, I had a brilliant student in one of my classes. Naomi Hanson had many different interests and passions, and one of them was the history of real-life pirates. She was quite the expert and delivered lectures at academic conferences nationwide on the subject.

Naomi was also in the ITHACON class, where we teach students about creating and managing trade shows, and then have them run an actual convention: ITHACON.

After hearing about her lectures – shiver my timbers – I thought about how to take it to the next level. I explained to Naomi that I had vision of a Pirate Panel at San Diego Comic-Con. I knew it would be a long shot making that happen, but she was game to try.

The ideas were accepted by the panel committee at San Diego Comic-Con. I knew she’d be great onstage. I recruited another panelist, renowned library science expert Krista Rozanski.  I would be moderator.  The mizzen masts were about to be hoisted, and we were ready.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #83: Shiver My Timbers, Matey”

Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!

Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!

What the new year brings to you will depend on a great deal on what you bring to the new year !

 

Welcome to 2020!

In the past year, the news has often been filled with confounding rhetoric, and there have been some truly terrible events, but we need to resolve to focus on the positive, while committing to make things better. We can be the agents of change that we need in this world.

What an amazing year that 2019 was around here!!! As Pop Culture Squad celebrates the completion of its first full calendar year of existence, we have a lot of great accomplishments to look back on.

Here are a few highlights: Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!”

Spotlight Interview with Comic Artist and Colorist, Christopher Sotomayor

Spotlight Interview with Comic Artist and Colorist, Christopher Sotomayor

Art by Cowan, Sienkiewicz, and Sotomayor

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to sit down and talk comic with comic artist and colorist Chris Sotomayor. You have been seeing his “Soto” signature on comics from many different publishers for a couple of decades now. He is a native New Yorker who has made his mark in the field that fuels his passion.

He has worked for Marvel and DC quite a bit. Most recently he was doing the colors on Batman Beyond, Supergirl, and The Wailing Blade among other things.

He is also currently doing the colors on the recently release DC Black Label mini-series The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage. It is written by Jeff Lemire with art by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Issue #1 comes out today, so go get it after you read this interview.

Chris is part of the faculty of Comics Experience and teaches online courses in comic coloring, for beginners and pros.

In this interview, we talk about how he got his start, his process, and his heroes.

Pop Culture Squad: Did you always know you wanted to work in comics?

Chris Sotomayor: Oh yeah! Since I was about five years old and watching the old 1966 Batman reruns on Channel 11. I just used to watch that all the time, and I loved Robin. I thought he was badass because he was younger like me. So, I really got into it.

Since that show, I used to draw Batman, and my parents used to buy me a comic book every once in awhile. I knew I wanted to be comics, and I was hoping to draw them especially when I found out that people drew them. Then, I found out that people drew them and made a living. I was like, “Wow! That is the awesomest thing ever.” Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Artist and Colorist, Christopher Sotomayor”

Revisiting Mutant-X: The Video SquadCast from Baltimore Comic-Con

Revisiting Mutant-X: The Video SquadCast from Baltimore Comic-Con

Hey Everyone!!

Welcome to the Video SquadCast! This is the recording of the panel we hosted at Baltimore Comic-Con on October 19, 2019. The panelists are Howard Mackie and Andrew Pepoy.  The video is hosted on our YouTube Channel and the audio version of the SquadCast can be found at the bottom of this post.

Be sure to check out this great conversation where we reminisce about the Mutant-X comic book from Marvel.  We talk about the origins of the book, what went in to character design, what made it successful, and ultimately the end. This was a really fun time and is worth the time for fans of the comic or comic making in general.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Continue reading “Revisiting Mutant-X: The Video SquadCast from Baltimore Comic-Con”

Exploring Webcomics With the Pros – The Video SquadCast

Exploring Webcomics With the Pros – The Video SquadCast

Hey Everyone!!

Welcome to the Video SquadCast! This is the recording of the panel we hosted at Baltimore Comic-Con on October 20, 2019. The panelists are Steve Conley, Katie Cook, Dean Haspiel and Thom Zahler.  The video is hosted on our YouTube Channel and the audio version of the SquadCast can be found at the bottom of this post.

Be sure to check out this great conversation about webcomics and how these professionals work their craft. The will tell you the techniques they use for developing story and rendering it into art.


Continue reading “Exploring Webcomics With the Pros – The Video SquadCast”