Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)

This is a special edition of our Kickstarter boost posts. We were able to speak with the writer of the latest campaign and the musician behind the video theme. This is the perfect combination of what we are about here at Pop Culture Squad.

This week we are spotlighting Death Trap. It is a comic story that will be released digitally in four individual issues and then printed in a collected edition.

What is Death Trap?

According to the Kickstarter campaign page:

Death Trap is the story of a young woman named Ollie who grew up in the Strongin Circus crime family, surrounded by sideshow freaks and weird clowns and a huge albino dancing bear named Wojtek.  Her Dad’s killed by a rival crime family at Davenport Amusements, and ends up haunting his old Mercury Cougar muscle car.  So Ollie and her dad’s ghost team up for some sweet, sweet, revenge.

It sounds super cool and the various reward tiers are full of excellent material. We are stoked to see this project get funded.  At three days into the campaign, they are at about 20% of their goal.

Continue reading “Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)”

Spotlight Interview with Dean Haspiel

Spotlight Interview with Dean Haspiel

One of the earlier interviews that we had in this series on Pop Culture Squad was with cartoonist and auteur Dean Haspiel. He was talking last year about his collected edition of The Red Hook for Image Comics. This year his second volume in that universe, War Cry, is about to hit stores October 9th.

War Cry is the continuing adventures of Sam Brosia and the characters created in The Red Hook. We have seen the story on Line Webtoon, but we have also seen a preview of the collected print edition, and it is fabulous.

We were able to have a conversation with Dean, and, as usual, it went far afield into storytelling techniques, comic making process, the anatomy of a sentient city, and his mom.

Below is a transcript of the majority of our interview.

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Dean Haspiel”

Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Frank Gogol

Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Frank Gogol

Frank Gogol is a budding comic writer who has produced some impressive work in his short career so far. He is an alumnus of the Comic Experience program, and has displayed a lot of maturity in his writing. We met Frank last year on the con circuit and were immediately impressed.

His collection of short stories, Grief,  was printed by Source Point Press last year and has recently been nominated in the Best Anthology category for the 2018 Ringo Awards. Voting for industry professionals is still open.

Frank’s latest work is Dead End Kids. It is a three issue mini-series on which he is working with Nenad Cvitcanin and Sean Rinehart. It is also being published by Source Point Press. Issue #2 came out last week, and issue #3 is due on September 25th.

We spoke to Frank earlier this summer and below is the result of that conversation. Before we got started in the question and answer portion of this discussion, Frank and I were talking about the Final Order Cutoff, or FOC for those in the trade, for issue #1. He stated that people would still be able to order the issue past the FOC until the print run was gone. Low and behold, since we spoke the first issue sold out at the distributor. So, it is good.

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Frank Gogol”

Spotlight Interview: Talking Comics and Geekdom With Writer Amy Chu

Spotlight Interview: Talking Comics and Geekdom With Writer Amy Chu

Picture copyright Amy Chu

If you are not familiar with comics writer extraordinaire Amy Chu, you should be. If you are, then we will endeavor to share with you some great tidbits about her writing, current projects, and other passions.

We were able to catch up with Amy at Awesome-Con in Washington, DC back at the end of April. In the past five years, she has exploded into comics and has worked for DC, Marvel, Dynamite, Lion Forge, and more. Her titles include Girls Night Out, Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, The Green Hornet, Summit, KISS, and more.  Recently, Sea Sirens, her original graphic novel with Janet Lee was published by Viking Books.

Amy has also just been announced as part of the faculty for the Kubert School starting this fall. You can see the press release here.

Besides comics, Amy Chu has led an amazing life that included suing her school under Title IX to be allowed to play on the boys’ soccer team in high school. She holds degrees from both MIT and Harvard. She is also the mother to two wonderful boys. [I’ve met them. They are good kids.]

Amy is regular on the comic convention scene. We often wonder how she has time to do all she does, and yet she manages to do it all. If you see her at a Con, she will most likely appreciate coffee and donuts, as her Twitter motto these days includes “#DonutKiller”

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview: Talking Comics and Geekdom With Writer Amy Chu”

With Further Ado #052: A Conversation with Mark Waid

With Further Ado #052: A Conversation with Mark Waid

San Diego Comic-Con was full of big ideas, creative thinkers, celebrations of fandoms and a heathy respect (and awe) for the comics industry and those that have come before us.  Mark Waid embodies all those things. At the convention, he was busy speaking on panels, meeting fans, promoting the new innovative line of comics from Humaniods and trying to get his hands on that Rainbow Batman exclusive toy from Mattel.

(But then again, weren’t we all?)

But just before SDCC, I had a chance to interview Mark. He was the Keynote speaker at a small convention in the Finger Lakes.  He had a lot to say and speaking to him was a blast.  Enjoy this video, and you can almost relive last weekend’s 50th San Diego Comic-Con…but without those long lines!

Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Alex Paknadel

Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Alex Paknadel

Alex Paknadel is a rising star in the field of comics writing. In 2019, he has completed his highly acclaimed first series with Vault Comics called Friendo. He has continued as the writer of the Lion Forge book Kino, which is set in the Catalyst Prime universe. He also wrote a four-part mini-series for Valiant called Incursion.

After breaking into the comics scene in 2015 with Arcadia from Boom! Studios, he has developed a reputation for thought-provoking storytelling. Often his topics cover deep socio-political subjects, but he can write a super-hero fight scene with the best of them. If you follow our Preview Reviews or Everything We Read columns, you will find Alex show up regularly there.

We caught up with Alex in Chicago at C2E2 in March, and this interview was captured then.

PopCultureSquad: Recently [in March 2019] there was an announcement that you and your White Noise studio mates [Dan Watters, Ram V, and Ryan O’Sullivan] have new books coming from Vault Comics. What can you tell us about that?

Alex Paknadel: We’ve re-upped with Vault for another tranche of books for 2019-2020. Dan Watters and I have started work on a book called Earthcrosser, which is being gorgeously illustrated by a brilliant Scottish artist named Pablo Clark. Ram and Ryan’s plans for 2020 are well-advanced too, so expect great things.

PCS: Ok, and you guys know what you are doing? You are excited about the new books?

AP: Yeah, we were able to get fantastic creative teams for the first wave of books, and we have managed to at least equal the quality of creative talent for this next set if not go beyond that.

We have been viewing Vault, and I hope they don’t get upset for me saying this but, as sort of an outlet for our “Boutique Books”. These are the ones where we take big risks.

PCS: Are they the ones that are most personal? Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Alex Paknadel”

With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup

With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup

What do you get when you take a guy who loves comics, was mentored by Stan Lee, spent time with Spider-Man (and especially Venom) and has an incredible publishing track record?  Throw in a dollop or two of “he’s an awfully nice guy” and you have Jim Salicrup. 

I’m eager to drag Jim up to Ithaca College as a guest speaker for my entrepreneurial and comic-con courses. But until then, I had to catch up with him and find out about his new endeavor, Super Genius! 


Ed Catto: You have an amazing history in comics, Jim. Can you remind me how you started and how you got to this point?

Jim Salicrup: Like most people working in comics today, I fell in love with comics as a kid. In fact, my childhood dreams, back when I was a kid living in the projects in the Bronx, were to work at Marvel Comics and to live in Manhattan. I even applied to the High School of Art and Design, where so many comic book artists went, thinking that would prepare me to work in comics. Imagine my surprise, when after sending a postcard to Marvel offering to be their slave, they actually took me up on my offer! Well, I wasn’t technically a slave—I was paid a salary. And this happened in the Summer of ’72 before I even started attending The High School of Art & Design. Once I was at Marvel, I was there for twenty years, eventually editing most of Marvel’s top titles—from the Claremont/Byrne X-MEN to SPIDER-MAN by Todd McFarlane.

After I left Marvel, I was the Editor-in-Chief at Topps Comics, where I worked with everyone from Jack Kirby to Ray Bradbury! After Topps, I was back working with Stan Lee again as Senior Writer/Editor at Stan Lee Media. And after that, I was involved with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) and co-founding Papercutz with NBM publisher, Terry Nantier. Our first graphic novels came out January 2005, and we’ve been dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages ever since.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup”

Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics

Last summer, as we were getting this site up and going, one of the first things that I did was reach out to legendary comic letterer and artist John Workman. I had met him at a couple of conventions in the past, and he had told me some interesting stories about how comics were made in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I felt that the stories were amazing insights into the world of comic making, and I wanted to get all the details so that we could share those incredible stories with all of you.

My intent for our initial interview was to clarify some details he had told me about making Thor in the 80’s with Walter Simonson. What ended up happening was an almost two-hour conversation and a truly life changing event for me. I clipped out a little bit of our conversation for a column last year called When Thor Road the Bus.

Before I get too far along, I must say that John Workman is one of the nicest people that I have ever met. He is thoughtful, considerate, inquisitive, and incredibly talented. Since our initial phone conversation, John and I have spoken a couple of more times over the phone, and my wife and I spent a lovely afternoon with John and his wife Cathy at their home last November. He has become a regular email pen pal of mine. I consider John a friend, and I am lucky for it.

The purpose of this article is to share with the world some of the amazing things that we spoke about. The topics range from the page counts for comics in the 70’s to his time at Heavy Metal. There are some funny stories about Harlan Ellison and Wally Wood. There is the tale of the “Lost Mignola Batman Story”, and much more. So hang on and I will try my best to navigate all this history and bring it into the world so that we can all share in its wonder.

Jeannette Kahn and Dollar Comics

I had mentioned to John that the title to my column on PCS would be called “Continued After the Next Page” as a throwback to comic days of yesteryear. He broke out into some pretty cool comics production history.

John Workman: I worked at DC from 1975 to 1977 before I went to work at Heavy Metal. During that time, as had been true since the early 1950s, there were thirty-six pages [thirty- two interior and four for the front and back covers] in a regular comic book. Of those pages, somewhere over 20 (27 in the ’60s) were devoted to actual comics material with the rest being made up of a combination of paid ads and “house ads” that let readers know about other DC publications. Shortly after I arrived at DC, the number of comics pages dropped to seventeen, and I remember two things that we had to do. We [the production department] had to white-out all the pages numbers down in the corner so people would be a little less aware that they were only getting seventeen pages of comics, and we had to go in a lot and put in “Continued After Next” or “Second Page” or whatever, because the seventeen pages of comic material was broken up by more ads. There were a lot of in-house ads to fill out the issue because seventeen pages was only one more than the total number of pages in a book.

I was shocked at this and felt the need to clarify Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics”

With Further Ado #039: Look! Up in the Newspaper – A Super Interview with Sid Friedfertig

With Further Ado #039: Look! Up in the Newspaper – A Super Interview with Sid Friedfertig

The irony of a reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper appearing in the funny pages of a great metropolitan newspapers, and quite a few rural newspapers, is not lost on me.

Superman in comics, in the movies, on TV or the in the newspaper inspires the best in us. I had the pleasure of catching up with entrepreneur and super-fan, Sid Friedfertig, at the 44th annual Ithacon and it was a such a treat. He’s a guy with great passion inspired by Superman.  Through his Herculean efforts (or should I say “Kryptonian efforts”?) , fans can enjoy so many lost Superman adventures – and rediscover old adventures in longer stories with better, but still vintage, art!  “What is this?”, you say?  Well, read on and enjoy my chat with Sid Friedfertig:

Ed Catto: Can you tell me why you are such a Superman fan, and why do you feel Superman is so enduring? 

Sid Friedfertig: Superman endures because he is unique. With every other costumed hero the plots must be crafted so the hero’s ability is able to counter the menace facing him. Superman is the reverse, he is the All-Good, the ideal. To me that makes him more interesting.

EC:   How did you get hooked on the Silver Age Superman, and how did you develop such an interest in the Superman Newspaper Strips?

SF:  I grew up reading the Silver Age Superman comic books, which featured covers mostly drawn by Curt Swan, while at the same time watching the Adventures of Superman TV series. George Reeves was Swan’s Clark Kent come to life. Sometimes though, the story inside the comics was drawn by another artist. I wanted to see Swan’s artwork that went with those glorious covers. Later I realized that Swan had drawn those same stories for the Superman newspaper strip. Here were the stories that went with those covers, and I decided that I was going to find all of them.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #039: Look! Up in the Newspaper – A Super Interview with Sid Friedfertig”

Spotlight Interview with Comic Legend Gene Ha, Creator of Mae

Spotlight Interview with Comic Legend Gene Ha, Creator of Mae

Hey! Welcome back to our special feature Spotlight Interview column. When we are fortunate enough to get to talk to creative professionals, we love to bring those conversations to you folks.

Last month on March 24, 2019, we were able to get together with comic legend Gene Ha and talk about his current project and his career in comics.

Gene is well-known for working with Alan Moore on Top 10 from the America’s Best Comics imprint of Wildstorm. He has done work for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Malibu comics. Gene has won four, count them folks, four, Eisner Awards.

Beginning in 2015, Gene has focused mostly on his creator owned stories. His all ages story Mae was originally published by Dark Horse and has now been picked up by Lion Forge. It is the story of sisters, monsters, and magical dimensions. The second volume is finishing up in single issues and the first volume trade was re-released last year. We are big fans of Mae.

PopCultureSquad: What is your process like these days? Are you still using traditional materials or are you moving to digital?

Gene Ha: Honestly, I have hit the bifocals age. So, it’s hard for me to see anything except for the two distances where my lenses are set.  Having pinch and zoom on an iPad Pro in Procreate and drawing there is a lot easier for doing fine detail. So, I have abandoned paper mostly, unless I am doing sketches at a convention.

PCS: Where does Mae’s voice come from?

GH: It comes from having a lot of female geek friends and realizing that I hadn’t heard a lot of voices that actually talk like them, who are the heroes of their story. There are so many stories that have a female geek character, but she tends to be support or the best friend of the hero.

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Legend Gene Ha, Creator of Mae”