Category: Interviews

With Further Ado #226: See You at San Diego – A conversation with author Mathew Klickstein

With Further Ado #226: See You at San Diego – A conversation with author Mathew Klickstein

When I say I love history, I don’t just mean I like to read about ancient Rome and the Revolutionary War. There’s so much more out there, and Mathew Klickstein has provided a doozy. His newest book, See You at San Diego: An Oral History of Comic-Con, Fandom and the Triumph of Geek Culture is a deep-dive history of San Diego Comic-Con. It’s informative, insightful and great fun. So, as we prepare for the With Further Ado’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide (it’ll be published next Wednesday), let’s use this interview with Mathew as a sort of “Gift Guide Eve” column!


Ed Catto: I’ve really enjoyed your book See You at San Diego Mathew. But then again, I’m really into the history of comics and geek culture. Is this book only for people like me?

Mathew Klickstein: I appreciate it, and also appreciate the question. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “challenge,” but I’ve been doing my best to get the word out not only about the book but the fact that it’s not merely about San Diego Comic-Con, Comic-Con, or even “just” comics or what some people might call “comics culture.”

I think it’s for a much wider audience for the reason that the book is in fact an oral history of fandom and pop culture nostalgia itself – over a century’s time – as told by those who made a lot of it happen. We did focus our narrative on the prehistory, history, and expansion of what turned out to be the largest pop culture convention worldwide according to Guinness: and that’s Comic-Con. Otherwise, the book would’ve been 50,000 pages instead of 500.

Seeing everything through the lens of the rise and conquest of Comic-Con helped narrow the story … but, like Comic-Con itself, it’s really about everything in the geek culture or pop culture scene.

EC: This book has such a unique design. How did it all come about?

MK: The principal praise for our eye-catching, immersive, and dynamic design has to of course first and foremost go to our genius designer, Jonathan Barli. I told him as soon as I saw the first proofs that I would always make sure to mention him and ensure people knew who was most responsible for it. Continue reading “With Further Ado #226: See You at San Diego – A conversation with author Mathew Klickstein”

Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire Talk About Dead Seas

Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire Talk About Dead Seas

We are happy to bring you our latest spotlight interview. In this episode, we spoke to a pair of creators who have a very cool comic project coming to shops soon. Writer Cavan Scott and artist Nick Brokenshire will be debuting Dead Seas from IDW Publishing in December.

This pair of longtime collaborators have a massive list of comic work between them. We have already reviewed the first issue of their new creator-owned book Dead Seas, and we were super excited to get the opportunity to talk about it with them.

Cavan has written quite a bit of Star Wars content in novel, audio book, and comic form over the years. He also has written for properties such as Pacific Rim, Transformers, Doctor Who, Adventure Time and more. His creator owned comics include Shadow Service from Vault Comics and The Ward from Dark Horse Comics.

Nick is an comic artist who has worked on Star Wars, Transformers, and The Once And Future Queen among others.

We talked about the process of making their latest collaboration and spent some time talking about the differences of growing up a fan of the comic media in the UK verses America.

We hope you enjoy the SquadCast below and check out some of the transcribe interview even further down the page.


SquadCast Interview:

Pop Culture Squad: Where did this book come from?

Cavan Scott: It comes from my love of old disaster movies shown on a rainy Sunday afternoon on British television. Things obviously like Towering Inferno and the direct inspiration, The Poseidon Adventure. I love these films, and I’ve watched them many, many, many times. But as with most things, I think most things would be better if there were ghosts and monsters.

I was literally watching The Poseidon Adventure, which was linked into another project I worked on, Star Wars: The High Republic. It was one of our touchstone movies that we watched before we started working on it. And I was watching it and, and I was looking at this amazing bit of cinema and all these wonderful characters that you fall in love with, and then you lose about ten minutes later.

I started to think, “Wouldn’t it be cool if some of those came back as ghosts, as the ship was going down?” And that was where the idea came from. So, in Dead Seas you have a haunted prison ship, which at some point in the future the series will start to sink. No spoilers there really, I think we’re quite open about that.

Yeah, as there’s already ghosts on board, that number will increase, and it all came from watching that movie on that rainy afternoon.

PCS: What can you tell us about the setting of this story? Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire Talk About Dead Seas”

Live SquadCast with Comic Creator Thom Zahler

Live SquadCast with Comic Creator Thom Zahler

Join us live as we talk to cartoonist and comic creator Thomas Zahler.  Thom is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for print edition of Cupid’s Arrows Season 2. That comic was originally published on Webtoons.com and delves deeper into the mythos of the covert teams of “cupids” who ensure that the right people fall in love with each other. It is a funny and heartfelt property that explores the nature of love and destiny through the lens of romantic comedy.

Thom is also running a Patreon page where he regularly updates new pages of the latest volume of his long running magnum opus Love and Capes. The latest collection will be called Love and Capes: Home For the Holidays and is a follow-up to last year’s Ringo Award Nominated Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid.

We hope you enjoy the conversation and check out the Kickstarter campaign for Cupid’s Arrows.

Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Jeffrey Burandt and Sean Von Gorman Talk Ghost Planet.

Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Jeffrey Burandt and Sean Von Gorman Talk Ghost Planet.

Our latest spotlight interview brought us to a team of collaborators about to bring a sci-fi horror comic to stores near you this October. Writer Jeff Burandt and artist Sean Von Gorman have Ghost Planet releasing on October 19th from Scout Comics.

We spoke with the two creators about the inspiration for the book as well as the interesting history of what went into getting it published.  Ghost Planet is a forty-page one-shot comic about a family of space explorers that land on a planet with a terrible secret. The first two chapters were released on Webtoons as part of a weekly challenge.

This pair have been frequent collaborators, and we talked about some of the cool things that they are working on besides Ghost Planet.

This conversation was a lot of fun. We hope you listen to the Squadcast below and then check out the info about Ghost Planet including our exclusive review following the audio.


Ghost Planet #1
Scout Comics
Written by Jeffrey Burandt
Art, Colors, and Lettering by Sean Von Gorman
Cover Art by Von Gorman

Release Date: October 19, 2022

Original Solicitation:

A family of deep space explorers rushes to solve the mystery of Ghost Planet before their recently-dead loved ones return to kill them next! Murder birds, eye stalks and space pigs abound in this 40-page graphic novella. Ghost Planet is a classic sci-fi tale with a body horror twist.

PCS Review: Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Jeffrey Burandt and Sean Von Gorman Talk Ghost Planet.”

Letterer Appreciation Day is Here – Livestream

Letterer Appreciation Day is Here – Livestream

Every September 1st is a chance to celebrate Letterer Appreciation Day. It is the birthday of one of the greats in the craft, Gaspar Saladino, but it is a opportunity to honor and appreciate the talent and hard work of the most underappreciated member of the comic book creative team.

Lettering is the thread that binds the comic narrative together. It is often said that if you don’t notice the lettering, then the letterer did their job. While there is some truth in that, it dismisses the important role that a letterer plays in creative process. If the lettering doesn’t pull the reader out of the story, then the story flows better, but if the letterer adds to the narrative with creativity in font choices, balloon shapes, sound effects, then doesn’t that improve the book overall.

Letterers are responsible for placing word balloons and caption boxes on the pages. They often have to make difficult choices to ensure a seamless narrative for the reader. They create the logos for comic series, and they add dynamism to the page with sound effects. A good letterer can make a comic sing in special ways.

Today we celebrate the craft of lettering and the artists who are the least compensated for their effort.

We are speaking live with two fantastic letterers: Janice Chiang and Ariana Maher. You can find the live stream embedded below or you can watch it on the PCS YouTube channel here. It is also available at our Facebook page here. Continue reading “Letterer Appreciation Day is Here – Livestream”

With Further Ado #212: Five-and-a-Half Questions with Devin Kraft

With Further Ado #212: Five-and-a-Half Questions with Devin Kraft

As part of our ongoing “Actual Comics at San Diego Comic-Con”, I’d like to you introduce you to Devin Kraft. I met him at a wild party at the Tiki Bar, hosted by publisher Bad Idea. He is the type of guy who is bubbling up with good ideas, and his current series, Neverender from Behemoth Comics is innovative and getting noticed. Enjoy my five-and-a-half questions with Devin:


Ed Catto #1: What’s your origin story, Devin? How did you ever start writing comics?

Devin Kraft: I’ve got a pretty amazing case of ADHD, so as a kid to keep me preoccupied my parents would give me legal pads and a pen. This helped me to both communicate visually and use art as a means of keeping out of people’s hair. I tend to move a bit faster than most people, so drawing in class helped me to slow down and not disrupt class as much.

I grew up on Archie’s Sonic line, and I’d make my own version of Sonic comics from time to time. Eventually I got hooked on Pokémon and Capcom’s various Marvel fighting series, and that led me to falling in love with anime and manga, and in seeking that out at comic shops I became interested in American comics – I’m sort of a student of both visual languages.

In high school, my friend (and incredibly talented artist) Logan Pack and I started to synthesize the Chinese gun-fu films we were enjoying into a neo-noir comic called Jabberwock. I planned on writing initially but started trying to hone my art during college – primarily during classes. Through a study abroad program, I was able to live in Japan for a bit and dive deeper into the wide variety of manga. I actually submitted a few manga to publishers, but my style was a bit more molten and my subject matter probably wasn’t what they were looking for.

I continued to create and self-publish indie comics throughout college, and for a short time I worked in the film industry. After saving a bit of money from a medical job, I went freelance in 2012 and ran Kickstarter campaigns for original comics pretty much yearly since, publishing Dragon Slayer (2012-14), Silence (2015-17) and the first two issues of Neverender (2019-2020).

EC #2: Neverender is such a cool premise. Can you give us the pitch and also let us know some of the main characters? Continue reading “With Further Ado #212: Five-and-a-Half Questions with Devin Kraft”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.

A couple of weeks ago, we caught up with rising superstar comic writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. We talked about a bunch of cool topics and published that interview on our Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition. Johnson is super busy creating comics, but we talked about the three biggest announced projects that he is working on.

Recently, it was revealed that he will be writing the new series of James Bond from Dynamite Entertainment, with artist Marco Finnegan providing the visuals. That series begins next month in August.

We also spoke about what is going on in the pages of Action Comics from DC Comics where Ricardo Federici, Johnson’s partner in crime from the Last God has taken over primary art duties from Daniel Sampere.

As is usually the focus of our comic creator chats, we spent quite a bit of time talking about Phillip’s writing process and techniques. Some of that highlighted the excellent work that he has been doing on the Marvel Comics series Alien with artist Salvador Larroca.

It is always illuminating to talk to Phillip and we have transcribed some of the interesting newsy bits of the conversation below the jump. Give the SquadCast a listen and let us know what you think.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s talk about James Bond. Congratulations on writing the new James Bond series with Dynamite Entertainment. Before we get into the series, I want to talk about who is “your James Bond” Which actor is the one that you are always going to watch.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson: Daniel Craig, for sure.

PCS: Okay, good. I personally don’t have a favorite. I love them all. What was the first Bond movie that you saw?

PKJ: <laugh> I honestly don’t remember. And the reason is it wasn’t like there was just one that came on. This one time I was staying with my stepdad’s mother for the weekend, and there was this Bond marathon on TV.

PCS: So, you watched them all at once.

PKJ: Seriously. I watched like a dozen of them probably. I fell asleep during one of them. I was like, “Oh, I guess I’m going to go to bed.” And, at the time, I remember liking Sean Connery a lot. I thought like “This guy’s super cool.” And I still feel like he’s probably the coolest of the old Bonds of the pre-Craig Bonds.

Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell

In this episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast we spoke with writer Mark Russell. It’s been about seven years since Mark burst on the scene with his breakthrough book The Flintstones from DC comics.

Since that time, he has delivered a string of smart, thought provoking stories in the medium including Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Second Coming with Ahoy Comics, Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment, Billionaire Island, Not All Robots from AWA Studios, and so much more.

We spent some time in this conversation talking about his two upcoming series which are Superman: Space Age on which he is work with legendary artist Mike Allred. And The Incal: Psychoverse that he is doing with Yanick Paquette.

If you are a fan of Mark Russell’s work at all, you know that we had to touch on some current events and nature of human society. It was a lot of fun.

We transcribed some of the interview below but also listen to the SquadCast to hear the whole conversation. We hope you enjoy it.


PopCultureSquad: You’ve written Superman before in Wonder Twins and One Star Squadron. How does this new story differ for you? Is it the same version of Superman?

Mark Russell: I wanted to write him as like sort of a wise old stoic, you know, sort of like Marcus Aurelius or Suetonius or something, but he doesn’t start out that way. And I think what is different about this story is it tells Superman from his beginnings to becoming that. So, it is much more about trial and error. It is much more about the process of him becoming Superman, about him absorbing the wisdom of the Kents and Lois lane, and synthesizing all of the influences that they have on his life and becoming what you would recognize as my Superman. He is an unflappable, wise character who realizes that he has to be the voice of reason, that he has to be the most generous soul in the room, because anything less than that would be a nightmare for the human race.

PCS: Right. And it’s interesting because the Superman that you have written is very different from Sunstar from Second Coming. Superman that you’ve written has that heavy gravitas to him. And you can tell that everyone who’s talking to him, or stuck talking to him, knows that they are talking to the most powerful person on the planet, and he is not acting like it.

MR: So. Yeah. When I had originally pitched the Second Coming story, I wanted it to be Superman, but, Dan Didio at DC said, “I get death threats when Superman fails to say the Pledge of Allegiance. You are not going to involve me in your blasphemy here.” So, luckily he said no to Superman, but he said, “You can write it as a creator own character, and I’ll approve it.” So, that’s when I created Sunstar. and it really turned out to be a good move, because Sunstar, I think makes a much better paring for Jesus Christ than Superman.

If it was Superman, then you just have two nice guys, two really wise guys bouncing off each other, and no one wants to read that. There is just really nowhere to go with that. Whereas, Sunstar is not that wise. He’s a guy who’s kind of spoiled, someone who’s leaned into his privilege, and Christ has to sort of dial him back a little. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell”

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Taylor Esposito, Letterer and Educator

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Taylor Esposito, Letterer and Educator

We like to talk to comic professionals in all fields of expertise, and we have finally gotten a letterer on the Pop Culture SquadCast. We were able to catch up recently with Taylor Esposito for our latest episode.

Taylor has been a staff letterer for DC Comics and has worked as a freelance letterer for lots of publishers, including: DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, AfterShock Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and more. He is also the owner of Ghost Glyph Studios which offers a wide range of comic book and graphic design services.

In addition to his freelance lettering work, Taylor is part of the faculty at the Kubert School where he imparts his expertise to the next generation of comic professionals.

We had a great talk about his origin story in comics and how he approaches his craft. The topics of discussion were far ranging, and we transcribed a bit of it below. Listen to the SquadCast to here the whole conversation. We hope you enjoy it.


Pop Culture Squad: What do you think is a part of the job of lettering comics that people don’t appreciate the most?

Taylor Esposito: Well, it’s not the most glamorous part. When you’re writing, you’re making up the stories, and when you’re drawing, you’re imagining the worlds. When you’re coloring, you’re kind of bringing them to life. Lettering is, to the untrained person, just dropping letters on the page, or dropping balloons. The thing is, and this is not to put anyone down, sometimes writers and artists are too into their part of the craft where they’re not thinking about the total page.

There is a legibility to these things. You know? If we’re in the American market, we read top down and left right. If we’re in the Japanese market, obviously it’s reversed, but same principle. It has to flow properly. If a reader is getting tripped up or stuck or confused, we failed. So if these things are not being resolved in the layouts before the final pages are drawn and if after the final pages are drawn, it’s not adjusted again for like space issues or, or readability or whatever, it comes down to the letter. It’s just kind of find a way to make it legible. And we do a lot of heavy lifting. Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Taylor Esposito, Letterer and Educator”

What Did You Miss Most About Not Having Comic Cons?

What Did You Miss Most About Not Having Comic Cons?

Now that we have a full slate of convention season set for 2022, we polled some of the creators who made it out to Fan Expo Philadelphia about how they are feeling. The question being asked of each participant was, “What did you find that you missed the most about being at conventions during the time that we didn’t have the opportunity to attend these events?”

The people that we spoke to were in general excited and happy to be at the show, and that includes creator guests, vendors, and paying customers. The answer to the poll question typically fell into one of two basic categories.

The Fans

Yeah. People. This community is built around comic shops and comic cons.

Mike Hawthorne

The first sentiment involved missing the fan interaction that they enjoy at shows. Missing the chance to talk to fans and checking out the cool costumes that people wear to cosplay at the shows were two themes that were part of those answers.

The feedback that fans give creators is a significant plus for the pros who are working the shows. Often the solitude of creating comic books on their own, takes an emotional toll, and interacting with consumers of their product puts the amount of creative time spent on their craft in perspective.

Chris Campana – Artist

I missed interactions with the people. I know that I wouldn’t be able to do this gig, full-time, without the relationships I made with the people at the show. That’s everything. They sustained me through the pandemic. They supported me even though they were struggling themselves. So, I missed most the give and take at the table, whether people buy something or not. That was the biggest thing. Just seeing everyone.

Kami Garcia – Writer

So, I think what I miss most is actually meeting the readers and the fans in person. It’s totally different. Even when you’re on either a virtual event or you’re interacting with people on Twitter and Instagram, it’s not the same. I love seeing like meeting the readers and hearing the stories about why they love the comics, or which book they got hooked on. Also, I like seeing my creator friends in person.

Stephanie Phillips – Writer

Continue reading “What Did You Miss Most About Not Having Comic Cons?”