Category: Interviews

With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders

With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders

As a kid, I wasn’t into war comics, but I sure did love the “war comic for people who hate comics”: Marvel’s Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  That was the tagline that Marvel  developed for this offbeat war comic.  (I assume Stan Lee, as both writer and in-house ad agency, wrote that line.)

This series quickly became the print version of a WWII buddy movie.  The Howling Commandos were a special task force, more like Army Rangers than the British commandos, who were dispatched on fantastic, all-odds-against-them missions. The Howling Commandos joked and kidded their way through every adventure.  It all seemed like great fun, and in contrast to real war, downright happy and hilarious.

As we all got older, it was harder to choke down Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  We learned about the horrors and atrocities of war, and the meandering silliness of  this comic seemed to trivialize an admittedly awful subject. We could draw the line at glamorizing war, especially when used for macho adventure, but before long, treating it too lightheartedly was verboten.  In fact, in the waning days of the Sgt. Fury series, Marvel began swinging the pendulum in the other direction, most notably with titles like War Is Hell.

Still, there was so much to love about that series. Especially when it really hit its stride with Gary Friedrich scripts, Dick Ayers pencils, and John Severin inks.  Those were gripping, dense and clever comics.  One of my all-time favorite covers depicted on character on his way to a court-martial. Not the standard stuff of war comics.

That was then, and this is now. And I have some good news!  Ron Marz and Darryl Banks have reunited (You will remember them from their groundbreaking Green Lantern series.) to collaborate on a new “war comic”: Harken’s Raiders.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders”

Spotlight Interview with Love and Capes Creator, Thom Zahler

Spotlight Interview with Love and Capes Creator, Thom Zahler

What happens with super heroes when they are not fighting crime. Do they date? What are their private live like? Who are the people they interact with out of uniform? This are the questions that writer/artist Thom Zahler wanted to explore and decided to make a story about the personal lives of superheroes.

The first volume of Love and Capes was published by IDW in 2008. Three subsequent trade paperback volumes were published culminating in Volume 4 “What to Expect” which was published in 2013.  Since then, Zahler has worked on a bunch of excellent different creator owned properties and licensed material. All the while, he has been peppered with questions of when the will be more Love and Capes.

Recently, he has returned to Chronopolis and the world of the Crusader. Volume 5 of Love and Capes, titled “The Family Way”, will be published by IDW in February 2020, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We sat down and talked with Thom about what it was like to come back to the story after so much time and what has changed.

Check out our SquadCast interview on this page and a part of the interview that we transcribed below: Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Love and Capes Creator, Thom Zahler”

Spotlight on Butcher of Paris: A Review and Interview with Stephanie Phillips

Spotlight on Butcher of Paris: A Review and Interview with Stephanie Phillips

Coming Soon to comic shops is The Butcher of Paris from Dark Horse Comics. It is based on true events from World War II, and it is spectacular.

We reached out to the writer of the book, Stephanie Phillips, and she was gracious enough to talk with us. Stephanie is coming on strong in the comic scene. She has written Devil Within for Black Mask Comics, Descendent for AfterShock Comics, and just recently her first story for DC Comics was announced. She will be contributing to the February Valentine’s Day special Crimes of Passion.

We are big fans of her storytelling style and execution, and we were thrilled with the first issue of The Butcher of Paris. Check below to see our advance review of the book and our interview with Stephanie.

The Butcher of Paris #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Dean Kotz
Colors by Jason Wordie
Letters by Troy Peteri
Cover Art by Dave Johnson

Original Solicitation:

In 1944, as Swastikas flew over Paris, one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers in history turned the occupied city into his personal hunting ground.

Under the guise of opportunity and freedom, a killer preys on those desperate to flee . . . until a gruesome discovery alerts the police. In a city on the brink of war, the hunt for a serial killer begins as a French detective races to catch the villain before the Nazis beat him to it.

Written by Stephanie Phillips with art by Dean Kotz, The Butcher of Paris is a historical, true crime thriller about a killer wanted by both the Nazis and allied forces for the death of nearly two hundred victims.

PCS Review: Continue reading “Spotlight on Butcher of Paris: A Review and Interview with Stephanie Phillips”

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”

With Further Ado #069: The Forgotten All-Star

With Further Ado #069: The Forgotten All-Star

I’ve been reading stories by Gardner Fox all my life. And thoroughly enjoying them. His “upstanding citizen” version of iconic heroes may have, in some ways, fallen out favor today. But to so many fans, his work is the bedrock upon which superhero comics are built upon. Upon reflection, his version of herodom may also be what other comic innovators pivoted from.  For example, Marvel introduced flawed heroes with human shortcomings as an alternative to the Gardner Fox style of heroes. Indy heroes of the 80s introduced non-traditional protagonists as something new. Even DC comics, where Gardner Fox did so much of his writing, would, by the 80s, showcase heroes with dark histories or motivations, in stark contrast to their Golden Age and Silver Age heroes. 

I loved his stories. I loved his heroes and his twisty plots. His scientific explanations and extrapolations always made me think that much harder. And in the worlds that Gardner Fox created, friendships really meant something.

But I didn’t know much about Gardner Fox himself. I was enthralled when John Siuntres, in his excellent Word Balloon Podcast, interviewed Jennifer DeRoss  who just wrote the biography of Gardner Fox.  Forgotten All-Star: A Biography of Gardner Fox is a winner, and I had to reach out to the author.  Here’s what she had to say:

Ed Catto : I understand you had a family member who was very pro-comics when you were growing up. What’s the whole story behind that?

Jennifer DeRoss: Many people in my family read comics, but my grandmother was my biggest   literacy advocate. She is primarily a fan of the Sunday Funnies and would even clip out the strips she thought I would enjoy and mail them to me because I lived outside of any newspaper circulation areas. Garfield has always been her favorite and she still has quite the collection of Garfield related merchandise. She is also fond of Silver Age DC and when I took an interest in the superhero genre, she was more than happy to support that love.

My grandma would buy me comics right alongside her soap opera magazines every time we went grocery shopping together. She also exposed me to some of the older superhero cartoons, although she would eventually regret that a little after I began obsessively watching the Aquaman VHS every day.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #069: The Forgotten All-Star”

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”

Spotlight on Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci – A Review and Interview

Spotlight on Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci – A Review and Interview

Cecil Castellucci is an incredible artist in the true sense of the word. She began her quest to share art with the world by spending her life studying to be a filmmaker. Ultimately, she has thrived and shared stories with the world through many mediums. She has written Young Adult novels, and graphic novels. She has written for DC Comics and is the current writer on Batgirl. She has fronted a couple of punk rock bands, and also written hockey-based operas, to name a few media.

Most recently, she has written a graphic memoir called Girl on Film that is published by Boom! Studios. We acquired an advanced copy of the book that comes out in comic shops on November 12, 2019 and everywhere else the following week. Let me tell you, it is wonderful, and there is a more detailed review below.

We also reached out to Ms. Castellucci, and she graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us. You can find our interview below the book review. It was a great experience from us and we hope you enjoy it too.

Girl On Film
Boom! Studios / Archia
Written by  Cecil Castellucci
Art by Vicky Leta, Melissa Duffy, V. Gagnon & Jon Berg
Colors by Kieran Quigley & Joana Lafuente
Letters by Mike Fiorentino
Cover Art by Caz Westover

Original Solicitation

One thing young Cecil was sure of from the minute she saw Star Wars was that she was going to be some kind of artiste. Probably a filmmaker. Possibly Steven Spielberg. Then, in 1980, the movie Fame came out. Cecil wasn’t allowed to see that movie. It was rated R, and she was ten. But she did watch the television show and would pretend with her friends that she was going to that school. Of course they were playing. She was not. She was destined to be an art school kid.

Continue reading “Spotlight on Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci – A Review and Interview”

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”

Spotlight Interview with Sandy King, Publisher of Storm King Comics

Spotlight Interview with Sandy King, Publisher of Storm King Comics

Happy Halloween!!!

We are bringing you a special treat on this spookiest of days. Earlier this year, at Keystone Comic Con in Philadelphia, we were able to sit down and talk with Sandy King, the publisher of Storm King Comics.

If you are not familiar with Storm King Comics, you should be. Sandy and her husband John Carpenter are cultivating a wonderful stable of comic titles and stories for fans of horror and science fiction comics.

Recently the fifth edition of Tales for a HalloweeNight anthology was released, and you can probably still find it in your Local Comic Shop. It features stories created by such comic luminaries as Frank Tieri, Steve Niles, Andy Price, Amanda Diebert, Cat Staggs, Gus Vazquez, Bill Sienkiewicz and much more.

This upstart comic company is consistently producing high quality storytelling as evidenced by the recent mini-series Tales of Science Fiction: Surviving Nuclear Attack by Joe Harris and Cat Staggs.

We felt today would be the perfect day to bring you the interview that we did with Sandy King in which we talk about her vision for her company and comics in general. Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Sandy King, Publisher of Storm King Comics”

With Further Ado #061: Larry Hama Conversations

With Further Ado #061: Larry Hama Conversations

Did you ever think you knew about someone, but then when you get into you realize how little you knew…and how fascinating that particular person is? That’s the experience I had after reading the new book from Christopher Irving, Larry Hama Conversations. It’s a fun read to be sure, but the more you learn about Larry Hama the more you want to learn. Hama is so much more than just the writer of GI Joe comics. Through this collection of interviews, I learned so much about him; everything from his time with folks like Wally Wood and Neal Adams to the secrets behind vintage San Diego Comic-Con vintages photos. This tidbit was revealed as Hama was speaking about a “lost project” where Vince Colletta was the photographer.

Christopher Irving is a gifted writer and an academic. Fall’s a busy time for him at Virginia’s Commonwealth University, but I caught up with him to talk about this new book.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #061: Larry Hama Conversations”