Category: Interviews

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”

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Without a knowing the bigger picture, you could think he was delusional. But with the whole story, there is no other way of looking at it than he is a manipulator.

Did you insert yourself into someone’s trauma for personal reasons? Are you being a supportive person or just an angry one?

Was that an “innocent flirtation” that you just made, or are your comments actually harassment?

These questions are important. Actions have consequences. Even online actions can lead to real damage.

The world we live in is changing all the time. Sometimes for the worse, and sometimes for the better. One of the ways that our society has been changing for the better over the last couple of years is that there is greater accountability required by people who have preyed upon the vulnerable and engaged in inappropriate personal behavior. The #MeToo movement has made it more difficult for everything from unwanted overly familiar innuendo to sexual assault to be brushed away or excused.

There are two types of goals for exposing unacceptable behavior publicly. The first is punishment. Punishment for the offender. Unfortunately, even though the victims are justified in their desire for some level of retribution, that doesn’t always work out.

An example of that is the public declaration of Chris Hardwick‘s behavior in a past relationship by Chloe Dykstra. He laid low for a short time and made some public statements without admitting guilt, and now he is back on TV and getting paid.

Sometimes, people are cast out from their positions of celebrity. Truly, it should be a privilege to be a public figure and be celebrated. That includes comic book writers and artists. Companies are free to employ whom they chose, and consumers are free to support who they want, but people have a right know when someone is behaving badly, especially if that person is in the public arena.

We saw, last year, that Eric Esquivel was fired following revelations of abusive behavior, and recently Dark Horse Comics stated that they would no longer work with Brian Wood because of multiple allegations of unacceptable actions. In the case of Jai Nitz, comic writer and college guest lecturer, it took the reaction of the University of Kansas banning him from the campus for the comics community to take notice of what had been a pattern of terrible acts.

The second goal for exposing inappropriate behavior is awareness. Awareness that the actions are wrong, and that the perpetrator is engaging in this behavior. We mentioned awareness that the behavior is wrong, and that is the meat of this post.

There are people who prey on the vulnerable and the abused by portraying themselves as an ally. Some people use the trauma of others for their own benefit. They frame the other people’s injuries with their own feelings.

One such person is comic writer C.W. Cooke. He is a pretty well known in the indie comic circuit, especially online. Until very recently, he has been quick to comment and insert himself in the raging at bad actors in the comic community.

There is a difference between being a predator that breaks laws and someone who crosses the barriers of acceptable social interactions. The latter can cause personal pain and often result in very real trauma.

Continue reading “Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?”

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”