Category: Reviews

With Further Ado #123: Holiday Gift Guide 2020

With Further Ado #123: Holiday Gift Guide 2020

It’s been rough year for most of us, but in Geek Culture there’s been plenty of bright spots. In the spirit of trumpeting some of the good stuff, here’s my Annual Holiday Gift Guide.


HOLLY JOLLY: CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS PAST IN POP CULTURE
Written by Mark Voger
TwoMorrows Publishing

Every year, I make room on my nightstand for The Battle For Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum. For me, it’s the “alpha book”  in analyzing and explaining our Christmas traditions that have shaped the way we celebrate the holiday.

But this December, I think I will have to make room on that night stand for TwoMorrows Publishing’s newest book. Holly Jolly by Mark Voger looks to be the definitive pop-culture counterpart to Nissenbaum’s tome.  I always enjoy Mark Voger’s writing, and I just loved his Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture (also published by TwoMorrows) a few years back.

“I can’t think of a single topic that has generated more art and culture,” says author Mark Voger of why he decided to do a Christmas book. “From music to movies, TV, cartoons, food and decor, everybody seems to have a favorite Christmas ‘something’ — a delicacy or a song or an animated special. I tried to cram everything in Holly Jolly.”

$43.95 192 pp. • Hardcover, Full Color  • ISBN: 1605490970

Available everywhere books are sold, and from the publisher TwoMorrows.


THE FANTASTIC PAINTINGS OF FRAZETTA
by J. David Spurlock 
Vanguard Publishing

Despite the calamitous nature of 2020, my wife and I were able to visit the Frank Frazetta Museum last summer. It was a wonderful trip, and I am still in awe of all the amazing paintings there.  Reading this oversized coffee table book is like a V.I.P. guided tour in that museum.  Spurlock provides just enough background and reference so that anyone can appreciate Frazetta’s talent and creativity. In fact, I wrote about this book earlier this year, and you can read that here.

My Highest Recommendation

$39.95 120 pp. • paperback  • ISBN-10: 1934331813

Available at bookstores, comic shops, the Frazetta Museum, and directly from Vanguard, the publisher.


FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES

CAT & CAT: GIRL MEETS CAT
by Christoph Cazenove, Herve Richez & Yrgane Ramon
Papercutz

Yrgane Ramon sure can draw funny cats. But the thing I like most about this artist’s work is the panels she creates. While eschewing the traditional panel grid/border, Ramon still creates a sense of storytelling urgency.

There’s a lovely element where the heroine, Cat, is from a strong single parent family. It’s not a hit-you-over-the-head type of thing, but just another sweet element of a very sweet book.

$9.99 96 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10 : 1545804281

Available at bookstores. comic shops and directly from the publisher, Papercutz.


ATTACK OF THE STUFF
by Jim Benton
Papercutz

If you gift this book to a fourth grader, you’ll be thrilled by how much they laugh out loud and how cool they think you are. But if you read this book with your spouse, as I did, you’ll also be laughing out loud. And maybe you’ll be thinking, “I shouldn’t have given that book away as a gift – I should’a kept it!”

The main character has a gift to hear the thoughts of all inanimate objects. The only problem is – everything whines. It’s a hilarious concept and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.  Publisher Jim Salicrup shepherds so many brilliant books, that it shouldn’t be a surprise what a winner Attack of the Stuff is. But it is a winner and that’s a wonderful surprise.

Caution: Don’t drink milk while reading this because you’ll snort it out your nose from laughing so much.

$9.99 96 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10 : 1545804990

Available at bookstores. comic shops and directly from the publisher, Papercutz.


EDISON BEAKER, CREATURE SEEKER: THE NIGHT DOOR
by Frank Cammuso
Viking, an imprint of Random House

What’s fun, and goofy and feels like that exact time of day when school lets out? That’s easy! The answer is any book by Frank Cammuso. His latest Edison Beaker adventure is no exception. This is an engaging one to read or to gift!

$16.99 120 pp. • Hardcover  • ISBN-10: 1949028445

Available at books stores & comic shops everywhere and online

 


GILLBERT VOLUME 3: THE FLAMING CARATS EVOLUTION
By Art Baltazar
Papercutz

Many folks think that a creator like Art Baltazar can do no wrong. I’m one of those guys!  Once again, Art takes readers on a journey of fun and silliness, peppered with a hefty dose of natural, wide-eyed fun and awe.  A wonderful read for all ages!

$14.99 80 pp. • hardcover & paperback  • ISBN 978-1-5458-0488-9 (hc)

Available at comic shops, fine bookstores and directly from Papercutz.


COLLECTED COMICS

UNDONE BY BLOOD or SHADOW OF A WANTED MAN
by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson and Sami Kivelä
AfterShock Comics

I like this book so much that I assigned it as homework in one of my classes. An unconventional western with more than one twists to shake up the genre and keep every reader on her or his toes.  This clever story is brought to life with strong art from Kivelä.

$15.99 160 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10: 0425291936

Available at bookstores & comic shops everywhere and online here.


BILLIONAIRE ISLAND
by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh
Ahoy Comics

Last week I skimmed an article in the New York Times about how billionaires have made so many Trillion (with a “T”) dollars more during the pandemic. It was, I will admit, a little debilitating.

But this hilarious series from Ahoy Comics helped me laugh away any depressing thoughts.  Satirist Mark Russell sets his sights on the ultra-wealthy in this recent series, just collected as a trade paperback.  It’s hard to imagine that he wrote it all before the recent headlines.  Steve Pugh, a longtime favorite (I still miss his detective-exorcist series, Alice Hotwire) delivers a gorgeous story, all the while making it look so easy.

<This is the kind of book that a guy like fellow columnist Mike Gold would love.>

$16.99 144 pp. • paperback  • ISBN-10: 1952090024

Available at comic shops and fine bookstores everywhere and at the online store of NYC’s Midtown Comics.  


THE MAN WHO F#%&ED UP TIME
by John Layman and Karl Mostert
Aftershock Comics

I like time travel stories, and I bet you do too. In fact, in my comic collection I have a box devoted to time travel comics.  You know, stuff like Aztec Ace, Rip Hunter, Chronos, Timespirits and Chrononauts. This new series from Aftershock, The Man Who Fu#%&ed Time, fits right in. It’s funny, irreverent and thoughtful. But not so thoughtful that your head hurts. This one moves along at a brisk pace and the reader almost wishes it unfolded more slowly. Ah well, tempus fugit, as they say.

$15.99 160 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10: 1949028453

Available at bookstores & all the best comic shops.


GET SMART

CITY OF PLEASURE
By Alexandre Dupouy
Korero Press

You know how you think that your parents’ or grandparents’ generation was all prim and proper, and that you, and your friends, were the first to discover how much fun it is to be bad? Well, a book like this one will quickly cure you of that naïve hubris.

Dupouy’s book celebrates Paris during the time of madness, between the wars, and the new lifestyles embraced, all with a lust for excess.  This book definitely puts the growl back in to the roaring twenties.

$30.39 176 pp. • hardcover  • ISBN 1912740052

 Available at comic shops, fine bookstores and directly from Korero.


THE CONSCIOUS MARKETER : Inspiring a Deeper and More Conscious Brand Experience
By Jim Joseph
Mascot Books

If you can’t get enough of marketing expert Jim Joseph through his daily blog, I’d heartily suggest you give his latest marketing book a try. It’s insightful, brisk to read and leaves you feeling energized and just a little bit smarter.

$24.95 216 pp. • hardcover     • ISBN 978-1-68401-871-0

Available at bookstores and directly from the publisher, Mascot.

 

 

* * *

Have a wonderful Yuletide…and to all a Good Night!

Preview Reviews for the Week of 11/18/20: Sea of Sorrows #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 11/18/20: Sea of Sorrows #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for this book.

This week we have a new series from Rich Douek and Alex Cormack called Sea of Sorrows from IDW Publishing.

You can find this book at your LCS on November 18, 2020.

Sea of Sorrows #1
IDW Publishing
Written by Rich Douek
Art by Alex Cormack
Colors by Cormack
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Cormack

Original Solicitation:

Deep sea adventure with a horrific twist! From the creative team behind last year’s hit horror series, ROAD OF BONES, comes an all-new tale of bone-chilling terror!

In the aftermath of the Great War, the North Atlantic is ripe for plunder by independent salvage crews. When a former naval officer hires the SS Vagabond, he leads the ship to a sunken U-boat, and a fortune in gold. Tensions mount as the crew prepares to double cross each other, but the darkness of the ocean floor holds deeper terrors than any of them have bargained for!

Plunge headfirst into the icy waters of dread with another historic tale of terror from writer Rich Douek, and artist Alex Cormack.

PCS Review:

Rich Douek and Alex Cormack are back with the spiritual successor to last year’s horror hit Road of Bones. This book is a gripping first salvo into an abyss of terror. The initial issue sets up several interesting conflicts and an intriguing overall concept. The character development is well done through dialogue without hitting you over the head with it. The tone of this book is best described as eerie.

Cormack follows up with the heavy white thematic visuals of Road of Bones with very heavy black theme for this book. The imagery is subdued and calming while also heightening the feeling of foreboding that permeates the book. The visual storytelling is expertly crafted, and Justin Birch does an excellent job lettering this book.

This book is a must read. There is a growing feeling of anticipation that builds as the pages turn, and when you get to the end, you will immediately be counting the days until you can get your hands on Issue Two.

 


If you are interested in hearing from the creator, we did a SquadCast Interview with Rich Douek earlier this year:

Click Here

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/28/20: Giga #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/28/20: Giga #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for this book.

This week we have a new series from Alex Paknadel and John Lê called Giga from Vault Comics.

You can find this book at your LCS on October 28, 2020.

Giga #1
Vault Comics
Written by Alex Paknadel
Art by John Lê
Colors by Rosh
Letters by Aditya Bidikar
Cover Art by Lê & Rosh

Original Solicitation:

Nobody knows why the skyscraper-sized mechs known as ‘Giga’ fought their bitter, centuries’ long war. All they know is that when the fighting finally stopped, the dormant Giga became humanity’s new habitat and new gods in one. When disgraced engineer Evan Calhoun finds an apparently murdered Giga, his society and the fascistic tech-centered religious order that controls it are rapidly thrown into chaos.

From writer Alex Paknadel and rising star John Lê comes another Vault & White Noise partnership about what happens after the mechs stop fighting.

PCS Review:

Alex Paknadel and John Lê have kicked off this highly anticipated book with a fabulous first issue. They have created a big vibrant would with a complex religious and political society that is easily accessible. The protagonist is sympathetic and engaging. The world of this book, set in the ruins of gigantic mech robots, translates well to the modern world in which we live in multiple ways. The pacing and dialogue are crisp and finely crafted.

The art by Lê and Rosh is dynamic and interesting. The panel layouts are keep the reader engaged in the action of exploring the world as the book moves through different settings. It is a really beautifully designed book that pays homage to sci-fi magazine stories of the early ’80s while firmly establishing a unique feel. Aditya Bidikar is an excellent letterer and uses some fun techniques to add a smoothness to the flow of the story.

This book exceeds the great expectations that I had for it. At the end of this book, I found myself craving more. It was not because I didn’t get enough in the issue, but because I am ready to find out more about this world and its characters. Don’t miss this one.

Brainiac On Banjo #098: Zippy, Schlitzie, & Griffy

Brainiac On Banjo #098: Zippy, Schlitzie, & Griffy

Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead by Bill Griffith, 256 pages, Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (print), $8.73 (digital)

Well, better late than never. When Nobody’s Fool was announced I got all excited, thinking this was a great idea from the one human on Earth best motivated to produce it. It came out about 18 months ago, I had ordered it from my friendly neighborhood comic book store, they never received it, and the whole thing faded from my brainpan. Maybe I was thinking I’d run into the editor Charlie Kochman at one convention or another — Charlie has no home and simply wanders from one convention to another.

Anyway, to make a long story tedious, I saw him a bunch of times but I didn’t put the arm on him, which is very unlike me. Finally, a little lightbulb lit above my naked pate and I went online and bought the thing. I read it yesterday, as I write this, and I’m writing this today. So you’d figure I must have liked it, right?

Well, I did. Books do not age, only readers do. But enough about me.

Almost 50 years ago, cartoonist Bill Griffith introduced his best-known and most beloved character Zippy The Pinhead in the underground comic book Real Pulp Comix #1; it was a romance story… kinda. I’d already been a fan of his work, and I thought telling a love story about a microcephalic was real gutsy. Of course, in 1971 we didn’t grasp the concept of political correctness the way we do today, but I’ll have more to rant about that anon.

The character took off and Griffith did a whole lot more Zippy The Pinhead stories. Fourteen years later, William Randolph Hearst III asked him to do Zippy as a daily strip in his San Francisco Examiner. This is amusing but not shocking; his grandfather (William Randolph Hearst-the-First) loved comic strips and was the guy who green-lit George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, which set the standard for non-sequitur humor.

Peculiarly, after Zippy’s inclusion the Examiner’s readers did not gather around the building with pitchforks in protest, so the following year Hearst-the-Third saw to it that his King Features Syndicate picked it up and pushed it nationally. Wiki says it’s in 100 newspapers, which is remarkable for a strip that doesn’t make sense to many and stars a pinhead. It’s also remarkable that there are 100 newspapers left these days, but that’s another story and a bleak one at that.

That same year I had moved to Fairfield County Connecticut, then the place to be for newspaper cartoonists. I got to know dozens and dozens of them, and I’d say these folks only had one thing in common: not a one understood why King Features picked the strip up. More than a few seemed resentful; the late great Gil Fox, one of the funniest and most courageous people I’d ever known to sit at a drawing board, once asked me to translate Zippy The Pinhead for him. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #098: Zippy, Schlitzie, & Griffy”

With Further Ado #117: Oh Demokratia! Voting is Your Super Power!

With Further Ado #117: Oh Demokratia! Voting is Your Super Power!

It’s a rainy day here and one of my first thoughts was, “Am I ready to stand out in the rain if it’s like this on Election Day?” And just yesterday the absentee ballots for my Mom and Dad arrived at their house. They’ll get them into the mail ASAP. It’s that kind of season. I think we’re all planning ahead on how to ensure that our vote counts.

Everywhere there seems to be a focus on it.  Even in this past Sunday’s Prince Valiant. The classic newspaper strip was created by Hal Foster and now capably continued by Mark Schultz and Thomas Yeates.  In this week’s adventure, Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles, remarks upon a unique form of government she had heard about. It’s an idea where self-rule by the common folks.

“Oh, Demokratia!”, she exclaims. And they she remembers that the Greeks “tried it that centuries ago! It worked well for a time…but then the people grew lazy and timid, and decided to just let a tyrant do their thinking for them.” Continue reading “With Further Ado #117: Oh Demokratia! Voting is Your Super Power!”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/21/20: The Scumbag #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/21/20: The Scumbag #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for this book.

This week we have a new series from Rick Remender and Lewis Larosa called The Scumbag from Image Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS on October 21, 2020.

The Scumbag#1
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Lewis Larosa
Colors by Moreno Dinisio
Letters by Rus Wooton
Cover Art by Larosa & Dinisio

Original Solicitation:

NEW ONGOING SERIES from the writer of DEADLY CLASS!
RICK REMENDER launches an all-new comedy espionage series, THE SCUMBAG-the story of Ernie Ray Clementine, a profane, illiterate, drug-addicted biker with a fifth-grade education. He’s the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon because this dummy accidentally received a power-imbuing serum, making him the world’s most powerful super spy.

This new ongoing series will feature a murderers’ row of all-star artistic talent rotating each issue. The first issue showcases the stunning work of LEWIS LaROSA, with subsequent chapters and covers by brilliant talents such as ANDREW ROBINSON, ERIC POWELL, TULA LOTAY, WES CRAIG, ROLAND BOSCHI, SIMONE DI MEO, MARGUERITE SAUVAGE, DUNCAN FEGREDO, YANICK PAQUETTE, MIKE McKONE, DAVE JOHNSON, MORENO DINISIO, and many more!

PCS Review:

The lead character in this book is a complete scumbag. He is damaged and unrepentantly atavistic. There is a tiny glimmer of pity that the reader can feel for this character, but even that empathy comes with heavy dose of guilt. Rick Remender does an excellent job of giving the reader no reason to root for this character other than the fate of the world is in his hands. The series looks to be off to a fast start with the storytelling in this issue.

The art by Lewis Larosa and Moreno Dinisio is incredibly dynamic. There is a Rube Goldberg machine feel to the visual narrative in this book. While most of the book is not filled with action sequences, the reader gets the feel of constant movement, with each panel leading forcefully to the next. The rough edged and over-the-top look to the characters in this issue is a perfect choice for the tone of the book.

While this is billed as a comedy, and there are some ironically humorous moments, it is truly a window into the depths that people will fall and what they will do when they hit rock bottom. This is a well crafted tale with a good hook and definitely leaves you wanting to see what comes next.

Blackout: The Latest Season of the New Brooklyn Saga is on Webtoons

Blackout: The Latest Season of the New Brooklyn Saga is on Webtoons

What do you do when your Psychotic Vigilante Mother gets hold of an Apocalypse Sword?

Comic creator Dean Haspiel has been working on his original metaphysical superhero story The New Brooklyn Saga for a few years now, and the fourth season has just premiered on Webtoons.com.

The latest installment is called Blackout. Here is how Dean describes the new season:

When The Green Point’s apocalypse sword is reactivated by the malice of The Coney, The Red Hook must combat and convince his psychotic, vigilante mother to help finally destroy it, only to accidentally rebirth the wrath of an unexpected villain who threatens to save earth from the hierarchy of humanity by sending New Brooklyn back to the stone age! Does The Red Hook have to break bad in order to restore the goodness of society?

The Red Hook, crook turned reluctant hero, is an engaging character, and the world that he lives in is full of interesting characters. The big ideas that Haspiel explores in this series have always raised the quality of the story to lofty heights. The previous season ended with the sun being reignited by love; so, where do you go from there? Continue reading “Blackout: The Latest Season of the New Brooklyn Saga is on Webtoons”

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 14, 2020: Commanders In Crisis #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 14, 2020: Commanders In Crisis #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we have a new series from Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto callled Commanders In Crisis from Image Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS on October 14, 2020.


Commanders In Crisis #1
Image Comics
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Davide Tinto
Colors by Francesca Carotenuto
Letters by Fabio Amelia
Cover Art by Tinto

Original Solicitation:

The last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. A new twist on strange superhero comics, with a bleeding-edge eye on the modern moment, COMMANDERS IN CRISIS follows in the footsteps of Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts as five unexpected heroes come together to solve a murder unlike any other. The victim? Compassion itself…This is ideacide!

A new series by acclaimed writer STEVE ORLANDO and artist DAVIDE TINTO, an intense, weird action thriller reminding us about the importance of compassion and hope in the present moment, and putting fists to faces along the way!

PCS Review:

This is a great superhero comic book, but it is also more than that. Steve Orlando is bringing big ideas to this series. I am not often a huge fan of text introductions to comic books. I feel that the story should be told in the narrative, but the introduction by Dan Didio in this book really sets the stage in a meaningful way.

The introduction of the characters in a battle and the follow up sequences are natural,  and Orlando provides easy access to the plot. There is a spark of hope and light that is often missing from other contemporary new superhero universes. I am immediately invested in these characters and their plight.

Davide Tinto and Francesca Carotenuto deliver a bright and vibrant visual narrative, and the plot and art mess in a wonderful way to achieve a completely immersive experience. Fabio Amelia‘s lettering is well crafted to accommodate the necessary introductory information in this debut issue.

There has been a lot of positive buzz about this book, and it is well deserved. Orlando and Tinto are doing big things and we are here to see where they go.

 

Also please check out our SquadCast interview with Steve Orlando to here what he has in store for this series.

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 7, 2020: Getting It Together and Stanley’s Ghost

Preview Reviews for the Week of October 7, 2020: Getting It Together and Stanley’s Ghost

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we have two great new books to preview. The first is a new series called Getting It Together from Image Comics, and the second is a one-shot from Storm Kids (the young adult imprint of Storm King Comics, called Stanley’s Ghost

You can find these books at your LCS on October 7, 2020.


Getting It Together #1
Image Comics
Written by Sina Grace & Omar Spahi
Art by Jenny D. Fine & Grace
Colors by Mx. Struble
Letters by Sean Konot
Cover Art by Fine

Original Solicitation:

SERIES PREMIERE! Newcomer artist JENNY D. FINE shines alongside Marvel Comics’ Iceman writer SINA GRACE and co-creator OMAR SPAHI in the all-new modern dramedy you didn’t know you needed! Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s indie rocker sister and roommate. When Sam and Lauren open up their long-term relationship, skyrocketing tensions send social shockwaves through their friend group and the entire Bay Area. And Jack, caught in the middle of it all, may be forced to take sides in a conflict he never wanted to be a part of. Life gets pretty messy when you’re in your 20s and your friends are your family.

PCS Review:

This book is just lovely. I often find myself enthralled with the writing of Sina Grace. The casual relaxed nature of his dialogue is mesmerizing. There is an immediate attraction to the characters in this book and the opening sequence probably has a lot to do with that. The collaboration with Omar Spahi is wonderful. The two combine to tell a compelling story about relationships that are damaged and have a very real-life feel to them.

Jenny D. Fine does a phenomenal job in realizing the essence of this story and generating a wonderful visual narrative. While there is a cartoony aspect to the art, the facial expressions, background details, and character interactions are spectacular. The color work by Mx. Struble is excellent, particularly the textured backgrounds and the lighting elements. With a book that is mostly conversational the letterer needs to be extra careful to get the dialogue in without obscuring the art, and Sean Konot takes advantage of panel borders in an fantastic way to do exactly that.

I am very excited for this book and and looking forward to the next issue. Don’t miss it.


John Carpenter Presents Stanley’s Ghost: A Halloween Adventure #1
Storm King Comics / Storm Kids
Story by Jeff Balke & Paul Storrie
Written by Paul Storrie

Art by Dave Alvarez
Colors by Jeff Balke
Letters by Janice Chiang
Cover Art by Alvarez & Balke

Original Solicitation:

Oh no! Who’s been stealing fruit from all the gardens in Arbordale? Was it the prankster Chester Chipmunk? Or maybe Baby Fang? Accusations fly until someone suggests that maybe it was the Ghost of Bunnyburrow Manor! Neighbors have claimed to have seen it flying around, but are ghosts even real? And if they are, why would they be stealing fruit? Stanley Squirrel offers to lead an expedition into the house to see if it really is haunted and find out just what’s been going on. But as the gang creeps around the house looking for answers, what they find isn’t what any of them were expecting!

PCS Review:

Sometimes there is a book that just fits the time and this book does in unconventional ways. This is a fun cartoony adventure that fits the spooky season. It is a breath of fresh air in world of chaos. Paul Storrie and Jeff Balke crafted a lively tale that has a bunch of anthropomorphic cartoon friends investigating a mystery that turns scary. The dialogue in this book is engaging and charming.

The line art by Dave Alvarez is joyfully sweet,  and he does a great job with expression and characterization. The colors by Jeff Balke are vibrant, and Janice Chiang is just a fantastic letterer who always bring high quality work to everything she does.

This book is a perfect gift for young readers, but also a wonderful Halloweeny comic experience for every age.

Preview Review for the Week of 8/26/20: Broken Gargoyles #1

Preview Review for the Week of 8/26/20: Broken Gargoyles #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we feature Broken Gargoyles #1 from Source Point Press.

You can find it at your LCS on August 26, 2020 or on September 2, 2020. Comic shipping for Independent publishers in today’s world is still a little hit or miss.


Broken Gargoyles #1
Source Point Press
Written by Bob Salley
Art by Stan Yak
Colors by Marco Pagnotta & Robert Nugent
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Raymond Gay, Jeremy Clark, & Juan Fernandez

Original Solicitation:

In this Dieselpunk post-WWI mini-series, two men come home from the war scarred and forgotten. One man is looking for redemption as the other looks for revenge. Both are on a collision course toward each other and nothing can stop them.

PCS Review:

The world building in this book is well crafted. There are subtleties that are woven into the narrative that give the reader the right frame of reference to navigate how this interesting new world fits in our existing historical backdrop. The characters are intriguing, and Bob Salley does an excellent job of differentiating the voices of each character that is introduced. The story in this issue is built through various scenes of action and dialogue, and Salley and Stan Yak manage to produce a very good understanding of what this series is going to be about.

The art in this book by Yak with Marco Pagnotta and Robert Nugent is beautiful. The character designs have a strong influence on the tone of the book. The retro-futuristic setting is gorgeously rendered and adds an exciting aspect to the book.  The lettering by Justin Birch  is strongly executed and over all the production value of this book is very good.

This is a fun and intriguing story that we are looking forward to exploring.