Category: Year In Review

Continued After the Next Page #017: Looking Back At The Good In 2020

Continued After the Next Page #017: Looking Back At The Good In 2020

Well, we made it to the end of 2020. I am sure that it didn’t turn out like any of us expected. There have been plenty of low lights, and there are too many people who have been irrevocably harmed by the local and global tragedies that happened this year. That is awful.

However, someone told me something recently that stuck with me. Despite the horrible dumpster fire that 2020 has brought, your mental health can benefit from the activity of looking at the good things that happened in this past year. So, that is what this final post of 2020 will be about.

The SquadCast

This year I finally got off my tush and started presenting the interviews that I do with comic book professionals in a podcast format. In the past, I had merely transcribed the interview, but I found that there was more interesting content in the discussions that people would enjoy that didn’t quite fit in a text post.

So, I went to Buzzsprout and created a hosting site for the Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition. I learned enough of Audacity to edit the interviews and splice some sound together, and here we are.

I need to say thanks to our artistic genius Marc Allan Fishman for the logo and episode art. Also Space In Time is the band that we use for the intro and closing music. You can check there music out at Bandcamp.

And of course, thanks to the pros who to took the time to talk to me about their work.

The Books

While all of you Pop Culture Squad Members know about our digital presence here on the site and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there is now physical printed evidence that Pop Culture Squad exists. On the back covers of two trade paperback collections, I have blurb quotes for reviews.

I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see my name on a comic book. I could not even have ever imagined that five years ago.

Both of these books are special to me. Hyperbreed from Louise Simonson and Guy Dorian is a fun YA space story from Storm King Comics. Did you notice that? My name is on a book written by THE Louise Simonson!!!!

I have been following the Love and Capes stories that Thomas Zahler creates for years, and when he told me last year that he would be coming back to that universe, I was stoked. He totally made it work, and I am grateful for his putting my review blurb on the back of the book in some seriously impressive company.

The Comics Industry Adapts and Supports Itself

This year has hit the comics industry hard. Publishers and retailers had to deal with a nearly two month shutdown of new comics distribution. But through it all, people worked hard to support each other and save the industry that relies a lot on in-person contact.

So many great new comics were made and you can check out our list of the years best here.

Fundraisers and charity auctions popped up all over the place. We detailed some of those as they occurred.

Give Comics Hope is one of the charities that we highlighted through the year and will continue to do so.

There were plenty of Kickstarter campaigns launched to find different ways to publish and create comic book content. You better believe that we covered them.

Conventions Happened… Sort of

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit America hard in March, comic conventions were scrapped as we all needed to isolate to stop the spread of the dangerously contagious disease. But plenty of talented people scrambled to turn the experience of seeing pop culture personalities and comic creators in virtual cons.

Some were better than others, and none truly replaced the experience of strolling down artists alley and chatting with creators and friends. However, they were good enough to be a decent placeholder for the time that we will be able to be vaccinated and able to go out and see each other in person.

Geek Culture TV

There was a massive amount of quality television programming that was produced and broadcast this year. There are more outlets, streaming and otherwise that are now committed to delivering high quality shows. Here is a list of some of our favorites in no particular order:

  • SCHITT’S CREEK: SEASON 6 – AMC
  • WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS: SEASON 2 – FFX
  • HARLEY QUINN: SEASON 2 – HBOMax
  • THE BOYS: SEASON 2 – Amazon Prime Video
  • THE MANDALORIAN: SEASON 2 – Disney+
  • LOVECRAFT COUNTRY: SEASON 1 – HBOMax
  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: SEASON 2 – Netflix
  • STARGIRL: SEASON 1 – CW
  • I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS: SEASON 1 – Neflix
  • STAR TREK: PICARD: SEASON 1 – CBS All Access
  • KILLING EVE: SEASON 3 – BBC
  • PERRY MASON: SEASON 1 – HBOMax

And don’t forget there were some other shows like Tiger King (Netflix) and The Vow (HBO) that left us captivated, or horrified, or both.

Based on the announcements from Disney, Warner Bros, and others, it looks like this trend of high quality serialized episodic programming with continue.

Pop Culture Squad Thrived

Even before the pandemic shut down a lot of the world, we worried that this would be a slow year for PCS. However, we persevered and continued to bring you content as best you can.

If you are not a regular reader of Mike Gold‘s two columns here, you are missing witty and entertaining stories and opinion.

Ed Catto’s regular With Further Ado column finds new ways to look at comics, books, film and other cool stuff.

While we have bigger dreams for what is to come, it was a pretty good year for Pop Culture Squad and we are excited for making them happen in the next year.

Thanks for being here, and READ MORE COMICS!

YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Comics of 2020

YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Comics of 2020

We have made it to the end of 2020. Congratulations, it has not been an easy task. While I doubt many can say that it was a great year in general, there were some seriously good comic related things that happened.

The world has struggled with the catastrophic economic and health related consequences of pandemic not seen in a century. Despite that and a nearly two month pause in comic book distribution, the industry has survived and moved forward. When preparing for this column, I was looking for new books that came out in late spring and had forgotten that there were no new books in April and May. This year has felt like it has taken forever to get through.

In the year of almost no comic conventions, and massive layoffs and shakeups at major publishers, there managed to be some amazing comics produced. The big two delivered a couple of line wide crossover events, and the independent publishers continued to cultivate quality storytelling in a wide variety of genres.

The list you will find below is a selection of some of the best new series that I read this year. Some are limited series and some are new ongoing titles. This list is by no means exclusive of all the good comic books of the year. It is the books that I read and liked a lot.

In a normal year, I would have read more, but this year hit all of us in unexpected ways. You will find excellent story telling and art in books below. As always, we encourage you to find what you like and support it.

The list below is in alphabetical order. I added some notes to let you know why each book is on the list. Let us know what you think.


Alienated
Boom! Studios
Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Chris Wildgoose
Colors by Andre May
Letters by Jim Campbell

Issue #1 released 2/12/20

PCS Notes: We were instantly smitten with this expertly crafted series. The technical maneuvers that were implemented to tell this cohesive story from multiple perspectives are fantastic.


Billionaire Island
Ahoy Comics
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh
Colors by Chris Chuckry
Letters by Rob Steen

Issue #1 Released 3/4/20

PCS Notes: Mark Russell is a master of satire in comic form, and with Steve Pugh they lampoon the capitalist economic structure of the elites with an entertaining front story. Continue reading “YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Comics of 2020”

Comic-Con International Announces 2020 Eisner Awards Nominations

Comic-Con International Announces 2020 Eisner Awards Nominations

The nominees for the prestigious Eisner Awards were announced today. It is a various cross-section of talent, highlighting some excellent storytelling and production. Publications and professionals are eligible based on work distributed between January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

The nominees on the list below can be voted on by industry professionals until June 19th. The ballot can be found here.

The award ceremony is typically held at San Diego Comic-Con each year, but with SDCC cancelled this year, it will be different.


Best Short Story

Best Single Issue/One-Shot
  • Coin-Op No. 8: Infatuation, by Peter and Maria Hoey (Coin-Op Books)
  • The Freak, by Matt Lesniewski (AdHouse)
  • Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
  • Our Favorite Thing Is My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)

Continue reading “Comic-Con International Announces 2020 Eisner Awards Nominations”

Continued After the Next Page #014: Exercise Your Right to Vote For Comics – Ringo Edition

Continued After the Next Page #014: Exercise Your Right to Vote For Comics – Ringo Edition

This is the time of year when every comic fan can get involved in the process of recognizing excellence in comic making. The public nomination process is open for the 2020 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards.

One of the great features of the Ringo Awards is that all fans and professionals have the opportunity to nominate their favorite creators and productions from 2019.

The ballot is available here.

I have taken some time to go through things that I have read or seen that was produced in 2019. Below is a list of some suggestions for each category.

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE NOT OFFICIAL NOMINATIONS!! These are merely my suggestions!!!

The initial public nomination process is a free form text option for each category. Unfortunately (Actually, it’s pretty great!), I have found so many worthy candidates for each category.

In my list of nomination suggestions are people and publications that I feel are deserving of nominations. I am one hundred percent certain that I have forgotten or not included worthy candidates. This may be the first and only time I do this based on how many people I offend. Please forgive any omissions. Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #014: Exercise Your Right to Vote For Comics – Ringo Edition”

Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!

Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!

What the new year brings to you will depend on a great deal on what you bring to the new year !

 

Welcome to 2020!

In the past year, the news has often been filled with confounding rhetoric, and there have been some truly terrible events, but we need to resolve to focus on the positive, while committing to make things better. We can be the agents of change that we need in this world.

What an amazing year that 2019 was around here!!! As Pop Culture Squad celebrates the completion of its first full calendar year of existence, we have a lot of great accomplishments to look back on.

Here are a few highlights: Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!”

Brainiac On Banjo #018: Lee and Ditko – Thank You

Brainiac On Banjo #018: Lee and Ditko – Thank You

It appears today is the last day of the year. That’s just a construct, but it does support the weight of tradition. There’s a lot of Top 10 lists during this terminal week – they’re easy to write, evidently popular, and pretty much bullshit. Yes, I’ve written a few but, really, if you start your list with, say, April and end with the following March and you’ll have a different list. If you disagree with me – and how dare you! – think of all the movies that didn’t win Oscars that probably would have had they been released the preceding or succeeding year.

Yeah, I’m still pissed Bill Murray didn’t win for Lost In Translation.

Another tradition is to list the top stories of the year. This has a bit more value, although I prefer the “top underreported stories of the year” features because I might learn something. I suspect that, when it comes to the amazing world of everybody’s comics, two of the stories that made a whole lot of lists (aside from Bill Maher’s) are the deaths of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. So I’m going to conflate them.

Together, if not for Stan and Steve I’d be writing about Trump again and a lot of stunt people would be on welfare. Let me explain.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #018: Lee and Ditko – Thank You”

YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Ongoing Comic Series of 2018

YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Ongoing Comic Series of 2018

Welcome to the second “Year In Review” post for 2018. As we end our first year of existence, we at PopCultureSquad.com want to take a moment and recognize some of the great comic books that we seen this year. The first YIR post highlighted the best Limited Series of the year, and you can find it here.

In this post, we will take a look at the best new ongoing series that debuted in 2018.  Due to the marketing and economics of modern comics. Many series are rebooted to a new number when there is a change the creative team, and we try not to include those as new ongoing series. For example, the primary superhero team books re-launched for both Marvel and DC this year, but they are not included on this list. They are both fine series for the most part, but we are looking for exceptional innovation here.

This category has a very good mix publishers that contributed some very good new series. The publishers that are represented in the list include DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, a, and Abstract Studios. We are not going to rank the series against each other. The purpose is to highlight what we felt was special this year, not to disparage or point out were things came up short.

Here is the list in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Ongoing Comic Series of 2018”

YEAR IN REVIEW: Best Limited Comic Series of 2018

YEAR IN REVIEW: Best Limited Comic Series of 2018

As we end 2018, which is our first year of existence, we at PopCultureSquad.com want to take a moment and recognize some of the great comic books that we have seen this year. Over the next few days, we will be bringing you three “Year In Review” posts.

This is the first post. We will take a look at the Best New Limited Series that debuted in 2018. This category took some finagling due to the trade paperback nature of some of the indie publishers. Often a series is published, and after the first arc is complete, it disappears. Therefore, we included series on this list that were either solicited as being limited or have a complete end to the story.

These limited series represent a cross section of the publisher market which helps us point out that great comic book storytelling is out there and comes from many different places. There are series from DC and Marvel as well as Image, Berger Books at Dark Horse, Black Crown at IDW, AHOY Comics, and DC’s Young Animal imprint.

We chose books that have a high quality storytelling. Stories that make sense, are intriguing, and are pleasing to the eye. You will find a link to the Comixology page for the series and a link to the collected edition on Amazon, if it is available. Of course, it should go without saying that our preference for getting your hands on these wonderful comics is to go down to your Local Comic Shop if you have one, and get it there.

It is difficult to rank series against each other. Each story brings something special to the table, and we collected twelve series here that we thought were outstanding. The books we chose are below in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “YEAR IN REVIEW: Best Limited Comic Series of 2018”