Category: Featured

With Further Ado #204: Greg Hildebrandt Part 4 – Dissatisfaction as Part of the Process

With Further Ado #204: Greg Hildebrandt Part 4 – Dissatisfaction as Part of the Process

Let’s get into the fourth part of our With Further Ado conversation with Greg Hildebrandt. The real purpose of this is talk about his two amazing 2023 calendars. During our last conversation, we were in the middle of a story, as Greg and Jean had just received an enthusiastic invitation for a one-man show at a prestigious Manhattan art gallery.

Please enjoy Part 4 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:


Greg Hildebrandt: Twenty minutes later Lou Meisel calls. He loved it! And he said “Okay, what are you talking about?” She <Jean> said, “A show. A one man show.” And he said, “Okay we’ll talk.”

Ed Catto: That’s incredible!

GH: And I got the same model back. Plus, another model in the meantime. Plus, a bunch of the jobs that I’m working on with about three other pinups. Get the model. Shoot the pictures. And Jean is talking with Lou. Lou is saying, “I’m going to need at least twenty-four paintings. I mean, how many does he have?“ And Jean replies, “Just this one, and he’s working on three photos.”

“That’s right – it’s three years until the show,” replied the gallery owner.

“No, no, no, no, at the end of this year you’ll have all the art,” said Jean.

He says, “What are you, kidding me?” She says “No, I guarantee you’ll have it.”

So now Lou wants to see them live – the paintings- so I finished off two more. We put them in the car, go into the city. He loved them. And he said “Okay!” We decided well what date was for the show, and we went home. And that’s all I did for the next ten or twelve months: it was pin-ups.

I put everything away, because she (Jean) manages everything – current business, family. You name it: she does it! I draw. I got twenty-four paintings done.

That show was terrific and that started a whole new thing. Of course, you’ve got to react, or respond to the kind of situation, where some people are saying, “Pin-up Artist?!? He does dragons and stuff. What do you mean pin-up art?” Continue reading “With Further Ado #204: Greg Hildebrandt Part 4 – Dissatisfaction as Part of the Process”

With Further Ado #203: Shelton Drum and an Incredible Achievement

With Further Ado #203: Shelton Drum and an Incredible Achievement

We’ve got to pause our multi-part conversation with Greg Hildebrandt – I’ll be back with more next week – to celebrate an incredible achievement. Shelton Drum, the owner of Charlotte’s Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find comic shop is celebrating his astounding 40th year running a truly outstanding comic con: Heroes Convention!

This amazing show bills itself as “America’s Favorite Convention”, and you know what? I don’t think that’s hyperbole. Shelton is a comics guy’s comic guy. He knows this industry and still loves it all. He’s created an amazing show that celebrates the medium and has found a way to still stay focused on comics.

Running a show for 40 years is nothing short of incredible. Fans and pros recognize this, as does longtime convention promoter Teddy Hanes. (He’s certainly no slouch in running great comic conventions over the long haul.) Teddy calls Shelton’s efforts, “The Gold Standard for Comic Book Convention Promoters to try and get close to his achievements.”

I was in Charlotte this past weekend and briefly caught up with Shelton in his wonderful store. As the convention was just one week away, he was hip-deep in managing and preparing for the show – it’s June 24 – 26th. (Next year Heroes Con will shift back on its usual Father’s Day Weekend calendar slot). Continue reading “With Further Ado #203: Shelton Drum and an Incredible Achievement”

With Further Ado #202: Greg Hildebrandt Part 3 – Rita, Bettie, Shannon and a Pin-Up Calendar

With Further Ado #202: Greg Hildebrandt Part 3 – Rita, Bettie, Shannon and a Pin-Up Calendar

In the third part of our With Further Ado conversation with Greg Hildebrandt, we (finally) get to discussing his two new calendars, and start with why this famous fantasy artist has a new Pin-up Calendar coming out.

Please enjoy Part 3 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:

Ed Catto: That’s fantastic! And let’s shift – I want to be mindful of the time – let’s shift to the Pin-Up calendar. You’ve been inspired by pinups and it looks like it’s going to be beautiful.

Greg Hildebrandt: Well, I was born in 1939. So, I was aware of these things. You became aware of these things, even before you got to puberty. I was a little kid, and my grandfather had all the calendars. My father’s father. We’d go over to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and back in the day, they were very “old worldly” almost, even though my grandfather was born here, his wife was born in Austria. He had all these calendars in the basement, but basically, they were all Gil Elvgren‘s! (i.e., Pin-Up Calendars)

And I remember them lined all up. And going down (to the basement). Tim and me would go down and study them. Aside from once you were interested in girls, aside from that aspect. and we would go down and study them. We were just blown away by the painting of them, especially the style – that broad painterly look that he did. That was my first really focus for knowledge, or information. about Pin-Up art.

And then, of course, a man would always have the magazines. You would look at the magazines. With the photography that would never match the art. It would never match the art in those men’s magazines. They just didn’t have it.

EC: Yeah, the Vargas painting would be better than the photography.

GH: Absolutely. Absolutely! It’s like they’re trying for some perfection thing, or idealization. You know, I know, it’s dangerous to talk about this stuff these days, but there was a certain standard that they were after.

For a lot of them, their women start to look alike, and then there’s almost too much of a kind of a similarity. When I started my series, I wanted to have very individualistic people.

My approach was for each to be individual, and in each of these are I’m trying to tell a little story.

EC: There is so much story in each image!

Editor’s Note: There is more art from the calendar past the jump.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #202: Greg Hildebrandt Part 3 – Rita, Bettie, Shannon and a Pin-Up Calendar”

With Further Ado #201: Greg Hildebrandt Part 2 – Warm Light, Cool Shadows

With Further Ado #201: Greg Hildebrandt Part 2 – Warm Light, Cool Shadows

In last week’s With Further Ado (the 200th Smash Issue), in the first part of my interview with the talented Greg Hildebrandt, we focused on that famous Star Wars poster. In part two of our conversation, Greg and I talk about color theory, art school, classic movies and how these all inspire his approach to art (and specifically his creation of a Tolkien work-in-progress). This candid conversation offers a fantastic way to learn more about what makes this incredible artist tick.

* * *

Ed Catto: I will ask you about these two amazing 2023 calendars on sales soon. But one of the things I love about work, and your collaborations with your brother in the old days, is that you always have such a sense of warmth; warm ‘glowy’ colors and that sense of cool colors.

Greg Hildebrandt: Yep! That’s a big, huge thing for Tim and me, I know that our awareness starts with Technicolor movies. Hollywood Technicolor movies. I can remember those biblical Epics. Where you’d have the set. They would be outside. They have beautiful blue lights coming in through the window, torch lights – tungsten 25 kelvin type lighting…and then the cool light! That was like – waugh! I remember, there was one movie: Forever Amber. (Note: a 1946 Linda Darnell movie) I haven’t seen it in about ten years, but the incredible lighting! The tints! Warm and cool, warm and cool. Hollywood was huge.

Then when we discovered Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth. He became our “main man”, as far as American illustrators go. Wyeth, you know Treasure island…

And we kind of grew up on them. My parents had those books. I remember growing up on that stuff as a kid. And Technicolor movies! Lighting was always an issue. It wasn’t always only the lighting in Technicolor films, but the black and white movies. You take Gregg TolandCitizen Kane – the lighting; that was a key thing for Tim and me, is to grasp it. It’s still there. It’s one of the main devices that I am still focused on. Continue reading “With Further Ado #201: Greg Hildebrandt Part 2 – Warm Light, Cool Shadows”

With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt

With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt

I never was sure what “200th Smash Issue” meant. Was it a certain kind of celebration? Was a “smash issue” celebration different from the usual comic book milestone? I vividly remember one of my neighborhood pals, George Riley, (who usually only collected war and western comics) boasting that he had a copy of Batman #200, the so-called ‘200th Smash Issue”. I was SO envious and curious.

No matter how you slice it – doing something 200 times on a regular basis is sumpthin’. So, I am proud of to be celebrating the “200th Smash Issue” of With Further Ado. And I’m grateful for the many people who have helped and supported me along the way.

So, this week, we’ll be celebrating a pop culture milestone – one of the most widely known – and loved- movie posters of all time; the Hildebrandt’s Star Wars poster. It’s just the start of a multi-part interview with the alarmingly talented Greg Hildebrandt. The “main” focus will be his two amazing 2023 calendars, but that all comes next time.

This week we’ll focus on Star Wars, the entrepreneurial hustle that it takes to be a successful illustrator, and why none of this would have happened without Mel Brooks!

Please enjoy Part 1 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:

Ed Catto: Well, this is quite a treat. I’m sure so many people you talk to all say, “I’m your biggest fan!” I’ve been loving your work for all those years so I’ll just get that all out of the way. but on a personal level, I feel like 11-year-old speaking to you. It’s a great treat for me.

Greg Hildebrandt: Thanks a lot, man. It’s always interesting to hear that, because of course I’m still 11 myself. I feel like the people that I enjoyed all my life. To have people tell me that back …now it’s always like “wait a minute” …that doesn’t quite fit!

EC: I’ve been with you, on this ride for many, many years.

GH: But do you know me for my toilet training book?

EC: I don’t know you for that one!

GH: That was that was one Tim <Hildebrandt, his brother> and I did. I think in 1974. Oh, to stay alive in the city, in New York, you have got to just take everything you can get and this one rose up, and I say “Yeah, what the hell.” There were these two young pediatricians that were really sticklers for detail. The mother and the kid and the father comes in, and we kept drawing sketches over and over and over again.

So, I’ll hold up that and the Star Wars poster – or the Lord of the Rings or something -, and say, “You may know me for this, but….”

EC: I guess every great painter has got one or two of those in the past…

GH: You take every job. You learn. And you need to make a living. Continue reading “With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt”

Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street

Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street

With the current format of comics publishing, it makes sense at times to wait and and evaluate the work after it has been completed. When I was younger, the norm was that when a comic series was green lit and published, it was perceived to have no end date. The limited series or mini-series were the exceptions, but more recently, the never ending ongoing series has become the exception. The limited series tend to have an intentional story and are filled with overarching themes that are better explored as a whole rather than issue by issue.

My point here is that with a complete story, evaluating a series as a whole feels like something I should be doing more of, and I am going to start that with the recently completed Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. The eight-issue series was written by Tom King with lineart by Bilquis Evely and colors by Matheus Lopes. Clayton Cowles did the lettering, and Brittany Holzherr edited it.

It is important to note that comic creators are telling the stories that they want to tell more often without continuity constraints. The concept of shared universes and continuity really began to take shape in the sixties and came to a head in the eighties.  At the very beginning, there were issues with it. Legend says that the Avengers were a thrown together group intended as a sort of a one-off, and not part of a grand concept of one great Marvel Universe. Stan Lee is said to have given the reason for the original Avengers leaving and being left with Cap’s Quirky Quartet because it was too difficult to keep stories straight between the Avengers and the individual heroes’ books. While a lot of deluge has flowed under the bridge of comic continuity, both Marvel and DC Comics have more recently provided readers with stories about their favorite characters that may or may not be in continuity.

Tom King while working mostly for DC has been a master of telling compelling comic stories that do not necessarily fit into current or historical continuity. His Mister Miracle, Strange Adventures, Omega Men, and even Vision for Marvel are all complete stories that can be read without any context of what is going on in the larger comic universes. I think that is a good thing. When the time is taken to tell an extended story, and the creative team executes that story without continuity interference, it makes for excellent comic book storytelling, and that brings us Supergirl. Continue reading “Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street”

With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike

With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike

Maybe cinema isn’t the way to go. Maybe big screen movies aren’t <always> the end all be all.

Sure, I just enjoyed the latest Dr. Strange movie. We made it a family outing– with my wife, my dad, my aunt, and my cousin. And I really enjoyed taking my college students to see the latest Batman movie at the local theater.  There’s something wonderful about the shared experience. And something even more wonderful about that theater buttered popcorn.

But maybe…just maybe…some beloved franchises are meant to thrive on the small screen.

I’m saying this because I’m just loving the new Star Trek series, Strange New Worlds. It’s all about the crew of the Enterprise, focusing on untold past stories, that are all set in the far future, of course.

Captain Pike was supposed to be the star of the first Star Trek TV show. That didn’t quite click with the powers-that-be, during the Golden Age of Television, so there was a redo.  The new version, with Kirk and Spock and the gang, found a foothold on NBC for a time and in the hearts of fans for … forever.  But instead of just dismissing the original concepts and characters as a “nice try”, they became part of the mythology. Ravenous fans have wanted long wanted to enjoy the early adventures Enterprise. Continue reading “With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike”

With Further Ado #198: Beyond the Stars with Ron Fortier

With Further Ado #198: Beyond the Stars with Ron Fortier

This one looks like fun. One of my favorite comic writers, Ron Fortier (you may remember him from NOW’s Green Hornet) is working with an Italian artist Andrea Bormida on a new Kickstarter. It’s called Beyond The Stars, a six-issue mini-series, from Silverline Comics.

Ron Fortier is not only a great writer but a focused entrepreneur too. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with him in several different roles in his position as a prose book publisher over at Airship27.

This series is something completely different. “The concept originated with Andrea,” explained Fortier. He saw pages on a social media board where Bormida was seeking feedback from industry professionals. “They were completely penciled, inked, and colored…and incredibly beautiful.”

Fortier reached out to Bormida, and they began working together. Fortier crafted an outline for the six-part cosmic adventures. Shortly thereafter, Fortier reached out to Silverline editor Roland Mann.

“I’m a big science fiction fan anyway,” says Mann, “but when I read Ron’s pitch and saw Andrea’s art…well, we jumped on it right away! Even more impressive was that Ron had assembled his entire team so quickly. I’m a big fan of Mike W. Belcher’s work, and Ron already had him lined up to do lettering and design.”

The Anxiety of a Launch

“It’s my first crowd-funded project,” said Bormida. “Will it work? Shall I be able to reach out to new fans? Such a new adventure.” Continue reading “With Further Ado #198: Beyond the Stars with Ron Fortier”

With Further Ado #197: Winner of the Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 – Reece Clausen

With Further Ado #197: Winner of the Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 – Reece Clausen

I have reached the end of this year’s Ithacon season. The class of Ithaca College students that promote, plan, and execute the convention have come to the end of their tasks. As has become a tradition, this column has become a venue to host the winner of the “guest columnist” assignment that the students complete.

Last week, we published the runner-up Tyler Haraden’s piece. This week we are publishing the winner’s column. Reece Clausen combined some new pop culture news with a bit of opinion and some genuine fanboy emotion while discussing the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga video game. Those are the three things we strive for in this column.

I look forward to bringing next year’s winners to you and hope that they are as wonderful as this year’s.

The Urge to Purchase Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is Destroying Me

by Reece Clausen, Ithaca College

The balance of the force has been shaken. The draw towards the dark side of the force is consuming me faster than Anakin Skywalker being told that he can save his wife from certain death. In case you somehow did not read the title of this article, I’m talking about Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga that just released. Now, I’m a 21 year old college student and I have fond memories of playing Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga when it released in 2007. Now, I and many other people my age can tell you that this game was our childhood. I have so many fond memories, from starting fights in the cantina hub, smashing my controller over the podracing level, and constantly killing my friends for no reason other than it was funny to see them fall apart into many Lego bricks. Like I said, good times.

Now when I found out back in 2019 that there was going to be a new Lego Star Wars game that would include levels based on all nine films, my hype levels were through the roof! Fast forward three years and delays, and the game has finally arrived! The gaming community has been giving nothing but praise for this game and all the new things it has brought to the table. Over 300 characters, open world environments, expansive levels, and all the humor you would expect from a Lego game, this masterpiece has it all! It even has Obi-Wan saying “Hello there.”, and multiple jokes about Anakin Skywalker not liking sand! What more could I want? The world is falling in love with this game, and I’ve waited so long for it. Except there is just one problem. I am a broke college student. Continue reading “With Further Ado #197: Winner of the Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 – Reece Clausen”

With Further Ado #196: Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 Runner-Up Tyler Haraden

With Further Ado #196: Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 Runner-Up Tyler Haraden

Well it is that time of year again. Spring is finally really here, and kids are getting antsy because school is coming to an end. As I have mentioned, I teach the Promoting and Managing ITHACON Class at Ithaca College, and we have developed a bit of a tradition that ties this column to the class.

Each year, I ask the students to submit a column on pop culture as if they were the author of this space. The crack editorial staff at PCS pours over the submissions and selects a winner, and they get published on this website. (The fact that it gives me a couple of weeks break right after Ithacon is of no concern to anyone but me.)

Anyway we have decided that we will publish two columns this year. The first one is the runner-up and the winner will be posted next week.

Just a reminder the first year we did this, there were two columns published Anthony Hernandez and Tyler JennesLast year we published three winners: Jordan Green, Maya Lewis, and Caleigh Clarke.

The runner-up of this year’s fill-in columnist contest is Tyler Haraden and his lament for the lack of Grand Theft Auto VI.

Will we ever see Grand Theft Auto VI?

Guest Columnist Tyler Haraden – Ithaca College

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is one of the greatest gaming titles ever released. Developed by the famous game development company, Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Auto can be traced back to its first game of the series, Grand Theft Auto One, released back in 1997. Since the release of GTA One, we have seen many great games including Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto Four, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and more. Continue reading “With Further Ado #196: Third Annual Guest Columnist Contest 2022 Runner-Up Tyler Haraden”