Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute

Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute

I am not a joiner and as such generally am too detached (lazy) to suffer FOMO. This is why you will not find me participating in the latest shit collectively stirred up on the internet. Birdbox…yeah, even as a devoted Sandra Bullock fan, I’m sitting this one out. Gillette Toxic Masculinity ad…haven’t seen it.

I am also not what you’d call a tidy person. I don’t love my clutter, but I learned to live within it. Though, occasionally, I have been known to make a half-hearted stab at improving my surroundings. There were a couple years were I went full-on Fly Lady for up to at least a month at a time. But generally, as long as I move house every decade and quarterly need to ransack my desk or nightstand for an important document, gift card, passport, or some other misplaced suddenly important item, I will keep myself out of contention for hoarders.

You know where I’m going with this, right? Tidying up with Marie Kondo Continue reading “Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #021: Steve King’s Not The Problem, by Mike Gold

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #021: Steve King’s Not The Problem, by Mike Gold

The headline states “Steve King’s Not The Problem.” He’s not. He is a problem, but not the problem.

Oh, sure, the Republican Party removed him from all his committees so, in effect, he can only wander the halls of Congress rattling chains like the Ghost of Racists Past. This is the Congressional equivalent of gelding, and in a democracy perhaps the punishment fits the crime. But off the top of my air-conditioned head, I can think of two bigger problems.  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #021: Steve King’s Not The Problem, by Mike Gold”

With Further Ado #025: Who put the words into my comics?

With Further Ado #025: Who put the words into my comics?

Just a few years after Marvel re-licensed the rights to publish a science fiction property – Star Wars – there’s been another minor hullabaloo about Marvel re-licensing another old property – Conan the Barbarian. I decided to jump into it all and enjoyed the first issue.

I really didn’t care for the new logo, but everything else about Marvel’s new Conan the Barbarian #1 was fine. To be fair, the bar for this comic has been set so high by so many stellar past creators: Thomas, Windsor-Smith, Buscema, Jusko, Waid, Kane, Adams, Truman, Dixon, Alcatena, Nord…the list is long.  In fact, one of my guilty pleasures is picking up old issues of Savage Sword of Conan with stories featuring Rudy Nebres or Alfredo Alcala inks over John Buscema pencils. Those are spectacular.

One very pleasant surprise in the new Conan comic was the prose story excerpt. It’s an adventure called Black Starlight by John C. Hocking, and will be serialized over the next 12 issues. It seems to be part of integrated promotion with publisher Perilous Worlds.

For a bookworm like me, there’s something special about reading prose in a comic.  It extends the experience and allows one to enjoy the comic longer. There’s also that element of it making it seem like a better value.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #025: Who put the words into my comics?”

Continued After the Next Page 006: Why Do We Need to Relive Bad Decisions in Comics?

Continued After the Next Page 006: Why Do We Need to Relive Bad Decisions in Comics?

OK Folks. We are not all about spoilers here at PCS, but there is definitely some spoilery information in this post. If you have not seen the first six episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders, and you are planning to, there will be spoilery information below.

After a long break, one of the best animated shows ever has returned. Young Justice is now producing new episodes, and they are airing on the DC Universe streaming platform. This show has always been a favorite of mine, and I have urged as many people as I could to go and watch this fantastic series.. The new season is absolutely incredible. It is inventive and respectful to canon while telling a unique story. The voice acting is superb, the dialogue is witty and engaging, and the animation is excellent. However, I have an issue. It is the “respect for canon” thing with which I think the show-runners went a little too far.

Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page 006: Why Do We Need to Relive Bad Decisions in Comics?”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW

The siren’s song of Pro Wrasslin’ hath grabbed me again, and I’m unable to think about much else pop culture wise these days. The groundswell amongst smart marks such as myself is reaching a fever pitch over the announcements concerning AEW — All Elite Wrestling. Financially backed by the Shah family, helmed in-part by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, with a growing talent roster highlighted by “Mr. Highlight Reel” himself, Chris Jericho. In short? AEW, more than any other promotion in the states, has the potential to be viable competition to the McMahon empire.

It’s not been this exciting as a fan since the Monday Night Wars… maybe, kinda, almost, hopefully.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW”

Brainiac On Banjo #022: Life, Hope, and Funny Books, by Mike Gold

Brainiac On Banjo #022: Life, Hope, and Funny Books, by Mike Gold

Batton

I am reminded of a conversation I had with Batton Lash several years ago. We were at one of those massive comics conventions – after 51 years they now all blur together into one unending conflation of backpacks, unpassable aisles, and excessive body heat. As you may know, Batton died this weekend and our obituary speaks for itself.

That conversation probably started out with several insulting but vaguely clever comments and then went on to my trying to get him to do another Munden’s Bar story. That’s me as an editor on autopilot: I see great talent and I think of it as a piece of birthday cake. But there’s at least one difference between people and birthday cake – the former might engage me in conversation. And, of course, that’s one of the great pleasures of my job. I prefer the sugar buzz from conversation.

Harvey

Somehow our discussion evolved into my desire to do a contemporary funny book, by which I really mean “funny.” In a medium that calls itself “comic” but is largely full of violent conflict, I feel the need to be specific. Anyway, the challenge is to create a project worthy of the 21st century reader’s time but without any obvious nod to Harvey Kurtzman and Mad Comics.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #022: Life, Hope, and Funny Books, by Mike Gold”

Batton Lash, 1953 – 2019

Batton Lash, 1953 – 2019

Writer / artist Batton Lash died Saturday of complications from a “very aggressive” form of brain cancer. Whereas he was fighting the disease for several years, according to his widow Jackie Estrada it recurred two months ago.

A one-time assistant to Howard Chaykin, the Brooklyn native was a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, where he learned his craft from teachers that included Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman. He created Wolff & Byrd – Counselors of the Macabre in 1979 where it ran in The Brooklyn Paper as well as in The National Law Journal. From there Wolff & Byrd appeared in a wide variety of comics, including a rather stellar story in the Munden’s Bar feature in GrimJack (I’m not taking any credit here; the story was edited by the gifted Anina Bennett). Several years later, the series was published on its own as Supernatural Law by Exhibit A Press, an outfit established by Batton and Jackie.

Batton racked up quite a number of assignments, including The Big Book series from Paradox/DC Comics, the Eisner Award-winning Radioactive Man for Bongo (a Simpson’s spin-off title), and one of my personal favorites – the story is as good as the concept – Archie Meets The Punisher for Archie Comics. Recently, he produced The First Gentleman of the Apocalypse for David Lloyd’s Aces Weekly.

One of his classiest acts was having his studio, which he shared with artist Bob Smith, at the one-time home to EC Comics, 225 Lafayette Street. He racked up a sizable number of awards nominations and was the recipient of the 2009 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award for Graphic Novels.

Batton made no secret of his political views and worked with James D. Hudnall on an anti-Obama feature for Andrew Breitbart. He endured some criticism, and I should point out that he counted among his friends any number of left-leaning members of the comics community, as well as at least one outright radical.

Jackie, of course, was the long-time organization provocateur of the San Diego Comic-Con and past president of the Friends of Lulu. She will be continuing the publishing program at Exhibit A that she and her husband had established.

And, no, Batton was not a lawyer. He was one of the greats of the independent comic book field. His go-to attorney was Mitch Berger, a comics fan and a former member of DC’s legal team.

Memorials are being planned in both San Diego and New York City.

Batton was 65. He was one of the best.

– Mike Gold

Beat JENeration #021: 9021, Oh why would you even bother?

Beat JENeration #021: 9021, Oh why would you even bother?

In late December, when a picture surfaced of Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, and Jason Priestly, together in public I was intrigued. And as the rumors started circulating about CBS shopping a Beverly Hills 90210 revival/reboot, I have to admit I was very excited.

Of course with Luke Perry and Shannen Dougherty not signed on, I was less excited.

Though now that the truth has surfaced that it’s not a revival at all, I’m actually kind of pissed that I was put in a nostalgia TV tizzy for nothing. This project is (deep breath) an hour-long mockumentary-esque dramedy with the former teen stars playing themselves (or a version of such) chronicling their efforts to get an actual 90210 revival going.

I mean honestly, would I even add such a thing to my endless queue, let alone watch it?  Well, certainly not without Luke Perry or Shannen Doherty.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #021: 9021, Oh why would you even bother?”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #020: Yeah. Just Another Brick, by Mike Gold

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #020: Yeah. Just Another Brick, by Mike Gold

Tuesday night His Petulance delivered an over-rehearsed message to America about the need to build his wall. This time it’s not only to halt the terrorists that haven’t been coming in on foot over the border, it’s also to halt the heroin traffic that the refugees haven’t been bringing into the United States.

For his effort, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he received a 28.1 household rating. This was according to the overnight numbers generated by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and Fox News – but not MSNBC. Conventional wisdom has it that MSNBC isn’t His Petulance’s best audience anyway.

His lies immediately were followed by a response from Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Broadcast-wise, neither would have done well in the Kennedy-Nixon Debate. Both looked very, very tired, as if to say “Crap, we’ve still got to be polite?”

Nonetheless, the Democratic Party rebuttal outperformed His Petulance, receiving a 29.3 overnight rating from these same venues. And conventional wisdom has it the uncounted MSNBC audience is more likely to be sympathetic to the Pelosi-Schumer less-than-Dynamic Duo.

Jeez. How many popular votes can the Donald lose before he realizes on his best day he’s an also-ran?  Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #020: Yeah. Just Another Brick, by Mike Gold”

With Further Ado #024: Why Didn’t You Tell Me About Red Barry?

With Further Ado #024: Why Didn’t You Tell Me About Red Barry?

I get invigorated each time I visit my friend Bill and he shows me his astonishing comic strip collection. It’s like a trip to the Twilight Zone of Sunday Funnies. I still find it hard to believe that someone in my little town has this incredible collection. Of course, 99.9% of the locals think he “just has a lot junk”. When I view his stuff, I feel a little guilty that I don’t pay him an admission fee.

It starts and ends with Books. A guy named Books, to be precise. We sometimes called one of my high school buddies “Books” because he worked at the library. Ok, I admit, we weren’t the most original thinkers.  My nickname was “Crash”, by the way. Guess why I earned that one.

But we really need to focus on this column.  That collector, Bill, is Books’ dad. Since I’ve moved back to the Finger Lakes region, I’ve renewed a lot of friendships.  Old teachers, old prom dates, etc…you know how it goes. And Books’ father, Bill, is one of those folks with whom I’ve renewed a friendship.

It turns out, Bill owns a truly incredible comic strip collection. I had no idea about his love for comics back when I was in high school.  He has original art, collected editions, autographs, reference books and more. His original art collection is deep – everything from Hal Foster to Frank Robbins to Chester Gould and back again. 

This Christmas, I gifted him a copy of The Complete Kreigh Collins Volume 1: Mitzi McCoy. Longtime readers know that I’ve been excited about this project for a while.  The author, Brian Collins, collaborated with Lost Art Books’ publisher Joe Procopio to methodically collect Kreigh Collins’ first comic strip, Mitzi McCoy.  I helped out with the marketing and also contributed the Afterward.  You can still get a copy at your local comic shop or here, but this column isn’t meant to be a hard sell.

During my Yuletide delivery visit, Bill pulled out a copy of the book he was reading. He enthusiastically explained how fascinating it was and asked if I’d like to borrow it. It’s a gorgeous IDW hardcover reprinting old strips in that same format that they publish comic strip collections of Steve Canyon, Terry and the Pirates, Superman, Rip Kirby and Spider-Man.

(I’ve always been an IDW reader and fan, but now that I’m working on a top-secret project with them – to be announced this spring -you’ll soon see why I’m even more of an IDW fan!)

The book is Red Barry, Undercover Man by Will Gould. But I had never heard of the character, Red Barry, or the creator, Will Gould. Have you?  Continue reading “With Further Ado #024: Why Didn’t You Tell Me About Red Barry?”