Category: Columns

With Further Ado #226: See You at San Diego – A conversation with author Mathew Klickstein

With Further Ado #226: See You at San Diego – A conversation with author Mathew Klickstein

When I say I love history, I don’t just mean I like to read about ancient Rome and the Revolutionary War. There’s so much more out there, and Mathew Klickstein has provided a doozy. His newest book, See You at San Diego: An Oral History of Comic-Con, Fandom and the Triumph of Geek Culture is a deep-dive history of San Diego Comic-Con. It’s informative, insightful and great fun. So, as we prepare for the With Further Ado’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide (it’ll be published next Wednesday), let’s use this interview with Mathew as a sort of “Gift Guide Eve” column!


Ed Catto: I’ve really enjoyed your book See You at San Diego Mathew. But then again, I’m really into the history of comics and geek culture. Is this book only for people like me?

Mathew Klickstein: I appreciate it, and also appreciate the question. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “challenge,” but I’ve been doing my best to get the word out not only about the book but the fact that it’s not merely about San Diego Comic-Con, Comic-Con, or even “just” comics or what some people might call “comics culture.”

I think it’s for a much wider audience for the reason that the book is in fact an oral history of fandom and pop culture nostalgia itself – over a century’s time – as told by those who made a lot of it happen. We did focus our narrative on the prehistory, history, and expansion of what turned out to be the largest pop culture convention worldwide according to Guinness: and that’s Comic-Con. Otherwise, the book would’ve been 50,000 pages instead of 500.

Seeing everything through the lens of the rise and conquest of Comic-Con helped narrow the story … but, like Comic-Con itself, it’s really about everything in the geek culture or pop culture scene.

EC: This book has such a unique design. How did it all come about?

MK: The principal praise for our eye-catching, immersive, and dynamic design has to of course first and foremost go to our genius designer, Jonathan Barli. I told him as soon as I saw the first proofs that I would always make sure to mention him and ensure people knew who was most responsible for it. Continue reading “With Further Ado #226: See You at San Diego – A conversation with author Mathew Klickstein”

With Further Ado #225: The Rayguns and Rocketships of Rian Hughes

With Further Ado #225: The Rayguns and Rocketships of Rian Hughes

You can almost smell the stale greasy fumes in the air and the hear the metallic thrumming of the engines as you flip through the pages. This is space travel – 1950s style.

This space travel has more in common with a submarine than a Tesla or SpaceX. These spaceships are more like typewriters and lawnmowers than your iPhone.

The clunky space suits are cumbersome and ugly, except when worn by women. Then the unitarian suits somehow transform into slinky, formfitting fashion statements, hugging every curve of the women’s 50s hourglass shapes.

The brave astronauts of this day never dreamed of apps or coding, all they needed was a space-wrench, whatever that was, and a blowtorch to build or fix their spaceships in between intergalactic oil changes.

This is the vision of a sci future…from the unique vantage point of seventy-plus years ago and from the “other side of the pond”.

Ace designer Rian Hughes has done it again! His latest book, Rayguns & Rocketships, published by Korero Press is a space-age treat. In fact, the back cover of this book displays a logo/badge on the back signifying it to be a five-star Retro Scientific Thriller –complete with a “thumbs up”. This logo, presumably designed by Hughes, couldn’t be more spot-on. Continue reading “With Further Ado #225: The Rayguns and Rocketships of Rian Hughes”

With Further Ado #224: Lost DC Logos!!

With Further Ado #224: Lost DC Logos!!

My favorite logo designer is a brilliant gent named Rian Hughes. I’ve been a fan for years, and I’ve even been a client. (He designed our Agendae logo.) His book on logos is brilliant. He’s created many big company logos and comic logos. I keep his book on my office bookshelf and always trot it out when I need some creative inspiration. Longtime readers will even remember I featured his book in my very first With Further Ado column.

And I just received Hughes’ newest book Rayguns & Rocketships, published by Korero, which I will be reviewing in a future column.

But this past weekend, we went to another vintage book sale and rescued some more treasures. (I’m developing a nice Big Little Book collection, in fact.) One treasure was an oversized coffee table book, Milton Glaser: Art is Work, celebrating legendary designer Milton Glaser. Continue reading “With Further Ado #224: Lost DC Logos!!”

With Further Ado #223: Omari Malik and BlackTooth Battalion

With Further Ado #223: Omari Malik and BlackTooth Battalion

Comics can be creative and can be entrepreneurial. Sometimes we get excited by the content, and sometimes we get excited by the efforts of the people making it happen.

Omari Malik is a driven creator launching a new anthology comic on Kickstarter, with three stories and three distinct styles. He reached out to me, and I was so impressed with his focus, drive and upbeat attitude.

The three stories in his anthology include:

Adastra

Continue reading “With Further Ado #223: Omari Malik and BlackTooth Battalion”

With Further Ado #222: Casper and the Sequential Crush Podcast

With Further Ado #222: Casper and the Sequential Crush Podcast

I love Halloween. I bet that many folks who read this column love Halloween too. But one of the downsides to this glorious, spooky celebration is how pop culture, television stations and retailers all seem to lurch to the next holiday season so quickly after Halloween’s last trick or treat.

In Adweek – you didn’t think I only read comics, did you – they’ve already started their analysis of holiday themed TV commercials. (I will admit, the Katy Perry+LEGO tv spot does look like fun!)

So, with that in mind, shall we drag out Halloween just a little bit longer?

Casper Instead of Candy

We’re one of the families that give out comics instead of candy to trick-or-treaters. Most of the comics we give away are current or recent comics. But I rescued a few old Harvey Comics from a bargain box and thought some kid might enjoy them. Harvey’s Casper, the Friendly Ghost #75 was from November 1964, and I thought it was charming on so many levels. Continue reading “With Further Ado #222: Casper and the Sequential Crush Podcast”

With Further Ado #221: Book Review – Tarzan, The New Adventures

With Further Ado #221: Book Review – Tarzan, The New Adventures

Tarzan is one of those characters that has been illustrated by all the top artists in comics:  Foster, Hogarth, Manning,  Frazetta, Vallejo, Adams, Kubert, Buscema and so many more.  And that’s not even counting the more recent modern titans like Wheatley, Yeates and Jusko.

It would seem almost inconceivable that any fan could get excited by any more Tarzan artists. But that’s exactly what happened to me with Tom Grindberg’s work on Tarzan: The New Adventures

This hardcover volume collects the weekly strips that the Edgar Rice Burroughs group had been publishing on their site. They had developed weekly online comics that felt like they were torn out of the Sunday newspapers, but designed to capture some of the excitement of digital comics from decade ago. ERB created strips for so many of their properties – from popular characters like Tarzan (I think he had two strips actually) to lesser-known characters like the Mucker, in an impressive series by Ron Marz and Lee Moder.

Full disclosure: ERB is a past client and I like the company quite a bit. I touched upon these webseries a few years ago in a column here.

Here’s the official description from ERB of this collection: Continue reading “With Further Ado #221: Book Review – Tarzan, The New Adventures”

With Further Ado #220: More Chasing After Zorro

With Further Ado #220: More Chasing After Zorro

Every fan or collector is always hoping to stumble across some treasure that everyone else has overlooked.  Why-oh-why can I never find a mint copy of Fantastic Four #1 at the local garage sales?

It wasn’t Fantastic Four #1, but when I found Chasing After Zorro by Britt Lomond at a local church’s local book sale last month, I did find something special.  This is an actor’s recollections of his time on the 1950s Disney TV Show Zorro. Lomond played the bad guy in the first couple of seasons of this show.  (Although I learned that Walt Disney had wanted to cast him as the hero originally.)

Disney+ just put this Zorro show up on their streaming service, and you know what? It’s pretty good!  To celebrate this, I excerpted a few chapters of the book in last week’s columns.  And as it turns out – it’s very difficult to find a copy of this book.  Collectors have seemingly paid several hundred dollars to get their hands on a copy.

So in response to fan requests (I think from fans who have been looking for this book for a while), I wanted to excerpt a little more of  Chasing After Zorro. Here’s Lomond’s thoughts on episode #2, entitled “Zorro’s Secret Passage”. It’s kind of the story about how Zorro sets up his version of the Batcave: Continue reading “With Further Ado #220: More Chasing After Zorro”

With Further Ado #217: Chasing after Zorro 65 years later

With Further Ado #217: Chasing after Zorro 65 years later

Disney+ gets so much attention from comic and geek culture fans for all the Star Wars and Marvel shows. Sometimes it gets a little too much attention, like the kind of attention from the misguided fans who are righteously indignant about Eiza Gonzalez being supposedly cast as Elektra.

But the Disney+ news that really excites me is their plans to re-release the old Zorro series. It debuted sixty-five years ago this month.

Their official release reads:

“Zorro” is an American action-adventure western series produced by Walt Disney Productions and starring Guy Williams. Based on the Zorro character created by Johnston McCulley, the series premiered on October 10, 1957, on ABC. The final network broadcast was July 2, 1959. Seventy-eight episodes were produced, and four hour-long specials were aired on the Walt Disney anthology series between October 30, 1960, and April 2, 1961.

Anthony Tollin, whom you might associate more closely with another crusading avenger dressed in black, The Shadow, recently posted on social media, “65 years ago today, Walt Disney’s ZORRO (starring Guy Williams) premieres on ABC-TV on October 10th, 1957. My favorite TV series as a child, it remains the ONLY one that fully lives up to my childhood memories of it! Great scripts and direction, incredible cast and superb music composed by William Lava. The second unit director during the first season was the legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt.” Continue reading “With Further Ado #217: Chasing after Zorro 65 years later”

With Further Ado #218: Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles

With Further Ado #218: Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles

Although I’ve been a fan of westerns my whole life (comics, movies, TV shows, classic art and illustration) I was late to the party discovering Tex.  The character Tex Willer debuted in 1948 and has been published continuously ever since.

(I wrote about Tex last year in my With Further Ado column entitled “Jes’ Who is this Hombre Called Tex”?)

I just received the latest adventure. It’s called Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles.  This is a gorgeous, hefty hardcover written by Mauro Boselli with stunning black & white inked artwork by the insanely talented Michele Rubini.

One of the great things about comic conventions is running into entrepreneurs and creators that you hadn’t planned on meeting.  I had the pleasure of meeting Rubini at San Diego Comic-Con. He was billed as Epicenter’s special guest from Italy. I found the only thing that could surpass his artistic talent was his overwhelming charm and generosity. Continue reading “With Further Ado #218: Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles”

With Further Ado #217: TRIPWIRE Turns Thirty

With Further Ado #217: TRIPWIRE Turns Thirty

Those thirtieth birthdays come up fast. One minute you’re celebrating your first legal drink with friends. The next minute, you blink and you’re thirty. Where does the time go?  (Spoiler alert: it only gets worse, gang.)

But we all should remind ourselves how lucky we are to celebrate these milestone birthdays. And as fans, we’re ALL lucky that TRIPWIRE magazine is celebrating its 30th Birthday.

Many talented folks have been involved in Tripwire over the years. It’s been a groundbreaking UK magazine that always seemed to really “know its stuff”. But for me it all comes back to enthusiastic passion of my friend, Joel Meadows. He has a vision, and like the very best (and the most creative) entrepreneurs, he found ways to make it happen.  Here’s the official backgrounder on TRIPWIRE for those who are less familiar with it:

From 1992 to 2011 (with a  short break between 2003 and 2007) TRIPWIRE published over fifty issues of our magazine that covered comics, film, TV, novels and related media. We interviewed everyone from Stan Lee to Mike Mignola, Alan Moore to Joss Whedon. In 2013 we decided to wrap up our physical publishing programme and switch to online/ digital. We produced a few digital editions but it got very hard to get readers to pay for content so we decided to have another rethink. This website is the result of that rethink.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #217: TRIPWIRE Turns Thirty”