Category: Podcasts

Spotlight SquadCast Interview: Vito Delsante Has a Kickstarter You Need to See

Spotlight SquadCast Interview: Vito Delsante Has a Kickstarter You Need to See

We have another great interview to bring to you. This one is with comic writer Vito Delsante. He has a current Kickstarter campaign in progress for the long awaited graphic novel World War Mob: La Collezione Completa .

We spent some time discussing the origins of this comic project. It sounds and looks fantastic. We highly recommend backing this project.

The elevator pitch for the book is simple.

“It’s the mob from the 1930’s, they take a hit out on Benito Mussolini and I think it is pretty self explanatory from there. If I am worth any kind of salt as writer, there will be obviously nuance involved, but I will let the audience suss that out as they read it.”

The goal of the campaign is to complete and print the book that had been solicited a few years ago but never made it to print.

Artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo is utilizing a fantastic watercolor style bring a unique look to this book.

The Kickstarter campaign ends in twelve days on January 27, 2021, and this is one that you won’t want to miss. The rewards for this project are reasonably priced and as we discussed in the SquadCast, this is one of the projects that you want to see succeed because it deserves to be in the world.

Take a listen to our conversation for more about the history and content of this interesting comic project.

Of course, Vito and I discussed his creator owned book Stray that he developed with co-creator and artist Sean Izaakse. We talked about the plans for the next volume of Stray that he hope to get going this year with artist Marcelo Mueller.

For more of my feelings about Stray check out the Continued After The Next Page column that I wrote about it.

Fans of ’80s comics will enjoy the last third of the SquadCast as we dive into collecting X-Men comics, and you will find out what Chris Claremont has to do with “Luke and Laura” and “Bo and Hope”.


Here is some more art from the Kickstarter campaign.

World War Two! Five men, all members of different crime families, all US soldiers, undertake a clandestine mission ordered by the heads of the Five Families; for crimes against the Mafia, Benito Mussolini must be killed! They must overcome bad blood and family rivalries, the Nazis and the men loyal to Il Duce, and go behind the Army brass’ backs to do it for “La Cosa Nostra!


 

 

 


You can follow Vito’s work at www.incogvito.com

He is @Incognvito on Twitter and Instagram.

And for updated information on what is going on with Stray follow the Facebook page or the Kickstarter page.

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!

Press Release: “A SPOILERVERSE CHRISTMAS CAROL” LAUNCHES IN SUPPORT OF GIVE COMICS HOPE

Press Release: “A SPOILERVERSE CHRISTMAS CAROL” LAUNCHES IN SUPPORT OF GIVE COMICS HOPE

Press Release:

Wednesday December 23. 2020, Seattle –

Spoilerverse.com, the universe of pop culture podcasts based in Seattle (home of the Spoiler Country, Misery Point Radio, Narrative Gunslingers & Hard Agree podcasts – and many more) announce the launch of their annual “A Spoilerverse Christmas Carol” podcast, this year in support of Give Comics Hope.

“A Spoilerverse Christmas Carol” is the first of Spoilerverse.com’s annual yuletide charity podcasts and features regular Spoilerverse commentator/podcaster (and EVP of London’s Titan Entertainment) Andrew Sumner performing Charles Dickens’ one-man public performance version of Dickens’ Yuletide classic A Christmas Carol.

http://scpod.net/a-spoilerverse-christmas-carol/

Sumner commented: “we’re coming to the end of a wildly-turbulent & damaging pandemic year, which has left the comics industry’s all-important network of individually-owned comic book stores – the temples of pop culture in which we all worship – hard hit & struggling to survive. William Schanes’ team at GiveComicsHope.org have dedicated themselves to supporting our comic book shops until we can get to the other side of the pandemic. Their mission of community support reminded myself and Spoilerverse show-runners John Horsley & Kenric Regan of Dickens’ own seasonal message of empathy & civic responsibility, so we thought “what better way to underline & amplify Bill’s mission than to return to the words of Charles Dickens himself, the great believer in human society pulling together?”

“A Spoilerverse Christmas Carol” is live now:
http://scpod.net/a-spoilerverse-christmas-carol/

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Writer Erica Schultz

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Writer Erica Schultz

We have another great interview to bring to you. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to have a conversation with comic book writer and editor Erica Schultz.

In the past couple of years her writing credits have really started to pile up. She has written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Red 5 Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, her own label Vices Press, and more.

Erica also has taught lettering for Comics Experience and is currently an instructor at the Kubert School.

Her creator owned comic series Forgotten Home, with art by Marika Cresta, was published as a Comixology Original, and she is currently writing The Legacy of Mandrake, the Magician for Red 5 Comics.

We talked about her process and her latest projects. It was a fun interview and Erica is a fantastic storyteller.

We transcribed a good portion of the interview below, but there is plenty more in podcast.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

 


PopCultureSquad: Let’s start off with the newest book that you have released. The Legacy of Mandrake the Magician. You are writing with art by Diego Giribaldi was released on October 28th. It is wonderful. Can you tell us how it came about?

Erica Schultz: Actually Stonebot Comics approached me. In the summer of last year, I was approached by Matias Timarchi, and he wanted to know my availability for a possible project about a “legacy” character. Like with a lot of projects, when people reach out, they don’t give all the details of the projects that they are planning because of NDAs and stuff like that.

He asked if I was familiar with Mandrake, and I said that I was familiar with the character, but I am not like a super-fan or anything, and I would have to do some research. He mentioned that they were going to be updating the character. It wasn’t going to be a reboot of Mandrake. It was going to be a legacy character.

PCS: What type of framework did they give you for that?

ES: They actually had been working with another writer prior, so I was given kind of a story bible. I was told to use it as a guide. So I came up with some stuff. Some of it we used in the final story, and others they pushed back on because I think that there was a specific direction that they wanted to go with.

I had a lot of fun working on the character. I read a bunch of the old strips so that I could get an idea about the world. Also, in the original series, Mandrake’s powers and abilities aren’t really defined. It is almost as if he has whatever ability he needs at that particular time.

PCS: Right, well, back then the didn’t worry about people going on blogs and complaining how things didn’t match.

ES: Exactly, so I wanted to set some parameters and a framework. The fact that the main character Mandy is just learning her abilities, that helps. She is not able to just snap her fingers and everything gets done. She has stops and starts.

I think that having a teenage girl, who is dealing with not just trying to get a handle on these abilities, but also trying to get a handle on life, is fun, and there is a lot of potential there and a lot of different avenues that you can go down.

PCS: What is the publishing plan for Mandrake? Is it a limited series?

ES: Well, there is a #0 issue that is free on Comixology.com. That is the digital only intro. It is a one and done, but it introduces the character. As of right now, this is a mini-series. We have discussed more, but we are not technically doing more at this point. The #0 issue and the four-issue mini-series will be collected in a trade, for now.

PCS: The opening issue is a great set up, and it feels like there will be some serious hurdles for Mandy?

ES: Yes. High School sucks! She and her mom both really love each other, but they are very strong personalities, and that tends to cause conflict. Her mom has very specific things that she wants for Mandy. Mandy is first generation American, and coming from an immigrant family myself, this idea that you have to go to college and be better than I did, is sort of sticking point between Mandy and Mabel, her mom. Mabel has a more traditional tract that she want Mandy to go in. Mandy is wondering if she wants” the normal life.”

Check out the audio for some exploration about how expectations of maturing are changing and what Erica thinks about how it works in Mandrake.

Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Writer Erica Schultz”

Brainiac On Banjo #101: Let’s Go Get Screwed

Brainiac On Banjo #101: Let’s Go Get Screwed

You know I work so hard, all day long / Everything I try to do, seems to always turn out wrong / That’s why I wanna’ stop by, on my way home and say / Let’s go get stoned – written by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Josephine Armstead, 1965.

You would think that after decades of legal entanglement, public ridicule, and media hostility, corporate America would have learned something from the Jerry Siegel – Joe Shuster “who owns Superman” slugfest. You might also think it would be swell if we could watch monkeys fly.

On his justifiably well-respected Word Balloons podcast last week, John Siuntres conversed with Alex Ross, and Alex dropped some shit. It seems the DC Comics daisy chain (DC < Warner Bros < WarnerMedia < AT&T, a.k.a. Ma Bell) no longer pays artists or writers when they use their work on screen. Alex discusses his Kingdom Come series with Mark Waid, his design of the current Batwoman, his re-design work with Wonder Woman, and his contributions to Black Lightning. His work has been seen, or closely imitated, in various WarnerMedia adaptations of the DC grimoire. Movies, teevee shows, streaming stuff, the whole enchilada has been heavily seasoned with buckets of Ross. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #101: Let’s Go Get Screwed”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Justin Jordan

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Justin Jordan

Today, we bring you a new spotlight interview. In this session, we spoke with comics writer Justin Jordan.

Justin has been a professional comic book writer for over a decade now and is the co-creator of fan favorite indie comics The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, which has recently been optioned as film by Allnighter, and Spread among others. He has worked for DC Comics and Valiant Entertainment as well as other licensed properties while developing his creator owned comics.

In collaboration with artist John Amor and letterer Micah Myers, Justin has been publishing the webcomic Urban Animal on Webtoon.com for a couple of years now. He and John are bringing the webcomic to print through a kickstarter campaign in conjunction with Rocketship Entertainment. The campaign has hit its initial funding goal already and there are over 10 days to go before it ends.

We had a great conversation about the origins of Urban Animal, and his career. We talked about how this year has been different for everyone. We transcribed a good portion of the interview below, but there is plenty more in podcast.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


PopCultureSquad: Let’s talk about the kickstarter for Urban Animal. What are you looking to accomplish and how does that work with Webtoon, who publishes the digital comic on their platform?

Justin Jordan: Well John Amor and I do a series called Urban Animal over at Webtoon.com. It’s about Joe Gomez who thinks he’s an ordinary kid until one day he turns into a sabre toothed tiger and finds out his life gets a whole lot weirder from there. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Justin Jordan”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. In this session, we spoke with comics writer Steve Orlando.

Steve has recently fulfilled his exclusive contract with DC Comics and is planning his expansion into lots of new types of projects and genres. He is well known for his work on Midnighter and Martian Manhunter, but also wrote Justice League of America, Unexpected, Electric Warriors, Wonder Woman, and others. He has written Crude for Image Comics, and Dead Kings for AfterShock Comics which were well reviewed here at Pop Culture Squad.

His latest bold project is a collaboration with artist Davide Tinto called Commanders in Crisis, and it debuts this week from Image Comics.

We has a wide ranging discussion of his past work, his influences, and how he views himself in society. It was a wild conversation and one that defies the written word. I tried to pull some highlights as you will see in the abridged transcription below, but this is an interview that needs to be heard.

Steve is a fascinating man and incredibly talented writer who knows what he wants to say and has done an excellent job of accomplishing that up to this point.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


Squadcast Highlights:

Pop Culture Squad: You said that Commanders In Crisis “is a fight for comics as they need to be.” What does that mean?

Steve Orlando: Commanders in Crisis will give you hope. It will talk about the current moment, and it will do so with some wild comic book s#!t that you could never see at DC.

PCS: What was it like working with Philip Kennedy Johnson on To Kill A Man, soon to be released from AfterShock Comics.

SO: I love working with [Philip]. We make each other better. I am very proud of that book. I think it’s one of the best if not THE best thing that I have been part of as a collaboration, and a lot of that is because [Philip] and I aren’t precious about s#!t. We sort of know when to lean in and lean out so that everything feels real and authentic. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with The Steve Orlando of Comics”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer and Artist Andrew Pepoy, Creator of Simone & Ajax

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer and Artist Andrew Pepoy, Creator of Simone & Ajax

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. In this session, we spoke with comics writer, artist, and inker Andrew Pepoy.

Andrew has been working professionally in comics for over thirty years. He has worked for Marvel, DC, Archie, and Bongo Comics, among others. He is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for his creator owned property Simone & Ajax. Simone and Ajax has been around for over twenty-five years, and Andrew is working on collected edition of four new stories, plus extras and it looks fabulous.

We talked about the series and what Andrew is looking to deliver in this project as well as his history in comics. This interview is a great discussion of what is possible in the comic medium.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below, and we transcribed a big portion of it for you as well.

We hope you enjoy the conversation.

Pop Culture Squad: Let’s talk about Simone & Ajax. The Kickstarter is live as of the publication of this interview even if we are recording it prior to the campaign launch. How long has this new project been in the works for you and what can we expect in the Kickstarter?

Andrew Pepoy: Well there is a longer answer and a shorter answer. To give you the short answer, I have been planning this for about the last year, and really focused on it for much of this year, 2020.

The long answer is that in some ways, some of the stories in here are stories I have been wanting to tell for twenty-five or thirty years since I first created the characters.

Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer and Artist Andrew Pepoy, Creator of Simone & Ajax”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Colorist Chris Sotomayor

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Colorist Chris Sotomayor

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. In this session, we spoke with comics colorist, artist, and teacher Christopher Sotomayor.

Chris has been part of the comic industry for twenty-five years. He has done a lot of work for Marvel and DC, including long runs on Captain Marvel, Nightwing, The Hulk, and more. You can find him currently doing colors for Deadpool, Batman Beyond, and The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage.

Chris teaches the online comic coloring classes with Comics Experience and has a new session coming up next month.

While we have interviewed Chris before, we reached out to him again to get his perspective on how the pandemic is affecting his work and the current state of the comics industry.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below, and we transcribed a big portion of it for you as well.

We hope you enjoy the conversation.

Download

Pop Culture Squad: Let’s get started with talking about the books you working on these days.

Chris Sotomayor: I am working on whole range of different things, and I am excited about most of them. I want to say all of them, but if I am being honest, I am excited about most of them.

PCS: That is fine. We had talked about that Batman Beyond is coming to an end. Are you finished with it? Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Colorist Chris Sotomayor”

Squadcast Spotlight Interview with No Heroine writer Frank Gogol

Squadcast Spotlight Interview with No Heroine writer Frank Gogol

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. In this session, we talked with comic writer Frank Gogol.

Frank Gogol is a comic writer who if following up the hit series Dead End Kids with his latest creator-owned story, No Heroine. He is an alumnus of the Comic Experience program and also produced the Ringo Award nominated anthology Grief. All three of those books are published by Source Point Press.

No Heroine is a three issue mini-series on which he is working with Chris Madd on art, with colors by Shawna Madd and letters by Sean Rinehart.

We spoke to Frank in May, and below, is the result of that conversation.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below, and we transcribed a big portion of it for you as well.

We hope you enjoy the conversation.

Download

Pop Culture Squad: Frank! Welcome back to Pop Culture Squad.

Frank Gogol: Good to see you again or to hear you again, I suppose.

PCS: Sure. So, let’s start out with this. We are on the verge of a new “Frank Gogol” story. What do you want people to know about No Heroine, in terms of the story?

FG: That is a big question. I’ve been talking about this book for, what is it the middle of May, for about six months now, and I still don’t really know how to say everything succinctly. I guess, this is my love letter to Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. I grew up on Buffy. I started watching Buffy, the Vampire Slayer way too young. I was eight when it premiered in 1997, and I’ve been watching it pretty religiously ever since.

So, I was a little too young for it, but I watched it and knew sort of immediately, instinctively, it was something different, something special. I always loved the storytelling, and it has definitely informed my storytelling. Joss [Whedon] is a dark guy. He writes these stories, and he really sticks the knife in and twists it. I think that’s the stories I try to tell. It’s definitely the case in No Heroine. It doesn’t pull a lot of punches, it’s a dark book about a young woman dealing with drug recovery, and there are vampires too, I guess. But that isn’t really the point.

PCS: I think that is a good starting point. This book is clearly not the slice-of-life or reality-based books that I have read of yours. How did you find having the shackles of human-only characters being removed? As you said, it’s not necessarily a vampire book. There are vampires in it, but there ARE vampires in it?

FG: When I starting writing four years ago last month, and I remember about that time right before and right after. I was sort of setting down some sort of principles or pillars for myself as a writer, like the kind of stories I want to tell and the things that I would not do and things I would do. One of the things I said I would do, and I think I stuck to this pretty well, was to tell character forward stories and have a genre and action take a back seat in favor of really good character work. Weather its good or not, it’s definitely taken a front seat. Definitely in Dead End Kids and definitely in Grief.

In this book, I wanted to do the same thing. So, the vampires are not an afterthought in the story but an afterthought in the creation of the story. I wanted to tell a story that gave a fair and honest, sort of “gray space”, look at the recovery part of addiction. We have a lot of pop culture that deals with addiction. We see this sort of phase of people’s lives where they are using drugs, and we see the rehabilitation phase quite a bit, but we don’t usually see the part that comes next, which is, for the people who find success in rehab, the recovery phases. Continue reading “Squadcast Spotlight Interview with No Heroine writer Frank Gogol”