With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

I’ve known Rose Del Vecchio, and her co-founder Jenny Cheng ever since they participated in my Fangirls Lead the Way panels. Together they run an innovative company called FanMail.com. A forward-looking Geek-focused company with an entrepreneurial streak a mile wide. The things that strikes you immediately about Rose is that she’s the real deal. As San Diego Comic-Con approaches, it’s important to catch up with Rose, a person on the front lines of both entrepreneurism and geek culture.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name”

Brainiac On Banjo #043: We’re Not Getting Mad…

Brainiac On Banjo #043: We’re Not Getting Mad…

All your children are poor unfortunate victims of lies you believe / A plague upon your ignorance that keeps the young from the truth they deserve. – Frank Zappa, “What’s The Ugliest Part of Your Body?”

For those who have been following the long and lingering death of Mad Magazine, a couple days ago things took another turn for the worse when it was announced that after two more inventory-burning issues, the legendary publication would stop running new material.

That’s sad. 67 years ago Mad changed the nature of our culture, being the first comic book to confront our nation’s culture and its many foibles head-on. It was an important part of a vital movement in the 1950s spawned by innovators such as Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Second City, Ernie Kovacs and Moms Mabley. Mad was all the more important by being the first specifically oriented to those not yet old enough to vote. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #043: We’re Not Getting Mad…”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #045: Fireworks

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #045: Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July, our national celebration of the time a whole lot of immigrants and their offspring told the guy in charge that they’d had enough of his shit. It’s a great American tradition.

It has become quite hard to celebrate this majestic event when our coward in charge and his underlings in ICE, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, the Republican Senate caucus and their fellow travelers literally are torturing thousands of children and their parents.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, holy shit, pick up a newspaper and stop paying attention to the most-excellent professional liars at Fox. All kinds of horrible things are being done to children in your name, and it does not matter who they are or how they got here. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #045: Fireworks”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in July 2019

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in July 2019

Welcome back to New Number Ones!!

Here, we give our readers a preview of the new comic book series that we are looking forward to each month. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from PREVIEWSworld. Look for our PCS NOTES below where we just have to tell you some more about the new comic in question.

There are a ton of new series of interest starting in July. Part of that may be due to that there are five Wednesdays this month. Cullen Bunn has three new books alone coming at you. Also, Jonathan Hickman is relaunching the X-Men line at Marvel, and DC has some books spinning out of their Leviathan event.

We are presenting a slate of new books from a wide variety of publishers. Some of our favorite comic book talents are bringing us some of these new series.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. We will bring you reviews of most of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in July 2019”

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Shots Fired, A Comic Anthology to Fight Gun Violence

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Shots Fired, A Comic Anthology to Fight Gun Violence

Readers and followers of our site know that we are always looking for crowdfunded projects that are worthy of our support. It appears to be time for a new wave of Kickstarter projects to grab our attention.

A new project that we have been aware of even before it went live is the focus of this spotlight post. The project is called Shots Fired, and it is an anthology of comic format short stories aimed at calling attention to the tragedy of gun violence in America.  While there have been other excellent projects aimed at supporting the victims of gun violence. This collection is committed to using profits from the book to support violence prevention.

Continue reading “Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Shots Fired, A Comic Anthology to Fight Gun Violence”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #041: YouTube Groove-On

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #041: YouTube Groove-On

YouTube used to be an infrequent destination in the grand scheme of my internetting back-in-the-day. A must-see movie trailer? Sure. A few clips of kittens being kittens? Of course. Having a laugh at the numa numa guy, the Star Wars kid, or that one dude practicing his karate? Who doesn’t love a good chortle! But one thing I’d never considered YouTube to be for… was music. Flash forward to my surf-habits now, and I’m not the same person I once was. My subscription list is at least 3 long scrolls — including comedy channels, beauty gurus who somehow snag my attention, cooking shows, pro wrestling news and scuttlebutt, and of course: musicians.

While YouTube of course houses the professionally produced music videos of my all-time favorites (Barenaked Ladies, Guster, They Might Be Giants, and so on), a cursory glance over my internet history — YouTube only, ya pervs — would showcase a litany of indie crooners and rockers alike. Each one tripped over due to some kink in the algorithms and eventually saved into my subs box like a hoarder with stacks of vinyl. You know, except I don’t honestly pay often to enjoy these artists work; save of course for whatever fraction of a cent they earn when I let their pre-and-post video advertisements run.

This week, I thought I’d feature my top 5 musical artists I found because of YouTube. I’ll showcase the first video that hooked me, as well as a piece of whatever of theirs recently I’m grooving to. Slap some cans on your ear-holes, kiddos. Let’s rock this joint. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #041: YouTube Groove-On”

Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Alex Paknadel

Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Alex Paknadel

Alex Paknadel is a rising star in the field of comics writing. In 2019, he has completed his highly acclaimed first series with Vault Comics called Friendo. He has continued as the writer of the Lion Forge book Kino, which is set in the Catalyst Prime universe. He also wrote a four-part mini-series for Valiant called Incursion.

After breaking into the comics scene in 2015 with Arcadia from Boom! Studios, he has developed a reputation for thought-provoking storytelling. Often his topics cover deep socio-political subjects, but he can write a super-hero fight scene with the best of them. If you follow our Preview Reviews or Everything We Read columns, you will find Alex show up regularly there.

We caught up with Alex in Chicago at C2E2 in March, and this interview was captured then.

PopCultureSquad: Recently [in March 2019] there was an announcement that you and your White Noise studio mates [Dan Watters, Ram V, and Ryan O’Sullivan] have new books coming from Vault Comics. What can you tell us about that?

Alex Paknadel: We’ve re-upped with Vault for another tranche of books for 2019-2020. Dan Watters and I have started work on a book called Earthcrosser, which is being gorgeously illustrated by a brilliant Scottish artist named Pablo Clark. Ram and Ryan’s plans for 2020 are well-advanced too, so expect great things.

PCS: Ok, and you guys know what you are doing? You are excited about the new books?

AP: Yeah, we were able to get fantastic creative teams for the first wave of books, and we have managed to at least equal the quality of creative talent for this next set if not go beyond that.

We have been viewing Vault, and I hope they don’t get upset for me saying this but, as sort of an outlet for our “Boutique Books”. These are the ones where we take big risks.

PCS: Are they the ones that are most personal? Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comics Writer Alex Paknadel”

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #044: How Long Can You Live Without A Spine?

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #044: How Long Can You Live Without A Spine?

Back in 1956, a young senator named John F. Kennedy published a book titled Profiles In Courage. Written by Kennedy and (mostly, according to columnist Cecil Adams) Theodore Sorensen, the tome detailed the stories of eight senators who exhibited extraordinary valor by standing up for the right thing.

Profiles in Courage won a Pulitzer the following year, and when JFK became president it became mandatory reading in public schools across the Union states, as well as some within the friendly confines of the Confederacy. It’s worth reading today, but if you’ve got a short attention span you can find out about these eight old white guys on Wiki.

Please note: I said it was worth reading today. If Ted were to come back from the grave to write a sequel, he need not transverse the River Styx. Spit out Charon’s obol, pal, your follow-up would be shorter than this very piece. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #044: How Long Can You Live Without A Spine?”

Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms

Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms

Two months ago, I would have asked the same question – “Who are BTS?” And yet a short while later, I am a huge fan, and well down the rabbit-hole of listening to, viewing, reading about, and absorbing the many, many facets of this powerhouse group – from music; to music videos with complex choreographies; to live vlogs, interviews, and fan videos; to fictional universe storylines and the connected webcomic; to reality TV shows; to solo projects; to unique cultural aspects; to live performances; to merchandise; to social media interactions and the online presence of their devoted fans, affectionately known as A.R.M.Y. 

What. The Heck. Happened??

 Simply put, I saw videos of their live performances on Saturday Night Live, and that was all it took. On April 13, 2019, BTS made history as SNL’s first K-pop musical guest. They performed two of their songs live: “Boy with Luv (feat. Halsey)”

[the peppy-sweet pop single from their latest album, Map of the Soul: Persona; and “MIC Drop”

 a more driven and aggressive hip-hop number that came out in 2017. For both acts, while singing they danced in crisply coordinated and charismatic choreographies. The performances exuded a mesmerizing group energy and yet also showcased individual talent strengths and personalities of each member, a magnetic combination that (along with their stunning K-pop idol good looks) is one of the many reasons this group has an insanely large and dedicated fan group.

Immediately after seeing SNL, I found myself seeking out and listening to their music, and somehow discovering that they were going to be doing a live performance very soon and conveniently close to my childhood home in New Jersey, a reasonable distance to travel from D.C. – and one of only three U.S. appearance locations on a limited six-date U.S. tour. Of course, I recognized that this opportunity might not come around so easily again and curiosity got the better of me – were there any tickets left? Oh look, there were – and they were hella expensive; but not quite expensive enough to deter me from purchasing – which I did. But hey – if I spend that much money to attend a concert, let me tell you, when I get there I want to know the music and what to expect well enough to enjoy it.  Continue reading “Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms”

Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.

Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.

Despite the traditional theme of this column, we are going to dive into some current events in comics fandom with this installment. There has been quite a bit of moaning and groaning along with some absolute vitriol about some of the creative decisions by prominent publishers regarding character revisions, lately.

Art by Ryan Sook

When I say lately, I am using a wide measuring stick. This has been going on for a while. The volume of the critical voices is amplified in this age of instant access to everyone’s thoughts, AKA Twitter. The pure virulent hate that has been spewed at publishers and any creator even tangentially involved with promoting inclusive and diverse characters has morphed into the hate group #ComicsGate. The most depressing thing about these events is that is ruins my inherit belief that comic readers are proponents of hope and change.  I am probably wrong about that, and that is disappointing.

Let’s take a second to look at some facts. In the past week, DC Comics revealed that two of its long slumbering properties will be revived. The Legion of Super-Heroes will return, starting in September, under the stewardship of Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook. Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #010: Characters Will Change, Even in the Future. Get Used to It.”