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Spotlight Interview with Comic Creator and Artist Craig Rousseau

Spotlight Interview with Comic Creator and Artist Craig Rousseau

Hey folks!

Welcome back to another spotlight interview. This time we interviewed comic creator and artist Craig Rousseau!

Craig has worked for a bunch of comic publishers including Marvel and DC. He is well remembered for a long run on Impulse with DC and he is the co-creator and artist of the Perhapanauts with Todd Dezago.

Craig and I talked about the new books he has coming out including Killing Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment and a re-release of Kyrra: Alien Jungle Girl from Scout Comics.

We also reminisced about some of his other work and talked about what his art process looks like today.

It was a great chat. I hope you enjoy it.

Below you will find the audio recording of our conversation. We also transcribed the majority of the interview for you, but there are still a couple things that you will only find in the audio.

 

Interview with Craig Rousseau on 3/10/2020

Pop Culture Squad: Thanks for doing this. Let’s talk about Killing Red Sonja from Dynamite. How did that gig come about? What can you tell us about the story for that particular book? I believe it is a five-issue series?

Craig Rousseau: I believe that it is six, but I could be wrong. So, it actually it came about because I’ve worked with Nate Cosby in the past. He was my editor over at Marvel way back when, and every now and then, I would do a cover or a pin-up or a couple of pages for him over at Dynamite. And I said, ”Hey, if anything ever comes up, I would love to work with you again.” Originally, he was looking for an artist to do some samples for Red Sonja/Vampirella, and quickly, we realized, that I was much more attuned to drawing grumpy old men and weird monsters and not so much hot chicks in bikinis.

PCS: Or onesies?

CR: Yeah! So, after a few quick samples, we kind of switched gears, and he said “I think we have something else that might work better for you.”  That is when he pitched the idea of Killing Red Sonja. Which, I thought, was a lot of fun and really much more my wheelhouse. Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Creator and Artist Craig Rousseau”

The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive

The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive

The world is changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Almost daily, we are receiving new news that changes the status quo.  Schools are closed across the country. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and many more are under stay-home orders. Non-Essential business are shuttered in many states. That includes comic shops.

Today, Governor Larry Hogan issued the order for non-essential businesses to close in Maryland, the home of Diamond Comic Distributors. How does that order affect the already severely wounded comic industry? We will find out.

Comic Publishers React

We have seen public statements from several comic book publishers over the past few days reacting to the anticipated drop in orders and revenue due to the fact that most of the country is following the #StayHome orders for the immediate future. They have implemented programs to make more comics returnable, and reduced the or postponed shipments of books that have been anticipated. Below is a list of what we know at this point. Continue reading “The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive”

Exploring Webcomics With the Pros – The Video SquadCast

Exploring Webcomics With the Pros – The Video SquadCast

Hey Everyone!!

Welcome to the Video SquadCast! This is the recording of the panel we hosted at Baltimore Comic-Con on October 20, 2019. The panelists are Steve Conley, Katie Cook, Dean Haspiel and Thom Zahler.  The video is hosted on our YouTube Channel and the audio version of the SquadCast can be found at the bottom of this post.

Be sure to check out this great conversation about webcomics and how these professionals work their craft. The will tell you the techniques they use for developing story and rendering it into art.


Continue reading “Exploring Webcomics With the Pros – The Video SquadCast”

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Without a knowing the bigger picture, you could think he was delusional. But with the whole story, there is no other way of looking at it than he is a manipulator.

Did you insert yourself into someone’s trauma for personal reasons? Are you being a supportive person or just an angry one?

Was that an “innocent flirtation” that you just made, or are your comments actually harassment?

These questions are important. Actions have consequences. Even online actions can lead to real damage.

The world we live in is changing all the time. Sometimes for the worse, and sometimes for the better. One of the ways that our society has been changing for the better over the last couple of years is that there is greater accountability required by people who have preyed upon the vulnerable and engaged in inappropriate personal behavior. The #MeToo movement has made it more difficult for everything from unwanted overly familiar innuendo to sexual assault to be brushed away or excused.

There are two types of goals for exposing unacceptable behavior publicly. The first is punishment. Punishment for the offender. Unfortunately, even though the victims are justified in their desire for some level of retribution, that doesn’t always work out.

An example of that is the public declaration of Chris Hardwick‘s behavior in a past relationship by Chloe Dykstra. He laid low for a short time and made some public statements without admitting guilt, and now he is back on TV and getting paid.

Sometimes, people are cast out from their positions of celebrity. Truly, it should be a privilege to be a public figure and be celebrated. That includes comic book writers and artists. Companies are free to employ whom they chose, and consumers are free to support who they want, but people have a right know when someone is behaving badly, especially if that person is in the public arena.

We saw, last year, that Eric Esquivel was fired following revelations of abusive behavior, and recently Dark Horse Comics stated that they would no longer work with Brian Wood because of multiple allegations of unacceptable actions. In the case of Jai Nitz, comic writer and college guest lecturer, it took the reaction of the University of Kansas banning him from the campus for the comics community to take notice of what had been a pattern of terrible acts.

The second goal for exposing inappropriate behavior is awareness. Awareness that the actions are wrong, and that the perpetrator is engaging in this behavior. We mentioned awareness that the behavior is wrong, and that is the meat of this post.

There are people who prey on the vulnerable and the abused by portraying themselves as an ally. Some people use the trauma of others for their own benefit. They frame the other people’s injuries with their own feelings.

One such person is comic writer C.W. Cooke. He is a pretty well known in the indie comic circuit, especially online. Until very recently, he has been quick to comment and insert himself in the raging at bad actors in the comic community.

There is a difference between being a predator that breaks laws and someone who crosses the barriers of acceptable social interactions. The latter can cause personal pain and often result in very real trauma.

Continue reading “Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?”

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”

Steve Ditko: Inside His Studio Sanctum Sanctorum

I wrote my first letter to Steve Ditko in early 1973, while I was still in high school. It was the typical letter, the type a budding fan-artist back then might send to a seasoned professional comics artist — full of effusive praise, capped with a request for some secret kernel of artistic knowledge that would magically transform overnight a fan’s crude artistic efforts into professional-level artwork. Ditko did his best to answer, giving what was, in retrospect, a solid list of advice.

Two years later, I wrote Ditko again, and this time, I asked if I could stop by his studio for a visit when I was in New York City later that year. He politely declined, and I pushed that idea into the dustbin of history – not realizing that 28 years later my request would become a reality.

More than two decades passed before I wrote Ditko again in 1997. In the interim, I joined the Air Force, learned to be an aircraft avionics technician, got married, had kids, opted to be a career Airman, traveled and lived abroad for nearly a decade, earned a bachelor’s degree, retrained into public affairs during the early 1990s military drawdown, kept drawing, and kept publishing my fanzine, “Maelstrom.” In fact, my third letter to Ditko was a request for what I knew was an extreme long shot: An interview for an upcoming issue of my ‘zine. Again, he politely declined.

I wrote a few more letters during the next two years about nothing in particular – including a couple while I was stationed in the Republic of Korea in 1998. In one of them, I included some terrifically supple Korean-made brushes that were ridiculously cheap, but feathered ink like a Winsor & Newton brush costing 30 times as much.

I retired from the Air Force in 1999 and published “Maelstrom” #7, and dutifully sent Ditko a copy. Our correspondence continued off-and-on until 2002, when I started preparing a Steve Ditko article for “Maelstrom” #8 – along with a cover I drew featuring many of Ditko’s more notable characters. When the issue was published, I sent him a copy, and something about it obviously struck a chord as he sent me several letters of comment. Suddenly, the correspondence was a regular back-and-forth, and as my letters got longer, so did his. Some of Steve’s letters were 10, 12, or even 16 pages long.  Continue reading “Steve Ditko: Inside His Studio Sanctum Sanctorum”

What Comic Have You Owned the Longest

What Comic Have You Owned the Longest

Everyone has a part of their collection that is special to them. It might be something that you paid a lot of money for, or it could be something that you searched a long time for. It might be something that just touched you in an emotional way.

How about that piece that you have owned longer than anything else?

For me I have owned New Teen Titans #1 longer than any other comic in my collection. I wrote a long form piece about it here.

What about you?

Share in the comments what comic you have owned the longest. We would love to hear from you.