Brainiac On Banjo #089: Riddle Me This, Keaton!

Brainiac On Banjo #089: Riddle Me This, Keaton!

“I’ve seen the future and it will be / I’ve seen the future and it will be / BATMAN, BATMAN / I’ve seen the future and it will be / BATMAN / And where, and where … is the BATMAN?” – Batdance, written by Prince, 1989.

I enjoy going to comic book convention trivia panels when Mark Waid is on the dais. Not just because Mark knows almost everything, no matter how obscure, but because he is actually embarrassed that his knows minutiae as well as he knows trivia.

But this question might blow his brainpan right out his neck. Therefore, this Spoiler Warning is just for Mark Waid.

Question: Name all the different actors who have played the part of Bruce Wayne.

Follow-up questions: If he signs the new multi-picture deal, should Michael Keaton be counted twice? And will Bruce Wayne meet Adrian Toomes?  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #089: Riddle Me This, Keaton!”

Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20

Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. It’s been a long time. Too long. This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week we read a bunch great comics.  We encourage you to go out (or order in) and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, IDW Publishing, AWA/ Upshot Studios, Albatross Funnybooks, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20”

Joel Schumacher Dies at 80 [Variety]

Joel Schumacher, costume designer-turned-director of films including “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Lost Boys” and “Falling Down,” as well as two “Batman” films, died in New York City on Monday morning after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 80.

Source: Joel Schumacher Dead: Batman Films Director Dies at 80 – Variety

New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020

New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020

Welcome Back to NEW NUMBER ONES!

If you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have two books for you. They are from Boom! Studios, and Image Comics.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones. As the distribution of new comics is still getting underway, expect a monthly look ahead for July’s new series.

The books this week are both original series which is refreshing. There are so many fantastic ideas out there, and we are thrilled when new characters and stories are published.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: A Man Among Ye#1, and Wynd #1 

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order: Continue reading “New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020”

Shari’s Suggestions #001: A Review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Shari’s Suggestions #001: A Review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Welcome to the first edition of Shari’s Suggestions. In this column, I will be reviewing original graphic novels (OGNs). The majority of books I review will be aimed at young to young adult readers. So, if that is what you like or are looking for, keep coming back. The first OGN I am reviewing is Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
DC Comics / DC Ink
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Steve Pugh
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual
Release Date: September 3, 2019

This book is a an alternate story of the origin of Harley Quinn. This graphic novel is for teenage readers and up. There is some violence and a few curse words.

The story starts with Harleen Quinzel arriving in Gotham on a bus from her hometown because her Mom had to take a job out of the country. She is going to stay in an apartment with her Grandma for the time being. She enjoys staying there, but since she is high school age, she needs to attend the local high school, where she meets the girl who will become her best friend. That’s right, Ivy is here too. The two hit it off right way and Ivy has some positive influence on her. Continue reading “Shari’s Suggestions #001: A Review of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass”

Press Release: Free Comic Book Day 2020 to Take Place July 15 through September 9

Press Release: Free Comic Book Day 2020 to Take Place July 15 through September 9

Diamond Comics Distributors has released new information regarding how the annual Free Comic Book Day will be handled. This proves once again that 2020 is not like any other year. There are some interesting developments in the extended summer of Free Comic Book Day and plenty of intriguing books listed after the announcement.

Press Release:

Every Day Can Be Free Comic Book Day During July and August!

(Baltimore, MD) — (June 18, 2020) – Free Comic Book Day, the comic book industry’s largest annual promotional event, is traditionally scheduled to take place the first Saturday in May each year. However, the impact and spread of COVID-19 prevented the event from being celebrated at its normal time this year. Now, the beloved event has been rescheduled and reworked to take place throughout July and early September in order to accommodate social-distancing and store capacity regulations across the country, effectively making it Free Comic Book Summer!

Scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 9, retailers will receive five to six Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) titles in their weekly shipments during each week of the promotional window. Release of these titles may vary from shop to shop, as retailers are encouraged to release the books as they see fit for their unique circumstances. Retailers may release one free title a day, make all of that week’s free titles available at once, or any other plan that works for them. Free Comic Book Summer is designed to be flexible and customizable so retailers and consumers can get the most out the event.

“Every year, Free Comic Book Day is our big event to thank current comics fans, welcome back former fans and invite those new to comics to join the fun,” said Joe Field, originator of FCBD, and owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, CA. “In this very different year, Free Comic Book Day is more like Free Comic Book Summer… and there’s so much fun to discover in this year’s FCBD comics! So many cool stories are available for this stretched-out Free Comic Book Day 2020. I’m confident long-time fans and newcomers alike are going to find a story that’ll make them want to visit their local comic shop every week! Fans, bring your friends and family and head to your local comic shop every week starting July 15 through September 9 to check out the new, and fantastic, free comics available that week!”

Free Comic Book Summer will feature 45 of the previously announced titles from publishers like Marvel Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, DC, and more! The 45 titles are designed to appeal to a broad range of tastes and run the gamut from superhero stories, to TV and movie tie-ins, to sci-fi adventures, all-ages tales, and beyond. There will also be two educational support titles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Gemstone Publishing.

A complete listing of all 45 FCBD titles, including the 10 Gold Sponsor and 35 Silver Sponsor comic books, can be viewed online at www.freecomicbookday.com. A release schedule of when titles will be hitting comic shops is available below.

For more FCBD news and updates, visit www.freecomicbookday.com and become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

COMICS AVAILABLE ON JULY 15

  • BOOM! Studios | POWER RANGERS: RANGER SLAYER
  • IDW Publishing | MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC
  • Marvel Comics | X-MEN
  • Chapterhouse Publishing | CAPTAIN CANUCK BEYOND AND CAPTAIN BATTLE
  • Papercutz | ASTERIX
  • Yen Press| THE WEIRN BOOKS

Continue reading “Press Release: Free Comic Book Day 2020 to Take Place July 15 through September 9”

Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills

Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills

The silence is speaking / So why am I weeping / I guess I love it / I love it to death / We still got a long way to go / Yes we still got a long way to go — “Long Way To Go,” written by Michael Bruce and recorded by Alice Cooper, 1971.

With respect to rhetoric, I will admit that the phrase “Defund the Police” was just asking for trouble. Some people tend to react before they think, assuming they ever get around to the latter.

Some people who hear “Defund the Police” immediately turn off their brains, rejecting it without thinking it through, just like they did reacting to the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” While it’s fun to watch these lazy fools go apoplectic, I suspect few of them could find Camden New Jersey on a map. Their police force was defunded in 2012. Police had to reapply for their jobs with no guarantee that they would now qualify. Several interesting things happened: the city’s violent crime rate fell 23% and its non-violent crime rate fell 48% (source: that radical democrat communist organization called “the FBI”). Amusingly, police violence increased, until the newly empowered neighborhood watchdogs were able to slow that down. Excessive force complaints started dropping in 2015. Camden is a better place.

This is a good program, and the Minneapolis city government now is adapting it for their use. You’d think everybody would be happy: the cops became less of a threat to the community, and crime went down dramatically. But, of course, the hysterical right will not see that. They believe an unfettered police department is a bulwark and every black person killed or severely harmed by police, as well as their fellow travelers, further establishes law and order. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills”

Comic Professionals are Speaking Out About Abuse and Harassment

Yesterday, there was an explosion of activity in “comics twitter”. It was initiated by women coming forward to detail instances of unacceptable behavior related to comics creators Cameron Stewart and Warren Ellis. I need to say upfront that Pop Culture Squad lives by the motto of #BelieveWomen.

The allegations are disgusting, but we will not detail them here. The purpose of this piece is not to relive the news. They are the victims’ stories to tell and you should listen to them. We are here to say that we believe them, and we are sad and upset that these things happened to them.

In the reaction, there have been some very interesting conversations regarding whose responsibility it is to speak out and what is the culpability of being a collaborator with a predator. We wanted to highlight some of the stories being shared and they are listed below. Continue reading “Comic Professionals are Speaking Out About Abuse and Harassment”

With Further Ado #99: Jetta, Jeff and the Entrepreneurial Project that Turned Into An Artists’ Party

With Further Ado #99: Jetta, Jeff and the Entrepreneurial Project that Turned Into An Artists’ Party

It’s hard to believe that in 2020, the concept of “Archie” can mean so many different things to so many different people. To me, the first image I conjure up of Archie is that classic, squeaky clean strip about teenagers.  I read about a thousand classic Archie Comics in the orthodontist’s waiting room and a big box of Archie comics way when, and then my aunt Elissa bequeathed another big box of Archie comics to me too.

But today, it’s more likely that the images of Archie and his “pals & gals” from CW’s Riverdale are what comes to mind for many younger fans. Comic readers might think of the horrific Vampironica, or the Netflix’s Sabrina, or the new Katy Keene TV version of the characters.  (I can’t believe that the obscure character, Pepper is on TV!)  These different incarnations are all legitimate and all engaging.

Kudos to folks masterminding the Archie brand – for their creativity, flexibility and vision.

But it turns out that even the “classic” version of Archie – the house style established in many ways by Dan DeCarlo – was co-opted.  Before Dan DeCarlo started his long and impressive career at Archie Comics (MLJ), he worked on a title called Jetta Raye, the delightful teenage sweetheart of the future.  And back in 1952, that meant the 21st century.

In the 50s Jetta comic series, published by Standard/Nedor/Pines, teenager Jetta Raye went (would go to? syntax for future stories is tricky)  to Neutron High School in the year 2052.  That doesn’t seem that far off now, does it? She had a boyfriend named Arky (gulp!) and stumbled into zany adventures. To a reader today, it would seem to be a delightful mash-up of the Jetson’s and classic Archie. But the incredible part is that Jetta  pre-dated both of them!

More Jetta Raye Is On The Way

The good news is that there’s new Jetta Raye on the way. I caught up with the very creative Jeff Schultz and he told me all about it. Continue reading “With Further Ado #99: Jetta, Jeff and the Entrepreneurial Project that Turned Into An Artists’ Party”

Continued After the Next Page #015: On the Passing of a Giant

Continued After the Next Page #015: On the Passing of a Giant

There are a lot of amazing people that make and have made great comic books. Some of the people who made the comics of my youth are now friends, if not, at least, acquaintances. There are however some people whose names are inscribed in the mythical pantheon of comic creators. Names like Kirby, Lee, Ditko, Toth, Raymond, Wood, Eisner, Adams, Buscema. Another name that is included in that list is O’Neil.

Dennis J. “Denny” O’Neil passed away last week. A couple of years ago, I got to meet Denny at the Baltimore Comic Con and spend some time with him. I want to share what I learned from him, but first I need to explain what he meant to me.

As a young student of comics, (I mean, I wrote the first research paper in my life about the history of comics when I was in seventh grade.) I learned about O’Neil and [Neal] Adams‘ critical run on Batman and later Green Lantern & Green Arrow. There was a level of realism that they brought to comics that seemed to counteract the turn that DC made towards camp in the 1960s. That realism mirrored what Lee, Kirby, and Ditko had done at Marvel, but was also quite unique.

I don’t want to call Denny’s writing dark or gritty. I kind of have the feeling that he wouldn’t like that. His characters were flawed, like all humans, and despite great wealth or power, they had to find solutions to problems like the rest of us. His characters were nuanced and multidimensional in a way that set them apart and inspired later creators.

The first book that I remember reading new from Denny was The Question. I had read some of his Iron Man earlier, but I wasn’t as aware of creators at that point. The Question, written by Denny with art by Denys Cowan, inks by Rick Magyar, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by Gaspar Saladino and later Willie Shubert, and shepherded by Mike Gold, lit my hair on fire. It was a story full of mystery and pain and a struggling hero just trying to do what was right. My mind was opened by the complexity and brilliance of the art and the richness of the stories. It made me understand the vast breadth of storytelling that was possible in comics and it, along with Mike Grell‘s The Longbow Hunters, was the story that pushed me intellectually as a comic reader.

I think most of us have that time where we step away from comics. Whether it is intentional or not, there is a time as we hit adulthood that we stop buying new comics and focus on other things. That happened to me during college.

By mid 1990s I was married and had a job. You know. Adult stuff. One day in late 1995, I saw a comic book on a newsstand that caught my eye. It was Nightwing Volume #1 Issue #1. It was my favorite character in his very first solo series, and that Brian Stelfreeze cover was exquisite. I had to buy it. I loved it. It was written by Denny and immediately captivated my imagination. I remembered how much I loved comics and began to slowly start collecting and reading again. Denny brought me back to my passion. Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #015: On the Passing of a Giant”