Brainiac On Banjo: Streaming Ahoy!

Brainiac On Banjo: Streaming Ahoy!

The reading today is from the book of Punter, Chapter 9, Verse 17: “All we have to fear, is me.” – Firesign Theater

Presuming climate change doesn’t do us in first, Americans are about a decade way from abandoning the concept of the continuous media vehicle. In English, that means the idea of television (and radio before 1962) had lengthy “seasons” and, if successful, would return for a following season.

Of course, this was well before streaming became a thing.

Unlike the rest of magazine publishing, the comic book medium also was a continuous media vehicle: numbering was consecutive and rarely split into “volumes” of, say, twelve monthly numbers per year. Nobody cares what consecutive issue numbers were applied to Time Magazine in August 1975, but if you ask the issue number for the X-Men cover-dated that same month there are enough comic book enthusiasts who know the answer to that – #94, for those who came in late – to fill Yankee Stadium. At least the #94 that was in use in August, 1975. Around that time, the late, legendary comics retailer Joe Sarno pointed out in an interview if you put consecutive numbering on something, some people are going to collect it. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Streaming Ahoy!”

Advanced Preview of Fear of a Red Planet #2 from AfterShock Comics

Advanced Preview of Fear of a Red Planet #2 from AfterShock Comics

The second issue of Fear of a Red Planet written by Mark Sable with art by Andrea Olimpieri comes out this coming Wednesday January 18, 2023 to comic shops and other online outlets. We were able to get a sneak peak at the first few pages of issue two and wanted to share them with you.

We really enjoyed issue one of this book. We have been eagerly awaiting this second issue, and we can tell from this preview that our patience is about to be rewarded. If you are interested in sci-fi murder mysteries, this is the book for you.


Fear of a Red Planet #2
AfterShock Comics
Written by Mark Sable
Art by Andrea Olimpieri
Colors by Olimpierei
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover art by Paul Azaceta

Fifty years from now, Mars has experienced its first murder. The earth-based corporation in charge of the mining colony treats its Martian employees like indentured servants, and now their overseer is dead by unknown hands.
Continue reading “Advanced Preview of Fear of a Red Planet #2 from AfterShock Comics”

Rapid Reviews for the Week of 1/11/2023

Rapid Reviews for the Week of 1/11/2023

Welcome to our first Rapid Reviews column of 2023.

This week we have a bunch of middle issues to discuss. While we did include one New Number One and one concluding issue, the middle issues of comic arcs and series are often overlooked.  These books are really well done and definitely belong in your pull list.

Our reviews are spoiler free and focus on the positive aspects of comic storytelling in each issue. You can find all of these books at your Local Comic Shop now or wherever you get your comics.


All Against All #2
Image Comics
Written by Alex Paknadel
Art by Caspar Wijngaard
Colors by Wijngaard
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Art by Wijngaard

The first issue of this comic was excellent. This second issue is better. The sides of the conflict that is rapidly escalating are clearly delineated in this issue. The defining feeling of this issue is the anxiety of the primary narrator B’Tay. Paknadel, Wijngaard, and Otsmane-Elhaou all combine to use their extensive skills to pass that uneasiness and anticipation on to the reader with this extraordinarily tense comic. It is beautiful, terrifying, and sad all at once. This book is a must pull.


Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs #3
Ahoy Comics
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh
Colors by Chris Chuckry
Letters by Rob Steen
Cover Art by Pugh

This is a thoroughly entertaining comic. There are two complementary stories on display, and the techniques used to tell them clearly and effectively are brilliantly executed by Russell and Pugh. The rising tension in the main story has this reader completely engaged in this series. Pugh does wonderful job with high quality visual storytelling and Russell’s socio-economic commentary finds its customary place behind a thin veil in a post-apocalyptic storyline. Well done all around. Continue reading “Rapid Reviews for the Week of 1/11/2023”

With Further Ado #232: Ms. Tree – Success Is No Mystery

With Further Ado #232: Ms. Tree – Success Is No Mystery

I never grew out of Superheroes, but I did grow into detective fiction. I’m not sure when it was (maybe middle school?), but mysteries and detective stories were my favorite literary genre. And while I’ve always been all in on comics, there was never an overwhelming amount of traditional detective/mystery/private eye comics.

Oh, there were a few that pulled me in, and I enjoyed them all. I particularly remember Mike W. Barr’s Maze Agency, Jonni Thunder and those Jason Bard back-up stories in (appropriately) Detective Comics. And the long running Ms. Tree was also always a favorite.

This character, and series, were created by two folks who would become favorites of mine. Max Allan Collins is a Mystery Writers of America 2017 Grand Master ‘Edgar’ winner, although I knew him better as the Dick Tracy writer and the guy behind the Nate Heller novels. Terry Beatty is a fantastic artist and today many folks know him as the inker of the Eisner Award-Winning Batman and Robin Adventures series and the World’s Finest graphic novel. Continue reading “With Further Ado #232: Ms. Tree – Success Is No Mystery”

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Michael Nathanson

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Michael Nathanson

We are roaring back into the new year with more exclusive Pop Culture Squadcast interviews. This latest episode was recorded last month while we were at LA Comic Con. The folks there were able to connect us with this opportunity for an exclusive one-on-one interview.

Actor Michael Nathanson has recently launched a unique and interesting podcast called Playing Dead, and he was gracious enough to spend some time with us talking about the project. We discussed the origins of the concept and some of the interesting things he learned through the process.

The concept for this podcast is that Nathanson, who played Sam Stein in Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix, spends time talking to actors and other film professionals about the experience and mechanics of dying on-screen. It is a great concept, and the interviews are extremely well crafted and executed.

Nathanson is a very talented actor who has been in dozens of roles in TV and Film. In addition to his main cast role on Season 1 of The Punisher, he was also a major part of the Cinemax series The Knick as Dr. Levi Zinberg. He has appeared in films such as Young Adult, Side Effects, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Our conversation, while focusing on Playing Dead, also veered into the realm of Geekdom. Nathanson grew up reading comic books and loving sci-fi. We nerded out a little bit, and I hope you enjoy the conversation. Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Michael Nathanson”

Superman Is Going to Congress

As the current House of Representatives chaos continues, comic fans have a very niche reason to look forward to the conclusion of the seemingly endless stream of votes for the next Speaker of the House. Thanks to freshman congressman Robert Garcia of California, there will be finally be some quality reading material in the House of Representatives chamber.

As most people should know, Members of Congress swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution upon being seated. That oath can be sworn on whatever the member deems important to them. Most choose a bible or other type of religious book, but Mr. Garcia has finagled quite the prize for him to swear in on. Continue reading “Superman Is Going to Congress”

With Further Ado #231: Don’t Refuse This Offer

With Further Ado #231: Don’t Refuse This Offer

I didn’t realize that Hogan’s Heroes, The Longest Yard (with Burt Reynolds) and The Godfather were all connected, but The Offer, a fantastic series on Paramount+, helped me understand the big picture behind it all.

I still like the original Star Trek series (TOS) quite a bit. So, when Paramount+ announced they were producing a series about the crew of the Enterprise before Kirk, Spock and the old gang, I was all in. I initially thought that’s the only show I’d use my Paramount+ subscription for.

Now, one of the podcasts I listen to is The Inglorious Treksperts. It’s a celebration of classic Star Trek, hosted by industry professionals who grew up loving Star Trek. These professionals talked about how much they enjoy this series, The Offer, but made point to say that many of the facts got stretched in the making of this show. That’s ok by me, and good to keep in mind. (And after watching Babylon on the big screen last month, this seems like a tame documentary!). Continue reading “With Further Ado #231: Don’t Refuse This Offer”

New Number Ones: One-Shots and Special Editions for January 2023

New Number Ones: One-Shots and Special Editions for January 2023

This is the first column of the year for our fan-favorite New Number Ones: One-Shots & Specials column.

In this regular column, we collect the one-shot books, special anthologies, and original graphic novels that are being released this month. You can check out our regular New Number Ones column for the month here.

There is an alphabetical list of these special books below by release date, and don’t forget to check for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about these comics.

There are books on the list from: First Second Books, DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Archie Comics, and Oni Press.


Now Let Me Fly: A Portrait of Eugene Bullard HC
First Second Books
Written by Ronald Wimberly
Art by Brahm Revel
Cover Art by Revel

ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL

From author Ronald Wimberly, creator of the viral comic Lighten Up, comes a soaring graphic biography that casts new light on the first African-American fighter pilot.

On the eve of World War I, Eugene Bullard was a refugee of the Jim Crow South who was determined to find a place where a Black man would be treated as a fellow human being. His search took him from rural Georgia to the streets of Paris, from the vaudeville stage to the boxing ring, and finally, from the muddy trenches to the open skies. In 1914, Bullard joined the fight to defend France—and made history as the world’s first African American fighter pilot.

In this candid but sensitive portrait of Bullard, author Ronald Wimberly balances the personal and the historical to interrogate concepts of cynicism, idealism, fear, glory, and the pervasiveness of anti-Black racism.

Release Date: January 3. 2023

PCS NOTES: This is the kind of important content that needs to be seen in the comic form. Continue reading “New Number Ones: One-Shots and Special Editions for January 2023”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in January 2023

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in January 2023

Welcome to 2023! There are new comics coming. If you are new here, in this column, we have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this month. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This month, we have books on the list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, AfterShock Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, AWA Studios, Oni Press, and Ablaze Comics.

This month has a mixed bag of new books. Some are restarts to existing properties and some are brand new debuts.

We will bring you reviews 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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 1/4/23
Week of 1/11/23
Week of 1/18/23
Week of 1/25/23


Week of January 4  


Children of the Black Sun #1
Ablaze Comics
Written by Dario Sicchio
Art by Letizia Cadonici
Cover Art by Cadonici

From the artist of the hit series The House of Slaughter!

“It is not difficult to be happy under a blue sky. But it takes a lot of courage to be strong even under a black sun.”

Over the years, a black sun has risen twice. A dark dawn whose rays have done terrible things to people’s minds, driving them to all sorts of horror. Twelve years have passed since the last time and the world still fears the return of that inexplicable phenomenon. But fear is not the only legacy of those terrible days. All the women who got pregnant under the influence of the black sun have given birth to babies with some… peculiarities. White hair, ashy skin, abnormal proportions, and eyes as red as fire: the Children of the Black Sun.

Brightvale is a small town like many others. Here the Children of the Black Sun are treated with particular contempt, especially in the days leading up to the anniversary of the two disasters. The hatred of their fellow villagers, terrified of a possible return of that horror, will push these kids to unite and embark on a hallucinatory journey to discover themselves and their true nature. But is the black sun really about to return?

Release Date: January 4, 2023

PCS NOTES: I have to say, I am intrigued by the premise of this book.


Joe Fixit #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Peter David
Art by Yildiray Çinar, Dee Cunniffe, & Matt Milla
Cover Art by Cully Hamner & Jordie Bellaire

PETER DAVID RETURNS TO JOE FIXIT! Peter David’s tour de force through some of his greatest Hulk hits continues with a return to JOE FIXIT! Gone are the ripped-up shorts of the Hulk of yore—this enforcer prefers the slick suave of a striped suit, and the Hulk has traded in “monster” for “mobster” as he lends his strength to the Las Vegas casino scene. Of course, the Kingpin has his own ideas about who the toughest guy in town is, and it’s up to Spider-Man to keep the two of them from destroying Sin City!

Release Date: January 4, 2023

PCS NOTES: Peter David writing the Hulk is always entertaining and this return to the “Mobster era” looks like fun.   Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in January 2023”

Continued After The Next Page #021: It’s Time for Sparkles and Butterflies

Continued After The Next Page #021: It’s Time for Sparkles and Butterflies

Happy New Year! It is that time of year for renewed hope and fresh starts; so bring on the sparkles and butterflies!

The past few years have started with varying degrees of optimism for the future, and they often left the hopeful disappointed. Therefore, I have decided that this year’s resolution is to “not let 2023 suck”. I know that is ambitious, but it put’s some responsibility on me to make things happen while hoping that the magic genies send good juju my way.

I already know it is going to be an eventful year, but before we get to what’s to come, let’s look back at what we accomplished in 2022.

As we are in our fifth year of existence here at Pop Culture Squad, we had some milestones in 2022. We reached our 100,000th page view and published one hundred and twenty-three articles.

Personally, I ran some numbers, and this is what I came up with.

  • Attended eleven comic conventions
  • Hosted seven convention discussion panels
  • Published eight podcast episodes and two live broadcasts
  • Published fifty-eight articles on this site
  • Read somewhere around 400 comic books!

I will take that as a win.

Throughout my travels, I met some amazing people and had incredible conversations about comics. Some of those people have become good friends and I am better for it. Continue reading “Continued After The Next Page #021: It’s Time for Sparkles and Butterflies”