Tag: action comics

Brainiac On Banjo: Superman Kills!?!

Brainiac On Banjo: Superman Kills!?!

“People say that life is good, but I just piss and moan. I got one foot on a banana peel, the other in the Twilight Zone.” Life Sucks And Then You Die, written by Mike Girard, Doug Forman and Rich Bartlett

It is well-known that the Man of Steel does not kill. However, that has not always been the case.

I just started rereading the first year of the Superman newspaper comic strip. It began publication near the beginning of 1939, five months prior to the release of the first Superman #1. Its circulation was mammoth, quickly appearing in virtually all major American cities and headlined by The New York Mirror, which ultimately had a daily circulation that was about the same as all three printings of Superman #1 combined. It is fair to say that, in these earliest days, the strip did quite a lot to maximize the Man of Steel’s popularity. The Adventures of Superman radio show, equally successful in widening the audience, didn’t start until a full year later.

Initially, the strip was produced by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s studio in Cleveland. Joe’s eyesight was pretty much shot by 1939, but he inked — at the very least — the character faces. The rest of the artwork was handled by Wayne Boring and Paul Cassidy. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Superman Kills!?!”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 1/10/2024

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 1/10/2024

Welcome to the New Number Ones!

Each week we bring you the list of new series and special editions coming this week. We are highlighting what you need to put in your cart at the comic shop or digital marketplace.

We have 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 week. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This week is certainly eclectic in the genre of books that made this list, but it is definitely a high quality list. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Titan Books, Ahoy Comics, Massive Publishing, First Second Books, Dynamite Entertainment, and Image Comics.

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.

New Series
New One-Shots and Special Editions


New Series This Week 


Action Comics #1061
DC Comics
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by John Timms & Rex Lokus
Cover Art by Timms

SUPERMAN SUPERSTARS BEGINS! JASON AARON WRITES SUPERMAN FOR THE FIRST TIME, JOINED BY FAN-FAVORITE ARTIST JOHN TIMMS! THE WIZARD, BIZARRO!

Jason Aaron writes Superman for the very first time, teaming up with all-star artist John Timms to present a startling new vision of the Man of Steel’s strangest foe. When Superman’s doppelgänger discovers a dark secret about himself, it unleashes the most dangerous version of Bizarro the world has ever seen.

Release Date: January 9, 2024

PCS NOTES: Ok. You got us. It’s not really a new number one. But it is a new story by a new (to Superman) writer. The addition of this comic to this list is probably as much an homage to the end of Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s fantastic run on Action as it is our excitement to see what Jason Aaron and John Timms have up their sleeves regarding the Man of Steel, and we are very excited. 


Adventureman: Ghost Lights #1
Image Comics
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson
Cover Art by Dodson & Dodson

NEW STORY ARC

When the Good Guys of the Golden Age come back, all their ghosts follow—now Claire, the new Adventureman, and her maybe-beau Chris, the new Crossdraw Kid, defend peace on earth from a phantom empire of crime!By MATT FRACTION (SEX CRIMINALS, Hawkeye) and TERRY RACHEL DODSON (RED ONE, Harley Quinn).

Release Date: January 10, 2024

PCS NOTES: We are happy to see this property return for a new arc. Adventureman has always been under celebrated. It is a great comic with a fantastic creative team.  Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 1/10/2024”

With Further Ado #236: Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell

With Further Ado #236: Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell

It seems like there are too many liars around us all the time. Politicians usually get lumped into that category, but lately George Santos has been showing other politicians how to really do it.

Closer to home, maybe you’ve been lied to. And maybe you were lied to by someone you trusted. That’s never a pleasant experience.

And that brings me to Action Comics #1051 and the course correction for all of DC’s Superman titles. I do understand that the rest of the world is trying to decipher James Gunn’s plans for the DC Cinematic Universe (including Superman’s and Supergirl’s roles in it all). But l have always been more a comics-first kind of guy.

There was quite a bit of hoopla of author Brian Michael Bendis coming to DC and steering the good ship Superman. He really changed the game as Superman revealed his identity to the world. Bendis talked and wrote extensively about how he felt it was important that Superman be his authentic self. And how for so many young kids, introduced to superheroes by Iron Man and the Marvel heroes (many of whom don’t maintain secret identities), the pretending to be meek thing is incongruous. Continue reading “With Further Ado #236: Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell”

Brainiac On Banjo: Mad Archie of the North Star?

Brainiac On Banjo: Mad Archie of the North Star?

Given current population statistics, if you live in a comic book, and you do not happen to be a Green Lantern or a Flash, chances are you are a Hulk or a Spider-Person. Add the Batman, Shazam and X-Men families, and the odds are overwhelming you belong to a personality cult.

Or… you can be an Archie. There’s a lot of them, too. Forget about the teevee show — forget about all of these characters media madness; I’m only talking about comic books here. Action Comics #1051, which dropped last week, gave us the bird’s eye lowdown on the 21st Century-of-the-week Superman family: there’s now about a million characters with the big S on their chests. The words “unique” and “special” have been replaced, as far as comics are concerned, with “redundant” and, stripped of that which makes these chapters distinctive, “boring.”

Except for Archie. There’s only one Archie, but he and his supporting cast members exist simultaneously in at least a dozen different forms. Amusingly, the creators manage to keep these varieties both unique and interesting. For example, we’ve had the New Look Archie, the married Archie (to both Betty and to Veronica, but separately — for better or worse), the Archie(s) that are more or less in the vein of the Riverdale teevee show, the Archie horror line stocked full of vampires, werewolves and other Universal movie ex-pats, and the Archies from both previous as well as future eras. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Mad Archie of the North Star?”

Year in Review 2022: The Best Ongoing Comics of the Year

Year in Review 2022: The Best Ongoing Comics of the Year

We are back with one more “Best of” list. I know, I said that I am not a fan, but once I got to looking at all the great comics that came out this year, I felt that I had to celebrate some of the comics that didn’t have New Number Ones in 2022.

This list is group of books that debuted before 2022 and continued well into the year or throughout it completely. It is much harder to do a list like this in today’s world. Books from the “Big 2” are rebooted often with new number ones just because the creative team changes, and Indie books are often only giving one trade paperback worth of leash to prove themselves.

Despite those tough odds, I found ten books that started pre-2022 that have been delivering high quality comic story telling on a consistent basis. A couple of them have reached their end, but still had enough length for me to consider them ongoing.

I recognize that this list is a bit DC heavy, and that bothers me slightly, but I stand by the books on this list being at the top of the industry in terms of execution over the course of the year.

Best Ongoing Series 2022

Action Comics
DC Comics
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artists: Riccardo Federici, Mike Perkins, Lee Loughridge, Will Conrad, David Lapham, Adriana Melo, and more.
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Daniel Sampere & Alejandro Sa`nchez

PCS Notes: The Warworld Saga came to completion this year and Phillip Kennedy Johnson along with some amazing artists told a story about struggle and survival. Throughout the story Superman fought for the beings that needed him, and exemplified all the traits that make him a hero. Some of the best long form Superman storytelling in a long time. Continue reading “Year in Review 2022: The Best Ongoing Comics of the Year”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.

A couple of weeks ago, we caught up with rising superstar comic writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. We talked about a bunch of cool topics and published that interview on our Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition. Johnson is super busy creating comics, but we talked about the three biggest announced projects that he is working on.

Recently, it was revealed that he will be writing the new series of James Bond from Dynamite Entertainment, with artist Marco Finnegan providing the visuals. That series begins next month in August.

We also spoke about what is going on in the pages of Action Comics from DC Comics where Ricardo Federici, Johnson’s partner in crime from the Last God has taken over primary art duties from Daniel Sampere.

As is usually the focus of our comic creator chats, we spent quite a bit of time talking about Phillip’s writing process and techniques. Some of that highlighted the excellent work that he has been doing on the Marvel Comics series Alien with artist Salvador Larroca.

It is always illuminating to talk to Phillip and we have transcribed some of the interesting newsy bits of the conversation below the jump. Give the SquadCast a listen and let us know what you think.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s talk about James Bond. Congratulations on writing the new James Bond series with Dynamite Entertainment. Before we get into the series, I want to talk about who is “your James Bond” Which actor is the one that you are always going to watch.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson: Daniel Craig, for sure.

PCS: Okay, good. I personally don’t have a favorite. I love them all. What was the first Bond movie that you saw?

PKJ: <laugh> I honestly don’t remember. And the reason is it wasn’t like there was just one that came on. This one time I was staying with my stepdad’s mother for the weekend, and there was this Bond marathon on TV.

PCS: So, you watched them all at once.

PKJ: Seriously. I watched like a dozen of them probably. I fell asleep during one of them. I was like, “Oh, I guess I’m going to go to bed.” And, at the time, I remember liking Sean Connery a lot. I thought like “This guy’s super cool.” And I still feel like he’s probably the coolest of the old Bonds of the pre-Craig Bonds.

Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.”

With Further Ado #185: True Love and Discounted Comics

With Further Ado #185: True Love and Discounted Comics

I tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and it clobbered our plans for St. Valentine’s Day. I am relieved that I was vaxxed and boostered; my symptoms weren’t that bad. But my isolation period overlapped our Valentine plans, and that was a bummer.

My wife, Kathe, is always a very thoughtful gift-giver, and one of the St. Valentine’s gifts she gave me this year was a pack of 10 DC Comics from discount retailer Ollie’s. This pack collected ten recent comics and sold them at a discount. The promotional packaging proclaims it is up to a $49.90 value.

Do you know Ollie’s? This is a discount/close-out retailer. They famously had a bunch of hardcover comic collections from DC and Marvel on sale at absurdly low prices a few years ago.  It turns out the DC sales force had been trying to sell these books to comic shops for years, and finally just unloaded the inventory.  As we don’t have a comic shop in our town, it’s an easy stop for casual and hard-core comic fans.

As anyone who’s tried to gift comics to a comic book fan knows, it’s always hard to figure out what they already have and what they haven’t yet purchased/read.  Kathe was surprised that there were many comics in this 10-pack that I hadn’t read.

And it’s an odd collection. It’s like a time capsule, but not an ancient one. In fact, it’s like a time capsule that was just put together a year or two ago, and then you were impatient and wanted to open it right then. This stack of DC Comics had a bit of “stale anticipation” of all the stuff that seemed exciting but has since gone in another direction.  That’s understandable; the company has been through so many changes lately.

Of note:

Action Comics #1000 (June 2018) is a fun comic with short stories by top creators.  The last story in this one was a tease for Brain Bendis’ then upcoming stint of the Superman titles.  I really enjoyed that run, but it’s astonishing at how quickly it all went by.

Likewise, Superman #21 (May 2020) was published right at the tail end of Bendis’ run. One of the things it focused on was Superman abandoning his Clark Kent identity. The idea was that we’d get “so many” stories exploring that new development.  That didn’t really seem to happen either.

This packet included two copies of Batman #93 (June 2020), one with the regular cover and one with the retailer variant.  This issue features the character Punchline and the writer James Tynion IV, both of whom seemed to be so important to the Batman franchise at the time. I’m unconvinced that Punchline became the breakout character she was meant to be. Writer Tynion recently left Gotham City for the greener pastures of Substack, and the Batman title has the feel of re-starting with a “bold, new era” with new creators yet again. Continue reading “With Further Ado #185: True Love and Discounted Comics”

Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. 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 and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, Mad Cave Studios, Dark Horse Comics 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.

Some of the books on this list are also on our New Number Ones for the month of November. You can see them noted with the New Number One tag and can check out the solicitation for the series on our previous article.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Action Comics #1036
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Daniel Sampere
Colors by Adriano Lucas
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover Art by Sampere & Alex Sinclair

Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been waiting for this point in his run with Superman for a while. This is where he shifts the vehicle into high gear and puts the pedal to the floor. Superman taking the fight for justice to the evil Mongul is the story that he wants to be telling. You can feel it in each panel. With Daniel Sampere’s line art and the colors from Ardriano Lucas, the beginning an epic story filled with gravitas unfolds in this issue. I want to call special attention to the three page prologue to this issue. It is beautifully drawn and colored, and the storytelling engulfs the reader with astonishment and curiosity. It is impossible not to turn the next page and find out what this is story is all about. We are all in on this Warworld saga.


 

Mazebook #3
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Lemire
Colors by Lemire
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover Art by Lemire

This book from master storyteller Jeff Lemire is filled with heart wrenching sadness. It is lovingly depicted in a minimal toned color palette that aids significantly in setting the mood of the piece. Lemire loosens his already normally loose pencils in a way that illustrates the protagonist Will’s tenuous hold on both reality and hope. While there is a deep melancholy that permeates this story, it is nonetheless compelling, and Lemire inspires investment by the reader in the outcome of Will’s quest. This was a great issue.


My Date With Monsters #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Andy MacDonald
Colors by DJ Chavis
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover Art by MacDonald & Chavis

New Number One

We have seen stories where monsters dwell among humans. It is a setting that we have expectations for, but what makes a story set in that kind of universe successful is quality character development and interesting wrinkles in the plot that engender uniqueness to the story. This book has both of those elements. Paul Tobin and Andy MacDonald present a visually interesting narrative with satisfying plot construction. Letterer Taylor Esposito does a fantastic job developing an understandable method of presenting a complex plot structure. Without his execution, the overall product might be hurt. Everyone on this book worked to deliver a really fun and interesting first issue for this series. We will definitely be looking for more. Continue reading “Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson

In our latest episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast, we spoke to comic book writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Phillip’s catalog of published comic work has increased significantly in recent years. He created and wrote the hit DC Comics Black Label series The Last God and currently is writing for both DC and Marvel comics. He is penning Action Comics for DC and the newly launched Alien book for Marvel, among others.

Phillip has an amazing “day job” as a member of the United States Army and has come to comic book writing later than others. His roots in comic publishing come from the creator owned space with books like Last Sons of America that was published by Boom! Studios,  and his collaboration with Steve Orlando on the AfterShock Comics book Kill A Man was a significant topic in our conversation.

Phillip is often found to be thoughtful and excited about telling stories in the comic medium. It is always a joy to spend some time talking comics with him. Our conversation touched on a bunch of different topics including his current projects.

We delved into the world building that Phillip does in his storytelling and how from The Last God to Superman and Alien you can see the care that he takes in making the setting authentic. The topic of alien languages came up and people interested in how to make that work will be very interested in that conversation.

As a reader of comics, I often wonder how the dynamic of two writers works in the practice of writing the story. Phillip went into detail about how the project Kill A Man was proposed to him and about how he and Steve Orlando traded off on scenes and then came back to collaborate and create a fluid single voice to the book.

The concepts and plans that are coming in the second arc of Alien from Marvel were discussed, and Phillip has taken great care to tell interesting stories in the world of Alien that respect the fan base but also push the boundaries. He laid out the premise for “Alien: Sanctuary” which begins in September.

We hope you enjoy the conversation and it inspires you to seek out Phillips work. You won’t be disappointed.

 

You can find Phillip on Twitter at @PhillipKJohnson and also on his website phillipkennedyjohnson.com.

Brainiac On Banjo #082: This Is Fitting… And About Time, Too!

Brainiac On Banjo #082: This Is Fitting… And About Time, Too!

Famous 1st Edition #C-63, New Fun Comics #1, published by DC Comics, 2020, in hardcover $19.99.

The very first thing that impressed me about the release of Famous 1st Edition #C-63, the first in four decades, is that the subtitle below the logo is “Limited Collectors’ Platinum Mint Series.” Holy crap! It’s Limited, it’s Platinum, it’s also Mint… and it’s a series?

So I looked it up. DC published a bunch of “Famous First Editions” reprinting the first issues of most of the usual suspects: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash Comics, All-Star Comics. Don’t ask me to explain how their numbering system worked; I figured it out with the intent of explaining it, but my head still hurts and it really isn’t important. The number isn’t on the cover, and, anyway, there can’t be a second Famous 1st Edition edition of New Fun #1. What I did’t realize, or maybe I forgot, is that before this Famous 1st Edition Limited Collectors’ Platinum Mint Series book DC had published issues as “Golden Mint,” “Silver Mint,” “Bronze Mint,” and Blue Ribbon series, the latter doubtlessly just to piss Archie Comics off. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #082: This Is Fitting… And About Time, Too!”