Tag: action comics

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!”

Brainiac On Banjo #058: The Writer That Devoured Cleveland!

“Kick ’em when they’re up / Kick ’em when they’re down / Kick ’em when they’re stiff / Kick ’em all around.”

-Don Henley and Danny Kortchmar, Dirty Laundry

Popular culture is a living thing. It grows like amoebas on Viagra, constantly mutating into new life forms. This gives us an endless supply of new things and new people who create new things. Some of those folks last, others wish they didn’t take out that seven figure mortgage.

Brian Bendis was one of those new forces. He’s defied the odds — to say the least — by being on the comic writer’s A-list for, well, damn, over two decades. That’s quite a feat; but the fact that a dozen newer writers subsequently have joined that same A-list without pushing him off is nothing short of remarkable. He started out with the “independents,” went to Marvel, earned his way into getting screen credit for about a million movies and television shows while creating all sorts of cool characters, and then left the House of Mouse for Kryptonian pastures.

Anybody who can jilt Mickey like that deserves a guest shot on South Park.

I thought he had a slow start on the Man of Steel, but instead of annoying me (which is very easy to do), I was fascinated. He was taking risks and stepping on Superman’s cape — declining to adapt to overworked standards while working with the flow to scrape the barnacles off Superman. Watching that has been an interesting experience. Last week it all come together for this jaded reader.

Action Comics #1016 (whole number, 1016) is all about Superman’s losing his battle with a fairly new villain, the Red Cloud – not to be confused with either of the Red Tornadoes. The Daily Planet’s reporter / gossip columnist Trish Q is on the story, canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing those who saw the conflict. This is and of itself is pretty cool – as far as I can tell, the Daily Planet invented newsroom cutbacks 60 years ago by limiting Perry White’s on-panel staff to Clark Kent, Lois Lane, maybe Jimmy Olsen (who may or may not be the staff photographer who may or may not write stuff), and occasionally Steve Lombard and Cat Grant. Of course, lately Lois has been hiding in a very expensive Chicago hotel, doubtlessly searching for the world’s best Italian beef sammich like the rest of us. Trish is a very interesting character, and I hope she sticks around.

About two-thirds of the story is told through the comments made by Trish’s interview subjects. There’s nothing new about this storytelling technique, and it makes good use of Bendis’s gift for expository dialogue. But it is out-of-the-ordinary to tell the story of Superman’s defeat in battle in such a manner; writers usually focus on the flow of action with dramatic close-ups of the hero’s face being beaten to a pulp. In his “telling-through-interview” style, Brian is showing us the faith the citizenry has in the Man of Steel while avoiding the limp, overworked cliché of the masses turning on their champion for failing to defeat every evil that is foisted upon them.

In other words, this is a story about faith. It’s somewhat subtle, but faith is a subtle thing.

Bendis introduces his creation Naomi to the Justice League, creating another opportunity for him to play a bit with the world’s most psychotic costumed family jewel, the ubiquitous Batman. In the real world, such as it is, Bruce Wayne would be shackled to a wall in Arkham Asylum. In Bendis’s world, Batman is fleshed out a bit around the edges, giving purpose (legitimate or not) to his massive assholery. I’d read the story for this alone.

Much praise has been heaped on Brian Bendis over the past decades, and that, of course, makes him target for terminally obese trolls who dirty their own laundry. That’s how fame works. But if you think this guy didn’t earn his chops or that he’s past his prime, check out Action Comics #1016.

Special thanks to M.G. Krebs for the title to this week’s masterpiece. Brian Michael Bendis, like Jerry Siegel before him, is from Cleveland. To the best of my knowledge, neither are monsters… in the classical sense.

Everything We Read This Week – 05/22/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 05/22/2019

AAANNNDDD….. We’re back!!!  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.

Con Season is in full swing, and getting this column out has been tough, but we hope to continue to be in our regular Sunday slot going forward. This week has a great list of comics by a variety of publishers. This is a great time to be reading comics no matter if your jam is superhero action stories or more character driven books. If sci-fi is your thing, we have got that covered too. Whatever you like, go do it, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, AfterShock, Boom, Image, Valiant, IDW, and Dark Horse this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

 

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 05/22/2019”

Everything We Read This Week – 02/27/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 02/27/2019

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 was a big week for comic books. There were so many great books out there for all types of readers. There were a couple great new series that started. We try to read as much as we can to bring you recommendations on what good stuff is being produced. Unfortunately, we can’t read all the comics. So, remember to find what you like, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, Black Crown, Dynamite, Valiant, Boom! Studios and Lion Forge this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 02/27/2019”

Everything We Read This Week – 01/30/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 01/30/2019

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.

Because this was a fifth Wednesday, it was a somewhat light release of comic books this week. There were a few annuals that we did not review, but even so the quality of the books we read was very good. Remember to find what you like, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, and Dynamite this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 01/30/2019”

Everything We Read This Week – 01/02/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 01/02/2019

Welcome to our first review column of the new year.  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.

There are a lot of good books out this week. We reviewed a bunch of them below. We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Boom!, and Aftershock. Make sure you go find some comics to read.  Hopefully, you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Marvel Comics tribute covers to Stan Lee continue this week. DC also added a tribute to Stan on the last page of their books starting this week.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 01/02/2019”