Tag: Archie Comics

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”

With Further Ado #81: Staying in the Business, A Tribute to Victor Gorelick

With Further Ado #81: Staying in the Business, A Tribute to Victor Gorelick

It was a real drag to learn of the passing of Victor Gorelick over the weekend. The longtime Archie Comics Editor-in-Chief was quite a guy, and the industry will be that much smaller without his contributions.   Just one of the most amazing things about Victor was that he knew how to keep a job. He started at Archie at age 16, and stayed there for over 60 years!

When I graduated UNC with my MBA many years ago, the conventional path was finding a job with a big company. This was well before the current fascination (rightly so!) with entrepreneurial ventures.  I chased after the big company jobs, just like everyone else.  But even back then I had an idea that “geek culture”, although we never called it that, had the potential to be a big deal both creatively and for business, although I never anticipated the unparalleled success of something like the Marvel Movies.

So, during my job search at business school, I reached out to comics companies, most of whom had no idea of the job I was envisioning.  I was offered the opportunity to interview with Archie Comics. Publisher Michael Silberkleit invited me to their famous Mamaroneck, NY headquarters.  We had a great time getting to know one another and discussing the industry and where it might go. Continue reading “With Further Ado #81: Staying in the Business, A Tribute to Victor Gorelick”

Everything We Read This Week – 12/4/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 12/4/2019

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 week we read a bunch of great comics. There was some amazing storytelling out there this week. We encourage you to go out and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Archie Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Humanoids, Inc. and Image Comics this week. 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.

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 – 12/4/2019”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in December 2019

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in December 2019

Welcome back to New Number Ones!!

This is where we give our readers a preview of the exciting new comic book series debuting each month. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from PREVIEWSworld. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you some more about the new comics in question.

There is a bunch of new series of interest starting in December. There is a good mix of both existing properties and new concepts featured in these books. Below you will find a slate of new books from a wide variety of publishers. Some of our favorite comic book talents are bringing us some of these new series.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. We will bring you reviews of most 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.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in December 2019”

Preview Review for the Week of 11/13/2019: Vampironica: New Blood #1

Preview Review for the Week of 11/13/2019: Vampironica: New Blood #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

A reminder for you. Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we feature a new book from Archie Comics. It is Vampironica: New Blood #1 by Frank Tieri & Michael Moreci and Audrey Mok with Matt Herms and Jack Morelli. This book will be featured in our New Number Ones column for December. You might want to see what else we are looking forward to there.

You can find Vampironica at your LCS on December 4, 2019.

Vampironica: New Blood #1
Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri & Michael Moreci
Art by Audrey Mok
Colors by Matt Herms
Letters by Jack Morelli
Cover Art by Mok

Original Solicitation:

BRAND NEW SERIES! Riverdale’s own bombshell bloodsucker is back! Following the events of the Jughead the Hunger vs. Vampironica crossover, Veronica returns to her own universe, still a vampire. She’s not the same, and she knows it. And now she needs answers. But she may not be ready for what she’s about to discover!

PCS Review:

This is an excellent introduction to this series. Having never read anything in the Archie Horror world, this story was easily accessible to me. It does not explain everything that came before, but give just enough to let the reader know where the protagonist has been and the challenges she faces.

The pace and dialogue through the narrative is brisk and relatable. Tieri and Moreci do an excellent job in this first issue of presenting characters with depth and a conflict that is interesting. There are plenty of plot lines that are organically uncovered that give the story several paths to travel.

Audrey Mok’s line art is beautiful. She grabs the reader’s eye and leads it on an exciting journey through this book. Her panel designs and camera positioning are perfect for the pacing of the narrative. The style feels like it is just the right amount of rough edge to make it feel like a horror book, but still a Veronica Hodge story.

Matt Herms’ colors are sublime. The overall color theme is important to the feel of the book. His work is well thought out and expertly implemented. The lettering job by Jack Morelli should not be overlooked. The word art is truly excellent, but managing the amount of dialogue and the bubble placement is impressive.

Overall, we highly recommend this comic. It is a fun and exciting book with engaging characters and beautiful artwork.

Brainiac On Banjo #057: Create A Better Universe

Brainiac On Banjo #057: Create A Better Universe

You might have missed it – there’s a lot going on these days that sucks all the oxygen out of every room – but we celebrated National Coming Out Day on October 11th. You might have missed this as well: this was the 31st anniversary of the event.

That last bit surprised me, but my personal relationship with the time/space continuum always has been a bit iffy. A quick run through Wiki showed me NCOD is also observed in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It remains slightly controversial, both within the LGBTQ communities and without. That’s because every political activity is controversial, and that’s not entirely bad. Occasionally, people of differing opinions raise some interesting and useful points. Nothing ever pops out of the brainpan fully formed.

This year, our friends at Archie Comics joined in the effort. This is not a surprise: Archie long has been platforming educational issues, and, of course, writer/artist Dan Parent – heir to the Bob Montana chair of outstanding Archie talent – is the creator of Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the Archie Universe. That was a big deal in 2010, and it remains a big deal today. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #057: Create A Better Universe”

Everything We Read This Week – 06/12/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 06/12/2019

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.

Due to travel and the holiday weekend, this weeks review list is a little light in my opinion, but don’t let that stop you from finding some great comics to read. We did get to read some excellent comics by a variety of publishers. Find the comics you like and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, AfterShock, Albatross Funnybooks, Action Lab, and Archie Comics 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 – 06/12/2019”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in June 2019

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in June 2019

Welcome back to New Number Ones!!

Here, we give our readers a preview of the new comic book series that we are looking forward to each month. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from PREVIEWSworld. Look for our PCS NOTES below where we just have to tell you some more about the new comic in question.

There are not too many new series of interest starting in June. We found NINE new series or mini-series that we are excited about, plus ONE collected trade paperback. They are coming at you from a good variety of publishers. Some of our favorite comic book talents are bringing us some of these new series.

We hope you will take a look and think about giving these a try. We will bring you reviews of most 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.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in June 2019”

Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics

Last summer, as we were getting this site up and going, one of the first things that I did was reach out to legendary comic letterer and artist John Workman. I had met him at a couple of conventions in the past, and he had told me some interesting stories about how comics were made in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I felt that the stories were amazing insights into the world of comic making, and I wanted to get all the details so that we could share those incredible stories with all of you.

My intent for our initial interview was to clarify some details he had told me about making Thor in the 80’s with Walter Simonson. What ended up happening was an almost two-hour conversation and a truly life changing event for me. I clipped out a little bit of our conversation for a column last year called When Thor Road the Bus.

Before I get too far along, I must say that John Workman is one of the nicest people that I have ever met. He is thoughtful, considerate, inquisitive, and incredibly talented. Since our initial phone conversation, John and I have spoken a couple of more times over the phone, and my wife and I spent a lovely afternoon with John and his wife Cathy at their home last November. He has become a regular email pen pal of mine. I consider John a friend, and I am lucky for it.

The purpose of this article is to share with the world some of the amazing things that we spoke about. The topics range from the page counts for comics in the 70’s to his time at Heavy Metal. There are some funny stories about Harlan Ellison and Wally Wood. There is the tale of the “Lost Mignola Batman Story”, and much more. So hang on and I will try my best to navigate all this history and bring it into the world so that we can all share in its wonder.

Jeannette Kahn and Dollar Comics

I had mentioned to John that the title to my column on PCS would be called “Continued After the Next Page” as a throwback to comic days of yesteryear. He broke out into some pretty cool comics production history.

John Workman: I worked at DC from 1975 to 1977 before I went to work at Heavy Metal. During that time, as had been true since the early 1950s, there were thirty-six pages [thirty- two interior and four for the front and back covers] in a regular comic book. Of those pages, somewhere over 20 (27 in the ’60s) were devoted to actual comics material with the rest being made up of a combination of paid ads and “house ads” that let readers know about other DC publications. Shortly after I arrived at DC, the number of comics pages dropped to seventeen, and I remember two things that we had to do. We [the production department] had to white-out all the pages numbers down in the corner so people would be a little less aware that they were only getting seventeen pages of comics, and we had to go in a lot and put in “Continued After Next” or “Second Page” or whatever, because the seventeen pages of comic material was broken up by more ads. There were a lot of in-house ads to fill out the issue because seventeen pages was only one more than the total number of pages in a book.

I was shocked at this and felt the need to clarify Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics”

Norm Breyfogle, 1960 – 2018

Norm Breyfogle, 1960 – 2018

Several decades ago, my friend Rick Obadiah and I founded a little publishing company called First Comics. During our tenure together we printed some pretty decent work. Part of my business plan for editorial was to foster and employ new talent – priming the pump, as I told our investors. I knew exactly when and where I wanted to build this door, and if you’ll permit me to drop a few names I think that also worked out pretty good: John Ostrander, Timothy Truman, Julia Lacquement, Mark Wheatley, Linda Lessmann, Marc Hempel, Bill Reinhold and about a dozen others went through that door.

And then there was this guy Norm Breyfogle.

We were working on a creation of Steven Grant’s called Whisper. Eventually, as it must to most comic book series, it came time to bring in a new artist. Every editor in every medium gets more submissions than he, she, and they could possibly evaluate. Usually, the really good stuff gets noticed and the really great stuff gets remembered.

Norm Breyfogle was easily remembered. He was brought in on First’s fourth issue, and Whisper’s future was set. So was Norm’s, to nobody’s surprise. He went on to such projects as Prime (one of my favorites), Bloodshot, Life With Archie, and a very lengthy run on some guy called “The Batman.” In fact, it was his work on Whisper that got him the Bat-gig, and he stayed on Blue Longears for eight years. By that point I was in New York working for DC Comics and somehow lucky enough to share a large office with Batman editor Denny O’Neil. Synchronicity makes the world go ‘round.

Drawing Batman brought Norm’s life at the time full-circle. His first published art – a fan drawing – made it into Batman Family #13, when he was a mere 17-year-old.

Norm suffered a stroke in late 2014 that left him paralyzed on his left side – worse, he was left-handed. This ended his career, but he did seem to be improving, communicating with friends and collaborators and trying to develop his creator-owned properties. When the word came down on Wednesday, well, we certainly would have been shocked anyway, but we all had hoped for the day when he could get back a little to the convention circuit and receive the proper respect his brilliant work deserved.

Batman has attracted many an A+ lister artist, pretty much since day one, and Norm Breyfogle was on that hallowed list. Batman’s 80th birthday just won’t be the same.