Tag: Baltimore Comic-con

Pop Culture Squad at Baltimore Comic-Con 2021

Pop Culture Squad at Baltimore Comic-Con 2021

Pop Culture Squad will be returning to Baltimore this weekend for “America’s Greatest Comic Convention”. Baltimore Comic-Con will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from Friday 10/22 – Sunday 10/24. Mike Gold and I will be there catching up with old friends and hopefully making some new ones. You can find Mike at booth 3606 with our friends at Insight Studios.

For those who are planning to attend the show, please note that vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test are required for entry and masks are also required to be worn. You can see the health and safety requirements here.

We hope to see a bunch of you all there. We will be updating the site and our socials as much as we can over the weekend and beyond; so, stay tuned.

Programming Notes:

I will  be hosting discussion panels all three days of the convention and will be dragging Mr. Gold along for a couple of them. The details are as follows:

FIRST COMICS REUNION

Friday October 22, 2021 starting 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm | Room: 322
Come see the forces behind the groundbreaking independent publisher that changed the comics landscape as they recount how it began and what its legacy is. Hear the history from the ones who made it happen. Guests: Mike Gold, Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel, and Joe Staton. Hosted by Bob Harrison.

80 YEARS OF HAWKMAN

Saturday October 23, 2021 starting 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Room: 326
Join Robert Venditti, Jerry Ordway, and Mike Gold, with host Bob Harrison for a retrospective with the ageless hero. They will be discussing the character with perspective from creators who brought their own unique experience to the legendary winged warrior.

CREATING COMICS FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Sunday October 24, 2021 starting 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Room: 322
Stop in as we explore what goes into creating comics for teens and young adults in today’s world. With guests creating in multiple genres and formats, we will discuss how these creators curate their comics for their intended audiences.  Guests: Kami Garcia, Gene Ha, and Thom Zahler, with host Bob Harrison. Sponsored by The Hero Initiative.

Brainiac On Banjo: Truth, Justice, and All That Jazz

“Faster than an airplane, more powerful than a locomotive, impervious to bullets. ‘Up in the sky – look!’ ‘It’s a giant bird.’ ‘It’s a plane.’ ‘It’s Superman!’ And now, Superman – a being no larger than an ordinary man but possessed of powers and abilities never before realized on Earth: Able to leap into the air an eighth of a mile at a single bound, hurtle a 20-story building with ease, race a high-powered bullet to its target, lift tremendous weights and rend solid steel in his bare hands as though it were paper. Superman – a strange visitor from a distant planet: champion of the oppressed, physical marvel extraordinary who has sworn to devote his existence on Earth to helping those in need.” – written by Allen Ducovny and Robert Joffe Maxwell for the original Superman radio pilot, 1939.

The above proclamation was not original to the Superman comic books or the newspaper comic strip. It was streamlined, and the phrase “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was dramatically appended to the opening as President Roosevelt had started making his plans to dive head-first into World War II. It was also used in the opening to the Fleisher/Paramount Superman cartoons, and later the syndicated 1950s Superman television series.

“Truth, Justice and the American Way” is not in the U.S. constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, or as far as I can tell, the bible of any “major” religion. It is and always has been a marketing slogan, not unlike Fisk Tires’ “Time To Re-Tire.”

Why should he? Superman, long acknowledged to be a world citizen, is not a native born American and never had been. He has acknowledged that being an alien he could not lawfully become president. If he wanted to cheat, he probably could have pulled off running as “Clark Kent” (not his real name), as long as nobody demanded to see his birth certificate. With a raised seal, of course.

Superman is an illegal alien. A dreamer who landed without government permission or knowledge in Kansas U.S.A. without any parents and was seized by a then-elderly heterosexual white married couple. We assume somewhere along the line “Clark Kent” probably forged those credentials he would need to go to school, get a driver’s license and a passport, get married, and so on.

So, of course, this native Kryptonian dropping the “American Way” tagline drove the Rabid Right completely around the bend. Because, you know, he’s posed with the American flag and stuff.

The new phrase, “Truth, Justice and A Better Tomorrow,” would sound great opening a network newscast, unless that network isn’t Fox, Newsmax, OAN or their fellow reality-challenged microcephalic internet rackets. The Rabid Right lost their collective mind. Again.

As I said in this space last week, I enjoy watching the Rabid Right lose its shit. They’re almost as fantastic at that as they are lying through their teeth and causing widespread death. First Superman Son of Superman is revealed to be bisexual, and now, about a week later, he’s an optimistic citizen of the multiverse who is absolutely not working to further any American interests per se. So if the entire idea is to keep the Right reflexively flinching, then right on, DC Comics!

(Mike Gold and Bob Harrison will be representing Pop Culture Squad at this weekend’s the Baltimore Comic-Con, October 22 through 24, at — of all places — the Baltimore Convention Center, the one in Maryland. Evidently, Mister Gold will be on separate panels about First Comics and Hawkman, both hosted by Mister Harrison. We smell a fix…)

Brainiac On Banjo: Superman and the Dingleberries of Society!

Number forty-seven said to number three: You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see. I sure would be delighted with your company, Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me. — “Jailhouse Rock, by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, 1957.

Bill Maher has a segment on his show called “I Don’t Know It For a Fact, I Just Know It’s True.” Here’s my contribution.

The smaller your mind, the more likely it is to fall out your nose. This is why you’re called “blowhards.”

Case in point: the pathetically predictable response to Jon Kent’s coming out as bisexual. You’d think they discovered a couple dozen missing votes for Trump.

Ignoring the facts that Jon Kent is a fictional character, that the audience is familiar with the concept of bisexuality and aren’t likely to “convert” anybody just because a comic book character kissed a member of his own sex, and that the only thing that noticeably drives comic book sales is its perceived collectability, it’s kind of amazing that so many fools totally lost their little minds when they heard this story.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy watching people like Tucker Carlson go apeshit over “dog bites man” stories, although it’s becoming as boring as it has been predictable. If they think this is a recruitment issue for the White supremacists that are in our face 24/7, they’re preaching to their own choir. To be fair, these self-absorbed dingleberries of society are indeed the only ones who would listen.

Since I love tossing rock lyrics around, let me assure you Pete Townshend was right. “This is no social crisis. Just another tricky day. You’ll get through.” I don’t think Warner Media execs or even AT&T stockholders will, to quote Flo and Eddie, “pull their heads out of their own puke” over this one. It won’t kill their Discovery deal.

These toadlickers are still pissed that Heimdall has been played by a Black man in the Marvel movies for a bit more than a decade. To them, that’s heresy… which is weird, as American White supremacy is a movement that appears to mostly attract Christians (but no, not the other way around; give me a break). However, every controversy is fraught with comedic potential: I explain to these numbskulls that, given the turf and the times, Jesus Christ absolutely had to be Black — so why not Heimdall? Then I watch the nuclear cloud blow the top off of their bald, teensy brain pans.

Yet, somehow, these same neverlaids get stimulated by Joan Jett’s cover version of “Crimson and Clover.”

My advice to Jon Kent, who I remind you is a fictional character, is to fly above the bullshit. You know these psychopaths are simply jealous.

And, yes, my tighty-Whities. I did start this one with a Bill Maher reference just to piss you off. Like I said, you’re pathetically predictable.

(Mike Gold will be joining our own Bob Harrison as guests at the Baltimore Comic-Con, October 22 through 24, at — go know — the Baltimore Convention Center. If you would like to discuss the above words of wisdom, remember: you’ll be in public, even if you’re wearing a mask.)

2021 Ringo Awards Finalists Announced

2021 Ringo Awards Finalists Announced

The news has dropped on one of the premiere comic book awards nominations. The Ringo Awards are coming up on their fifth award ceremony and instantly developed into a prestigious honor for all nominees and winners. The final ballot has been released and is available for comic industry professionals to vote on. Reviewing these nominees reveals a fairly good cross section of the comics publishing industry and there are some extremely appropriate nominations.

We encourage all eligible voters to participate in the process and contribute to the recognition of deserving creators.

Press Release

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – August 25, 2021 – The 2021 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards are to be presented on the evening of Saturday, October 23, 2021 as part of the fan- and pro-favorite convention, The Baltimore Comic-Con.

The Ringo Awards are thrilled to announce the 2021 nominees. The nomination process was completed with the participation of our esteemed 2021 jury as well as the voting public. Fans and comic book professionals alike showed strong support in promoting the voting process on their websites, channels, and via social media.

Voting on the 2021 Final Ballot is restricted to comic book industry creative community — anyone involved in and credited with creating comics professionally. We now present the 2021 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards Final Ballot.

“We are really happy with this ballot. It’s such a pleasure to watch this thing develop and see the range of genres, creators, publishers, topics, nations of origin, and more. These creators and titles represent the best in comics from 2020 as voted on by the public and our jury, and we’re proud to present them here. If you haven’t read these books or checked out these talents’ works, do yourself a favor.” – Marc Nathan, Baltimore Comic-Con Promoter.

Fan and Pro Nomination Categories

* Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)

• Derf Backderf
• Mongie
• Stan Sakai
• Rachel Smythe
• Adrian Tomine
• Sophie Yanow

* Best Writer

• Penelope Bagieu
• Anthony Del Col
• Jason Douglas
• N.K. Jemisin
• Marjorie Liu
• James Tynion IV
• Ram V

* Best Artist or Penciller

• Josh Adams
• Jamal Campbell
• Elsa Charretier
• Hanza Art
• Sana Takeda

* Best Inker

• Sanford Greene
• Brett Hobson
• Jjolee
• Gabriel Hernandez Walta
• Tonci Zonjic

* Best Letterer

• Deron Bennett
• Aditya Bidikar
• DC Hopkins
• Micah Myers
• Chas! Pangburn

* Best Colorist

• Toyin Ajetunmobi
• Laura Allred
• Tamra Bonvillain
• Aladdin Lee Grant Rutledge Collar
• Jacob Phillips
• Joe Todd-Stanton
• Christian Ward

* Best Cover Artist

• Gian Carlo Bernal
• Stephanie Hans
• Maan House
• Steve Lieber
• Peach Momoko
• Kevin O’Neill
• Joe Todd-Stanton

* Best Series

• The Department of Truth, Image Comics
• Far Sector, DC Comics
• Lore Olympus, WEBTOON
• My Deepest Secret, WEBTOON
• Usagi Yojimbo, IDW Publishing
• Wonder Woman: Dead Earth, DC

* Best Single Issue or Story

• All-America Comix #1, Image Comics
• Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds (BOOM! Studios)
• Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx, Flying Eye Books (US) / Nobrow Press
• “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” from Ice Cream Man Present Quarantine Comix Special #1, Image Comics
• The O.Z., self-published
• Parallel, Source Point Press

* Best Original Graphic Novel

• Buried But Not Dead, Source Point Press Continue reading “2021 Ringo Awards Finalists Announced”

Celebrating Women’s History Month Comic Edition: Part 2 – Writers

Celebrating Women’s History Month Comic Edition: Part 2 – Writers

This is the second chapter in our celebration of women in comics history.  In this post we will highlight a fantastic group of writers that made lasting impacts on the industry.

This category has been one of the most difficult to fill. While some of the women listed in Part 1 of this series were cartoonists in that they both wrote and drew their stories, the list of impactful full-time writers before 1990 is short, and to be truthful, most of these women started their careers as editors.  It is disappointing to see the paucity of women writers in some of the formative years of comics creating.

I will say that the last two decades have seen a substantial rise in women writers in comics. But that rise is of course relative when you look at how bad it has been. While more women are getting work writing, recognition still has some territory to gain. There have been fifteen people in the last thirty-two years who have received Eisner Awards for Best Writer. Only two of them were women, and they were only in the last three years.

Well, let’s celebrate some amazing writing. The women listed below in alphabetical order created some amazing stories:


Toni Blum

Born Audrey Anthony Blum, Toni Blum, was one of the very few women comic writers in the golden age. She worked the Eisner-Iger Studio which produced stories for Quality Comics and National Allied Publications. She wrote scripts for golden age characters Dollman, Black Condor, The Ray, Uncle Sam, and more. She even ghost-wrote stories of The Spirit for Will Eisner. One of the remarkable aspects of Blum’s career is that she used over a dozen pseudonyms and all of them were either gender obscured or outright masculine. Even her most commonly referred to professional name is gender blind adaptation of her middle name. She was the only woman working in her office and contributed in important ways to some of the biggest comic characters of her time.


Mary Jo Duffy

As a writer for Marvel Comics in the 1980s, Mary Jo Duffy is responsible for some well-known long runs of stories. She wrote Power Man and oversaw the transition of the title to Power-Man and Iron Fist. She had a memorable run on the Marvel Star Wars series and wrote the Fallen Angels mini-series spinoff of New Mutants. In the 1990s she wrote the first fourteen issues of the first ongoing series for DC’s Catwoman. By the mid-2000s, Duffy had retired from comics writing. She began her career as an assistant editor for Marvel and often went by Jo Duffy in credits. Her work is spread across dozens of titles in the 80s and 90s and made an impact.


Barbara Kesel

Barbara Kesel has had an interesting career arc in comics. Her first freelance writing work, a Batgirl backup story, was published when she was twenty-two. She later became a full-time staff editor at DC Comics and then transitioned back to writing. She helped create Dawn Granger as the new Dove and wrote the “last Batgirl” story as DC retired Barbara Gordon from the cowl for a long time. She has also had stories published by Archia, CrossGen, Dark Horse Comics, Image, IDW, and more. She has gone by her birth name Barbara J. Randall at times earlier in her career. Kesel is known to be a staunch defender of women’s rights in comics and featured strong and fully formed women characters in her writing. She continues to write and create interesting stories to this day. Continue reading “Celebrating Women’s History Month Comic Edition: Part 2 – Writers”

Comic News Roundup: Comics News for the week of 10/16/2020 -10/23/2020

Comic News Roundup: Comics News for the week of 10/16/2020 -10/23/2020

Welcome back to our new feature Comic News Roundup. Here, we give you a run down of the news from comic book publishers and other pop culture news that was released throughout this week. We have news from Baltimore Comic-Con, AfterShock Comics. DC Comics, Diamond Distributors, Z2 Comics, and Boom! Studios.


Baltimore Comic-Con

This coming weekend is the first virtual running of one of the best comic conventions of the year. Baltimore Comic-Con has engaged the folks at Mainframe Comic Con to help put together one heck of a lineup of live virtual programming.

Baltimore Comic-Con has traditionally been known and praised as a convention that puts comic books first, and this weekend’s programming reflects that theme. There are a bunch of comic creator spotlight panels and themed sessions with creators talking about current and past comic projects.

There are live Q&A panels planned and private creator Meet & Greets available for purchase. There are links to the sites of creators, retailers, and publishers who would have been on the floor of the Baltimore Convention Center in any other year.

The jewel of the weekend for me is the live broadcast of the 2020 Ringo Awards on Saturday at 8:00PM EDT. This year it is hosted by Kevin Smith with a keynote speech by Geoff Johns. You can find a list of the nominees for this year here.

 


AfterShock Comics

This week AfterShock announced I Breathed A Body, a new horror series debuting in January 2021. This book is from writer Zac Thompson and artist Andy MacDonald. Here is the description from AfterShock.

“When the world’s biggest influencer posts something irredeemably horrific online, the world changes in an instant. Now it’s up to his social media manager to fan the flames of outrage and create a sensationalist campaign that rewrites the rules of “banned content.” Thus begins a carnival of lust, revulsion, desire and disgust – all for viral videos.”


DC Comics

Art by Dan Mora

This news is about a week old but DC Comics has announced a two month hiatus from the books that remain in the monthly comic line and having a new event called Future State.

They have lined up a great mix of creative talent to explore near and far future iterations of many of the main characters in their universe. After the January-February event concludes, DC has said that there books will continue the storylines from 2020 and start new arcs for 2021.

DC Executive Editor Marie Javins had this to say:

“The DC Universe has always been fertile ground for new and refreshing takes on our characters, and DC Future State definitely contributes to this legacy. When the event begins in January, some savvy readers will not only pick up on some of the breadcrumbs that have already been tossed out in our current titles, but they will also find new hints and clues of what’s to come in 2021.”

There have been a lot of hard feelings about the business and distribution decisions that DC has made this year, but I have to say that this event promises to be very interesting and the art looks amazing. Continue reading “Comic News Roundup: Comics News for the week of 10/16/2020 -10/23/2020”

Brainiac On Banjo #092: John Lewis – The Great American Warrior

Brainiac On Banjo #092: John Lewis – The Great American Warrior

Hound dogs on my trail / School children sitting in jail / Black cat cross my path / I think every day’s gonna be my last / Lord have mercy on this land of mine / We all gonna get it in due time / I don’t belong here / I don’t belong there / I’ve even stopped believing in prayer — Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam,” 1964

The first time I was able to have a conversation with the late Representative and true American hero John Lewis was about six years ago at the Baltimore Comic-Con. It was during set-up so the room was comparatively open and, as I was attempting to locate my booth I saw Representative Lewis behind a table. His name was on the sign behind his table — “Congressman John Lewis.” I did one of those patented Tex Avery eyeball takes.

I previously had been at the Heroes Convention at the Charlotte North Carolina Convention Center. A bunch of older white guys were walking around wearing suits that, each, could feed a family of four for three months. In the midst of that gaggle was Sarah Palin. I looked around to make sure I was at the right place because I could not believe these folks were there to add to their Funko Pops collections.

I was right; the state Republican Convention was upstairs and the comic-con was downstairs. The white men in their expensive suits looked disgusted but, to be fair, they always look that way. Sarah saw the cosplayers and beamed a megawatt smile. So you can’t say I’ve never said anything nice about Sarah Palin.

But this time, the statesman at hand was there for a comic book show. Considering he worked in Congress, seeing a couple thousand people dressed up as The Joker (including babies) was just another day at work. I approached him, he offered me a seat, and we chatted about the relationship between comic books and political organizing. It was one of those “holy crap” moments that make life wonderful.

Rep. Lewis did say I was the first to recognize him at the show. I laughed and said “Oh, just wait until the show starts.” He looked skeptical, but my prediction quickly came to pass: that was just about the only time during the show that I could see him clearly from the aisle. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #092: John Lewis – The Great American Warrior”

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”

Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!

Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!

What the new year brings to you will depend on a great deal on what you bring to the new year !

 

Welcome to 2020!

In the past year, the news has often been filled with confounding rhetoric, and there have been some truly terrible events, but we need to resolve to focus on the positive, while committing to make things better. We can be the agents of change that we need in this world.

What an amazing year that 2019 was around here!!! As Pop Culture Squad celebrates the completion of its first full calendar year of existence, we have a lot of great accomplishments to look back on.

Here are a few highlights: Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #011: Goodbye 2019 – Welcome 2020!!”

Revisiting Mutant-X: The Video SquadCast from Baltimore Comic-Con

Revisiting Mutant-X: The Video SquadCast from Baltimore Comic-Con

Hey Everyone!!

Welcome to the Video SquadCast! This is the recording of the panel we hosted at Baltimore Comic-Con on October 19, 2019. The panelists are Howard Mackie and Andrew Pepoy.  The video is hosted on our YouTube Channel and the audio version of the SquadCast can be found at the bottom of this post.

Be sure to check out this great conversation where we reminisce about the Mutant-X comic book from Marvel.  We talk about the origins of the book, what went in to character design, what made it successful, and ultimately the end. This was a really fun time and is worth the time for fans of the comic or comic making in general.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Continue reading “Revisiting Mutant-X: The Video SquadCast from Baltimore Comic-Con”