Tag: Blue Beetle

A Few Words About Keith

A Few Words About Keith

Last night, as I write this, daughter Adriane came downstairs while I was watching a typically clever and compelling docuweird from James May. I knew from the expression on her face I was about distance myself from Mr. May’s well-honed sense of humor.

Adriane carefully informed me that my old friend Keith Giffen had died. Such an event has grown all too typical and they all hurt, but, damn, this one came right out of the blue. My editor Mr. Harrison and I were just talking about Keith on our weekly video Squadcast and I remember cutting myself short under the belief that Keith would get his due from us later. Yeah, well…

I’m going to ignore my journalism teachers and not give you the mandatory obituary routine. If you are not familiar with Giffen’s work, there’s a couple tons of it on the trade paperback racks at your favorite bookstores. I will point out that Keith co-created a many great characters and concepts, including Rocket Raccoon, Lobo, Ambush Bug, and the latest version of the Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes, presently of motion picture fame. His Wiki page is quite good and most likely getting even better right now.

But all the bios and reflections cannot do justice to his work and his approach to storytelling. The word “unique” is an absolute term: either something is unique or its not and one thing can not be more unique than another. Keith Giffen’s work was unrelentingly unique. Keith Giffen was unique.

In all the decades I’d known him, I had never had a less-than-remarkable time. His wit, his charm and his creative courage were his and his alone. When first you encounter one of his stories your response likely would hit the high end of the vaunted Richter What-The-Fuck scale. By the time you were done with that first story, chances are you’d start looking for his other stuff.

Or it might just piss you off. Art is like that, and so was Keith. He told his story, his way, and did so brilliantly.

The first memory that escaped the attic of my brainpan was a conversation we had in 2016 at a massive party that preceded the world premiere of the first Suicide Squad movie. Dan DiDio and DC Comics threw one hell of an affair and everybody who was anybody in comics and was in the New York area at the time was there — and plenty of people flew in as well. I told Keith how much I was enjoying the work he and Dan had been doing recently and, while I was fumbling for a clever way to say “my appreciation seems to be the kiss of death” Keith kept interrupting me.

“Have you read my Scooby Apocalypse?” he asked repeatedly, cutting off my praise of his other recent work. “Well, no, I haven’t,” I admitted. “I think it will surprise you.”

It certainly did. Evidently, it also surprised the folks at Hanna-Barbera, which was and remains part of Warner Bros., as does DC Comics. Evidently, they had a hard time recognizing DC’s often brilliant reimagining of their characters — and when it comes to bringing home the animated bacon, nothing does that more consistently than Scooby-Doo. And Keith found an alien heart deep inside the property, and he ran with it. Proudly. And deservedly so.

I should add it’s become my favorite of Keith’s work. Well, his living work, at least.

Several days ago as Keith was dying from a stroke, he composed a farewell note for posting after his death. If you are about to check out of this reality, you’re going to have a hard time doing a better job than he did. His farewell was pure and complete Keith Giffen. He posthumously posted “I told them I was sick… Anything not to go to New York Comic Con, Thankx. Bwah ha ha ha ha.”

That New York Comic Con is happening right now, this very weekend, and Keith is wonderfully all over it.

That, my friends, is how to go out in class and style.

His work, of course, lives on. Along with his friendship.

New Number Ones: New Comics Releasing for the Week of September 6, 2023

New Number Ones: New Comics Releasing for the Week of September 6, 2023

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

DC Comics has had a quiet summer publishing its Knight Terrors event, but they are coming out the gate strong in September with a few definite adds to the pull list.

This week, we have books on the list from: Marvel Comics,  Image Comics, Mad Cave Studios, Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Boom! Studios.

One thing to remember, we continue to measure the “comic week” as Wednesday. #NCBD is Wednesday.

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 


Birds of Prey #1
DC Comics
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Leonardo Romero & Jordie Bellaire
Cover Art by Romero & Bellaire

BREAKING HEARTS AND FACES—THE BIRDS OF PREY ARE BACK!

Every mission matters. Every life saved is a miracle. But this time, it’s personal. Dinah Lance is one of the DCU’s most elite fighters, and combined with her sonic scream, she’s a fearsome foe in any scenario…but sometimes even the Black Canary needs help. Faced with a personal mission brought to her by a mysterious new ally, and up against near-impossible odds, she re-forms the Birds of Prey with an unrivaled group of badasses—Cassandra Cain, Big Barda, Zealot, and Harley Quinn—and only one goal: extraction without bloodshed. What could possibly go wrong? Kelly Thompson (Captain Marvel, Black Widow) makes her long-awaited DC Universe writing debut, and is joined by her Hawkeye partners-in-crime Leonardo Romero (BATMAN) and Jordie Bellaire (WONDER WOMAN) to debut an all-new, all-deadly Birds of Prey series…still breaking hearts and faces after all these years!

Release Date: September 5, 2023

PCS NOTES: Kelly Thompson writing the book is a win for me. People may question the lineup but I will give her the benefit of the doubt in being able to make it work.


Blue Beetle #1
DC Comics
Written by Josh Trujillo
Art by Adrian Gutierrez & Wil Quintana
Cover Art by Gutierrez & Luis Guerrrero

Jaime Reyes’s graduation is over, but his new life in Palmera City and as the Blue Beetle has only just begun! With two new Beetles to train in Dynastes and Nitida, Jaime has his hands full navigating being a leader. Thankfully, he has Paco and Brenda by his side as they settle in at Palmera State University. But what lurks in the shadows of Blue Beetle’s new home and what does it mean for the Blue Beetle legacy?

Release Date: September 5, 2023

PCS NOTES: Anyone who has seen the Blue Beetle movie will be eager to jump into this new series. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Releasing for the Week of September 6, 2023”

Trailer Recap: Blue Beetle, Across the SpiderVerse, Barbie, Ahsoka, and one more.

Trailer Recap: Blue Beetle, Across the SpiderVerse, Barbie, Ahsoka, and one more.

What a huge week in trailer releases this has been!?! All of my nerdy fanboy nerve endings are buzzing with anticipation for some of the amazing geeky productions that are headed our way. While there are already a couple of big movies on the horizon like this week’s Super Mario Bros and May’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.3 along with June’s The Flash, there are some very cool things coming up right behind them.

Blue Beetle

The first trailer that I came across this week was for the Blue Beetle movie that releases August 18th from director Angel Manuel Soto staring Xolo Maridueña as Jamie Reyes. While this is the last piece of DC Studios content that is not 100% under authorship of the new regime of James Gunn and Peter Safran, we are hoping it sticks and is the type of tone that we get from the new DC Universe. It has an excellent mix of seriousness, humor, responsibility, and hope. Those are what I am looking for in superhero stories.

Continue reading “Trailer Recap: Blue Beetle, Across the SpiderVerse, Barbie, Ahsoka, and one more.”

Steve Ditko: Inside His Studio Sanctum Sanctorum

I wrote my first letter to Steve Ditko in early 1973, while I was still in high school. It was the typical letter, the type a budding fan-artist back then might send to a seasoned professional comics artist — full of effusive praise, capped with a request for some secret kernel of artistic knowledge that would magically transform overnight a fan’s crude artistic efforts into professional-level artwork. Ditko did his best to answer, giving what was, in retrospect, a solid list of advice.

Two years later, I wrote Ditko again, and this time, I asked if I could stop by his studio for a visit when I was in New York City later that year. He politely declined, and I pushed that idea into the dustbin of history – not realizing that 28 years later my request would become a reality.

More than two decades passed before I wrote Ditko again in 1997. In the interim, I joined the Air Force, learned to be an aircraft avionics technician, got married, had kids, opted to be a career Airman, traveled and lived abroad for nearly a decade, earned a bachelor’s degree, retrained into public affairs during the early 1990s military drawdown, kept drawing, and kept publishing my fanzine, “Maelstrom.” In fact, my third letter to Ditko was a request for what I knew was an extreme long shot: An interview for an upcoming issue of my ‘zine. Again, he politely declined.

I wrote a few more letters during the next two years about nothing in particular – including a couple while I was stationed in the Republic of Korea in 1998. In one of them, I included some terrifically supple Korean-made brushes that were ridiculously cheap, but feathered ink like a Winsor & Newton brush costing 30 times as much.

I retired from the Air Force in 1999 and published “Maelstrom” #7, and dutifully sent Ditko a copy. Our correspondence continued off-and-on until 2002, when I started preparing a Steve Ditko article for “Maelstrom” #8 – along with a cover I drew featuring many of Ditko’s more notable characters. When the issue was published, I sent him a copy, and something about it obviously struck a chord as he sent me several letters of comment. Suddenly, the correspondence was a regular back-and-forth, and as my letters got longer, so did his. Some of Steve’s letters were 10, 12, or even 16 pages long.  Continue reading “Steve Ditko: Inside His Studio Sanctum Sanctorum”