Tag: comic books

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)

This is a special edition of our Kickstarter boost posts. We were able to speak with the writer of the latest campaign and the musician behind the video theme. This is the perfect combination of what we are about here at Pop Culture Squad.

This week we are spotlighting Death Trap. It is a comic story that will be released digitally in four individual issues and then printed in a collected edition.

What is Death Trap?

According to the Kickstarter campaign page:

Death Trap is the story of a young woman named Ollie who grew up in the Strongin Circus crime family, surrounded by sideshow freaks and weird clowns and a huge albino dancing bear named Wojtek.  Her Dad’s killed by a rival crime family at Davenport Amusements, and ends up haunting his old Mercury Cougar muscle car.  So Ollie and her dad’s ghost team up for some sweet, sweet, revenge.

It sounds super cool and the various reward tiers are full of excellent material. We are stoked to see this project get funded.  At three days into the campaign, they are at about 20% of their goal.

Continue reading “Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)”

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

This past weekend of August 23 – 25, 2019, PopCultureSquad attended the Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.  It was an entertaining convention. There were high level celebrity guests and a good collection of comic professionals. Tom Holland was the big celebrity draw.

The “Artist Alley” set up was very well laid out, and even on a surprisingly busy Sunday, getting through the aisles was easily manageable. The amount of incredible creativity on display and produced was amazing. Unfortunately, we were made aware of some behind the scenes drama among the guests, which was not very pleasant. The show was not interrupted by any personal issues.

This show was definitely designed for all types of fans of pop culture. There were two types of gaming areas; tabletop and video. There was also a wrestling ring on the show floor for fans of the grappling arts.

The vendor areas flowed nicely around the guests and had a good variety of crafts, bargain comics, and high-end comic resellers. The food vending area had an interesting array of menu items and was appropriately sized for the population of the show.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable late summer show. We would be interested in going back. We would hope that the show would grow to the point that there would be a larger selection of comic pros, but that is what we hope from every show. Also, this relatively new show contended with FanExpo Canada in Toronto, and Wizard World in Chicago on the same weekend.

In parting, let us leave you with some excellent cosplay that we saw. Continue reading “Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics”

Preview Reviews for the week of 8/28/2019: Doctor Mirage #1 and Mountainhead #1

Preview Reviews for the week of 8/28/2019: Doctor Mirage #1 and Mountainhead #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 PopCultureSquad, 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 have TWO preview comics. The first is the debut of Doctor Mirage by Magdalene Visaggio and Nick Robles, published by Valiant Entertainment. The second book is the premiere issue of Mountainhead by John Lees and Ryan Lee from IDW. Both of these books have been eagerly anticipated and are featured in our New Number Ones column for August.

You can find Doctor Mirage and Mountainhead at your LCS on August 28, 2019.


Doctor Mirage #1
Valiant Entertainment
Written by Magdalene Visaggio
Art by Nick Robles
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover art by Philip Tan

Original Solicitation:

How do you solve the case of your own death? Paranormal expert Doctor Shan Fong Mirage was born with the ability to see and speak to the dead-an ability that has mysteriously stopped working. Have her powers failed or is something far more sinister at work? Will she figure out her fate and the fate of the one she loves the most? Valiant’s gripping supernatural mystery starts here!

PCS Review:

Valiant’s decision to bring back and refresh older characters in their control has been full of bright spots, and this is another one. Magdalene Visaggio delivers a head spinning narrative that explores the sense of self and purpose that the lead character possesses, and she introduces a new character that immediately commands your attention. The plot of this story unfolds into a supernatural mystery that begins the audience on a journey of recovery, or maybe we just think that.

This book is lovely. The combination of Nick Robles’ line art and Jordie Bellaire’s color work is a treat to behold. Bellaire’s colors create a pervasive feeling of the supernatural and chaos simultaneously. The creative panel layouts that Robles uses in this book add to the interesting read of this mysterious plot. Dave Sharpe’s work in this issue is some high level stuff. The letters are clean and the word art is organic and thoughtfully placed.

We will definitely be looking forward to the next issue of this limited series.


Mountainhead #1
IDW Entertainment
Written by John Lees
Art by Ryan Lee
Colors by Doug Garbark
Letters by Shawn Lee
Cover art by Lee

Original Solicitation:

Abraham Stubbs and his father Noah roam America in a nomadic existence. Convinced they are being pursued by sinister government forces, Noah has them living off the grid, burgling houses to survive. Elsewhere, on Mount Rector, the lone survivor of a climbing expedition staggers homeward, covered in blood. Both are on an inevitable collision course with the picturesque Canadian resort town of Braeriach. From writer John Lees and artist Ryan Lee, featuring colors from Doug Garbark and letters from Shawn Lee.

An exciting psychological thriller and horror story, all in one!

PCS Review:

The story that John Lees weaves in this initial issue to Mountainhead is compelling and heartbreaking. It would be safe to say that Abraham is the most easily sympathetic new character that I have read this year. Holy crap does that kid need a hug. Sorry. No more spoilers. This is an interesting story and the pace of the book leads the audience to the idea that there is lots more we will find out in the coming issues.

The art team really knocked it out of the park in this issue. There are stylistic choices made for the visual presentation of the story that really work well. The color work is outstanding and really does a lot of heavy lifting in setting the tone of each page. This book is a worthwhile read with an intriguing story that is just getting underway. Give it a shot.

Spotlight Interview: Talking Comics and Geekdom With Writer Amy Chu

Spotlight Interview: Talking Comics and Geekdom With Writer Amy Chu

Picture copyright Amy Chu

If you are not familiar with comics writer extraordinaire Amy Chu, you should be. If you are, then we will endeavor to share with you some great tidbits about her writing, current projects, and other passions.

We were able to catch up with Amy at Awesome-Con in Washington, DC back at the end of April. In the past five years, she has exploded into comics and has worked for DC, Marvel, Dynamite, Lion Forge, and more. Her titles include Girls Night Out, Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, The Green Hornet, Summit, KISS, and more.  Recently, Sea Sirens, her original graphic novel with Janet Lee was published by Viking Books.

Amy has also just been announced as part of the faculty for the Kubert School starting this fall. You can see the press release here.

Besides comics, Amy Chu has led an amazing life that included suing her school under Title IX to be allowed to play on the boys’ soccer team in high school. She holds degrees from both MIT and Harvard. She is also the mother to two wonderful boys. [I’ve met them. They are good kids.]

Amy is regular on the comic convention scene. We often wonder how she has time to do all she does, and yet she manages to do it all. If you see her at a Con, she will most likely appreciate coffee and donuts, as her Twitter motto these days includes “#DonutKiller”

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview: Talking Comics and Geekdom With Writer Amy Chu”

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Return of the TOE TAG RIOT!

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Return of the TOE TAG RIOT!

Hey folks. It’s that time again. We search the current Kickstarter campaigns, and when we find one we feels needs a little boost, we let you know about it.

This week we are spotlighting The Return of the Toe Tag Riot. It is a comic story that will be released digitally in four individual issues and then printed in a collected edition.

What is Toe Tag Riot?

That is a great question. This is the second installment of this series. It was originally given life on Kickstarter back in 2014, and was subsequently distributed by Black Mask Studios. You can also find the original on Comixology. Creators Matt Miner and Sean Von Gorman are back with a new story about their cursed band of Punk musicians. Rounding out the creative team is colorist Gab Contreras and letterer Taylor Esposito.

Continue reading “Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Return of the TOE TAG RIOT!”

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Shots Fired, A Comic Anthology to Fight Gun Violence

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Shots Fired, A Comic Anthology to Fight Gun Violence

Readers and followers of our site know that we are always looking for crowdfunded projects that are worthy of our support. It appears to be time for a new wave of Kickstarter projects to grab our attention.

A new project that we have been aware of even before it went live is the focus of this spotlight post. The project is called Shots Fired, and it is an anthology of comic format short stories aimed at calling attention to the tragedy of gun violence in America.  While there have been other excellent projects aimed at supporting the victims of gun violence. This collection is committed to using profits from the book to support violence prevention.

Continue reading “Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: Shots Fired, A Comic Anthology to Fight Gun Violence”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #030: The Absolute Worst (PART 2!)

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #030: The Absolute Worst (PART 2!)

Last week, I detailed half of my “all time worst” villain portrayals in comic book movies. No one attempted to fight me… yet. So, let’s roll the dice and do it twice! Here’s my top five all time awful comic book villains as portrayed on film.

And in case you missed last week? Well, sucks to be you. Loser. Read it here. (Sorry, normally I’m a pretty happy guy. This list just frustrated the bejesus out of me. And I don’t take that lightly. Jewish dudes love Bejesus.)

5. Jamie Foxx / Electro — The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Jamie Foxx, after proving his acting chops across the board with amazing performances in flicks like Ray, Collateral, and Django: Unchained was largely met with fanboy glee at the prospect of de-morting an often mostly goofy Spider-baddie. But, by the looks of it, Foxx showed up to set having accidently time-traveled directly off the set of In Living Color. Take the nebbishy grease stain of Jim Carrey as the Riddler, combine it with the mumbling/grumbling nuance of Tyler Mane as Sabertooth, and then drown it in incoherent CGI, and poof: Blacklectro. Foxx’s take adheres closer to the Ultimate version of the villain — which is a smart choice. But his distorted digitized growl, and third-act “death by dubstep” set piece was so dreadful (especially when paired with yet-another-what-the-hell appearance by the Green Goblin) it axed the whole Sinister Six franchise. I’d be sad about it, but Tom Holland is a superior Spider-Man, and Michael Keaton’s Vulture is one of my favorite adaptations of a villain to date. So, suck on those watts, Foxxie.

 

4. Oscar Isaac / Apocalypse — X-Men: Apocalypse

Speaking of weird blue CGI-mashed up wastes of time, we land on generically brown enough to give us points in diversity, Oscar Isaaac. On loan from the Star Wars universe, to take a big azure dump on another X-villain, Isaac’s En Sabah Nur en sucks nuts. With a costume that immediately drew comparison to Power Ranger’s Ivan Ooze, and a performance that frankly makes me sleepy even thinking about it, this version of Apocalypse managed to mangle a decent follow-up franchise to the original Bryan “Now Pen Pals with Kevin Spacey” Singer directed. Isaac underplays a villain who is mostly known to only speak in yelling in the comic series. And he’s given no favors throughout the film, as his misplaced accent-by-way-of-whatever-the-fuck-sounds-ethnic-ish delivers wet-fart after wet-fart throughout the film. Whether it was a bad script, bad costume, bad effects, or a little bit of all of it… by the end of X-Men: Apocalypse all I could hope for was a quick nuclear Armageddon so-as to not tip off future aliens discovering our remains the thought that this was how we were entertained.

 

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger / Mr. Freeze — Batman & Robin

Ahhhnold’s portrayal of the ice-hearted Victor Fries is brought to us by the same team that ruined the Riddler and Two-Face… and ups the ante to go gayer. Like, To Wong Foo levels of gay. With comedic pun-powers by way of Shecky Greenberg and the Borscht Belt Review. Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze is repetitious rapscallion whose only duty on set was to don whatever BDSM costume director Joel Schumacher was jonesing to see that day, and read off 5-10 cold-based puns the writers room from the Larry Sanders Show threw out from the night before.  Then, Joel would yell “Cut!”, the production crew would spirit gum icicles from It’s a Small World’s Antarctica on to pieces of the set and extras, and they’d roll camera just in time for Mr. Olympia himself to stare directly down to lens to a pant-less Schumacher before exclaiming “Ice to see you.”

Compare this to chilling voicework of Michael Ansara, over the design work of Mike Mignola in Batman: The Animated Series and their version of the character, and you’ll wind up like me; cold to the idea that two other portrayals could possibly be worse on this list.

 

2. Wes Bentley / Blackheart — Ghost Rider

Let’s go ahead and say that no one was ever going to be able to out-act Nic Cage is a movie where he transformers into Ghost Rider by cackle-laugh-cry-screaming, bug-eyed, directly into the camera for 45 seconds. But to have cast the weird emo-d-bag from American Beauty to phone in the same performance, but with CGI fart clouds and inverted irises as the nemesis to Cage is perhaps a thing of beauty. I could envision the executives now… as Cage describes their need to spend 12 million dollars to digitally burn him alive (after they convince Cage that they can’t afford the insurance to do it method like he wanted)… “But what about the rest of the cast, Mr. Cage?” And just as he’s about to call in a favor from John Travolta, Wes Bentley comes into the room — to remove the trash from the bins and check if anyone wanted a bagel or scone from downstairs — and Nic hangs up the phone. “You there, boy. I’m going to make you a star.” And with the remaining $12.75 left in the budget for the film, good old bag-cryer Bentley snarls and mumbles his way though another forgettable villain in what could have been a decent excuse for Nic Cage to scream a lot.

 

1. Ciarán Hinds / Steppenwolf — Justice League

I saved this top spot for an actor, who perhaps, is undeserving of my ire. Truly when asking nearly any comic book fan who might show up on this list, nary a one could even name Mr. Hinds. You’d then need to mutter “he was the voice of Steppenwolf in Justice League” for said fanboy to even register the thought that an actual human being lent anything to the “performance” of the bad guy that united the seven. Hinds’ Steppenwolf was given an unsurmountable task of being the harbinger of actual bad guy Darkseid in the DC movie-verse. Whereas Joss Whedon utilized Loki and an army of CGI-expendables to bring together the Avengers (which worked in spades, because, duh), Joss as would-be Cyranno could not convince Zach Snyder and his army of slow-fast-motion-mustache-erasers to replace the wooden non-starter that was Ciarán Hinds and his portrayal of an Apokolyptian war general.

It also helps that with all the money saved for the film’s “fully CGI villain, see, we can do it too, Marvel!” was spent instead removing mustaches and dyeing everything to burnt umber. Steppenwolf looks like a lifeless stand-in for final effects throughout the 82 hours the flick drones on. Combined with his creepy mewling of “mothaaaaa” every time a motherbox appears on screen, and boy howdy, do you wind up with something special.

Justice League was a trainwreck of a film, weighed down by a metric ton of problems. For many it was the brooding. Or the sepia-toned-everything. Or that as hawt as Jason Momoa was, is, and forever will-be… no amount of his bro-screaming was going to cut through the cynicism. Or maybe it was Henry Cavill’s weird CG-baby mouth. But for this writer? It was mostly shouldered by the worthless antagonist in the film. And while Movie-Steppenwolf isn’t that far off from his comic counterpart (both are generically forgettable also-rans) here he was shouldered with being a threat worthy enough to pull together arguably the most recognizable team of superheroes (plus Cyborg) in order to save the day. And what exactly did Hinds give us? Sleepy British snarling. The exact same sleepy British Snarling Professor Lupin gave us in Wonder Woman. So close, in fact, methinks that it’s likely Snyder wanted David Thewlis to reprise his Ares for the League, but after looking over his budget declared “…then get me his non-union Mexican equivalent!”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #029: The Absolute Worst (PART 1!)

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #029: The Absolute Worst (PART 1!)

With the litany of comic book characters now living second lives as movie characters, we nerds now have an ability to truly start compiling the bests and worsts translated from pulp to digitally projected bric-à-brac. This week, I’d like to do what all great bloggers of the day do: make a top ten list to anger my readers.

So, here is my definitive (for now) list of The Absolute Worst Portrayals of Super-Villains in Movies.

The rules: We’re going to set the line at all comic book movies debuting after Superman (1978). We’re judging the main antagonists in the film (Lucky for you, Eddie Izzard in Mystery Men). My criteria takes into account the overall quality of the film, the on-screen portrayal, the distance between the on-page characteristics of the baddie, as well as how they matched against their nemesis throughout their on-screen performance. Sound good? I don’t care. My list, my rules. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #029: The Absolute Worst (PART 1!)”

Spotlight Interview with Comic Artist: Joe Rubinstein

Spotlight Interview with Comic Artist: Joe Rubinstein

We were able to get together with a legendary comic book creator recently. Joe Rubinstein began his career in comics as a teenager in the 1970’s. He has been an excellent and prolific inker for a very long time.

He has worked on some truly important pieces of comic history including the original Wolverine limited series written by Chris Claremont and laid out by Frank Miller; Joe did the finishes. He was the inker on Infinity Gauntlet. An interesting claim to fame for Joe is that he was the inker for 99.9% of the character pin-ups for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe over at twenty year period.

In 2016, Joe was inducted into the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame which is attached to the Inkwell Awards.

Joe is also a part of a team of well-known comic professionals who are producing a graphic novel called The Liberty Brigade. It was funded using Kickstarter in late 2018 and is in the process of being produced.

Recently, Joe has begun to put together a website to display his art and offer services directly to the public. You can find it at www.joerubinsteinart.com and below is our conversation with Joe about his career and what he is doing now.

Pop Culture Squad: I know that you are excited about the new website, what can you tell us about that?

Joe Rubinstein: It is still being filled, but it is up and running. It has a lot of my art, and also information about commissions and convention schedules. This piece is not up yet, but since a lot of my comic book work has become movies, we are going to be linking to trailers that have come from my stuff, like Infinity Gauntlet and Captain America and things like that. We will also have art lessons and tutorials. I will be posting instructional videos that will have free previews and a subscription service or something like that for full videos.

PCS: What can you tell us about the Liberty Brigade and how that is going? How did you get involved with that project?

Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Artist: Joe Rubinstein”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in March 2019

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in March 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.

March has a diverse group of premiere issues that we are excited about, and they come 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 March 2019”