Tag: DC Comics

Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021

Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021

On our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list, we found a bunch of great books that we have been wanting to talk about for some time.  This column features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

There were not a whole lot of new series that came out this week but the issues #2’s and #3’s for some newer series were excellent.  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, Titan Comics, Vault Comics, Marvel 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:


Aquaman: The Becoming #3
DC Comics
Written by Brandon Thomas
Pencils by Scott Koblish
Inks by Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by Adriano Lucas & Alex Guimarães
Letters by AndWorld Design
Cover Art by David Talaski

This book is now officially promoted as the Prequel to Aquamen, and while that is interesting, it is a disservice to think of this book only as service to something else. Brandon Thomas is building characters and telling an intriguing story. The execution of the fast-paced chase elements to this book are a credit to the storytelling skills of Scott Koblish. The rest of the art team and letter compliment the theme and tone of the issue. As a midpoint book in this limited series this issue definitely raises the stakes.


Bountiful Garden #3
Mad Cave Studio
Written by Ivy Noelle Weir
Art by Kelly Williams
Colors by Giorgio Spalleta
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Williams

You should be reading this book. It has been excellent through this third issue. The story exploration and development are well paced. The art by Kelly Williams is as terrifyingly foreboding as it is gorgeous, and it is really gorgeous. The color work by Giorgio Spalleta accentuates the shadowy nature of the story. Justin Birch does excellent work lettering this book and meshes the tone well. The complete book has a feel that there is a monster in the shadows, and there are shadows everywhere.


Chicken Devil #2
AfterShock Comics
Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Hayden Sherman
Colors by Sherman
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Art by Sherman

What a treat this book is!! I am tempted to go full chicken metaphor in this review, but I will corral that urge.  This book is visually exciting. The bright color work combined with interesting panel layout and camera angles command the full attention of the reader. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou proves again why he is one of the best letterers in the business. The story that Brian Buccellato is telling is captivating, and I cannot wait for the next installment of this book about a Chicken entrepreneur who’s life has become more chaotic than he ever dreamed possible.


Eat the Rich #4
Boom! Studios
Written by Sarah Gailey
Art by Pius Bak
Colors by Roman Titov
Letters by Cardinal Rae
Cover Art by Kevin Tong

For the very little amount of in-panel violence depicted in this series so far, it is consistently terrifying. This issue’s plot and accelerating action make for a captivating read. The mental gymnastics that writer Sarah Gailey has Joey, the protagonist, employ to maintain some semblance of sanity begin to take their toll in this issue. The delicate balance of willful ignorance and outrage that she has been maintaining falls to pieces and Pius Bak’s panels bring it all down in a pulse pounding last few pages of this book. A special shout out to the use of word art in this book. It is excellent in its design and placement. Do yourself a favor and read this series. Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021”

Brainiac On Banjo: How Many Batmans Does It Take To Screw Up A Catalog?

BATMAN. Don’t stop dancin’. Do it, do it, do it, do it. BATMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN. Don’t stop, don’t stop. Let’s do it. Don’t stop dancin’. Let’s do it, BATMAN. Let’s do it, BATMAN. Don’t stop dancin’. Don’t stop dancin’. No, damn it! Turn the music back up! You son of a bitch! – Batdance, written by Prince, 1989.

Between 1960 and 1993, Harvey Comics published (I could have ended the sentence right there) some 48 different Richie Rich titles. Screw Casper and Hot Stuff, Richie was the big breadwinner in the Harvey household. Whereas I’ve got way too short an attention span to plot this out on a spreadsheet, a great great many were released at the same time, over the same two-month publishing cycle.

Pumping out Richie stories was a tonnage operation because Richie Rich was that successful. It’s not as though most titles had an aura of individuality – aside from Richie Rich and Casper; that series was a lot of fun and, for that matter, pretty weird. Harvey Comics published whatever the newsstand market could bare at that time. I highly doubt anybody at Harvey ever said “Shit! Richie Rich $ucce$$ isn’t selling, so let’s hurry up and replace it with Richie Rich Gems.”

Artist Frank Brunner once quipped they needed a title called “Richie Rich’s Tax Shelters.”

Which brings us to the matter of Batman.

Take a look at DC’s product catalog for January 2022. The catalog is called DC Connect and it’s available at most comics shops and maybe your more refined pet shops and hardware stores. Count the number of different Batman titles. I’m including all the titles that prominently feature members of the Batman Family – including The Joker. Each of their Batteam books – Robins, Batgirls – count, as do those other teams that put a Bat on the cover. I’ll wait.

If my math is correct (and I’ve only got so many fingers and toes) DC Comics is releasing 31 different “Batman” comics titles in January 2022 alone. That’s roughly two-thirds the number of different Richie Rich titles Harvey Comics published over 33 years, but I repeat, DC is doing this in just one month.

Should you want to purchase them all – which will make your friendly neighborhood comics retailer very happy – all you’ll need is $352.72. Personally, I’d ask for a discount, but not all comics shops can afford to do that.

Apples to apples, in constant dollars using 1993 as our vanishing point, 352.72 dollars right now would have only cost you 184.27 dollars in 1993. But given this whole supply-and demand COVID inflation thing going on, you might want avoid stalling your purchase.

Can the marketplace handle 31 different Batman comics titles for the cumulative price of $352.72? Ask me again in, say, February. Take comfort in the fact that Batman is not appearing in The Peacemaker teevee series. Batman completists wouldn’t be able to make their rent.

Richie Rich has been unemployed these past several decades, although, really, when did he ever hold down a real job? Nonetheless, he’s got the money to go into any business he might like. Please note the Rich Family does not seem to be lining up to buy DC Comics.

Come to think of it, I might ask “Would Richie Rich spend all that money on a 10-minute ego trip to inner-most outer space? The answer is “I have no doubt he already did.”

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”

Brainiac on Banjo: At Last!

Brainiac on Banjo: At Last!

You might have heard a soft chuckling sound wafting in the breeze a couple days ago. That would be me.

Last Monday, the staff at Image Comics voted to form a labor union – to be specific, the Comic Book Workers United. Their statement leads with the following:

For years, comics publishing workers have watched our professional efforts support creators and delight readers. Sadly, we have also watched that same labor be taken for granted at best and exploited at worst. Keeping our heads above water was the new normal before the pandemic and since its onset we have been expected to take on even larger workloads with fewer resources.

Our workforce, and the comic book and publishing industry as a whole, is overtaxed and undervalued. This is detrimental not only to general staff but also to the creators we are paid to serve and the audiences they in turn work to entertain. Our labor is integral to the comic book industry. It requires specialized skills, dedication, and makes quality publishing possible. We love what we do. But loving what you do doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t ask for improvements to your working conditions. It is with this in mind and with great hope for the future of Image Comics and the comic book industry itself that we announce our intent to form a union and request voluntary recognition. Continue reading “Brainiac on Banjo: At Last!”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2021

Happy Halloween!

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

This month we spotlight books from the usual suspects: AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Ahoy Comics, Archie Comics, and Source Point Press.

This is a month full of holidays, and the new series releases are front loaded in the first couple of weeks. Publishers expect that travel schedules around Thanksgiving cause normal purchase disruption. I can only assume that has something to do with the dearth of new books in the last two weeks.

There are a few new number ones from Marvel that represent shuffling of creative teams and we think that there might be some good things to come out of these changes.

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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 11/3/21
Week of 11/10/21
Week of 11/17/21
Week of 11/24/21


Week of November 3


After Dark #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Art by Tony Harris

Tales from the Crypt meets The Twilight Zone-four tales of horror, lost souls and things that go bump in the night.

A prestige format “One-Shock” featuring top creative talent just in time for the most horrific month of the calendar year, AFTER DARK is a collection of tales you’ll want to read with the lights on! A disparate tale from a possible future; a chance encounter with a mythical Black-Eyed Kid, a children’s fable gone awry; and a gut-wrenching last meal at the local diner.

These horrific, bone-chilling tales are conceived and written by Cullen Bunn, Jim Starlin, Joe Pruett, Frank Tieri, and drawn by Cliff Richards, Nikkol Kelenic, Szymon Kudranski, and Joe Eisma.

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: This book is a one-shot but is full of some truly spooky stories.


Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1
Archie Comics
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Art by Julius Ohta

THE FUTURE OF ARCHIE COMICS STARTS HERE IN AN ALL-NEW ANTHOLOGY-STYLE ONE-SHOT! Madam Satan is our tour guide into this horrific world exploring the underbelly of Riverdale and its surrounding areas! Madam Satan is trying to escape Hell. She goes through the circles of Hell in reverse. Along the way she meets lost/tortured souls who tell their stories-like that of Archie Andrews, who accepted a seemingly normal job as the nighttime security shift at Riverdale’s local pizzeria and children’s mascot entertainment venue. Only to learn that the venue harbors a deep, dark, robotic, monstrous secret! And then there’s Jughead Jones, a teen who never met a food he didn’t like. Until now. What is that eerie noise coming from the kitchen…? All that plus more bonus frightful content sure to delight all Archie horror fans!

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: We have this other one-shot anthology on this list because we can’t wait to see what is inside.


Dark Knights of Steel #1
DC Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Yasmine Putri
Cover Art by Putri

An entire medieval world will be forever changed when a spaceship crash-lands from a doomed planet. Monarchs will die, kingdoms will rise, and what seemed the end of the world for many…was only the beginning! An epic high-fantasy story set in a DC Universe where nothing is what it seems…

From worldwide bestselling writer Tom Taylor and acclaimed artist Yasmine Putri comes a generational tale of good and evil within a brand-new DCU!

Release Date: November 2, 2021

PCS NOTES: This creative team inspires confidence in this story’s execution. Looking forward to it.


Fox and Hare #1
Vault Comics
Written by Jonathan Tsuei
Art by Stacey Lee
Cover Art by Lee

When black market coder Aurora Yi uncovers top secret data that has tapped into the past lives of the citizens of Mazu Bay, her world is turned upside down. The mega corporation Synastry Designs wants its data back and is hot on her trail. Aurora has no choice but to turn to the Fox and the Hare, the most feared mercenaries in the city, for protection.

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: This book has the makings of a great chase story. It looks fun.


The Heathens #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Heath Amodio
Cover Art by Sami Kivela

When evil men and women escape from the depths of the eternal abyss, the Pirate Queen Lady Shih is sent to retrieve them. But when one of history’s most notorious killers breaks free, even she needs help. Enter the Heathens: Shih, Lucky Luciano, Bumpy Johnson, Sofia the Golden Hand, and Billy the Kid. From Hell they came to mete out a justice as dark as their own tormented souls.

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: Hell Yeah! This is an intriguing concept from the superactive mind of Cullen Bunn.


Human Target #1
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by Greg Smallwood
Cover Art by Smallwood

Christopher Chance has made a living out of being a human target—a man hired to disguise himself as his client to invite would-be assassins to attempt his murder. He’s had a remarkable career until his latest case protecting Lex Luthor when things go sideways. An assassination attempt Chance didn’t see coming leaves him vulnerable and left trying to solve his own murder…as he has 12 days to discover just who in the DCU hated Luthor enough to want him dead. Human Target is a hard-boiled, gritty story in the vein of classic detective noirs told by bestselling and critically acclaimed creators Tom King and Greg Smallwood!

Release Date: November 2, 2021

PCS NOTES: I am very excited for this book as Tom King and Greg Smallwood explore this character and often ignored areas of the DC Universe. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2021”

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…)

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021

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

This month we spotlight books from the usual suspects: AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Titan Books, and Bad Idea Comics, but we threw in a couple from smaller publishers that we don’t normally have on the list like Ablaze Comics and Comics Experience Publishing.

There are several crossover type things in the works from DC and Marvel and we spotlighted two “Alpha” books that will lead you all over their comic line to follow the story from beginning to end. This is not something that we are super fond of, but if you are reading books that are in the crossover’s path, getting the Alpha issue might help when you get to the event issue in your favorite series.

Also, Pay Attention!! Five Wednesdays of comics this month!!!!

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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 9/1/21
Week of 9/8/21
Week of 9/15/21
Week of 9/22/21
Week of 9/29/21


Week of September 1


Almost American #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Marco Castiello

Spies…like us? In 2008, husband-and-wife Russian intelligence operatives walked into the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic in order to defect, making a deal to trade secrets for new lives. But instead of the American Dream, Janosh and Victorya Neumann found themselves caught up in red tape, bureaucracy and turf wars between the FBI and CIA – all while their past tries to kill them.

Based on the real-life story of real-life spies, ALMOST AMERICAN is written by comics master Ron Marz in close consultation with the Neumanns, with art by rising star Marco Castiello.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: I feel like Ron Marz is the perfect person to be telling this story.


Batman: Fear State Alpha #1
DC Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Riccardo Federici
Cover Art by Ben Oliver

The event over a year in the making begins. . . Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0. . . and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy. . . Batman might have more than he can handle!?

Release Date: August 31, 2021

PCS NOTES: This is the first of those line-wide (or at least Gotham-wide) crossovers. You can follow the checklist here.


Dark Ages #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Iban Coello & Brian Reber
Cover Art by Coello

This is what the Watcher has been watching for! A danger older than the Earth threatens everything. For once, the heroes who have saved the planet so many times are almost powerless in the face of it. X-Men and Avengers assemble. Spider-People and Fantastic Four come together. Heroes for Hire fight alongside Champions. None of it will be enough. The lights are about to go out. The world outside our window…is about to end. An all-new saga of the Marvel Universe as you’ve never seen it before from Tom Taylor and Iban Coello!

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: I am really excited about this story.


Monster Kill Squad #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Tomas Giorello & Diego Rodriguez
Cover Art by Giorello

Once upon a time, monster attacks were rare. A forest witch might murder a few hikers, a killer clown might eat a few children, or a malevolent ghost might drive a young couple insane just for the hell of it. But these events were scarce, easily covered up, and soon faded into campfire stories good for a laugh. But no one’s laughing now. Over the past 90 days, cryptozoological attacks have increased a hundredfold, and the arcane has become everyday. Monsters of every shape and size strike at will, and the good, taxpaying folks of the US of A have had enough of this nonsense. Enter: THE MONSTER KILL SQUAD. A Government Unit of the most dangerous motherfuckers on the planet, the deadliest folks alive are here to put a bullet in the brain of everything that walks, crawls, flies, or hides in shadows. And if it doesn’t have a brain, all the better — we’ve got a gun for that, too. Witches and wraiths. Demons and deadites. Goblins and ghosts. There have always been monsters. Now there are monster killers, and the MKS will kill it, and kill it good.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: Bad Idea Comics has no shortage of interesting comic story ideas. If you want this book, you have to get it from a limited list of retailers. Find one here.


Pyrate Queen #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Adam Pollina & Tamra Bonvillain
Cover Art by Pollina & Bonvillain

This September, embark on a tale of love, loss, life, death and bloody revenge! Meet Monday Ryan, a pyrate with a bad reputation and a price on her head. To be a pyrate is to live a short and merry life and to live it free. It ends for most with a length of rope and a four foot drop. After a series of successful attacks, Monday Ryan, her husband, and her crew of bandits are targeted and pursued relentlessly by the British Royal Navy. When a violent trap leads to their capture, Monday and crew are fitted for the gallows — until the Royal Navy learns that Monday’s pregnant. Civility prevents the hanging of a pregnant woman, and Monday is spared the noose, but her crew and husband are not. Set adrift on a small raft and left to her fate on the open sea, Monday vows that the life growing inside her will be born into a world where its father’s death has been avenged. She will find and kill every last soul responsible for her husband’s death, and her baby will enter into this world free of vengeance, free of bloodshed, and free of a future drenched in violence.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: See above!!


Red Sonja #1
Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Mirka Andolfo
Art by Giuseppe Cafaro
Cover Art by Andolfo

MOTHER, PART ONE.

Industry icon MIRKA ANDOLFO presents an all-new vision for the She-Devil With A Sword, in a thrilling new ongoing series! Our story begins in a village on fire, set by members of the dreaded Three-Eyed Shezem. When Red Sonja arrives, the only survivor of the flame is a lively child with curious white tattoos. The child will become Sonja’s travel companion, on a journey from hardened ice to imposing forests, where dangerous secrets wait to be revealed…

Begin a trailblazing adventure with MIRKA ANDOLFO and incredible artist GIUSEPPE CAFARO!

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: Pretty excited to see what Mirka Andolfo has in store for Sonja. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 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.

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming In July 2021

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming In July 2021

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

There are quite a few of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Ahoy Comics, IDW Publishing, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Scout Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Titan Books, and Bad Idea Comics.

A very interesting nugget from this month’s list is that there are no new Batman books and two Superman books. DC is mixing it up to keep us on our toes.

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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 7/7/21
Week of 7/14/21
Week of 7/21/21
Week of 7/28/21


Week of July 7


Black’s Myth #1
Ahoy Comics
Written by Eric Palicki
Art by Wendell Cavalcanti
Cover Art by Liana Kangas

Meet Janie “Strummer” Jones, just an ordinary werewolf PI, trying to make it on the mean streets of LA. When the case of a lifetime falls into her lap, it’s up to her and her charming djinn assistant Ben Si’lat to figure out just how many silver bullets have been used, and just where do silver bullets come from anyway? A new horror series from writer Eric Palicki and artist Wendell Cavalcanti, with lush covers by Liana Kangas. Every AHOY book comes with extra prose stories and illustrations. Issue 1 features a stunning variant cover by Jamal Igle.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: You had me at “ordinary werewolf PI”. I am up for this one!


Clans Of Belari #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Rob Blackie & Peter Blackie
Art by Daniel Maine & Carlos Lopez
Cover Art by Andy Clarke & Jose Villarrubia

PRIMARY LAWS OF THE BELARI SYSTEM:

1.) No person or Clan may exit the system.
2.) No person or Clan may do the Designated Work of another Clan.
3.) Clans may not merge.
4.) Any person that breaks a Primary Law shall be made Outcast.

On the far side of the galaxy, an isolated branch of humanity is trapped in a feudal dystopia. Oder is maintained by a system of oppression, until an orphaned girl and her incorrigible adoptive father sow the seeds of a revolution and unite the clans against a fearsome alien threat.

From Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie (creators and writers of Netflix’s historical action-adventure series, Frontier) and artist Daniel Maine comes this vast and enthralling sci-fi adventure.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Who doesn’t love a sci-fi epic that delves into the nature of how humanity treats itself? Looks good.


Fight Girls #1
AWA / Upshot Studios
Written by Frank Cho
Art by Cho & Sabine Rich
Cover Art by Cho

Ten hard-as-nails women face off in an ancient contest of champions where the winner truly takes all: the title of “Queen of the Galaxy.” To win the challenge each contestant must survive the hazards of the planet’s harsh landscape, the ferocious predators on and below its surface, and their fellow contestants. This edition of the contest has a twist: one of the contestants is an infiltrator who has her eye on something bigger than the prize. Who is she and what does she really want?

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: I will say that Frank Cho is a very good storyteller, and that makes me want to see what this book has in store for the reader.


Justice League Infinity #1
DC Comics
Written by J.M. DeMatteis & James Tucker
Art by Ethen Beavers
Cover Art by Francis Manapul

From Justice League Unlimited producer James Tucker and series writer J.M. DeMatteis comes an all-new season starring the World’s Greatest Heroes! There is a being wandering the universe searching for its true purpose, but what it finds out on the farthest edges of the cosmos will change not just our universe, but many! Meanwhile, the war for the throne of Apokolips arrives on Earth, and the true ruler will only be decided one way: Who can destroy the Justice League?

Release Date: July 6, 2021

PCS NOTES: This takes place in the “universe” that is very special to a lot of people, and the creative team inspires a lot of confidence that this will be a good story. Looking forward to it.


The Lot #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Renato Guedes
Cover Art by Guedes

In 1970, legendary filmmaker Oliver Larsen began production on his latest horror masterpiece on the lot of Los Angeles’ famed Cloverleaf Studios. Obsessed with bringing authenticity to the genre, the director insisted on casting real-life occultists to perform a genuine Satanic ritual live on camera – until something went horribly wrong. In the bloody aftermath, the production was shut down, the footage was confiscated, and the soundstage was forever shuttered.

Until today.

On the heels of a promotion that’s just made her the youngest studio chief in decades, Aviva Copeland is planning to overhaul Cloverleaf’s fading image for the 21st century – starting with the prime piece of California real estate that’s gone unused for 50 years: the very same lost soundstage where Larsen filmed his doomed masterpiece. But, as Aviva will soon discover, this corner of the lot may have been closed for a half-century, but it’s far from empty… and the evil that lives within its haunted walls will soon seize its chance to kill again.

New York Times best-selling writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Renato Guedes present a terrifying vision of horror and Hollywood in the boldly bloody Bad Idea manner!

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: A new horror story from Marguerite Bennett is not something that you let slip by. Find somewhere that Bad Idea is sold and get this book. 


Mamo #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Sas Milledge
Art by Milledge
Cover Art by Milledge

BOOM! Studios is proud to showcase the incredible artistic vision of Sas Milledge!

Can Orla O’Reilly embrace her destiny in order to bridge the divide between humanity and the faerie world?

Orla, the youngest in a long line of hedge witches, finds herself pulled back to her hometown after the death of her grandmother – Mamo.

Without Mamo managing magical relationships between the townsfolk and the fae, the seas are impossible to fish, the crops have soured… and Jo Manalo’s attic has been taken over by a poltergeist!

Now, Orla and Jo will both be pulled into worlds they never wanted to be part of. Can the two girls work together to save the town?

Sas Milledge debuts her first original series perfect for fans of The Last Witch and Sabrina The Teenage Witch that answers the question of how we all reconcile our responsibilities with our dreams for our own future.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: This solicitation and cover art got us. We are interested in meeting Orla.


Masters of the Universe: Revelation #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Rob David, Tim Sheridan & Kevin Smith
Art by Mindy Lee
Cover Art by Stjepan Sejic

Following a vicious Orlax attack on his father King Randor, He-Man learns the creature is linked to the origin of the sword of power. To save Randor and put an end to the chaos He-Man embarks on an epic journey that pits him against his longtime foes Skeletor and Evil-Lyn, and sees Teela take the reins of a powerful legacy.

The official prequel to the upcoming Netflix show!

Variant cover by Mike Mignola.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Are you excited for the new Netlfix He-Man series. We are, and this book looks to be a good introduction to the series if you need a refresh on the world of Eternia.


Ordinary Gods #1
Image Comics
Written by Kyle Higgins
Art by Felipe Watanabe
Cover Art by Watanabe

For fans of THE OLD GUARD and GOD COUNTRY comes the extra-length first issue of a centuries-spanning action epic from writer KYLE HIGGINS and artist FELIPE WATANABE!

The Luminary. The Prodigy. The Brute. The Trickster. The Innovator. Five gods from a realm beyond our own, leaders in the “War of Immortals.” Aleast, they were – before they were trapped, sent to a planet made into a prison, forced into an endless cycle of human death and reincarnation. Christopher is 22. He’s got two loving parents and a 12-year-old sister. He works at a paint store. He’s in therapy. He’s one of the Five. Which means, in order to save everyone he cares about, Christopher will have to reconnect with his past lives and do the unthinkable: become a god again.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: I like the concept behind this story and am intrigued to see how they pull it off.


Red Sonja: Black, White, Red #1
Dynamite Comics
Written by Kurt Busiek, Amanda Diebert, & Mark Russell
Art by Benjamin Dewey, Cat Staggs, & Bob Q
Cover Art by Lucio Parrillo

Dynamite proudly presents a prestige project by the world’s greatest storytellers! Red Sonja, like you’ve NEVER seen before…all presented in beautiful black, white, and red!

KURT BUSIEK and BENJAMIN DEWEY  take you to The Mountains Of Night, a foreboding haunt where the She-Devil With A Sword seeks a precious, priceless item…

AMANDA DEIBERT and CAT STAGGS wind you through a mysterious adventure of crimson and ebony…

MARK RUSSELL and BOB Q return to put their final stamp on their classic Red Sonja series, with a coda that will leave you breathless…

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Yes another limited pallet anthology series, BUT try to convince me that Dynamite could come up with a better lineup of talent for the first issue of this offering. You can’t. Just get the book and enjoy.


Skybound X #1
Image Comics
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Art by Ryan Ottley

Celebrate a sensational 10 years of Skybound with a cavalcade of your favorite creators for all-new stories of your favorite series past, present and future! Each issue of this oversized, weekly series will kick off with a new chapter of a serialized THE WALKING DEAD story—RICK GRIMES 2000—by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley!

In addition, we’ll be debuting all-new series and characters every issue, starting with the First Appearance of the most requested WALKING DEAD character of all-time: Clementine, star of the bestselling Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game series!

Did we mention new ULTRAMEGA and MANIFEST DESTINY stories?! If you want to know what to expect in Skybound’s next 10 years, it all starts here!

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Not much to add to the solicitation for this book.


X-Men #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia
Cover Art by Larraz & Gracia

THESE X-MEN ARE…FEARLESS! The heroes of Krakoa are here to save the planet! Things might be complicated between the nation of Krakoa and the rest of the world, but to the X-MEN, things are simple—you do what’s right, you protect those who need protecting and you save the world we all share. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Sunfire, Rogue, Wolverine, Synch and Polaris are the chosen champions of mutantkind, and they will not shrink from any battle for their home planet. Writer Gerry Duggan reteams with superstar artist Pepe Larraz to chart the course of the X-Men in a world of the Reign of X!

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: It’s time for a new X-Men #1. Let’s be honest some of the best storytelling at Marvel is coming from the X-office. We will be on-board with this new number one for sure. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming In July 2021”

Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman

Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman

“Down on me, down on me; looks like everybody in this whole round world, they’re down on me.” Janis Joplin, Down On Me, 1967

Many years ago, the late and truly great Dennis O’Neil said that neither Bruce Wayne nor Batman had a sex life; he/they sublimated all such compulsions, folding them into the mission. Denny said that in the office that we shared, and, damn, it made sense to me. In fact, it explained a lot about the guy.

Mind you, as the writer or editor of a great, great many top-rank Batman stories over the course of five decades, I believe Denny knew more about what made Batman tick than Bruce Wayne ever could. However, this particular observation was not canonical. Bruce even fostered a son with his frenemy Talia al Ghul, and that child became the latest Robin — as of this writing, of course.

Let us now flash forward to the late summer of 2018 and the release of DC’s Black Label adults-only series, Batman – Damned. Created by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, the story ran three issues. It was the first volume that upset some people, as it had the briefest glimpse of a small part of Bruce’s penis. To be fair, it really wasn’t enough to be perceived as salacious by anybody but the most pathetically repressed — not unlike Janet Jackson’s nipple which evidently blinded tens of thousands of small children who were watching the Super Bowl but were thinking of dinner.

Oh, yes: it also bothered the bean counters at DC/Warner Bros/WarnerMedia/AT&T/Lucky Charms or whatever the hell they were calling themselves that week. Bean counters are the most paranoid people in the media businesses; it’s in their job description. People made such a big deal of it that the Batwang was, well, overly circumcised in the digital editions and in later reprintings. The parent companies were so offended that the whole thing had an impact on several careers. The whole thing had a short shelf-life as the object of snickering jokes on late-night television.

O.K. So “Adults Only” in DCland doesn’t include, you know, adult stuff. Lesson learned. And lesson repeated this month.

For over a year, WarnerMedia (now called Warner Bros. Discovery, at least as of this writing) has had this very expensive streaming service called HBO Max. It’s got a lot of original material, and much of it is generated by DC comics properties. These shows are not G rated, nor are they PG. Sometimes there’s a fine line between R and X ratings, and a lot of HBO Max’s DC stuff inhabits that zip code. This pace was set in the first episode of their first series, Titans, where Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Robin the First) shouts “Fuck Batman!” Holy Wertham, Batfans! WTF??

Titans survived and the third season goes up in August. Their second show, The Doom Patrol, has had actual on-screen sex, with naughty bits and more about Brendon Fraser than you might want to know. Their other Batman related show, the adults-only animated series Harley Quinn, is the most adults-only of the bunch, and the third season is now in production. But at least one scene won’t be completed — the one where Batman has oral sex with Catwoman. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman”