Tag: Ed Catto

With Further Ado #60: On Target with Green Arrow

With Further Ado #60: On Target with Green Arrow

I was excited to read the announcement that DC is creating another oversize book to challenge the stamina of bookcases everywhere. The Green Arrow by Mike Grell Omnibus Volume #1 will be published next year. This collects a series that was a real favorite of mine.

It was the late ’80s, which somehow quickly turned into the early ’90s, and this series was such a breath of fresh air. The ever-brilliant Mike Gold (You are most certainly reading his columns here on Pop Culture Squad) was the editor who famously teased writer/artist Mike Grell with a pitch consisting of two words: “Urban Hunter”.  Gold knew that a more modern approach to the character would appeal to Grell.  For many years, the Green Arrow had been strange sort of a hero that mixed the best parts of Batman with Robin Hood. But those silly days were long gone.  Grell signed onboard, intrigued by Mike Gold’s vision, and the rest is history.

This series started with Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, a mini-series with story and art by Grell.   Fans barely had time to catch their collective breath when Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen’s story continued in the regular comic. Mike Grell was still the writer, and supplied many memorable covers, but the art chores were initially handled by Ed HanniganDick Giordano and Frank McLaughlin impressively inked it. Continue reading “With Further Ado #60: On Target with Green Arrow”

With Further Ado #052: A Conversation with Mark Waid

With Further Ado #052: A Conversation with Mark Waid

San Diego Comic-Con was full of big ideas, creative thinkers, celebrations of fandoms and a heathy respect (and awe) for the comics industry and those that have come before us.  Mark Waid embodies all those things. At the convention, he was busy speaking on panels, meeting fans, promoting the new innovative line of comics from Humaniods and trying to get his hands on that Rainbow Batman exclusive toy from Mattel.

(But then again, weren’t we all?)

But just before SDCC, I had a chance to interview Mark. He was the Keynote speaker at a small convention in the Finger Lakes.  He had a lot to say and speaking to him was a blast.  Enjoy this video, and you can almost relive last weekend’s 50th San Diego Comic-Con…but without those long lines!

With Further Ado #022: Aquaman- The Mainstream Press Is All Wet

With Further Ado #022: Aquaman- The Mainstream Press Is All Wet

This morning I read yet another article, this one in The New York Times, that claimed the character Aquaman has always been a joke in the superhero world.   I’m not buying it. I don’t think you should either.

Maybe it was Jerry Seinfeld who started it. Maybe it was before that, I’m not really sure.

The fact of the matter was that Aquaman was a survivor.  When all the DC (National) heroes fell by the wayside after World War II, only the big three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), along with Green Arrow and Aquaman soldiered on.  After all, some hero had to keep the the oceans safe from octopus thieves and the like.

Ooops – I guess I just made fun of Aquaman too. But when I was a kid, I never would have.

For me Aquaman burst onto the Saturday morning cartoon scene as part of the Superman-Aquaman Hour of Adventure.  And what an adventure it was!   Aquaman, and Aqualad protected the undersea domed city of Atlantis, although they never seemed to spend any time there. They kicked butt against underwater foes in six-minute increments (the cartoons didn’t waste any time) under the stentorian narration of Ted Knight.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #022: Aquaman- The Mainstream Press Is All Wet”

With Further Ado #016: De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum

With Further Ado #016: De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum

After the death of Stan Lee last week, hard-core fans joined the world at large to celebrate the accomplishments and mourn the passing of the charismatic, larger-than-life figure. More than any other creator, Stan Lee embodied the fun of comics, and specifically Marvel comics.

Eulogies and retrospectives were everywhere you turned.  Stan Lee was featured on TV, Radio and social media outlets. Those big things that marketing people call “outdoor media” but that the rest of the world calls “billboards” featured Stan Lee.  Even the local video store (yes, some video stores still operate in Central New York State)  got into the act with a tribute.

The Romans had a saying: De mortuis nil nisi bonum, that’s still use today, adapted as the admonishment: “Don’t speak ill of the dead.”  As a society we generally adhere to this axiom in polite circles.

That’s why I was especially surprised last week when Joshua Johnson, the radio/podcast host of NPR’s 1A, asked his guests about a controversial part of Stan Lee’s story.  Many fans feel that Lee self-aggrandized himself to the detriment of his co-creators.   Such fans categorize Lee’s actions as shameful, especially considering the riches he earned while so many of his Marvel collaborators struggled financially. 

Many comic lovers felt left out of last week’s celebrations, buttoning their lips and resisting their urges to speak ill of Lee, despite their intense frustrations and inner need to set the record straight.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #016: De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum”

WIth Further Ado #012: 3 Girls – Under Cover

WIth Further Ado #012: 3 Girls – Under Cover

During the Halloween season, I always think of the three witch sisters from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. They were very similar to the Three Fates of classic mythology, those sisters who wove the destinies of every individual. And even if you don’t know anything about either of those sets of sisters, you probably know about TV’s Charmed sisters.  They are in the midst of a reboot that has lead to a backlash.

In my own family, the “three sisters concept” is a big deal. We are blessed with the 3 girls. (We do have one great boy too!)  These girls thoroughly embrace being part of their little sorority of three. So much so that I am always cognizant of a set of three girls and especially dads with three girls.

And that brings us to Brian Bendis and some new comics.  Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #012: 3 Girls – Under Cover”

WIth Further Ado #011: Dead Rabbit

WIth Further Ado #011: Dead Rabbit

Boston is a fantastic town. I lived there for several years and looking back, it seemed like every day was a grand adventure. I’m a little disappointed in myself that I don’t make it back to Boston more frequently.

Robert Parker’s detective series Spenser has always been a favorite. I do visit Boston – via books – with Hawk, Susan and the rest of Spenser’s characters. But there’s always room for more, right?

The Boston setting was one reason I was excited for the new noir thriller, Dead Rabbit, by Gerry Duggan and John McCrea.  But it’s not the only reason.  I reached out to co-creator and artist John McCrea and chatted him up a bit. He offered fascinating insights:

Ed Catto: Dead Rabbit has a both a freshness and a world-weariness to it.  That combination, to me, really makes this series stand out. Would you agree and what do you think is special about this series?

John McCrea: I agree that there is an element of world weariness to Dead Rabbit, it’s a reflection of what is happening in the world today, the general erosion of our quality of life by the big companies who rule us…. Rabbit is the little guy starting to stand up to that, albeit in the only way he knows how- stealing and cracking heads! But the thing that makes the series special is the relationship between Martin and his wife Meggan, which is still full of life and joy despite everything that is being thrown at them.  Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #011: Dead Rabbit”

WIth Further Ado #009: An interview with Jacque Nodell

WIth Further Ado #009: An interview with Jacque Nodell

An interview with Jacque Nodell, author of How to Go Steady: Timeless Dating Advice, Wisdom, and Lessons from Vintage Romance Comics

As a young reader, I would have told you out loud that I loved all comics. But that wasn’t really the case. I didn’t have much use for humor comics back then. Teen comics? Well, once my Aunt Elissa gave me a box of Archie comics, I warmed up to them.  War Comics and horror comics weren’t my cup of tea, but I’d read them now and then.

Romance comics, however, were never on the list.  Too icky. Just like girls. So icky.  Like many young boys, my tastes would do a 180 in just a few years. But I still wouldn’t read a romance comic.   

Over the last few years, however, I’ve relaxed these standards. I’ve started to enjoy them occasionally. In fact, I am on a Quixotic quest  for romance comics featuring Jay Scott Pike art. He was a master, and beyond that Showcase issue with the Dolphin story, I never really knew anything about him.  There’s many other great artists in vintage romance comics. It’s a great place to stumble across the early works of favorites like John Romita or Gene Golan, as discovering new favorites.

So it’s not a surprise that I enjoy Jacque Nodell’s Sequential Crush. It’s a celebration of romance comics. And out this page has come her first book.  I had a lot of questions for Jacque, and despite planning for a wedding (true love wins!) she found some time to answer them all!  Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #009: An interview with Jacque Nodell”

WIth Further Ado #008: Kickstarting A Killer

WIth Further Ado #008: Kickstarting A Killer

(Bill Cunningham’s quest to restore the Lost Charles Bronson Film, except that it doesn’t have Charles Bronson in it and it’s not a film.)

I love old movies. When channel surfing, I especially love it when I stumble across an actor I like in a movie I don’t know anything about. In our over-informationalized world, that’s when the magic happens. “What is this movie?” I might ask.  “When did this actor make it?” “Is it treasure or trash?”

This happened to me just the other day when I spotted Leonard Nimoy in BAFFLED! At first I thought it was an old episode of MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE, but soon I realized it was something weird and wonderful. Well…weird and maybe not so wonderful. If you haven’t seen it, I implore you NOT to seek it out. It goes into that: I”ll never get that 90 minutes back” category. 

On the other hand, having just been so snarky, I do wonder if the further adventures of the protagonist, an occult detective, and his beautiful sidekick, could make an interesting comic…

Continue reading “WIth Further Ado #008: Kickstarting A Killer”

With Further Ado #007: Ahoy! Comics! Ahoy Comics!

With Further Ado #007: Ahoy! Comics! Ahoy Comics!

When I was in high school years ago, my buddies and I would often read the Syracuse New Times. At the time, this weekly newspaper seemed to us to be very avant-guard. It was funky and weird, eschewing middle class sensibilities for a kind of suburban Village Voice vibe. And each week we read a comic strip that was really cutting edge – full of snark, pop culture references, irreverent political satire and acerbic wit.  I remember one week when the writer/artist made fun of the political climate of the day with an “Earth Two” joke, and I nearly fell off the proverbial chair.

Today, with the mainstream success of the CW’s Flash, and vocal comic fans, “Earth Two” isn’t that cryptic a phrase.  It might not be in the “Everybody knows that” category, but it’s close. 

But back then, the phrase “Earth Two” was only known to a small portion of the population. You had to read DC comics and pay attention. And I just knew that the writer/artist of that comic strip must have been “one of us”. 

He was!  Tom Peyer, the creator of that strip, is a brilliant creator who’s written so many of my favorite comics (Hourman, Batman ’66 and more) as well as edited a plethora of outstanding comics for DC and the Vertigo imprints.   I always look forward to everything he writes (Aftershock’s Captain Kid last year was fantastic) and I was thrilled to learn about his newest endeavor, AHOY Comics.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #007: Ahoy! Comics! Ahoy Comics!”

With Further Ado #006: Back Issue Bin Diving

With Further Ado #006: Back Issue Bin Diving

Everyone loves a bargain, right? And like many comic fans, I love finding lost treasures in a comic shop’s back issue bargain box. While I’ve never found an issue of Action #1 in a bargain bin, or even a friendly neighborhood garage sale, I am delighted and amazed that comics I find in these long white boxes. Like forlorn playthings trapped on the Island of Misfit Toys, these comics just need to find the right person to enjoy and appreciate them.

Now let’s be realistic.  If we all only spent money on back issues bargains, every comic store would go out of business.  But for shops, the bargain bin can be a way to invite customers in, add to a customer’s purchase or just blow-out inventory. And those are all good things. 

So, in the spirit, this column is a celebration of the recent treasures that I’ve rescued from back issue bargain bins, along with a little shout-out to each comic shop too.   Continue reading “With Further Ado #006: Back Issue Bin Diving”