Tag: Ed Catto

With Further Ado #95: Go Big [or Go] and Stay Home

With Further Ado #95: Go Big [or Go] and Stay Home

We all know that phrase: Go Big or Go Home!  It’s a clarion call to seize the day and to live large. It’s not always the best advice, but sometimes it’s just what’s needed.  So during this crazy lockdown time, let me call your attention to a few treasures that literally decided to “go big!” while we all stay home.

 

Joker/Harley Quinn Criminal Sanity
Written by Kami Garcia
Art by Mico Suayan and Mike Mayhew
Black Label, an imprint of DC Comics

While I’m generally not a big Harley Quinn fan, I’ve been a big Mike Mayhew fan ever since his days on Topps’ Zorro and Lady Rawhide with the incomparable Don McGregor.  Mayhew has gotten even better over the years, and today he entertains readers with his off-the-charts artistic talent in the new Joker/Harley Quinn series.

This story is a multi-part series told in thirty-two page increments in DC’s oversized Black Label format. To me, it has the feel of a European comic. Much of story is told in B & W , and that makes it so very, very  evocative of an old Warren or Marvel Magazine.

The “other artist” Mico Suayan, is just fantastic. I’ve enjoyed his work on Valliant’s Bloodshot. Suayan unfurls his artistic wings with majesty and grace in this larger-than-usual formal. Continue reading “With Further Ado #95: Go Big [or Go] and Stay Home”

With Further Ado #091: Down These Mean Streets with MAX ALLAN COLLINS (part 1)

With Further Ado #091: Down These Mean Streets with MAX ALLAN COLLINS (part 1)

I like a lot of detective heroes found in books, movies and TV shows. Part of the fun of an adventure with any of Philip Marlowe, Jim Rockford, Pete Fernandez, Spenser, or Myron Bolitar is that I think it would be fun to hang out with that guy.  Even the heroes who are a bit prickly, like Sherlock Holmes or Stumptown’s Dex Parios, would still be a riot to run around with for an adventure or two. They are all so likeable.

But I never used to like Mike Hammer, the toughest of the tough guy detectives.  I knew he was a big deal and his novels, written by Mickey Spillane, were successful. I would learn later that, at one point, Spillane was the world’s best-selling author, having written seven of the top ten best-selling novels. It turns out that it happened was when he had only written seven novels.

Yes, this guy Spillane was seven for seven. Incredible, right?

I think that, initially, the character Hammer was just too brutal for me. He gave the bad guys what they deserved, however gruesome.  He always “colored outside the lines” of both the legal system and good taste. Unlike that classical 1930s and 1940s detective who would walk down those mean streets like a modern day knight of the round table, adhering to a personal code of honor, Spillane’s Mike Hammer took it way over the edge.

But my perception changed when I started reading the “new” Mike Hammer novels.  After an incredible writing career, and second act in a long-lived Miller Lite advertising campaign, Mickey Spillane left behind a treasure trove of partially-finished stories, and story ideas, that he only trusted one man to finish – Max Allan Collins.

Max Allan Collins has emerged as one of the top mystery writers in his own right. He’s incredibly prolific, and it’s astounding that he never seems let his level quality slip; not in any of his novels (Nate Heller, Quarry), comics (Ms. Tree, Batman), adaptations (CSI, Criminal Minds) and comic strips (Dick Tracy, Batman.) You might also know he was the guy wrote the brilliant graphic novel, The Road To Perdition, which also became a movie starring Tom Hanks. Continue reading “With Further Ado #091: Down These Mean Streets with MAX ALLAN COLLINS (part 1)”

With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con

With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con

Sunday’s New York Times had one of those stunning stories that “everyone” already knew about. The print version headline screamed “Despite Timely Alerts, Trump Was Slow to Act” across five columns. (Headlines that stretch over all six columns are deemed the most important news stories).  This article, written by Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman and other reporters, details how many top officials tried – for two months – to warn the president of the coming pandemic and were, tragically, ignored or told to “stop panicking”.

As usual, Geek Culture was way ahead of the curve.

At last July’s San Diego Comic-Con (officially called Comic-Con International), there was a panel called Art of Infection: Fictional Diseases, Real Life. The intent of this panel was to focus on depictions of infectious diseases in literature, and how the real world would react to such events.

Panelists included Kelley Boston, an epidemiology and infection prevention expert who works for Infection Prevention & Management Associates of Houston, Bobbiejean Garcia, an epidemiologist at Texas State Department of State Health Services, Debesh Das, an infection prevention specialist in the California healthcare system and Tyler Houston, representing arts and culture. Continue reading “With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con”

How The Comic Community Is Coping with Mass Event Cancellations

A national disaster has been declared due to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are being told to employ social distancing and further the work of the isolationist tendencies that our nerd culture has employed for decades.

The reality is that there is a very serious illness that is spreading through humanity and it is fatally dangerous to a large segment of our community. Unfortunately, the solution that have been implemented includes the cancelling of numerous chances for our normally isolationist community to get together.

I was listening to a special video version of John Siuntres’s Word Balloon podcast with Ed Catto. They were lamenting the understandable cancellation of Ithacon45, and noted that “Con Season” is a great way to get together with friends and colleagues. This is absolutely true.

The economic cost of this coronavirus pandemic cancelling mass gatherings is felt throughout various industries including air travel, hospitality, food service, and more. An often ignored real cost for the cancellation or postponement of events like Emerald City Comic-Con, SXSW, Planet Comicon, Wonder Con, and others is the loss of revenue for artists and creators who depend on those shows for a significant portion of their income.

In the spirit of coming together in crisis, we would like to highlight both the effects of these cancellations and offer ways to help those who are affected. Continue reading “How The Comic Community Is Coping with Mass Event Cancellations”

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”