Tag: Green Lantern

Brainiac On Banjo #090: Powers Roughly Equivalent of God’s

Brainiac On Banjo #090: Powers Roughly Equivalent of God’s

Deep in the dark / I don’t need the light / There’s a ghost inside me / It all belongs to the other side / We live, we love, we lie – “The Spectre” written by Gunnar Greve, Jesper Borgen, Tommy Laverdi, Marcus Arnbekk, Anders Froen, Alan Olav Walker, and Lars Kristian Rosness, 2018

The comment expressed in our headline above was made by the fabled Jules Feiffer in his groundbreaking 1965 book The Great Comic Book Heroes. It was groundbreaking because Feiffer was the first to take the history and craft of comic books seriously — so seriously, in fact, that it was excerpted in Playboy.

The Spectre was created by Jerry Siegel, and if truth be told it’s probably my favorite of his creations — including the Big Red S. Feiffer was right: it’s a bitch to write a series where the lead isn’t really a “hero” and yet has, as Jules noted, powers roughly equivalent of God’s. And we’re not talking about the New Testament’s cosmic muffin — this is the Old Testament’s hoary thunderer, and The Spectre is his personal instrument of vengeance. Yup, the after-life might not be as sweet as you’d hoped.

I don’t know if the kids who were reading comics at the every end of 1939 were ready for that. Within two years the series was lightened up by a bumbling guardian angel called “Percival Popp, the Super Cop.” Think Frank Capra, but stupid. The Spectre became a founding member of the Justice Society, but when World War II ended he was out of the group, out of More Fun, and living off of Officer Popp’s police pension.

Still, the character made an impression and when Julie Schwartz was looking for another golden age character to revive after The Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, and Hawkman, he chose The Spectre. That was odd, but with the arguable exception of Zatanna (or, really, her dad Zatara), The Spectre was the first character he brought back that Julie hadn’t edited during the Golden Age. Despite some decent scripts from Gardner Fox and artwork from the always amazing Murphy Anderson, it just didn’t click. The series was handed over to a relative newcomer named Neal Adams, who did some truly wonderful artwork, but it also did not find success.

But the guy still remained in the hearts of DC’s creative community. Editor Joe Orlando needed a new lead for Adventure Comics, so he brought in Michael Fleisher and Jim Aparo and let them go nuts. The Spectre took this “vengeance of God” thing to a fundamentalist level, and he would kill the bad guys with such creative cruelty that they might have made EC artist “Ghastly” Graham Ingles genuflect at his porcelain throne. It was great. And it lasted 10 issues.

Since then The Spectre has been floating around the DC Universe in all its forms, incarnations, and mistakes. Lots — and I mean lots — of A-listers handled his adventures, including my buddies John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. They enjoyed one of the longest runs.

So it was with absolutely no surprise whatsoever that I stumbled across a DC Digital First thing called Ghosts. At first I thought that odd — thus far they hadn’t done resurrections of their mystery anthologies in their new digital line. Then I saw “Ghosts” was just another way of saying “The Spectre” and then I noted it was written by Dan Jurgens.

I really like Dan’s work, both as an artist and a writer. We worked together on Green Arrow for a long time, and instead of just leaving the series to do something new, he told me he was making a play to do Superman and, if he got it, he’d be moving on. As much as I liked Dan’s stuff — he and Mike Grell made a great team — he certainly earned the right to take a shot at the Man of Steel. I successfully fought back my overwhelming desire to mindfuck him into staying, although I did think about it. Dan did some remarkable work with the brightest of DC’s corporate jewels. Right now he’s writing Nightwing, and is damn good.

Dan, along with artists Scott Eaton and Wayne Faucher, did a fine job on the story. I don’t know if Ghosts is a one-shot or a play to resurrect The Spectre again, this time without having to resort to paper and staples. They were somewhat restrained in their story… if you compare it to the Fleisher / Aparo run. Then again, a head-on collision between two 10-car passenger trains would seem equally restrained.

DC has done a number of very entertaining stories in their almost-daily Digital First line, unburdened by a continuity that mutates as often as amoebas commit mitosis. Seeing The Spectre pop up in this format evoked a response characters rarely have when they cross his path: I was pleasantly surprised.

Comics Legend Dennis “Denny” O’Neil Passes at 81

Comics Legend Dennis “Denny” O’Neil Passes at 81

The comics community and the world has lost a giant. Dennis J. O’Neil, known as Denny to all, passed of natural causes on June 11, 2020 at age 81. He was a celebrated writer and editor and was beloved by so many in the comic industry.

He is known for being a trailblazer with his work on DC Comics titles in the 1970s. His revitalization of Batman with Neal Adams is considered a watershed moment in comic storytelling. The pair also worked on the socially conscious Green Lantern / Green Arrow series that brought issues such as drug abuse and its effects into the super-hero comic genre. His work on The Question with Denys Cowan is one of the greatest comic runs of the late 1980s.

O’Neil worked for Marvel, Charlton Comics, and wrote prose besides his work at DC. He was incredibly prolific and his hand can be seen in many of the characters that we know and love today. A glance at his wikipedia page will tell you all you need to know about his career.

Beyond the numbers and the titles, Denny O’Neil was wonderful human. He loved deeply and was thoughtful and considerate. He was generous, as many who know him are posting across social media today are saying. The world is a little darker without his presence.


Pop Culture Squad will have more to say to celebrate Denny’s life in the near future. Please excuse us as it is a difficult moment for all of us to process.

With Further Ado #80: Digging for Treasure

With Further Ado #80: Digging for Treasure

I’m all about buried treasure lately. Next week I’ll tell you about my wild ride that led to the PIRATES book, soon to be published by Clover Press & Yoe Books.  But this week, I want to write about my travels to the exotic and mystical land called New Jersey, and my adventures in three comic shops and the treasures I found.

The Joker’s Child

The Joker’s Child, a long-lived comic shop nestled in the northern part of New Jersey, used to be my hometown store when I lived there. I brought my daughters, the Catto Girls, there when they were little. They are all grown up  now, and I was back in town to help celebrate one daughter’s bridal shower.  Tempus Fugit!

Continue reading “With Further Ado #80: Digging for Treasure”

Everything We Read This Week – 11/06/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 11/06/2019

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 of great comics. There were a few books that dealt with either the approach or the results of a worldwide catastrophe. I think that says something about the state of group consciousness. It is one of the reasons that I love comic books and an expression of how comics are representative of the greater society. Go out and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse Comics, Ahoy Comics, Abstract Studio, Berger Books, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics this week. 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.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week, and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

 

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 11/06/2019”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2019

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2019

Welcome back to New Number Ones!!

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

There is a bunch of new series of interest starting in November. There is a good mix of both existing and new characters featured in these books. Below you will find a slate of new books from a wide variety of publishers. Some of our favorite comic book talents are bringing us some of these new series.

Both Marvel and DC are significant represented here which is a change from the past few months. These are not just rebooted number ones either. We are very excited about the creativity being rewarded with new series by all comic publishers.

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 November 2019”

Everything We Read This Week – 04/03/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 04/03/2019

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 was a great week for comic books, although it is a little weird that there is no Batman or Superman main title released this week. There are a couple great new series that started this week.  There are a few of the independent books that are ending arcs and will be picking up after a break. We try to read as much as we can to bring you recommendations on what good stuff is being produced. Unfortunately, we can’t read all the comics. So, remember to find what you like, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, IDW, Ahoy, AfterShock, Dark Horse, Dynamite, and Lion Forge Comics this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 04/03/2019”

Everything We Read This Week – 03/06/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 03/06/2019

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 was a big week for comic books. There were so many great books out there for all types of readers. The battle for favorite was quite intense. There were a couple great new series that started. We try to read as much as we can to bring you recommendations on what good stuff is being produced. Unfortunately, we can’t read all the comics. So, remember to find what you like, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, Berger Books, Dynamite, Oni Press, and Boom! Studios this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 03/06/2019”

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!)”

Everything We Read This Week – 02/06/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 02/06/2019

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 was a fantastic week for comic books. There were some very high quality books out there for all types of readers. There were some great new series that started and a couple that ended. Remember to find what you like, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, Ahoy, Dark Horse, and Dynamite this week. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 02/06/2019”

Everything We Read This Week – 01/09/2019

Everything We Read This Week – 01/09/2019

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 is a great week for new comic books. There are some series that begin, some that end, some that get more interesting, and some that get crazy! We reviewed a bunch of them below. There are even more that we did not even have time to get to and review for you.  We say this often, but seriously, GO OUT AND FIND SOME COMICS TO READ!! They are good for you.

We reviewed books from DC, Marvel, Image, Black Crown, Abstract Studios, and Ahoy Comics. As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics.

Marvel Comics tribute covers to Stan Lee continue this week. Also, it must be noted that Clayton Cowles seems to be the busiest letterer in the business based on the number of books he worked on this week. Fortunately, he is very good at what he does.

Also, Don’t forget to check our hotlist of new books debuting this month over here. You will see books that we were looking forward to with the designation Hot #1 by them. There are a few of them out this week and they are really good.

DISCLAIMER: 

There is a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously as everyone gets their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

Great

 Good

 OK

 Not Good

Also look for the book we deemed Favorite Book of the Week. It is the comic that we like the most this week. The criteria are difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it is a book that moved us.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 01/09/2019”