Tag: Howard Chaykin

Brainiac On Banjo: Cancel, Uncancel, Cancel, Repeat

Brainiac On Banjo: Cancel, Uncancel, Cancel, Repeat

“I blow thru here. The music goes ’round and around (whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho) and it comes out here.” From The Music Goes ‘Round and ‘Round, written by Edward Farley and Mike Riley

It’s not that I have a long memory. I’ve simply lived through a lotta stuff and the goofy has a tendency to stick inside my brainpan.

For example, I remember when Marvel cancelled both Doctor Strange and She-Hulk. I also remember when Marvel cancelled both Doctor Strange and She-Hulk again. Indeed, I can remember a great many times Marvel cancelled both Doctor Strange and She-Hulk.

In fact, I could tell whenever Marvel felt competitive pressure from other publishers — and, yes, I was an “other publisher” so I have a few decades of skin in that game. The idea is, most readers will buy new Marvel titles before they would buy those of “the other outfits,” and they’d be sucking up all the consumer dollars like a cocaine freak at a new record release party.

It still isn’t bad logic, it’s just kinda dated and not as on-the-money as it used to be. Many readers have discovered there are a lot more comics out there that deserve both staples and their attention, and some of those books are absolutely great. Of course, your mileage may vary.

The big red flag on that operation had been Robert E. Howard’s Kull. Marvel would relaunch Kull every time they wanted more rack space. Think of Oreo releasing a Kull cookie; Mondelēz International’s lust for shelf space is gargantuan. But, hell, I dunno the rights situation regarding Kull these days. I know Conan the Character is up for grabs and I look forward to the day Erik Larsen teams the Savage Dragon with Captain Tootsie, the real Daredevil, and Conan the Axe-Dude. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Cancel, Uncancel, Cancel, Repeat”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/21/24

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/21/24

Welcome to the New Number Ones!

Each week we bring you the list of new series and special editions coming this week. We are highlighting what you need to put in your cart at the comic shop or digital marketplace.

We have an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this week. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

It is a relatively light week for new series, but there are some very interesting books on the list and a couple of long awaited collections in the One-Shots and Specials section. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, DSTLRY Media, Oni Press, Archie Comics, and Image Comics.

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.

New Series
New One-Shots and Special Editions


New Series This Week 


Alien: Black, White & Blood #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Ryan Cady, & Stephanie Phillips
Art by Dev Pramanik, Marcelo Ferriera, & Michael Dowling
Cover Art by Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer, & Edgar Delgado

THE ALIEN UNIVERSE AS ONLY MARVEL COULD IMAGINE IT! Black, white, red—and GREEN! Marvel Comics and 20th Century Studios present a kill-fest of an anthology in chest-rending artistic detail! Superstars Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing (CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) and brilliant artist Michael Dowling (BLACK CAT, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) kick off a generations-spanning story that will continue through all four issues! Fan-favorite writer Ryan Cady explores the limits of compassion in “Maternal Instincts.” And rising stars Stephanie Phillips and Marcelo Ferreira bring you “The Hunt,” a tale of guts, glory and the most exhilarating of games…

Release Date: February 21, 2024

PCS NOTES: Three new groups of creators taking swings at the Xenomorphs? Sound like a fun read.


Blasfamous #1
DSTLRY Media
Written by Mirka Andolfo
Art by Andolfo & Gianluca Papi
Letters by Fabio Amelia
Cover Art by Andolfo

From international superstar MIRKA ANDOLFO (SWEET PAPRIKA, MERCY, UNNATURAL, Harley Quinn, Punchline…) comes a new horror comedy that only Andolfo can deliver—asking the question: how many fans is your soul worth? In a world where pop stars have ascended to divinity, and the masses bow in veneration to a new generation of viral superstars, angels and demons thrive on this exaltation, and revel in this spotlight that grants them unimaginable power. Clelia, the reigning queen of pop, finds her throne shaken by a newcomer radiating with enigmatic charm. As her fans waver and the public eye threatens to wander, Clelia and her demonic agent, Father Lev, are thrust into a battle for dominance on this exhilarating stage of music and mysticism. How far will they go to defend her reign and unravel the mystery of this sensational new threat? Mixing the sacred and profane, Harvey Award-winning Mirka Andolfo effortlessly merges the mythological urban fantasy of American Gods with the sardonic wit of The Good Place in a brand new dark series featuring stunning visual and narrative intensity set in the glittering world of pop music.

Release Date: February 21, 2024

PCS NOTES: This is the NEW NUMBER ONE OF THE WEEK. DSTLRY keeps the hits coming. We can’t wait for this one. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming for the Week of 2/21/24”

With Further Ado #270: Chaykin’s Fargo is on ZOOP

With Further Ado #270: Chaykin’s Fargo is on ZOOP

I knew some of these entrepreneurs before they started ZOOP. I liked their old start-up, and I like their “new” crowdfunding start-up ZOOP. (Although, it’s not that new anymore.) They are doing so many things right.

Added to the “doing things right” list is their current effort showcasing Howard Chaykin’s adaptation of John Benteen’s Fargo: Hell On Wheels.

This will be a 96+ page prestige format hardcover graphic novel adaptation of one of Howard Chaykin’s favorite characters from men’s adventure paperbacks of the sixties and seventies. Chaykin writes and draws the entire book, along with the extraordinary colorist Yen Nitro and of course his longtime letterer/designer, Ken Bruzenak. Continue reading “With Further Ado #270: Chaykin’s Fargo is on ZOOP”

With Further Ado #267: Chaykin, Waid, and Comic Book U.

With Further Ado #267: Chaykin, Waid, and Comic Book U.

Lately I feel like reading World’s Finest, or the Teen Titans has been like taking a master class in how to write fantastic comics.   They’re fun and surprising. Fresh, but respectful of longtime readers.  And that new Superman story, Last Days of Lex Luthor, in that oversized DC Black Label format, just blew me away. So much so, that I even passed along my copy to my dad. (I only pass along the really, really good stuff to him.)

Mark Waid, the writer for these series, has written a lot of stories over the years, and I’ve sure enjoyed his stories over the years. A few years ago, I assumed he hit his peak with his brilliant relaunch Marvel’s Daredevil. It was outstanding on so many levels. But like a star athlete, Mark Waid makes a habit of shattering his own personal best and creating better and better comics. Continue reading “With Further Ado #267: Chaykin, Waid, and Comic Book U.”

Brainiac On Banjo: The Real Clown Prince of Crime!

Brainiac On Banjo: The Real Clown Prince of Crime!

Why do you want him? Why do you want him? Why do you want him? Why do you want him? — “Why Do You Want Him?,” written by Billie Joe Armstrong, John Kiffmeyer, and Mike Dirnt.

No doubt you’ve heard about this “internet” thing. It’s a place where we all go to show everybody else just how clever we are. For example, I’m doing that right now.

My guess is you have seen the Trump “Batman Villain” memes that have popped up all over the internet within minutes of the former Bastard-In-Chief getting fingerprinted and mug-shotted in a toilet of a Georgia jail a couple days ago. I understand the shock of this killed Harley Quinn, and that really sucks. But it’s understandable.

Legendary writer Mindy Newell and I got into a conversation about all this, and I took the position that The Joker is a better person than Trump and, for that matter, The Joker wears less makeup. Somehow that discussion boiled down to the best Trump meme would have him look like Davros, the classic Doctor Who villain who created the Daleks — and, to make a long story short, became one. I think he went to the Stanislavsky School of Villainy.

Be that as it may, the true winner of this debate is the rock group Green Day. They created, according to their Instagram post,

“the ultimate Nimrod shirt is available for 72 hours only. Limited edition shirt proceeds will be donated to T̶h̶e̶ ̶G̶i̶u̶l̶i̶a̶n̶i̶ ̶L̶e̶g̶a̶l̶ ̶D̶e̶f̶e̶n̶s̶e̶ ̶F̶u̶n̶d̶ @greatergoodmusiccharity, which brings food to those affected by the Maui wildfires.”

That meets my definition of humanity’s greatest ability, the know-how to be given shit and to turn it into a shit soufflé. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Real Clown Prince of Crime!”

Brainiac On Banjo: Hell Is For Whom?

Brainiac On Banjo: Hell Is For Whom?

They cry in the dark so you can’t see their tears. They hide in the light, so you can’t see their fears. Forgive and forget, all the while, love and pain become one and the same in the eyes of a wounded child. Because hell — hell is for children. “Hell Is For Children” written by Neil Giraldo, Roger Capps, and Pat Benatar.

Quick: What did Pat Robertson have in common with Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson — and, evidently, not with Howard Chaykin?

No, no. I mean, besides that.

Back when he was alive, Pat Robertson hosted a cable teevee funfest called “The 700 Club.” I gather this offensive and bigoted daily video scree will continue despite Robertson being declared dead formally. What the hell, had Pat not been born in the first place, religious and sexual hatred would have lived on unabated. In that sense, Pat Robertson was superfluous. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Hell Is For Whom?”

First Comics 40th Anniversary at C2E2

First Comics 40th Anniversary at C2E2

This year is a momentous anniversary at Pop Culture Squad. The independent comic book company First Comics launched forty years ago  and published its first issue in March of 1983. Mike Gold, one of our key contributors at PCS, was the founder and editorial director at First.

First Comics was the little comics company with some of the biggest stars in comics before comic superstars was a thing. Names like Mike Grell, Howard Chaykin, John Ostrander, Timothy Truman, Jim Starlin, Mike Baron, and Steve Rude are just some of the comics greats who were regulars at First. It was fertile ground for independent creator-owned comics. The genres included superheroes, science-fiction, space fantasy, spy thriller, political satire, humor, and more. The publisher produced interesting comics that challenged the larger publishers to adapt. They innovated by producing the first digitally created comic in Shatter, by Peter B. Gillis and Mike Saenz and bringing the manga title Lone Wolf and Cub to American readers. Continue reading “First Comics 40th Anniversary at C2E2”

Upcoming Release: Second Coming Is Coming Back with “Trinity”

Upcoming Release: Second Coming Is Coming Back with “Trinity”

Sometimes items show up in our inbox here at PCS, and they just make us shout, “Hell Yeah, Bring it on!!” This press release was one of them. We are huge supporters of Ahoy Comics here as you can tell from Mike Gold’s latest column.

Second Coming is also very dear to us in particular, and any time we can let people know that more Second Coming is on the way, we are happy to do it.


Press Release:

AHOY Comics’ Controversial and Acclaimed Comic about Jesus Christ and His Superhero Roommate is Resurrected with SECOND COMING: TRINITY

2022 Eisner Winner Mark Russell, Co-Creator Richard Pace and Artist Leonard Kirk All Returning for the Third Series

(January 17, 2023) You welcomed Jesus with open arms in SECOND COMING. You marveled at his miraculous return in SECOND COMING: ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. Now the book that turned the comics industry upside-down with “quite a bit of humor…[and] a lot of heart” (The New York Times) is back for its third act with SECOND COMING: TRINITY. Continue reading “Upcoming Release: Second Coming Is Coming Back with “Trinity””

Brainiac On Banjo: 16 Things I Do Not Understand

Brainiac On Banjo: 16 Things I Do Not Understand

1) Does reading Maus turn you into a Jew? Or a mouse? Or, perhaps, a Jewish mouse?

 

2) Will reading Gender Queer turn you LGBTQIA?

 

3) Does reading Captain Underpants automatically turn you into a snot-nosed kid?

 

4) Will reading Sex Criminals turn you into a sex criminal? Will you have to register?

 

5) Does reading the collective works of Howard Chaykin encourage you to have oral sex and wear really expensive nylons?

 

6) Has reading EC Comics encouraged you to behead someone? More than one?

 

7) Can reading Fahrenheit 451 turn you into Michael York?

 

8) Is Drama really worth the drama?

 

9) Is The Lord of the Rings really an anti-Christian cult?

 

10) Does reading V For Vendetta turn you into a January 6th conspirator?

 

11) Is there a graphic novel discussing critical race theory? Maybe a choose-your-path type adventure?

 

12) Will reading Peanuts make you a Great Pumpkin convert?

 

13) If naked mice are bad for children, what’s up with Minnie Mouse?

 

14) Does book burning hasten global warming? (Warning: Trick question!)

 

15) Will reading banned graphic novels turn you into a member of the Democratic Party? What about Octobriana?

 

16) What the hell are these right-wing morons really afraid of?

 

Brainiac On Banjo: New York, Naked

“It trails me and it tails me down to Central Park. Even after dark, New York is my home. New York is calling me, and now I find the city never sleeps… it’s my state of mind.” New York Is My Home, written by Dion Di Mucci, Scott Kempner, and Mike Acquilina, 2016

Like many pop culture enthusiasts – we used to be called “fans” before cosplay became a big deal — my “top ten favorite movies” list runs a bit heavy. I recently took to creating an actual written-down list and, as of this typing, this effort has engorged to 66 films. I’m sure it will lengthen.

Among those works on film to which I am most endeared is a 1948 flick called “The Naked City,” directed by Jules Dassin and starring Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, and Dorothy Hart. Despite its title, this brilliant and authentic action movie is not the least bit salacious. It most certainly is naked, in the sense that The Naked City is the most poignant portrait of New York City I have seen.

This is the New York City of legend, filmed on location. Well, 80% of it was filmed on location, and that certainly fits the definition of unique. No other movie had so much Manhattan footage, and the performers and crew were not limited to the types of cover shots we are used to seeing on shows like N.Y.P.D. Blue.

We are thrust into the real, heroic city of legend that is no longer with us, but unlike Camelot or Brigadoon this place was real and that is the stuff of this movie. It was the town many of our ancestors first saw when they came to America, the portal to a new world that offered the promise of fair play, opportunity, equality, and democracy. Those values may be fading rapidly as well, but that’s for another time.

As much as I love the work of Damon Runyon, the New York City seen in this movie is the real thing. There are no singing and dancing gangsters in this production. You can almost smell the sidewalk hot dogs, the sweat of the workers, and the stench of the tenements on a hot summer day — The Naked City was filmed in the very, very hot summer of 1947, and it shows.

Long gone are the Manhattan elevated trains and the Essex Street Market, the old Staten Island Ferry terminal and the real Penn Station, the ramshackle and often dangerous subdivided apartment buildings for those who dream, and the mom-n-pop stores that met their needs. Big-box chain stores and franchise fast food were almost unheard of. It was America’s portal to the rest of the world and, more important, it was the portal from the rest of the world.

The movie most certainly suffers from some of the constraints and attitudes of its time. There’s plenty of white ethnic diversity, and that’s about it. New York City is and always been a lot more than that, but in 1948 I suspect a lot of people wondered why they ever would be interested in seeing a movie about a bunch of Irish, Italians, and Ashkenazi… let alone about New Yorkers. The Naked City does not portray a lot of high falutin’ swells living in the vertical gated communities that line Central Park; this is the people of New York whose heads would explode at the thought of paying today’s $3,500 a month rent.

The original The Naked City movie, later remade as several television series and movies, is a breathtaking, highly detailed and emotionally appropriate record of the city that defined America. It is a 96-minute time machine that nails down the roots of our cultural heritage.

It’s also a damn good cop movie.

The Naked City is on HBO Max and, better still, the 23-minute Criterion documentary Uncovering The Naked City is there as well, although I do not know how long either will be streaming from that venue. Talk about Brigadoon… Of course, both are available from Criterion on home video and on the Criterion Channel. I say “better still” because The Naked City is shown on TCM with some regularity but the documentary is a mere seventeen months old and not quite as accessible. It’s a love letter to both the movie and to the city that made it… and, of course, to the people who made it as well.

As they said in this movie and its subsequent adaptations, “There are eight million stories in the naked city.” This has been the best of them.

The author dedicates this column to Howard V. Chaykin, the source of several of those eight million stories.