Tag: manga

Brainiac On Banjo: A Magical Event? Uhh… Bite Me?

Brainiac On Banjo: A Magical Event? Uhh… Bite Me?

They push you to the ground. You’re lying in the mud. They bite your neck, and they drink your blood. You’re lying there alone, trying to catch your breath, trying to cancel your appointment with the angel of death. — From Lesbian Vampyres From Outer Space, by The Scary Bitches.

In conversation earlier this week, I was asked if I could list all of the comics event series that are going on right now. I thought for a second, came up with two, realized there’s more, and then I let out a quiet “No. No, I cannot.”

Okay. I’ve bitched and moaned about the Comics Event Trap before and those feelings haven’t changed — events are not events when everything is an event, damnit! However, the fact that I am of an honest persuasion begs me to admit there is one such series going on right now that I not only remember, but I actually like.

It’s called “Blood Hunt,” it’s from Marvel, and it’s all about a massive vampire assault on this here planet. You might think that alone would turn me off — the whole global monster-takeover thing has been done to death, be it zombies, werewolves, vampires, or MAGA. In each (save for the last) the outcome is predetermined. Eventually, humans get their planet back.

But Blood Hunt seems to avoid other aspects of the Comics Event Trap that annoy me all the way to my keyboard. I say “seems” because we’re about a month into it and, like all of us in the commercial pop culture racket, there’s always the opportunity to screw the pooch. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: A Magical Event? Uhh… Bite Me?”

Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!

Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!

Lady window shopper with a new one in the hopper whips up a chemical brew. Croaking to a neighbor while she polishes a sabre, knows how to flavor a stew. Never need to worry with a tin of “Hurri Curri” — poisoned especially for you! — “Cat Food” written by Robert Fripp and Peter John Sinfield.

I usually write this column the night before publication. Hey who knows, maybe something timely will happen on deadline. Well this time, something did happen near deadline.

I got hungry.

I just read the Superman vs Meshi manga that was released last week through one of DC’s many ever-changing, ever-shrinking online media operations. That’s not a slam against DC or its blind, deaf and dumb corporate ownership du jour. Almost all online media is struggling to figure out what to do these days, and that started well before the current noble and worthy WGA and SAG/AFTRA strikes. Just ask Elon Musk. No, scratch that; you don’t need to talk to still another self-important asshole. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!”

With Further Ado #246: ITHACON Student Writing Competition – Taking a Look at Black Butler

ITHACON 46 was a rousing success. It seems like just about everyone had an outstanding experience. As part of the class I teach the Promoting and Managing ITHACON Class at Ithaca College, each year we embrace this annual tradition with the “With Further Ado” column.

Each year, I ask the students to submit a column on pop culture as if they were the author of this space. Our crack editorial staff pours over the submissions and selects a winner, and they get published on this website. (The fact that it gives me a couple of weeks break right after ITHACON is of no concern to anyone but me.)

Anyway, we have three amazing columns to publish this year.

Our second runner-up of this year’s fill-in columnist contest is Collin Longo and his thoughts about manga called Black Butler. Congrats to you, Collin!


Black Butler is a manga series created by mangaka (author) Yana Toboso, published in Square Enix’s magazine Monthly GFantasy. Having been published since September of 2006, the manga is currently ongoing with one hundred and ninety-eight chapters and thirty-two physical volumes released. In October of 2008, an anime television series of Black Butler was released, it now having three seasons, an original video animation (OVA), and a feature length movie. Several other adaptations have also spawned such as a live action movie, a video game, and even five stage musicals. Continue reading “With Further Ado #246: ITHACON Student Writing Competition – Taking a Look at Black Butler”

With Further Ado #244: Five and a Half Questions with Mike Reiff  (An ITHACON Prelude)

With Further Ado #244: Five and a Half Questions with Mike Reiff (An ITHACON Prelude)

I can’t wait for ITHACON! It’s coming up soon – April 22nd and 23rd. And if you buy your tix before April 16th, you also get this amazing swag bag. Trust me – there’s so much cool merchandise in these that it totally offsets the (modest) ticket prices.

Educator and writer Mike Reiff will be presenting at ITHACON this year too, and I couldn’t be happier. I caught up with him just so I could keep track of everything he’s up to!

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Question #1

Ed Catto: You are doing so much work with Graphic Novels and kids now. Can you tell me about it all?

Mike Reiff: Well, I would first note that I’m working with an outstanding team at Ithaca High School (IHS) on this – from the support of the district leadership to building principal Jason Trumble to a great English department, when we think about our recent push to diversify our literacy offerings – with “diversify” a complex and expansive term – one person couldn’t do what’s being done, it takes a team. So I’m speaking as a reporter as much as an implementer of some of the shifts, and some of the graphic novel work pre-dates my active involvement in this, including texts taught in classrooms and a astonishing array of graphic texts offered and promoted by our High School librarian team. Continue reading “With Further Ado #244: Five and a Half Questions with Mike Reiff (An ITHACON Prelude)”

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”