Tag: Pop Culture SquadCast

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Shelly Bond about Fast Times in Comic Book Editing

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Shelly Bond about Fast Times in Comic Book Editing

Our latest spotlight SquadCast interview is with comic editor and publisher Shelly Bond. She is a returning guest and we were able to spend some time talking about her latest project Fast Times in Comic Book Editing.

Her latest effort from Offregister Press, the company that she runs with her husband Phillip Bond, is part memoir and part editorial handbook focusing on her time working on the Vertigo Imprint at DC Comics.

She had a hand in some of the most important comics of the 90s and that helped shape her into the superstar comic editor that she is today.

We talked about Shelly’s projects including the recently completed Filth and Grammar: The Comic Editor’s Secret Handbook, and Geezer. We also talked about comic books in general and why they became her passion.

The latest book, Fast Times, is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and you can find out more about that project below the SquadCast recording.

We hope that you enjoy the conversation.

 


FAST TIMES IN COMIC BOOK EDITING

A Love Letter to New York City in the ’90s.

About the Campaign:

A collection of stories and comics that chart the rise and fall and rise of a career-driven editor working in New York City in the ’90s, who’s in over her head as she tries to secure a place in the male-dominated comic book industry.

FAST TIMES IN COMIC BOOK EDITING is told through a series of short comics, photo/visual montage timelines, prose, and experimental art including a satirical TTRPG “How to Climb The Corporate Ladder From Hell.” Guest writers and artists including Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Paul Pope, Michael Allred, Steven T. Seagle, Mike Carey, and Peter Gross provide brief encounters along the way.

At its core, FAST TIMES celebrates the hustle of monthly comics and the rustle of feathers and heart chambers—the universal love for story and longing to connect through words and pictures. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Shelly Bond about Fast Times in Comic Book Editing”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.

A couple of weeks ago, we caught up with rising superstar comic writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. We talked about a bunch of cool topics and published that interview on our Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition. Johnson is super busy creating comics, but we talked about the three biggest announced projects that he is working on.

Recently, it was revealed that he will be writing the new series of James Bond from Dynamite Entertainment, with artist Marco Finnegan providing the visuals. That series begins next month in August.

We also spoke about what is going on in the pages of Action Comics from DC Comics where Ricardo Federici, Johnson’s partner in crime from the Last God has taken over primary art duties from Daniel Sampere.

As is usually the focus of our comic creator chats, we spent quite a bit of time talking about Phillip’s writing process and techniques. Some of that highlighted the excellent work that he has been doing on the Marvel Comics series Alien with artist Salvador Larroca.

It is always illuminating to talk to Phillip and we have transcribed some of the interesting newsy bits of the conversation below the jump. Give the SquadCast a listen and let us know what you think.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s talk about James Bond. Congratulations on writing the new James Bond series with Dynamite Entertainment. Before we get into the series, I want to talk about who is “your James Bond” Which actor is the one that you are always going to watch.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson: Daniel Craig, for sure.

PCS: Okay, good. I personally don’t have a favorite. I love them all. What was the first Bond movie that you saw?

PKJ: <laugh> I honestly don’t remember. And the reason is it wasn’t like there was just one that came on. This one time I was staying with my stepdad’s mother for the weekend, and there was this Bond marathon on TV.

PCS: So, you watched them all at once.

PKJ: Seriously. I watched like a dozen of them probably. I fell asleep during one of them. I was like, “Oh, I guess I’m going to go to bed.” And, at the time, I remember liking Sean Connery a lot. I thought like “This guy’s super cool.” And I still feel like he’s probably the coolest of the old Bonds of the pre-Craig Bonds.

Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson as He Begins a New James Bond Comic.”

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Cosplayer and Photographer Harry Crosland

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Cosplayer and Photographer Harry Crosland

A big part of the comic and entertainment convention scene is the presence of people cosplaying as their favorite characters. It adds an exotic and textural dimension to the shows. You can see a massive variety of costumes from store bought to incredibly intricate custom made versions.

We got a chance to chat recently with one of the most iconic cosplayers at the con circuit, especially at east coast shows. Harry Crosland is a imposing figure and his long dreadlocks are as unmistakable as his infectious smile. A Maryland native, he has been cosplaying at shows for over a decade along with his wife Gina. He also is professional photographer specializing crafting fantastic and inclusive artistic representations of people cosplaying.

This interview was fun and covers topics that are important to deal with regarding respect and acceptance at our favorite nerdy gatherings. Harry (or HC or Aitch Cee) is a fantastic ambassador for geekdom and if you ever run into him, you will be glad you did.

You can listen to the audio of the interview below. We also included some of the key interactions in the conversation transcribed below.

Pop Culture Squad: I wanted start off with you telling your origin story in cosplay. What, when and how did you start getting into cosplay?

Harry Crosland: Okay, so I’m going go way, way, way back to half past 2007-ish, I would say 2007, 2008. Gina [Harry’s wife and partner], I were just starting to date and Halloween was around the corner and she’s asking me, “Well, what are you gonna dress up in?” I was like, “What do you mean what I’m gonna dress up as? You know, grown people don’t do costumes like that.” Then, I thought about it for a little bit. I wanted to do something cool. Let me just kind of test the water. So, I decided to do a Matrix costume where she took Neo’s long coat from The Matrix, and she did a hell of a job on that coat, and believe it or not, I still have it. That was my first costume.

It wasn’t until about 2008 or so when I discovered Baltimore Comic-Con. I had just started getting back into comic books at that point. I had a friend of mine who literally was calling me every week kept saying, “Man, you need to understand what’s going on in Secret Invasion.” You know what, I thought, “Let me go see what this is all about. Where can I go to talk to other people about this?”

So, in August 2008, I’m at my very first comic con in Baltimore. Of course I’m not in costume. And that’s when I started meeting other folks, Fred Holt, being among them. And at that point, that’s when I started seeing, okay, there’s a place for cosplay for grown adults. And I said to myself, after going through Baltimore, seeing all these, you know, grown folks from all different walks of life, shapes, sizes, colors, whatever, have you? I said, you know what, I’m gonna Coplay next year.

Yeah. 13 years later. So much time has gone by. And then, I got Gina into it. I got my best friend when into it.

PCS: What was it that, that drew you into saying, “I need to make this cosplay a big part of my life”? You travel for it. You put a lot of thought, a lot of effort, I’m sure, a lot of money in it.

HC: I probably got really excited in cosplay because I saw not only what it can do for myself as far as like being able to enjoy going to some of the venues, but I like inspiring other people as well. Like seeing younger folk than I, who are nerdy, who are of different backgrounds, be it black, white, Asian, Latino, heavyset, skinny. I kind of used to be tall, awkward, and gawky, and it’s like, I want to be able to do this too. How can I do the things while it’s possible? You just put your mind to it. And, and that’s one of the biggest enjoyments I get out of this.

And I believe that if you go in it really just to have fun and to take a weekend and kind of blow some steam while also, you know, dressing up as your favorite characters, you can really, really get into it, enjoy it. And if you’re someone who does happen to find an avenue to be able to profit off of it, or, or establish yourself, or make a name of yourself by all means, do it. Just remember, you gotta put work into it. This isn’t something that you’re just going to say today. “I’m just gonna throw on the costume and the entire world was gonna recognize me and my works and that’s the end.”  No, no. You got to, you got to put blood, sweat and tears into this.

PCS: Can you talk about the cosplay community. As a regular attendee, but still an outsider to the community, it seems welcoming and supportive on the whole. Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Cosplayer and Photographer Harry Crosland”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson

In our latest episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast, we spoke to comic book writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Phillip’s catalog of published comic work has increased significantly in recent years. He created and wrote the hit DC Comics Black Label series The Last God and currently is writing for both DC and Marvel comics. He is penning Action Comics for DC and the newly launched Alien book for Marvel, among others.

Phillip has an amazing “day job” as a member of the United States Army and has come to comic book writing later than others. His roots in comic publishing come from the creator owned space with books like Last Sons of America that was published by Boom! Studios,  and his collaboration with Steve Orlando on the AfterShock Comics book Kill A Man was a significant topic in our conversation.

Phillip is often found to be thoughtful and excited about telling stories in the comic medium. It is always a joy to spend some time talking comics with him. Our conversation touched on a bunch of different topics including his current projects.

We delved into the world building that Phillip does in his storytelling and how from The Last God to Superman and Alien you can see the care that he takes in making the setting authentic. The topic of alien languages came up and people interested in how to make that work will be very interested in that conversation.

As a reader of comics, I often wonder how the dynamic of two writers works in the practice of writing the story. Phillip went into detail about how the project Kill A Man was proposed to him and about how he and Steve Orlando traded off on scenes and then came back to collaborate and create a fluid single voice to the book.

The concepts and plans that are coming in the second arc of Alien from Marvel were discussed, and Phillip has taken great care to tell interesting stories in the world of Alien that respect the fan base but also push the boundaries. He laid out the premise for “Alien: Sanctuary” which begins in September.

We hope you enjoy the conversation and it inspires you to seek out Phillips work. You won’t be disappointed.

 

You can find Phillip on Twitter at @PhillipKJohnson and also on his website phillipkennedyjohnson.com.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Editor Shelly Bond

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comics Editor Shelly Bond

Welcome to another Interview Edition of the Pop Culture Squadcast. In this episode, we spoke with comics editor extraordinaire Shelly Bond.

Anyone who has been paying attention to comics over the past thirty years knows that Shelly has shepherded some of the most fantastic comic stories to ever come along. Her decades long tenure at Vertigo brought us books like Fables, Lucifer, American Virgin, Clean Room, Euthanauts, and so many more.

Over the past few years Shelly has been curating and publishing comics through Kickstarter. Her anthologies include Femme Magnifique, Insider Art, Heavy Rotation, and Hey Amateur!

Her latest offering which is still available to back is called Filth and Grammar, The Comic Book Editor’s Secret Handbook. It is written by Shelly as part memoire and part instruction manual.

We had the fantastic opportunity to sit down (virtually) with Shelly and talk about what has gone into the creation of this book and her stellar career in general.

This has been one of the most entertaining and productive interviews that I have ever conducted.

We hope that you enjoy the conversation.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s talk about the newest project. Filth and Grammar. This is a departure from what we are used to getting from Shelly Bond. It seems very personal. What made you decide on this project?

Shelly Bond: Thirty-three years of blood sweat and red ink on my fingers. This is my magnum opus. You do this once in a lifetime and I have been chipping away at it for many many years. I started writing it officially in 2016, and I just wasn’t sure which way I was going to go with it but I was always sure that the title was going to be Filth and Grammar.

“Superstar Artist Trio” for Filth and Grammar.

I didn’t know if was going to err on the side of more grammar and some filth or ninety percent filth and ten percent grammar. But I think I finally struck a good balance when I found my superstar artist trio. When you find the right team, most things fall into place.

I cannot wait to continue working on this book and bringing it to life. Really, for anyone who wants to make comics, anyone who wants to make comics better than they’ve ever made them before, and actually for people who want to become more discerning readers, it’s the kind of book for everybody.


What is in the SquadCast?

There is plenty more in podcast, but some of the topics that we covered include:

These are some of the pros who offer “Pro Tips” in Filth and Grammar, and I bet a few of them came up in the SquadCast conversation with Shelly Bond.

What she enjoys about and some of the challenges of running a self publishing business through Kickstarter.

Her history as young comic editor at Comico to being Senior Editor at Vertigo, to running her own imprint at IDW, to the present. It is enlightening, and she has so much to offer in terms of her experience.

We spent some time talking about the process of making comics, and lettering nerds will find some fun points in the podcast.

Her work on Fables is a great topic of the conversation.

If you are into comics and want to know more about how they get made, this is a great conversation for you.

Also the Kickstarter campaign for  Filth and Grammar, The Comic Book Editor’s Secret Handbook ends this week. You still have a few days to back it.

As a reminder, this was one of the campaigns that we highlighted earlier this month as a Kickstarter You Should Be Backing.


Where Do You Find Shelly Bond?

You can follow Shelly and get all the latest on her projects on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also find her projects at offregister.press.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Steve Conley and His Astounding Space Thrills

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Steve Conley and His Astounding Space Thrills

We got the chance to catch up with cartoonist Steve Conley recently. This is an interview we have been wanting to do for some time and the timing worked out great as Steve is in the middle of a fantastic Kickstarter campaign.

Steve is best known for his multi-award nominated webcomic The Middle Age, but this time around he is collecting and printing his turn of the century webcomic Astounding Space Thrills. The campaign is doing excellent and is something you definitely want to get in on.

Please enjoy this conversation where we talk about the Kickstarter for Astounding Space Thrills, Steve’s career, the history and future of The Middle Age, and we throw in a little pop culture etymology for good measure.


Check out the trailer for the Kickstarter campaign below:

 

What is Astounding Space Thrills about?

According to Steve:

Astounding Space Thrills is a fun, retro-futuristic, sci-fi adventure following hero Argosy Smith as he solves cosmic mysteries. Think of Argosy as 1/3 The Doctor, 1/3 Buckaroo Banzaii, and 1/3 every kid who grew up playing RPGs and video games.

There are very accessible backer reward tiers and so far the campaign is blowing by the stretch goals.

It is an amazing effort that Steve is undertaking by resurrecting and remastering a webcomic that was designed to be viewed on a monitor that used a VGA cable and a computer that required a hard wired cable to a dial-up modem to get to the internet. This is definitely a labor of love and we are looking forward to seeing the final results.

In our conversation, Steve mentioned that he is willing and excited to go back to the world of Argosy Smith if the people want more of it.  I say that sounds like a great idea.

What are the important things to know?

The campaign ends on May 26, 2021.

You can find the campaign page here.

Steve’s website is steveconley.com.

You can follow Steve on Twitter at thesteveconley.

Don’t forget to check out The Middle Age as well. You can find it at Webtoon, GoComics, Tapas, or even in Kindle or Print formats on Amazon.

Steve also has a Patreon page that we highly recommend.

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Editor Heather Antos

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Editor Heather Antos

We are proud to bring you the next installment of the Pop Culture SquadCast: Interview Edition.

This episode we caught up with comics editor Heather Antos.

She  began her career as an assistant editor at Marvel Comics and is currently a Senior Editor at Valiant Entertainment. Heather’s secret origin story was recently chronicled by Kat Calamia at Newsarama.

We talked to her about a bunch of different topics including: assembling talent, editing covers, diversity in comics, the Fabulous Flo Steinberg, and much more.

We transcribed a good portion of the interview below, but there is plenty more in podcast.

You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


Pop Culture Squad: Let’s dive in to your work with Valiant these days.  As a comic book consumer, I have enjoyed the fresh takes on the classic Valiant characters that you have been producing over the last few years. How does the process of putting together a creative team with a direction work nowadays in that shared universe?

Heather Antos: A great example to start off with would be that when I came in I was handed Livewire. That wasn’t a story that I helped put together. I think Vita (Ayala) and Joe Illidge (the previous editor) did a great job, but that was something where I was finishing it out. I just want to respect the previous work that is done. A lot of what I did there was asking if things made sense and fit in canonically.

Quantum & Woody #1 (art by David Nakayama)

The first Valiant book that I launched was Quantum and Woody that came out in January 2020. When I joined Valiant, there were really two books that I knew I wanted, and they were Quantum and Woody and then Shadowman (which is going to be on sale in April finally). Quantum and Woody is whacky odd couple-esque type humor. Coming off of Deadpool for three years at Marvel. That is the kind of book that I excel at, and I knew exactly the creative team to go for.

Shadowman #1 (art by Jon Davis-Hunt)

For me, as an editor, I always like to give the creative teams as much freedom as possible. I am hiring Chris Hastings and Ryan Browne for a reason on Quantum and Woody. The same for Cullen Bunn and Jon Davis-Hunt on Shadowman. I want them to feel as free as possible to tell the story that they want to.

The only time that I will put the gavel down and steer the ship is in the case of something majorly universally oriented. If Quantum and Woody somehow go down to New Orleans in Shadowman’s territory, then we have to play by Shadowman’s rules and whatever is going on in that Shadowman book at that time.

Note: I tried to see if we could get some secrets about the plans for the Valiant universe out of Heather. Listen to the podcast to see if I was successful. (Ouch that is the most shameless plug I have ever written.)

PCS: One of the things that we like to do is get into the process of how comics get made and demystify it a bit. As an editor, what do you do in relation to direction and/or assignment for regular and variant covers?

HA: Every editor has a different philosophy in this regard. There are artists like Mike Del Mundo, and the way they conceptualize and think about things are just so beyond what the average human can do; so, whenever I worked with Mike on a cover I would just say, “Hey Mike? This character. You interested? Go nuts!”  He might as  a story element or two to work in, but there are absolutely artists who just do their own thing. With them, I trust that it will be good, because they have a track record.

Valiant typically has three or four covers on every issue. The main “A cover”, two variants, and a pre-order. My personal philosophy is to have the main cover have some sort of a story element in it. For example in X-O Manowar #4, we debut his new suit, and so, on that cover, you can see a new suit morphing on him but you can’t quite make it all the way out. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Book Editor Heather Antos”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview: Vito Delsante Has a Kickstarter You Need to See

Spotlight SquadCast Interview: Vito Delsante Has a Kickstarter You Need to See

We have another great interview to bring to you. This one is with comic writer Vito Delsante. He has a current Kickstarter campaign in progress for the long awaited graphic novel World War Mob: La Collezione Completa .

We spent some time discussing the origins of this comic project. It sounds and looks fantastic. We highly recommend backing this project.

The elevator pitch for the book is simple.

“It’s the mob from the 1930’s, they take a hit out on Benito Mussolini and I think it is pretty self explanatory from there. If I am worth any kind of salt as writer, there will be obviously nuance involved, but I will let the audience suss that out as they read it.”

The goal of the campaign is to complete and print the book that had been solicited a few years ago but never made it to print.

Artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo is utilizing a fantastic watercolor style bring a unique look to this book.

The Kickstarter campaign ends in twelve days on January 27, 2021, and this is one that you won’t want to miss. The rewards for this project are reasonably priced and as we discussed in the SquadCast, this is one of the projects that you want to see succeed because it deserves to be in the world.

Take a listen to our conversation for more about the history and content of this interesting comic project.

Of course, Vito and I discussed his creator owned book Stray that he developed with co-creator and artist Sean Izaakse. We talked about the plans for the next volume of Stray that he hope to get going this year with artist Marcelo Mueller.

For more of my feelings about Stray check out the Continued After The Next Page column that I wrote about it.

Fans of ’80s comics will enjoy the last third of the SquadCast as we dive into collecting X-Men comics, and you will find out what Chris Claremont has to do with “Luke and Laura” and “Bo and Hope”.


Here is some more art from the Kickstarter campaign.

World War Two! Five men, all members of different crime families, all US soldiers, undertake a clandestine mission ordered by the heads of the Five Families; for crimes against the Mafia, Benito Mussolini must be killed! They must overcome bad blood and family rivalries, the Nazis and the men loyal to Il Duce, and go behind the Army brass’ backs to do it for “La Cosa Nostra!


 

 

 


You can follow Vito’s work at www.incogvito.com

He is @Incognvito on Twitter and Instagram.

And for updated information on what is going on with Stray follow the Facebook page or the Kickstarter page.