Tag: star wars

With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate

With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate

Following up on the theme from last week’s entry, here’s another winning entry from our annual student competition:

Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate
By Oliver Rucker

So, I am super late to the party. Being the Star Wars fan that I am, I’m frankly embarrassed, but I finally got around to watching Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series diving in on the beloved Jedi’s life in between the fall of the Republic at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and our introduction to Luke Skywalker and the gang in A New Hope.

For starters, I’d like to attempt to explain myself. I was coming off of The Bad Batch and The Book of Boba Fett, both of which I did not care for. I can go on and on, but to keep it brief, if I was twelve, I’d love Bad Batch, and I simply found Boba Fett to be remarkably boring. So as excited as I was to see what Obi-Wan was getting up to on Tatooine, my spirits were down, expectations low, I was dejected, and honestly just a little but Star Wars’d out.

Before going any further, I’d like to explain that I am not like every other Star Wars fan in existence, who just has a fiery hate for everything new that is put out into the cosmos. In fact, I find myself to be in the strong minority that really enjoyed Attack of the Clones. Sure, the dialogue is just awful, but the story is incredibly strong and it evokes emotions like sadness, anger, jubilation, memorization, and the anticipation of imminent disaster. All things I love in a movie. Continue reading “With Further Ado #297: Guest Columnist – Kenobi Gets Too Much Hate”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming the Week of 3/27/2024

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming the Week of 3/27/2024

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.

This is a list of great books that we have been talking about for a while. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphic Books, Mad Cave Studios, and Boom! Studios.

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 


Batman: Dark Age #1
DC Comics
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Michael Allred & Laura Allred
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover Art by Allred & Allred

THE EISNER-NOMINATED SUPERMAN: SPACE AGE TEAM, MARK RUSSELL AND MIKE ALLRED, TAKE ON THE DARK KNIGHT!

Meet Bruce Wayne, Gotham’s favorite delinquent son. In an origin story like no other, witness the boy become a dark knight shaped by a city in turmoil as it marches towards its prophesied doom. Set against the backdrop of actual historical events, Gotham comes alive, filled with the iconic characters who’ve loved and hated Batman over the years like you’ve never seen them before. Spinning out of the Eisner-nominated Superman: Space Age, Mark Russell and Mike Allred return to give audiences a look at Batman as a figure in American history fighting for justice in a world gone mad.

Release Date: March 26, 2024

PCS NOTES: We are super excited for this series. We thoroughly enjoyed the Superman: Space Age series and are hopeful of that excellent storytelling will continue in this series. You can check out our SquadCast Episode with Mark Russell talking about this series and more, here.


Feral #1
Image Comics
Written by Tony Fleecs
Art by Trish Forstner, Tone Rodriguez, & Brad Simpson
Cover Art by Fleecs & Forstner

SERIES PREMIERE

A NEW HORROR FROM THE CREATORS OF STRAY DOGS!

Meet Elsie, Lord Fluffy Britches, and Patch, three indoor cats lost in the not-so-great outdoors during a nightmarish rabies outbreak.

Without their humans to protect them, the cats rush to find their way home before they’re eaten by the forest full of rabid beasts on their tails.

Don’t get bit.

Don’t get scratched.

Don’t become…FERAL.

Release Date: March 27, 2024

PCS NOTES: This is the NEW NUMBER ONE OF THE WEEK! We spoke to Tony Fleecs about this book last month on the SquadCast and have been excited for the public to get their hands on it. Check out the interview, here. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming the Week of 3/27/2024”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming the Week of 3/20/24

New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming the Week of 3/20/24

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.

While there is not a huge amount of new series this week, there are some very interesting ones on this list. We have books on this week’s list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Humanoids, Inc., and Boom! Studios.

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 


Dawnrunner #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Ram V
Art by Evan Cagle & Dave Stewart
Letters by Aditiya Bidikar
Cover Art by Cagle

A century ago a portal opened over Central America and the Tetza that came through changed our world. Now the world bends all its effort to making the Iron Kings-great mechs that must battle the Tetza for humanity’s continued survival in gladiatorial combat. Anita Marr is the greatest of the pilots and is chosen to pilot a new prototype that could change the tide in humanity’s favor. An all-ages sci-fi epic from rising stars Ram V and Evan Cagle.

Release Date: March 20, 2024

PCS NOTES: This solicitation, cover, and title have me excited.


Dune: House Corrino #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Kevin J. Anderson & Brian Herbert
Art by Simone Ragozzone & Dan Jackson
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover Art by Raymond Swanland

House Corrino, once the deadliest House in the known universe as the Imperial family, set up the final pieces leading into the events of Dune and the fall of House Atreides.

While conflicts escalate between the Fremen and House Harkonnen on Arrakis, the Bene Gesserit keep a close eye on Jessica’s pregnancy, and House Atreides takes part in the plan to seal Ix’s fate…

Release Date: March 20, 2024 Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series and Specials Coming the Week of 3/20/24”

New Number Ones: New Comics Releasing for the Week of August 9, 2023

New Number Ones: New Comics Releasing for the Week of August 9, 2023

Welcome to the New Number Ones!

Each Wednesday we bring you the list of new series and special editions in a post highlighting what you need to put in your cart at the comic shop or digital marketplace.

In this week’s column, 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 month. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

The fallout of last month’s Hellfire Gala will have effects on the rest of the Marvel universe; so keep an eye out for those new books.

This week, we have books on the list from: Marvel Comics,  Image Comics, Boom! Studios, AWA Studios, and Dark Horse Comics.

One thing to remember, we continue to measure the “comic week” as Wednesday. #NCBD is Wednesday.

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 


Children of the Vault #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Deniz Camp
Art by Luca Meresca & Carlos Lopez
Cover Art by Yanick Paquette & Guru-eFX

TO SAVE THE FUTURE!

The Children of the Vault are back, and they are determined to be humanity’s salvation! But not everything is as it seems, and every utopia has its costs. What is the motivation behind these highly evolved beings gifting the world with their advanced technology? And how do Bishop and a now-Orchis-captured Cable figure into their plans? Find out in rising stars Deniz Camp and Luca Maresca’s miniseries!

Release Date: August 9, 2023

PCS NOTES: We are very interested to see how this story fits into the Fall of X.

Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Releasing for the Week of August 9, 2023”

With Further Ado #248: Ithaca College Guest Column Winner – A Look at Toxic Star Wars Fandom

With Further Ado #248: Ithaca College Guest Column Winner – A Look at Toxic Star Wars Fandom

It’s the big finish for that class I teach at Ithaca College that focuses on pop culture, running conventions and entrepreneurism.  Classes have ended and the final is this week.

Here’s our third and winning entry for this year’s column contest. Nina Singh is an impressive student, and a good writer too. I think her column will give you something to think about!

Congrats on a great year, Nina.

***

Star Wars Toxicity: A Look at Lizzo’s Backlash and Beyond

By: Nina Singh

Lizzo as Duchess Bombardier

It is a sad reality that many Star Wars fans have devolved into a toxic and intolerant community. This became apparent yet again when Lizzo, a popular musician and actress, appeared in an episode of The Mandalorian. The backlash against her casting is a prime example of how some fans have lost sight of what it means to be a true fan of the franchise.

For those who are unfamiliar with The Mandalorian, it is a popular Disney+ show set in the Star Wars universe. It follows the adventures of a bounty hunter named Din Djarin, who is also known as the Mandalorian. In one of the recent episodes, Lizzo made a brief appearance as Duchess Bombardier, one of the glamorous and wealthy rulers of Plazir-15, an independent planet. Continue reading “With Further Ado #248: Ithaca College Guest Column Winner – A Look at Toxic Star Wars Fandom”

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 – A Fan’s Eye View

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 – A Fan’s Eye View

Looking for news about the latest Star Wars releases, trailers for the new season of the Mandalorian, or interviews with the biggest guests from Star Wars Celebration 2022 Anaheim? Move along, move along. This is the not the article you are looking for.

True, this is an article about Star Wars Celebration 2022 Anaheim, but we will leave the trailers, spoilers, and celebrity interviews to the other news sites. Instead, we will look at what those other outlets won’t cover and what is at the very core of Star Wars Celebration: The fans and the fan experience. The other guys are missing a lot just focusing on the big names.

It is fair to say that Star Wars draws fans from all around the world with varying degrees of interest in the fandom from the casual to the super nerdy die-hard have a 4-foot stormtrooper in the hallway of my house type fan (I may or may not be the latter). Despite the reputation of having a toxic and divisive fanbase, I found nothing but love and kindness from my fellow celebration attendees especially at the FedEx office.

I believe that is because Celebration welcomed and offered programming for all types of fans from a collectors track that focused on vintage and modern toys to workshops on cosplaying the galaxy far, far away to building and racing droids. There was something for everyone and my group of friends, with vastly different interests within the Star Wars fandom, all found plenty to make our weekend memorable.

For me, the best part was attending with people who love Star Wars as much as I do. I am usually that weird, nerdy chick with the major Star Wars obsession. Not at Celebration. For one glorious weekend I was just another fan among thousands of others who adore Star Wars. It was nice to be able to display my love for the franchise without eye rolls or comments about how much of a nerd I am, it was nice to finally fit in. While I have been to celebration several times before, this time I went with my usual Comic Con Crew: my twin Scott, his wife, Alex, and Nick our best friend since kindergarten. My husband unfortunately couldn’t take the time off work (due to the change of date from August to May).

Even though I did go with three of my favorite fans, the second-best part of the convention was meeting new fans and conversing with like-minded people. While my companions were off exploring and attending panels that fit their interests, I was attending as many new panels and fan experiences as possible. The following is the highlight reel of my fan experience at Celebration Anaheim 2022.

These Are the Droids You Are Looking For

Continue reading “Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 – A Fan’s Eye View”

With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt

With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt

I never was sure what “200th Smash Issue” meant. Was it a certain kind of celebration? Was a “smash issue” celebration different from the usual comic book milestone? I vividly remember one of my neighborhood pals, George Riley, (who usually only collected war and western comics) boasting that he had a copy of Batman #200, the so-called ‘200th Smash Issue”. I was SO envious and curious.

No matter how you slice it – doing something 200 times on a regular basis is sumpthin’. So, I am proud of to be celebrating the “200th Smash Issue” of With Further Ado. And I’m grateful for the many people who have helped and supported me along the way.

So, this week, we’ll be celebrating a pop culture milestone – one of the most widely known – and loved- movie posters of all time; the Hildebrandt’s Star Wars poster. It’s just the start of a multi-part interview with the alarmingly talented Greg Hildebrandt. The “main” focus will be his two amazing 2023 calendars, but that all comes next time.

This week we’ll focus on Star Wars, the entrepreneurial hustle that it takes to be a successful illustrator, and why none of this would have happened without Mel Brooks!

Please enjoy Part 1 of my interview with Greg Hildebrandt:

Ed Catto: Well, this is quite a treat. I’m sure so many people you talk to all say, “I’m your biggest fan!” I’ve been loving your work for all those years so I’ll just get that all out of the way. but on a personal level, I feel like 11-year-old speaking to you. It’s a great treat for me.

Greg Hildebrandt: Thanks a lot, man. It’s always interesting to hear that, because of course I’m still 11 myself. I feel like the people that I enjoyed all my life. To have people tell me that back …now it’s always like “wait a minute” …that doesn’t quite fit!

EC: I’ve been with you, on this ride for many, many years.

GH: But do you know me for my toilet training book?

EC: I don’t know you for that one!

GH: That was that was one Tim <Hildebrandt, his brother> and I did. I think in 1974. Oh, to stay alive in the city, in New York, you have got to just take everything you can get and this one rose up, and I say “Yeah, what the hell.” There were these two young pediatricians that were really sticklers for detail. The mother and the kid and the father comes in, and we kept drawing sketches over and over and over again.

So, I’ll hold up that and the Star Wars poster – or the Lord of the Rings or something -, and say, “You may know me for this, but….”

EC: I guess every great painter has got one or two of those in the past…

GH: You take every job. You learn. And you need to make a living. Continue reading “With Further Ado #200: 200th Smash Issue – with Greg Hildebrandt”

With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike

With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike

Maybe cinema isn’t the way to go. Maybe big screen movies aren’t <always> the end all be all.

Sure, I just enjoyed the latest Dr. Strange movie. We made it a family outing– with my wife, my dad, my aunt, and my cousin. And I really enjoyed taking my college students to see the latest Batman movie at the local theater.  There’s something wonderful about the shared experience. And something even more wonderful about that theater buttered popcorn.

But maybe…just maybe…some beloved franchises are meant to thrive on the small screen.

I’m saying this because I’m just loving the new Star Trek series, Strange New Worlds. It’s all about the crew of the Enterprise, focusing on untold past stories, that are all set in the far future, of course.

Captain Pike was supposed to be the star of the first Star Trek TV show. That didn’t quite click with the powers-that-be, during the Golden Age of Television, so there was a redo.  The new version, with Kirk and Spock and the gang, found a foothold on NBC for a time and in the hearts of fans for … forever.  But instead of just dismissing the original concepts and characters as a “nice try”, they became part of the mythology. Ravenous fans have wanted long wanted to enjoy the early adventures Enterprise. Continue reading “With Further Ado #199: I Like Pike”

With Further Ado #124: An Outside Interpretation of the Fans of Geek Culture

With Further Ado #124: An Outside Interpretation of the Fans of Geek Culture

Taking a page from one of my favorite columnists, Nicholas Kristof, this week I’m presenting the winner of the first annual Ithaca College Guest Columnist contest.  At the Ithaca College School of Business, I teach entrepreneurism, including classes on planning and managing trade shows – like comic conventions.  We also explore the many issues of this unique segment of entertainment business.  I invited the students to submit potential With Further Ado columns for Pop Culture Squad, and I was very impressed with their thoughts and writing.

It was hard to select just one, but my first annual guest columnist winner is IC student Anthony Hernandez.  Anthony has some smart insights that I’m eager to share with you all.  Congrats, Anthony!

***

I love Star Wars and really enjoy watching the Marvel superhero movies, but that’s about it when it comes to diving into geek culture for me. I never went to any conventions or picked up a comic book out of my own will. I never had any ideas for new content, speculated on the future of any fictional universe, or spent more than $100 on merchandise. I have deep hesitations about immersing myself into the world of geek culture for many reasons and have quite often distanced myself from doing so. While I could list them all, I’ll just mention two and expand on them.

Just a small note, when I say “fans” I’m generally referring to anyone who identifies themselves as a hardcore geek or a related title.

Firstly, fans have been associated with a certain stigma of being extremely obsessive when it comes to their interests; It’s even perceived that they’ would blindly do or buy anything if it has any correlation with their interests.

I just recently watched the Star Wars episode on The Toys That Made Us (a documentary series on Netflix about various toys) that embraced and amplified that type of behavior. Kenner Products, a small toy company, deployed a two-phase plan of satisfying the Star Wars toy market when they decided they could not produce action figures in time for the holidays. The first phase was simply recycling their old products and slapping a Star Wars sticker on it. The second phase is what really stood out to me as unique and dumb from a business perspective. It should have failed.

The second phase consisted of making consumers purchase an empty box with the promise of sending action figures once they had been produced at a greater scale. Surprisingly, it worked. I mean really, how was this successful? How is it that a small toy company that hardly anyone had any confidence in could have pulled this off? It was all due to the consumers’ blind faith and hope that they would receive their Star Wars merchandise.

Now of course, Kenner Products intended no harm with their strategy, but it can be said that they were confident with it because they relied on the fact that the Star Wars label was enough for people to throw money at the company. It almost insinuates and makes the generalization that obsessive fans are mindless. When looking at it from this perspective, who’d want to be part of that community? At the time of purchase, consumers were really spending their money on a promise that their Luke and Leia action figures would come in eventually. All of this fosters up a sort of “we can do whatever we want, and these idiots will pay” attitude amongst producers even though (for obvious reasons) they may not show it.

Also with the action figures, a rocket firing Boba Fett figure was promised as a promotion that would arrive by mail. Many people actively sought out and eagerly awaited this figure. While present day Star Wars fans might not see the problem of wanting a limited Boba Fett figure, you have to keep in mind that Boba Fett’s character had not even made an appearance in the films yet! The only real glimpse that fans got of Boba Fett was during his first appearance in the dreaded Star Wars Holiday Special. By this logic, it seemed as if George Lucas didn’t even have to put in much effort to get the fandom hooked on a character. Boba Fett virtually did not exist yet in live action form, yet his was the most sought out action figure all because he looked cool, and he was going to fire a rocket.

Much to the disappointment of fans, when their Boba Fett eventually arrived, he was not fitted with the rocket-firing mechanism due to potential choking hazards. This is when serious desires for a rocket-firing Boba Fett really began to come up. Collectors paid top dollar for anyone who could produce one (one Boba would sell for $20,000 today).

This sort of mindset is one of the reasons why I’d be hesitant to be associated with geek culture. To an outsider like me, fans seem absolutely mindless. Who’d pay $20,000 for a 4-inch plastic toy? The fans who praise content creators and place their complete confidence in them have been at the mercy of said producers emotionally and financially.

Secondly, on top of seeming to drool over anything with a label, fantagonism comes into play. The term “fantagonism” refers to any hostility that fans display towards content creators. In a previous course I took, I was able to explore fantagonism and how it evolved. Even before I knew the term existed, I was well aware of it and it was a main reason why I thought that fans seemed flat out crazy. It steered me away from ever considering myself a geek.

While the relationship between producers and fans certainly has the potential to be beneficial and friendly, it looks to have been mostly antagonistic ever since fans and fandom came into existence. Why is that? It’s no doubt that it’s the fans themselves who are at fault of stirring relations. They feel the absolute need to not only give their opinions on their favorite books, comics, or movies, but also their scathing criticisms. Some even go as far as giving death threats to creators just because they killed off a fan favorite or some wild speculation didn’t come true!

Actual petition to throw out the stories in Star Wars Episodes 7, 8, and 9

On a lesser scale, some fans of the Skywalker Saga have decided amongst themselves that the new Disney trilogy is “not canon”. Huh? They claim that anyone who doesn’t show a sliver of hate for the sequels or Disney isn’t a real fan. Just because they hated the new movies does not give them the ability to overstep their authority and declare what’s canon. They actively put themselves to war with producers and then get mad when they don’t get their way. Obsessive fans tend to be the loudest, which is probably why I find myself creating these stereotypes and applying them to all geeks.

Needless to say, fans are to blame for the hostile environment in geek culture. At first, it used to be through letters, however with the expansion of the internet and social media, we are beginning to see the fans take on producers directly, almost eliminating the blind following that producers once had. Geeks have never been so dangerously close to producers, and they’re definitely not afraid to show it.

***

Anthony Hernandez is a sophomore studying Business Management at Ithaca College in New York. While he’s cautious about connecting with other fans, he loves fan objects possibly just as much as they do.

Brainiac On Banjo #101: Let’s Go Get Screwed

Brainiac On Banjo #101: Let’s Go Get Screwed

You know I work so hard, all day long / Everything I try to do, seems to always turn out wrong / That’s why I wanna’ stop by, on my way home and say / Let’s go get stoned – written by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Josephine Armstead, 1965.

You would think that after decades of legal entanglement, public ridicule, and media hostility, corporate America would have learned something from the Jerry Siegel – Joe Shuster “who owns Superman” slugfest. You might also think it would be swell if we could watch monkeys fly.

On his justifiably well-respected Word Balloons podcast last week, John Siuntres conversed with Alex Ross, and Alex dropped some shit. It seems the DC Comics daisy chain (DC < Warner Bros < WarnerMedia < AT&T, a.k.a. Ma Bell) no longer pays artists or writers when they use their work on screen. Alex discusses his Kingdom Come series with Mark Waid, his design of the current Batwoman, his re-design work with Wonder Woman, and his contributions to Black Lightning. His work has been seen, or closely imitated, in various WarnerMedia adaptations of the DC grimoire. Movies, teevee shows, streaming stuff, the whole enchilada has been heavily seasoned with buckets of Ross. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #101: Let’s Go Get Screwed”