Tag: Superman

Brainiac On Banjo: Should Hope Reign In Burbank?

Brainiac On Banjo: Should Hope Reign In Burbank?

Hope for the best, expect the worst! Some drink champagne, some die of thirst. No way of knowing which way it’s going. — Mel Brooks, Hope For The Best (Expect The Worst)

When Warner Bros Discovery revealed James Gunn and Peter Safran would be running their all-new DC Studios (as if there’s more than one), many of us lifted their faces out of our own puke in the hope it was the dawning of a new day. Well, with luck, it will be… although you can’t really blame us for taking a wait-and-see attitude.

I certainly appreciate and trust James Gunn. I love his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy and Peacemaker, and his The Suicide Squad was great fun. Better still, he treated my oldest friend and honored collaborator John Ostrander right, and that means so much to me I’d throw Gunn’s bail.

What I do not trust is, in order: 1) The “Hollywood” bureaucracy. 2) Warner-anything merging with anybody, be it Time Inc, America Online, AT&T or Discovery. Each merger made things worse for creators and end-users alike. 3) Warner Brothers Discovery in particular, and particularly how they turned the ridiculously overpriced HBOMax into a ridiculously overpriced, frustrating, mindless, and ultimately useless turd rapidly floating downstream into the sewer. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Should Hope Reign In Burbank?”

New Number Ones: New Comic Series Coming in February 2023

New Number Ones: New Comic Series Coming in February 2023

One month down, already? Well if it’s the beginning of the month, we have new comics series to show you. If you are new here, in this column, we have compiled 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.

This month, we have books on the list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, AWA Studios, Comics Experience Publishing, Mad Cave Studios, and IDW Publishing.

One thing to remember, we continue to measure the “comic week” as Wednesday. As such, if we have a month like February or the next one that starts on a Wednesday, the comics released the day before count as week one. #NCBD is Wednesday.

Special Note: As part of the Sins of Sinister Event. Marvel is rebranding and renumbering a few of the “X” titles.. We will note those below with the Logo for the event.

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.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 2/1/23
Week of 2/8/23
Week of 2/15/23
Week of 2/22/23


Week of February 1  


Almighty #1
Image Comics
Written by Edward Laroche
Art by Laroche & Brad Simpson
Cover Art by Laroche

MINISERIES PREMIERE

THE WARNING writer/artist EDWARD LAROCHE returns to comics with a five-issue epic! Max Max: Fury Road-style action combines with the mutated horror of Annihilation in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers.

The year is 2098 in a Third World America ravaged by economic collapse, anarcho-warfare, and a mysterious environmental disaster contained behind a massive wall. A girl has been abducted, and a killer has been hired to find her and bring her home.

Release Date: February 1, 2023

PCS NOTES: Sounds like this will be a fun ride.


Black Tape #1
AWA Studios
Written by Dan Panosian
Art by Dalibor Talajic& Ive Svorcina
Cover Art by Panosian

Jack King was a rock’n’roll god who projected a stage persona on par with the devil. After Jack dies on stage, his widow, Cindy, grapples with grief and struggles to protect his legacy, unaware that she is being surrounded by dark forces that covet the master tapes to Jack’s final, unreleased album – a heavy metal masterpiece that just might open a doorway to hell.

Release Date: February 1, 2023

PCS NOTES: We have always known that Dan Panosian is a gifted artist, but his writing has had us cheering up a storm the last few years. Dalibor Talajic is another creator who has been laying down excellent work. This is a combination we think will make some excellent comics.


Blood Tree #1
Image Comics
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Maxim Simic
Cover Art by Christian Alamy & Brad Anderson

SERIES PREMIERE

Two obsessed NYPD detectives hunt for a vicious butcher called the Angel Killer, a sociopath who preys on the innocent family members of known murderers in order to “purify” the rest of society.

From comics super team PETER J. TOMASI and MAXIM SIMIC comes a story that confronts the battle of nature versus nurture, considers how present and future generations are tainted by past generations, and asks the age-old question: Who must pay for the sins of the fathers-and perhaps even the sins of the mothers?

Release Date: February 1, 2023

PCS NOTES: Great creators interesting topic. We are in. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comic Series Coming in February 2023”

Brainiac On Banjo: Mad Archie of the North Star?

Brainiac On Banjo: Mad Archie of the North Star?

Given current population statistics, if you live in a comic book, and you do not happen to be a Green Lantern or a Flash, chances are you are a Hulk or a Spider-Person. Add the Batman, Shazam and X-Men families, and the odds are overwhelming you belong to a personality cult.

Or… you can be an Archie. There’s a lot of them, too. Forget about the teevee show — forget about all of these characters media madness; I’m only talking about comic books here. Action Comics #1051, which dropped last week, gave us the bird’s eye lowdown on the 21st Century-of-the-week Superman family: there’s now about a million characters with the big S on their chests. The words “unique” and “special” have been replaced, as far as comics are concerned, with “redundant” and, stripped of that which makes these chapters distinctive, “boring.”

Except for Archie. There’s only one Archie, but he and his supporting cast members exist simultaneously in at least a dozen different forms. Amusingly, the creators manage to keep these varieties both unique and interesting. For example, we’ve had the New Look Archie, the married Archie (to both Betty and to Veronica, but separately — for better or worse), the Archie(s) that are more or less in the vein of the Riverdale teevee show, the Archie horror line stocked full of vampires, werewolves and other Universal movie ex-pats, and the Archies from both previous as well as future eras. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Mad Archie of the North Star?”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #079: “Dear Dwayne”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #079: “Dear Dwayne”

Dear Dwayne,

I know you prefer to be called by your full moniker,  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but I want to speak to the person behind that particular mask. Put the eyebrow down. Send your posse on a 20 minute break. Place your phone on airplane mode, and place it face down on the table in front of us. It’s just you, me, and the millions (AND MILLIONS) of my fans reading this. Cool? Cool. 

You need to stop it. Seriously. C’mon, man. You know what I’m talking about. Really? You’re going to make me say it out loud? Fine.

“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

We loved when you dabbled your toe into acting. That turn as your own father in That 70’s Show? Great. Playing an alien version of yourself in Star Trek: Voyager? Uhhh… let’s come back to that.. And hey… your first trip to Saturday Night Live? Pitch perfect. Seriously. Better than any “sports stars” they featured prior. You then took the summers off in 2000 so you could become the Scorpion King (which, I assume was why you were on SNL). Like many fans… I actually went to the theater to catch your first starring role. Because it would either be good, or we’d have something to replace that one flick where Hulk Hogan made a dude crap himself.

And hey. It was fine. 20 something years later? I can’t recall a single scene, line of dialogue, or action sequence. But I do recall you fighting the late Michael Clark Duncan, and thinking it was cool. 

After that? I really want to commend you. You started taking interesting roles. Get Shorty. The Rundown. Walking Tall. Southland Tales. Were you “generic badass tough guy” in most of them? Sure. But the scripts were smart. And because of it, you looked smart. Not just catchphrases and stuntman body slams. Versus previous wrestler-turned-actors — Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Jesse Venture — you seemed to have more depth, better comedic timing, and pathos (when called for).  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #079: “Dear Dwayne””

Superman Is Going to Congress

As the current House of Representatives chaos continues, comic fans have a very niche reason to look forward to the conclusion of the seemingly endless stream of votes for the next Speaker of the House. Thanks to freshman congressman Robert Garcia of California, there will be finally be some quality reading material in the House of Representatives chamber.

As most people should know, Members of Congress swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution upon being seated. That oath can be sworn on whatever the member deems important to them. Most choose a bible or other type of religious book, but Mr. Garcia has finagled quite the prize for him to swear in on. Continue reading “Superman Is Going to Congress”

Year in Review 2022: The Best New Comics and OGNs of the Year

Year in Review 2022: The Best New Comics and OGNs of the Year

It is the end of the year, and that means “Best of the Year” lists. I hate year-end “Best of” lists. They are never accurate and invariably are the cause of consternation for someone.

If you have read my columns, you know that I don’t disparage people’s work in public. I have read some very bad comics this year. Some were poorly conceived. Some were poorly executed, but I won’t talk about them on this site. Our goal here is to celebrate what is excellent.

With that being said, I have spent some time coming up with some of the best things that I read this year. I read a LOT of comics, but not all of them. I can only talk about what I read; so, that is the caveat when reading the lists below. These are the things based on what I read.

There were hundreds of new comic series that premiered in 2022. Many of them were good. Some were excellent. Below, you will find some things that I recommend checking out.

Top 10Honorable MentionsOGNs

Top 10 Best New Series

As I mentioned, there were a lot of new series to hit stands this year. I couldn’t read them all, but these two list of the Top 10 and Honorable Mentions are worth a read if you haven’t seen them. Also, they are in alphabetical order. You are asking a lot to get me to give a Top 10. I won’t rank them further. Continue reading “Year in Review 2022: The Best New Comics and OGNs of the Year”

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 Comic Writer Mark Russell

Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell

In this episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast we spoke with writer Mark Russell. It’s been about seven years since Mark burst on the scene with his breakthrough book The Flintstones from DC comics.

Since that time, he has delivered a string of smart, thought provoking stories in the medium including Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Second Coming with Ahoy Comics, Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment, Billionaire Island, Not All Robots from AWA Studios, and so much more.

We spent some time in this conversation talking about his two upcoming series which are Superman: Space Age on which he is work with legendary artist Mike Allred. And The Incal: Psychoverse that he is doing with Yanick Paquette.

If you are a fan of Mark Russell’s work at all, you know that we had to touch on some current events and nature of human society. It was a lot of fun.

We transcribed some of the interview below but also listen to the SquadCast to hear the whole conversation. We hope you enjoy it.


PopCultureSquad: You’ve written Superman before in Wonder Twins and One Star Squadron. How does this new story differ for you? Is it the same version of Superman?

Mark Russell: I wanted to write him as like sort of a wise old stoic, you know, sort of like Marcus Aurelius or Suetonius or something, but he doesn’t start out that way. And I think what is different about this story is it tells Superman from his beginnings to becoming that. So, it is much more about trial and error. It is much more about the process of him becoming Superman, about him absorbing the wisdom of the Kents and Lois lane, and synthesizing all of the influences that they have on his life and becoming what you would recognize as my Superman. He is an unflappable, wise character who realizes that he has to be the voice of reason, that he has to be the most generous soul in the room, because anything less than that would be a nightmare for the human race.

PCS: Right. And it’s interesting because the Superman that you have written is very different from Sunstar from Second Coming. Superman that you’ve written has that heavy gravitas to him. And you can tell that everyone who’s talking to him, or stuck talking to him, knows that they are talking to the most powerful person on the planet, and he is not acting like it.

MR: So. Yeah. When I had originally pitched the Second Coming story, I wanted it to be Superman, but, Dan Didio at DC said, “I get death threats when Superman fails to say the Pledge of Allegiance. You are not going to involve me in your blasphemy here.” So, luckily he said no to Superman, but he said, “You can write it as a creator own character, and I’ll approve it.” So, that’s when I created Sunstar. and it really turned out to be a good move, because Sunstar, I think makes a much better paring for Jesus Christ than Superman.

If it was Superman, then you just have two nice guys, two really wise guys bouncing off each other, and no one wants to read that. There is just really nowhere to go with that. Whereas, Sunstar is not that wise. He’s a guy who’s kind of spoiled, someone who’s leaned into his privilege, and Christ has to sort of dial him back a little. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview with Comic Writer Mark Russell”

R.I.P. Comics Legend Neal Adams 1941 – 2022

R.I.P. Comics Legend Neal Adams 1941 – 2022

Photo by Gage Skidmore at 2019 Phoenix Fan Fusion

The comic book industry has lost another giant. Neal Adams passed away yesterday on April 28. 2022. He was 80 years old and passed after complications from sepsis. Adams’s work as a penciller and storyteller left a massive impact on the medium, and his efforts in creator rights advocacy led to policies that have benefited untold numbers of creators that followed him.

Adams worked in commercial advertising art at the beginning of his career and also worked for Archie Comics in the early 1960’s. He later worked for both Marvel and DC Comics, but his work on Batman and Green Lantern / Green Arrow in the 1970’s is where he began to leave his lasting legacy. The work he did with Denny O’Neil on those books was transformative in comic book storytelling. He also published creator-owned independent works with Pacific Comics and Continuity Comics among others.

He was also an activist for creator rights and is credited with helping to push for the credit for creating Superman that Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster were long denied. The practice of returning original art to creators is another innovation that he fought for along with various attempts to create creative community collective bargaining units. In his later years, he lent his art to several projects intended to highlight resistance to Nazi aggression during the Holocaust.

Neal Adams was a legend in his time. He was inducted into every Hall of Fame in the comics industry that you can think of and was responsible for helping to nurture the career of young creators. His legacy is immeasurable, and he will be missed.

With Further Ado #185: True Love and Discounted Comics

With Further Ado #185: True Love and Discounted Comics

I tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and it clobbered our plans for St. Valentine’s Day. I am relieved that I was vaxxed and boostered; my symptoms weren’t that bad. But my isolation period overlapped our Valentine plans, and that was a bummer.

My wife, Kathe, is always a very thoughtful gift-giver, and one of the St. Valentine’s gifts she gave me this year was a pack of 10 DC Comics from discount retailer Ollie’s. This pack collected ten recent comics and sold them at a discount. The promotional packaging proclaims it is up to a $49.90 value.

Do you know Ollie’s? This is a discount/close-out retailer. They famously had a bunch of hardcover comic collections from DC and Marvel on sale at absurdly low prices a few years ago.  It turns out the DC sales force had been trying to sell these books to comic shops for years, and finally just unloaded the inventory.  As we don’t have a comic shop in our town, it’s an easy stop for casual and hard-core comic fans.

As anyone who’s tried to gift comics to a comic book fan knows, it’s always hard to figure out what they already have and what they haven’t yet purchased/read.  Kathe was surprised that there were many comics in this 10-pack that I hadn’t read.

And it’s an odd collection. It’s like a time capsule, but not an ancient one. In fact, it’s like a time capsule that was just put together a year or two ago, and then you were impatient and wanted to open it right then. This stack of DC Comics had a bit of “stale anticipation” of all the stuff that seemed exciting but has since gone in another direction.  That’s understandable; the company has been through so many changes lately.

Of note:

Action Comics #1000 (June 2018) is a fun comic with short stories by top creators.  The last story in this one was a tease for Brain Bendis’ then upcoming stint of the Superman titles.  I really enjoyed that run, but it’s astonishing at how quickly it all went by.

Likewise, Superman #21 (May 2020) was published right at the tail end of Bendis’ run. One of the things it focused on was Superman abandoning his Clark Kent identity. The idea was that we’d get “so many” stories exploring that new development.  That didn’t really seem to happen either.

This packet included two copies of Batman #93 (June 2020), one with the regular cover and one with the retailer variant.  This issue features the character Punchline and the writer James Tynion IV, both of whom seemed to be so important to the Batman franchise at the time. I’m unconvinced that Punchline became the breakout character she was meant to be. Writer Tynion recently left Gotham City for the greener pastures of Substack, and the Batman title has the feel of re-starting with a “bold, new era” with new creators yet again. Continue reading “With Further Ado #185: True Love and Discounted Comics”