Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Prince Street News: Getting Superman

The new BACK ISSUE! is a loving tribute to the benchmark of all superhero cinema, Richard Donner's 1978 epic, SUPERMAN (aka ...THE MOVIE). I've written and drawn thousands and thousands of words about this movie and my love for it many times for many outlets over the years (even in a previous installment of this comic strip!), but this one is, upon the 40th anniversary of the film, a look at WHY that movie worked as well as it did (and as someone who just saw it again on the big screen as part of Fathom Events' anniversary screenings, I can attest that it still works...).

Having said that, this episode of PSN makes me wince a bit because I am still utterly inept at capturing likenesses. It's a failing. But I hope that doesn't impede your enjoyment of the strip too much. I mean, we all have our little faults... Lex's is in California.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Prince Street News: From Lancaster to Riverdale

Oh, did I love doing this one. BACK ISSUE! #107 is a deep dive into the Bronze Era of Archie Comics, a line for which I have tremendous love. The clean, crisp cartooning of some of those books had probably more of an impact on my style than the "straight" comic book artists I loved. To the extent where in hindsight, maybe I should've taken my portfolio to Archie instead of DC Comics back in the early '90s when I still thought this was what I wanted to do for a living.

Oh, well. At least I finally got the chance to draw the Archies... and Josie (after the New York Dolls)... and Sabrina... and Bingo... and the Mad House Glads...  and even Li'l Jinx (whom I hate). Unlike most installments of this comic strip, I'd imagine that this one will be relatable to a lot more of you beyond the aging hardcore fanboys like myself. At least I hope so.

Next up! Another look at Superman: The Movie (really!) on the cusp of its 40th anniversary.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Prince Street News: Golden Agers' Night!

The new BACK ISSUE!, #106 is on the stands, focusing on Bronze Age revivals of Golden Age characters (I've lost the non-fanboys already, haven't I?). For this installment of PSN, we return to Julie's Bar, the timeless tavern for comic book characters. This time we're bellying up to the bar in the 1974, a time when DC Comics was starting to bring back old characters such as The Spectre, Dr. Fate, and other Earth-2 members of the Justice Society of America (look it up). The gags in this one are pretty much all just for the fanboys, except maybe the first panel on page two. This is the second PSN in which I get to make "Comic Characters' Favorite Adult Beverages" jokes, a topic that combines two of my great loves (in case it helps you get the jokes, the characters are Uncle Sam, Bulletman, the "big guy" from Harvey Kurtzman's "Hey, Look!," Captain Tootsie (from comic book ads for Tootsie Rolls), the Spirit, The Blue Beetle, and Wonder Woman's pal, Etta Candy (who actually used to constantly shout, "Woo! Woo!"). Hilarious, right?

Okay, anyway. Next issue contains a strip that'll appeal to a wider audience, being anyone who's ever read an Archie comic book, particularly from the 1960s or '70s. Watch this space!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Barcade Jersey City 7th Anniversary Poster

As I post this, it's still in the future! So if you're seeing this prior to Thursday, May 10th, 2018, come to Barcade Jersey City and have some delicious beers with me! If, however, you're seeing this after that particular date in time, you lose, jerk!

But you should still hit a Barcade.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tomorrow poster

My friend Joanna asked me if I'd be interested in doing the poster her Lancaster PA theater company's production of Joseph Eck's play, TOMORROW, based on the struggles of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman. 


Joanna offered to send me the script, but I assured her I was somewhat familiar with the story. Anyway, the poster is (obviously, to some of you) based on the cover of 1939's SUPERMAN #1, the first comic book dedicated to a single character (that Superman guy sure did feature in a lot of pop culture firsts).

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Prince Street News: Bad (or at least questionable) Editorial Decisions of the Silver and Bronze Ages

The new BACK ISSUE! (#103) is one of those For-Fanboys-Only issues, as it focuses on ALL-STAR EDITORS rather than specific characters or comics of the Bronze Age... but if you're someone who DOES know / care about how the super-sausage was made in the 1970s, it's another deep dive that's well worth taking.

For this issue, PRINCE STREET NEWS takes a gentle swipe at some comic book editorial decisions of the Silver and Bronze Ages that, in hindsight, may not have been the wisest choices. Some of them are notorious (Denny O'Neil's de-powered Wonder Woman, giving the Blackhawks superhero-ish identities), and some are less-controversial decisions that just bugged me (making J. Jonah Jameson, Perry White, and Jim Gordon all quit smoking). But like this issue of the magazine, this installment of the strip is pretty much just for those of you who have some longboxes stashed in your home somewhere... except maybe for the JUGHEAD'S EAT-OUT COMIC BOOK MAGAZINE, which is universally hilarious.

Although seriously, check out what happens in AVENGERS #200... it is freaking disturbing.

PSN returns in BI! #106 this summer with a return to Julie's Bar for GOLDEN AGERS' NIGHT!, then again in #107 with a tribute to the Bronze Age ARCHIE COMICS line.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prince Street News: Comic and Cartoon Characters' Favorite Musical Artists (complete)

The new BACK ISSUE! spotlights rock & roll comics of the Bronze Age, featuring pieces on Alice Cooper, KISS (many, many articles about KISS), Flash Gordon, Paul McCartney, and much more. Finally, with this issue's theme, I was able to bring a new installment of what might be my signature piece to PRINCE STREET NEWS.

The first installment of  “Comic Characters’ Favorite Musical Artists” appeared in Warner Bros. Records’ promotional faux-zine, DIRT in the 1990s (wherein I contributed a monthly comic strip called THE RETAIL ADVENTURES OF KALLI & REX about the joys and travails of running an independent record store… remember those?). The concept’s next appearance was in my online strip, YOU DON'T LIKE ANYTHING! (which also appeared in the music magazine, THE BIG TAKEOVER). From 1999 through the first decade of the new millennium, I added more installments of the series, which eventually went viral in 2011, aggregated by dozens of websites including CBR, Buzzfeed, and Flavorwire (to name a few). 

Ever since I started doing PRINCE STREET NEWS for BACK ISSUE! that same year, I’ve been hoping to bring the concept to these pages. Finally, with this rock & roll comics issue, the format fit.

But as I set to writing the strip, I realized something: Every other installment of CCFMA was aimed mostly at a music fan audience; the bands chosen could be obscure, but the characters expressing their affection had to be known by the general public (for the most part). This time around, I had to take the opposite tack: Since I was doing this for BACK ISSUE! readers, the characters could be more obscure, but the musical preferences needed to be (again, for the most part) more mainstream. 

Still, not everyone will get every joke. That’s inevitable. Few will recognize every single artist mentioned. And the reasons for the pairing are all over the map. Some are obvious, groan-inducing puns (e.g., Mysterio, Hawkman). Some are due to iconic songs that could relate to the character (e.g., Thor, Underdog). Some are jokes that you might need to think about—or even do some Googling—to get (e.g., The Crypt Keeper, Little Dot). And some are actually chosen because, well, they make sense (Foghorn Leghorn, Hawk & Dove). My hope is that (in true music industry form) the 35 gags herein yield more hits than misses.

For this fifth installment, all the characters are new to the series, but I had to reuse one band from an earlier strip because it fit the new character so much better than its original champion (I won’t tell you which band, but in the old strip, they were loved by Space Ghost). 

For this post, I've included the previous four installments of CCFMA, combined into two bigger pieces, with some updated jokes and a few redrawn panels. I'm not going to explain each and every joke (part of the fun is trying to figure them out), but if there's something you don't get that's driving you nuts, feel free to ask me in the comments. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Prince Street News: Bronze Baby!

BACK ISSUE! hits its 100th issue with a special giant sized look at comic book fandom in the Bronze Age, and man, does it pack a nostalgic wallop for those of us who relied on fanzines like THE COMIC READER, THE COMICS BUYERS GUIDE, FOOM, and THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS for news of upcoming books way back yonder in those pre-Internet days.

For the issue, I did a "special" installment of Prince Street News, a 43-panel overview of a mere sampling of the vast goodness that spewed forth from the squeaky spinner racks of the 1970s and '80s. Hardcore fanboys of a certain age may well be able to identify every reference (mostly comic book covers), but hopefully those of you who never had the experience of bugging your parents for spare pocket change to forage some action / adventure / humor / chills / et al at the drugstore can still get a sense of the wonder those days incurred.

NEXT ISSUE: It's the return of a theme that once went viral on this here Internet! Installment FIVE of COMIC CHARACTERS' FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS (and I'll be posting it with all the other strips, including some updated / altered selections, so it'll be the definitive version)...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Barcade Boards IV

Hey, here's another batch of random chalkboard scrawlings done over the past few years at various Barcade locations (two of which I also sling drinks for a living)... I'll get to do this again soon as they/we open the seventh location in downtown Newark NJ (where I also happen to live, so this will be a quick commute). The photo at the top is me doing my most frequent update, redoing the draft list in Jersey City (my primary location). Also, there's an embarrassing typo in one of the photos, in which I screw up our slogan, "The Original Arcade Bar" by adding the company's "B" in front of "Arcade," making it kind of superfluous. I later fixed it.  There are a few repeated themes in this gallery from the previous three, but heck, it's been a while, you probably don't remember.