Tagged: John Byrne


BAD TIGER STUDIO debuted recently as a new force in Pulp and Comics, fitting the bill for just what All Pulp covers!  With this first interview of Company Partner C. William Russette, All Pulp begins a series spotlighting Bad Tiger Creators discussing characters, plans, and more to come from this new, but already popular company in Comics and Pulp Fiction


ALL PULP:  Tell us about yourself, your personal background, and how you got into writing/art/etc.

CWR; My name is C. William Russette I currently pay the rent working retail. I have an incredibly supportive wife and a fantastic son who digs my art. I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon as so many artists claim. Far as I recall it was the truth for me. I didn’t get interested in writing until I started playing role playing games and the plots provided just weren’t interesting enough for me to run my players through. Basically I always fancied myself an artist but never pushed that too hard. Writing was all dabbling too until I was in the army and took a correspondence course. That and trying to impress my future wife got me to start taking my writing seriously. I wrote some comic book scripts and short stories. Tommy roped me into the first of many web projects and his health has been on the decline ever since. I have been published in both comic book format and prose; most recently in Pro Se Presents.

AP: What is your role at Bad Tiger?

CWR: I am the co-Founder along with Justin Ditzler. That’s my biggest hat. I am also the plotter-scripter-penciller-inker of the OPERATOR ZERO comic. I recruited all of our talent from past associations be it writing or art. I also wear an editors hat but that’s pretty loose.

AP: In our modern society, some would say that there’s nothing new or original anymore.  What makes Bad Tiger stand out?

CWR: I don’t care for that idea. By that reasoning no one has done anything new or original since Macedonia four thousand years ago. Plots and themes can be retreaded and slapped together with different characters in different places and times. I think it really depends on how you present the story. How well was it written? Was it executed properly? What will make Bad Tiger material stand out is that no one has our unique viewpoints or the way we process everything we absorb. I’ll let my peers answer for themselves but I grew up reading a lot of fiction from comic books to fantasy-adventure and devouring films like Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian and especially the Ray Harryhausen works. So add to that a fondness for Pulp (that I was unaware of until it was brought to my attention.) and dump trucks of Robert E. Howard, Stephen King and Jeffery Deaver and there is a healthy eclectic mix that my creative engine can chew up, lace with adrenalin and spit out what I call my kinda stories. BTS is my stories done my way. It’s something that I have been wanting to do for some time and I’ve assembled a gang of like minded individuals to share their wares.

AP: What are your inspirations, influences for the work you do?

CWR: There are many so I’ll just scrape off the icing. For art I will say Mike Mignola, John Byrne and Walt Simonson are top of the heap. I am still learning to ink but Gary Martin and Shawn Martinbrough jump to mind. For writing it is really all over the place. Warren Ellis, Jim Shooter, Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Clavell (Shogun is still my favorite novel), R. A. Salvatore, Bruce Lee, Robert Ludlam, Chris Claremont and Grant Morrison to name a few. Are we doing movies? 13 Assassins, The Crow, Gladiator, The Avengers and cartoons like Alladin, Akira and Transformers G1. Toshiro Mifune, Jeff Goldblum, Jack Nicholson and Donnie Yen. For music its mostly 80’s rock and metal. For it all I need the high water mark, a direct line or an adrenaline shot to get the juices flowing. Oh, and coffee.

AP: What do you think appeals to the public about heroic/genre fiction and/or comic strips?  Why will people come to Bad Tiger?

CWR: I think there are a number of reasons why people like heroic fiction. I think there is a certain thrill to living vicariously through the characters that you’re absorbing. I know I do that. I think there is a certain level of escapism that feeds a down-time need during troubled times in your life. You want to forget the rent, the war, the homework or the job. Maybe reading about a domino masked ex-sailor that stands up against the unjust and lands a mighty jaw-breaking right cross is just the ticket to lower your blood pressure. The creators that I have roped into presenting their varied super-charged crime-breaking, airship-flying, sword swinging, mask wearing, machine gun unloading stories will deliver the super charged pulp, genre tales that much of the comic book industry just doesn’t deliver. Heck, we even have a comedic strip in Junior’s World by Frank Dawson Jr. Its all under one roof and great things are coming down the pipe. I assure you.

AP: Any closing thoughts?

CWR: I’ve gone on long enough but I will say that I am having a great time working with these guys and creating along side them the stories that we all love to read. Watch this Bad Tiger as he claws his way to the top!

 Bad Tiger Studio- http://www.badtigerstudio.com

Martha Thomases Stands for Hope

Thomases Art 130621Late to the Man of Steel party, but I am compelled to weigh in. Here are my thoughts, which I don’t think are spoilers, but be warned if you’re squeamish about such things.

When I worked at DC in the 1990s, I was known as the person who liked Superman. Which is odd, really, because without Superman, there would be no DC. In any case, the consensus was that Superman wasn’t cool because he wasn’t dark or broody. Over the next decade, Superman became cool, not only in the comics, but also on a top-rated television program. People stood on line at Macy’s anchor store for the chance to meet editor Mike Carlin.

And then Superman Returns bombed, and the conventional wisdom was that Superman, as a character, needed to be dark and brooding after all. He had to be made “modern.”

Anyone who was reading Superman before John Byrne’s 1986 reboot will remember a dark and brooding character. The late, pre-Crisis Superman was always thinking mournfully of his lost planet, his lost birth family, his lost adopted family, and his sense that he could never have a family of his own. Alan Moore captured this brilliantly in his 1985 story, “For the Man Who Has Everything.”

This film is certainly dark. In a recent interview, Bill Nye said, “Space brings out the best in us.” But not, apparently in our production design.

On all of Krypton, it seems, the only colors are blacks, grays and metallic. There do not seem to be any blondes. We don’t see any vegetation above ground, and the Kryptonians we see wear either armor with capes or robes that appear to be ceremonial. It’s beautiful, but it really took my out of the movie, as I wondered how any civilization could be so determinately dreary. I suppose it’s possible that an entire planet could have its own art director to show how Seriously Dark and Mature they are, but to me it just seemed like the everybody went Goth at the same time. When we have the big reveal of Kal-El’s Superman suit, I wondered when Jor-El had discovered blue and red.

Amy Adams is a delightful Lois Lane, maybe the best I’ve ever seen. Her performance is completely believable as a hard-charging, ambitious reporter. She never plays girly or helpless. I only wish she would give lessons to Maureen Dowd.

Laurence Fishburne is a terrific Perry White. If only he had more to do.

The real hero of the movie, to me, is Christopher Meloni, in his most memorable movie role since Wet Hot American Summer.

Which brings me to my biggest regret. The body count in this movie is ridiculously high. The final battle over Metropolis must kill hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people. And it’s not just Zod and his minions who destroy. Superman topples his share of skyscrapers. My Superman would have moved the battle to an ocean. The ending, to my mind, is completely out of character. I know it’s been done in the comics, but there was immediate fall-out and regret, which we don’t see here.

It’s especially disturbing, given that Warner Bros. apparently went out of their way to market this movie as something traditionally religious families would enjoy. The script makes a big deal about Clark being 33 years old (which seems to me to be too old for Clark to be so naive, but I’m not in film marketing), Even if one can ignore the Jewish roots (which, before that, were Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian) of most of the Superman mythos, one would still notice the tug-of-war between Jonathan and Martha Kent over whether Clark should stay in or out of the closet about his differences.

Maybe this is the problem. Maybe trying to make a film that will appeal to those too self-conscious to be hopeful at the same time trying to appeal to evangelicals produces a mush.

Or maybe the creative team needs another film to find their legs. That’s what happened with Batman.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Monday Mix-Up: John Byrne’s X-Men and… Popeye?

Via Chris Ryall at IDW Publishing, we have this drawing by John Byrne, featuring Popeye and an Uncanny X-team, too.

C’mon, you never once looked at those forearms and thought to yourself, “Stinkin’ mutie”? With forearms that big, to heck with retractable claws– he could have a whole retractable wolverine in there. Nevertheless, this is not how I imagined Byrne returning to the X-Men.

Colors by Leonard O’Grady.

The Point Radio: Constructing BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

We begin our look at the new film, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, first talking with creators Kami Garcia and Margret Stohl, then director Richard LaGravenese who moved the project from book to film and actor Jeremy Irons who steps into a key role. Plus Marvel tries its hand at the romance game and the JLA movie hits a road block.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: CHICAGO FIRE Ignites Primetime For NBC

We aren’t trying to be cute in saying that NBC’s CHICAGO FIRE seems be be heating up the network’s Wednesday nights. Series star Eaamon Williams and creator Derek Haas talk about how the series keeps it real – and safe – plus the comeback trail is getting crowded with new material on TOMB RAIDER, Ralph Bakshi and The Thunderbirds!

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Kevin Bacon On How THE FOLLOWING Got Him On TV

It took a project like THE FOLLOWING to lure Kevin Bacon to series television, and he tells he just why he made the move plus James Purefoy talks about why his serial killer character is so hard to hate. And have you heard about BAR RESCUE? The hit Spike TV series is heading into it’s third season and host Jon Taffer explains what we may have missed. Plus ENTOURAGE is headed to the big screen and John Byrne heads back to DOOMSDAY.

Check out our exclusive video interview with KEVIN BACON right here on our YouTube Channel. Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Mike Gold: Bite My Twinkie

Some 30 years ago DC and Marvel produced a series of ads featuring their characters (except Superman) in one-page adventures hawking Hostess products. That campaign ran forever, so when we relaunched E-Man at First Comics I thought it would be fun to get people to do Hostess ad parodies featuring their creator-owned characters. John Byrne did Rog-2000, Max Collins and Terry Beatty did Mike Mist, Lee Marrs did Pudge Girl Blimp, Reed Waller did Omaha The Cat Dancer, and so on.

A few years later I was at DC Comics where I edited (interm-ly; Marv Wolfman was moving to the west coast and had some health issues) Teen Titans Spotlight. Mike Baron wrote a story featuring The Hawk (of the original Hawk and Dove) wherein the lead character uttered the epitaph “Bite My Twinkie!” Whereas it was completely in character, one of DC’s top-most executives took great offense at this. In an act of astonishing courage, our young photocopy-kid – who later became a full editor – demanded said executive to point to his Twinkie. That, I felt, was more salacious than Baron’s original line.

Twinkies became a metaphor long ago. Those childhood memories are exceptionally powerful: we all grew up on Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Zingers and those of us who were baby boomers routinely rediscovered that ancient passion around 2 AM after giving the nation of Columbia a boost in their GNP. In fact, Chicago’s hippie district bordered a Dolly Madison thrift shop (before the company was bought out by Hostess) and, to the best of my knowledge, it was the only said thrift shop to have overnight hours. It was a great place to meet up with friends.

So it is no surprise that last week’s sudden closure of Hostess has traumatized so many people. No matter how unhealthy the product was, those childhood attachments more than compensated. Millions of us who hadn’t eaten much of that stuff in the past four decades felt a genuine loss. My daughter is upset about the prospect of having Wonder Bread-less peanut butter sandwiches and she’s right: it will not be the same.

Sure, there’s a handful of Food Nazis who have been quoted as saying “well, now people can eat vegetables and other healthy stuff.” These people are dangerous lunatics. People who think somebody who can no longer procure a Ho-Ho will now reach for broccoli should not be allowed to operate heavy machinery.

We’d like to think that in comics we’ve progressed past the nostalgia connection, and to a certain extent we most certainly have. But the power of those childhood memories is so great that it would be ridiculous to assume they are no longer relevant. I got over the loss of Ipana toothpaste, but our culture is worse off for the absence of Shinola. It is no surprise to me, at least, that we started making “serious” comics movies when those who grew up with comics as a vital part of their childhood lives started working behind the camera.

So when I went to the local Stop and Stop Saturday afternoon and noted how the joint was totally cleared out of Hostess/Drakes/Dolly Madison products, I chuckled. Loudly.

And then I went over to the comics rack to see what was still on sale.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil


Mindy Newell: Not Superman’s Girlfriend!

Last week I wrote about Lois Lane (here) for the first time since 1986 and my mini-series “When It Rains, God Is Crying,” which was edited by ComicMix’s own Robert Greenberger. It got me to thinking about Lois.

First, a little history on the mini-series, which was published in 1986.

1986 was the year that John Byrne took over Superman. As the final ink was drying on the (secret) contract, I approached Dick Giordano about writing a Lois Lane mini-series. Or maybe it was Dick who called me into his office and asked if I wanted to write a “final” Lois Lane story as part of the “Superman Silver Age Farewell Tour, which included Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ For The Man Who Has Everything and Alan Moore, Curt Swan, and George Perez’s Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? I’m pretty sure it was the former, though I could be wrong, thanks to my menopausal memory.

There are two reasons I believe it was the former: (1) I didn’t know Byrne was being given carte blanche to reboot the entire Superman mythos and family, and that, as part of the deal, no one would be allowed to touch any of the characters without John’s permission; and (2) I distinctly remember saying to Dick that, if the first series was successful, I wanted to continue to write stories about Lois as her own person, as a reporter covering stories – not as Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane. Of course Dick was non-committal, but I thought it was because he – naturally – didn’t want to put the horse before the cart, not because of the Byrne deal that was about to be announced to the press and public.

At any rate, and to my delight, Dick green-lit the project, which would feature Lois as a reporter doing a story on missing and abused children, and in which Superman would not appear – although Clark Kent would. And Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and even Lois’s sister, Lucy. The story would be character-driven, and it would be about Lois. Robert Greenberger, then working as an editor at DC – and with whom I had worked on the V comic – was given the assignment, and he brought in the remarkable Gray Morrow, known for his realistic and individualistic portrayal of women characters. We were all immensely enthusiastic about the project, and the series came together incredibly easy because of that enthusiasm. It remains something Robert and I are immensely proud to have created. (Gray Morrow, who always expressed his love of the series to me, passed away in 2001.)

The best part of the project, for me, was having the chance to write Lois as an individual.

I grew up on the Silver Age Lois in comics, she of the 1950s white veiled cloche and matching gloves, a lady-like suite, nylons, and pumps. I didn’t like that she was always mooning over Superman and that her main raison d’être was to prove that Superman was Clark Kent. I didn’t like that Superman always managed to pull the wool over her eyes. It made her foolish. It was insulting. It was dumb. I liked Lana Lang; she was spunky, she was Insect Queen, she was a member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and she just seemed smarter and not so constantly obsessed with Superman’s secret identity.

I couldn’t stand Noel Neill as Lois Lane, either. She was too – I don’t know, what’s the word? – genteel to be a star reporter on a “great metropolitan newspaper.” Too much like the Lois Lane of the comics.

But Phyllis Coates! Now she was a tough broad. You could imagine her Lois working her way up the glass ladder – and even breaking though that glass ceiling – in a time when “ladies” stayed home and emulated Betty Crocker. Coates’ Lois could not only replace Perry White as the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet, but she would keep a bottle of Scotch in her bottom drawer just as Lou Grant did on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Phyllis Coates’s Lois was the chick that Sinatra sang about in The Lady Is A Tramp. Phyllis Coates’s Lois was Katherine Graham of the Washington Post.

I believe that Coates’ portrayal of Lois was based on how she first appeared in Action Comics #1. That Lois was snarky, resourceful, sarcastic, brave, contemptuous of Clark Kent, and didn’t moon over Superman; it is said that Siegel and Shuster based her personality and character on Rosalind Russell in His Gal Friday. She smelled a story and went after it. Yeah, Superman saved her – but she was thankful, not all googly-eyed and mushy because of it. (This was the Lois who also appeared in the Fleisher animated shorts, which can easily be found on the web.)

Bottom line, Lois is the most underappreciated, and in my humble opinion, most badly written character in comics. Currently she is a producer on a television news-entertainment show; sorry, no way, José. Lois is Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, or Christine Amanpour on CNN. Lois is Candy Crowley at the Presidential debate, fact-checking Romney’s statements about Obama. Lois is Helen Thomas in her prime, with her own seat in the front row at Presidential news conferences. Lois is Diane Sawyer, or Andrea Mitchell, or Soledad O’Brian.

Damn, if I could get my hands on her…

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten Talks Arrow, Talks Halloween



Mike Gold Can Count To 32!

I used to provoke this asinine debate – one of a great many – that if we refer to comics published circa 1943 to 1950 as 52-pagers, we should refer to contemporary comics as 36-pagers. I always got pushback from my fellow fanboys; consistency is in the mind of the beholders, hobgoblins that we may be.

Well, finally, decades after I threw in the towel, this debate has been resolved. And not in my favor.

This physically came to my attention in the form of an advance copy of IDW’s Frankenstein Alive, Alive! It’s by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson, which is some amazing pedigree. Of course, Bernie has been known for his efforts with the Frankenstein Monster since well before his first name grew that extra E, and Steve has been l’enfant terrible of horror-themed comics for the past decade. Both earned their high reputations the hard way: they worked for it. Joining the two is sort of like taking bits and pieces of two gifted bodies and stitching them together.

Hence, Frankenstein Alive, Alive! It is at least as brilliant as we have every right to expect. You’ll probably just gawk at the art for a couple hours, but the joy is totally revisited once you realize you’re actually supposed to read the thing. It comes out next week. If you want it early, get yourself your own column.

But that’s not my point… which is why I can get away with such a short review. After reading Frankenstein Alive, Alive!, I had the uncanny feeling something was missing. No, not my brain, Igor. I went back and counted the pages.

32. Not 36 counting the cover. 32 total. The cover was there because you can’t publish a pamphlet starting with page two, but it had what we in the publishing racket call a “self-cover.” That means there’s no four-page addition on higher quality paper surrounding the interior. It’s all of the same stock, all printed at once without the additional collating and binding step and it saves a bit on shipping costs, saving the publisher money. The story page count is 19 pages, a tad short but there’s plenty of groovy supplemental material.

So I checked another IDW book set for the same week’s release: John Byrne’s Trio #1. I haven’t read it yet, so you won’t have to suffer from another half-assed semi-review. But it, too, is 32 pages total.  We get 20 pages of story here, but there’s advertising material in the back.

So, are we being short-changed? Well, maybe a tiny bit. For $3.99 we should get more than 19 or 20 pages of story. Otherwise, no, not in the least.

The thing is, self-cover comics have been quietly creeping up on the racks for a while now. I prefer to read comics on my iPad, so it took the power of a Niles/Wrightson collaboration to make be return to the traditional stapled way of life. I can hardly fault publishers for this effort, given the higher quality of paper stock generally used these days.

But it is a bit of a sea change, one of the last before the 36… sorry, 32 page comics pamphlet disappears into the digital ozone. And that saddens me, ever so slightly.

Whoops. I got over it.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil Waves The Flag!