Tagged: Paul Kupperberg

Ed Catto and The Charlton Comics Documentary!

I’ve been writing about several of the impressive Geek Culture entrepreneurs I met at this year’s New York Comic-Con, but the real-life Gotham City certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on these passionate creators who are making it happen.

The Buffalo Comic-Con is run by Emil Novak and his team. They’re also the folks behind Buffalo’s long-lived comic shop, Queen City Bookstore. It’s a great shop full of treasures, staffed by people who love both comics and customer service.

I was invited to be a panelist at their convention a few weeks back. As we were wrapping up our panel, the next folks were setting up and I realized that was the panel I wanted to see. Keith Larsen and Jackie Zbuska are creative entrepreneurs and they are passionate about their Charlton Comics documentary.

Ed Catto:  This project seems like a lot of fun! How’d it all start?

Keith Larsen & Jackie Zbuska: So what’s our origin story? It’s not spectacular, or even exciting. Tired feet and washing dishes. We were at the 2014 ComiCONN in Bridgeport, CT. It was an awesome venue with lots to do, but after a few hours, we really needed a break off. Keith noticed a ticker ribbon message advertising a panel featuring Denny O’Neil, Bob Layton, and Paul Kupperberg. Perfect! Comic book legends and our excuse to sit!

We snuck into the panel room as Paul took the stage and announced the panel topic: Charlton Comics! Huh…what? Charlton? Didn’t they go away like, 30 years ago? “And, what the heck is a Charlton? One of those candies you put in the freezer…?”

What about Batman, Denny? What about Iron Man, Bob? Why did you kill Archie, Paul? Charlton?!?!? But, what the heck, we’re nerds who like comics, and the room is pretty packed, so let’s give it 10 minutes and then get back to walking the floor. The whole panel included Paul Kupperberg, Bob Layton, Denny O’Neil, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Frank McLaughlin. After maybe two minutes, we moved from the back of the room to the second row. By the end of the hour, we were hooked. These guys had some hilarious stories!

Cut to the next morning: Keith is doing dishes thinking about the Charlton panel… wait a minute!!!! Why not do a documentary about Charlton! Keith called Jackie with the idea. To get things going, Keith would call Mitch Hallock, who produces TerrifiCon. Mitch knew some of the guys from Charlton, so maybe he could help us track them down! Jackie’s response: “Nope, I’ll be there in 20 minutes. We’re driving back down to the con and cold pitching these guys.” The guys obviously said ‘Yes’ to the pitched idea. Since then, we’ve expanded the team, done more interviews, and have been hitting the books to crack the whole saga wide open.

EC:  Now, can you remind me how Charlton as a company started?

KL & JZ: The Comics division began only out of the necessity to save money. The Charlton factory was an all-in-one publishing establishment that made their money off Music magazines – like Hit Parader – and crossword puzzle books. They found that it was more cost effective to run the printing presses overnight – and thus Charlton Comics was born!

Oh yeah, and apparently, the idea of Charlton proper was hatched from two guys who met in jail. Weird, right?!?

EC:  Did you have a love of Charlton before undertaking this project?

KL & JZ: HAHA. NoooooNoNoNo. As we mentioned above Jackie had never heard of it and Keith has a slight recognition once he saw the bullseye logo, but that’s about as familiar as we got. We take our fair share of social media trolling for it, but as far as we are concerned we see it as a good thing. Approaching the project as filmmakers first and comic book fans second, gives us a fresh and unique perspective on the story. Had we been big Charlton fans, we may have told the tale with a bias or fan perspective. Not knowing anything about it lets us take a clean and honest approach to making the movie.

EC:  I’m excited to hear about some of the fans you’ve met along the way. What is the typical Charlton fan like? What are the atypical Charlton fans like?

KL & JZ: Funny enough, the die-hards we encounter are punk rockers from the hey-days of CBGBs. Our one atypical fan is truly unique. He’s a Generation Z 16-year old who’s got a substantial Charlton collection. He’s also a student of the silver age of comics in general. We’d say that his knowledge of the genre rivals that of any adult comic book historian we’ve spoken to. We interviewed him for the movie and we talk to him regularly as he finds Charlton gems at flea markets, tag sales and conventions all over the Northeast.

EC:  It seems like you have been making the rounds on the comic-con circuit. What’s that been like?

KL & JZ: We’re always surprised to meet new Charlton fans at every one of the stops we make. It’s a unique community of people and happy that our project is exciting to them. It charges us up to know that people are finding out about this movie and supporting us. It’s very flattering that true Charlton fans are trusting us to handle telling this story about something that they cherish so much.

EC:  Several Professionals have a spot in their hearts for Charlton. Who carries the torch for Charlton these days?

KL & JZ: Well, a super-fan named Fester Faceplant started a Facebook fan page and set up an online Charlton reading library of digitized Charlton books for fans to read. From there, it ballooned into a full-blown revival in the form of Charlton Neo Media spearheaded by Paul Kupperberg, Mort Todd, Roger McKenzie, Joe Staton and Nick Cuti amongst others. They’re first retail issue of “Charlton Arrow Vol 2” hit stands in October 4th of this year!

EC:   I’m sure you’ve learned some surprises in your research. What can you share with us now?

KL & JZ: Hmmm, if we tell you, then we’d have to kill you! Hahahaha.

What we can share is that most of the lore of Charlton that exists online is far from the truth. It really lends an extra cutting edge to what our movie will show – the real story behind Charlton Comics – and trust us, life is stranger than fiction.

EC:   After all this – What was your favorite Charlton Comic originally and what’s your favorite one now?

Keith Larsen: My first taste of some “real” Charlton was from a coveted gift I received from our new pal Joe Staton the day we interviewed him for the movie. He gave me a collected edition of E-Man published by First Comics. That was my favorite until I was able to read every Question back-up story in Blue Beetle comics from a digital collection we purchased on eBay. But Joe’s book is still awesome!

Jackie Zbuska: I instantly gravitated toward their expansive collection of horror titles, which despite the Comics Code, are subversively graphic. I have a soft spot for Gorgo stories, but my true favorite is John Byrne’s Rog-2000. He was in backup stories in some of the E-Man comics.

EC:  What’s the timing of the project and how can fans help?

KL & JZ: Honestly, we were hoping for the project to be finished by the end of 2017, but funding dictates how fast we can work. We had financial help via crowd funding, but the money has run out. Unfortunately, with something as unheard of as Charlton Comics with as niche a fan base as it has, it hasn’t allowed us the ability to break into the sphere of pop culture awareness. So, in the case of crowd-funding, our reach has been limited to the marketplace of serious comic book fans or collectors. We’re hoping that our future efforts for raising funds will make strides into appealing to that larger audience potential. Any ideas are welcomed!

You can contribute via our website, www.CharltonMovie.com

EC: Which Charlton comic series is cooler, Judo Master or Gorgo?

Keith Larsen: Judo Master!
Jackie Zbuska: Keith’s wrong, it’s totally Gorgo!

For more information, check out their site at : http://www.charltonmovie.com/ or their panel at the Rhode Island Comic-Con on Friday, November 10, 2017.

Ed Catto: Paul Kupperberg Looks Up Into the Sky!

Supergirl Covers

I have a friend who loved opera and music growing up, and now she sings in the chorus for the Metropolitan Opera. There’s something energizing when you witness someone leverage their passion and turn it into a wonderful and fulfilling career.

And my friend, comic writer Paul Kupperberg, is exactly that kind of person.

PK-SA SGirl NYCCAs a kid back in 1976, Paul was buying comics at My Friend’s Bookstore in Flatbush, Brooklyn. “My ideal book store,” Kupperberg explained. “Carts out front, loaded with cheap books. The counter on the right had all the Golden Age issues. Superman #1 was $100. They used the Howard Rogofsky price list. Behind the counter there were boxes on the shelves. A magical place – we’d go on weekends. We would even work there.”

Even though Superman was his favorite, Kupperberg has had a long experience with the character, Supergirl. “I didn’t come to the Supergirl strip until the sixties,” he said. Supergirl was “one of the first characters I collected.” These adventures were unique as they employed an internal continuity. Certainly more than other DC series at that time. “It was a very different strip for that era,” said Kupperberg.

But by the late 70s and early 80s Kupperberg had the opportunity to contribute professionally to Supergirl’s mythology. “I did stuff for Superman Family. It was an oversized book. I was writing Jimmy Olsen. Marty Pasko was doing Supergirl. He left and I picked it up. Win Mortimer was drawing it – about a year’s worth,” said Kupperberg.

“Then she got her own title. A big deal.”

Kupperberg finally got his chance to fly with Supergirl. Supergirl debuted in her new comic – The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl in late 1984.

UnusualTales1“Julie Schwartz was the editor,” Kupperberg recalled. “and Julie was famous for reinventing characters. Supergirl was, at that point, a soap opera star in New York City. I had a problem with a grown woman as Supergirl. We wanted to push it back, so we sent her back to college. We didn’t say if she was an undergrad or a graduate student. In those days, hard reboots didn’t exist. The idea of totally changing a character didn’t exist. You could bring them back and reinvent them.”

Kupperberg wrote the series for almost two years, until it ended with issue #23.

Due to slow sales, this Supergirl series was cancelled, along with Superboy. But there were plans to combine Supergirl and Superboy into a single, oversized, 40-page comic called DC Double Comics. The two characters would rotate as lead feature and back-up feature.

Plans called for Kupperberg to write the stories. Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson would provide art for Superboy. The revised premise would showcase Superboy’s intergalactic adventures with the Galaxians. “They were like the Legion of Super-Heroes but in the present day,” explained Kupperberg.

Supergirl fans would have enjoyed a real treat. The brilliant Eduardo Barreto was assigned as penciller on this strip. Bob Oskner was to be the inker. The first issue was penciled and lettered.

“Life had caught up with Supergirl,” said Kupperberg. The premise was that she was going to visit her parents on New Krypton, and have adventures on the new planet recently established from the restoration of the the bottled city of Kandor.

SecRom_2Unfortunately, as DC developed the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a company-wide reboot of DC mythology, these two characters were written out of continuity. Plans for DC Double Comics were scrapped.

In the DC mythology, the Supergirl of Earth-2, that alternate earth where the Golden Age heroes still thrived, was called Power Girl. Originally created as a Wally Wood heroine appropriate for all ages.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths streamlined the continuity, “they wanted to keep her around,” said Kupperberg. Gerry Conway and Bob Greenberger rejiggered her backstory in an issue of Secret Origins where she became the

granddaughter of Arion, Lord of Atlantis. (This was a character that Kupperberg created.) Kupperberg wrote several Power Girl adventures, including a mini-series illustrated by Rick Hoberg.

“I love my Wally Wood,” said Kupperberg. “But Rick Hoberg drew her in human proportions.”

As for the new CBS series, “I’m enjoying the show,” said Kupperberg. “They got it right. They got the heart and soul of Kara correct, and that’s what’s important.”

Kupperberg sees a bit of the DNA of his Supergirl run in the TV show, but concedes there’s no direct influence. One character they’ve used is Reactron. “I came up with him,” said Kupperberg. “So there’s that. That’s cool.”

But he watches it just like every other fan. “Hank Henshaw – when they turned him into Martian Manhunter – I knew it was coming but I was still like: EEEK!”

Kupperberg is very philosophical about different interpretations of characters. He related a story where he and longtime pal John Byrne were bitching about evaluating one of the recent comic versions of Superman. They were saying that those guys aren’t writing the real Superman. But then he realized, “neither were we. The only person who wrote the real Superman was Jerry Siegel. Everyone else is just writing his own version. Sure, we stuck close to the original source material, but <even> we were pretty far from the original. The original Superman was like Bernie Sanders. He was democratic socialist. He was knocking down doors and saving an innocent guy from the electric chair. He was battering down the Governor’s door.”

Today, Paul Kupperberg is involved with myriad ventures. One is Charlton NEO, “a revival of the old Charlton comics in name if not in spirit.” His collaborators include Roger (Daredevil) McKenzie and Mort Todd.

Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romances is a comic that attracts an A list of comic professionals, including Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dean Haspeil, John Byrne, Joe Staton & Nick Cuti (on a new E-Man adventure), Rick Burchett and Neil Vokes.

He’s also working on The Scary Squad, a Scooby Doo style team of cosplayers, a Planet of the Apes story for an upcoming anthology, and a trilogy of Atlantis stories. “These are essentially my last Arion stories.”

Kupperberg has always enjoyed writing strong women: Supergirl, Power Girl, and Chian in Arion. “Even my Betty and Veronica” (in the recent Life with Archie series). I like women. I respect women,” said Kuppperberg.

For more information check out Paul’s site http://kupps.malibulist.com.

Dennis O’Neil: Charlton + Wertham = Olio?

Can I pause? Can I catch my breath? Where am I? About half way through August? That means Im more than half way through the distance run that is this summer. Last commitment in October, only … I dont know? three between now and then?

Meanwhile, imagine me yelling, Oh, Leo! Something like what I yelled when I was a grade-school kid: standing in a friends back yard and calling his name and if his mother appeared asking if my pal could come out and play. Or maybe Im shouting another name, a last name: O’Leo. Irish fella, dontcha know! Actually, none of the above.

The word were going for here is not a proper noun, its a plain old common noun, one known to faithful solvers of the New York Times crossword puzzle: olio – thats our word, and would one of our New York Times stalwarts favor us with a definition? Or do you Times readers think youre too good for such a mundane task, you elitists who would never even consider watching Fox News? Well, climb back into your ivory towers then while I take it upon myself to consult the dictionary that resides inside my computer and supply the definition in question:

o*li*o: noun, a miscellaneous collection of things

So, know where I was over this past weekend? At the Connecticut ComiCon, is where. On Saturday I did a panel with my old and seldom-seen friends Paul Kupperberg, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Frank McLaughlin, and Bob Layton. Subject was Charlton Comics, which I don’t remember ever discussing in front of an audience before. Why Charlton? Well, apart from the fact that Charlton was headquartered in Connecticut, which made the talkfest site-appropriate, the company provided work for an impressive list of writers and artists who later attained comic book eminence including – no surprise here – those of us on the panel.

Paul and some colleagues are doing a Charlton revival. Might want to check it out wherever you check out things like that.

I learned a lot in those 45 minutes.

I didn’t know that the convention city, Bridgeport, was so close to where I live, I don’t expect this information to change my life.

We made some money for Hero Initiative, there in Bridgeport. Always good to make money for HI. Always worth a journey.

When I extracted the three days worth of mail crammed into the box yesterday, I was happy to see the latest issue of what is identified on the cover as “Roy Thomas’ Not-So-Innocent Comics Fanzine,” Alter-Ego. Blurbed below the logo: “Seducing the Innocent with Dr. Fredric Wertham.” The writer of the article is Carol Tilley, who, a while back, examined Wertham’s condemnation of comics and found that the good doctor had tampered with the research. She deserves our thanks for that and Roy deserves our thanks for giving Ms. Tilley a place to do us a service.

Full disclosure: I read the New York Times.


Mindy Newell: Columnist Columnizing

Newell Art 140421“Don’t you wish you had a job like mine? All you have to do is think up a certain number of words! Plus, you can repeat words! And they don’t even have to be true!” – Dave Barry

Some thoughts this week reflecting upon my fellow ComicMix columnists’ opinions…

Last week Martha Thomases felt compelled to once again write about the bullshit practice of attacking women who “o-pine” (as Bill O’Reilly says) and dare to speak “truthiness,” as Stephen Colbert puts it, in her column, Criticizing Criticism. Toward the end of the piece Martha wrote about a panel at Washington, D.C.’s Awesome Con (held just this past weekend) that she was planning on attending. The name of the panel was “Part-Time Writer, Full Time World.” All the panelists were women, and apparently they were going to “O-pine” and “speak truthiness” about balancing the demands of a full time job, of being a parent, of having a part-time job – with these women, the “part-time” job is writing – with having time for your personal life, all while keeping a sane thought in your head. She made an excellent point when she pointed out that there were no men on the panel.


To (mostly) quote myself in the “comments” section of Martha’s column:

“As far as the full-time job/parenting/writing/hobby balance thing, it’s not a question of whether or not men don’t do any parenting. I think a lot of men are extremely involved in their kids’ lives these days.

“But what I think what Martha is pointing out is the assumption by the con runners, or at least those who set up this particular panel, that it’s only women who are dealing with this conundrum. Or, to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they just wanted to do a “Women in Comics” panel and thought this would be an interesting twist on the subject. Either way, it does seem somewhat sexist–against both sexes for a change!

“The answer, btw – and I feel that I am qualified to answer this conundrum because I was a single parent, and also because I’m now watching Alix and Jeff juggle parenthood, work, and school – is, paraphrasing a certain global sports apparel company:

“‘You just do it’…

“While seeking plenty of help from family, friends, babysitters – and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, an understanding boss or editor.

“And then, when the kids are all grown up and have families of their own, you have the luxury of being a grandmother, and you can just love and spoil the kid and then hand him back when you’re tired or he get’s cranky or it’s just time for you to have some

“And be proud of yourself, because you just ‘did’ it.”

Denny’s and Marc’s columns made me think once again of how Marvel is doing everything right, and how DC is doing everything wrong. As I indicated in last week’s column, Marvel’s creation of a “telefilmverse” has been just brilliant in its adaptation of its comic universe’s history, in its invigoration of old concepts and old heroes, and in the excitement and joy its inventiveness is creating in both old and new fans.

I grew up a total DC geek in its Silver Age. I loved The Legion Of Super-Heroes, Superboy, Green Lantern, Supergirl, and the “Imaginary Stories” of Julie Schwartz’s Superman. In the 80s and early 90s I was hooked on all things Vertigo (Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, to name just a few), Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, George’s Wonder Woman (even before I co-wrote it), Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen’s Legion Of Super-Heroes (before I was involved), Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, and Ernie Colon’s Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld (ditto), Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland’s Camelot 3000 (ditto) and many more. Back then DC was a groundbreaker, an innovator, “Bold” and “Brave.”

Today when I think of DC I think of words like moribund, and mired, and morose.

Today, like Marc Alan Fishman, I say, “Make Mine Marvel!”

Paul Kupperberg’s review of  The King Of Comedy http://www.comicmix.com//reviews/2014/04/17/review-king-comedy/ is dead-on. If you haven’t seen this movie, see it.

John Ostrander: Happy, happy, happiest of birthdays! I left you a comment, but I don’t know where it went, because it’s not there now. Just know that I wish you everything you talk about in the column – to live even longer than your paternal grandfather and his continue to bang out comic series and a new novel on a regular basis. I can’t wait to read the new GrimJack series, and that brilliant novel that resides on the New York Times Bestseller list for longer than Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games ever did. I want to see Peter David green with envy (just teasing, Peter!) with your success. Hell, I want to see me turn green with envy and choleric with bitterness about your success! And I want you to remember, bro, in the words of that old poet-hipster, James Taylor…

You’ve got a friend.


2014 Scribe Award Nominees Named

SCRIBEv3medWINNER2The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (www.iamtw.org) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2014 Scribe Awards, recognizing excellence in the field of media tie-in writing: books based on movies, TV shows and games. The winners will be announced and awards presented in July at a ceremony and panel discussion at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Best Adaptation (Novelization)
[[[Man of Steel]]] by Greg Cox
[[[Pacific Rim]]] by Alex Irvine
[[[47 Ronin]]] by Joan D. Vinge

Best General Novel (Original)
[[[Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder]]] by Donald Bain
[[[The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons]]] by Michael A. Black
[[[Mr. Monk Helps Himself]]] by Hy Conrad
[[[Leverage: The Bestseller Job]]] by Greg Cox
[[[Leverage: The Zoo Job]]] by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Best Speculative Novel (Original)
[[[Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox]]] by Christa Faust
[[[Supernatural: Fresh Meat]]] by Alice Henderson
[[[Star Wars: Kenobi]]] by John Jackson Miller
[[[Supernatural: The Roads Not Taken]]] by Tim Waggoner
[[[Star Trek: From History’s Shadow]]] by Dayton Ward

Best Short Story
“The Dark Hollows of Memory” (Warhammer 40,000) by David Annandale
“Locks and Keys” (Shadowrun) by Jennifer Brozek
“So Long, Chief” (Mike Hammer) by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
“Savior” (After Earth) by Michael Jan Friedman
“Redemption” (After Earth) by Robert Greenberger
“Mirror Image” (Star Trek) by Christine M. Thompson

Best Young Adult
[[[Kevin]]] by Paul Kupperberg
[[[Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2]]] by Stacia Deutsch
[[[The Croods]]] by Tracey West

Best Audio Book
[[[Dark Shadows: The Phantom Bride]]] by Mark Thomas Passmore
[[[Dark Shadows: The Flip Side]]] by Cody Quijano-Schell
[[[Blake’s 7: The Armageddon Storm]]] by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright

The IAMTW was created seven years ago by Max Allan Collins and Lee Goldberg and has over 200 members, all professional, published authors who write books based on movies, TV shows, and games. To find out more about the Scribe Awards, and lists of previous winners & nominees, visit


Death With Archie? Archie Andrews Dies In July

Archie Comics announced the unthinkable today: Legendary comic book character Archie Andrews will die to conclude the hit LIFE WITH ARCHIE comic series.

The iconic comic book character, beloved by millions around the globe for over 70 years, will sacrifice himself heroically while saving the life of a friend in the pages of July’s LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36, the final issue in the flash-forward series, which spotlights Archie’s adventures after high school and college.

“We’ve been building up to this moment since we launched LIFE WITH ARCHIE five years ago, and knew that any book that was telling the story of Archie’s life as an adult had to also show his final moment,” said Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “Archie has and always will represent the best in all of us—he’s a hero, good-hearted, humble and inherently honorable. This story is going to inspire a wide range of reactions because we all feel so close to Archie. Fans will laugh, cry, jump off the edge of their seats and hopefully understand why this comic will go down as one of the most important moments in Archie’s entire history. It’s the biggest story we’ve ever done, and we’re supremely proud of it.”

The story will be available in multiple formats, including an extra-large magazine-size LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36, two comic-sized issues—LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36 and #37—and a trade paperback collecting the entire story, written by regular LIFE WITH ARCHIE writer Paul Kupperberg, with art by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Fernando Ruiz.

While LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36 shows readers Archie’s final moments, #37 leaps a year into the future, showcasing how the remaining members of the Riverdale gang—including Jughead, Betty & Veronica and Reggie—have honored the legacy of their dear friend. Both stories will be collected in the double-sized LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36 magazine and upcoming trade paperback.

In addition to the acclaimed regular LIFE WITH ARCHIE creative team, the two comic book issues—sold exclusively at comic shops in July—will feature a pantheon of artistic luminaries contributing covers to the historic issue, including Francesco Francavilla, Fiona Staples, Ramon Perez, Walt Simonson, Jill Thompson, Mike Allred, Cliff Chiang, Adam Hughes, Tommy Lee Edwards and Alex Ross.

No word yet as to whether Archie will be coming back in six months as a cyborg, an alien, a black man in a suit of armor, or a teenag– never mind.

Second ReDeus Universe Anthology Announced

beyondboarders_lorraineSchleterOne reviewer at Goodreads commented on ReDeus: Divine Tales, “The tales focus on different gods, many I had never heard of before. What I enjoyed most was how the authors dealt with the culture shock experienced by the characters, not just the mortals, who are now lorded over by these mythological figures, but also the gods who must come to grips with a world that has moved on without them. Hope to see future volumes. ”

That wish is being granted in May when Beyond Borders, the second volume in the ReDeus universe is released by Crazy 8 Press to coincide with Balticon. The new book continues a universe that was conceived by co-editors Aaron Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, and Paul Kupperberg. Initially, the trio of established authors intended to be the only ones to write stories about an Earth that has had every pantheon of gods simultaneously return. Instead, they decided to invite their peers to join them in exploring this fertile territory and the eleven stories in the first volume spanned the first twenty years since the gods and goddesses appeared in the skies during the 2012 Olympics.

“Zeus, speaking for the gods, tells everyone they’re back for good and they want every man, woman, and child to return to their native land in order to properly worship them,” Greenberger explained. Some of the gods were horrified at the technological advances, not understanding them and therefore had them banned. Suddenly, some countries were without internet and television while some only allowed radio. Populations shifted and the global economy shuddered, causing untold chaos.

ReDeus Brings Back the Gods and Goddesses of YoreMost of the stories showed what was happening in America. For the second volume, the stories focus on other countries and their people. Several characters introduced in the first book will reappear while most of the stories focus on new characters interacting with ancient deities.

“Many of our Divine Tales authors found themselves growing attached to their characters,” Rosenberg explained, “so we were happy to see what happens to them next. But there are plenty of new characters as well, and the series in general continues to show a wide variety of people in different places and varying circumstances.”

Returning authors for Beyond Borders include  the recently Nebula-nominated Lawrence M. Schoen, Scott Pearson, Steve Wilson, Dave Galanter, Phil Giunta, William Leisner, and Allyn Gibson. Kelly Meding, Janna Silverstein, David McDonald, Steve Lyons, and  Lorraine Anderson will be making their ReDeus debut in this volume. Rosenberg, Greenberger, and Kupperberg will also have stories in the book.

Artist Lorraine Schleter provided the cover.

A third volume, Native Lands, was announced recently and will be out in August, in time for Crazy 8 Press’ second anniversary.



New on www.iPulpFiction.com: The ultimate Western hero returns in THE LONE RANGER CHRONICLES. First up is The Noblest Vengeance by New Pulp Author Howard Hopkins, who also penned the Lone Ranger novel, Vendetta.

The First Ever Collection of New Lone Ranger Prose Stories from Moonstone Books!

The masked ex-Texas Ranger and his Native American companion Tonto fight injustice in the Wild West! Stories include meetings with The Cisco Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday, as well as the origin of Tonto and the origin of Silver! Authors include Spur Award-winner Johnny D Boggs, James Reasoner, Alex Award-winner Mel Odom, Anthony Award-winner Bill Crider, Matthew Baugh, Tim Lasiuta, Joe Gentile, Paul Kupperberg, Denny O”Neil, Kent Conwell, David McDonald, Thom Brannon, Troy D. Smith, Chuck Dixon, and Richard Dean Starr.

You can read The Noblest Vengeance by Howard Hopkins at ipulpfiction.com for only $.75.

Also, look for more great tales from Moonstone Books at iPulp Fiction.

REVIEW: The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast got its Crunch

The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast got its Crunch
By Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis
Abrams Image. Hardcover. 368 pages. $19.95

cereal1-300x394-9038980Come breakfast time, my kitchen cabinet holds a limited, and boring, offering of ready-to-eat cereals; just some Kellogg’s Raisin Bran and a box of Honey-Nut Cheerios. In my mid-fifties, breakfast cereal no longer holds any importance in my life. To tell the truth, if I’m going to have cereal, I would much rather sit down with a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal and leave the cold, crunchy stuff for when I’m feeling especially lazy.

But, as The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch reminds me, once upon a time, in that galaxy far, far away of childhood, breakfast cereal was important. Very important. The Golden Age of comic books, as someone once observed, is eleven years old. That is, whatever it is we’re exposed to as children is what we hold in our memories and imaginations as the best ever of that particular thing. What’s true for comic books is also true for breakfast cereals and, as it turns out, not only do co-author Marty Gitlin and I have a Golden Age of breakfast cereals in common, but that shared mid-1960s era of cereal seriousness came at a time when the breakfast cereal business was in fact booming thanks, in large part, to Saturday morning cartoons. (more…)

MIKE GOLD: True-Life Nexus Comics

I first saw Nexus at one of those ancient Chicago Minicons we used to run at the beautiful and even ancienter Congress Hotel. The Minicon was an intense show held roughly every month, no matter the weather or the proximity of the latest Chicago Bears game. We had about 75 dealers tables, admission cost 75¢, our dealers and attendees drove in from a 350 mile radius, and the whole thing was over within five hours; less, if the Bears were playing that Sunday.

Our guests came from a similar radius, and frequently you’d see Jill Thompson, John Byrne, John Ostrander, Joe Staton, Paul Kupperberg, and a dozen or more at the tables near the entrance… as well as more than a few who were breaking into the business. Mike Baron, who lived about 80 miles north in Madison Wisconsin, was one such newbee, and when they launched their magazine-sized Nexus #1, he and artist Steve Rude gave me a copy. I consumed it that evening, and became a fan. Big-time.

Maybe a year later, Mike showed up at the Minicon dressed as The Badger. He looked and acted perfect in every way, as though Mike Baron was The Badger. This set my spider-sense tingling.

When their publisher went blooie, I aggressively pursued the opportunity to pick up both titles for our fledgling First Comics company. Both fit our line perfectly: superheroish but not traditional superhero, with a cutting edge provided by a writer and by artists who each had an evolved worldview. Like most of the best creative talent in all endeavors, Mike and Steve had their own individual connections to reality. Badger artist Jeff Butler was, as I recall, pretty straight-forward.

So when I came to actually negotiating terms with the defunct rights-holder Capital Comics, First Publisher Rick Obadiah and I drove up to Madison – Rick went to the University of Wisconsin and knew all the words to “On Wisconsin,” which helped us get a great table for lunch – and had our meeting in the offices of their now former-art director, Richard Bruning. Yeah, Rich is an old fart, too.

We were able to resolve all issues except one, and that one was so minor I can’t remember it today. I recall it wouldn’t have affected Capital Comics at all, but it would give First some needed flexibility. I held firm. So did Capital publisher Milton Griepp. Milton turned to Rich as a mediator, and Rich said he understood my concern. Bless you, Rich. Milton still held firm.

Mike decided he had enough. He walked over to the window behind Milton and opened it, proclaiming he had had enough of this shit and was going to lower himself out the window and hang there until we reached a deal. Then he started to lower himself out that window.

Did I mention the window overlooked the Wisconsin state capitol building?

At that very moment, I wanted to publish Nexus and The Badger more than I wanted oxygen. I sat poker-faced, Rick looked at me in shock, and both Rich and Milton were sort of… dismissive. As if this sort of thing happened with Mike every day.

“Well,” Milton said to Mike who was hanging out the window behind him, “if you feel that strongly about it, I’m okay with this.” Mike came back into the meeting room and we had a deal.

No matter how good those comics were – and Nexus and Badger were very good – that meeting was better. These guys possessed unique minds, and they put their heart and soul into their work.

I’ve had a lot of interesting situations with both Mike and Steve since: the real story of Sonic Disruptors is one that I will tell one day, now that everybody involved is no longer with DC Comics. And I’ll share just one story about these guys.

One day, I’m at First Comics and I get a call from Steve. “Hey, man. It’s the Dude.” Yep, it sure was. Imagine Maynard G. Krebs as one of the most talented artists in the world, circa mid-1980s. “Hey, I, like, just got a call from Rich Bruning! You know he’s out in Hollywood now!”

“Yes, I know…” I responded, waiting with bated breath for the Dude’s next words.

“Well, Rich told me he was working on the Nexus movie, doing all kinds of great design work.”

At that moment, I knew two things: 1) There was no Nexus movie, and 2) If I just shut the hell up, I’d find out what’s going on and probably have a wonderful ride. The Dude continued.

“I guess you forgot to tell me, huh? I know you’ve been busy.” Steve wasn’t pissed at all; he assumed I had a busy schedule and would have gotten around to it. This realization, even though it was based on a very faulty assumption, showed more thought and consideration than I’ve seen from a great many creators. I was genuinely moved.

“So, I gotta ask you, what’s up with the movie? Can I work on it?”

Passing up a great straight line, I sucked in all the air in my Evanston Illinois office and slowly let it out. “Steve. Listen up. Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘pulling your leg’?”

“Yeah, sure. That’s like somebody’s playing a joke on you, right?”

“Right, Steve,” I replied.

“So… you’re saying Rich was playing a joke on me!”


“Oh.” Without pausing he added “Hey, that’s great! Really funny! Thanks for telling me!”

Damn. I didn’t know Emily Litella had a son.

And I really miss working with those guys.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil