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#Kirby100: BBP! Celebrates The King Jack Kirby All Summer Long

Jack Kirby.

His artistry was, and remains, so innovative and influential in the comic book zeitgeist that the industry named awards after him. Heck, they even named a visual image after him: the affectionately known, “Kirby Krackle.”

How pervasive is writer and artist Jack Kirby in pop culture?

You can scan the litany of comic book characters that the man created or co-created and you’d be certain to find dozens that are your favourites. From the globally renowned Captain America, Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men series of characters, to the populace’s burgeoning awareness of Darkseid and Black Panther, to the more niche creations of Kamandi, Etrigan the Demon and Destroyer Duck. With Kirby, the list of great characters goes on and on and on.

Without him, pop culture and comic books wouldn’t be at all what we know it to be today.

This August marks the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby and we here at Biff Bam Pop! mean to celebrate that auspicious centennial with a plethora of written accolades all summer long!

This is your cordial invitation to our #Kirby100 party!

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Make It Population You In “Royal City #1” On The Wednesday Run

royal-city-1Over here in the Biff Bam Pop! community, we’re big, long-time admirers of Jeff Lemire’s comic book work.

For the better part of a decade, Lemire has been awing readers in a multitude of comic book genres with both company-owned characters and original creations.

Whether it’s his ground-breaking Essex County Trilogy in 2008, his post-apocalyptic series, Sweet Tooth, which brought the writer/artist mainstream attention and acclaim in 2009, his take on the “Invisible Man” in the graphic novel, The Nobody, the space/time bending Trillium in 2013, his riveting ongoing science fiction series, Descender, his brilliant take on Wolverine with Old Man Logan last year, or the current Moon Knight and Black Hammer superhero series that he writes for different publishers, Jeff Lemire never disappoints.

Whew.

That’s a lot of writing – and, often, drawing.

Today, we add another title to the ever-growing list of Jeff Lemire must-reads with Royal City #1!

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RIP Darwyn Cooke – It Was Truly A Golden Age

DC The New FrontierDarwyn Cooke was a giant talent in the comic book industry and a titan as a sequential artist. Last weekend, at the age of 53, the world lost the award-winning writer and illustrator to cancer.

I, like many others, became familiar with the work of Darwyn Cooke through his DC: The New Frontier (2004), a six-issue miniseries that reexamined DC Comics’ stable of superheroes within the confines of the mid twentieth century and the changing political shape of America after World War II and into the Cold War era. DC: The New Frontier introduced readers to dozens of world-famous characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and even not-so-famous-but-beloved characters like the Challengers of the Unknown, meeting each other for the first time – in the same chronological order that they were originally published during the mid-twentieth century. It brought characters and ideas through the Golden Age of comic books (1930’s to 1950’s) to the burgeoning silver age (1950’s to 1970’s), with the story actually culminating in the foundation of the Justice League of America.

It was a brilliant idea. A tribute as much to the publishing history of comic books as it was a rollicking superhero adventure, the acclaimed series would garner multiple awards including Eisner Awards for Best Limited Series, Best Coloring and Best Publication Design. It also won Harvey Awards including Best Artist, and a Shuster Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Cartoonist. DC: The New Frontier has been collected in numerous formats include a Deluxe and Absolute version, and was made into a direct-to-video animated film which preserved Cooke’s distinctive artistic sensibilities.

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31 Days of Horror 2015 – The Ten Percent: Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

It’s October, and here at Biff Bam Pop! that means a month-long celebration of the macabre in pop-culture. Last time, Dale sweet-talked the incomparable Kris Woofter into guest-writing, and if you missed his look into why we love the horror genre so much – and his incredible list of must-see horror films – you should go check it out. Having to follow that is enough to spark dark visions of authorial revenge on those who put me in this position… but I diegress (yes, even when I’m not writing about comic books, I wind up channeling EC Comics!). So I thought that this week I would focus on a man who is one of the most influential creators in American horror, yet who is sometimes not quite as well-known as he should be. He’s one of my absolute favorites, and likely one of yours too, though you may not know it:

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Dead, Stinky, Artsy And Awesome – BBP! Speaks With Author And Illustrator Emily McGuiness

What do you get when you cross a hardworking and talented comic book writer and artist with the ABC’s of early childhood learning?

The answer to that question would be something entirely out of the ordinary.

Whether it’s a road-kill armadillo, a smushed firefly or a drum-sticked flamingo, Dead Stinky Animals A-Z, a recent release from writer/artist Emily McGuiness, is a bright, colorful, and fun look at the darker side of life.

Yes, you may recall her name. Emily is part of the family, after all. Follow us after the jump and we’ll tell you all about it.

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Walks, Landscapes, And A Swear Down – Biff Bam Pop! Speaks With Comic Book Artist And Writer: Oliver East

Swear Down coverMany in North America first became aware of Manchester, England based artist and writer, Oliver East, through his album cover work for the acclaimed English alt-rock musicians, Elbow. His drawings and paintings for the band’s seminal albums, The Seldom Seen Kid and Build a Rocket Boys!, perfectly captured the spirit of that music: at once puzzling and implicit, melancholy and joyous. But East had been hard at work making comics too, eventually releasing four books over the last five years through publisher, Blank Slate Books.

Renown for landscape-fuelled inspiration, his latest comic book offering, Swear Down, is also his most personal story. It debuts at the upcoming Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF), an event that East will fly over the Atlantic Ocean to attend and exhibit as well as meet and greet like-minded sequential art lovers.

JP Fallavollita got a chance to speak with Oliver East via email about his love of exploring the world and understanding life through walking, his evolution as a writer and an artist, and his affinity for American comics.

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Not My Bag Is My Bag On The Wednesday Run – October 17, 2012

October is a time for scary things: lumbering zombies, non-sparkly vampires, serial killers in the closet, the flapping sound of leathery bat wings, strange lesions on the back of an arm, things that go bump in the middle of the night, missing time and surprise property tax bills.

October is also a time when comic book publishing companies release the darker-themed periodicals that they’ve been saving for the past nine months. One of those books, for instance, made this column last week. There will be another before the month is out, I promise.

Sure, monsters and evil and all the other bad things associated with the current change of season are frightening, but what could be more horrifying than the thought of being trapped on the wrong track of life, caught in the wrong occupation, while a special talent is slowly sucked away?

That’s the premise behind Not My Bag by Sina Grace, a new graphic novel from a fairly new voice in sequential art.

 

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Gentlemen Broncos in Saturday at the Movies

Bronco rides a BattlestagGentlemen Broncos is one of those awesome sci-fi movies about science fiction that is simply overlooked. The trial of a young unknown author, the plagiarism of his greatest work, good vs. evil, battle stags and yeast wars; YUP. Struggling sci-fi writers, this is a movie dedicated to you.

Like other Hess films (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) Gentlemen Broncos is non-descript, with a weird worn out kitsch character treatment; and this one is really weird – like, weird in a way that will make you afraid to use hand cream.

But if like me, you have ever romanticized the life of a successful writer or struggled to write a story; if you’ve voraciously read yellow TOR paperbacks; if you remain obsessively loyal to the campy origins of sci fi, you’re probably going to love Gentlemen Broncos.

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