Fallen Walls Open Curtains Episode 1

Fallen Walls Open Curtains Episode 1 WebsiteIt’s the first chapter in a brand new podcast miniseries that looks at the fall of the Iron Curtain and the popular culture of the Cold War.  To start us off, I look at the watershed event from 30 years ago that marked the beginning of the end of four decades of conflict and tension between the super powers: the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.  I look at the history of the wall, talk about Berlin’s importance in the Cold War, and go in depth about what brought about the wall’s eventual demise.  Plus, I talk about songs inspired by the wall as well as my featured piece of pop culture, John Le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

You can listen here:

Apple Podcasts:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

After the cut, here are some extras from this episode …

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Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 102: A Whirlwind of Geek — The 2019 Baltimore Comic-Con

Episode 102 Website CoverIt’s time for my annual coverage of the Baltimore Comic-Con!

This year’s coverage features coverage of what Brett and I bought and what we thought of the convention, plus interviews with comics creators Steve Conley (The Middle Age), Thom Zahler (Love & Capes, Warning Label), Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl, Robotech Remix), and William Rosado (The New Titans).

You can listen here:

Apple Podcasts:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

Here are some links to the convention and the people I interviewed.

The Baltimore Comic Con.  Go here for any information about the convention and be sure to add your name to their mailing list.

The Middle Age.  Steve Conley’s hilarious webcomic is available here to read and you can order the hardcover collected edition.

Thom Zahler.  Go here to pick up Love & Capes, Long Distance, Time & Vine, Warning Label, and all of Thom’s work.

Brenden Fletcher.  Website of Robotech Remix writer Brenden Fletcher.

William Rosado. Website of Will Rosado, penciller of The New Titans among other titles.

2019 Baltimore Comic-Con Recap and Review

Being that this is now my eighth year covering the Baltimore Comic-Con and the twentieth convention overall, I feel like I’m kind of an old pro at it.  After all, I have my whole system of con prep, arrival, and departure that allows me to maximize my time on the floor.  And I’ve brought my son, Brett, along with me for the past four years.  Still, I find that the convention can be full of fun surprises even though it’s reliably consistent.

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Easily one of my favorite photos from the convention and not just because I caught these guys in peak Spider-pose.

The biggest change this year was in the date and some of the challenges that came with it.  Whereas the con’s been taking place in September for the past few years, the date was moved to the weekend of October 18-20.  This didn’t cause much of an issue for me when I was planning things until I found out that the city had allowed the Baltimore Marathon to take place that Saturday, which is probably the busiest day of the convention.  Now, I place the blame squarely on the city (having gone to college in Baltimore, I’ve come expect such moronic mishaps from the city), but all it really did for me was make me change the location of my parking garage via SpotHero.

Why no real inconvenience there?  Well, the organizers of the convention saw ahead of the problem and sent a well-detailed email to their subscribers with information about road closings and where to find available parking.  And while I realize that there were many people at the con who were  staying the whole weekend and had a hotel room nearby, there’s a lot of regional visitors who are only “day traveling” from the Maryland/DC/Virginia area (sorry, I refuse to refer to it as “The DMV”), so I appreciate the communication that made me slightly less anxious than I usually am.  You know, so that I could focus on what I might get anxious about.

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So he wasn’t interested in the panels we were there for, but he did help with crowd control.

All right, keeping a twelve-year-old boy entertained while standing in line to meet comic book creators and getting podcast footage isn’t something to be that anxious about, especially considering Brett’s on the podcast episode that is going to come out next week, so we can hear about the fun he had.  But if I’m making suggestions to the convention organizers, it would be to consider what is there for that “tween”/”young adult” demographic.  We absolutely love the efforts they take to make sure that the convention is family friendly and the Kids Love Comics area was a favorite for the past three years, but now he’s at that age where he’s between the kids comics and the more adult stuff.

One of his first years there, he met Kazu Kibushi, who is the best-selling author of the Amulet graphic novels and went to his panel.  But beyond that and other creators who write for kids in the upper elementary/lower middle school grades, it’s hard to suss out what’s going to pique his interest or figure out what he’s not too old or too young for.

And I’m totally nitpicking here because he was totally psyched to cosplay again this year and had a great time shopping for comics, posters, and pop figures, but it would be great to see some more panels devoted to YA-level stuff.  Perhaps the convention could spotlight a few YA authors like they did with Kibushi?  Who knows, they might get Raina Telgemeier or someone like that one year (hell, I’D stand in like to get Raina’s signature).  Those tween years are such a weird age and mainstream comic books (i.e., the big two) have had a hard time holding on to the kids who loved superheroes, often losing them to other companies such as Scholastic’s graphic novel lines and a mountain of manga.  So as much as we need old geeks like me getting all “Chris Farley Show” with Marv Wolfman, we need those twelve-year-olds with their copies of Amulet, Drama, or Wings of Fire.

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One of my favorite things I saw for sale:  Dark Helmet!

But like I said … nitpicking.  Plus, if anything, I saw the programming schedule and wished that I had taken a day off from work and gotten a hotel room because some of the panels were incredibly interesting.  Aside from the always appreciated creator spotlights (Brian K. Vaughn, Howard Chaykin, William Stout, Clinton T. Hobart, Ty Templeton, and Jim Lee, among others) as well as some very useful “how-to” panels (writing, drawing, and publishing comics were all highlighting, although I think there’s room for a “reviewing comics” or “podcasting about comics” panel or two … hint hint), there were topics that I never thought I’d see at a convention.  Had I been there on Friday, I would have gone to “Depression and the Creative Mind” or Sunday’s “Loading Snacks: Being Comfortable Being a Geek.”  Those are some heavy topics that can be deep discussions and I really hope they were well-attended because while I wasn’t able to go, they’re the types of conversations that we so need in our community.

So if anything, I’ve got incentive to return and maybe take on another day if I can spare the money and time.  It’s a show that gets bigger every year but has not lost sight of the purpose of a comic convention and while I admit I had a few moments of “I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next” while there on Saturday, I never had a dull or bad moment.

Next year’s convention will be October 23-25.  For more information, you can go to the convention’s website and sign up for their mailing list so you can know who’s going to be there.  If you’re interested, I recommend going.

Stay tuned for episode 102 of the podcast, coming this weekend, where I get into more of my con experience as well as Brett’s, and I talk to Steve Conley (The Middle Age), Thom Zahler (Love & Capes), Brenden Fletcher (Robotech Remix), and William Rosado (The New Titans).

In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” — Episode 100

IC 100 Website CoverIt’s time to head back to the world!

That’s right, it is the FINAL episode of “In Country”!  And in this one, I am taking a look at the last issue of The ‘Nam, which is The ‘Nam #84.  Written by Don Lomax with art by Alberto Saichann, “The Letter” follows several NVA and VC fighters through the jungles of North and South Vietnam and centers around a letter a little girl wrote to her father, who has been fighting int he war for years.  After doing my synopsis and review, I then look at the ads and the last lettercolumn of the series, which includes an editorial farewell, and give my final thoughts on the series and this podcast.

You can download the episode via Apple Podcasts or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 100 direct link

Nam 84

Pop Culture Affidavit 101: Retrospecticus

Episode 101 Website CoverIt’s the most self-indulgent, ultra-sized episode of Pop Culture Affidavit EVER!!!

Join me as I take a look back at the history of the blog and podcast; giving you its origin story; and respond to both emails and past blog comments on topics such movies, comics, music, and random stuff.  Then I share never-before-heard outtakes and conversations with Michael Bailey, Stella, Donovan Morgan Grant, and Andrew Leyland before Amanda joins me for a brand-new segment about music from 1997 and 1998.

Plus, I introduce and preview my newest miniseries, which premieres in November!

You can listen here:

Apple Podcasts:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

Here’s where you can find all of the guest spots …

0:17:40 Michael Bailey and I talk about cast members from How I Got Into College and Summer School and then talk about the syndicated show Super Force.

0:42:00 Stella and I discuss our initial reactions to Alien Covenant.

1:16:05 Donovan Morgan Grant and I talk about Roboetch (in footage that did not make the final cut of our episode).

1:43:00 Andrew Leyland and I talk about Nineties music.

1:52:05 Amanda and I disuss music from 1997 and 1998.

After the cut, you’ll find links to posts mentioned in the episode as well as some extras:

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In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” — Episode 99

IC 99 Website CoverOne episode and a wake-up is left!

In the penultimate episode of In Country, I take time out from comics, movies, and the Vietnam War to talk about the war’s aftermath and Vietnam itself.  The episode begins with the history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. along with descriptions of two other Vietnam War memorials that I’ve been to on Long Island and in Charlottesville.  I then talk about the postwar history of Vietnam and U.S. relations with Vietnam as well as look at the country in the present day via season 8, episode 1 of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.  Plus, listener feedback!

You can download the episode via Apple Podcasts or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 99 direct link

Some extras for you.

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In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” — Episode 98

IC 98 Website CoverTwo episodes and a wake-up are left!

This time around, I take one last trip to Vietnam at the movies by looking at the final film in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam trilogy, 1993’s Heaven and Earth.  I review the film and also take a look at its source material, two memoirs by Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and Child of War Woman of Peace.

You can download the episode via Apple Podcasts or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 98 direct link

Some extras for you.

First, a link to Thrive Networks, Le Ly Hayslip’s charitable organization that began as the East Meets West Foundation:  Thrivenetworks.org

The trailer for the film …

Heaven & Earth