mr_a1_1973-756424The PopCult Bookshelf

We are postponing our regularly-scheduled graphic novel reviews today so that we may bring you three cool Kickstarter Comics Campaigns (and finish reading the books we’d planned to review).

First up we have a book campaign that’s already met its funding goal, and only has a few days left, but I had to mention that Steve Ditko is ready to unleash a new MR.A story on the world. Ditko, of course, is the creator of Spider-man and a host of other cool characters like Hawk and Dove, The Creeper, The Question and many, many others.

If you don’t already know, MR. A is Ditko’s valentine to Ayn Rand’s controversial philosophies. This is a worldview that many people find extremely distasteful. It’s harsh, absolute and responsible for many of today’s most reprehensible politicians. However, Steve Ditko is a passionate advocate for it, and as he proved with his creation, Spider-man, the man is a master storyteller who can craft a comic book story that can deliver an emotional punch to the gut in a beautiful and artistic manner. If you are curious about Rand’s ideas, you’ll probably find them easier to understand in Ditko’s distillations than you would in Rand’s Ed-Woodian prose.


If you kick in ten bucks, you’ll get the first new story of MR. A in years. If you’re familiar with Ditko’s other creation, The Question, he’s a lot like MR. A, only a little less coldy bloodthirsty. It’ll be cool to see what Ditko has the mysterious vigilante do this time.

78eb1cc6b8823ecffd436d067881d298_largeNext up with have another comic based around a controversial philosopher, PopE John XXIII.  Joe Sinnott is most famous among comic book fans as one of the most-beloved of Jack Kirby’s inkers. His inks fleshed out Kirby’s pencils on the prime of his run on Fantastic Four.

Sinnott is also an accomplished illustrator in his own right and an extremely devout Catholic. In the 1980s he drew biographical comics of Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa for Marvel Comics. Way before that, in 1962, Sinnott drew a biography of Pope John XXIII for Treasure Chest, a comic book published for Catholic schools. He was so proud to be working on this project that he sent Kirby’s pencilled pages for Fantastic Four number six back to Marvel to give to another inker so that he could work on this story.

To mark the canonization of Pope John XXIII, Sinnott is raising money to reprint this story in a deluxe hardcover edition with new coloring.  With over twenty days left, this campaign is nearly three-fourths funded. The rewards are great. For only twenty bucks you will get a 10″ x 15″ hardcover with this exquisitely-drawn story. Ten dollars more will get you a copy signed by Joe Sinnott himself. Even if you don’t do the Catholic thing, this looks to be a beautiful book that any comic fan will enjoy.

Finally we have a proposed revival of Johnny Canuck.  Who’s that, you ask?  Here’s the lowdown…

Johnny Canuck is the first Canadian national hero, Canada’s Captain America if you will. See, way back in 1942, a very young Leo Bachle and his active imagination created Johnny Canuck! Johnny’s character was kind of a Jack of all trades, a flying ace and fighter, secret agent, and officer in the Canadian military. Most of the time, Johnny was saving “foreign beauties” and fought the axis on almost every war front. He met up with Hitler no fewer than three times and was trained in trapeze and boxing! Throughout his comics he travelled to Yugoslavia, Russia, Germany, Libya, Tibet, and China. It wasn’t until the final issue that Johnny’s story took place in Canada, and just off the coast of Halifax! Interestingly, this story also had a science fiction feel, as this last comic took place after the end of the war, and essentially, after Johnny’s biggest villain was out of the picture!

2f3f46a72a029b443a8e9fed64eb55cd_largeThis campaign hopes to raise funds to reprint the 1940s adventures of Johnny Canuck in a 230-page book, along with a gallery of new interpretions of Johnny Canuck by a load of modern day comics artists, including Darwyn Cooke and Leonard Kirk.  Twenty five bucks (Canadian) gets you a copy of the book, and if they hit thirty thousand Canadian dollars, those books will be upgraded from softcover to hardcover. With more than two weeks left, they are within three grand of making their first goal, so things look pretty sweet.