mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, September 23, 2006



Friday, September 22, 2006

Just some random stuff. 

1. I was Googling around and found this: the T.M. Maple Memorial Leaf Pit, archiving some of this prolific letterhack's writings from various comic book letter columns. The main page links to other neat features, including a gallery of letter column header images, with commentary!

2. Johanna provides a summary of some reactions to this week's release of Civil War #4. I know I said yesterday that I read it and it struck me as inadventently amusing, but...well, I'm trying to think of a way to sum up my feelings about this issue. The thing that keeps coming to mind is (and I'm gonna get into SPOILERS here) the bit with the apparent return of the formerly dead Jason "Robin II" Todd in the Batman: Hush storyline. One chapter ended with the revelation that Jason Todd was the bad guy, which got the fans excited...even I thought that was a great reveal, in a storyline that otherwise left me pretty cold. Of course, to the disappointment of everyone, it turned out that it wasn't really Jason, and that disappointment sort of cast a pall over the remainder of the series (at least among my customers). Jason eventually did come back, for reals this time, honest, in post-"Hush" storylines, but the impact of that return was undermined by the previous fake-out, it seemed.

I don't know if the whole "return of Thor...or is it" thing will cast similar pall over Civil War, but I am seeing a lot of "oh, for God's sake...are you kidding me?" types of reactions to it, so it doesn't look good.

Plus...um, I can see Iron Man being a government tool, I can see Peter Parker being emotionally manipulated into joining Iron Man (and eventually seeing the problems with IM's position)...but the Reed Richards in this series is not one I recognize from the many decades' worth of Fantastic Four I've read. I'm totally calling "no way" on this portrayal.

And there are lots of other little things in this particular issue that are beginning to show the cracks in what I had initially believed to be a reasonable and interesting idea for an event series. Ye Olde Comic Blogge hits most of those points.

'Course, it's still gonna sell like crazy.

3. "Bible comics catch few eyes"

"Christian comics have been around for decades. But, unlike Christian rock, religious graphic novels have yet to find a wide market.

"Some Christians question whether comics are appropriate for religious content. Some apparently shy away from the books because they think 'graphic novel' means adult material. Some mainstream stores are reluctant to carry books appealing to what they view as a small niche."

4. That list of questions I posted that I had found on a message board? Tony takes a crack at answering them.

5. The comicweblogosphere's resident medical expert, Polite Scott, discusses the scarring of DOOM. And, if you are so inclined, you may dare give DOOM your own dialogue, like so:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Special "Baseball Cap" post. 

(For new comics day, we received a baseball cap with an embroidered Green Lantern logo. I kept it aside, as I thought it was a special order for someone, and needed to check the paperwork to see whom it was meant for. And then Green Lantern fan pal Corey entered the store....)

Me: "Hey, Corey, did you order this Green Lantern baseball cap?"

Corey: "Not me...I'd rather have a cowboy hat with the Lantern logo. A black cowboy hat."

M: "How 'bout a big ol' sombrero with the logo?"

C: "Yeah, that'd be cool!"

M: "Or how 'bout a hat in the actual shape of the Lantern logo. You'd put your head in the hole in the center there...."

C: "Yeah, um...."

M: "Or a hat in the actual shape of Hal Jordan's head!"

C: "Like that 'Big Head' Mystery Science Theatre 3000 skit?"

M (singing): "'Who's that guy with the big head? Big head!'"

C: "That's the one."

M: "No, the MST3K guys had their heads actually inside the Big Heads they were wearing. I'm thinking more like Marvel's Bi-Beast...with Hal's full-size head sitting directly on top of your head."

C: "..."

M: "I agree...that is brilliant!"

So, in regards to my "seeking controversy" post from a couple days ago, someone left the following comment:

"You wanna start controversy...simply write a long post about how Marvel comics are better than DC and that all DC comics suck. Since it appears that the comics blogsphere is made up of only lovers of DC comics, you should get repeatedly beaten down, linked to, and made fun of for even thinking about saying that."

Um...what? Seems to me that DC books and business policies get knocked along with Marvel's among the fine folks in the comicsweblogosphere, when deserved (and even when it's not, admittedly). And ask me someday about the amount of grief I took for being one of the only weblogging defenders of the wondrous beauty that is All-Star Batman and Robin. I took more crap for defending that DC title than for anything else I've done on this site.

Perhaps there is a slight leaning toward DC among the comic-noscenti, but it's hardly the 100% bias implied in that comment. And, hey, if you really think it's a problem (and you apparently do, since I've seen you leave similar comments at other sites)...start up your pro-Marvel weblog and tip the balance in the other direction. And let me know when you do so I can add it to my blogroll. None of that is meant to be sarcastic or picking on you or anything...I honestly don't see an extremely lopsided favoring of one company over another among webloggers.

And besides, didn't I just spend a week posting about Wolverine? Am I going to have to do it for another week?

I just want to use this space to tell everybody that pal Tom has a Munden's Bar baseball cap that he wears all the time. That is all.

Didn't leave myself much time to discuss some of the week's new comics, so...Nextwave #8 - funny; Civil War #4 - also funny, but I don't think it was intended to be; 52 #20 - the space stuff is the least interesting part of the book to me, but does finally give us an origin of sorts for the Emerald Eye that people have been joking about for years; Following Cerebus #9 - an extra-sized issue featuring a lengthy discussion between Dave Sim and Neal Adams...oh, this should go well; Creation of the X-Men (and the other Marvel Rosen books) - these hardcover books for children on the origins of various Marvel characters and teams are pretty neat, but that $21.95 price point is completely insane for these thin, tiny books; Blade #1 - will Marvel be able to sell a Blade book this time? Has nice Chaykin art, anyway; Krypto the Superdog #1 - that design for Ace the Bathound is absolutely spot-on perfect; Claw the Cancelled Unconquered #4 - I wasn't expecting this comic to do well from the get-go, but boy, it sure tanked harder than expected at our shop; Astonishing X-Men #17 - that cover kills me; X-Men: First Class #1 - "What kind of an X-Man do you take me for?" "First class." Nothing to say about the book, just wanted to make that Firesign Theatre reference.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"The world is to bastardly" 

And now, a definition of "good" I'm unfamiliar with:

"Spawn 2?"

"Rumors are going around that there will be one. Is this true?"

"Apparently so. I also hear that Todd McFarlen is going to write and direct it."

"That will be good."

"If it is Spawn 2, I hope they get the original cast back. But since it's been almost ten years since the first Spawn movie, I wouldn't mind if they just started over, there I would accept a new cast."

"McFarlane talked about this at the Image ComiCon thing or whatever.
a) It WILL be a restart. It will be a cheap movie, he's writing and directing. Also, he's making it a very dark and gritty film, wth influence from such films as LA Confidential. Spawn will not seak a single word in the movie."

"I'd despise the idea of Spawn not talking at all. It kind of ruins the mysteriousness of the character."

So, in the world of the X-Men:

"Could mutants ever be accepted?"

"Could Charles' dream actually come true?"

"nope the world is to bastardly"

"In the story I guess it would eventually, but there will always be problems. Just like there will always be people who discriminate against blacks. But in my own personal opinion evolution is a load of crap, and in real life we won't have to worry about mutants anyway. :P"

"No. Blacks do not equal mutants. Blacks are humans with merely a different skin color. Mutants are people who can create volcanoes in their backyard...."

"they could but why if it ever comes to that then the x-men are of no use anymore"

"they could still be of use...people change...there is sentinals and so on and so forth"

"begrudgery is bound to creep in, manifesting itself as anti mutant feeling..."

"...What I don't understand is why mutants are so scared of other humans. They have reality-warpers among them. If things get too bad, just tell them to warp reality."

All of these questions from this thread rule. Check 'em out:

"Just thought of a few situations that I don't know if they are possible or not and thought I'd ask about it. And I'm classifying this as character vs. situation OR power vs. power

1. Can Venom bond with Collosus when he's metal?
2. Can Classic Black Tom Cassidy block out Black Canary's scream? (The Cassidy that was immune to Banshee)
3. Can Gambit, with enough power, charge up air particles?
4. What would happen if Rogue touched Martian Manhunter?
5. Could Hulk, if he got mad enough, break through a [Green Lantern]'s shield?
6. If Gambit charges up a metal object, could Magneto stop it from exploding?
7. Could Kitty phase through Invisible Woman's shield?
8. Could Kitty phase through a GL's shield?
9. What would happen if Banner had his bones bonded with metal? Would he not be able to grow if he became the Hulk?
10. I once heard the Nightcrawler teleported by transferring to a different dimension. If this is true, could he stay there?
11. Is Juggernaught unstoppable if he's not moving?"

Someone has a go at giving thorough answers...here are some excerpts:

"1. Can Venom bond with Collosus when he's metal? - Yes. Colossus is organic steel. The key word being ORGANIC."

"3. Can Gambit, with enough power, charge up air particles? - Probably if he had herald-level power, yea. Otherwise, no."

"4. What would happen if Rogue touched Martian Manhunter? - She'd probably turn Green, and gain his powers. Rogue's powers work on Aliens. She showed this when she absorbed a fraction King Hyperions powers."

"9. What would happen if Banner had his bones bonded with metal? - He'd die.
Would he not be able to grow if he became the Hulk? - If he had them bonded to him when Banner he'd die. If he had them bonded to Hulk he'd probably still be able to grow, but his bones would break because the adamantium wouldnt grow, and then he'd just regrow his bones over the adamantium."

"11. Is Juggernaught unstoppable if he's not moving? - That doesnt make sense."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Come to think of it, I already got enough grief for that sixth one. 

So I was looking at my site, and what's been going on in the comicsweblogosphere, and I decided that there's something my site needs and has sadly been lacking.


Yeah, that's right: controversy. Big heaping piles of it. The kind that inspires hate e-mail, people sniping at each other in the comments sections, links from outraged folks, blood running in the streets, brother fighting against brother...you know, like that.

So I'm trying to decide which of these topics to discuss, regardless of my actual support of the arguments presented, to attract the type of negative attention I haven't been receiving:

Superheroines: Are Their Breasts Big Enough?

The Punisher And Other Positive Gay Role Models

Which X-Men Comic Should I Recommend to My Non-Comics Reading Friends?

Manga Are Comics? Puh-LEASE.

Hey, Didn't I See That Thing in That One Comics Magazine on Dorian's Site First?

All-Star Batman and Robin - A Great Batman Comic or The Greatest Batman Comic?

The Big Question in Comics Journalism: Reprinting The Whole Press Release or Just Part of It

If I Catch One More of You Cheapskates Trying to Mooch Free Reads off Several Comics in My Store, I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass

Strangers in Paradise & Sandman - Pretty Much The Only Titles Female Comic Readers Need or Want

Superheroes Saving The Comics Industry

Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, & Sue Dibny: Thank God Someone Finally Killed Them Off

The Effects of X-Men Readers Accidentally Being Exposed to Quality During Morrison's Run on The Title

The '60s Batman TV Show: More of A Faithful Adaptation Than You Folks Are Willing to Admit

Dave Campbell and Chris Sims - THE SAME PERSON?

Black And White Comics Are Icky

How Spider-Man Peaked During The Clone Saga

I Don't Want You Linking to My Site
...well, okay, that one's kinda played out

Will Eisner? HACK

Quite Frankly, If It's One Thing The Industry Needs, It's Another Batman Mini-Series

Making Allegedly Humorous And Sarcastic Lists, And Other Ways to Generate Fast Content for Your Weblog

Monday, September 18, 2006

Star Trek Vs. Batman. 

Pal JP just e-mailed this to me, and I had to share. Here's the official site which will take you to part two of this fabulous flick.

We like the Weird Al. 

...And yes, it does involve comic books, somewhat:

EDIT: Video has been removed, but you can hear a stream of the song ("White and Nerdy") at Weird Al's Myspace page, where the video is going to be uploaded eventually. So WATCH THAT (MY)SPACE.

"It wouldn't do to have a naked Hulk running around." 

Some of you folks who've been reading my dumb weblog for a while may remember when I was looking for a particular house ad for DC's Hex series (the series that took the Old West character of Jonah Hex and made him all sci-fi 'n' stuff, in case you didn't remember). Well, I didn't find the one I thought I remembered, but it's a similar one that commenter Layne had mentioned:

It was in Jonah Hex #89 (Feb '85), and why it didn't occur to me back then to go through the latter Jonah Hex issues to find the ad, I don't know. And yeah, I know I mention in the comments section that I have a "cunning plan" for all this Hex stuff, and I still sorta do, but it's going to have to wait until I get more of that "free time" I keep hearing about.

And as long as I'm just throwing up random scans, here's one from Dynamite Magazine #3 (1974):

That's just a lead-in to a reprinting of a couple pages from Hulk #1 (1962), and, alas, no actual heavy rapping with the Hulk is involved. The closest you get is a one page FAQ on ol' Jade Jaws titled "Handy Hunks of Hulk History to Hold Over Your Friends" ("Until They Beat You Up For Talking About The Hulk All The Time" being the unstated conclusion of that phrase). For example:

No, that just wouldn't do at all.

A couple days back, that rascally Chris Sims posted the Most Silver Agey word balloon in the entire Silver Age, and, yeah, that pretty much takes the cake. But since reading that post, I've found myself spotting panels and bits of dialogue here and there that make me say, "Yeah, that's it, that's the Silver Age!" Here's one of them:

I love you, Robot Jimmy Olsen. That panel is from Superman #218 (July '69), in a story reprinted from Action Comics #273 (Feb '61).

I'm only presenting this next sequence (from Superman #225, April '70) because it made me laugh for no good reason:

Yeah, I know, it's Superman keeping another Superman in a cage...it's a long story, and not entirely worth the trip. But really, what the heck is Super-Chess? Superman made up his own chess variant, and named it after himself? Man.

Okay, now I've seen the cover (of Superman #216, May '69) for this next story dozens of times at the shop...Joe Kubert covers always catch the eye, but never did I look inside the comic until this weekend. So there's this U.S. soldier in Vietnam, grown to massive size and apparently fighting for the other side, which leads another soldier to dub him thusly:

KING CONG. Oh good Lord.

And should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, fighting an apparent turncoat who's been turned into a giant and now fighting for the Viet Cong, and Superman isn't around to help, here's a useful piece of advice:

Yeah, put those politicians to work for once.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"I could blog when I wanna / Comment where I oughta / If I only had a brain...." 

So if Tim can post about Star Trek because I posted about Star Wars novels, then I can post about Star Wars novels again.

See how that works? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, I have a flyer for the current Star Wars Legacy of the Force novel series currently being published, installment 2 (of 9) released only a couple weeks ago. The flyer includes the following blurb:

"Something so major and incendiary will occur during the Legacy of the Force series that we cannot even mention what it is - except to say that it will be sure to earn significant fan attention."

Okay, I see that, I think "they're killing off another character from the original films," which is what they did to kick off the previous major novel series for the franchise. (If you don't already know which character was killed off, you can find out here.) I'm sure we'll see a lot of the characters created for the novels die or (in an least one significant case already, go pretty irredeemably evil), but for "significant fan attention," as the publisher puts it, that would imply, say, Han eating some bad blowfish and kicking off, or something.

I'm trying to think of what else would be a "major and incendiary" change...return of the previously-dead major character? Kryptonite lightsabers? Star Trek crossover? As a long-term Star Wars sucker, it's got me curious.

Conversation between pal Dorian and I:

(discussion of Jason "Robin II" Todd's revamped origin leads into...)

M: "...So in the revamped origin, Jason was a street urchin that was trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile."

D: "I believe it was explained later on that Batman forgot to set the protective system on the Batmobile that night, which allowed Jason the chance to grab the tires."

M: "So the single most anal-retentive man on the planet forgot to turn on his car alarm? C'mon."

D: "Hey, he forgot to put on his Bat-condom when he slept with Talia."

M: "Well, that was probably his first time having sex, so Batman just didn't know any better."

I always consider it a victory when I can make Dor burst out laughing.

We also discussed at length Felicia Kyle, Catwoman's sister, who, to the best of our knowledge, only appeared once and was never referred to again. (That appearance being a Batman/Swamp Thing crossover, by the way.)

In other news:

Here's a Captain America 'n' Bucky wartime paper drive ad courtesy Booksteve.

Blockade Boy introduces us to the sexy, sexy Lancelot Steele, straight outta the first three years of Dazzler.

Archie and Betty, gettin' it on...or are they? (I know it's from a couple years back, but I was asked about this story, and, well, there you go.)

Pal Dorian has taken some liberties with my visage, with the help of the Scissor Sisters. (Warning: Sound, Flash, my face.)

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