mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004

"It's beginning to look a lot like Elfquest...." 

Just a quick note to, well, note that after several months of moribund sales on the new Elfquest archival and paperback releases by DC Comics, we suddenly sold a heaping load of them over the last two days. I would make some kind of tortured allegedly-humorous play on words between "Elfquest" and Santa's elves, but I've had a long day, and I've got a long night ahead of me.

Anyway, everyone have a pleasant Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Winter Solstice...I hope you all appreciate the sentiment, regardless of its wording.

1. At the store yesterday:

Kid Chris: "I don't know what to get you for Christmas, Mike. What do you get for the man who has everything?"

Me: "A screen door for my submarine?"

Today's Foxtrot Christmas gag rubs some LiveJournalers the wrong way.

3. In my contest plug-fest last night, I forgot about Beaucoup Kevin's Julius giveaway. You have until Dec. 30th to enter.

4. Yes, our store is open today, and I plan on being there through to our regular closing time since there's almost always somebody who shows up at the last second for some panic gift-shopping. So, if you're in the neighborhood, drop by!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

1. I know other people have pointed to
the article that's going around regarding J'onn J'onzz' lack of media attention...but it was sort of startling to see this on Yahoo's little news box on its front page:

2. Johanna's Owly contest ends tomorrow, so go enter already. What do you want, an engraved invitation?

3. Dave reports that his Comic Book Legal Defense Fund drive has been successfully completed...but someone else has offered to continue matching funds on donations through tomorrow! Go to that link for details!

4. Need I mention my contest for free Swamp Thing: Bad Seed trades again? I do want to thank Logan for plugging the contest on his House of the Ded site.

5. I also wanted to remind people of the ongoing Christmas-themed comic cover displays at Polite Dissent, Yet Another Comics Blog, and Viper Comics Raw Feed, and that pal Dorian has been posting seasonal covers in his own charmingly curmudgeonly style.

6. Run, don't walk, to Fearless Fred Hembeck's horrifying display of Santa Heads! Not for the lily-livered!

7. Why did no one ever tell me that my link to Trickle of Consciousness in my sidebar was horribly out of alphabetical order? How embarrassing. (Fixed now...it was between "W" and "Y.")

New funnybooks, yes? New funnybooks - yes! SPOILERS, okay?

Green Lantern: Rebirth #3 - Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver zip along with their ongoing rehabilitation of Hal Jordan, with a focus on the exact nature of the GL Corps' weakness against the color yellow (how many explanations have we had for this, over the years?), and what it has to do with Jordan's current situation. The groundwork is being set for Jordan being absolved of blame of all the evil he was getting up 10 years ago. If this has to be done, at least Johns and Van Sciver are doing it with a little flair. Van Sciver's terrifying rendition of the alien GL Kilowog on the first couple pages is something else. This is, at the very least, an attractively illustrated book.

JLA Classified is more of Grant Morrison's crazy superhero shenanigans, ably illustrated by Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines. The many and varied storylines from the first issue begin to gain a little more cohesion in part two, as we begin to see how Gorilla Grodd's (him again!) attacks related to the JLA's adventure in the "infant universe." I was also going to note the possible relation between Jack and his reality-rewriting "Keyboard of Being" and "The Writer" from Suicide Squad, John Ostrander's parody of Morrison as he appeared in his last issue of Animal Man, but
other people have beaten me to it.

New Thunderbolts #3 - not much to say about this comic, other than this is probably the most pure fun superhero comic book Marvel publishes.* Entertainingly written, clearly illustrated, lots of Marvel-style subplots and carrying-on...it feels like a 1960s Marvel book, without any kind of fakey "retro" stylizing.

Uncle Scrooge #337 - contains a new (well, new in the U.S., anyway) story by Don Rosa, in which Donald gets Uncle Scrooge to finally clean out some of his junk from the office. Of course, one of the discarded items turns out to be valuable, and Donald and Scrooge spend the story chasing after their "trash," with all the attendant sight-gags and Beagle Boys and so forth. It's short and slight, but it's fun, and according to this issue's editorial, this story apparently "prefigures events" in a forthcoming Rosa adventure.

Following Cerebus #2 - haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it does have plenty of art by Dave Sim, including a great cover (Cerebus climbing a ladder in the rain), a back cover photo of Sim interviewing Barry Windsor-Smith in 1973 (said interview included within), and, for some reason, a full-page reproduction of "Dave Sim's Favorite Buffy [The Vampire Slayer] Pic This Month." That's the one that made me go "wha-HUH?" There's also a 6-page Cerebus story from the old fan newsletter. There's plenty of content here for the Cerebus fan, even for those that abandoned ship several years ago (like most people did).

Other new arrivals:

Black Hole #12 - Charles Burns' long-running mini-series has come to an end...bring on the collection! I bought it at first, but, well, I'm not sure what happened. I love Burns' work, and have read other projects of his over the years, but I think I may have stopped buying it at some point when I was trying to cut back my funnybook consumption. I regret dropping it now, but since the trade paperback is inevitable, I think I'll live.

TMNT #19 - it's been years since I've read a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic (probably not since one of Mark Martin's issues in the original series), but I just happen to really like that cover, over there to the right. It's just the hand of one of the turtles, with a crab crawling on one of the fingers. Painted by Michael Dooney, it's very understated, and really stands out on the rack.

We received the new printing of The Incredibles #1 from Dark Horse...but as far as I can tell, there is no difference between this edition and the first printing. It doesn't really matter to me, but I just know someone eventually is going to care. There's nothing inside indicating that it's a reprint, and I don't have a copy of the first printing floating around to compare, just in case the ads or logo colors or anything else is different. Can anyone set me straight?

Space Ghost #2 - now to see if the good sales on the first issue will continue on the second. A brief glance through the book shows that the art is still nicely done, though the story itself looks bone-dry serious.

* As opposed to all the non-superhero comics Marvel publishes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I was thinking about the
forthcoming All-Star line from DC Comics, where they're ballyhooing top-flight creators on the books, with characters done the way you want to see them! So are they saying they're sorry for giving us lesser creators on the books in the past, and giving us the characters the way we didn't want to see them?*

Okay, I know that's not what they meant, but the "All-Star" name, along with Marvel's "Ultimate" line, sorta contains a slight implication that the previous versions of the books, and the people who work on them, are old news, or at least not quite up to snuff. Wasn't one of the reasons Kurt Busiek left The Avengers, pal Dorian reminded me earlier, was that there was no real point to working on the book once there was an Ultimate Avengers (or, rather, The Ultimates) on the shelves?** Why read the boring old Avengers, when you can have the brand-new super-cool "Ultimate" version?

Then again, Marvel's finding a way around this, by plugging the word "NEW" in front of their regular non-Ultimized Marvel Universe titles: New Avengers, New Invaders, New Thunderbolts, and perhaps even a New Thor.

I'm not criticizing, or even making a particularly new observation...I for one can't wait to see Superman stories by Morrison and Quitely...and I honestly don't have anything against the idea of the "All-Star" or "Ultimate" lines. I just thought the terminology being used was interesting.

In other news:

Bill at Trusty Plinko Stick adds to the fray by linking to my mighty Swamp Thing: Bad Seed TPB giveaway. Don't forget that, due to the generous contribution of Ringwood's Ken Lowery, I now have three volumes as prizes.

Everytime I see Rob Liefeld draw Cable in this pose (this particular variation from the cover of X-Force #5):

...I can't help but think Cable has one heck of a tummy ache.

*Dorian recalls my thoughts on this topic from earlier today. I don't remember the "eff you" part...but Dorian's final reaction to my thoughts was pretty much word-for-word!

** Here's a post from Mr. Busiek on that very subject.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Chris at
Matter-Eater Blog brings word of the Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive, which is getting books in the hands of needy children. If you've got some spare scratch laying around, why not contribute to the cause?

I really should be wrapping presents... 

...but instead, while I wind down from the nightmarish traffic conditions I just drove through, I'm going to sit back and do a little weblogging. Join me, won't you?

1. The Swamp Thing: Bad Seed contest continues apace, and I have a few more people to thank for getting the word out: The Johnny Bacardi Show, Scott at Polite Dissent (who throws in some Swamp-related content), Kevin at Thought Balloons, Franklin at Franklin's Findings, Ed at The Low Road, Dave at Legomancer (I can't help but think I've seen that picture before), and Gordon at Blog This, Pal (and also manages to make the first-ever comparison between me and a member of the Rolling Stones).

Again, if I missed you, send me a swift kick in the butt via e-mail or my comments section, and I'll add you to the list.

2. Speaking of my comments sections, commenter Cole has been contributing his own comic-inspired haikus here and here. His syllable count may be slightly off in one or two of them, but for the love of God, the man wrote a haiku about Flippa Dippa! I'm gonna let him slide a syllable or two.

3. There's been a whole lotta loose talk about Gorilla Grodd lately, so I thought I'd hit you with some Grodd-linkage, like this bio (including an image by master ape artist Art Adams), a look at the version of Grodd that's appeared in the Cartoon Network Justice League series, Grodd stats for the Marvel(!) RPG, a nice big picture of the DC Direct action figure, a Wikipedia entry, a summary of his appearance in Flash #127 from 1962, a commissioned drawing by Ramona Fradon, and he's also reviewed, along with the rest of his villainous cohorts from the Super Friends cartoon.

Hokey smokes, I've had a handful of people link to
my little contest: big thanks to Ken at Ringwood, Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance, David at Precocious Curmudgeon, Bill Sherman at Pop Culture Gadabout, Dave at Yet Another Comics Blog, Jog, Jason at Trickle of Consciousness, pal Ian at Brill Building, Steve at Gutterninja, Kung Pow Pig, H at the Comic Treadmill, and Laura at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog. And pal Dorian begrudingly links to the contest as well. Beaucoup Kevin also links, and has a contest of his own, so go check it out!

If I missed anybody, let me know, and I'll add you to the list.

And now, A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! Ken Lowery has graciously offered to donate two more copies of Swamp Thing: Bad Seed to the cause, making a total of three copies to be given away in my contest! So, please, if you haven't entered yet, you have until the 31st of this month to do so.

And now, some brief looks at goodies from last week:

The first volume of Dark Horse's Little Lulu reprint series is absolutely wonderful. As always, whenever I get a black and white reprint of something that was originally in color, there's a little tiny anal-retentive part of my mind that wonders if the lack of color will detract from the stories...and of course, it doesn't. This is classic stuff; funny, witty, and silly in all the appropriate amounts, and thank goodness Dark Horse is publishing it in a format that's affordable and easily accessible. (Now if only someone would do nice reprint collections of Herbie....)

Zippy the Pinhead: From Here to Absurdity collects another year's worth of Bill Griffith's strips, organized thematically rather than chronologically (a nice touch that I'm sure most other strips couldn't get away with), plus footnotes. I've been a big fan of Zippy for many years, though I've only ever been able to read the strip in reprint form. The only time I've seen the strip in the "wild" locally was in a weekly paper, but that was years ago. I have a hard time picturing Zippy squeezed between Drabble and Tumbleweeds on your regular comics page, given that Griffith's work would come as a fairly surprising contrast to an audience accustomed to fat cats making jokes about lasagna. It's fine work, still entertaining and challenging after all these years.

Madrox #4 - yes, after Zippy and Lulu, I'm gonna talk about an X-Men spin-off book. Actually, all I wanted to mention was that this is probably the first time that I've noticed just how downright creepy Madrox's power really is. You get a shot or two of some of his duplicates in the process of reabsorbtion...distended, distorted, being pulled back into his body (in at least one case, unwillingly). It's downright grotesque...and it's yet another permuation in Peter David's ongoing reinvention of the character. The actual "hard-boiled detective" aspect of the story is fun as well, providing an entertaining framework for the exploration of Madrox's abilites.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The big Swamp Thing giveaway! 

Yes, it's this little website's very first contest, and, it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, it's for a Swamp Thing book! In particular, it's for Swamp Thing: Bad Seed by Andy Diggle and Enrique Breccia, collecting the first six issues of the current series and setting up the character's new status quo.

If you want to enter, all you have to do is send an e-mail to contest (at) progressiveruin.com telling me, in 25 words or less, why you, yes, you, would like to have a copy of Swamp Thing: Bad Seed. I will pick one winner, either by choosing the entry I like the most, or, if I'm too wishy-washy to narrow it down to one winner, by a random drawing. You have until Friday, December 31st, 2004, to enter, and results will be posted, hopefully, in the first week of the new year.

EDIT: 12/21: Ken at Ringwood has agreed to donate two more copies of Swamp Thing: Bad Seed for the giveaway!

Some rules and notes:

1. This contest is not associated with DC Comics, Warner Brothers, Diamond Comics, my employer, or your mom.

2. One entry per person, please.

3. This contest is not open to my fellow members of the Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs, because if one of them did win, well, how would that look?

4. If you are a winner and you live outside the U.S., the book will be shipped by air mail, but I am not responsible for any import taxes or whatnot. Item will be declared as a "gift," with a value of $9.95.

5. Don't send me your shipping address with your entry...if you're a winner, I'll contact you for your information.

6. By entering, you hereby agree not to complain if you don't win.

7. I will reproduce the winning entry (or entries) on this site, unless you specifically ask me not to do so.

So there you go...to sum up: 25 words or less telling me why you want the Swamp Thing: Bad Seed trade paperback, sent to contest (at) progressiveruin.com, on or before Friday, December 31st, 2004. So, get cracking!

Other contest-type thingies you should be aware of:

Dave at Yet Another Comics Blog is holding a matching-funds pledge drive for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund...not really a contest, but it is a worthy cause.

Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance is running a contest for a copy of the amusing graphic novel Owly (and for a copy of the mini-comic as well), details of which you can find right here.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Alas, I am short on weblogging time today, so all I'm gonna do is point you in the direction of
an overview of last night's Justice League Unlimited. It's a pretty good look at the episode, though their history of Vixen is slightly garbled, I believe. Vixen was planned as part of the "DC Explosion" in the '70s, and her first completed issue ended up not getting published due to the "DC Implosion," except in the in-house Cancelled Comic Cavalcade. The character finally made her first appearance, teaming up with Superman in Action Comics #521 in 1981, a few years after the "Implosion." The TV Tome description describes the Implosion as occurring after the Action Comics appearance, which isn't what happened. Yeah, it's a nitpick, but I thought I'd point it out.

I am glad that TV Tome took a little more detailed look at the chess games being played in this episode...I figured that the animators took a few liberties with the board's set-up.

And yes, I wasn't imagining things...there was a Swamp Thing cameo (in the form of a poster) in this episode.

In other news:

Go visit pal Nat's music weblog, Wired for Sound. It's swell!

EDIT: Remember kids...closed HTML tags are your friends!

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?