mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pal Sean
continues his San Diego reports. And pal Ian has put up a couple of San Diego-related audioposts (1 & 2) for you to enjoy as well.

Speaking of pal Ian, some quotes from me appear in his article in the new Comics Journal regarding the downloading of scanned comics. To sum up my thoughts: I wish people wouldn't do it, but if that's what's needed to get new people interested in comics and perhaps buying new issues, well, that's that, I guess.

I'm a lousy interviewee, by the way.

I have more to say, but I'm supremely irritated at the moment. Let's just say that if a certain person can't see the irony in complaining about all weblogs being worthless via a series of short essays posted on a personal website...well, what can you do?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Awwww...some comics webloggers on the east coast have formed a
little club. Isn't that the cutest?

We of the Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs wish them well!

So yesterday at the shop, some of us were discussing the eventual sequel to the Fantastic Four movie...specifically, which villain would be the focus. I noticed over the last few days that several of our customers have expressed a preference for Galactus. While I'm a big Galactus fan, and would love to see a live action version of the character, I think the general non-comic reading populace isn't quite ready for such a spectacle: i.e. the big G would be laughed off the screen. Besides, he's probably tied up in whatever Silver Surfer film rights that might exist.

Pal Dorian suggested the Skrulls, which actually isn't a bad idea. It's certainly better than the other FF villain that immediately comes to mind: the Mole Man. I just keep picturing the FF in fight scene after fight scene in caves, and I just don't think that would make for a fun film. I'd rather see them in space fighting aliens...though I kind of get the feeling that the people making the Marvel movies don't want to start throwing aliens into the mix. It's hard enough getting people to accept the superhero aspects of the films without hitting them with extraterrestrials, too.

Beyond that, what other good movie-worthy adversaries do the FF have? Molecule Man? The Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android? Kid Chris suggested the Frightful Four, and that's a pretty good idea, I think. However, I imagine we're just going to get Doom again, so it may all be a moot point.

Anyway, during that discussion, Kid Chris made the offhand comment that he'd like to see a Watcher movie. A movie, starring the guy who hangs out on the moon and watches everything going on, without (ideally) interfering.

That, my friends, is a brilliant idea. I immediately pictured sitting in a theatre for two hours, with this staring back at you from the screen:

Twenty, twenty-five minutes in, you've finished most of your popcorn and soda, you look back up at the film:

An hour in, you get up to go to the restroom, and when you return:

At one hour forty minutes, the film approaches its climax:

The denouement, and we fade into credits:

It'd be like the superhero equivalent of Andy Warhol's Empire. Genius!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

So we at the store ("we" being
pal Dorian, Kid Chris, and me) got to meet the lovely and talented Chris "Lefty" Brown and his lovlier and talented-er wife Kelly Brown, as they stopped by on their way down to the San Diego Comic Con. They took plenty of embarrassing pictures, so be sure to look for them on one or both of their sites sometime soon!

Before we opened today:

(Kid Chris is vacuuming...we still have some comics on the floor after breaking down the Diamond Comics order)

Kid Chris: "Hey, move those comics! I almost sucked up that [certain Image Comics publication]!"

Me: "Yeah, that comic sucks enough already."

Kid Chris: "Oh, snap!"

There was a Great Curve post in which it was wondered what retailers would do with the new All Star Batman and Robin comic, since the Batman variant cover would probably sell better than the Robin variant, leaving stores stuck with a bunch o'Robins. Well, I hadn't really considered that, since I figured it's Frank Miller and Jim Lee...Shadowhawk could have been on the covers, and they'd probably still sell. But, I figured, he was right, the Batman one was sure to sell faster. However, Dorian noticed today that people were either buying both covers, or they were favoring the Robin cover. Weird! Well, not weird that some people were getting both covers...I kinda expected that.

I got the Batman cover, myself. Don't look at me like that...I ain't gonna turn down Miller Batman.

You know what the San Diego Convention needs? A way for attendees, who are so inclined, to be married by a Stan Lee impersonator. "I now declare you true believers! Excelsior!"

You may think you're a Sub-Mariner fan... 

...but you're not a fan like Kid Chris is a fan:

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I managed to see the Fantastic Four movie Monday night, and after a day of attending to real-life adult responsibilities, it came as a welcome diversion. Your spoiler-free review: light and amusing adventure that doesn't tax the brain, with some entertaining character interaction (particularly between Thing and the Human Torch), and, though the climatic battle seems to wrap up just a little too quickly, overall it's not quite as bad as everyone was fearing. It's no classic, by any means, but it's a perfectly acceptable popcorn movie. Catch a matinee.

And now...THE SPOILERS - skip ahead if you don't wanna know:

  • Let's get the biggie out of the way...as much razzing as I've given the new Thing costume, it actually turned out not to be all that bad. The hands in particular were nicely done, as were the scenes in which Ben tries to do normal human activities with his newly deformed physique. And he did elicit a lot of sympathy from the audience, such as when he gave that terrible sad-sack look when he realized he was too heavy for the Baxter Building's elevator and had to take the stairs. That got quite a few "aaaaaaaw"s.

  • On the other hand, the stretching effects for Mr. Fantastic never quite worked for me. Nor for the audience I was with, it appeared...there was a lot of laughing at, not with, the various uses of the stretching powers. Well, it was kind of funny-looking, to be honest. That shot of Reed falling off the building, his rubbery stretched-out arms flailing about, was right out of the comics. The more subtle uses, as during his proposal to Sue, worked more for me.

  • Chris Evans was a lot of fun as the Human Torch, as you've been hearing, and his semi-friendly adversarial relationship with the Thing was probably the one element of the film most like the comics. I probably could have done without the Thing patting Torch on the shoulder at the end of the film and saying "you done good, kid." Cliche-sense, tingling!

  • Okay, so I realize there's no love lost between Reed and Doom. However, when Doom visits Reed at his lab, where Reed is studying the affects of the cosmic radiation on everyone's bodies, wouldn't it have occurred to Reed to ask, "say, Victor, you were hit by the same radiation we were...are you showing any unusual symptoms"?

  • Speaking of Doom, it doesn't really bother me that they changed his origin and suddenly gave him super electrical powers. I do like that, after a fashion, they sorta/kinda borrowed Jack Kirby's concept that Doom wasn't as horribly burned and scarred as everyone thought, but, due to his vanity, just covering one tiny scar with his metal mask. Yes, I know he's more than just a little scarred by the time he puts on the mask in the film, but it seems pretty clear that vanity is the basis of that decision as well. Of course, he's certainly scarred now, due to the firestorm he was caught in at the end of the film.

  • It was kind of convenient that the citizens of Latveria just happened to send him a wearable metal mask as a display piece, wasn't it? Then again, judging by the giant "Our Tribute to Foreshadowing" statue of Doom from the beginning of the film, maybe that kind of heavy-industrial style of art is all the rage in that country.

  • During the Fantastic Four's first public appearance...everyone in the crowd did realize that the Thing was responsible for all the mayhem on the bridge, right? So the FF are heroes for cleaning up their own mess, I guess.

  • So Reed built a machine that was able to strip the Thing of his mutation, reverting him back to Ben Grimm, if only after Doom was able to supply sufficient power. All Reed has to do is rebuild the machine, pump up the power source, and, bam, we've got Grimm again. When this is brought up at the end of the film, the Thing just sort of shrugs it off. Of course, he has Alicia under his arm, and as you all know from reading your old Fantastic Four, the Thing fears that Alicia only loves him as the Thing, and would abandon him should he ever revert back to to normal. So, of course, he would resist any new attempt at Reed curing him.

    Hey, sure, why not.

  • I wonder if Jessica Alba felt as silly as she looked when she was striking some of her "now I'm using my force field power" poses. However, when she first appeared on the space station in her skin-tight uniform, you could hear audible intakes of breath from men all over the theatre. Not from me, though...I'm not a sexist pig that objectifies women. Plus, my girlfriend would've clocked me one.

  • Did I really see an autographed photo of Devo on the bureau in the room Sue was using at Reed's lab?

END OF THE SPOILERS. You didn't cheat and peek, did you?

So, again, not absolutely terrible, and perhaps the inevitable sequel will smooth over some of the rough spots. Of course, I expect a potential third movie would only prove the "two okay installments per superhero movie franchise" rule.

Monday, July 11, 2005

It's all about me, this morning. 

I need to leave early this morning for personal business-type stuff, so you're gettin' a Mr. Lazy-pants post. My apologies...with any luck, I'll have something else on the site later today.

Make that three Wikipedia articles that cite me as a source...I'm also in the Cancelled Comics Cavalcade entry. Cool.

One of our customers name-drops our store in this interview on Jazma Online, while discussing her independent comic Insane Jane. Thanks, Weshoyot!

Doing a little bit of the Googling, I came up with this weblog entry about someone coming to our store for 2004's Free Comic Book Day:

"...This was only my second time ever setting foot in a comic shop. it was pretty okay and not too scary."

Right on. He also mentions one of the employees was "young and excited," so that must have been Kid Chris, since pal Dorian and I are old and bitter.

Speaking of Kid Chris, here's a conversation he had a few days back with a friend of his, that he just related to me:

KC's friend: "I haven't been to that comic shop you work at in a few years."

KC: "Oh, you probably remember Mike, I bet."

KC's friend: "Oh, yeah...he had brownish/blonde hair, and he was kinda tall, but sorta short...and he wore shirts, right?"

Yes, I was the one that wore shirts. Welcome to Ralph's Bare-Chested Comics Corner.

Kid Chris says that what his friend meant was that I was the one that always wore button-up collared shirts, but that's not as funny as being "the guy that wears shirts."

So that it's just not all about me...don't stay away too long, Tim!!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

1. At long, long last...
Fleshhead speaketh:

"...There are freakin' Klingons walking around. In character. Speaking Klingon. Speaking Klingon CORRECTLY. After that, anything can happen."

Pal Sean, the secret weapon of the Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs, talks smart about the forthcoming San Diego Comic Convention. Sean's been attending the con every year for...well, pretty much as long as I've known him, which is several years now, and he's got plenty of good tips for you folks new to the Comic Con scene.

He also plans on posting pictures a'plenty from the trip, but should he have links to photos of what he and his wife are gettin' up to in their hotel room...look away, look away!

1a. Pal Sean trivia...he's the fella what took that photo of me reading a copy of Marvel Comics' The Smurfs, which you can see on my user pic page and at the top of my column at the new Comic Book Galaxy. Thanks, Sean!

2. I'm suddenly getting some traffic from this Wikipedia entry on Superman...I'm footnote #3, which links to this post (under March 2nd) about Superman protecting his identity through super-hypnosis. (Well, actually, it links to the archive page and not the specific post.)

Coincidentally, this same archive page is linked to by another Wikipedia entry, the one on Brian Bolland, specifically to my Killing Joke post (the same one Comic Treadmill keeps sending traffic to).

Anyway, I'm a Wikipedia "source." Neat. I know, I know, it's only two links, but considering that when I started this little weblog I didn't think anyone was going to pay it any attention, I think it's pretty cool.

3. Customer questions I shouldn't answer honestly: "So, what did you think of the latest issue of X-Men?"

4. For once, I haven't been swamped with customers just itching to tell me about the Fantastic Four film, like they usually do whenever a new superhero film pops up. That may not be a good sign. I'm planning on seeing it Monday night, myself...we've had pretty good luck getting a non-idiot, non-cell phone using crowd on early Monday evenings. At any rate, the few customers who have mentioned the film have pretty much confirmed what I thought...it's big, loud, and stupid, but still fun.

So I'll look forward to it as a way to shut my brain off for a couple hours. At the very least, the theatre will be air-conditioned, so that'll be nice.

4a. As a follow-up to my previous FF vs. the Incredibles posts (1, 2) , I should point out this interview with Marvel's CEO Avi Arad (found via the essential Neilalien). The Incredibles, a commercial for the Fantastic Four flick? I'm with Mr. Alien on this: wha--?

5. One of these days, I'm going to change the font color or something on new links I add to the sidebar in order to make 'em stand out. But, until that day, lemme just welcome the newest additions here: Crisis/Boring Change (from the former proprietor of Wednesday Week), The Next Voice You Hear, So So Silver Age, Double Articulation, Without Me You're Only You, The Daily Burn, Zilla & The Comic Junkies, and The Fortress of Soliloquy. Howdy, folks! No idea how I'm gonna keep up with you all, but I'm gonna try, gosh darn it!

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