mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"The ghost develops a fondness for the mutt of the martial arts...." 

"Our canine combatant's roving brings him to a strange forest where he meets up with a child and a pack of benevolent wolves. Through this group, he discovers that the woods are under the protection of an ancient Elemental spirit. The ghost develops a fondness for the mutt of the martial arts, and the Littlest Ninja wonders if his wandering days are over. But just as he starts to settle into his new home, the local villagers start a Wolf Walk; a term used for a slash and burn method of wolf hunting. A confrontation between the magic forces of nature and the malignant force of man result. Also, look for a special guest appearance by a popular shogun assassin."

(from World News #1 (1987), featuring solicitations for Eternity and Imperial Comics)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Progressive Ruin casts (partially) the 1980s X-Men movie! 

So at the shop on Thursday, I was filing away a copy of this issue of Alter Ego, which contained an extensive overview of Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway's proposed and unproduced X-Men movie script from the mid-1980s. (Three words regarding that non-production: "dodged a bullet.")

Anyway, employees Nathan and Aaron were unaware that an X-flick was being contemplated that early on, and we all briefly wondered which of the popular actors of that time could have been cast in this theoretical film.

Initially, I tried to stick to folks who popped up in John Hughes films:

First, I saw Jon Cryer as Cyclops...not for any particular reason other than it amused me to consider it. Plus, he'd probably be used to playing characters that have women troubles. (That whole Duckie/Pretty in Pink thing still burns, all these years later.)

For Nightcrawler, Anthony Michael Hall. You pretty much would just need to paint him blue, and he'd be ready to go.

As Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix...Molly Ringwald. Okay, it's primarily because she's a redhead...I never said I was going to put a lot of thought into this. Besides, as employee Nathan pointed out, there are probably countless X-fans out there who would be overly pleased at seeing her in a Phoenix costume.

But then I started thinking about Wolverine? Who could be cast as that gruff 'n' surly clawed Canadian? Judd Nelson? Andrew McCarthy? No...neither of them felt right.

Suddenly, it came to me. I'd have to go outside the John Hughes oeuvre, but really, only one man in the '80s could have pulled off Wolverine to absolute perfection, could have so fully conveyed the character's conflict between his feral nature and his heroic impulses.

And that man...

...is Curtis Armstrong.

Yes, that's right. Charles from Better Off Dead. Herbert from Moonlighting. And, most importantly, Booger from the Revenge of the Nerds saga.

Don't deny it. You know I'm right.

So, do any of you folks have your own casting ideas for an '80s-style X-Men movie? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

But don't bother trying to cast Wolverine. You ain't gonna improve on my idea.

EDIT: Commenter Steven gives us some extra info about the '80s X-Men project.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Green Lantern! Wooooo! CHUG IT!" 

Wednesday was a day for odd things to happen at the store:

  • A customer's pet iguana, usually fairly mellow and content just to cling to said customer's shirt, was instead particularly antsy and kept jumping off the customer and onto counters, shelves, etc. Leapin' lizards! (No harm done, don't worry.)

  • I watched Nat draw an Elmo sketch for pal Ian on the back of his business card.

  • ...And pal Corey said to me "I don't care what anyone thinks, but this Cyborg Superman Green Lantern cover rules." To this, employee Aaron responded with a "Yeah! High five!" which was followed by Corey and Aaron indeed high-fiving.

    Upon seeing my reaction to this...incident, Corey, Aaron, and Corey's brother Chad, who was also present, continued with exaggerated cheers and whoops over the Green Lantern cover, specifically to annoy me. The statement that makes up this post's title came from Chad.

    Apparently our store became a frat when I wasn't looking. TOGA PARTY AT COMIC HOUSE!

And now...some of this week's new arrivals. Let's see if I can manage not to start any arguments this time:

Ladies and gentlemen...Spider-Man's ass:

"Um...Mr. Parker? I know you're our teacher 'n all, but...um, we're really not comfortable with knowing whether or not you're wearing any underwear." (And I forget who mentioned this to me...it may have been pal Tom...but in that new costume, particularly in that pose, Spidey looks like Ant.)

Hero Squared #2 - It's billed on the cover as the "All Therapy Issue," and they ain't kidding. Regular Milo and Superhero Milo try to work out their problems in an issue-long dialogue, which, in true Giffen/DeMatteis fashion, is alternately wacky and serious. Joe Abraham manages to keep the story visually interesting with telling expressions on the characters' faces as they work through (or wallow in) their problems.

Dorothy #6 - We get the story of the Tin Man in this issue, told through his raster-lined memories. Compelling if bleak, but visually never anything less than absolutely beautiful. I say this every time I mention this comic, but I'm not big on the fumetti-style photo comics, but a lot of work was obviously put into this series' presentation, and it sure comes through in the quality of the artwork.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Series One Repaints - Perhaps you may remember the quality control issues with the original run of these figures, and its ultimate fate. Well, they've been reissued with new paint jobs, and they look...a tad better, anyway. The Monitor's hair is less uneven, there are some metallic paint highlights on some of the figures, the Psycho-Pirate's face is more angry and villainous-looking, there appears to be a touch more color in Supergirl's hair. No real major changes, but lots of little ones which add up to a slighly more quality product than the figures these are replacing.

Alan Moore Spells It Out - I don't even remember what this little booklet features, but upon seeing it, employee Nathan expressed his wish for an Alan Moore's Guide to Growing A Beard, and now I can think of nothing else.

Shatter TPB - I do miss the color, but stripping it down to just the black and white images does make one aware of how much work went into this, the first computer-illustrated comic book. It would be easy to laugh at the supposedly primitive nature of the artwork, constructed by Mike Saenz on one of the early model Macintosh computers, but closer examination reveals that the art has a complexity and a unique beauty all its own. It's been close to twenty years since I've read this, so I don't recall if I should say "yay" or "nay" to the actual story, but let's face it...the art's the star of this show. If you're interested in the early use of computer-produced narratives, or if you're simply nostalgic for the days of pixellated illos on your Mac SE's black and white screen, give the book a look.

Metal Men Archives Vol. 1 - AT LONG LAST. I can't afford it right now, but I'm glad it exists. You really can't beat DC's crazy 1960s superhero comics, and the Metal Men is just pure nutty fun.

Tenth Muse #11 - ...Which I'm pointing out because customer Weshoyot drew the entirety of this issue, and since we all like Weshoyot around here, I wanted to give her book a plug.

In other news:

When Nat was in, he was wearing this Licensable Bear™ button, which I now must own. Find more Licensable Bear™ stuff here.

"POW! It's a brush with Batman"

A look at a Batman art exhibit, including images by TV Batman Adam West:

"West's show features 52 sketches and paintings depicting characters such as the Joker, played by Cesar Romero, and Catwoman, played by Julie Newmar.

"'I had been working on a series of pictures to kind of give my expression to the
[TV show's 40th] anniversary,' West said from his home in Ketchum, Idaho. [...]

"The actor added that his artwork is either loved or hated by audiences. 'I don't paint butter dishes, doilies or hummingbirds in my garden. It's more raw, I suppose. But it always creates a reaction,' West said."

Other artists are also featured in the exhibit:

"[Amanda Visell's] painting 'Double Identity' features a smiling Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, sipping a cup of tea and being attended to by his manservant, Alfred, while the other half of his image is a frowning Batman with Robin hanging by nearly a thread to his Batapult.

"'I think he's frowning because he's at work and he has to be serious,' she said, adding that Batman and Robin always had a tense relationship anyway. 'And the one where he's smiling, he's being served by Alfred.... I think most people are happy when they're being served.'"

Well said.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006





Not to be confused with....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Some random stuff. 

1. Regarding the whole "comics for your girlfriend" thing...my girlfriend's favorite comic book character is Spider-Man, and follows all 38 monthly titles he appears in (though she's a tad behind). She's also enjoying the Justice series from DC.

And when she was younger, her favorite comic book was Marvel's G.I. Joe series.

Just thought I'd mention that.

2. So instead of dumping two hundred million dollars or so into superhero movie series that come out with installments every, oh, say, three or four years or so, why not give twenty million to the guys who do some of the better fanfilms (like Grayson or World's Finest) and have them produce a superhero movie serial? Weekly or biweekly installments, not more than about ten minutes long, plugged in front of whatever the new release happens to be that week.

Might get some people back into the habit of going to the movies on a regular basis, since studios seem to be complaining that ticket sales are off (though you couldn't tell by how packed our local theatres usually are).

And hey, these serials probably couldn't be worse than, say, Elektra. Well, okay, they could, but it's not likely.

3. If you're on Emusic, like I know I am, you can now download David J's V for Vendetta album (created in collaboration with V writer Alan Moore).

4. "It's unfair that Superman is only a 9-to-5er among all the superheroes"

"Bruce Wayne (Batman) owned Wayne Enterprises and was a rich playboy. He was basically a figurehead in the company and wasn't exactly running out of board meetings to fight the Joker.

"Peter Parker (Spider-Man) was a free-lance photographer, but took pictures of himself fighting bad guys, so he was killing two birds with one stone. Wonder Woman was unemployed as far as I can tell. The X-Men were supported by rich Dr. Xavier.

"The list goes on, but I'm sure you get the idea. Not a 9-to-5er in the group, except Superman."

Monday, July 10, 2006


You know, sometimes, you just gotta post about the Winslow. For some reason, I found myself rereading my run of Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire yesterday, and was reminded of just how cool a critter the Winslow was.

What is the Winslow? Well, in Phil Foglio's comics, the Winslow is a small, reptilian (yet furry) critter that is 1) immortal, 2) indestructible, 3) the object of worship by approximately 3/4ths of the sentient species in the galaxy, and 4) not very bright (or is he just playing dumb?).

And he's cute as all get-out, too. He's the big green fella in the cover to the right, there (taken from Buck Godot #5, which you can get for, coincidentally, a buck...one slim dollar...right here). He's not to scale in that image, in case you're wondering.

The primary WWW (Winslow Wide Web) page would be the Slag-Blah Church of the Winslow, which also features the original three-page Winslow debut from 1985.

The Wikipedia entry covers all currently revealed info about the Winslow. (EDIT: Commenter Tom has additional publication history.)

He's part of the cast listing for the Girl Genius Online webstrip. "He's everywhere. All hail."

Buy official Winslow merchandise...baffle your coworkers with the Winslow mug.

This page repeats a lot of the same info on the Winslow as other pages, but does have a swell original image of the critter.

This person is selling a sculpture of the Winslow.

The Winslow pops in at #40 on pal Tom's "100 Things I Love About Comics" list. That's higher than Alan Moore on that list, mind you.

I'm not a gamer, so I don't know much about this Button Men game, but apparently the Winslow piece is "a special die type guaranteed to cause chaos in any tournament. Hi!" I can appreciate that. Plus, if I did know something about the game, this statement:

Someone using Dunkirk with Winslow in place of his Shadow Swing does not have a Shadow Winslow. That's just too ugly for words.

...would probably make more sense to me.

The secret origin of the Winslow is revealed in this interview with Phil Foglio. Alas, the site and images thereon are Not Safe For Work, but some risks must be taken for the acquirement of knowledge, surely.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

In which I compare a comic book to a banana....but first.... 

...the Killer Movies forum is holding a "bikini contest"

"Who will win in a bikini contest between wonder woman,firestar,starfire,storm,jean grey,rogue,black canary,kitty pride,batgirl and the invisible woman?"

"IW , she can make her bikini dissapear"

"You're missing someone very important. Where the hell is Psylocke?! She gets my vote, no one else."

"firestar ive never seen her,jean just dont do it for me,rogue no not either,batgirl that would be pretty rubbish - hole body with a mask on"

"mystique...she can give herself any assets she wants"

"You see Wonder Woman in a bikini thing all the time [...] Not like thats a bad thing though"

"I hope nobody voting for storm because she black"

"PowerGirl for the win.....And storm comes in second. All that brown skin and white hair. Gotta love the contrast!"

In other news:

Last week Marvel released a reprint of Fantastic Four #52, featuring the first appearance of the Black Panther. This reprint was designed to look like an actual 40-year-old comic, with yellowing pages, original ads, and everything. Only...well, whatever process they used to yellow the pages needs some work, or at least a little more contrast, since the pages are too, too dark. Plus, they're the color of...okay, did you ever put a banana in the fridge, because, you know, you like the chilled bananas, c'mon, who doesn't, and forget you left it in there, and you remember like a day or two later, and the banana peels have turned this sickly greenish color, almost artificial looking, and now the banana, instead of being a pleasant cool temperature and extra tasty, perfect for these hot summer days when you're stuck inside a comic shop rearranging the shelves to maximize space for extra product, now tastes all dried out and yucky.

The pages in the Fantastic Four #52 reprint are sorta the color of that fridge-burned banana...maybe a little darker. It's pretty off-putting, especially considering how much I like the method of shooting from original printed comics for reprint purposes. Bumping up the brightness and the contrast just a tad would have improved readability, while not compromising the "aged" look of the book, I think.

By the way, if you buy the Snakes on a Plane novelization through this Amazon link (which I first posted in my discussion of the book from a couple days back) and if I've set it up correctly, pal Dorian gets a small piece of the action. Make Dorian rich with Snakes on a Plane money!

Also, due to popular demand, I've begun revising the "since 1969" rotating quotes at the top of my page, as it's been a while since the last time I overhauled the quote selection. Left a few old ones, and I'm adding some new ones as time permits. And feel free to suggest a few of your own! (The dirty-sounding one is customer Rob's fault.)

And now, your "unfortunate banner ad/webpage combo" for the day, spotted on Marvel.com:

It's kinda like those ads for the Electronic Arts Superman video game showing up in recent Marvel publications. I love it when stuff like that happens.

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