mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Ever find yourself writing a post and find yourself a little unsure of the exact spelling of a particular word, so you go ahead and spell it very incorrectly, figuring you'll run your post through the Blogger spellcheck program and it'll catch that word and fix it for you, without all the hassle and bother of, oh, I don't know, opening a dictionary or anything, but then you go ahead and publish the whole post on your weblog without running the spellcheck because you forgot, and you don't notice that the incorrectly-spelled word has been out there for the world to see until a few days and a few thousand visits later?

Yeah, me neither.

silhouette silhouette silhouette

Friday, November 05, 2004

Scott Saavedra delineates a
meeting between Devil Dinosaur and Wonder Woman (and the meeting's inevitable conclusion), for no reason other than that Scott rules.

Mag at the Comic Treadmill posts streaming audio of a Plastic Man song for no reason other than that Mag is pure evil.

I finally posted a handful of links to webcomics and traditional comic strips in my sidebar (near the end, under the "other weblogs" section).

One of the strips,
Nukees, is by a fella named Darren Bleuel, with whom I share a slight connection. Actually, it's the same connection I share with pals Andy and Dan (AKA "Mojo IV" in my comments sections), not to mention pal Sean's new bride...a long-ago involvement in a secret organization, with its own language, and weird rituals, and bizarre initiations, and plenty of Obfuscation...sorta like the Skull & Bones Society, only without the money.

Okay, actually we were just all members of a local computer bulletin board system, back in those wild pre-easy access to the internet days, and most of us have maintained some contact with each other over the years since that board went down (via mailing lists, personal weblogs, and such). Darren even still has a link to the original version of my Progressive Ruin site on his old links page. Anyway, I've been aware of Nukees for a while, and it's always very funny. Darren's a smart guy, and it comes across in his strips.

A strip I found during my random searches was Doomed unto Eternal Vigilance Forever, which strikes me as really, really funny for no good reason I can explain. This strip just about killed me. That particular revelation probably says a great deal about my personality.

Anyway, please keep the suggestions coming, and I'll keep checking them out.

In other news:

So yesterday, pal Dorian, Kid Chris, and I were discussing that, with the apparent interest in the forthcoming "serious" Space Ghost series, what we need are more serious takes on classic cartoons. Like, for example, a dark and gritty Underdog, featuring a realistically-painted beagle* wearing red longjohns. Or Mighty Man and Yuck: will Mighty Man ever truly understand Yuck's deep, unrelenting pain of being the World's Ugliest Dog? Or Captain Caveman: the only thing that could reduce the Captain's despair at being ripped away from his own time and all the people he loves...is capturing the heart of Teen Angel Taffy - but she must never know his true feelings.

With all that said...yeah, I'm probably going to at least look at this new Space Ghost comic. I'm a big hypocrite. But, really, there's just something about it...a curiosity about what Joe Kelly and Ariel Olivetti are going to do with the characters after they'd been treated about as seriously as they deserved for so long. Tim has a little more common sense than I have in regard to this particular funnybook.

* Or whatever. What kind of dog is Underdog, anyway?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well, after every Halloween there are always a couple holiday-themed stragglers that show up in our Diamond boxes. This year's winners were the Trailer Park of Terror Halloween Special and the Felix the Cat Halloween Spectacular. I wonder how many Christmas specials we'll see in January?

Some of the new releases from yesterday (SPOILERS ahead):

Swamp Thing #9 - If I'm reading this right...the book opens ten years in the past, back when Swamp Thing was still living in the swamplands with Abby. However, in that flashback he's drawn in the "new look" style which he adopting following events in recent issues. What did I miss? Anyway, the new "personality" of Swamp Thing seems to owe more to Steve Gerber's Man-Thing, a mindless creature that acts more on instinct...an interesting take on the character.

The Question #1 - I was never really a Question fan, but I tend to check out anything Rick Veitch works on just as a matter of principle. His previous excursion into the DC universe, Aquaman, didn't really do anything for me (sorry,
Laura!), but I'm glad to say this first issue of The Question mini-series really captured my attention. I particularly like the "fight" scene between the Question and "the Psychopomp," where the violence is relegated to silhouettes in the side panels, and the actual conflict is acted out in the dialogue between the characters.

B.P.R.D. The Dead #1 - while I'd like to see a new Hellboy series from Mignola sometime soon, B.P.R.D. is quite good, too, with moody art by Guy Davis, and a funny(!) script by Mignola and John Arcudi. A lot of the humor arises from Roger the homunculus and how he reacts to the world around him...and how other people react to him as well.

JLA Classified #1 - Grant Morrison has some fun putting Batman through some sci-fi paces that he normally doesn't get up to in any of his own books (at least, not since the 1950s).

Mad Magazine #448 - includes a "graphic novel review" of DC Comics' Infinite Secret Crisis on All Earthly Worlds, which includes a list of characters killed in the first issue (Wonder Tot, Egg-Fu, Granny Goodness, etc. etc.) which I'm sure most readers will find hysterical, not realizing that yes, they're all real names of DC characters. Also of note is "The Mad World of School," a "Lighter Side"-style series of gags, drawn by Marc Hempel, and Sergio Aragones' "A Mad Look at Fear Factor." There's also a long article on "When Spider-Man Goes Completely International" (inspired by the real-life Indian Spider-Man comic), that probably should have stopped with just the gags covers, and not bothered giving us sample pages from each supposed comic. Hey, so the French Spider-Man comic features a reference to surrendering? How entirely unexpected! The cover, featuring a gag based around The Incredibles, may be a little misleading, as the related article is "A Mad Peek Behinds the Scenes of..." and not a direct parody.

Or Else #1 - a little comics digest by Kevin Huizenga...fun and well drawn. You can see sample pages here.

Punisher #13 - really, you've got to laugh. Garth Ennis is taking full advantage of Marvel's adult MAX label and going whole-hog with the language. This issue brings us a guest appearance by Nick Fury, more in line with Ennis' portrayal of him from the MAX mini-series Fury than anything you ever saw in the Steranko issues.

Star Wars: Empire #26 (and this is another SPOILER WARNING, so don't come complaining to me) - so you know those movies and TV shows where somehow, somewhere, our hero comes across a Japanese soldier who has been hiding out in some remote area, years after WWII had ended, and didn't know the war was over? Well, it looks like we're getting the comic book version of that story, complete with Clone Trooper.

Superman/Batman #13 - finally, it's over. I'm not a fan of this particular art style, as some of you may have gathered over the last few months, and this Supergirl story just dragged and dragged and dragged. Too much of the story was taken up by pin-up pages of characters standing around looking "cool" and "anatomically incorrect." For this we lost Peter David's Supergirl?

Marvel Select Dr. Doom action figure - every home should have at least one Dr. Doom figure on display, somewhere. This one isn't too bad...the mask doesn't come off, but he does come with a swell fascist dictator-style chair. I already have a previous Doom figure, however...pal Dorian gave it to me a Christmas or two back, and this one does have a removable mask (revealing the minor scarring that creator Jack Kirby envisioned Doom as actually having):

from Jack Kirby Quarterly #11 (Autumn/Winter 1998)

Uncle Scrooge #335 - this issue reprints Don Rosa's "Son of the Sun," which was his very first published Uncle Scrooge adventure...well, first actually starring Uncle Scrooge, given that Rosa's Pertwillaby Papers were essentially Duck stories in human drag. Rosa contributes a new article about the making of this particular story, and, for you super duck completists out there, the "D.U.C.K." dedication is restored to this printing!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Please keep sending me your
webcomic suggestions...I am taking them under advisement, I promise. Unshelved is a particularly good one, and one I can personally appreciate given that I used to work in a library, lo these many years ago.

Speaking of comic strips, I'm certainly not envious of what topical strips like Doonesbury and The Boondocks and Andy Capp* have to do during Presidential election weeks. Clearly they have to address the elections**, but they have to dance around the results until their lead times catch up with the actual printing of the strips. I think I've seen a couple variations on the "Boy, I sure am glad Clinton [or whoever] won" / "Boy, won't we look silly if he didn't win" gag over the years.

(EDIT: I didn't notice that The Boondocks gag for today actually referred to this particular election-result-dodging phenomenon, otherwise I would have mentioned it! Thanks to pal Andy for pointing it out.)

On a completely different topic altogether...take a looksee at The Comic Treadmill for the Worst Song to Appear in A Comic Book Ever. Though I think this song, from Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #9 from 1959, comes close:

"Come sing a song of Superman!
Low he strikes the villain's plan!
And though bad men may have their day,
Repeatedly, he makes them pay!
Kryptonite may harm his skill...
Keeper of the law's his will...
Eagle-eyed watcher of land, air and sea,
Ne'er does he cease to fight tyranny!--
To down men's foes and set men free!"

Clark Kent wrote this for Pat Boone to sing, mind you.

* Just seeing if you're paying attention.

** My one and only comment on the elections: AUGH!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My fellow Americans... 

...don't forget to vote!

Monday, November 01, 2004

A couple things:

Finally finished the newest volume of the Complete Peanuts, and boy, that's the stuff. We finally see, in its entirety, the sequence of Sundays with Charlie Brown and Lucy at a golf tournament (featuring the rare physical presence of adults). The book also contains the arrival of Charlotte Braun, a slightly more extroverted female version of Charlie Brown that didn't stick around too long, I believe. The book wraps up with a note from the editors regarding the printing quality of some of the strips, given the source materials they had to work with, but they did an excellent job even so. One Sunday strip did have a top tier completely missing, which was reconstructed by the book's designer Seth, but the promise was made that should a complete version of the strip be discovered, it would be reprinted in a later volume.

It should be noted that there is at least one Sunday strip in the book that is affected by the lack of color, on page 110. The joke is about Schroeder turning "three shades of green" from envy, and there is a three-panel sequence where Schroeder is intended to be literally colored in three different shades of green. It's a very minor thing, admittedly...it's not like I expected Fantagraphics to spot color the panels, but I just thought I'd mention it. If it bothers anyone that much, they can bust out the Crayolas and color it themselves.

Also, I did notice in the most recent Previews that Bongo Comics is soliciting orders for the second Futurama/Simpsons crossover, which is quite welcome as the first series was very entertaining. However, I didn't pay much attention to the description of Simpsons Comics #102, until
pal Dorian pointed it out to me:

"Uncle Burn$'" lust for gold leads them all to the island of Donrosa and the Gottfredson Trench, where the Simpsons begin to realize that there is something Huey, Dewey, and Screwy about the whole undertaking, and that they might be "Barks"ing up the wrong tree!

Normally, I'm not a big fan of mixing comic book in-jokes into titles aimed at a more general audience (a point I made previously about Alf comics)...but the Duck fan in me is looking forward to this funnybook.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Commenter Sean points out, and quite rightly so, that maybe I should have mentioned that a new Swamp Thing reprint volume, collecting the beginning of Rick Veitch's run, was released last week. I mean, me, of all people, not to mention that.... Well, my only excuse is that my posting mojo was at minimal levels over the last few days due to a variety of real world doings, and thus Swamp Thing: Regenesis slipped my mind. Ah, well...what do you want for free?

At any rate, I'm glad to see DC remember that this particular Swamp Thing series didn't end after Alan Moore left the book, as there was plenty of good stuff that followed (though it gets to be a bit of rough going around the "Quest for The Elementals" storyline). Rick Veitch's particular off-kilter sensibilities gave this title a great new direction that was horrific (and black-humored) in its own way, not relying entirely on Moore. By the way, is there any official word on whether or not the unpublished "Swamp Thing Meets Jesus" story will pop up in these reprint volumes eventually?

Happy Halloween to all you Halloweenies! 

Sugar and Spike #55 (Oct-Nov 1964) - art by Sheldon Mayer

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