mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Friday, February 18, 2005

While I think a
Krypto TV show is fine and dandy, apparently these folks aren't similarly inclined.

Is there no joy in their hearts? Can't they see that this image in particular is absolutely fantastic? That's Ace the freakin' Bat-Hound, for God's sake.

(thanks to pal Dorian for reminding me about the show's impending debut)

1. Pal Sean, the quietest member of the ACAPCWOVCCAOE (which is ironic, if you know him in real life), has finally updated
Fleshhead's Treehouse with the first of a series of articles on his preparations for the San Diego Comic Con.

2. Sooner or later, someone was going to customize Smurf figurines to look like the Hulk, Freddy Krueger, Spider-Man, and, yes, Batman and Robin.

3. From the Marvel solicits: actually, I kind of like the idea of a Giant Size X-Men #3. And while that Maximum Fantastic Four hardcover (an annotated overview of Stan 'n' Jack's first FF, with essays and such) sounds pretty neat, it's still going to be a hard sell at $49.99. And I know someone else on the comicsweblogosphere noted this, but I'm going to agree: Machine Teen is a great title. No idea if the comic's any good, but that title and the James Jean cover are going to be hard to match.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Top 100 Things I Love About Top 100 Lists! 

I'm kidding, I'm kidding! Actually, I did enjoy seeing these snapshots of what everyone out there likes in the way of funnybooks. Well done, internet pals.

I know one or two people out there weren't happy with these lists being all over the place, but considering that I usually tend to run off at the mouth on this site of mine, I figured a simple list would be a nice break for you! Besides, it was just one list (occasionally two) per weblog...tough it out, you'll live. Not every post can be lesbian unicorns.

Besides, it made Fred Hembeck happy, and certainly that's a worthwhile goal! Anyway, keep an eye on this post for future updates on other Top 100s, at least until it finally drives me insane.

Anyway, on to the new comics for the week...let's see if I can keep it relatively short this time:

Tom Strong #31 - Michael Moorcock and Jerry Ordway are the creative team on this issue. It's a beautifully illustrated comic, and anything that can give me a gorilla dressed as a pirate is dandy with me.

Promethea #32 - it's not a good sign when the inside front cover explains how to disassemble and reassemble the comic in order to read it the way it was intended. Yes, it does say that the comic can be read as is, but several of the pages are upside down, and...sheesh, I didn't have the time for it today. I'll take the comic apart tomorrow and figure it out then. By the way, for some reason the store got the autographed Promethea cover gallery, but not the accompanying hardcover. My reaction to the cover gallery? "Is it safe to touch something that Alan Moore has handled?"

Adventures of Superman #637 - there's something about Superman's face on this cover that bothers me. It's not quite Alfred E. Neuman-esque, but it's close...I can't put my finger on it.

JLA Classified #4 - I admit, it is a little disturbing that the recently-deceased Sue Dibny is runnin' around in this comic, complete with jokes about her possible pregnancy. However, if you read it with the knowledge that, sooner or later, Sue will most likely be brought back somehow, it's suddenly a little easier to take.

Apocalypse Nerd #1 - good to see Peter Bagge back in action...not laugh-out-loud funny, but still amusing. Speaking of which, the 300+ page Buddy Does Seattle is now out, collecting the stories from Bagge's first 15 issues of Hate. A steal at $14.95.

Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo - I'm not generally a collector of girlie-cartoons, but it's difficult to resist a book full of DeCarlo's fine artwork. As pal Dorian notes, the fact that all the girls look like they stepped right out of an Archie comic is a wee bit disturbing...or appealing depending on how much of a pervert Betty & Veronica fan you are. And yeah, there's a lot of orange spot-coloring in this book...Dorian didn't care for it, but I thought it looked neat. It's a gorgeous book, with great DeCarlo art...well worth picking up.

Green Lantern: Rebirth #4 - I didn't realize how much I missed having GL arch-nemesis Sinestro around. What a great villain, with a great name (the only super-villain name that tops it is Captain Nazi*...now that's evil). Plus, there's a good sequence in this issue about why not just anyone can pick up a GL ring and start goin' to town with it...it's hard to work the ring. I get the feeling this may contradict previous stories, but, eh, big deal. I like this interpretation better.

We received our new Sin City trades today...might as well enjoy 'em while I can, because I don't have any faith that we'll get reorders on them anytime soon.

Tomb Raider #50 - last issue, apparently. I wasn't a fan, but this comic had a fairly faithful following with some of our customers...at least one or two who only read this title.

I cheated, and read our sneak peek of Fantastic Four #523, due next week...the one that picks up with Galactus being stripped of his powers and reduced to being a normal human. Pal Dorian grumbled a bit about it, but I tell ya, this comic was just as great as I was hoping it would be. Made me laugh out loud in parts, it did.

* Speaking of Captain Nazi, halfway down this page, on the right-hand side, is one of those cutesy "super-deformed" icons of Cap'n N. Honestly, what's up with that?**

** Try doing a Google search on "Captain Nazi" sometime...you can just feel your name getting put on government watch lists somewhere.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

1. Not a good sign: saw on our invoice, which I received from Diamond on Sunday, that a couple of the reissued Sin City trades were due to arrive this Wednesday. I thought I'd get a jump on reorders (since for the past couple of months we've had plenty of people asking for them), and sent in a reorder via e-mail Sunday evening. I come back in to work Tuesday morning, check the reorder confirmation...and sure enough, the Sin City trades are on back order.

Hopefully this is just a temporary situation...maybe Dark Horse is reserving all copies for initial orders, and will release more copies for reorders in a week or two. I have no idea. I'm really hoping that this won't be a repeat of the Hellboy situation, where the books were only rarely available for the duration of the movie-spawned demand.

Oh, and copies of Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits, the book from which the producers of the Constantine movie appear to have drawn some minor inspiration, are also on back order.

2. Hey,
I don't have anything against Man-Thing!

3. As already covered by everyone else, the DC solicits are up, but I don't really have much to say about them this time. A couple things, though: I suppose the cancellation of Fallen Angel is official, what with the "Final Issue" tag. And I share pal Dorian's feelings about the artist for the Superman: Infinite City hardcover. Shame, as I may have been interested in picking it up, otherwise. Hey, and Desolation Jones is solicited...I've been looking forward to this since I was lucky enough to read the script. Should be fun!

EDIT: 4. My thanks to Fred for pointing out a few more Top 100 lists on his site that I may have missed otherwise...I've since added them to my increasingly long-winded and awkward sentence o'links at the beginning of my own list!

EDIT AGAIN: 5. Aaaaargh! I can't believe I left Kim Deitch off my list!

Just enough time for a brief note, before I'm off to work (what with a
bunch of auctions ending today)...I wanted to express my appreciation to everybody who did the 100 Things I Love About Comics thing over the last few days. I know we have a couple more apparently still in the offing, but when they're done, I'll add them to the link list in my post. Speaking of which, look for that sentence (the one that currently reads "And here are quite a few more fine lists that I have found") to become longer and even more awkward as more lists turn up. That sentence started out as "and here are some more" with only three links originally!

I did see the idea casually mentioned here and there about lists of 100 Things we all hate about comics, but that seems almost unnecessarily negative. Besides, I'm not sure I can come up with that many...and I'm sure too many of mine would be specific to managing a comic book store ("72. People asking me for the next issue of Battle Chasers").

However, coming up with the top 100 was no problem. In fact, in no time at all I had a handwritten list of about 150 or so, and could easily have gone to 200. Well, there's always next year.

Alan provided 100 Annotations to his list of 100 Things, and while I don't think I'm quite up for that, I did have a friend of mine did ask why I picked Elliot S! Maggin over Cary "Mr. Surprise" Bates (both primary '70s Superman writers) for my list. Well, I do like Mr. Bates' work, and had the list gone to 200, I would have certainly had him on there. But, I gave the nod to Maggin as I really appreciated 1) the backstory and future-history he worked out for the Superman saga and continually referred to in his stories, and 2) his intelligent, arrogant, and somewhat quirky Lex Luthor who, while overwhelmed with hatred for Superman, was not an unfeeling monster...occasionally even being treated sympathetically. I don't have time to go into detail right now, but you might get the idea by reading some of the stuff on Mr. Maggin's own site.

And yes, I promise...next time, Gorilla Grodd's on the list!

Remember...keep checking my post for additional links to other lists...I'll add 'em as I find 'em! (Fred's keeping a list, too.)

Monday, February 14, 2005

100 Things I Love About Comics! 

Fred started it with these two strips.

Alan then lovingly crafted his own inimitable version.

Several others also rose to the challenge. (EDIT: And here are quite a few more mighty fine Top One Hundred (give or take a few dozen or so) lists that I have doggedly tracked down across the immensely vast and far-flung digital reaches of the ever expanding comics weblogosphere, and many points beyond.)

And now, at long last, and after great deliberation: my very own list of 100 Things I Love About Comics:

1. Swamp Thing

2. Adam Strange

3. AiT/Planetlar

4. Amazing Heroes

5. American Flagg! by Howard Chaykin

6. Jim Aparo

7. Archie Comics from the '50s & '60s

8. Atari Force

9. Atlas Comics (the '70s company, not the pre-Marvel one, though that's good, too)

10. Bacchus by Eddie Campbell

11. Kyle Baker

12. Carl Barks, the Good Duck Artist

13. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns & Strikes Again by Frank Miller

14. "Batman's Time Travel Crimes on Venus"-type stories

15. Bone by Jeff Smith

16. Chester Brown

17. The Original Captain Marvel

18. Cerebus by Dave Sim & Gerhard

19. The Comic Reader

20. The Comics Journal

21. Concrete by Paul Chadwick

22. John Costanza

23. Peter David

24. DC Comics Presents #84 - Superman & the Challengers of the Unknown drawn by Jack Kirby & Alex Toth

25. Detective Comics #500

26. Don Rosa

27. Doom Patrol by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani

28. Eightball by Dan Clowes

29. Eighty-Page Giants

30. Evan Dorkin

31. Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers by Gilbert Shelton, Paul Mavrides & Dave Sheridan

32. The Fantastic Four by Stan 'n' Jack

33. Matt Feazell and The Amazing Cynicalman!

34. Fin Fang Foom and other Marvel monsters

35. Flaming Carrot by Bob Burden

36. The Flash by Carmine Infantino

37. Fox and The Crow by Jim Davis (no, not the Garfield guy)

38. Ramona Fradon

39. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

40. George Perez

41. Nat Gertler's About Comics (esp. Licensable Bear)

42. Gil Kane

43. Grimjack by John Ostrander, Tim Truman, and friends

44. Groo the Wanderer by Mark Evanier & Sergio Aragones

45. Hellblazer

46. Fred Hembeck!!!

47. Herbie the Fat Fury by Ogden Whitney

48. Los Bros. Hernandez

49. Hex by Michael Fleisher, Mark Texeira, & Keith Giffen

50. Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber (accept no substitutes!)

51. Tony Isabella

52. Jack Kirby's Fourth World

53. JSA

54. Justice League of America #200

55. Legion of Super-Heroes

56. MacKenzie Queen by Bernie Mireault

57. Mad Magazine

58. Elliot S! Maggin

59. Marge's Little Lulu & Tubby

60. Marvel/Miracleman

61. Sheldon Mayer

62. 'Mazing Man by Bob Rozakis & Stephen DeStefano

63. Scott McCloud

64. Megaton Man by Don Simpson

65. Mike Mignola

66. Alan Moore

67. Grant Morrison

68. Mr. Monster by Michael T. Gilbert

69. Nancy by Ernie Bushmiller

70. Nexus by Mike Baron & Steve Rude

71. Not Brand Echh

72. Off-brand funny animal comics from the Golden/Silver ages

73. Bob Oksner

74. Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

75. Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday

76. Plastic Man

77. Quasar #1 through about, say, #25, by Mark Gruenwald & others

78. Ralph Snart by Marc Hansen

79. Rudy by William Overgard

80. Scott Saavedra

81. Kurt Schaffenberger

82. Dori Seda

83. Superman-family comics from the Silver Age

84. Walt Simonson

85. Snarf

86. Spider-Man by Steve Ditko

87. Stanley and His Monster

88. The very idea of Super pets

89. Superman Annual #9 (1983) drawn by Alex Toth!

90. Superman vs. Muhammad Ali by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, Dick Giordano & Terry Austin

91. "Swanderson"

92. Tales of the Beanworld by Larry Marder

93. Turok, Son of Stone

94. UFO Encounters and UFO Mysteries

95. Rick Veitch

96. Berni(e) Wrightson

97. Zippy the Pinhead by Bill Griffith

98. Neilalien...

99. ...my fellow members of the Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs (Dorian, Corey, Tom, Ian, Sean, and Fred)...

100. ...and everyone else on the Comicsweblogosphere!

100 1/2. "I'm chalk!"

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sure wish I'd caught that I'd somehow typed "Captain American" in
our auction listings before I plugged them here. Oops. Well, I was tired...that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Speaking of our eBay auctions, I was Googling around doing some research on one of the items we listed (already sold, sorry!), and found this great Robin Hood site. Included is coverage of the character's comic book and comic strip history, and even features reprints of a couple classic stories.

EDIT: Also found this page, while researching something else: a gallery of UFO comic book covers.

Just so no one's too offended...I didn't post
that cover yesterday as some kind of blanket mockery of furries. As pal Dorian and I have discussed amongst ourselves in the past -- of all the fandom "cliques" that exist and that we've dealt with over the years, furries are probably the group that tends to be the most problem-free for us. Nearly all the ones we've encountered have been polite and well-spoken, and just happened to like anthropomorphics. Hey, that's cool with us.

I only posted that cover because it's downright fantastic. As Will puts it, "when you've got the words 'lesbian' and 'unicorn' on your cover, aren't the words 'extra' and 'special' just redundant?"

Well, that's a surprise! Just on a whim, I e-mailed Fred Hembeck with my guess as to the "ringer" in his second "100 Reasons Why I Love Comics"...and I got it right (under Feb. 12)! Obnoxio Vs. The X-Men was just one of those oddball funnybooks Marvel published in the early '80s, and my memory was that it was pretty much reviled in the fan press of the time. I didn't remember Fred being the lone voice in the wilderness, singing the book's praises...plus even if you did like the comic (like, yes, I did), would it really belong on your top 100 list? Just seemed wrong...and it turned out I was right. Way cool.

By the way, I also liked X-Men and The Micronauts, even though 1) I wasn't reading X-Men, and 2) I wasn't reading Micronauts, though I liked the toys. I just enjoy weird takes on established characters, I guess.

One thing I was thinking about as I was watching the new episode of Justice League Unlimited -- as much as I love Jack Kirby's Fourth World stuff, actually seeing it in animated form makes me realize just how damn weird it is. I mean, Vermin Vundebar? The heck? Jack, honestly, what was up with that? I liked Arte Johnson as the voice of Vermin (especially with a certain in-joke (also noted by TV Tome) that made me do a double-take even before I knew Johnson was on the show), and Ed Asner reprising his role as Granny Goodness...well, that's still darn strange.

A couple years ago, I bought a record off of the eBay that I never got a chance to listen to, as it arrived in my mailbox at about the same time I was moving into our new house. I put it aside for when I had time for it...and then, of course, I forgot about it. However, as I was digging through my record collection the other day for another album (Rhino Records' L.A. In, which pal Nat makes an oblique reference to), I found that long-lost record. It's The 1975 San Diego Comic-Con, a recording of interviews with various show guests. Here's the track listing:

1. Opening comment: Ray Bradbury
2. Introduction: Alan Light
3. Ray Bradbury
4. Stan Lee
5. Jack Kirby/Jim Steranko

1. Special interview: Jerry Siegel
2. Chuck Norris
3. June Foray/Daws Butler
4. Robert Bloch
5. Will Eisner/Stan Lee
6. Close: Alan Light

Intriguing, no? I'll give it a spin when I have time later in the next couple of weeks (hopefully), and file a full report right here. Watch this space!

But first, this commercial message....

Speaking of the eBay, he said segue-ingly, feel free to pop in on our shop's auction listings! New items added every week: comics, books, toys, and, right now, for some reason, jazz CDs. Don't ask. Anyway, my promise to you: any items purchased from our auctions (or indeed, just straight from the shop...send me your want lists!) will be lovingly processed, packaged, and hand-addressed by yours truly. Bid early, bid often!

And we're back. Just so I don't feel like a completely shameless huckster, let me also point you in the direction of Jolly Johanna's list of sale and trade items. Lots of fine stuff there, and she has a want list of goodies you can offer her in trade.

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