mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Jim Woodring.  

Friday, January 02, 2004

New comic day! 

Due to the vagaries of shipping company holidays, the High Holy New Comics Wednesday is Friday this week...not much came out, but we still got some fun stuff, like another non-Moore Tom Strong and the new Smax.

The choice item this week, though, was the absolutely gorgeous Young Gods & Friends hardcover by Barry Windsor-Smith, published by Fantagraphics. In addition to seeing material that never made it into the sadly-aborted Storyteller series, we get plenty of behind-the-scenes notes from Windsor-Smith himself about the collapse of the project with the original publisher. It's very depressing and telling stuff about the comics market. The comics themselves are fluff...that's not a criticism, as it's very entertaining and funny fluff that takes itself about as seriously as it deserves, and the fact that it's beautifully illustrated doesn't hurt. It's Kirby's New Gods with a little more self-awareness and a lot more irreverence.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Not quite a Sniglet. 

There has to be some word to use in reference to those groups of humorless comic fans who completely misinterpret comments made by a comics professional in an online interview, or simply fail to recognize when said professionial is pulling their legs.

I call it "Morrisoning."

Usage: "Boy, those comic fans are really morrisoning that Newsarama interview."

(In all fairness to the John Byrne message board, regarding my previous comments...that Way interview was a bit over the top. The "who the f* is Giant Man" comment still cracks me up, though...yeah, I know, I'm 12.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Ant Mania. 

It seems to me that the reaction the John Byrne Forum had to this interview with Daniel Way (writer of Marvel's Ant Man mini) was exactly the response Way was hoping for.

I'm sure his gag about not knowing who Giant Man or Yellowjacket were probably caused heart palpitations in some hardcore Marvelites somewhere, too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Sheldon Mayer 

I don't buy very many back issues any more...given that I've been reading comics for (gack) 30 years, I already have most of the funnybooks from the last few decades in which I'd have any interest.

However, there are a few things I do keep an eye out for...I collect old fanzines (The Comic Reader in particular), the occasional inexpensive Archie or Superman-family related comic from the 50s and early 60s, The Fox and The Crow by Jim Davis (no, not that Jim Davis)...

...and anything that contains any work by Sheldon Mayer.

Given that it seems increasingly unlikely that we'll see any extensive reprinting of Mayer's work (despite the recent reissue of the first Sugar & Spike and the high hopes of the DC Archives page, as seen by the mock-ups here and here), I've been buying his work whenever I come across it. Sugar & Spike and, to a lesser extent, Three Mouseketeers (though he didn't do all of these) are relatively easy to track down, finding some of his other work requires digging through the back-up stories in titles like The Dodo and The Frog or Nutsy Squirrel. I still haven't come across any of his Scribbly material, though, aside from a reprint in A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics. Mayer's work is always worth the search, and it's a damn shame today's kids won't get exposed to it.

It's even more of a damn shame that if today's kids were exposed to Sugar & Spike, they'd think it was just a Rugrats rip-off.

Additional linkage:

There was a short Golden Age Red Tornado story by Mayer that appeared in Secret Origins #29 in the late 1980s.

An interview with Mayer's daughter appeared in an issue of Comic Book Artist, which is online here, with lots of art by Mayer.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Me and Manga. 

It's getting to be the end of the year, and it's that time when everyone starts making their lists of best, worst, and most notable whatevers. (You can find a fairly comprehensive collection of links to lists of this sort right here.)

I don't really have a Best/Worst list for the year, but one category that I would have mentioned is this one:

THE COMIC THAT FINALLY GOT ME TO READ MANGA: Gyo Vol. 1 by Junji Ito - I've never had anything against manga, and I've had only a passing interest in it as a whole...my interest in comics history would lead me to read articles and histories of manga, for example, without actually reading any manga (I recommend the excellent Manga Manga: The World of Japanese Comics by Frederik L. Schodt). However, the sheer wrongness of some of the imagery in this book compelled me to give it a try. Seeing fish on legs invading an island community...there was just something primally disturbing about this idea, and given that I have an interest in horror comics in general, this was a natural book with which to break my manga drought.

Of course, this now has me interested in Ito's other horror work, such as Uzumaki. You (and I as well) can learn more about Ito here.

Plus, now that I've broken down that barrier, I find myself looking at more manga, such as Sgt. Frog, which is about as far away from Gyo as you can get. Don't ask me to explain.

Sunday, December 28, 2003


Oh dear, they've made a sequel to The Mask...complete with a CGI baby. I only found out about it as I was listening to a call-in movie show on the radio (the things you'll do for entertainment when you're sick), and someone called in to complain that Jim Carrey wasn't going to be in this new Mask movie. (It's starring Jamie Kennedy.)

Sadly, we haven't seen much of the Mask in the medium in which he/it first appeared...the last Mask comic that I remember was the Joker/Mask series from '00. The Mask comics were fairly entertaining, the best being the initial two mini-series (the original from '91, and The Mask Returns from '92). Also notable was an odd mini-series starring the Mask's mute nemesis Walter, Mask/Marshal Law, and the Lobo/Mask mini gets a guilty laugh out of me on the one page where Lobo finally puts on the Mask.

The oddest permutation of the Mask had to be Rick Geary's children's books!

And if you ever wanted to know who would win in a fight between the Mask and, oh, say, Freakazoid -- take a look at the discussion here.

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