mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, January 17, 2004

"Ja think I'm a cowboy?" 

Flat Earth is writing a lot about Popeye, and you should go read the last few days' worth of entries. Don't miss the discussion of Captain Strong, one of my favorite peculiar cast members from Superman.

Mark Evanier discusses the voices behind Popeye in the cartoons...also be sure to check out the explanation of the Bluto/Brutus quandary.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Don Rosa, ducks, and Kentucky. 

The first fanzine I ever read was The Comic Reader... here's a page with a sample issue from '77 that, coincidentally, is using the descriptive text I wrote for the eBay auction mentioned there. In the early 80s, this fanzine was reprinting a comic strip called "Captain Kentucky" by Don Rosa. Well, I just loved this strip...I enjoyed the way every square millimeter of the page was filled with something, and the whole one-man-operation, rough around the edges, "let's put on a show!" feel to it.

I snapped up Don Rosa's Comics and Stories #1 when it came out in '83, which reprinted his earlier "Pertwillaby Papers" humor-adventure strips. I never did see the second issue of this series on the stands, and I looked for the darn thing for nearly 20 years before a friend of mine found a copy for me in Los Angeles not too long ago. (Of course, all the "Pertwillaby Papers" material, including the spin-off "Captain Kentucky" strips, has since been collected in two nice hardcovers.)

When the announcement was made that Rosa was going to be doing a new Uncle Scrooge McDuck adventure for Gladstone Comics' Disney line in '87, I found myself looking at Disney comics for the first time since the early '70s. Reading Rosa's story, "The Son of the Sun," got me hooked back into reading Duck comics, which of course brought me to the work of Carl Barks, which then resulted in my buying all several dozen Complete Carl Barks albums over a period of a decade, at a rate of about 2 a month (so the Complete Peanuts series, at two volumes a year for just over 12 years, should be a cakewalk).

And now Disney comics are coming out in the U.S. once again. Rosa stories that had only been available overseas are now being released in small doses...just in the $6.95 issues, not the $2.95 ones, of course. But hey, I'm not complaining...at least they're available. And while I'm glad that Disney comics of any kind are available in the U.S. now, I'm also afraid that they're selling mostly to adult Disney fans like me, and not enough to the younger potential fans.

Additional linkage:

DUCKhunt links to lots of Rosa articles and artwork all over the web.

A gallery of sketches, alternate pages, fanzine art, and more by Rosa.

This page has one of the most distressing Duck images you will ever see. Actually, this whole article on the history of Duckburg is good reading.

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Spotted on Journalista was this link to a spirited defense of JLA/Avengers. I think I'm going to enjoy this weblog...already the phrase "witness perfect stupidity minions" has wedged itself into my brain.

I spoke too soon. 

Pal JP tipped me off to forthcoming Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Bat-Mite, and Ace (temp link) action figures. Soon I'll be able to reenact my favorite Batman cover in the privacy of my own home! Well, theoretically, anyway. I wouldn't actually do that. Honest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

One of my all-time favorite Batman covers. 

Ah, yes, remember the good old days, when you could have a fun and goofy Batman comic and the fans wouldn't act like some form of horrifying sacrilege had been committed? I mean, just look at that cover...Bat-Mite, riding Ace the Bat-Hound, while carrying a Batwoman sign. It's downright beautiful.

I particularly like it as it focuses on three supporting characters from Batman history that are more or less forgotten now, what with being incompatible the whole "dark avenger of the night" thing. Well, Evan Dorkin did have the highly entertaining World's Funnest which featured Bat-Mite, and there were a couple issues of Legends of the Dark Knight that had a "dark 'n' gritty" (but still funny) take on Bat-Mite drawn by Kevin O'Neill.

Ace the Bat-hound was put down...well, okay, not really, but he did just sorta up and vanish. I seem to recall Bruce Wayne having a dog named Ace in some of the Batman comics from a few years back, but it was just a fannish in-joke...this Ace didn't fight crime and wear a cowl to protect his identity. I think.

And Batwoman? Well, gone forever, most likely, until someone gets the bright idea to revive her, put her in your standard super-heroine "cleavage ahoy!" costume, and build some kind of 12-part mini-series around the character. Or maybe they did revive her and I just missed it...it's not like there haven't been a couple dozen Bat-titles published each month -- those pages have to be filled with something.

Anyway, here's to you Bat-Mite, Ace, Batwoman, the original Bat-Girl (Betty Kane), a swashbuckling Batman that smiled, "Batman's Time Travel Crimes on Venus" stories...to all the silly Batman stories that, I guess, are no longer in favor.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

FAME! Well, sort of. 

Augie De Blieck Jr. discusses the "comics blogosphere" in his latest column, and after he mentions some of my own favorite weblogs, he kinda sorta mentions mine as he makes reference to my microfiche post. Or, more likely, he's making reference to Neilalien's post that refers to my post. Posts that link to posts that link to posts...it gets a little confusing after a while. We're all so polite, making sure everyone gets proper credit!

Anyway, De Blieck was one of the first online comics commentators I used to follow, and while I don't read his column on much of a regular basis anymore (sorry!), it's nice to see he's still around. Besides, he likes Disney comics, so he's jake with me.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Message board fun. 

Steve Bissette, one of my favorite comic artists, gives us the skinny on what he's up to.

The eternal question of who'd win in a fight - Jesse Custer or Zatanna - is discussed here.

Yet another "this character is/isn't gay" message board discussion - complete with charming thread title. Gentlemen (and ladies) - start your slash fiction!

The John Byrne forum discusses pan & scan vs. widescreen DVDs...I don't know why, either, but at least they rightfully recognize pan & scan for the abomination it is.

About Comics publisher Nat Gertler crystalizes my thoughts beautifully about the recent much-deserved cancellation of that show with the guy who pretends to talk to dead people.

Speaking of Nat, his company will be releasing the 24 Hour Comics anthology in April -- edited by Scott McCloud, creator of the 24 Hour Comic concept.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

More trade thoughts.  

I was just thinking about other comics DC Comics has published in the past that would make good material for "manga-style" trades and that wouldn't necessarily be aimed at a superhero-reading audience. How about Amethyst (at least the stories prior to the character being shoehorned into the DC Universe), or Warlord, or Jonah Hex (yes, I realize a couple of those are somewhat superheroish)? How about all those horror stories from House of Secrets or House of Mystery? (My pal Dorian champions the reprinting of "I, Vampire" in particular.) Or how about the countless romance comics?

Or, if you are going to do superheroes, how about reprinting some that might actually attract a general audience, such as Plastic Man or Captain Marvel, or my aforementioned suggestion of the comics based on the Batman Adventures cartoon? Where are the cheap digest collections of New Teen Titans or Justice League of America, now that kids are interested in these characters again? (And, as the manager of a comic store that, believe it or not, does have a large clientele of younger people, I can tell you there is demand for such a thing...the Justice League Adventures and Teen Titans Go comics do help, however.)

Or how about going the other way, sizewise? Thin, oversized hardcovers aimed at children, reprinting Mayer's Three Mouseketeers or Sugar & Spike?

Well, anyway, it's just a thought...with a slight undercurrent of enlightened self-interest, as I'd want a lot of these things in cheap reprint editions.

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