mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, January 31, 2004

That sexy, sexy Swamp Thing 

Since I'm a big ol' Swamp Thing fanboy, I would be remiss if I didn't link to this article about...um, well, about Swamp Thing's sexuality. Well, there you go. Enjoy. (via Neilalien, among other places)

Speaking of revamps.... 

Thought Balloons reads Wizard Magazine so you don't have to...apparently, squirrelled away between the potty jokes and the comic-investing reports is a brief note stating that Evan Dorkin and Mike Allred are working on a Metal Men comic. Oh, please please please be true...granted, this is Wizard we're talking about, so take this info with a grain of salt, but boy, doesn't that sound like a hoot?

Space Ghost 

An allegedly straight take on Space Ghost is forthcoming from DC Comics, and, as my pal Dorian has said, this could either be absolutely brilliant or an absolute car crash. If it takes the tone of, say, Alan Moore's Tom Strong (i.e. somewhat tongue-in-cheek), it might not be too bad...though it has a long way to go to match Steve Rude's masterful version from a few years back.

I know some hardcore Space Ghost fans were appalled by Cartoon Network's Coast-to-Coast spoof, feeling it impugned the integrity of the character...hate to tell you this, but SG, like most cartoons, was created to keep kids on their butts in front of the TV so the network could force-feed them commercials. There's the character's integrity. If anyone got any entertainment at all out of the cartoons...well, that was most likely an welcome, if unintended, side effect.

And yes, yes, I know Alex Toth designed the character...that's probably the only reason the show worked as well as it did.

Additional linkage: an incredibly comprehensive FAQ for the original cartoon

Friday, January 30, 2004

Superman's 70th. 

Hey, I just realized something...most histories of Superman I've read over the years (examples: this online history and the book Superman at Fifty! edited by Dennis Dooley and Gary Engle) mentioned that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character in 1934, and that it took them until 1938 to find a publisher willing to take it. If so, that means Superman is 70 years old as of this year!

Mostly it just depresses me since I remember buying the 45th (well, technically, 49th) anniversary issue off the stands:

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Sorry...kind of tight for time at the moment, so no real post today. Instead, go look at pal Fred's website...tell him I said "hi."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A long post, to tax your patience. 

I've received a couple responses and clarifications regarding my flexidisc post a couple days back:

Graeme McMillan tells me that the M flexidisc is definitely music, not a reading of the comic (by the way, here's the link to the part of Cat Yronwode's site where I got my info...I forget to link it in the previous post).

Bill informs me that he believed a flexi came with an issue of Rip Off Press' Miami Mice...and sure enough, a quick check through the vast Mikester Comic Archives (okay, really, I just looked in the Rip Off Press box at work) tells me that issue 3 of that series did indeed come with a flexidisc, featuring the Miami Mice theme song. Miami Mice, actually, was one of the better (well, less offensive) results of the 1980s "we want some of that Mutant Turtles money too!" black and white boom. It was by Mark Bode, so the art, while a little on the rough side, still had some appeal.

Pal Self mentions the flexi that came with the Bloom County book Billy and the Boingers Bootleg...I still think that's a little out of the purview of this informal survey, but it probably should be noted. The program manager at a college radio station I was doing a little deejaying on at the time was forced to hide the carts on which the two songs from this flexi were recorded -- they were being played too often!

In other news:

  • A quick search through Diamond Previews informs me that Antarctic Press is publishing a Hitler comic, from the fella that brought us Luftwaffe 1946. Hoo boy. I've have enough trouble explaining Luftwaffe to people. Yes, I realize that Hitler is a valid subject for examination (otherwise we wouldn't have the History Channel, har har), but I'm still gonna have to look at a big ol' "HITLER" logo staring back at me from the rack.

  • New Frontier #1 -- if there's one thing I demand from a comic that features an Indian fighting a dinosaur, it's realism.

  • Dear Marvel, please make sure 4 of the 5 Hulk titles you are currently publishing are all released to comic shops on the exact same day. That's sure to help sales. Love, Mike.

  • The Shield is one of my absolute favorite TV shows, so I'm the target audience for the IDW comic tie-in that was released today...haven't had a chance to do much more than glance through it yet (I'm writing this instead), but it doesn't look too bad. The likenesses are passable, and I've noticed that the comic uses the word "fuck" -- one of the few swear words they haven't used on the TV show. An interview with the show's creator Shawn Ryan is also included, as is a four-page prose story unrelated to The Shield that you're never going to read. I was kind of hoping the interior art would look like the cover, but no dice. Ah, well.

  • Yeah, I know, none of you like Chris Claremont or John Byrne, but their run on JLA has got to be better that what we're getting right now.

  • Every once in a while, you just gotta steal a link from Fark, so here it is: a Spider-Man Big Little Book. (But be sure to start at the beginning and look at them all. It's a hoot!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Trident Comics. 

I made a passing reference to Trident Comics a couple entries ago, and thought I'd clarify a bit. Trident was actually a pretty good publisher...didn't last very long, alas, but managed to get some memorable books out there. I bought most of their output (I passed on Saga of the Man-Elf or whatever it was called). There was one very well-drawn (and well-lettered!) issue of Burglar Bill by Paul Grist; the very funny Lucifer by Eddie Campbell and Phil Elliott, featuring a vagrant that suddenly becomes in charge of Hell; the Trident anthology book, featuring work by Elliott, Campbell (Bacchus stories), Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and many others; The Shadowmen and Strand, which might have become very interesting had they lasted longer; and of course the aforementioned Saviour by Millar, which I understand was a nosehair away from being revived at Vertigo. Ah, well...I would like to have seen how the story ended.

And then there's St. Swithin's Day, Trident's only color comic I believe, which features Grant Morrison and Paul Grist's last word on teen angst. Good stuff...reprinted later by Oni Press if you can't find the original.

Interesting thing about the Bacchus stories in Trident...they were part of a series of stories featuring Bacchus travelling with a group of people by boat, relating stories of the characters of Greek myth in his own inimitable way. There was a minor continuity to these stories, which were also being published in Atomeka's A-1 anthology and in Dark Horse Presents...but they were darn hard to piece together given the way they were published. They are now collected, in proper sequential order, in Bacchus Vol. 3 - Doing the Islands with Bacchus from Eddie Campbell's own company.

I suddenly find myself nostalgic for Campbell's The Eyeball Kid. I wonder if there's a word for that.

Monday, January 26, 2004

"Dad, what's a flexidisc?" 

So the recent resurgence in interest for Alan Moore's "March of the Sinister Ducks" (spurred on by Neil Gaiman's pointing to an MP3 file) had me thinking about other comic book flexidiscs. Here are the only ones I remember:

  • Critters #23 (Fantagraphics) - "March of the Sinister Ducks" on one side, "Right to the Blues" by Ty Templeton on the other.

  • Duplex Planet Illustrated #1 (Fantagraphics) - features "Skin" by the Brave Combo and "The" by Jimmy Carl Black and the Grandmothers. "Skin" shows up on the CD "A Place of General Happiness Volume 2."

  • Femforce #50 (AC Comics) - the Femforce theme...I don't have this one, but you can read about it here.

  • M #1 (Eclipse) - according to Cat Yronwode's website, the flexidisc was a soundtrack recorded by Jon J. Muth and Steve Niles. Whether it was just music or a dramatic reading, I haven't the foggiest.

  • Ms. Tree #50 (Renegade) - a one-sided flexi with "The Theme from Ms. Tree," performed by the band Cruisin'. It later showed up on the Cruisin' CD from Beat Brothers Recordings. Max Allan Collins played keyboards.

  • Nexus (magazine) #3 (Capital) - basically a dramatization of the contents of the issue, with everyone speaking really, really quickly to squeeze everything onto the record. Great theme song.

  • Scout #19 (Eclipse) - another one I don't have (only read the first six issues), but it featured blues music by Tim Truman. I think it may have included music from the full-length Scout LP by Tim Truman and the Dixie Pistols (eBay auction here).

This list doesn't include the multiple flexis that were included in Mad Magazine specials (I still have a fondness for "Mad Disco," and the greatest one of them all, the one with eight different endings, "It's A Super Spectacular Day!").

With record players pretty much gone the way of the eight-track tapes (hey, I still have a working record player, but I'm old and weird), we can pretty much forget about seeing comics with flexidisc inserts ever again. Chaos Comics had a go at including CDs with their comics...even if they'd been good CDs, it's just not the same. Actually, I'm surprised more comic publishers haven't tried the CD-insert route...I mean, aside from AOL discs.

So, am I forgetting any flexis from the above list?

My contribution to the current "Mark Millar - Good or Bad Writer" discussion. 

Hey, I liked Saviour.

(Actually, most of the stuff from Trident Comics was pretty good. Look for 'em in a quarter bin near you!)

Links, memories, and a confidential note. 

1. Currently, one of the busiest threads on the Comicon message boards is the "You Go Ghoul - status?" discussion, about John Byrne's project for Dreamwave. It starts off with a relatively innocent question, almost immediately turns into a Byrne-bashing session (color me surprised), veers into a specific slam on Spider-Man: Chapter One, which then, inexplicably, causes someone to impugn the quality of the original Lee-Ditko Spider-Man! Yes, really. And now, at a 190+ messages later, the conversation has turned to the positive effects of Image-style art. I suggest starting at the beginning and reading all four pages, if you've got nothing better to do...y'know, like me.

2. My most embarrassing comic-related moment: It wasn't until I actually worked in a comic shop that I got the joke in Ms. Tree's name. "Hey, can I see the Ms. Tree back issues?" "Sure, here are the Ms. Tree comi...oh, hey, Ms. Tree! 'Mystery!' I get it!" (Sigh. I'm normally fairly intelligent, honest.)

3. Ennis and Dillon's Preacher is apparently still on track to maybe becoming a movie, though I can't imagine any possible way this will make it into theatres even vaguely resembling the source material. Imagine the meeting for this: "So, what's the conflict in this film? Who's the bad guy?" "Well, the bad guy is God...." "Thank you, we'll call you, please leave now." Just picture the hoo-hah around Dogma, multiplied by 100. Especially if any protesters get their hands on the comics.

(Confidential note to A Specific LiveJournal User -- Hi! I'm glad you like my site, and of course, feel free to post links you find on my site in your own journal. However, you occasionally use my exact wording from the descriptive text for the links...it's a little irksome to see something I wrote show up in someone else's weblog without attribution. Please try to use your own wording in the future...or put my words in quotes with a credit to my site. I mean, if I posted an entire paragraph (or even one line) of unchanged links and text from, say, Journalista without credit to Dirk Deppey, he'd be pretty steamed at me, and rightfully so.

Oh, and that obituary Mark Evanier wrote that you posted word-for-word in your journal a while back? You might want to give Mr. Evanier credit for that as well, since, without any kind of associated linkage or attribution, it gives the impression that you wrote it. Just a helpful hint.

Here's something from Flat Earth on a related topic.)

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Take a bite out of crime. 

Here's an offer for a free McGruff the Crime Dog comic book (U.S. residents only, unfortunately). If you would rather just read the comics online, I suggest starting with this terrifying example.

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