mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 07, 2004

"Those stinkin' Ratzis!" 

from Super-Villain Team-Up #16 (Marvel Comics, 1979)
by Peter Gillis, Carmine Infantino, and Bruce Patterson

Friday, February 06, 2004

A random post of random randomness...with a dash of Byrne. 

1 John Byrne has been dropping hints on his message board about a forthcoming project of his from DC Comics, referred to only as "Title Withheld." And, since the Title will apparently be Unwithheld real soon now, a series of threads have popped up with fans making their final guesses before the big reveal. (Someone guessed Challengers of the Unknown...uh, it's taken, thanks.) Actually, this is a relatively clever method of drumming up some excitement in the fans for what probably is just going to be another DC superhero book...a method that's even more impressive given how hard it is to keep this sort of thing under wraps.

One of the more amusing results is this thread, in which one of the gag guesses results in mock-up covers of DC's greatest series - Batman's Moon Patrol, and Monkey!

2. In case anyone's wondering, I happen to like John Byrne's superhero comics (with an exception or two, of course). I think he does perfectly acceptable superhero comics in the "classic" tradition...not groundbreaking stuff, but it's not meant to be, either. Hey, it can't all be Acme Novelty Library (another favorite of mine).

2a. Mentioning Chris Ware and John Byrne in the same sentence violates some kind of natural law, I'd imagine.

3. Comics Burrito clears up that whole Halle Berry/Catwoman hoax, once and for all. Whew!

4. Okay, most of you call them "comic books." A few of you call them "floppies," some use "pamphlets." Does anyone out there still use "funny books," or am I the last holdout? (I mean, do any actual comic fans call them "funny books" - your comic-hating parents don't count.)

5. This weblog hereby promises to stop using the words "interest," "interesting," and "hoot" (as in "it's a hoot!"). The word "ahoy" will, however, be retained, and in fact used to even more excess than before.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Nuts to you. 

Nostalgia League 

Just learned about The Nostalgia League directly from its webmaster today...the front page is "javascript ahoy!" but it's got an interesting look to it. Of interest to this weblog would be the Comic Rack section, with a focus on books from the 70s and earlier (as you might imagine from the domain name)..."HUH?" is fun (here's a good example), and there's lots of pictures of completely random items (comics, pulps, toys, etc.) in the Gallery section.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Enigma & Cerebus 

Instead of finishing up reading today's new comic acquisitions, I ventured into the vast Comic Archives and pulled out my run of Enigma by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo for rereading. Sometimes you just get the urge, you know?

I did read the new issue of Cerebus, however...so finally it's become readable and compelling again, and, of course, the series ends next month. Ah, well. Pal Dorian and I were lamenting the fact that there's been no return visit from the Groucho Marx stand-in Lord Julius (as Sim's take on the elderly Groucho would have been quite interesting), but that doesn't seem likely. I'm still holding out for a last page appearance, though!


Confidential to ComicsOne regarding Para Para: it's spelled "suave."

In all fairness, I'm entirely for a comic about dancing gangsters.

EDIT: Pal Tom points out "athelete" as well. I suddenly have more sympathy for the editor.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Nothing can stop them now!" 

After seeing the panel that was here* (found via Journalista), I felt the internet comics community needed to see this:

from Batman #200, March 1968

It's really the lurid "I have such sights to show you" look in Alfred's eye that makes this panel so great.
*Panel appears to be gone now...it was a bunch of JLAers being told by a villain that everyone they've touched will die...Flash thinks "Iris, no!" Atom thinks "Oh, Jean!" Batman thinks "Robin! What have I done to you?"

Monday, February 02, 2004

Oh, yeah. 

Comics at my college. 

During the years I was attending the University of California Santa Barbara, I had two English classes with Professor Frank McConnell...one was "Art of Modern Narrative," and the other was "Science Fiction." In the first class, one of the assigned books was Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and in the second, we got Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen. Now, as a comic fan, I thought it was great that we'd get to study graphic novels for college credit; as a college student, though, I was far more excited about the fact that I'd have one less book to buy that quarter.

Given that it's been (ahem) several years since I've had those classes, the details of the lectures are a little sketchy now. The students seemed pretty open about reading comics...there wasn't any noticeable "ew, comics are studid" attitude that you'd expect. There was the one student who pointed out how the words "Fallout Shelter" were partially obscured in that one Watchmen cover image/chapter heading so that they read "ALL HEL," and "oooooooh" went the class. I also remember simultaneously cringing at (having yet to purge the anal-retentive comic collector mentality from my system*) and being amused by my fellow students highlighting captions and word balloons in their copies of the trade paperbacks. And, since I know you're wondering, no, I didn't bring my individual issues of the comics to class, all in their protective polypropylene sleeves -- I already owned copies of the trades.

Another book Professor McConnell taught in his courses was Sandman: A Doll's House...and for at least one class, he had Neil Gaiman as a guest-lecturer. Sorry I missed that. McConnell also wrote an introduction to one of the Sandman collections (The Kindly Ones).

McConnell, unfortunately, has since passed away...I had to learn this one of the text pieces in Gaiman's Midnight Days. That's too bad...he was a nice guy, an entertaining lecturer, loved comics, wrote detective novels, and always gave a blanket invite to the class to meet him for a drink in the pub after each lecture.

One of my favorite memories of Professor McConnell was when he made a passing reference to Norse legends that seemed to over the heads of the students...when he noticed the lack of response, he said "what, don't any of you read Thor comics? No? What do you do for fun?"

* No, it's not been purged yet.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

One more thing.... 

Mark Evanier posted a bit about the forthcoming Complete Peanuts collections, and included a colored panel of one of the great early Peanuts strips...the one where Charlie Brown is gazing at a rack full of luridly-titled comic books. How many titles in that panel have since become titles of real comics?

The things you find when you look at your site's referral logs. 

Hey, cool, Gary Panter has a weblog. Found it via this discussion about best comic weblogs on the Comics Journal message boards...thanks to pal Ian for his mention of me.

Also found a nice mention of my site on this fun-looking page...sure, they got my name wrong, but they got the link right, and by golly, that's good enough for me.

"I hate them! They're so groovy!" 

from The Bugaloos #1 (1971) published by Charlton Comics

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