mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Happy Valentine's Day. 

from Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #49, reprinted in LL #113
art by Kurt Schaffenberger

Friday, February 13, 2004


As I'm sure you already know, Dirk Deppey has put the completely essential Journalista weblog on hiatus while he takes on the job of managing editor for The Comics Journal. Hurry back, Dirk! Don't leave us alone with this!

I'd also like to give him special thanks for the nice words he had about my little weblog thingie. I've been a reader of The Comics Journal for well over 20 years now, and it's very gratifying to know that someone from TCJ appreciates what I'm doing.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

More Misc. 

1. As much as I loved Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men, I really can't bring myself to slog through the last couple of issues. Oy, that art! It dares you to look at it. Yes, I know some people like that sort of thing, but to these aged eyes raised on a diet of Curt Swan, it's rough going.

2. The best comic-related publication to come out this week? Comic Book Heaven #9, from Slave Labor. Scott Saavedra brings us the goofiest comics from the Golden, Silver, and Bronze ages, with plenty of commentary! It's well worth your time.

3. DC prez Paul Levitz talks about what elements should comprise the new Batman movie. DC doesn't have final approval on the script, according to the article, so basically the filmmakers don't have to pay attention to anything Levitz has to say. Bet we'll get plenty of action figures and fast food kids' meals out of the film, though.

4. Speaking of comic book movies, it looks like it's just me and pal Dorian against the world regarding the upcoming Hellboy movie. I love the Hellboy comic, I love Mignola's work in general...but what we've seen of this movie so far (the trailer and some other materials) doesn't fill us with much hope. What is it that other people are seeing in the trailer that we aren't? (We see dodgy CGI and shaky dialogue.)

5. Every once in a while, I get nostalgic for Marvel's Pizzazz magazine. I had a subscription to Pizzazz right at the end of the run...when it was cancelled, I got a note from Marvel asking me to pick a comic to replace the rest of my paid sub. I ended up taking The Amazing Spider-Man...I got 197 and 199 to 205. That's right, Marvel still owes me an ASM 198, those swine.


Dan Dido says something in this Newsarama interview that I found notable:

"... in all honesty I think Green Lantern is the fourth best recognized brand in the DCU."

Okay, granted there's a huge drop-off after the first three (Batman, Wonder Woman, and Super-Hip...just seeing if you're paying attention), and I guess the current Justice League cartoon has added to the visibility of the brand. However, at my store I've encountered several non-comics fans who continually mix up Green Lantern with Green Hornet. I don't get it either. Oh, and Hawkman is "Birdman," and when they look at Plastic Man, they wonder where Hula-Hula is.

It is also worth mentioning that I get a lot of kids looking at Green Lantern stuff...and wondering who the white guy is. (Don't tell H.E.A.T.!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Copyright fun for everyone! 

Here's a site with scans of every Spider-Man cover. Good Lord, there's something like 5000 scans here. And he even offers the scans for sale on CDs, which I'm sure Marvel would be thrilled about.

(via Boingboing.net)

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Slings, Arrows. 

I was going to post my thoughts on The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, 2nd Edition, a really addicting 800-page review collection for darn near any comic you can think of, when in a Google search I came across Alan David Doane's review which covered essentially all the same points I was going to make. I even dug out my copy of the FantaCo's Chronicles Series Super Sized Annual, a 1983 version of this same project, for comparison...which Doane also covers. Rats. So, anyway, go read his review.

Here's a page of sample articles from the book, giving you an idea of the amounts of information, critical assessment, and snarkiness, all in the correct proportions.

Monday, February 09, 2004


Special thanks to NeilAlien, who, unlike me, actually knows how to use a graphics program, and sent me a significantly brighter scan of the panel I posted here.

I wish I had more to say about Julius Schwartz...I grew up with his Superman comics, so it certainly saddens me to see him go. Take a visit to Flat Earth for a good round-up of articles about Julie, and of course Mark Evanier has lots to say...it starts with the post I linked, and occupies most of his weblog to date. Evan Dorkin relates his memories of the man as well.

Speaking of Dorkin, he confirms the Wizard story on the Metal Men series he's doing with Mike Allred. Well, good...I'm all for more fun comics. (As opposed to More Fun Comics, which...well, actually, I'm all for those, too, come to think of it.)


I loved Mad Magazine as a kid...I'd buy all the monthly issues and the specials as they were released, and I had an uncle that gave me his Mad collection from the late 60s/early 70s. The very first thing I'd ever mail-ordered was a handful of Mad paperbacks I couldn't find at any of the local bookstores...I remember heading over to the local liquor store to buy a money order for this purchase with my allowance.

Anyway, that was in the late 70s/very early 80s when I was in my prime Mad Magazine reading age. Near the end I had stopped buying the specials since they were beginning to be mostly reprints of material I already owned...and it was only a matter of time before I dropped the regular magazine as well. No particular reason for this that I can think of...bored, other interests? Mad for some reason just became a less essential read.

Since then, I have bought an issue or two...I bought the six issue series of specials reprinting the original Mad comics, and I bought that one special reprinting their old Star Wars parodies in color. Last month, though, glancing at the then-newest issue (#438) with the superhero parodies, I decided, just on a whim, to buy it.

Yes, I already knew Mad has color in it now. And yes, I know that, literally over William Gaines' dead body, the magazine now features advertising. It's still jarring, even with the knowledge that it was probably necessary to keep Mad in business. And, like when I was a kid, I tend to gloss over the TV show and movie parodies that begin and end the magazine...though I will say that #438's School of Rock parody features an absolutely spot-on caricature of Jack Black by artist Tom Richmond.

The rest of the magazine is generally entertaining...the centerpiece of the mag is the always-excellent Sergio Aragones with one of his insanely-detailed panoramas (this time focusing on the Super Bowl), not to mention his regular contributions of Marginals. "Spy Vs. Spy" is still around, drawn in a dramatically different style by Peter Kuper, and Al Jaffee is still laying the Fold-Ins on us. One of the most interesting differences, in term of content, is the 3-page Fundalini Pages section, featuring short gags and cartoons with work by Evan Dorkin, Drew Freidman, and others.

"Monroe," another new regular feature, made absolutely no impact on me whatsoever, despite nice cartooning by Bill Wray...most likely because it was a parody of Survivor, a TV show I've never seen and have no intention of doing so in the future.

As for the article that actually got me to pick up the mag again in the first place...the superhero parodies were amusing, and well drawn. The best was Art Adams' "Apathenia, Queen of Not Giving A Damn," but they were all nicely done.

I enjoyed that issue enough to pick up the newest one, though I haven't had enough time to really read too much of it. Pal Dorian did note to me the odd prescience of an Aragones gag from the "A Mad Look at The Oscars" article, in which a woman plans to "accidentally" lose the top of her dress in front of the cameras for the resulting publicity.

To sum up my apparently completely random collection of sentences that comprise this weblog entry...thank goodness Mad is still around. The parodies and satires are still pretty blunt and broadly drawn, but if it can still get some kid somewhere to question the attitudes of the world around him, Mad is still doing its job.

Still a shame about the ads, though.

Here's a great site featuring Mad Magazine cover scans, a dictionary of Don Martin sound effects, and an article detailing what was left out of that "Totally MAD" CD-ROM set.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

"Be Original" 

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