mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Friday, October 08, 2004

Pal Andy links to this overview of video game comics. As Andy notes, DC Comics' Atari Force is overlooked completely. This site fills that void nicely, however.


I did finally see this week's episode of Smallville...you know, the "Kryp/Tuck" episode. It turned out not to be as bad as I was expecting from last week's preview...but really, it wasn't all that good, either. Ethics seem to be right out the window (Lana's boyfriend becoming an employee at her high school, and continuing the relationship; Clark trying out for the football team), there's more rampant nudity, there are plot complications right outta nowhere (Lois didn't pass her senior year, so she has to make up credits...at Smallville High)...and for some reason, Abby's mom, the villain of the piece, seemed to remind me of the kind of villain you'd see in Lois and Clark's later seasons, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I don't really have much to say on this episode, but go read Jason's insightful review. He makes some good points, particularly about Chloe's new position in the show.


Speaking of Lois and Clark, I found this charming review of the show on the Internet Movie Database. I hope it's a joke, but somehow, I don't think it is. Was Dean Cain's apparent ethnicity ever an issue (part-Japanese, not Vietnamese, despite what that "reviewer" thinks)? I thought Cain did a pretty good job as Superman/Clark, myself.


"'Mature readers' Youngblood" is a self-cancelling statement if ever I've seen one.

Don't worry, kids aren't interested in Youngblood. Adults are barely interested in Youngblood. Remember how I've said that despite apparent prevailing opinion, Rob Liefeld work tends to sell? Let me amend that to "Rob Liefeld's Marvel work tends to sell."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Shane at Near Mint Heroes has
a season-appropriate contest for all you comics fans, in which you could win either a copy of the Walking Dead trade paperback or a copy of the 24 Hour Comics book! See his site for the scary details.

Scott Saavedra has been posting some funny stuff over the last couple of days...I particularly like this panel from a "Bizarro World" story.

A few more comments about yesterday's new arrivals:

  • Tim over at The Hurting has already done a fairly comprehensive review of the DC Comics Encyclopedia, and now that I've seen it myself, I have to agree that it's an impressive volume. I haven't bought it yet...though I honestly do love this kind of thing, I haven't put together the scratch, especially since two other books I wanted popped up this week. I did flip through a copy at the shop, however. All the illustrations are reprinted from other sources, near as I can tell. The decided lack of John Constantine is a little puzzling, but it's good to see that Ambush Bug made the cut. And I had to check...yes, Jonah Hex's adventure in the future is referenced, thus making this the greatest book ever. Yes, even better than The Grapes of Wrath.*

    As Tim notes, the previous versions of the Doom Patrol are featured, but no mention is made of its current incarnation. I wonder if it's a subtle hint on the part of the editors that they don't think the "together again for the first time!" gimmick of the new Doom Patrol series is going to stick. Or, more likely, all the DP-related material was assembled prior to having any info on the revamp. Anyway, as pal Dorian and I were discussing the other day, other DC creators don't seem to be paying attention to the Doom Patrol "reboot." Gordon noticed a reference to old DP continuity in Identity Crisis, and it looks like Geoff Johns' recent reworking of Beast Boy's origin in Teen Titans wasn't so drastic that the Doom Patrol couldn't be squeezed back in if necessary.

  • Speaking of the Titans, the reference to "the 21st century's Teen Titans" in one of the Teen Titans/Legion Special's caption boxes had me briefly thinking of some kind of super-futuristic Teen Titans team. Then I suddenly realized, "oh, yeah, we are in the 21st century." I'm still not used to that idea. I mean, 2001: A Space Odyssey now takes place in the past...how weird is that?

  • Something else both Dorian and I have noticed...our customers asking for the new issue of World's Finest -- by which they mean the new Superman/Batman. I don't really have a problem with that...in my head World's Finest is synonymous with "Superman-Batman team-up book," but given the actual title of the book is squeezed into one corner of the cover in favor of the combined Supes shield/Bat logo, I suppose it's not completely unexpected that some people may not realize what the book is called.

In other news (mostly about me, me, me):

* DISCLAIMER: Book may not actually be better than The Grapes of Wrath. Book probably is better than The Old Man And The Sea, however.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

New funny books, ahoy! (Possible spoilers, ahoy, as well.)

  • Superman/Batman #12 finally made it out to our neck of the woods this week. If I weren't an incorrigible Superman fan, I probably would have skipped out on this series entirely...the artwork's hard on my aging eyes, and this new iteration of Supergirl just ain't doin' it for me. I did like the confrontation between Darkseid and Bats, though.

  • The Teen Titans/Legion Special does indeed set up the new status quo for the new ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes series, while sort of leaving the door open for a return to the previous status quo(s), if necessary. (Though, as Dorian noted to me earlier today, some fans won't be happy until the Legion is exactly as it was 40 years ago.)

  • Demo #10 - it's a return to the series gimmick of a character with an apparent superpower...but with a nice, creepy twist on that theme. I don't want to say more that'll give it away, spoiler warning or not.

  • Hulk/Thing #2 - still continues to intrigue, and I'm really wondering what the upshot of all this is going to be. Some nice bits of self-aware dialogue, too: "Need someone new to write yer stuff, pal!"

  • Swamp Thing #8, which I actually got last week, when I took home the preview copy we received so I could read it early, and, well, forgot to bring it back. No, I really did forget, stop looking at me like that. Anyway, nice wrap-up to the story, with artist Richard Corben giving everything an extra layer of creepiness (particularly his rendition of Arcane).

  • Hellboy: Odder Jobs is a new collection of short prose stories about everyone's favorite demonic paranormal investigator...I've liked the previous Hellboy prose books, so I expect this one to be fun as well. And it has a Sharyn McCrumb story!

  • I had completely forgotten about the Essential Monster of Frankenstein collection from Marvel, so this was a nice surprise today. The black and white Essentials format seems tailor-made for Marvel's horror line (more so than for the superhero books, which look pretty awful in these reprints), so I can't wait to plow through this volume. I expect we'll probably see an Essential Man-Thing soon enough. Or maybe an Essential Tales of the Zombie! That I'd really like to see.

Other new arrivals (more SPOILERS):

  • I didn't buy the Loki series, which from all accounts actually turned out to be not half bad. I did look at the last few pages of the final issue, though...and if I'm reading things correctly, you could probably do some kind of deconstructive analysis of the story, with Thor representing Marvel Comics' desire to maintain the status quo, and Loki as DC, wishing to struggle against the status quo but ultimately falling before it. Or maybe not. At any rate, I'll give this series a second look when the trade comes out any second now.

  • The Complete Peanuts 1950-4 Boxed Set arrived today, which is completely frustrating since we didn't get the second volume separately yet. And that is a nice slipcase on the set...no, no, already have first volume, musn't buy set. As a certain round-headed blockhead would say -- "Rats."

  • The Simple Life Cinemanga has arrived. Dwell on that, if you will.

  • Another issue of Youngblood, now with dirty words! Gasp! Or did the previous issue have dirty words, too? Ah, who cares.

  • The new Aliens Vs. Predator graphic novel, Thrill of the Hunt, is now out in convenient digest format, just in time for the movie to have finished its run in theatres and for no one to care anymore.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The people have spoken! 

Well, it looks like my current week's trend of winning friends and influencing people is continuing, as my comment about New Warriors not appearing to be any good has brought out some defenders for the series, mostly saying that it was in fact good, at least for a while. Er, no offense intended! Every comic book series (and character) is someone's favorite, and I probably should keep that in mind. But really...Night Thrasher?

And Jason and Nathan both step right up and tell me that the fella in that picture I posted isn't the victim of bad perspective...he actually has a giant right arm! Now, could he shrink his arm back to normal size when he wasn't using it to clock somebody? And wouldn't his balance be all screwed up? And am I putting more thought into this than the people who actually did this particular issue? Probably.

Fred Hembeck
picks up on a naughty Brian Bolland joke (under Oct. 2nd - no permalinks) from Bolland's illustration of Lady Blackhawk for Who's Who in The DC Universe! I'd always thought there was something up with that image...of course, it is Brian Bolland....

Speaking of odd images, regarding that New Warriors pic I posted yesterday...yeah, I know what "forced perspective" is, but, as Augie indicates, that perspective is downright broken! When something like this is done in Megaton Man, it's supposed to be funny...here, it's...um, well....

Which brings me to a related point...was New Warriors ever any good? We'd recently sold a boatload of New Warriors issues at the shop recently, and as I was restocking them I couldn't help but note how unappealing this series looked. Granted, this type of cover was the norm for Marvel at the time, but something about New Warriors really repelled me. I did read the first issue of the series, way back when...well, more accurately, I read about half of the first issue, as I found it pretty much unreadable. It was just so aggressively...average, I guess. Just filled with cliches and unlikeable characters...I mean, Night Thrasher? Honestly.*

And, finally, courtesy Dave of Legomancer, an even more terrifying version of Psycho-Man:

* Speedball is exempt from any New Warriors criticism, if only because pal Kurt would kill me if I said anything bad about that character!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Dorian knows that he didn't invent the idea of finding subtext in comic images, but the "Subtext? What Subtext?" thing is sort of
his continuing schtick. That's all he's saying. That, and that he doesn't want to look like he's "borrowing" from someone else the next time he does "Subtext? What Subtext?" -- which is what it would have looked like since the site in question is one of the more highly-visited comics weblogs.

The person who posted has since apologized and added a link to Dorian's site in that post, which is cool, but a couple other people in some of the related threads continue to miss the point. Unsurprisingly.

In happier news, Dorian is now the top Google search for "Nanny Dickering," so his cunningly evil plan has come to fruition.

In 1983, Eclipse Comics released this portfolio of images based on the just-released Swamp Thing movie directed by Wes Craven. Why it was released by Eclispe Comics rather than Swamp Thing's publisher DC Comics, I have no idea...perhaps DC wasn't set up to publish portfolios (though they started doing so just a couple years later, to the best of my knowledge), so perhaps the Swamp Thing movie licensing was left up to the film's producers, with no say by DC. (Maybe someone reading this can set me straight.)

Anyway, this set features four 11 by 14-inch full-color plates by Paul Gulacy, so they at least look nice, despite being drawn from scenes and characters in the film. The first plate is the same image as on the cover sheet above (sans logo).

Plate two is probably the best image in the set, and I'm not just saying that because of its focus on Adrienne Barbeau. Well, okay, maybe I am, but in this picture Swamp Thing actually looks like Swamp Thing, and there's a feeling of suspense as "Alice Cable" waits for the approaching "monster." (An aside for those few Swamp Thing fans who aren't familiar with the movie...the government liason Matt Cable in the comics was changed to "Alice Cable" for the movie, and Alec Holland's wife Linda in the comics was changed to being his sister, as to allow for a "Beauty and the Beast" relationship between Swamp Thing and Alice. However, by the time the second movie rolled around, Swampy was gettin' it on with Heather Locklear, but that's another story.)

Plate three features Gulacy's most "guy in a rubber suit" image of Swamp Thing in the entire batch, with Swampy just looking like a bald green guy with some fairly prominent veins. Despite this, it's still not a bad image, with a good sense of motion and great detail on the figures and faces (which don't show up very well in this picture I took, I realize).

The classic battle of muck-encrusted mockery of a man versus chemically-mutated Frenchman is represented here in this image, from the film's climatic battle. Interesting to note that even when drawn by Paul Gulacy, the mutated Arcane costume doesn't really look any better. And I know that it wasn't really
Louis Jourdan in that costume, but I'm going to pretend that he actually was, because that idea makes me very happy. Anyway, it's a nice image -- points for showing Swampy knocking Arcane around with a club, points off for a marked lack of Adrienne Barbeau.

(Another aside...holy frijole, Louis Jourdan is 85? And yes, he's reportedly still alive.)

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Here's a nice feature on pal Randy regarding his illustration work for Star Wars.

Randy's a good guy, and has been doing our front window paintings for years...we've had Plastic Man fighting Wolverine, we've had Darth Maul in a Santa hat, we've had Spider-Man kicking back at the beach, and we've had this:

You can find a clean copy of that image on this page.

All of Randy's window designs are lots of fun, and always get a great deal of attention and positive comments from customers and passers-by. If you like his art, you have a chance of getting an original piece by him from the Star Wars Heritage card set, as he's one of the artists supplying the sketch chase cards.

On a completely unrelated note, apparently Bazooka Joe has had new people join his gang. (I can't believe we lost our chance to have a Goth girl appear in Bazooka Joe comics. Crud!)

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