mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 18, 2004

"THE WORST COMIC BOOK I EVER BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY" is the title of this eBay auction, and, yes, it's one of the classic stinker comics. Of course, there's no way he's going to get $50,000 for it (well, actually, $49,232.08 after eBay fees)...maybe if he got it CGCed.

2. Todd McFarlane has filed Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court, which I'm sure will bring out plenty of people commenting on his "wasting money" on purchasing record-setting baseballs. Actually, I always thought that was money well-spent...three million dollars on a baseball got him countless millions of dollars' worth of advertising, in that he was discussed on every radio show, news program, late night talk show, and so on.

Now, you want to talk about Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc. putting money into the wrong thing....

3. Just in case anyone is wondering..."Evilbeard" is an old friend of mine, and he's just giving me a hard time. He's not trolling! "Mojo IV" is an old pal as well. I'll get my revenge on them both later.

4. Dave at Yet Another Comics Blog is offering up $250 in matching donations to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund if 10 other people pitch in $25 apiece. Get the details here.

Friday, December 17, 2004

1. The unsinkable Johanna Draper Carlson has
announced a new contest to win a copy of Andy Runton's Owly. Go enter, won't you?

2. The online verison of the Wall Street Journal has an interview with American Splendor's Harvey Pekar. (via Obscure Store)

3. Here's a reproduction of a 1953 comic-strip advertisment for the film Invaders from Mars.

4. Tom Spurgeon sends me some linking love on The Comics Reporter, regarding the fantastic beauty of silly '60s DC comics. Be sure to check out his article for additional super-pet linkage.

5. Thanks to the mighty Scott Saavedra, I am now the proud owner of this piece of artwork. Fan-tastic.

5a. Also prepare to be terrified of Scott's newest illustration.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

New comics yesterday, I talk about 'em today! SPOILERS AHEAD - I mean it this time! Avert your eyes!

  • Well, Good Lord, Identity Crisis #7 is out, and as it turns out, one of my joking theories* about the identity of the killer was, well, sorta on target (except my idea was much sillier). Of course, I didn't say anything about motivation, which is just barely less than the actual motivation given to the killer. Anyway, if you didn't like this series, don't worry; as soon as the inevitable hardcover and softcover collections stop selling, everything that happened in this series will be undone. Sue Dibny: Rebirth, coming in 2008!

  • Fantastic Four #521 - here is the discussion pal Dorian and I had last week, after Dorian flipped through the advance copy of this comic:

    D: "So, the new issue of Fantastic Four is using a mostly-forgotten bit of trivia about Galactus as a plot point."

    M: "That he has some sort of familial relationship with Death?"

    D: "No...."

    M: "That he grows smaller as he grows weaker?"

    D: "No...."

    M: "That he originally came from the universe that precedes the current universe?"

    D: "No...."

    M: "That he's perceived differently by everyone who sees him?"

    D: "Yeah, that's the one."

    M: "Did I disgust you with my Galactus knowledge?"

    D: "No, no...I knew most of that."

    M: "Well, how 'bout that his real name is Galen? Or that he's from the planet Taa? Or that his space station was called Taa II?"

    D: "Okay, now I'm disgusted."

  • Girl Genius #13 - each issue of this series just gets better and better...Agatha and Krosp learn more about the peculiar personalities of the circus with which they're traveling. Lots of fun, and can't wait for the next issue.

  • Plastic Man #13 - Plastic Man takes on the evils of (gasp) File Sharing! Though hardly the prime focus of the issue, it's still a nice little thumbing of the nose at those scare tactic anti-file sharing ads that have been popping up in the comics lately.

  • Deep Fried Vol. 2 #1 - if there's a comic more filled with wrong fun than Jason Yungbluth's, I don't know what it is. Featured terrifying strip: "Ghastly Cash - The Poor Little Rich Ghost!" Yes, it's another play on the old "Casper is the ghost of Richie Rich" thing, but Yungbluth does it better than you've ever seen it.

  • Shaolin Cowboy #1 - I didn't know what Dorian was talking about when he mentioned a 10-page single panel, until I had a chance to look at it myself. He's right...it's one panel spread over 10 pages, as drawn by Geof Darrow. I haven't read it, I have no idea what it's about (aside from mayhem), but it's drawn by Darrow in his usual highly-detailed style and looks fantastic.

  • Zippy: From Here to Absurdity - another collection of a year's worth of Zippy the Pinhead strips by Bill Griffith, complete with footnotes. Look for the disturbingly Nancy-esque cover. Always good stuff, though reading a year's worth of Zippy within a relatively short time is probably not recommended...it kinda affects your perceptions, you know?

  • Ocean #3 - the latest issue of the Warren Ellis and Chris Sprouse series, with a scary science fictional idea re: controlling one's employees that I don't think I've seen before. I also want to note Chris Sprouse's expressive art...the range of emotions he conveys is impressive.

  • Ex Machina #7 - this issue contains probably the most reasonable real-world reaction a person would have upon seeing someone's "ray gun." That's not a euphemism, but, in context, it could very well be. Yeah, I know, I'm being coy for someone shouting about "spoilers" earlier.

  • Alter Ego #43 - all I gotta say...El Santo! This issue contains a long article on Mexican comics of the Silver Age, including reprints of American comics as well as original comics produced in that country. No chance to read it yet, but a flip through the issue reveals (as is usual for this magazine) a wide variety of great illustrations.

  • Madrox #4 - somehow forgot to get a copy for myself. Gosh darn it.

Other new releases, not bought but notable:

  • DC Rarities Archives - Oh, dear me, $75.00? I so want this book (reprinting the New York's World Fair comics and the Big All-American Comic Book), but I really, really, really can't justify the expense right now. I'm especially frustrated since Big All-American is one of those comics I've wanted for years. Ah, well.

  • Wizard King Trilogy Book 1 softcover - this collection of Wally Wood's work is in color and...um, I believe it's slightly edited. As in some of the nude figures now have had nipples painted away and/or recolored to make them appear as if they're wearing clothes. A quick Google search reveals that Evan Dorkin has noticed this as well.

  • Swamp Thing: Bad Seed TPB - I appreciate DC putting low price tags on the first volumes of their trade paperback lines. Having the first Fables at $9.95 really helps us sell the book. Granted, this particular series of Swamp Thing may be a slightly harder sell, but good on DC for keeping the price down.

  • Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One #5 - did they really drag out a five issue mini-series over most of a year, or am I imagining things? (I'll have to check the cycle sheets at work and find out).

  • Spider-Man: India #2 - we managed to sell a couple of the first issue to people who buy all Marvel #1s. Without that incentive, I don't imagine we'll sell any copies of the second issue.

  • Krazy & Ignatz in "Necromancy by the Blue Bean Bush" - I have to hand it to Fantagraphics...they put out some handsome comic strip reprints. I don't think these strips have ever looked better.

Other fun on new comics day...having a glitch on our credit card machine wipe out all its programming, so I have to spend the better part of an hour on hold with the card processing company and letting the software download into our machine at 1200 baud. Luckily, this was at the end of the day, and I only ended up having to turn away one credit card customer (a regular, thankfully, so he'll be back for his goodies later). Still, put that on my list of things not to do on new comics day.

* Thanks to The Comic Treadmill for finding my post for me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

1. For some reason, Diamond accidentally shipped us two Galactus statues today. How you'd accidentally ship two huge things like this, I have no idea...but
they're darn cool.

2. How you know you've lost control of your own weblog: there are multiple discussions on the virtues of Gorilla Grodd and super-pets going on in my comments sections.

3. I'll have a more comprehensive overview of new funnybook day tomorrow, but in the meantime...finally, the first Little Lulu volume is out!

One of our customers just informed us that he was the Grand Prize Winner in "The Goon's Create-A-Monster" contest...you can see the winning entry

Also, since he listed us as his retailer, that means we get all the same stuff he gets! Well, except for having our monster in The Goon, but we'll get all that other swag (signed paperback, shot glasses, etc.) Can't complain about that!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Okay, I have to at least take a brief glance at the new
DC Comics solicitations, lest my comics-weblogging license be taken away...plus, I like looking at the DC solicits:

  • Batman #638 - the Red Hood revealed! I'm betting it's Jason Todd. Okay, actually, I'm just hoping it's Jason Todd.

  • Batman: Year One Deluxe Edition HC - okay, as the owner of the original hardcover editon of this book (published back in '88 at the mindbogglingly low price of $12.95), I'm a little miffed that I'm missing out on some of the extra features this new edition is bringing. Still, though, $19.99 is a really good price for a hardcover...and it is a good story, so if you haven't read it, I recommend it.

  • Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #1 - Brian Azzarello and Lee Berjemo tell the thrilling tale of Lex's triumphant return to Lexor, the world where Luthor is the beloved hero, and Superman is the despised villain! Teaming up with Kryptonite Man and Terra-Man, Luthor unleashes his most despicable plan yet - and only the Kandorian Superman Emergency Squad can stop him! ...Okay, not really, but it's fun to pretend.

  • Blood of the Demon #1 - because I like Will Pfeifer, who is cowriting this comic, I'll be checking it out.

  • DC Countdown #1 - this is DC's newest series apparently designed to get everyone's panties in knots, since it doesn't look too good for the Blue Beetle on the cover, there (or, as pal Dorian has suggested, Max Mercury). Heck, it's $1.00 for 80 pages...can't hurt to look, anyway. And you might was well buy it, so that you're informed for all the related shenanigans in the other DC books for the rest of the year.

  • The description of Firestorm #11 contains some slight spoilers regarding the fate of original Firestorm (rather, half of the original), Ronnie Raymond.

  • JLA: Pain of the Gods TPB - if you didn't get a chance to not like it the first time, here's your opportunity to not like it now!

  • Plastic Man #15 - okay, are they just not bothering to ask Kyle Baker what's going to be in each issue? (Reminds me a bit of Mark Evanier's story about how, when he was on Blackhawk, the fan press would only list "no information available at press time" for each issue, regardless of whether or not Evanier had provided any info to DC. So, for the last issue of the series, he actually titled the story "No Information Available at Press Time" so at least the coming comics information would be accurate for once.*)

  • Otherworld #1 - okay, it's by Phil Jimenez, so it'll be entertaining, but this solicitation is, well, almost desperate-sounding:
    "An epic maxi-series that combines the dramatic setup and ensemble cast of Lost and Survivor with the fantasy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and mind-bending technology of The Matrix."

    "You liked all those things, right? So buy it, already! BUY IT!!!"

  • This description for the Humanoids book Fragile made me laugh:
    "While on the run from zombie hunters, Alan finds the beautiful but decomposing girl of his dreams. Can they "live" again via an experimental serum?"

    That has to be worth at least a glance.

From the DC Direct solicitations:

  • If you buy the Flash Vs. Gorilla Grodd statue, sooner or later, you're going to have to explain to someone why you bought the Flash Vs. Gorilla Grodd statue. It may be to your significant other, it may be to your parents or to your children, to visiting friends, to bosses or coworkers, perhaps even to God Himself when you reach the Pearly Gates -- but you're going to have to explain this eventually. Oh yes.**

  • All that goes for the Kingdom Come: Superman, Hawkman, and Red Robin statue as well.

  • The Penguin action figure is terrifying. Goodness.

* I don't think this story is in any of Mr. Evanier's three fine books, and I can't find it on either of his websites...so I hope I'm getting the details right, and not stepping on any toes by relating it.

** So says the man who owns two Swamp Thing statues.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Found via
FARK, an article about The Superhero Book in which the book's author claims the stupidest idea in comics is "super pets," like Krypto or Beppo the Super Monkey. If by "the stupidest," she means "the most absolutely fantastic," then I agree completely.

On Crocodile Caucus (just added to my weblog listing, by the way) is a discussion of the apparently much-missed Amethyst Princess of Gemworld, judging by reaction elsewhere on comicsweblogosphere. Early on in this weblog of mine, I suggested (under January 11, if it doesn't load correctly) that Amethyst would be a good candidate for a manga-sized trade. I still think it's a good idea...I'd bet it's a franchise just waiting to happen for DC, who could use some more female lead characters.

Amazing World of DC Comics Special Edition #1 

The temptation to just leave that image in a post of its own was overwhelming, I'll have you know. Since I'm a nice guy, I'll tell you that it came from this publication, which I just obtained recently:

This was a special digest-sized edition of DC Comics in-house fanzine, produced specifically for a Superman-focused convention in New York. Some of the contents include a short history of DC Comics, an "interview" with the Earth-One and Earth-Two Supermen (written by E. Nelson Bridwell), a gallery of different artists' interpretations of the Man of Steel, a reprint of "How Superman Would End The War" (produced by creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for Look magazine in 1940), a reprint of a comic drawn by Curt Swan and Stan Kay as a Kellogg's cereral premium - here's a sample panel:

...plus an article by Jack C. Harris on the origins of various heroes' costumes, including this great shot of Superman as the Devil:

...and pencil roughs by Neal Adams for an unpublished(?) Supes story:

You can read more about this issue, and other issues in the Amazing World of DC Comics series at this site. (The link to the page about this Special Edition appears to have a typo...you can reach it here.)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

1. Don't know how I missed it on Friday, but Scott Saavedra
posted his proposed revamp of Swamp Thing.

I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

2. Given the discussion on this here weblog of the recognizability, or lack thereof, of Superman by the general public, I was amused when I came across this Action Comics cover on a related theme.

1. Okay, so after the short discussion in the
comments section of my post on Friday, I may have to reconsider what I thought was the universal knowledge of the character of Superman. However, at the very least, most people should be able to look at a guy in a red cape and blue tights and recognize him as the corporate symbol of "Superman," even if they know absolutely nothing about the character. You know, much in the same way people see Mickey Mouse...they know he represents Disney, but any details of his personality or adventures or relationships with other characters are long since supplanted by his primary existence as a corporate trademark.

I hate to think of Superman heading in that same direction, but perhaps someday Superman will only be known as a generic representation of "a super guy" -- Luthor, Lois, the Daily Planet, all forgotten except by the 30,000 people who buy his comics each month.

Not a day goes by when I don't see Superman's "S" emblem as a (probably unlicensed) decal on the rear window or bumper of a car...I wonder if there's a percentage of people with these stickers who have no idea who Superman is.

1a. I wonder, when the first Tim Burton Batman movie came out, how many people were surprised to find out that Batman's origin involved the death of his parents? I don't believe it was ever explicitly stated on the 1960s TV show, which is how most people knew the character.

How many people thought the filmmakers got David Banner's name wrong ("What? 'Bruce?' Who's that?") in the recent Hulk movie?

When I saw the Lord of the Rings movie in the theatre, after the film was over, someone sitting behind me expressed astonishment that the story was going to continue into a second movie. So, really, I guess I shouldn't assume that certain bits of knowledge are known by everyone.

2. Last night's Justice League Unlimited was the long-awaited episode written by Warren Ellis, and it was worth the wait. Ellis delivered what the people wanted...a gaggle of super-heroes and a whole lot of mayhem, with a smattering of amusing dialogue that probably annoyed some overly-serious superhero fan somewhere. Not me, though...with Atom's complaint of being "tired and old," and Batman somewhat sarcastically noting that he was in need of help since he couldn't fly, there were some honestly-earned grins along with the action.

It was also nice to see an alien spaceship that looked...really alien, for once. Plus, we finally got to see the Shining Knight in action! Given that it seems like 75% of the members of the Justice League either a) fly and punch, or b) fly and shoot energy beams out of their hands, focusing on the member that's carrying a sword and riding a flying horse brings some welcome variety. The characters whose sole powers appear to be the ability to shoot guns (Nemesis and the Vigilante) show up as well.

Overall, a fun episode...one of the few to actually take full advantage of the large cast of characters.

3. H doesn't like the new Swamp Thing series. That's (sniff) that's okay...it's fine, really, you don't have to like it. (sniff)

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