mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Friday, March 04, 2005

Johanna has reported that her copy of the new Little Lulu volume from Dark Horse, Lulu Takes A Trip, has a few pages out of order. And, I'm sorry to report, my copy does as well. It seems unlikely that Dark Horse will recall all copies and issue corrected volumes...you all may have to wait for the second printing.

2. Scott Saavedra brings us Captain Marvel versus Captain Marvel. "Split!"

3. Dave at Yet Another Comics Blog has a Spider-Girl digest giveaway. You only have 'til March 11th to enter, so get cracking!

4. Beaucoupkevin, I command you...to continue making me laugh!

4a. Speaking of Galactus, here's an overview of that epic meeting of Galactus and Dazzler. And here is some computer-generated fan art.

5. Spider-Man Dog Costume. "Images deemed reliable."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

In which Mike doesn't learn from history. 

Why didn't you stop me? Why? Because you demanded it, and I wasn't smart enough to say "no," I once again take a look at every regular plain ol' funnybook that darkened our doorstep this Wednesday. Like before, these are just the comics...no graphic novels, magazines, or manga. No [cite] tags, either. Also as before, due to the vagaries of distribution, some books on this list may not be available in your area, and some books available at your local shop may not have made it to our distribution center yet.

A1 SPECIAL BRICKTOP CON ED - This comic (the non-variant version, anyway) has sold fairly well, particularly since there's no logo on the front cover. Glenn Fabry sells comics!

AFTERMATH DEFEX #5 - So there's Marv Wolfman! Nice cartoony art by the Cossin Brothers.

ANGRY YOUTH COMIX #8 - It seems to me that I probably would have liked this comic a lot more when I was in my early 20s, when I was more into this kind of angry/tasteless/over-the-top kind of cartooning. Just not into it anymore, I guess, now that I'm a creaky-boned senior citizen.


ARANA HEART OF THE SPIDER #2 - Points to Marvel for trying, I suppose, but it doesn't appear to be attracting the hoped-for new audience. Sells okay to the same people who have always bought Marvel Comics, though.

ARCHIE #555 - There's a security camera joke on the cover of this issue...it's not really untimely, but just by virtue of being on the cover of an Archie comic, that makes it seem outdated.

ARTBABE PRESENTS LA PERDIDA #5 - I expect this to sell well as a trade, when it eventually comes out in one.

CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON #13 - I've been enjoying looking back at Cap and the Falcon funnybooks of the '70s, but this series doesn't seem to be as much goofy fun. That said, it's not too bad as your standard issue superhero comics go.

CASEFILES SAM & TWITCH #14 - Now, in this Shadow series, there was a character named "Twitch," if I recall correctly, who looked kinda/sorta like the Twitch from the Spawn series. Just sayin', is all.

CITY OF HEROES #10 - actually seems to sell okay, even to people who don't play the accompanying computer game. It actually doesn't look that bad, given the video game origins.

CVO COVERT VAMPIRIC OPERATIONS ROGUE STATE #4 - "Vampire CIA agents" is pretty much the definition of "high concept," don't you think?

DARKNESS #19 - Actually still sells okay for us...the back issues no longer move as quickly as they used to, either for this series or the previous one.

DEADSHOT #4 - Had I known ahead of time that this comic was going to be filled with violence and perversion, I probably would have been reading it from the beginning. Oh, if only there were some kind of website out there somewhere that could have let me know.

DETECTIVE COMICS #804 - I do like the fact that DC is attempting to treat this as the anthology title that this used to be, by plugging in a non-Batman back-up. Too bad the price point had to go up.

DOCTOR SPECTRUM #5 - I have people on my comic saver lists who want Supreme Power, but don't want this spin-off. Huh.

EXILES #60 - Ties into the Age of Apocalypse mini-series! Pal Dorian sez "read this first!"

FALLEN ANGEL #19 - Sigh...apparently this series isn't long for this world, though it's nice to see Peter David and George Perez's characters Sachs & Violens pop up again. David hints that all is not lost, however.

FIRESTORM #11 - The longtime Firestorm fans will finally be happy with this series, I think. Of course, I think it's been pretty darn good this whole time.

GI JOE RELOADED #13 - I am just old enough to have missed the whole "new" G.I. Joe cartoons and comics from the early '80s, so this G.I. Joe nostalgia thing (along with the Transformers one) is passing me by entirely. Besides, these are G.I. Joes, my friend.

GOLD DIGGER #61 - I can't believe this comic is still going after all these years, and it still sells. More power to it.

HELL HOUSE VOL 2 - Okay, it's actually invoiced as a trade paperback, but it looks like a comic book to me. It straddles that fine line, particularly with a $7.49 price point. Dorian says it does look good, but he's waiting for the trade...but what if this is the trade?

HOT MOMS #5 - If there's one thing I appreciate about Fantagraphics' Eros line, it's the very straightforward way each Eros book caters to a particular fetish. "Say, good sir, have you any comics with hot moms in them?" "Why, as a matter o'fact, I do indeed have this copy of Hot Moms, fresh off the printing press!" "Huzzah!"

HUMANKIND #5 - I don't really have anything to say about this comic, so here's a link to the FAQ of a writer who isn't the comic book artist Tony Daniel.

INTIMATES #5 - The "Hivejournal.com" noted on the cover takes you to Newsarama. Really, try it out. (I hope this isn't old news.)

JACK HUNTER GI SPY PREVIEW - I like the $1.99 price point on this, and unlike most preview comics, it actually gives you a readable story. It's more like a #0 than a preview, I guess. Looks pretty good...here's the official site.

JOHN CONSTANTINE HELLBLAZER SPECIAL PAPA MIDNITE #2 - Unfortunately, I think the window of opportunity for selling extra Hellblazer/Constantine stuff to people who weren't already reading the comics has passed. Luckily, it's a good comic, so we longtime fans can appreciate it.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ELITE #9 - Now, I liked Joe Kelly's run on JLA a lot more when I sat down and read the whole thing in a relatively short period of time. Subtle plot points that could easily be forgotten from month to month of reading, well, too many comics, were suddenly seen to build over consecutive issues. Not a perfect run, but a lot better than I remembered it as being (though, as Dorian has said to me when I told him this, it may just look better in comparison to what came after). Anyway, my point being that I'll probably get the trade paperback of this, as I'm sure it'll read better in that format.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #7 - I know how much like a reactionary comics fan this is going to make me sound like, but isn't it a weird that DC had to go out of its way to make a Justice League comic that'll appeal to kids?

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #100 - A hundred issues? Really? Despite the rather...utilitarian art style, it's generally well-written and very funny.

LEGEND #1 - While this is Howard Chaykin and Russ Heath doing their take on Philip Wylie's Gladiator, and it's really good...it's still $5.95 for a staplebound comic.

LEX LUTHOR MAN OF STEEL #1 - Very dark, very unlike your standard Superman comic...very good as well. Luthor comes across as slightly sympathetic and menacing.

LOONEY TUNES #124 - There are just some comics that should always be around...there should always be a Superman comic, there should always be Disney comics, and there should always be Looney Tunes comics. (I wonder if we'll get a Loonatics comic.) And, hey, bondage cover!

LUNAR LIZARD #1 - A fun kids-friendly comic, with a super-intelligent lizard scientist and his monkey pal. This issue is dedicated to Burt Reynolds. What, you need more reasons to pick it up? Check out the official site.

MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #1 - Now that you've got people used to the "Marvel Age" brand, what's the use in changing it to "Marvel Adventures" now? (Though, like Dorian said, it's to ride the success of DC's "Adventures" comics.)

MARVEL TEAM-UP #6 - I'm always shocked when Marvel actually, willingly, removes Spider-Man, even temporarily, from a comic that traditionally is a Spider-Man title.

METAL GEAR SOLID #6 - This started off slow for us, but now it's selling fairly steadily, both as a new issue and as a back issue.

NODWICK #27 - I've been trying to think of something to say about this comic. Gamers like it, which is nice. Here, check out the online strip.

THE NORM MAGAZINE #7 - for some reason, this is the comic I most associate with pal Tom. He kinda looks like The Norm, a bit.

OCTAVIA #3 - Very softly rendered buxom women running around doing fantasy adventure things...I get a strong '70s vibe from it, and I don't mean that in a bad way.

PANZER 1946 #4 - I realize this is an "alternate history" comic, but still, the whole "look at the cool Nazi planes" angle is just a tad unsettling.

PER SKIN PAR SOUL - The front cover disturbs me. Like, a lot. And I'm not even sure what I'm looking at.

RAZORS EDGE WARBLADE #5 - This is a surprisingly downbeat and depressing series. It's a long way from those bright-eyed happy-go-lucky Jim Lee WildC.A.T.s days.

RISING STARS #24 - after all these years...finally over! Now everyone can stop asking me about it! ("Hey, when's #25 coming out?" "AAAAGH!")

SEVENTH SHRINE #1 - When I showed this to Dorian, that it was not a comic, but text with illustrations, his exact words were "oh, for f***'s sake." And I agree...these things are always hard sells.

SHANNA THE SHE DEVIL #2 - Why did Marvel even bother with being coy with this comic? The kind of person inclined to complain about this sort of thing will complain anyway, whether or not the art has been altered to cover up all the nudity. It's almost like a game, flipping through the book and trying to point out where all the art changes were made.

SOULSEARCHERS & CO. #70 - Hey, Peter David fans! You know he's writing this comic, right? And this is a special "Jump on!" issue, too, so what are you waiting for?

STARGATE SG1 DANIELS SONG #1 - Oh, dear. Avatar likes their multiple covers, don't they?

STARGATE SG1 DANIELS SONG PHOTO CVR #1 - See? Here's a photo cover cobbled together from whatever publicity stills the Stargate people sent Avatar's way.

STARGATE SG1 DANIELS SONG PLAT FOIL INCENTIVE #1 - Just like the regular cover, but with silver foil on the logo and a higher price point. Oh, and a polybag.

STARGATE SG1 DANIELS SONG WRAPAROUND CVR #1 - In case you're wondering, these do sell for us, so I'm not complaining, really.

SUPERMAN STRENGTH #3 - The wrap-up to this fun mini-series...some of you were turned off by the art, I know, but I swear to you, the art is perfect for Scott McCloud's story. And, as I've mentioned before, some of these layouts are pure McCloud.

SWAMP THING #13 - I barely count this as a comic for this week, as I always bogart the preview copy from the week before. Hey, let me have my one perk.

30 DAYS OF NIGHT BLOODSUCKERS TALES #5 - I don't mean this as a slam at the quality of this comic, which, while not aimed at me really, seems to be fine. But is it just me, or did demand for 30 Days drop once the "hot collectible" aspect of this comic dried up?

TOE TAGS FEATURING GEORGE ROMERO #6 - A zombie comic by George Romero should sell like gangbusters...it sells okay for us, but really, you'd think something like this would be huge.

TOP COW 2005 PREVIEW BOOK - At least it's only 99 cents. Okay, that's unfair. I suppose it's neat if you're a Top Cow fan.

TWILIGHT EXPERIMENT #2 - This was a comic that people seems to be interested in before it came out, but now isn't selling for us. I hate when that happens.

ULTIMATE IRON MAN #1 - What a surprise to find this comic opening with the marriage of Tony Stark and Happy Hogan! Oh, okay, not really.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #73 - I was going to make a snarky comment about "hey, finally, a cover on an Ultimate comic that sort of reflects the actual contents," but a look at the series seems to show about a 50/50 split on content reflecting vs. Spidey just sorta hanging around.

VERONICA #159 - I don't care what they put in this comic, there's no way it can compete with the Archie comics of yesteryear. And how is Veronica talking on a cell phone in space? (Unless she's touching the phone to her space helmet, and the sound vibrations of her voice are...oh forget it.)

VICTORIAN #25 (Of 25) - Was this intended as a 25-issue mini-series? I didn't read it, so I don't know. But I'm glad they were able to finish the story...so many indies start off with high hopes and big plans, and vanish immediately.

WALKING DEAD #16 - How close are we to a Deadworld revival?

X-MEN AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1 - Given that, all these years later, we're still selling back issues on the original Age of Apocalypse comics, I imagined that this would sell really well...and it certainly has.

X-MEN AGE OF APOCALYPSE ONE SHOT - I really wish this didn't come out at the same time as the #1. Read this before the mini-series, but after Exiles #60.

X-MEN FANTASTIC FOUR #4 - This series actually sold pretty well for us, which surprised the heck out of me.

ZEN BOUNTY HUNTER #1 - Somewhere out there is the World's Biggest Zen Intergalactic Ninja Fan, who owns every issue and every variant cover of every incarnation of this series. Perhaps it's the same person who used to pop up on the America Online comics board all those years ago and shamelessly shill for each new issue of Zen as it came out.


Ack. No guarantees that I'll do this again next week...we'll see if I have the time and/or patience for it!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Larry Niven dressed up as a Jedi Knight. Precious little to do with comic books, I know, but there you go.

As long as I'm on the off-topic:

A Cylon Centurion page. Warning: features hot Cylon-on-Stormtrooper action. "Oh, Cylon Warrior, no one must ever know of our forbidden love!"

An ancient page about Star Trek Deep Space 9's Morn. Your moment of Mike Sterling trivia: I own a full color photograph of Morn, autographed by Mark Allen Shepherd ("To Mike - see you at Quark's").

The official page of Spider Robinson. (Where's my Callahan's Crosstime Saloon comic?)

Your A to Z of sci-fi robots, including some from comics, so here I am, back on topic. Nice, eh?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Commenter Howie reminded me that "The Kisser Strikes" story I was talking about on Monday was brought up in a Comics Journal interview with Dan DeCarlo. How I forgot a magazine with this cover, I'll never know.

Anyway, I pulled the mag (#229) out of the vast Mikester Comic Archives and did a quick reread of the interview, and it's the interviewer who brings up the story (in the context of semi-naughty stories leading up to DeCarlo's creation of the slightly more...aggressive Cheryl Blossom). When the interviewer explains the plot of the story to DeCarlo (to recap: Betty, in disguise, kisses girls), DeCarlo's priceless reaction is as follows: "I didn't draw that, did I?" No, he didn't (it was Harry Lucey), and unfortunately, we get no more background on just what the heck was going on with that particular comic.

Despite this regrettable omission, it's still a great interview, and still available for a measly six bucks (plus shipping) from Fantagraphics.

Okay, now there was a
McDonalds comic book that tied into the American Bicentennial, right? I'm not just imagining things? I could have sworn I had one as a kid.

Alas, my Google-fu, normally tireless and mighty, has failed me in my quest to track down said funnybook. However, I did find a scan of this one.

Just some things for you. 

1. This Is Pop takes on the movie version of the Thing in this photo essay.

2. "Michael Chiklis is: Ben Grimm, Agent of SHIELD"

3. A whole page of cute little Thing GIFs.

4. MC Thing (plus more fun and peculiar Marvel fan art).

Monday, February 28, 2005


Zippy the Pinhead weighs in on manga.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Weird goings-on in Riverdale. 

So I was looking at some '60s Archies the other day, and noticed a handful of sophisticated ladies just wandering the streets of Riverdale:

The odd thing is that 1) these are just background characters -- with the exception of Archie checking one out in the second panel up there, they don't interact with the story, and 2) they're not drawn in the traditional Archie house style.

A quick search of my Archie Comics collection didn't turn up any other examples of this, which is unfortunate, as I was planning on just posting a gallery of them today. However, I did spot some other strange shenanigans.

For example, in Archie #143 (February 1964), the story "The Kisser Strikes" relates the pulse-pounding tale of a mysterious menace sneaking up on girls and giving them a hearty smooch. Veronica is the first victim:

The next day, all the Riverdale High gals are excitedly buzzing over the possibility of being assaulted: "Something should be done about him!" one says, only to have another reply "nothing drastic like stopping him, I hope!"

At night, Reggie and Archie investigate, following their suspect Jughead, who appears to be following a young lady through the park. The woman is attacked by the Kisser, unfortunately while out of sight of Arch 'n' Reg. They split up, looking for Jughead...and when Archie is temporarily felled when he runs into a low-hanging branch, the mysterious Kisser takes advantage and plants a kiss right on him! Immediately afterward, Reggie enters the scene with a firm grip on Jug, and thus no longer a suspect!

The next day, Reggie begins to claim that Archie made up the story of being kissed the night before, and thus must be the Kisser! To prove it, the Riverdale High girls decided to "provide him with lots of targets," and basically throw themselves into his arms. Archie, for some reason, wants nothing to do with it, and runs for cover! Spotting Betty, he asks for her help, and she drags him to some secluded wooded glen. Exhausted from being run ragged by those "nutty gals," Archie falls asleep...at which point, Betty bends over him and plants a mysterious Kisser-style kiss! Archie immediately "wakes," revealing that this was all an elaborate trap to ensnare Betty, the real suspect:

That seems like a fairly weak motivation, given that Betty probably could kiss Archie (the only male victim) whenever she pleased...so we're left with a story where Betty dressed up in an overcoat and a hat so she could run around kissing girls.

"Plane Crazy" (from Life with Archie #37, May 1965) starts off with Betty and Veronica hanging out in the Lodge mansion, practicing the Twist, when yet another mysterious stranger busts into the house and, um, well, ties the girls up:

This opening chapter just feels like someone working out some issues, as a bound Veronica rolls around the room, opening a drawer with her gagged mouth to retrieve scissors to cut their ropes.

However, given the Google searches I've seen in my referral logs, this is what some of you are looking for, so never let it be said I didn't deliver:

Add in the supporting evidence from pal Dorian's two posts, you're kinda left wondering...wasn't one of Archie's founders responsible for the Comics Code Authority?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

from Batman #240 (March 1972) by Denny O'Neil, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano

At the store today:

Kid Chris: "Did the police in Gotham City ever solve any crimes?"

Me: "I think that's what Gotham Central is about."

KC: "I mean, before Batman showed up...it seems like he does all the work for them now. They should just make him Commissioner."

Me: "'Commissioner Batman?'"

So this
All-Star Superman cover...I know it's been discussed to death by now, but I just wanted to chime in with "it...it's gorgeous!" Frank Quitely handles a pen quite nicely, he said with no innuendo whatsoever.

But speaking of innuendo, apparently there are a few folks out there who think that there's some kind of "homoerotic" underpinning to the illustration, and as such undermines the character, or attacks family values, or some darn thing. An image of Superman just sittin' on a cloud, relaxing, glancing over his shoulder has been interpreted as a "come hither" look...give me a break. Besides, if you want "homoerotic," drink this in, baby. (Thanks to pal Corey for reminding me!)

EDIT: Another thing I was just reminded of...apparently the other problem with this cover is that it doesn't "represent" Superman, that's it's not "iconic" enough. And, of course, what everyone means by that is "he's not hitting anyone." Well, we've had nearly 70 years worth of "Superman punching someone" covers, and now there's one "Superman being relaxed" cover. I think the Union will stand.

For my favorite interpretation of the cover, I point you in the direction of my esteemed colleague, pal Dorian.

Apologies to the right and good Tony Isabella, who reminded me that, um, perhaps this post would have made a little more sense had I actually remembered to include the link to his article as I intended.

If you haven't been visiting his site, regularly updated every couple of days or so, you're missing some great reviews and commentaries from this industry veteran. So go check it out already...help assuage my guilt!

(Another EDIT) Due to being a victim of my own excess, I am rapidly approaching the limits of the monthly bandwidth allotted to me by my webhosting service. I think I've got it taken care of and my site shouldn't go *poof* tomorrow when the limit is reached...but just in case, don't panic if you get an error message. Believe me, I'll be panicking enough for the both of us.

See you tomorrow...I hope!

No time to post... 

...so instead, I present another moment with Cap and the Falcon:

from Captain America #161 (May 1973) by Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema, & John Verpoorten

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