mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, April 30, 2005

So Tim makes
a Swamp Thing post...it's only fair that I make an Alf post:

Alf #39 (March 1991) - art by Dave Manak

Well, okay, that's not really why I'm posting this cover (in fact, I had something else planned for today, but ended up leaving the item in question at the store...rats!), but we got this comic in a collection we bought a week or so ago and it really caught my eye. That's a great, attention-grabbing, and slightly disturbing cover. The corner box is too big, too big! It's against God and nature! Burn the witch! ...Er, sorry, got carried away there.

Meanwhile, inside the comic, things have also gone horribly, horribly wrong. Alf has invented a machine that can create duplicates of things. However, the duplicates are malformed...imperfect, as it were. While Alf is working on his machine, Brian (the youngest member of the family that "adopted" Alf) wanders in with his school report on Spanish Conquistadors. Anyway, hijinks ensue, and Alf is struck by the rays from his own machine, while holding Brian's report...and this is the result:



I am stuck between two immediate impulses: either applaud this as a work of genius, or seek out everyone responsible for this comic and slap them silly.

Friday, April 29, 2005

So you may remember
this post of mine from a few days ago, where I related a brief conversation in which pal Dorian and I were joking about a Watchmen musical.

Well, that inspired a few people in the comments section for that post to up with with song snippets from said theoretical Watchmen musical - particularly N with two songs, and Ed with his one.

And, as it turns out, this ground has been covered before, as Benari relates a few of his own Watchmen songs, written a couple years back. Funny stuff! The people demand their Watchmen musical!

As long we're discussing musicals...on this page you can find a track from the forthcoming "Robocop: The Musical" - from the makers of "Silence of the Lambs: The Musical". Warning: most of the site's content will offend your grandmother.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Yahoo's front page news box:

What's this? Jim Lee was suing Marvel? No, no, it's Stan Lee, reaching an agreement with Marvel over some owed coin-of-the-realm. The word "cartoonist" must have thrown me off.

Yeah, I'm probably nitpicking, but given the generally accepted definition of the word, it just seems like one more step in the direction of "Kirby who? Ditko who?" -- making sure the general public thinks Lee wrote and drew everything Marvel ever published.

I realize nobody in the real world actually cares about this.

Commenter John notes here that the Crisis on Infinite Earths novelization is having a poor showing via Bookscan tabulations. I'm sure that doesn't account for comic shops, which will be the primary source of sales for this book, because dear God, no non-comics fan will be able to read this...so it doesn't really surprise me that the type of bookstore that Bookscan likely surveys wouldn't carry many copies. Don't get me wrong...what I've read so far is fine, as long as you're a comic fan that's relatively familiar with the material being covered. But no member of the "non-initiated" is going to have the patience for all the Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-X shenanigans that you're hit with as soon as you open the cover.

"Not so comic books."

Dear alleged eBay customer: telling us "don't be a tightass" in your semi-coherent e-mailed rant simply because we're following postal regulations that are inconvenient for you only has one result - bannination. Move along, chump...I don't need your business.

Lots to say, no time to type...so I just have a question for you. Since I was discussing novelizations of comic book stories in
my previous post, it had me wondering: what is your favorite comic book-inspired prose novel? (Or short story...I know there were a few short fiction collections based around Superman and Batman.) I don't mean novels just generally based on comic book style stories, like the Wild Cards series. I mean novels based on characters that have actually appeared in comic books...like the Hellboy novels by Christopher Golden (which I've enjoyed), or that Captain America novel by Tony Isabella and Bob Ingersoll (a fun read, and I'm not a big Cap fan), or even, God help you, this book.

My favorite, as has been brought up by some of you already as your favorite in this discussion, is probably Elliot S! Maggin's Last Son of Krypton from 1978. As I'd mentioned, I really enjoy Maggin's portrayal of Luthor.

So...what's your favorite?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A few quick notes about today:

1. I don't need to read Superman/Batman #19 now, since a customer saw fit to pretty much read the entire issue to me today, as I was pulling books for the comic savers.

2. Identity Crisis, DC Countdown, dead Blue Beetle...it was all worth it just to get Detective Chimp back in a comic book again (in Day of Vengeance, in case you didn't know).

3. I'm going to have to put a "CONTAINS ALL NEW MATERIAL!" tag on the new issue of Zap, aren't I? Anyone interested isn't really going to believe that there's actually a brand new issue out.

4. Hmmm...according to
this page, the Crisis on Infinite Earths novel by Marv Wolfman is actually doing fairly well, considering it's an adaptation of a story involving 20-year-old comics continuity that can't possibly attract anyone but old fanboys like me. Yeah, I'm going to read it, so sue me. I have a strange fascination with this kind of book: novelizations of events in the comics. I kinda liked Roger Stern's Death and Life of Superman, Elliot S! Maggin's Kingdom Come was a lot of fun, and Denny O'Neil's Knightfall...well, that last one didn't do anything for me. I always read these wondering how people who don't read comics would react to them.*

5. We received a surprise in the mail today...a bundle of full-color postcards featuring the cover to the new Batman comic by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin...mailed to us by Mr. Austin himself, apparently. Pretty cool!

* Hopefully not as badly as in this review, excerpted on Maggin's very own review page: "A great sizzling turkey, unpalatably stuffed. Still, if it induces even a handful of readers to switch from comics to books with lots of words, it will have done its job." Man, what a jerk. (The reviewer, not Mr. Maggin!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

So I was reading the Doug Moench/Kelley Jones Batman run, when I got to the
Deadman storyline...and a couple things stood out:

1. Deadman suddenly has the power to make himself visible to the living...only for a moment, and only with a great deal of effort.

2. There's an in-continuity explanation given for Deadman's skeletal appearance (as Jones tends to draw him)...he's accepted his "deceased" status and his appearance has begun to reflect as such.

Of course, this is all ignored, if I recall correctly, in later Deadman series...though Alex Ross just made him an outright skeleton in Kingdom Come. (You can see a review of the toy based on Ross' design on this page.

Other Deadman links:

A look back at Deadman's early appearances.

Apparently Hawkeye beat out Deadman in some "Ultimate Battle" dead character competition. Er, yeah.

Here's a better battle: Deadman versus Dr. Thirteen!

Hitting the Wall: Deadman as a character without a direction.

This news column from 2000 contains a brief note about a potential Deadman movie for TNT ("...a murdered stuntman who can inhabit the body of his nerdy accountant brother"). This 2003 update at Comic Book Resources includes an interview with a scriptwriter for a Deadman film, and has a link to a (PDF) portion of the script.

A review of the action figure.

Here's a custom figure.

An index of appearances up to about 1985, including creative teams and synopses. (Apparently the Challengers of the Unknown appearances with Swamp Thing are non-canonical, and thus not included.)

An overview of a meeting between Deadman and the pre-Crisis Supergirl.

Monday, April 25, 2005

God bless Jim Warren. 

The blurbs on the covers of Warren magazines are almost like poetry:


#53 - "His mind is trapped in the body of a 2000-year-old mummy...and the body is forcing him to destroy men...women...and even monsters!"

#60 - "Exterminator One! He was created half-man half-machine! For one purpose: to kill!"

#66 - "The hero lord battles a mad magician's seven trials! Demons. Goblins. Banshees. Sea monsters. Dwarves. Gnomes. And death!"

#79 - "He was death on cleats!"

#81 - "She's big! She's beautiful! She's atop the Empire State Building! Why?"

#91 - "Dark evil lives! ...Brought from heaven in a death star from hell!"

#115 - "They were trapped by blood-lusting ravagers! Victims of drug-crazed killers! 'Night of the Jackass!'"

#117 - "Desire, damnation and deception as the barbaric Vivien battles Cagim and Merlin for all earth!"


#12 - "The slimy, crawly, slithering gropies do terrible things to pretty little girls!"

#17 - "She loathed them! Detested them! Hated their oily bodies with a murderous passion! The only thing she loved was to hear their metal hides crunching under her hammer!"

#23 - "They teleported through deepest space...at least pieces of them did...in the blood splattered classic 'Teleport 2010!'"


#60 - "Lucien was a weird little boy with a big imagination! With his magic rock he created mind-made monsters!"

#64 - "A spaceman? A monster? A god...or a ghoul? Who is the tormented decaying man?"

#79 - "There were three kinds of people...the living...the dead...and those who were somewhere in between!"

#84 - "Play ball! The grenade is pitched at Jackie-7! The robot must make a hit...before the outfielder catches it...pulls the pin...and puts the rusty 'relic' out...for good!"

#85 - "The great white hunter stalks the abominable yeti in a grisly game of 'Hide and Go Mad!'"

#95 - "Naked apes in color! See evil! Hear evil! Speak evil! Gorilla warfare issue!"

#141 - "A world in upheaval! Madness and mayhem in the ruins of 'The Checkout Counter!'"

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Today at the store:

Kid Chris: "They're doing
Batman: Long Halloween action figures? Do they have to do figures for every storyline?"

Me: "Where's my Death in the Family action figure set? I want a Joker with springloaded 'beating Robin with a crowbar' action!"

I'm a very bad person.

Speaking of Batman, I recently picked up the Kelley Jones' run on the series for dirt cheap. In general, I don't buy a whole lot of recent back issues...pretty much anything I wanted over the last couple of decades, I bought as it came out. Somehow, though, I managed to skip over this run, despite Jones being one of my favorite comic artists. That's probably due to my general reluctance to getting pulled into four or five monthly books' worth of additional continuity for me to keep straight, which is why I mostly stuck to the comics based on the animated series for my Bat-fix. (However, I did get the issue with Swamp Thing, of course.)

I'm only a couple issues in, and so far it's exactly what I figured it would be...a lot of attempts at either wrapping up or otherwise addressing events in the Batman family of books (the return of Bruce Wayne to the Batman role, the whole Azrael (yawn) thing). But it all looks so pretty, which is all I ask. I know these continuity issues don't hang over the entire run, and there are some nice looking Deadman issues in there somewhere, as well as a Joker/Demon storyline which I've flipped through a time or three before.

I'm looking forward to it...it's been a long time since I've read some plain ol' Batman comics that weren't Elseworlds or media spinoffs or so on.

Yesterday, at the store:

Pal Dorian: "Did you read Stephen Fry's comments about his character in the V for Vendetta movie? The Wachowski brothers didn't even look at the book, did they?"

Me: "Yeah, I saw Warren Ellis' comment about this on his site...and about how he wouldn't be surprised if the Watchmen movie turned out to be a musical."

D: "Actually, I'd like to see a musical verison of Watchmen."

Me (singing): "I feel so bluuuuuue...."

Chris Karath brings us a gaggle of live action Supermen in reaction to Brandon Routh's recent reveal.

Okay, I'm not up on my later Justice League America comics from the early '90s, but something I saw in the recent DC Encyclopedia has me wondering. Is Maxwell Lord still inhabiting the body of the supervillain Lord Havoc, and is this the version of Mr. Lord that shot and killed the Blue Beetle? The fact that there was no "Maxwell Lord" listing in the encyclopedia, and that any information regarding that character was put in the "Lord Havoc" entry, has me wondering if that's going to play into future Infinite Crisis tie-ins.

The things I think about at work, I swear.

Who knew Mr. Weatherbee was a Tubes fan?

Laugh Digest #63 (March 1986) - art by Dan DeCarlo

Some jokes I make just for myself.

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