mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Friday, May 13, 2005


Okay, Big Larry totally called me on my comments yesterday regarding Surviving Grady, where I claimed I would have no interest in the book given its apparent baseball subject matter. Larry says "no way, Jose," tellng me baseball is just a framework for the contents, and posts a brief excerpt here as proof. All right, Larry, you win...I'll take a second look.

My comments about the high quality of the actual materials using in the making of the book still stand. This is one sturdy volume.

Okay, there seems to be an awful lot of support for the planet of Thanagar lately, which I don't understand. Every time a Thanagarian that isn't Hawkman pops up, he (or she) is part of an invading force, or he's trying to kill one of our Earth superheroes, or otherwise trying to commit some form of evil. Don't forget, the Thanagarians were part of the coalition of alien races who invaded our planet a while back, thus making them partially responsible for what happened to Australia (i.e. "Beachhead Earth"). I don't trust those sneaky Thanagarians.

Anyway, I'm backing the planet Rann. They never tried to invade Earth, as far as I know (or if they did try, I'm sure Adam Strange talked some sense into them before things got too far). Plus, Swamp Thing once visited Rann and helped revive their dying plantlife, so Rann's got a little bit of Swampy in it. Oh, and who tried to kill Swamp Thing while he was there? Thanagarians, that's who. Gee, what a surprise. Those big jerks.

Another reminder: as I first announced here, I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is Friday, May 20th...please see this post for rules and restrictions.

And in case you're worried...I'm only keeping the names and addresses for the duration of the contest. They'll be discarded once a winner is chosen...you won't be put on a mailing list, and no salesman will call.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Because pal Ian demanded it. 

from Brave and the Bold #140 (April 1978) - by Bob Haney & Jim Aparo

Trust me...any explanation would only disappoint.

You'll have to excuse me; I'm feeling a little punchy. 

Okay, new comics day....

Well, the day started off with a representative from one of our local libraries buying an absolute boatload of graphic novels, which is nice. She also informed me that they're going to have some kind of superhero-themed reading program this year, and she asked if I'd put together a display for them. Hey, no problem...back in my public library employment days (in fact, this lady's boss used to be my boss, 15-something years ago) I used to help run the summer reading programs at our location, including the building of displays and whatnot, so I'm no stranger to this. Should be fun! Well, at least until somebody gets hurt.

Oh, and one would think that a parent's reaction to her horde of children yelling and running around the store would be to put a stop to such shenanigans, wouldn't one? Well, not the parent we had in yesterday, apparently. Sigh.

As for the actual comics:

Okay, fine...Green Lantern: Rebirth is finally over, Hal Jordan is back as GL, all the other subsidiary characters are back to where they were all those years ago...so quit your griping.

Speaking of people complaining, I haven't read the newest Infinite Crisis spin-off Rann/Thanagar War yet...too busy, too busy (hey, that Land of the Lost Season 3 DVD box set isn't going to watch itself!)...but it's Dave Gibbons writing, and it's freakin' Rann versus Thanagar. The sad old DC fanboys like me live for this nonsense. And check in on the Absorbascon...starting with this post (and onward), he details his belief in the superiority of Thanagar over Rann. I lean more towards Rann, and for good reason. Two words: Tornando Tyrant.

Desolation Jones...I already told you that the story was another fine example of Warren Ellis' darkly humorous storytelling. Well, now that I have the finished product in my mitts, I can also tell you that the artwork of J.H. Williams III is very nicely done, expressing the bleakness, the violence, and the humor of the script quite well.

Surviving Grady from AiT/Planetlar is a prose paperback, not a graphic novel, and it's on a topic that I unfortunately have absolutely no interest in (baseball), but I did want to point out that it's a very nicely put together paperback...nice paper quality, and a good sturdy cover. I wish more paperbacks were assembled thusly. Look to the mighty H at The Comic Treadmill for a discussion of the actual contents, at some point, I'm presuming.

Majestic #5 - when that Majestic mini-series was published under the DC imprint, it sold fairly well. This new series, under the Wildstorm imprint, isn't doing nearly as well. I hope it's just because of the art and/or story, and not because of the company logo on the cover. That would just be depressing.

The AG Super Erotic Anthology 2005 Summer Teaser - that much porn for only a dollar? You can't beat that!

City of Heroes #1 - this is the new Top Cow version of the title based on the computer game, which I'm only mentioning because I liked the George Perez cover.

Star Wars Tales #23 - people were buying this, at our store at least, for the funny stuff. They don't like the serious stories. Every other Star Wars comic takes itself too seriously...one funny SW comic wouldn't bring down the Lucasfilm Empire (heh), surely.

Almost sold an issue of Arana...whew! That was a close one.

Also at the store yesterday: Pal Dorian wore his Dalek shirt, and everybody liked it. The end.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Commenter Cole brings up a DC logo mystery...why does his copy of Superboy #212 from 1975 have the modern DC logo, even though it wasn't in regular use until several months later?

Upon seeing his comment, I checked our copy of this comic at the store, and told Cole that it had the "Line of DC Super-stars" DC emblem, as seen on this copy from the Grand Comic Book Database:

Cole then directed me to the Mile High Comics site, which had a copy of the same comic but with the newer logo, as Cole described:

My immediate impression is that the second version may be a reprint produced a few months later, probably for foreign markets. You can see that the month and pricing information is missing, and that some other pricing information has been stamped onto the cover by hand.

Anyway, that's my guess...unless Cole bought his copy off the stands here in the U.S. of A., in which case I'm stumped. It could be that it was a test-marketed cover? Or a reprint for use in those variety-store 3-packs? (But most of those had Whitman logos, I think.) Or maybe it was a foreign edition that made it onto domestic shelves? I'm not sure...maybe someone out there can set us straight.

So in response to
my brief mention of DC's new logo yesterday, commenter Jim expressed his personal fondness for this rather Spartan variation of the DC logo:

It's plain, but it's bold, and it certainly stands out.

Commenter Cole's favorite is the "DC Line of Super-Stars" logo, which I also like...

...though DC didn't do it any favors when, for a time, it was squeezed into the center of a really busy banner at the top of the cover:

Most of Marvel Comics' company logos never really did anything for me, though I will admit a certain nostalgic feeling for the "Marvel Comics Group" banner:

But, honestly, Marvel has yet to top this:

I wish they'd start using that again.

Monday, May 09, 2005

In case you missed it, I had a couple posts about the
Free Comic Book Day event at our store here and here.

The Complete Peanuts volume 3 brings us up through 1956, and the characters are slowly changing into their more familiar forms. Linus is still more toddler than philosopher, Snoopy is still more dog than...well, the anthropomorph he would later become, but Charlie Brown is firmly established as the loser/center of the strip.

What was interesting was seeing some of the strips that haven't been seen since they originally ran in the newspapers. I don't think I've ever seen the one that references Elvis Presley by name before, and while I remember seeing a number of the Davy Crockett coonskin cap strips, the eventual payoff strip to that particular sequence ("Whatever happened to Davy Crockett?") was new to me.

Another notable aspect of this project was the varying quality of reproduction of some of the strips. This isn't a criticism...it's just a physical reminder of the difficulties of attempting to assemble a collection like this. Given said difficulties, it's amazing that as many of the strips are as clear as they are.

Something pal Dorian and I have been discussing is the eventual health of this series. Everybody wants the early, hard-to-find Peanuts strips, but we wonder what's going to happen once the series reaches some of the rough patches...like the highly-reprinted, not-so-good 1980s strips. Obsessive collectors like me will pick 'em up anyway...even lesser Schulz is better than some cartoonists on their best days...but I'm afraid sales will dip at that point. Not just because of the strips, but from "weariness" from buying $30 hardcovers twice a year for over a decade.

Well, I made it through the Carl Barks Library series from Gladstone, I can make it though The Complete Peanuts!

Another strip I'd like to see released in complete collections is B.C. by Johnny Hart. Oh, don't look at me like that. I'd like to at least have the first decade's worth, back when it was, you know, funny.

Then again, the last few years' worth would be interesting to see, just for the "car wreck" aspect of it all.

A number of years ago, some friends of mine formed a band called "Phooey," which was quite popular in our area. They were sort of a geek-rock, proto-Weezer type group, which actually doesn't do them enough credit. I only bring it up because I keep coming across panels in comic books and comic strips that use the word "phooey" that I can't help but think "wow, that would have been good to use on a band flyer." Even now, ten years after the band broke up, I still think that every time I see a particularly appropriate usage. That Peanuts panel on the right, from the latest Complete Peanuts volume, seemed like a good one.

By the way, the index in The Complete Peanuts does list all occurrences of the word "phooey" (and its variant, "fooey"). Now that's an index!

My favorite "Phooey" panel for its flyer-usage potential was from an issue of Casper the Friendly Ghost (or perhaps even The Friendly Ghost Casper), where a character was exclaiming "Phooey! It's no fun to play with girls!" That would have been nice on a flyer for when Phooey was sharing the stage with an all-girl band that one time....

Spotted via the one essential online comics news source, The Comics Reporter...a new DC logo? The heck? What was wrong with the old one? Okay, I guess we've had the DC Bullet for a while, and maybe we were due for a change...but all I can think when I look at this new logo is "boy, that's going to have to be replaced in a few years."

Not that the logo is all that bad, really. It seems to work okay on the Return of Donna Troy mock-up (in another link stolen from The Comics Reporter). But I'm not really sure I want to see it on every DC book.

The lateness of this post brought to you by Blogger. Thanks, Blogger!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Things Kid Chris said to me at work today:

"Say, I like Blue Beetle...what's he up to nowadays?"

"So, is
Gladstone Gander like the Longshot of the Disney Universe?"

Given some of the comments left on my post from earlier today, I thought I'd describe how we handled the Free Comic Book Day event at our store.

As pal Dorian had noted, we divided up the FCBD comics into three packages...All Ages, Teen, and Adult, to be given away to the appropriate age group. And we didn't limit the customer to just one of the packages...if they were old enough, people could take one of each package, thus allowing them to get every FCBD comic that was released this year.

We rearranged the front of the store, placing two large tables right inside the front door where we had the packages laid out, as well as copies of FCBD books left over from previous years, and extras from this year's assortment. Oh, and not to mention the free Batman Heroclix and the little FCBD Mini-mate. We planted a couple people behind the table to greet the customers (including the cheeriest of our crew, the aforementiond Kid Chris) and pass out the goodies.

Within about three hours we blew through all of our previously prepared packages of comics and had to rush to make more. We had a steady flow of customers throughout the day, with only the very occasional lull. Plus, nearly everyone who came in didn't just grab the freebies and run. Most people bought something as well (sometimes just a comic, sometimes a stack of trade paperbacks).

So, all in all, it was a successful day. We gave away a lot of comics, made a lot of people happy (including our regular customers, a bunch of new customers, including lots of kids), and we managed to make a little money that day as well. Well done, well done...drinks are on me!

Plus, as per usual we had a few people come into the store today going "oh, wait, Free Comic Book Day was yesterday?" Don't worry - we gave 'em free comics anyway.

I know someone else out on the Comicsweblogosphere must have linked this sometime recently, but it took my old pal Evilbeard to finally get me to look at Something Awful's photoshopping shenanigans regarding the Brandon Routh Superman. It's all worth it for the Composite Superman at the bottom of this page.

As announced in this post of mine, I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is Friday, May 20th...please see this post for rules and restrictions.

So, yeah,
Free Comic Book Day was yesterday, and our shop's event went swimmingly, I felt. It seemed a little busier than previous years, with a mix of familiar faces and plenty of potential new customers, and we gave them all boatloads of comics.

We had some left over (we always do), but that's planned...we order extras for use during the year, to hand out to any kids that come in, to supply some of the local libraries that we do business with, and even to pass out to the kids at the Sunday church groups my girlfriend runs. Yes, a church group...I've done it every year FCBD has been running, and it's always gone over really well. (No, I'm not giving them Fantagraphics' Funny Book!)

Another benefit of FCBD is, of course, exposing the regular customers to new and different titles they might not have been inclined to try otherwise. In previous years, books like Courtney Crumrin, Queen and Country and Adventures of Barry Ween greatly benefited from FCBD exposure, as our regulars snapped up the trade paperbacks, added titles to their comic saver lists (when applicable), what have you. I'm not sure which title will be the breakout one this year (I'd like to think Owly, or maybe Flight), but it'll be interesting to see.

An interesting side effect of FCBD...we tend to sell a lot of trade paperbacks on that day, especially to our regular customers who pop in for the freebies. That certainly helps to subsidize the promotional cost of the event!

Now all I gotta do is get a hold of our window-painter guy to take the "Free Comic Book Day - May 7th" picture off our window and replace it with something else. Maybe it's time for the "25th Anniversary" image to go up, at last.

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