mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, June 04, 2005

"...Show him what kind of comics you're reading now!" 

back cover detail from Mother's Oats Comix #1 (1969) - art by Fred Schrier

This is one of my all-time favorite images from the underground comix era, which was accompanied by this text:

"If this is what happened to your old man's head when he finally read one of the comics he caught you with as a kid, buy this and, since you're big enough to throw him down the stairs, take it home and show him what kind of comics you're reading now!"

Man, I laugh every time I see that picture. That tongue just kills me.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Before I say anything else...get yourself a copy of
Super F*ckers by James Kochalka. It may be seven bucks, but I assure you, it's a bargain. It's superheroes at their most petty and foul-mouthed, and it's absolutely brilliant. Darn good-lookin', too...nicely done color in this book. And yes, we sold out of it, but I'm getting more, I promise!

The first issue of the new direction of Firestorm came out this week, complete with a huge "#1" on the cover which, everytime I see something like that, I think "okay, is anyone going to be fooled into thinking this is an actual first issue?" Apparently it works, since that cover element still pops up every once in a while. Anyway, new writer Stuart Moore takes us away from the ghost of previous Firestorm incarnations, and gives our current Firestorm, Jason, a new home, a new job, and a new villain. Good old-fashioned superhero fun that doesn't feel like we've seen it all already...this old-time Firestorm fan is looking forward to future issues, not that I wasn't before.

Illusive Arts' Dorothy #3 continues to be the only photo-funnies style comic I've enjoyed (beyond Fandom Confidential, he said, showing his age). Dave Dorman provides the attractive cover.

Concrete: The Human Dilemma #6 wraps up the current storyline, and, as I was afraid, I can't wait for the next series, even though I know darn well it'll be a couple years at least before I'll see it. Paul Chadwick hints at some developments in future stories in his letters column, because he apparently likes to torture us.

Oh, and I think I'm used to the new DC logo now.

The release of the Who Is Donna Troy? trade paperback this week (featuring all the previous permutations of Wonder Girl's origins, sans the one that appeared around the 130s in Wonder Woman, thankfully) reminded me of last week's DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy. (Well, that, and reading Dr. Doom's review.) While the art (by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and George Perez) was, as expected, absolutely gorgeous, I had a heck of a time reading the darned thing. Maybe I wasn't familiar with some of the backstory here, or maybe it was just the mood I was in, but I couldn't follow the narrative. I'll give it another shot and report back to you folks, but it was rough going that first time around.

Rick Veitch's Maximortal trade paperback was released in a new edition this week as well. If you haven't read it before, it's a prequel of sorts to his Brat Pack series, mixing a grotesque parody of Superman with a fictionalized history of two comic book creators who may have a slight resemblance to Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. This book is highly recommended, if you haven't read it before, and let's hope Veitch revists this particularly twisted universe of his sometime soon.

Speaking of Siegel & Shuster, here's an interview with them from the early 1980s.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

That pin, featuring George Perez art, was released in '91 to coincide with, as you might have already guessed, the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series. This is a pretty good-sized button, 2 1/2 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches tall, and the back featured not only a pin, but perforated "stands" that could pop out of the cardboard backing and allow you to display the item on a flat surface.

More Thanos linkage:

Just who is this Thanos chap, anyway?

"The Best Thanos Source on The Web" it says, and who am I to deny it?

Custom Thanos action figure, complete with a cloth outfit. Those little yellow booties are just darling.

Here's the official Marvel Select Thanos figure, and here's a previous figure that was part of the 1995 Fantastic Four line.

This Portuguese-language page features some foreign editions of Infinity Gauntlet, along with the greatest Thanos animations ever. (Unrelated to Thanos, the hyperactive Cyclops GIF on the main page will take you to a page of animated GIF comic strips starring said mutant.)

A Thanos skin for use in the Freedom Force computer game.

Here's a close-up view of the Thanos Marvel Masterpieces trading card.

The Thanos Heroclix figure.

Thanos versus Darkseid - this battle may be over, but the debate rages on.

Thanos Quest card for Magic: The Gathering.

No picture, unfortunately, but this bootleg-toy site looks at a couple Silver Surfer bootlegs, and notes that there was a Thanos bootleg as well.

Ron Lim head sketch of Thanos.

Oh, for the luvva...Thanos Legos...with a surprise guest.

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" - Thanos fan fiction.

The official site of Thanos' creator, Jim Starlin.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In a stunning turn of events...a post of unrelated* random thoughts! 

* Well, unrelated aside from that fact that they all (mostly) involve comics.

The lateness of this post once again brought to you by Blogger. Well, I got what I paid for, I guess.

I missed a link in yesterday's Swamp Thing webpage post: Swampthingmallardcalls.com. Warning...duck call sound on main page will startle the hell out of you. For extra duck call fun, run your mouse up 'n' down the menu on the second page once it loads.

Requested by commenter Todd:

(originally posted here)

My pal Tom has secretly been a zombie all this time. Who knew?

Our pal in Germany, Bjorn, has posted his overview of Free Comic Book Day, featuring comments from both pal Dorian and yours truly. Amazingly, Dor and I manage to keep our stories straight with minimal contradiction.

Speaking of pal Dorian...from a conversation today:

Me: "Hey, Dorian, was it just me or did National Treasure remind you of one of Carl Bark's Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge treasure hunt stories?"

Dor: "It was more like one of Don Rosa's sequels to one of Barks' stories."

I'm linked on this "family-friendly" page, which just looks like one of those link/ad farm sites that gathers up links based on keywords. Because surely any site that would post this can't possibly be considered "family friendly."

Like esteemed weblogging colleague Alan David Doane, I finally got around to filing away recent months' comic book acquisitions into the vast Mikester Comic Archives. And let me tell you, it's a lot easier to deal with now, when I'm actually living in a real house with multiple rooms and everything, than it was in those long, lonely years of having everything crammed into a one-bedroom apartment. At least I'm no longer in danger (I hope) of becoming one of those poor bastards whose dies in his overcrowded room, and isn't found for weeks until someone decides to push their way through the ten-foot-high piles of decade-old newspapers and Life magazines (ironically enough) to find my moldering body, which had been nibbled on by the dozen cats I also kept.

Boy, that went to a dark place. Let's just say I'm happier now that it's easier for me to access my short box full of, say, Firestorm, and leave it at that.

So the Mars trade paperback has finally shown up in the order forms, and, as I'd feared, it's ungodly expensive. Forty bucks for the softcover, seventy-five for the hardcover. Feh. I wouldn't be so upset if it weren't for the fact that I absolutely loved Mars and thus am planning on getting the collection anyway. Gosh darn it. (And yes, yes, I know there are real world publishing concerns generating that price, but let me be unreasonable, just this once.)

A page of a nice young lady dressed as Witchblade, Lara Croft, a character from Jim Balent's 3 Kittens, and a Sailor Moon character...which I'm linking to because real people dressed up in costumes based on comic book characters is my favorite thing ever. Well, second only to this. And this.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

So I was bored. 

Who's got Swamp Thing-related domain names?

(Note: have your pop-up blockers armed and ready!)

Swampthing.com - just being squatted on at the moment.

Swamp-Thing.com - "under construction," but has a trippy ST logo.

Swampthing.net - looks like a personal page...Flash animation 'n' sound, ahoy!

Swampthing.org - just a blank page with the text "nacio.mainsail.com." Trying to load either Sirenwomensrugby.com or Fp-ins.com has the same result.

Swampthing.info - "This domain may be for sale by its owner!" Another parked page.

Swampthing.dk - server information, with links to a couple personal pages.

Swampthing.biz - Swampthing Environmental, Inc., complete with a picture of Swamp Thing in the logo which I'm sure is totally authorized by DC.

Swampthing.de and Swampthing-band.de exist, but there's nothing there (404 errors). But Swampthing.mysite.de does bring up a page of...well, something. Swampthing.de.vu brings up the same something.

Swampthing.s5.com - GAH! The ads, the ads!

Swampthing.gov/.us/.name/.tv - No such animals. Who uses ".name," anyway?

Related people and places

Mattcable.com - personal page, photos, java applets, sound. Amusing, actually.

Arcane.com - contains a total slam on the NeXTStep market. Take that, NeXTStep fans!

Arcane.net - video game ads.

Arcane.org - hey, a weblog ("Cafe Arcane")! Cool!

Johnconstantine.com - another squatted domain.

Johnconstantine.net - finally, a page that actually has to do with the comic character.

Johnconstantine.hpg.ig.com.br - all the links on this page go to sites with the phrase "newxxx/hot_site" in the URL. Just so you know.

Johnconstantine.weblogger.terra.com.br - weblog page, with some creepy images and background music.

Thegreen.com - "Your gateway to golf!"

Patchworkman.com - totally available. Who woulda thunk it?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Yes, more pins. 

(See these previous four posts for even more buttons.)

Because of the glare (and the size of the image) you may not be able to make out that the pin in the upper-left corner is for the 20th anniversary of Kitchen Sink (1969-1989). The next button is for the 20th anniversary of Elfquest pin from...well, there's no year on it, but I'm assuming it's from 1998, since the first appearance of Elfquest was in '78.

I've always really liked that Marvel 25th Anniversary pin...it's just made of plastic, but the Spidey figure has a nice texture to it, and the whole piece is very eye-catching. DC's 50th anniversary logo is equally eye-catching, I think, though I have vague memories of people not thinking much of it at the time. I liked it, anyway.

Those last pins are celebrating the 30th anniversaries of the Avengers and the X-Men, though trying to incorporate the title's logos (or portions of them, anyway) into the number 30 weren't entirely successful.

Ah, the parade of Jim Shooter comic book companies...Warriors of Plasm, from Defiant Comics, gave us the immortal phrase "gore for the org." My only real memory of Broadway Comics was that the only ones that sold were the ones that features curvy dames on the covers. And I know that Shooter was long gone before Valiant Comics became Acclaim Comics, but where else was I going to put it? Also, it always seemed to me that there should be another half to that pin.

Ah, the Big Comic Book Market Boom of the late 1980s/early 1990s. That was the heyday of the All-Purpose Comics Price Guide Magazine (the only survivor of which was, of course, Wizard). Combo was, true to its name, a combination of comic book price guide, trading card price guide, action figure price guide, collectible card game price guide...and somewhere in there was the occasional stab at an article or two. Most issues were prebagged with a trading card or three...another symptom of this particular time in the marketplace.

The next pin is "Martin the Satantic Raccoon," which was brought back for me from a San Diego Con a few years back. Here's a website, which tries darn hard to not be safe for work.

Collected Editions brought up the badges given away during the DC Vs. Marvel mini-series, where fans could vote on the outcomes of key battles. I only have the "Vote DC" badge, it appears, because pffft, like I'd vote for Marvel.

Don't bother going to the Mutantwatch.com address on that Senator Kelly button (from the first X-Men movie)...it just forwards to Fox Movies. That other pin is a promo for the first Tim Burton Batman movie from '88. I always thought Billy Dee Williams (who played Dent in the first film) would have been a kick-ass Two-Face, but we ended up with Tommy Lee Jones as Dent in the third film. Not bad, I guess, but he's no Billy Dee.

These are more of those metal badges with the bendy bits at the top, allowing you to hook 'em over the top of your pockets, or whatever. The first badge was to advertise your sense of loss and despair at the temporary lack of Superman in the Superman comics. The other badges plugged the other fill-in Supermen, each with their individual S-shields. The shield for "The Kid" (i.e. Superboy) was stitching around the edges, in case you can't make it out.

The first two pins were released by First Comics in 1985, taking a minimalist approach by just showing the logos on a white background. The third pin plugged Groo's 20th anniversary in 2002.

Here are some examples of "freebie" pins that Marvel and DC used to release to advertise new series...something I wish they'd still do, and not just so that I could collect them! (Here's another example.) I couldn't tell you a single thing about Spellbound. I know we got 'em in the store, but don't know nuttin' about the contents. I think I wore that "Doom Patrol" button to a Cure concert, once, just to be "funny." Legion '89 was actually an okay comic, for a while, and hey, that Green Lantern pin is good again, what with the new series and all. I also have a GL pin DC released to advertise the Kyle Rayner version of the character, but, well, you'll just have to imagine it, because I forgot to scan it. Maybe next time!

A former employee of our shop gave me this button several years ago. I wonder what she was trying to tell me?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

pal Dorian and I revel in our cattiness:

Me: "Boy, the last issue of The Unfunnies sure was good, wasn't it?"

Dor: "Yeah...so was the last issue of Kevin Smith's Spider-Man/Black Cat."

Me: "The end of Daredevil: The Target was very quality, as well."

Dor: "How 'bout that last Hepcats?"

Me: "I never saw that surprise conclusion of Sonic Disruptors coming, I'll tell you that for free."

Yeah, we're jerks. Who's surprised?

Speaking of unfinished series, I was going through some of our Anne Rice back issues (because they needed restocking, not because I was enjoying it), and I recalled that one of Innovation's adaptations of her vampire novels never concluded. Overstreet only listed The Vampire Lestat and the Standard Catalog listed twelve issues for all three series, which is wrong.

A quick Googling turns up this interview with Rice, which references the unfinished series...which is Queen of the Damned.

Okay, that's hardly important to anyone, but it's the kind of thing I depend on our reference guides for, and occasionally they fall down on the job.

(EDIT: In fairness, I just noticed that Interview is in Overstreet under Anne Rice's Interview. Still no Queen, though.)

Oh, and Innovation's adaptation of the Piers Anthony novel On A Pale Horse never had its last issue released, either. Boy, that would have been a pisser for anyone buying the full, prestige-format series.

And that reminds me of a short exchange between a customer and me from a few years back:

Customer: "Do you have any Anne Rice comics?"

Me: "Yes, here's a run of the The Vampire Lestat...." (pronouncing the last "t")

Customer: "That's pronounced 'Le-staaaah.'"

Me: "Here y'all go! Yer Vam-peer Leeee-STAT! Wooo-WEE!"

Okay, I didn't actually say that last bit. I sure wanted to, though. I don't mind being corrected (though, as pal Dorian likes to note, neither of us may have been correct...this FAQ suggests a third pronunciation that Rice herself supposedly prefers)...but the whole smugness of the correction was a bit off-putting. I'm the smug one around here, thank you!

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