mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Friday, June 10, 2005

Now is the time where I answer
your questions...and if you have more, lay 'em on me:

Gordon asks: "Where do babies come from?"

I point you in the direction of this page, which features a swell animation (work safe, but does have sound).

H has a fistful of questions:

"Who has the biggest collection of Swamp Thing memorabilia in the world?"

Why, I do believe that would be me!

"Why isn't every day Free Comics Day?"

Because then it wouldn't be special. And every comic retailer in the country would be out of business. And Earth would run out of trees.

"Why won't Marvel let Larry Young take over?"

Ultimately (so to speak), it doesn't really matter who runs Marvel Comics...it exists primarily to perpetuate the trademarks and turn them into movies, TV shows, toys, and other licensed products. I think Larry is better off being captain of his own ship, imbuing it with his own personality, and I'm reasonably sure he agrees.

"If all 3 Bat(-)girls had a fight, who would win?"

The readers. Ooh yeah. (Well, okay, probably the new Batgirl. Pal Dorian told me that she took down Lady Shiva, and that sounds pretty darn bad-ass to me.)

Todd asks a couple good questions:

"About three days ago you apparently switched your loyalties from Rann to Thanagar. Why the flip-flop?"

No flip-flop...I was secretly a double-agent, appearing to work with the Rannians, when I actually worked against them in cahoots with my Thanagarian comrades. Hawk-AAAA! (Oops, wait, that's Blackhawk.)

"And while we're at it, is it really possible to even have a 'Rann-Thanagar War' when Thanagar doesn't even exist anymore? Isn't it sort of like Krypton going to war with Earth?"

Our brave Hawk-warriors carry Thanagar in their hearts.

Tom asks: "Who was your favorite character when you were writing the Authority?"

Of all the characters I created for The Authority during my writing stint, I think my favorite is Mark Millar. He's got the best superpowers outta all of them.

Brian wonders: "How mad is a comic retailer allowed to get at a customer? For instance, if a customer gets really mad and starts yelling...what is a retailer to do? Yell back?"

Well, I think a retailer (or any business owner) can get as mad as he or she wants...but whether or not to show that anger is another question. I prefer to take the high ground...if I'm getting yelled at (rare, and almost always because I've asked the "customer" -- in quotes, since yellers never spend a dime -- to show some personal responsibility and/or common sense in regards to their in-store behavior) I try to remain calm but stern. That usually works better than blowing a gasket.

The very, very few times I've actually lost my temper with someone, it's because they insisted on pushing my buttons and, usually, just generally acting like complete assholes and impacting the shopping experience of other people in the store. I have no problem with asking people like this to get the hell out. I've got plenty of good customers, thank you.

Harvey asks...well, you better just go read it yourself.

In answer, I defer to Cecil's statement on the matter. At near the speed of light, the headlights would still appear as functioning normally to you.

However, at the speed of light, all laws of time and space will be irrevocably destroyed, and the universe will vanish. Good going.

"Will the warping of spacetime cause me to get Liefeld-feet?"

Some things are beyond all science.

Mike's lazy post. 

Well, once again I'm short on time, so there's no real post this morning. However, I suggest you hie yourself hither to pal Dorian's internet pad, and check out this week's special guest commentator.

But, hey, as long as I have your attention...got any questions for me? Leave 'em in the comments section and chances are pretty good I'll answer them.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Well, new comics day again...during one of the lulls,
pal Dorian, pal Corey, pal JP, Kid Chris, and I discussed the commonly-seen phenomenon of actors and actresses with sagging careers quickly getting sucked into extremist religious television shows, movies, advertising, and/or other entertainment outlets. Okay, nothing to do with comic books, really, but just giving you a bit of flavor for the kind of meetings of minds we have here at the shop on occasion. (Don't worry, we put the kibosh on that sort of talk when there are other customers in the store!)

As for the new comics:

I swear to God, I don't want to see yet another first issue of Fathom as long as I live. Will we see a Fathom number...say, 20, in our lifetimes?

My reaction upon seeing the arrival of a certain new trade paperback: "I hope the creator's mom lives in town, because the only way we're going to get rid of this thing is if she comes in to buy it."

Stardust Kid #1 - haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it's by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog, fresh off Crossgen's Abadazad...anything that's gets me a fistful of Ploog every month or so is fine by me.

The Ice Haven book, which contains a reformatted version of that one issue of Dan Clowes' Eightball, was a very attractive volume which sold out at our shop right away. If you haven't read this story, you really need to get a copy...it's one of the best things Clowes has ever done.

If it weren't for the fact that I'm a little more knowledgeable about the relevant continuity, Rann-Thanagar War #2 could very well have been about as incomprehensible to me as DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy. Is there anyone out there who's not familiar with Adam Strange, or Hawkman (or L.E.G.I.O.N., or the Omega Men) who read this comic? What was your reaction?

Speaking of Infinite Crisis crossovers, DC Comics continues to print money by releasing the third printing of Villains United...which is, by the way, my favorite of the four (five, if you count the Donna Troy one) tie-in mini-series. Who knew Cat-Man could be interesting?

We received a new assortment of Lord of the Rings action figures, including a talking Gandalf figure...press a button, and he shouts "YOU...SHALL...NOT...PASS!!!" with a neat echo-y effect. It's really cool when press the buttons on, say, four of these figures at once. I know pal Dorian likes it!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Go, Hawkman, go! 

That above image taken from the Heroic Images Super Friends site...go visit to see more great character design sheets from the Super Friends TV show!

A happy couple as the happy Hawk-couple.

Another brave soul dressed as Hawkman (at a Wizard World convention).

An overview of several Silver Age Hawkman stories.

A good old-fashioned groaner of a Hawkman joke, courtesy the mighty Fred Hembeck. (Here's another good one.)

This is my favorite Hawkman cover (though this one is a very close second).

A review of the Legend of Hawkman prestige format mini-series from a few years ago.

One of many attempts at detailing Hawkman's history.

What superheroes do when they're bored (Hawkman's at the end). Fart jokes, ahoy! (This is your "what th--?" link of the day. Honestly.)

Who would win in a fight between Hawkman and Batman?

A Hawkman FAQ, with plenty of images.

Custom animated-style Hawkman figure.

The Hawkman mini-bust, and the Alex Ross image that inspired it: Hawkman admiring his six-inch little man.

Pocket Super Heroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

More li'l Hawkman, in Lego form (along with his cross-company pal, the Falcon).

A review of the first wave of the Kingdom Come action figure line, including our Hawk-buddy.

The Kenner Super Powers Hawkman "hardcopy" prototype.

Oh, sweet mother of...Baby Wolvie and Hawkman!

The Legends of the Superheroes TV show - starring Hawkman (among others). You can kind of make him out in that last picture, there.

The devious Tony Isabella and his partner in crime, Richard Howell, reveal in this issue of Hawkman the real name of super-villain Kite-Man.

An interview with the man who defined the visual style of Hawkman for darn near everyone - Joe Kubert.

Hawkman knows a good candy bar when he sees one.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Comic books serious stuff for marketers."

"To project Dabur Foods' Real brand of fruit juice, the company recently launched its Real school contact programme with the creation of a comic book character, `Really 5,' who symbolises 'nutritious food, good health and happy living.' Really 5 has a well-balanced diet of five elements ranging from eggs and milk to vegetables and nuts, and includes not just juice but Real fruit juice, identified as one of the power brands of Dabur."

Via Johanna: Slave Labor Graphics will be pubishing comics based on Walt Disney Properties (that aren't ducks and mice).

I imagine of the bunch, the Tron comic will do the best in the direct market (assuming the potential audience for this book isn't all nostalgia-ed out). And are these Slave Labor's first regular (bi-)monthly color titles? The only other color book of theirs I can recall off the top of my head is I Feel Sick, which was a two-issue mini-series.

EDIT: Hi, John! (More buttons for you button fans.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dr. Doom is asked about Swamp Thing, in a letter signed "M.S. in Sunny Southern California" (bottom of post).

Yes, buttons again. (Sorry, Jim!) 

Those first two pins are for Doug Allen's Steven...man, I loved that comic, though the drinking cactus character that eventually popped up grated just a tad.

The Freak Brothers pin is from 1983, when I was probably far too young to be buying that comic book, but was reading and enjoying it anyway. Blame my dad...he's the one who said, "hey, next time you're at the comic shop, ask if they have any Freak Brothers!"

The "Bite Me Fanboy" pin is a tie-in to, I believe, the second Lobo mini-series (Lobo's Back), since the button is copyrighted 1992, the year of that series' release.

The first button is a 1995 recreation of a Superman pin from (I believe) one of the original Golden Age Superman fan clubs.

That 3-D button from '87 apparently is an official piece of DC licensed material, though that "S" is remarkably off-model. I have no idea how I got this button, or where it originally came from.

The "Lex 2000" button was from DC's "Lex Luthor as President" storyline, which I initially thought was a silly idea, but you gotta give DC credit for going through with it and sticking to it for nearly four years!

That last button has bit of a story behind it...at the time (late 80s/early 90s), DC was producing several button sets (essentially pinbacks hooked onto an illustrated cardboard backing, then shrinkwrapped). The Superman set featured four pins, each by a different artist (don't remember them all, now...I believe there was a Wayne Boring, and perhaps a Kurt Schaffenberger). The pin I most wanted was the Curt Swan one, but didn't feel like springing for the whole set. However, one day at the shop, a fellow came in, bought the Superman button set, opened it up, took one button out, and gave the rest back to the store. "Don't want 'em," he said. And that's how I got my Curt Swan Superman pin...though in retrospect, I should have just bought the whole darn set.

This is arguably the most famous comic book-related button of all time: this iconic image from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen, the smiley face with the blood (or ketchup) splatter across one eye.

But that wasn't the only Watchmen button; oh, no:

Like the Superman set I mentioned above, this item, released in '86, features four buttons on a cardboard backing, shrinkwrapped. It's also serially-numbered on the reverse side (mine is #005544), and has reproductions of Moore's and Gibbon's signatures. There were some problems regarding royalties on this item (and all other Watchmen merchandise), which caused some friction between Moore and DC. Hope that $4.95 per set was worth the trouble.

Everyone who has comic book buttons should have at least one Wolverine button, just for completeness' sake. At least Paul Smith drew it. It's from '83, and there were a whole series of X-Men pins like this one (including a "Frodo Lives"-style "Dark Phoenix Lives" pin). There must have been about a million or so of these things manufactured, as I still come across them today in collections.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Just Googling around...
this page features images of Robot Batman, Robot Spider-Man, and Robot Wonder Woman.

Via pal JP, a
collection of Photoshopped images on the subject of "Superhero Dayjobs."

(A quick Googling shows that Boing Boing linked to these galleries last year...and I've mentioned before the futility of linking to anything they've already featured...but heck, it's been a while, and I hadn't seen these before!)

(EDIT: Pal JP says he found the link to these galleries on El Blog de Jotace, so credit where credit is due!)

How'd I miss this?

Man-Thing light switch cover.

"My switchplates are not mass produce [sic] and are as tributes only."

Courtesy pal JP, a DC Comics logo I neglected to mention in
my brief overview a few days back...scanned from the cover of Girl's Romance #150. What I wouldn't give to see that particular logo on the cover of, say, Batman.

So the internet is all abuzz about the plan to jump ahead a year in continuity in the DC Universe books following all the planned crossovers and mini-series and whatnot that's coming over the next few months. I don't have a problem with that (in case any of you were desperately wondering), but I was joking with pal Dorian that when they make that year-jump on Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner should be starring in the book again. No sign of Hal Jordan, no explanation.

Well, I think that would be funny.

Another recent announcement was that DC will be releasing Essentials-style black and white collections of older material, including, apparently, Jonah Hex (something I was pushing for way back when, though in a manga-sized format).

That's cool with me...if I can get hundreds of pages of Silver Age Superman in one volume, I'm not going to care if it's lacking color. Besides, I read enough b&w reprints of Superman comics as a kid that I'm sure it won't seem strange to me.

Oh, and DC...if we we're not going to get a Sugar & Spike Archives, I'll settle for a black and white edition. C'mon, just put one out already.

Now we just need to get DC to reprint Amethyst in the manga format....

Fantagraphics now has its own weblog. (via Johanna)

A belated thanks to Augie for his kind mention of this here goofy comics site.

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