mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005

This post is pal Dorian's fault. 

A chronology of Deathstroke appearances, with issue synopses, up until the beginning of Identity Crisis.

The Terminator Vs. Predator! (i.e. "The Cover Blurb They Wished They Could Get Away with Using!")

Who would win - Captain America versus Deathstroke? Or Darth Maul versus Deathstroke? Or Spider-Man versus Batman versus Deathstroke? Or X-cutioner versus Taskmaster versus Deadpool versus Deathstroke?

Custom Deathstroke figure.

The Deathstroke Heroclix figure.

A review of the DC Direct figure.

Deathstroke's stats for...fantasy baseball?

An article about Deathstroke from Comics Scene #24 (1991) - includes comments from creator Marv Wolfman.

Here is the Titan Tower site's full Deathstroke dossier.

Chaosmonkey reviews Deathstroke the Terminator #14.

"Okay, Deathstroke has got to be a blatant ripoff of Deadpool." Um....

Speaking of which: Deathstroke/Dead-Pool fan-poetry.

Layout drawing of Robin and Slade from the Teen Titans cartoon.

Custom DC Mini-Mates, with Deathstroke putting in an appearance near the end of the page.

The Sexy Slade Club!

Deathstroke Micro-heroes.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

One of the things I noticed about
selling underground comics on the eBay is that, every once in a while, we'll end up selling some undergrounds to the cartoonists that originally did them. Just thought that was interesting.

This is the greatest description of Supreme Power I've ever read, cut 'n' pasted as-is from the forum I found it on:

"Supreme Power takes a spin on popular characters like Superman Batman Wonderman Flash and Green Lantern. In this book tells for instant what if instead of a couple that found him as a child the goverment did. Batman is a black man who is prejudice against anyone that is white. Flash is black too. Wonderwoman walks around naked alot."

It's...it's like poetry. And, strangely enough, fairly accurate.

Yesterday, Kid Chris showed my website to me on his internet-capable cell phone, with the itsy-bitsy pictures, and the text that scrolls by in the little window about five or six words at a time. Now, I'm a very fast reader, so trying to read a website in cell phone display-sized chunks would drive me bonkers in short order. If this is how any of you out there look at websites (including mine, where I do tend to go on a bit), well, my hat and/or camel-hair toupee are off to you, my good man. Or woman.

Release of the week: Little Lulu: Sunday Afternoon from Dark Horse Comics. The pages are numbered in this edition, so hopefully that prevented any out-of-order story pages like in the previous volume. It's great stuff, as usual, and when was the last time you saw a panel like this in a "kid's" comic?


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Just a quick note to congratulate fellow ACAPCWOVCCAOE* member
pal Ian on the one year anniversary of his weblog. Ever since he was left as a foundling on our store's doorstep, pal Dorian and I tried to raise him right, schooling him in the mysterious ways of comic book collecting, weblogging, fine wines, and high fashion. And now, here he is, a grown man...ready to leave the nest and pursue higher education in the wilds of Northern California. (Sniff) They...(sniff)...they grow up so fast....

On a completely unrelated note, I am going to go out on a limb here and do something I never, ever do in regards to a comic that's not even out yet. I'm going to predict that this variant cover for the forthcoming Angel comic from IDW...

...is almost certainly going to be one of those "crazy money" items on the eBay. Every time a customer asks me for the Angel comic, they say "I want the puppet cover!" Every time. Heck, I want the puppet cover. Given that the puppet cover is only one of four variants for the first issue, and that the covers are shipped in equal amounts, and that the puppet episode that inspired the image is arguably the most popular one of the Angel TV series, I really don't see how the available amount of this particular variant is going to be able to meet demand. Hence, the probable forthcoming eBay feeding frenzy. I'm also really, really hoping the other three covers don't turn into shelf-warmers.

* Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Here is my impression of some of those people who are having a negative reaction to
Grant Morrison being given a little creative control over at DC:

"What? New, original, and interesting ideas? Not in my superhero comics, thank you very much!"

Sorry, sorry...I'm just a little tired of the "ew, Morrison's weird and icky" criticisms that get thrown around. Feh on them, I say. I'm looking forward to Morrison giving us something strange and wonderful, which is what superheroes should always be, I think.

Anyway, just to show you I'm not completely grumpy, I direct you to my sidebar, where I keep all my links and quotes, and where I also just hid an "Easter Egg" for you to find. It's not much...just a little something fun to look at. Well, fun for me, anyway. (If you do find it -- and it'll take you all of about one or two seconds to find, I'm sure -- don't spoil it in the comments section!)

Who's the man? 

Michael freakin' Caine, that's who. Your Batman movie is only as good as your Alfred, and in Batman Begins Caine does a great job giving us an Alfred with wit, compassion, and a bit of steel. Now this is an Alfred I can imagine, for example, donning a spare Bat-suit to serve as a decoy/distraction for the bad guys while the real Batman does his thing. You know, like he sometimes did in the comics, and the 60s TV show. Don't look at me like that.

(Probably SPOILERS ahead, if you haven't seen the film.)

I enjoyed Batman Begins quite a bit, which came as a nice surprise since, as I've noted before, the trailers just came across as dead boring. However, the decision to build up to Batman's first appearance, rather than just jumping right into the action, gives us something unique in the various live action versions of the character: suddenly, Bruce Wayne is as interesting a character out of the costume as he is in it. We get to learn about him, and what drives him, without that pesky Bat-stuff getting in the way.

The building of Batman comes across as a natural progression...the constant reminders that Wayne needs to a symbol, more than a man; the finding of the cave; the adaptation of his own fear of bats driving the creation of said symbol -- the suspension of disbelief is gradually increased until Batman finally appears, and we all go, "oh, sure, he had to dress as a bat. Makes sense to me." (Of course, anyone going to see a movie called Batman Begins is probably predisposed to accepting a guy in a bat-outfit anyway.)

Granted, some of the elements of the Bat-legend come together a little too readily ("Mr. Fox, what do you have down here?" "Why, I have a bunch of stuff that's ready made for use by a costumed crime-fighter!" "Oh, say...could I borrow some of that?"), but I can live with it. And the plot to poison Gotham City is one we've seen before, but at least the villain has a motivation for doing so beyond killing just for the sake of killing. Overall, a well-made, mostly well-written film, with its overriding theme of "fear" being a nice contrast to the usual theme of "good guys punching bad guys."

I've heard some complaints about the fight scenes being shot/edited too confusingly, and there is an element of that, but for the most part I didn't have any problem following the action. And it was nice to have a Jim Gordon (played by Gary Oldman) who actually looks like the Gordon in the comics.

And yes, it is deadly serious, with only the occasional humorous line of dialogue (usually from Alfred, but sometimes from Gordon, and a vagrant or two), but it still manages to be dark without being oppressive, and more fun than moody.

Anyway, good flick. Not perfect, but darn sight better than some of the last few Bat-films. Christian Bale is probably the second best live action Batman we've had (this guy is still tops), and let's hope a sequel, if it happens, manages to keep the same tone.

Unless we can get an adaptation of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns starring Adam West instead. I'd kill to see that.

Monday, June 20, 2005

From the new
DC soliciations:

Written by Len Wein
Art and cover by Berni Wrightson
A manga-sized collection featuring the classic origin and first adventures of the Swamp Thing (also collected in the full-size tpb SWAMP THING: DARK GENESIS), including the first 10 issues of the original SWAMP THING title, all by the legendary team of writer Len Wein and artist Berni Wrightson.
On sale Sept 8 o 5" x 7.375" o 232 pg, FC, $9.99 US

Now I know it's gonna seem strange for me, of all people, to say this...but that's an odd choice of a title to kick off this new reprint format for DC. This run has only been reprinted about a zillion times (okay, three, I think), and...well, I don't really have any other arguments against it, I guess. I just don't see there being a whole lot of demand for a reprinting of this particular run right now...and I'm afraid that if the initial books in this format don't fly, this reprint format may be gone before it really had a chance to start. I'm sure DC's already considered this, and the Sgt. Rock reprint DC announced at the same time will probably do well. But, really, whose ass do I have to kick to get a Sugar and Spike reprint of some kind? Of any kind?

Also, I hope DC will someday get around to reprinting the rest of the original Swamp Thing series. Sure, it fell apart a bit at the end, but there's a lot of good Nestor Redondo work there that could use reprinting on some good paper.

Okay, now I realize being a comics/science fiction/fantasy fan (or, indeed, a fan of anything..."fan" being short for "fanatic," after all) requires a small bit of obsession. "I have to get the comic shop every week," or "I have to remember to set the TIVO [or VCR...I'm a caveman] for Smallville," or "I only need two more issues of Secret Defenders to complete my Bill Wylie collection." You know the mindset. (And just so you don't think I'm about to start casting stones, keep in mind that I'm the guy who bought a New Titans annual because Swamp Thing appears in one or two panels.)

Doing a
weblog is one form of this obsession, and making costumes and writing fan-fiction are a slightly more extreme versions of this sort of behavior. I can even understand going through the effort of making your own fan film.

However, I think some sort of line may have been crossed when you're doing full "TV" seasons with multiple episodes. That sort of time and energy devoted to creating a derivative product based on a property you don't own and to which you don't have any kind of official connection seems a little...well, I don't want to be too harsh, since the people involved are enjoying themselves and there is obviously value in that. However, all it would take is one cease-and-desist letter from the property's actual owners to shut down production, and all that energy would have come to nothing.

(inspired by a recent posting on Memepool)

Speaking of fan-fiction...a crossover between Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Sailor Moon is about as unlikely as they come. Rated "R" - currently having some bandwidth issues. (via Portal of Evil)

And speaking of my particular obsession...Four Realities discusses the Swamp Thing comics in his collection.

There's a comic weblog called "The Comic Blog"? I'm surprised the name wasn't taken. Anyway, lots of good comic reviews here.

So there's that scene in the original, unreleased Fantastic Four movie where Alicia Masters, the blind sculptress, runs her hands up and down the Thing's body, and the Thing is breathing heavily, practically panting, and the scene goes on and on and on and on, and you turn away, and you turn back again fifteen, twenty minutes later thinking the scene must be over by now, but no, it's still happening.

Well, poking through our preview copy of the comic book adaptation of the new Fantastic Four movie (in stores this Wednesday...the comic, not the movie), there's another Alicia/Thing scene that at first glance seems just as peculiar. SPOILER, I guess...the scene features Alicia apparently spraying down the Thing's body with a hose. That in and of itself may not be very strange, but there's a part of my brain that fears that this scene will also go on forever, with multiple angles of Alicia squirting the Thing with water, squirting herself, everything getting all soapy and sensual and looking like that Paris Hilton Carl's Jr. commercial.

But maybe that's just me.

FARK photoshop contest: "What would Superman be like if his spaceship crashed somewhere other than Smallville, Kansas?" Red Son reference in 3...2....

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Suddenly I've received a brief spike in referrals from a comment I left on this
year-old post from The Comic Treadmill. Mag, H, what the heck's goin' on over there?

Still haven't seen Batman Begins, but I've been hearing from plenty of people that it's pretty good. I'm glad to hear it, since the trailers make the film look dead boring...even despite the always-welcome presence of Michael (The Hand, Jaws: The Revenge) Caine.

At the very least, I need to see it before any more of my customers decide to spill the beans on any surprises/plot twists/et cetera that may exist in this flick. "No, I don't want to hear about 'just one really cool part' of the movie...."

I'm in the process of putting together comics for display at the local library (as I mentioned recently), and for the most part I'm trying to stick with titles and characters that may be reasonably familiar to kids. You know, the basics (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) and other characters they might know from the cartoons (the John Stewart Green Lantern, the Teen Titans) or movies (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man). I'm also trying to sneak in a title or two that might stretch the definition of "superhero" (like Phil Foglio's Girl Genius).

Also, as part of my plan, I was going to put in a superhero title or two that might downright puzzle kids, and maybe (and I realize this is a longshot, here) inspire them to seek out a local comics shoppe (like, say, ours) and Read More About It. My initial choice was a copy of Walt Simonson's Orion, but then I came across this issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, which would be even more baffling to the uninitiated. (Though I may relent and use this cover instead.)

I'm still going to use the Orion cover, because gosh darn it, kids who watch the Superman and Justice League cartoons do know who Darkseid is! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it, Dorian!

Anyway, the superhero theme for the display is mandated by the library...maybe when it's time to take the display down, I can talk them into a manga display!

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?