mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I was flipping through some '70s Archie comics at the store the other day, and...well, we're all used to seeing
Chuck Clayton, one of the (apparently) three African-Americans that live in Riverdale, look like this (bottom of page). So it came as a bit of a shock to see Chuck in this earlier incarnation, as taken from Laugh #219 (June 1975):

Also, I had thought Chuck was a more recent addition to the Archie cast. Well, okay, relatively speaking, he was, since most of the cast appeared in the '40s, but I thought Chuck was an '80s creation. Learn something new every day, I guess...now if only I could learn something useful!

As long as I have the scanner up 'n' running...

So in the current happenings in the DC universe, everyone's up in arms about some members of the JLA wiping the memories of not only the bad guys, but of Batman as well, to cover up what they've been up to.

Here are a couple panels from Action Comics #770 (October '00), the end of the "Emperor Joker" storyline. The set-up (SPOILERS ahead): the Joker had managed to obtain Mr. Mxyzptlk's powers and, among other things, used that power to horribly torture his arch-nemesis Batman. After everything was put right, Batman still had the memories of his suffering, and was frozen into inaction by them. Superman argues with the Spectre to heal Batman, but the Spectre says he can't erase these memories, that they must be taken and placed in another person:

(Yeah, that's Batman...I know, I know.)

Superman doesn't like the idea, but the world needs its Batman:

So Batman's mind is wiped of the memories of torture, and they're dumped into the Joker, all with Superman's approval. Later, when Superman takes Batman to check on the Joker, Batman suspects Superman is hiding something, but Supes denies it.

So Batman's seemingly no stranger to having his memory erased. The circumstances are slightly different (JLA covering their actions, versus Superman trying to restore Batman's sanity), but with the same result: people messing with Batman's brain, then covering up about it. Just thought that was interesting.

Friday, September 02, 2005

If you are able,
donate something to the American Red Cross to help with the Hurricaine Katrina relief fund. Pal Dorian has other relief resources.

Also, be sure to read Marc Sobel's thoughtful piece over at Comic Book Galaxy regarding current events.

In somewhat lighter news:

Some of you may have noticed some new material in the rotating tagline thingie at the top of this page. Well, Kid Chris was complaining that he was tired of seeing the same ones over and over, so I thought I'd finally get around to putting together a whole new list of taglines to see over and over. Friends contributed a bunch of them, and I even got one from the Euphemism Generator, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to send them my way.

And if you missed it in my comments section from yesterday...here's a page with the Hong Kong Phooey theme song. I won't be happy until it's stuck in all of your heads, too.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"As long as there are art school drop-outs, there will always be indie comics."

--Kid Chris

Look, don't blame me, Kid Chris said it. He's about to leave employment here at the shop and go off for some higher education (or go to UCLA, one of the two) and he's getting a little punchy, it seems. Actually, I forget what caused him to say that...I think it was
pal Dorian and I talking about some really terrible-looking comic forthcoming from a prominent independent publisher that gave us both the "they gotta be freakin' kidding me" reaction when we saw it in a catalog.

And don't give me any grief. We've always, always supported indie comics at our shop. As an actual more-or-less full line comics store, that means we order from more than just the front of the Previews, and we've always done quite well with the non-Marvel 'n' DC material. So there.

Anyway, just some random thoughts as we were breaking down the comic order Wednesday morning:

- that doesn't look like someone's name on the G.I. Joe America's Elite autographed incentive comic, so much as someone was testing to see if his pen worked by scribbling it on the nearest magazine.

- you know, Daredevil: Father #2 is probably funnier than Wha Huh.

- the only really cool figure from the Superman/Batman Public Enemies action figure set is Metallo, who has a removable Kryptonite heart, for heaven's sake. The other figures all look like they have pulled muscles all over their bodies.

- Dorian's gonna give me grief over reading this, but Hector Hammond pops up in the new Green Lantern, and, well, you know how Hammond looked just kind of silly and non-menacing with his big ol' head and atrophied body sitting in that chair? Well, artist Ethan Van Sciver makes Hammond almost too creepy to stand, and probably just as creepy as something like Hammond would be in real life. Honestly, you gotta see it. And another revamped GL villain shows up, and he's even more terrifying and grotesque.

- I've been resisting purchasing Chester Brown's Ed the Happy Clown reissue, since I already have the comics in two formats as it is. However, the extra extensive footnotes Brown is providing to this new printing are a temptation, and the eventual collection may be a must-buy.

- Wizard gave me a reason to crack it open, what with the 8-page preview of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman. Looks fan-tastic. If you don't like this, there is no love in your heart, you beast, you.

In other news, Comic Book Galaxy is celebrating its fifth anniversary today. Congrats to Alan David Doane and his gang of reprobates and ne'er-do-wells (which, of course, includes myself) for still keeping at it after all this time, even with the occasional mob of angry villagers with rakes and torches surrounding the CBG compound.

And because of this post of mine, I've had the gosh-dang theme to Hong Kong Phooey stuck in my head for two days! AAAAARGH!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sergeantstein and his Maraudin' Monsters is Pete Von Sholly's latest trade paperback release, and if you've been reading comics for any length of time at all, you may find the premise slightly familiar. A bunch of monsters (such as the mummy G.I. Ho-Tep, the vampire Battlebat, Warwolf, and Sergeantstein himself) are teamed up in a military squad to do battle against...well, more monsters, actually. On a surface level, this may sound similar to the
Creature Commandos from DC Comics, but where DC played it mostly straight with their military monsters, Von Sholly takes the more entertaining route of outright goofiness. There's something just inherently cool about monsters fighting monsters, and the subject matter is a good match for Von Sholly's clear, bright and colorful art style. The writing is more concerned with jokes than with plot, and is never terribly deep, but then, it doesn't have to be. It just has to be funny, and in that it succeeds admirably. An extended parody of H.P. Lovecraft is particularly effective, and while a familiarity with Lovecraft's work will aid in the appreciation of this story, Von Sholly packs in enough general silliness that you non-Lovecraftian scholars out there will still find plenty to enjoy. A short strip with Sergeantstein taking his nephews ("Chewy, Gooey, and Screwy") to the movies allows for some satirical jabs at special effects-laden modern films (both sci-fi extravaganzas like The Matrix and more recent monster movies like Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm Street), which is surely meant as a contrast to the old-style monster movies that this comic is an homage to.

Overall, it's big, goofy fun, and, in its own peculiar way, a nice tribute to the monster movies of decades past.

I direct you to Mr. Von Sholly's own site for a several page preview of the book.

Hero Squared #2 is due out in your finer comic shops today, and I don't know what else to tell you that I haven't told you before. This is the flashback issue, as we get to see what happened to Captain Valor's old universe prior to being sent to his non-powered counterpart Milo's parallel universe. The flashbacks are purposefully illustrated in a more superheroic style by Mark Badger and Shannon Denton that, while appropriate to the material being presented, does come across as a slightly distracting contrast to regular artist Joe Abraham's more down-to-earth slightly cartoony style. Not saying it's bad or anything, just different from what I was used to seeing in this book...and you know how us comic book fans are about things that are new and different! (Oh, relax, I'm just kidding. Mostly.)

Anyway, the flashbacks are framed with a nice contrast of scenes, where on Earth Captain Valor has a chat with Milo's girlfriend Stephie, while in space Milo is a captive audience to Valor's arch-nemesis Caliginous...who is an evil version of Stephie! Only in comics, folks, and Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have a lot of fun with this slightly convoluted situation.

For those of you out there looking for a breather from the angst and crossover shenanigans in other superhero comics on the stands, this might be just what you're looking for.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Monday, August 29, 2005

So, in that same collection
I was talking about yesterday, we received a copy of the second issue of G.I. Joe Order of Battle, sort of a Marvel Universe for the Joes. We haven't had a copy of #2 for quite a while, which is a shame, because it has one of my favorite comic book pages:


Yes, that's right, the character from the Sylvester Stallone film series was to be a member of the G.I. Joe team. Alas, 'twas not to be, as the last page of the very next issue was devoted entirely to this disclaimer:

Sigh...poor Rocky, "retconned" so quickly.

However, the second issue of G.I. Joe Order of Battle has an even more puzzling image (independently discovered and shown to me by both pal Dorian and Kid Chris, who were equally puzzled):

The hell? Was this a member of G.I. Joe's "furry" division, laying down her life in the battle against Cobra?

Okay, I couldn't just leave it at that. I suppose I could be a bit dickery and just mock Bongo the Balloon Bear without knowing a darn thing about her, but a little research (well, okay, a quick trip to the Google) turns up this synopsis. And this custom figure.

A "Bongo the Balloon Bear" custom figure. God bless you, fans.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Also of note:

Booksteve's Library is a fine new weblog focusing on comics and other pop-culture items, featuring vintage ads and some classic paperbacks.

The Successless Comics Blog is successful, indeed...currently covering a readthrough of Cerebus (something I myself planned to do on this site a while back, but...ooh, look, something shiny!).

Lady, That's My Skull - three words: Groin Injury Saturday. Also covers pulps, points out some examples of basic human stupidity, and best of all...Killdozer! (Note to Kid Chris...that last link should satisfy your recent Killdozer obsession!)

AndyM likes my site. Thanks, AndyM!

Today is Jack Kirby's birthday. 

I only met Jack Kirby once, but once was enough to shake the hand that created and drew Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the New Gods, Thor, Fighting American, the Newsboy Legion, the Challengers of the Unknown, the Hulk, Devil Dinosaur, and countless others.

I'm glad I had that opportunity to meet him.

Happy 88th, Jack.

1. Hey, wait a minute...the figure in that Marvel Comics Star Wars corner box looks nothing like Mark Hamill:



2. Apparently,
my post about the Human Fly from a few days ago has triggered something primal and frightening in the head of Tim O'Neil, because suddenly he's got a couple mighty posts on the very same topic, with more to come. Essential reading! Well, as essential as anything about '70s footnote "The Human Fly" can possibly be, I guess.

3. One of my longtime customers had been after a particular mid-80s Marvel comic for quite some time. Nothing special about the comic, not "valuable" or a "collector's item" by any means...just an issue from a short run series that never sold terribly well, and the issue was from late in the run so its print run was surely lower still. So, about once a month, when I'd see this customer, he'd ask me "did you get it in yet?" "No," I'd answer, with great and sincere remorse. This has gone on for several years.

My latest monthly encounter with this customer was this past Friday, when he informed me that, after years and years of searching, he finally found a copy of the comic in question. I was sad that I wasn't able to get the comic for him, but, as a comic collector myself, I know what it's like to finally fill that gosh-dang stupid hole in your run after looking for so many years, so I was happy for him as well.

Later that afternoon, we purchased a sizable comic book collection for the shop.

In that collection...a copy of the very comic this customer had been seeking for so long.



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?