mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 15, 2005

back cover of The Comic Reader #179 (April 1980) - art by Jose R. Albelo

Friday, October 14, 2005

Okay, now let's be clear about something first: I'm really not trying to pick on Femforce or the company that publishes it, AC Comics. They've stuck it out all this time, though the black and white bust and the '90s market crash, and they're still around...Femforce just had its 133rd issue, for goodness' sake. And AC has reprinted a lot of classic (and, ahem, not so classic) Golden Age comics in affordable formats. So God bless 'em, sez I.

But they've been advertising
this Nightveil direct-to-DVD release on their recent comics, and...well, go on, just look at it. I'm going to guess that sales to Femforce readers alone won't offset the DVD production costs...I'm guessing fetish market sales will take up the slack. I mean, one of the selling points on that page I linked to is "there is the fun cat-fight between Nightveil and Crimson," so c'mon, they know where the money's at.

I also like the semi-apologetic tone of the sales pitch...it's a welcome change from the "THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER!!!" ballyhooing you usually get from the comic companies:

"The special effects, though not to be compared to blockbuster hits like STAR WARS, are pretty neat considering the budget. Nightveil flies, floats and fires beams from her fingers. So does Crimson. Azagoth, the floating eye, fires heat beams that incinerate the thugs. The trips thru space are quite nice."

That undersell is quite charming, actually.

I have no idea if this film is any good or not (though, um, I can probably hazard a guess), but it looks like they had fun making it, at least.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Well, I'll probably have more to say about this week's release of Infinite Crisis later (see
The Comics Reporter for a round-up of other commentary), but I am glad to see that the implicit context of the last year's worth of DC Universe events is made explicit in this series (in that the "darkening" of the DCU needs to be addressed, "what has been rent asunder must be restored" and all that). Looks good so far, but time will tell if this will be more successful in its stated purpose than, say, Zero Hour (which was intended to correct continuity problems from Crisis on Infinite Earths, and, well, didn't exactly succeed).

I will say that pal Dorian and I have noted that the George Perez cover is outselling the Jim Lee cover. Interesting.

Pal Dorian shows me a comic that came out this week. My response to said comic: "So the artist's motiviation on this comic is 'maybe if I draw this girl I know into a comic, maybe she'll sleep with me?'"

I wasn't in a good mood when I said that. You'll have to excuse me.

Any given customer: "Hey, is this Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man a new series?"

Me: "Yes, it certainly is. Written by Peter David, too!"

Customer: "Cool! ...Hey, what's this 'Other' business?"

Me: "Um...well, it's a 12-part crossover going across the main Spidey comi...."

Customer: "Oh, well, never mind." (puts comic back on rack)

(Okay, I exaggerate slightly...but not much.)

Speaking of Peter David, I sort of resent the fact that a large chunk of his return to writing the Hulk was taken up by House of M tie-ins. Feh, I say.

Pal Ian is all over the new issue of The Comics Journal...clearly the bribes have paid off.

Oh, I'm just kidding. Go read, you...it's #271, the one with the great green Joker cover.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

back cover of The Comic Reader #193 (August 1981) - art by Mike Mignola

I was a fan of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola's art almost from the get-go, when I would see his art in various fanzines. His covers for The Comic Reader in particular are favorites of mine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In which Mike gets an answer to a question he didn't even know he had. 

So in perusing this site, I came across a link to "The Rules of Moopsball", an HTML-version of an entry from the 1970s science fiction anthology Orbit 18. I first came across it in my local library when I was probably about 10 or 11 (so, let's say, about 1980), and thought it was absolutely fantastic. It's not a story, but rather a convoluted set of rules for a fantasy-oriented sporting event (think Calvinball with wizards).

Now, in the 1980s, several references to a sport called "Moopsball" were made in the Legion of Super-Heroes comics. I remember thinking at the time that this was either a coincidence, or perhaps an homage to the original 1970s "Moopsball." I thought "homage" was less likely, because why would some superhero comic book use a random reference to (what I believed to be) a fairly obscure story from an old sci-fi anthology?

Well, more fool me, since the Moopsball website reminded me that the writer of the original "Rules of Moopsball" is Gary Cohn, who wrote a bunch of comics in the 1980s, including cocreating Amethyst and Blue Devil.

So there's the comics connection...it likely was a homage.

Moopsball...of all the things I never expected to talk about on this site....

One of the entries I didn't use on my Doctor Doom's Top Ten Euphemisms for Sex list: "Governing the trembling toadies." Yeah, that's a direct quote from a Fantastic Four comic...I think Marv Wolfman was responsible for that one.

Anyway, thanks again to pal Dorian for helping out with the list..."besting Richards" and "allying with the Sub-Mariner" were his.

Speaking of pal Dorian, his recent list of unproduced action figures came from a discussion we were having at the shop last week, and I thought I'd comment further.

One, I know that DEVO figures were announced at some point, but I don't know if they were ever released. This article mentions the possibility of figures, and it's brought up in this interview, but otherwise the Googling is inconclusive. It seemed like it was a done deal a couple years ago...where'd they go?

Two, I don't know if I really insisted on Deep Throat figures...but I think the action features would be amusing.

Three, I agree 100% on a David Bowie "Thin White Duke"-era action figure. Can't you just picture it?

Four, I'm not kidding about Reanimator action figures. Why a Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West figure hasn't been produced yet is beyond me.

Five, one of the unproduced action figure lines I mentioned that Dor didn't was a line based on the proposed then aborted '70s TV show revival of Star Trek. Trek is second only to Star Wars in molding little plastic figurines about of every...single...character...to walk across a screen or have a syllable of dialogue. I mean, c'mon, a Lieutenant Xon figure? What's taking them so long?

Since The Killing Joke is going to be reprinted in this new edition of the DC Universe Alan Moore collection, I guess that means the original prestige format Killing Joke is no more. Which is a shame, because I can still sell the prestige format book, but it may be a harder sell as part of a larger, more expensive trade paperback. Better check with Diamond and stock up...if they're not gone already. I also still have demand for Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?...again, I hope people looking for it are willing to dish out for a fat book filled with stories they aren't looking for. And yes, I know all the stories are by Alan Moore, and therefore good readin', but people who want just one particular story aren't usually thrilled about buying a bunch of extra material just to get it. I saw it happen with the Dini/Timm Batman: Mad Love one-shot, and I think I'm going to see it again.

In happier news: Showcase Presents The House of Mystery. 552 pages of classic DC suspense comics. Fantastic.

Monday, October 10, 2005

from The Incredible Hulk #220 (Feb 1978) by Roger Stern, Sal Buscema & Ernie Chan

I wasn't going to post this panel, but it made me laugh, and it made
pal Dorian laugh, and if it doesn't make you laugh, that just means you're afflicted with good taste.

Yesterday, at work, discussing the impending Infinite Crisis series with New Coworker Nathan:

M: "You know who I think is behind it all? Bat-Mite, that's who."

N: "Who?"

M: "Bat-Mite."

N: "I have no idea who that is."

M: "Wha--?"

N: "Really, I don't."

M: "Wha--?"

N: "Please stop making that noise."

I can't believe we hired a guy who doesn't know who Bat-Mite is. We're gonna have to work on the screening process a little more.

(Please note, in regards to the Infinite Crisis thing, that I've blamed Bat-Mite for a major DC event before. I have it in for Bat-Mite, apparently.)

Speaking of the forthcoming Infinite Crisis (due in funnybook stores this coming Wednesday), Nathan came up with an alternative to the "Golden Age Supes is behind it all" theory that pal Corey throwing around at the shop a while back (and, coincidentally, expounded upon by Devon at Seven Hells).

Basically, what if it is a character from one of the parallel universes discarded during the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, but not the Golden Age Superman?

What if it's the pre-Crisis Superboy? Either that "Earth-Prime" Superboy that went off to a "better place" with G.A. Supes 'n' Lois at the end of Crisis, or the Pocket Universe Superboy that was created to explain the discrepancies between the Legion of Super-Heroes and the post-Crisis Superman (and is also dead, but when's that stopped anybody in comics). Either one would probably be more...well, I guess the word is "expendable"...than the G.A. Superman, since making Golden Age Supes a villain may be too much for even DC ("he said unironically"). (Though Devon has a way around that, too.)

Ah, who knows. This sort of thing makes my brain go explody if I think about it too long. We'll all find out in a few days, anyway. Presumably.

Someone disagreed with my Blue Beetle prediction (in which current Beetle-mania would drive initial big sales on a theoretical new series' first issue, which would dissipate as soon as everyone remembered they really didn't like Blue Beetle all that much in the first place) by stating that this didn't happen for Firestorm (another old character that had been replaced by a new version).

Well, that comparison doesn't really scan.

First, Blue Beetle was killed off in a high-visibility big whoop-de-whoop one-shot special kicking off the big DC crossover event. Firestorm wasn't killed off, and his book reached the end of its lifespan, getting cancelled because it didn't have enough readers to justify sales.

Second, the death of Blue Beetle set off a huge wave of "grief," "disgust," "annoyance," what have you, with a lot of "but he was such a great character with so much potential"-type talk, mostly from people whose only exposure to BB was in decade-old Justice League comics, if that.

The cancellation of Firestorm, on the other hand, was met with a big...well, a big nothing, really. I'm sure somebody somewhere was really ticked off about it, but it was hardly a fandom cause c̩l̬bre like the current BB brouhaha is. (And yes, I realize the internet is a big factor in making the current outcry more visible than any potential outcry at the time over Firestorm...but trust me, there was no big outcry over Firestorm).

Third, my theoretical new Blue Beetle title would start up while the fan-guish over the previous BB's death was still on everyone's minds...i.e. "free advertising for DC."

The new Firestorm series launched about fourteen years after the previous series was cancelled, and Firestorm had only the occasional appearance in random comics (like Extreme Justice or Power Company) from then until now.

And, lastly, the new Firestorm series is selling well, considering 1) it's a different character as Firestorm and 2) it didn't have the benefit of a huge event book leading into it (aside from the extremely-tangential Identity Crisis tie-in). It's no record breaker, but it's a solid mid-ranger, and given the lifespan of most new books from Marvel or DC, that's success enough, I think.

So for the last few weeks, I've been trying to reorder the new Overstreet Price Guide with the Little Lulu cover, but the only one that seems to be available from Diamond Comics is the Iron Man cover. Maybe I'm just checking at the wrong times, but I guess I should be glad I got the Lulu-covered one for myself when I did. So, was the Lulu cover an incredibly hot seller, and thus always in short supply for reorders, or was it drastically underordered and underprinted, thus leaving little or no copies for later reorders? (Just a rhetorical question, actually.)

So, this cover:

Green Lantern #94 (April/May 1977) - art by Mike Grell

Okay, while the beardless Green Arrow is...intriguing, that's not the reason I'm highlighting this cover.

It's this:

Who among us couldn't find a use for a Doom Button? I mean, aside from doing grievous harm to pretty girls in leotards tied to giant gears.

"Hi! I'd like to return a comic I may or may not have bought from you two years ago for a full refund, I don't have a receipt, and I accidentally tore the cover off."


"What do you mean, you won't take my out-of-state non-prepreprinted starter check even though I don't have any I.D. whatsoever?"


"I'd like to describe to you, in excruciating detail, every single hand of my last Magic: The Gathering match, even though you don't sell Magic: The Gathering cards and shouldn't be expected to have any interest in anything I'm saying."


See, it's a natural for store use. I can use one for my car, too.

(Of course, the tables could be turned: "I'm a weblogger that treats comic books and the comic book industry with about all the seriousness it deserves!" "DOOM BUTTON!")

Sunday, October 09, 2005

And now, for no good reason whatsoever, and with the welcome assistance of
pal Dorian, Progressiveruin.com brings you...


10. "Unleashing the Doombots"

9. "Ruling the kingdom with an iron fist"

8. "Extending the power of Doom"

7. "Mastering the diabolical"

6. "Allying with the Sub-Mariner"

5. "Demanding total, blind obedience"

4. "Incurring the wrath of Doom"

3. "Penetrating the invisible force field"

2. "Paying for this effrontery a thousandfold"

And Doctor Doom's number one euphemism for sex:

1. "Besting the accursed Richards"

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