mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Police Academy - The Comic Book #5 (January 1990) - art by Howard Post

Okay, I've written before about Marvel squeezing superhero parodies into their non-superhero licensed titles. Given the wacky nature of this particular comic, though, it's not too out of place, I suppose.

However, this particular character, Zed, creeps me the heck out:

Zed was the character played by Bobcat Goldthwait in the Police Academy movies, by the way. I'm supposing likeness rights weren't part of any of the licensing deals.

And didn't at least the first film have an "R" rating? This was a weird choice for an animated series and comic book aimed at kids.

Random memory: a long time ago, at some comic convention or another, I spotted a dealer with a stack of the first issue of the Police Academy comic book, with a sign posted that read "FREE - PLEASE TAKE ONE."

No one took him up on it, as far as I could tell.

Friday, December 16, 2005

How to get complaints from Elektra fans, part one. 

1. Can Reed Richards stretch his hair? Just wondering. See, I was looking at that run of Fantastic Four where everyone thought Reed was dead, but in fact he was off in some other dimension/on another planet/on Gilligan's Island/some damn thing, where he grew himself a fantasti-beard. I was wondering if, on cold nights during his isolation, if he could stretch out his beard and wrap it around himself for warmth.

These are the things I think of while at work.

2. Okay, pal Dorian brought it up, so I guess I'll mention it briefly here. I was just shooting the breeze with new employee Pope Nathan here at the shop, idly wondering what it would take for Marvel to consider Wolverine to be an expendable character, like, for example, how DC considered Blue Beetle.

Well, my guess is if a Wolverine solo movie (as is rumored to follow the third X-Men movie, assuming that film doesn't die a dog's death) comes out, and it's the most terrible thing ever, that's probably what it would take. It would have to be Doc Savage-movie level, which was so bad that (as I understand) it curtailed a then-burgeoning revival of interest in the character. It would have to be Howard the Duck-movie level, which so completely destroyed the reputation of the character (once a cult favorite) that even now I have to swear to people that, yes, the original comics are good.

It would almost have to be something outside of comics that would kill interest in Wolverine. Comics, in general, tend to be self-correcting...long-established characters can generally ride out bad patches. A few bad Howard the Duck comics after Steve Gerber left the book didn't hurt the rep of the earlier issues. 'Twas the movie that killed the character, not the crummy non-Gerber black and white magazines. The closest we had in comics was probably the Spider-Man "Clone Saga" story, which, while well received at first, dragged on so long, and shed so many readers from the comics, that Marvel had to resort to restarting the two main Spidey titles to give everyone a clean break from what had come before. (And even then, it took the stunt-casting of Straczynski to get people to really look at Spider-Man again.) And then there was the whole post-Crisis Hawkman brouhaha, but that got straightened out eventually, more or less.

Anyway, this was just some casual pondering Nathan and I were doing, not a well-supported thesis or anything. To be fair, the really lousy Catwoman and Elektra movies haven't hurt the comics or characters, near as I can tell...though it's not as if anyone's been interested in Elektra since Frank Miller last worked on her comics, anyway.*

3. "Dolphins FB Barnes in comic-book game"

"[Darian] Barnes, 25, started Twilight Press Unlimited, a comic-book publishing company, this year with former Cowboys teammate Richie Anderson and friend Joshua Goldfond. [...] Might we see a Dolphins comic book?

"'I sincerely doubt it, because no one wants to read a comic book about football players,' Barnes said. 'We're really not that interesting.'"

(Case in point....)

* [EDIT] I just focused on movies screwing up comic characters, but Nik from Spatula Forum brought up the point that a character being tied in the public's mind to some horrible, public tragedy would also do the trick. Say, a serial killer who uses some aspect of Wolverine as a "gimmick," the media dubs him the "Wolverine Killer," and there you go.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday at the store, I referred to
Chuck Norris as "America's #1 American," and no one dared to argue the point.

Anyway, I missed the usual new DC Comics solicitation rundown, but that's fine...read pal Dorian for a good overview of what DC's up to. I am apparently balancing out Dor's distaste for Jimmy Olsen with my overwhelming joy at a Showcase Presents the Superman Family volume, which is predominantly Jimmy, with one Lois Lane story. I'm presuming that the stories are arranged in such a fashion to maintain chronological publication order, but just one Lois story is a little annoying. Well, later volumes will have a better mix of stories, if my presumption is correct.

And in regards to the new Blue Beetle series...heed well my prediction from back in October.

As to some of the new releases:

Omega the Unknown Classic trade paperback - goodness, $29.99 for a paperback this thin? I'm assuming it's because 1) it looks like it's been recolored, and 2) it probably had a print run of about a dozen copies. Well, it is prime Steve Gerber, but oy, the price point.

The second issue of Local is out in stores...I reviewed #1 way back when, and haven't had a chance to read #2 yet. Looks good, though.

Firestorm #20 - Hoo boy, I wonder how many letters they're going to get from the anti-evolutionists.

Best of the Spirit TPB - If you've never read any Spirit, now's your chance. It's only $14.99 for a fistful of classic material. I am surprised, however, that there's no disclaimer in the book explaining Ebony's appearance for the uninitiated (unless Neil Gaiman covers it in his introduction, or I missed it otherwise).

X-Factor #1 - Hopefully this will go better than Peter David's return to the Hulk, which was completely derailed by a multi-issue tie-in to an X-Men crossover. X-Factor does spin off from current goings-on in the X-books, but you really don't need to know much more than "a whole lotta mutants lost their powers." There, I caught you up. Now you can enjoy that rarity of rarities...a good X-comic.

Little Lulu Vol. 7 - If you aren't already buying these, then I don't know if there's anything I can say to convince you to pick 'em up. It's just plain good comic-booking. Buy four fewer Marvel reprin...er, "Special Variant Editions" and buy this instead.

I did get a chance to read Fused Tales from BOOM! Studios, since those folks were nice enough to send me a review copy. Which is a good thing, too, since I had tried out the original Fused series, but gave up on it once the art team changed one too many times, finally driving me away with some near-incomprehensible painted art. I found the initial concept interesting, though it's one we've all seen a million times before in comics: guy trapped in costume/deformed body/what have you and can't get out, now must deal with his new circumstances. The Thing, Swamp Thing, Concrete, Blue Devil, et cetera, et cetera...I'm a fan of all these characters, which probably says something about my own psychology, but had me favorably inclined to the Fused title. Which is why I'm glad I got the review copy...since I'd pretty much given up on Fused, it's unlikely I would have even looked at Fused Tales. It's an anthology book, with three different artists, and while the stories are mostly self-contained, there is a running subplot regarding the lead character's ongoing evolution as a man merged with machine...in particular, the machine half's continual degradation. The artwork is clear and easy to follow (much more so than the art that got me to drop the book in the first place), and the characterization is nicely played. I particularly like the fact that the spouse has bailed...a refreshing change from the usual heroic "I'll stick with you through thick and thin" response we generally see in these sorts of comic-booky situations. I'm assuming that there will be a follow-up, since the book ends on a cliffhanger-y note...don't leave me high and dry now that I've been pulled back in!

Oh, and that other Boom! Studios book I reviewed, Zombie Tales: Death Valley? It's out now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Never "Chuck." Never "Norris." Only "Chuck Norris." 

Have you not had enough Chuck Norris? Then hie thee hither to Invincible Super-Blog for more Chuck Norris.

Did I mention that my post on Chuck Norris caused a certain unnamed longtime customer and reader of this here weblog to rush into our store and purchase a full run of Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos? It's true. Such is the power of...Chuck Norris.

"Fistface" is particularly upsetting. 

from Madballs #4 (June 1987) by Michael Gallegher, Howard Post & Roberta Edelman

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Maps and parodies. 

Just a reminder...add yourself to my Frappr map and show me where you're located. I promise I probably won't come to your house and invite myself to dinner. Please feel free to plug your non-poker, non-viagra websites in the "shoutout" section as well!

Now, from yesterday morning's post...I was in bit of a rush, so I didn't do the usual attributions that I try to put on all my panel scans (and I'm in a rush again today...Christmastime, feh), but I do want to note that the last panel was indeed from Marvel Comics' Power Pachyderms. As commenter Bill said, it was originally announced with a title that made it sound more like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off/parody that it was. However, as I recall, it had been delayed several times, and by the time it came out, the heyday of TMNT parodies and parodies of TMNT parodies was pretty much over.

Commenter Thorpe wonders if there was a fanzine at the time that listed all the b&w parody books from that period. I don't recall an actual title listing, but Amazing Heroes, for a few months, ran a continuing count of the number of parody books afflicting the marketplace. Not that they were all bad...Boris the Bear was pretty good, and I'll fight any man who dares to malign Mark Martin's Gnatrat.

Any other b&w parody books from that period that are worth noting (i.e. not an abomination)?

Monday, December 12, 2005


...add yourself to my Frappr map! Lemme see where y'all are coming from!


Well, I have to go out and be a good consumer today, hunting and gathering some Christmas presents, so you get...Panel-palooza, a selection of random images from comics I've come across recently.

That pic up there isn't a story panel, but rather an ad from the back pages of The Bushido Blade of Zatoichi Walrus #1. By "Not a TMNT ripoff," they mean "we are totally riding that Ninja Turtle bandwagon." Those Crazy-Peckers is a absolutely fantastic title, however. Don't forget the hyphen!

From Outsiders #28, the team takes advantage of Major Disaster's Green Lantern phobia by casting an illusion over Geoforce to make him appear to MD as GL:

"Doing impressions" is apparently not part of Geoforce's vast array of superpowers.

This next panel, from Angel Love #1, was actually one of the panels used in DC Comics house ads pushing the series:

There are an alarming number of panels in this series where a character looks straight out at the reader (sometimes zoomed in right on the eyeballs) and shouts something in alarm or surprise.

Oh, if I had a dime for every time I've had to say this to pal Dorian:

...I'd have 37 cents.

You know, facing the fury of Marvel Boy doesn't terrify me in the slightest, for some reason.

Don't ask.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

From the comments section for the
Newsarama story on Warren Ellis' New Universe revival:

"I honestly can't tell the difference between 'Fell,' 'Desolation Jones' and 'Down.'

"They're all in color and have staples in the spine. They're exactly alike!"

Anyway, I think Ellis' take on the New Universe could be interesting...the original NU was always more interesting in concept than execution. I remember reading a preview in Amazing Heroes and thinking D.P. 7 sounded like a lot of fun...but not exactly caring for the actual book once it came out. Star Brand was probably the best of the bunch, with Jim Shooter's "what if Superman really existed" storylines...not quite at Watchmen, Miracleman, or even Squadron Surpreme-levels, but not too shabby, either.

Once newuniversal, as the revival series is called, gets underway, prepare yourself for the outcry from the half-dozen surviving New Universe purists about how Ellis is ruining "their" characters. You can already see a bit of it starting in that Newsarama discussion.

In other news:

"Hey, hoser, gone shopping yet?" - trying to recreate the gifts from Bob & Doug McKenzie's "12 Days of Christmas" --

"Eighth day: eight comic books. Since many comics like The Simpsons weren't around when the album was produced, [we] decided Archie Digest is a brand of comic that would have Bob and Doug laughing so hard, beer would be shooting out of their noses."

"Westerns gallop back into the picture"

"[Jonah] Hex stretched beyond his boundaries and appeared, not always appropriately, in comics featuring the Justice League, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Swamp Thing and Green Lantern. Then there was the two-year stretch in the mid-1980s when he became a hero in the Earth's far future. Fortunately, he eventually was put back where he belonged."

"Anti-cape crusade"

"Superheroes such as Spider-Man and Superman are being banned from pre-schools because they make the children more rowdy.

"...Almost all of the children who seemed to be involved in the rough play were into Spider-Man and Batman and the Ninja Turtles."

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?