mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's a Birthday, with Dr. Saavedra! 

Happy birthday to that swell cat, Scott Saavedra, who's, what, 21, 22 now? Something like that.

Anyway, good wishes to you, sir!

That's jake with me. 

Doris Nelson: Atomic Housewife #1 (August 1996) - art by James M. Anderson

This, by the way, is the greatest comic company name/logo of all time:

Friday, February 03, 2006

The post that should have gone up this morning. 

My condolences to the family and friends of Seth Fisher, who left us too soon.

More new comic day notes, before I forget:

The Fogel's Underground Comix Price Guide is finally out...the first thorough price guide for underground and adult comix since the nearly quarter-century old Jay Kennedy guide. Flipping through it, I can see that they've attempted to include more recent titles ignored by Overstreet...the Eros Comix titles, for example, and some Drawn & Quarterly books. An interesting touch is, along with the standard Good/Fine/Mint pricing columns for each title, the inclusion of a "Highest Realized Price" column that notes the highest price a certain comic may have achieved in, say, an online auction or other sale, usually far in excess of the "Mint" price. (I wonder if any of our UG auctions on the eBay made it into this book?)

I kinda wish it didn't have the mostly-nekkid girl on the cover, though...makes it tough to rack. I suppose I could order the Odd Bodkins variant cover, but the $39.95 price tag on the variation is a bit dear...$29.95 for the regular edition is high enough.

Hellboy: Makoma #1 - It's nice to finally have a Hellboy story that isn't filled with footnotes and references to previous Hellboy comics. There are footnotes, but they're explanatory, not pointers to previous funnybooks.

Thunderbolt Jaxon #1 - I know pal Dorian has said that the publishing of these revivals of old British superheroes is probably an attempt on DC's part to keep Alan Moore happy...but I was wondering if, maybe, some small incentive for publishing these titles is the hope that one of them will turn out to be yet another Miracleman (a previous British superhero revival that achieved some small measure of renown). Just a random, barely-supported thought.

Green Lantern #8 Neal Adams variant cover - Oh goodness, that's not a good drawing. Okay, I mean, technically, it's fine, I guess...I think the (presumed) editorial direction had more to do with its inherent creepiness than any of Mr. Adams' artistic ability. "Okay, they have to be struggling with the evil plant creature, but they have to look happy while they're struggling...." The big grins on GL's and GA's faces just plain disturb me.

Welcome to Heaven, Dr. Franklin is a story by William Messner-Loebs (originally serialized in Cerebus many years ago) about Benjamin Franklin's experiences in the afterlife. Bizarre, funny, and highly recommended...follow that link for a sample of the artwork. I didn't pick it up myself, since I already have the story, but I've managed to hand-sell a few copies of this at the shop to some likely suspects.

Marvel Romance - So I was looking at this reprint of "classic" Marvel romance comics, when this idea popped, fully formed, into my twisted little mind.

"The Marvel Comics Romance Podcast," starring Stan Lee.

I want to hear Stan Lee reading his own romance comics aloud, particularly the ones told from the first person perspective of the female lead. To hear Lee say something along the lines of "Why doesn't Johnny love me? Why? Why?" would be a little bit like heaven.

Just spotted this interview with Steven Grant on a DVD review site...mostly about his work on the Punisher, but hits a couple other topics as well. Interesting reading. (Though, just to check, I went to his Comic Book Resources column and saw that he plugged it there, so you probably already know about it. Ah, well.)

I'm kind of behind schedule this morning... 

...so I'll just leave you with a question:

Who would win in a fight: the Silver Twist or the Green Glob?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

New comics day 

Aquaman #39:

Pal Corey: "So does Aquaman still have his hand made from magical water?"

Me: "Yes, as far as I know...it looks like he's just wearing his glove over the hand in this new issue."

C: "They never did fully use Aquaman's water hand."

Me: "'Hey! I'm my own bidet!'"

ABC A-Z Terra Obscura & Splash Brannigan - This is probably more what people were expecting when this project was first announced...images of characters with accompanying text pieces, like Marvel Universe or DC's Who's Who. However, it wouldn't be an Alan Moore-related project without some kind of production error, and there appears to be one in this comic as well. If you look at the left side of the centerspread, you'll notice a big empty white space right above two character images...a space where two short text pieces were probably supposed to go. Oops. Otherwise, I quite enjoyed this particular comic...but then, I was one of the dozen people that apparently really liked the Terra Obscura series, so your own mileage may vary.

Buffy Magazine#23: "In this issue, we catch up with [any given actor/actress from Buffy or Angel] and ask [him/her] what's been going on since leaving the series."

Actor/actress: "Well, I'm doing okay...I just wish I wouldn't keep getting bothered every few months about doing interviews with fan magazines based around a property I haven't been involved with for three years now."

Why Mike and pal Dorian are stupid, Chapter One:

Introduction - media magazines like those for Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, and so on, come published with two covers. One is intended for newsstands, and the other is a "Previews Exclusive" edition, with a different cover, that is sold only through specialty shops. In the past, we've ordered equal numbers on both covers for our store, and sometimes one cover variant of a magazine will be shorted, leaving us to wonder which cover it is we actually received. It's not indicated in the magazine itself, the solicitation information, or on the invoice. There was absolutely no way to tell...until realization finally dawned today after calling in several shortages of this type to Diamond, and I afterward had this exchange to Dorian, who was there to get his funnybook fix:

M: "Hey, you know how we used to have trouble telling the Previews Exclusive cover from the regular cover?"

D: "Right."

M: "Well, we were shorted on one of the covers for both Lost and Buffy, but looking at the Battlestar Galactica magazines we got, it suddenly dawned on me that the newsstand cover is probably the one...with the UPC CODE. The Previews cover has none...at least, that's what the situation appears to be with the Galactica mags."

D: (slaps head) "And it took us how many years to figure this out?"

Don't let Mike talk to the customers:

Customer: "Hey, is this series any good? It's written by Jeph Loeb."*

M: "Well, I haven't read that particular comic, but the man did bring us Teen Wolf."

Customer: [purchases comic]

(Okay, maybe I should be allowed to talk to the customers....)

* Yeah, yeah, I know, "he answered his own question." Quiet, you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Comics on TV. 

From the February 6-12 2006 edition of TV Guide:

That's from the full-page ad...here's the listing from the "Highlights" page for Wednesday (2/8):

"Bones uses her own superpowers to analyze the killing of a comic-book geek in another case of a troubled kid that the forensics freak feels a connection to."

So either this will be another exaggerated, stereotyped portrayal of a comic book fan...or it will be a dead-on portrayal of a certain type of comic book fan. Either way, look to your favorite comics message board for much wailing and rending of garments after this airs...particularly if it hits too close to home for some folks.

(Actually, I've never seen this Bones show...any good?)

For more educational viewing, tune in to your local PBS station Sunday night (2/12) for Nature:

"Peter Parker could learn a thing or two about arachnids from aficionado Martin Nicholas, who chats with Spider-Man creator Stan Lee about spiders' abilities...."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Holy cats. 

So that Rudy in Hollywood book I was talking about this morning? The one I won off the eBay? The auction ended Sunday night, I paid for it shortly after...

...and, when I came home from work this evening, the book was waiting in my mailbox.

It was shipped out from Illinois on Monday via media mail, and it arrived today.

I didn't even think that was physically possible. I can't even get stuff mailed across town this fast. I mean, talk about having the wind at your back. My mind is blown.

Special thanks to Milo for not getting into a bidding war with me over this book. A kind gesture, sir.

A review of this book will be forthcoming.

Happy National Gorilla Suit Day! 

Okay, it's not about a gorilla, but I am finally the proud owner of Rudy in Hollywood, the only collection of William Overgard's short-lived, highly regarded, and mostly forgotten comic strip about the talking chimpanzee trying to make a showbiz comeback. (I've discussed it previously here.) I managed to snap it up for under four bucks, plus another four for shipping...so it cost me less than eight bucks to get a copy of a book I've been trying to find, on and off, for the better part of two decades. Sorta anticlimatic, when it's put that way.

Also, I'm not quite the proud owner just yet...I only won the auction on the eBay a couple days ago, so with any luck it should be in the tender mercies of the post office right now, winging its way to my waiting mail receptacle. Er, yeah.

However, I do believe I have an actual comics-related gorilla suit story to share with you. Former coworker Rob, pal Fred, and I all piled into Fred's car one Saturday morning in the mid-90s, and drove up to San Jose for the second Alternative Press Expo.

We were at the convention pretty much from the moment it opened until they turned off the lights and kicked us out, but we did take the occasional break from the APE convention to wander the streets of San Jose and take in the sights. As we were leaving the convention hall on one of these breaks, we ran into the convention mascot...a fellow, wearing a gorilla suit, who was wearing a convention t-shirt over that. Well, by God, I needed to have a picture taken with this gorilla-suited gentleman, and, arm in arm, he and I posed for a picture. Afterward, we bid our tearful goodbyes to our gorilla-suited friend, and continued on with our comics-filled day.

Alas, there is a sad ending to this tale, as back in the old days, cameras used to use this thing called "film" that some of you younger folks may not be familiar with, and the problem with film is that, sometimes, it doesn't always develop properly. Thus am I left with only my fond memories of that day, with no photographic proof of the event.

And that is my only comics-related gorilla suit story, as brief and sad, and mostly pointless, as it was.

Happy National Gorilla Suit Day.

Special thanks to The Ferrett for his timely reminder of National Gorilla Suit Day. Be sure to check out his new webcomic (with artist Veronica Pare) Home on The Strange.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Three super-heroine links. 

"ALL-STAR COMICS#58-1ST POWER GIRL-JSA REVIVAL-1976-HOT!" - Complete with lots of illustrations (and a photo) of Power Girl that aren't from the comic, just so you know who the seller is talking about.

Wonder Woman cake!

A tall and disturbing Spider-Woman.

Special "Mike Is Sick" Edition. 

I'm all congested and yucky and stuff, so here is just some random material I'm tossing your way before I crawl back into bed:

1. Dara compares and contrasts a good Swamp Thing cover with a bad Swamp Thing cover.


3. Happy birthday to Fred Hembeck!

4. "It's now official.NO GAMBIT IN X3"

"What, they can cast halle berry and james marsden but not someone to play gambit? Please..."

"Is it that hard to stick a guy in a trench coat and give him a pack of cards?"

"That's SH*T! He's too hot not to be in it!"

"at least if X3 sucks we can say 'X3 would have be cool if Gambit was in it'"

"I think this only proves Fox doesn't want to please the fans.They only want to push Wovlerine."

"Lets realy hope so.If he's not in X4 then we need to deystroy Fox."

"maybe we can make our own movie!!!! and make lots of money ^^ then they'll be sry..."

"I think if I had to listen to five minutes of that faggish accent I would ****ing kill myself. He made the cartoon almost apinful to watch."

"Its true I do hate Gambit. Hes number 3 of my most disliked comic book characters. But seeing as this thread is mostly full of those who like him I'll keep my negative commetns to myself."

"gambit's cajun-ness simply cannot be ignored! his TRADEMARK is his accent!"

"He will be in X-Men 4."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

And perhaps, now, I can retire from the meme in peace. 

Well, I think as these "meme" fads go, pal Dorian's is one of the best. It's a weird mix of commentary, comedy, appreciation, and mockery that's been (mostly) good-natured and fun to look at. So kudos to Dor for cooking it up, whether he meant to or not!

Like I said this morning, as fun as it is, I gotta cut myself off or this is going to end up being all that I do. But, before I let it go...here are a last few shots. These first two are by yours truly:

Kevin, a customer of mine, asked me if I would make this next one for him. Hey, don't look at me, I'm a "lefty blog," remember:

This next one is a contribution from reader Luke McB., who captures the feeling evoked by this particular Alex Ross image perfectly:

The next two are from reader John L.:

And I wanted to end with this one, also from John L., because everybody loves MODOK:

Believe you me, I could have kept going. I wanted to do "Spider-Man...doesn't appreciate irony," but I couldn't find a picture of Spidey being attacked by spiders that I liked. Employee Nathan suggested "Darth Vader...finds your lack of faith disturbing," which is brilliant. I also wanted to do "Daredevil...just doesn't see what the problem is," because apparently I like to make fun of blind people. Oh, and "Message boarders...are apparently allergic to hosting their own freaking images," as I believe many of us have discovered during this particular meme.

At any rate, it's been fun, and I look forward to seeing what other "affirmation banners" (or whatever the heck you want to call them) you folks cook up. Keep checking here for future entries...at least until Dorian can no longer keep up with them. I don't know how he's managed so far!

Sunday morn misc. 

"A wedding fit for superheroes"

"'Louise had always dreamed of getting married dressed as Wonderwoman....'"

"[The chapel's] proprietor said they were the best costumes they had seen in the chapel's 40 year history."

So what's up with Iceman back issue sales, lately? Not just the 1984 series by DeMatteis 'n' Kupperberg, but this 2001/2 "Icons" series as well. Every time I check our X-Men back issue bins for restocking, we've sold out yet again of both these series. I'm trying to think of an "Iceman's hot!" joke, but nothing's really coming to me.

Is it just our store, or is it nationwide? Is the public demanding their Iceman comics, after the character's star turn in the X-Men films?

Hey, if you wanted to participate in pal Dorian's "meme" but didn't have your own website or weblog or anywhere else to host your image, send it my way and I'll post it for you tonight. I'm only going to participate in the meme one more time before retiring from it. I have to retire from it, because the temptation is to do nothing but these things, and as fun as they are, I need to move along.

So if you have one you want to share with the world, get it to me by 6 PM Pacific time tonight (send it to mikester (at) progressiveruin (dot) com), and I'll get it posted for you. (I reserve the right to not post a banner if I decide it's not something I want on my site, for whatever reason. Yeah, I know, I'm a jerk.)

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