mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Oh, the irony. 

from Justice League of America #162 (Jan 1979) by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin

You see, because Zatanna used her powers to mess with other people's memories in Identity Crisis, and now there's this whole brouhaha about it, and....

Oh, never mind.

Friday, February 10, 2006

"This is gonna be 'Street Fighter' for 2006" 

Ain't It Cool News sees a couple images from X-Men 3, hijinks ensue:

"This is gonna be 'Street Fighter' for 2006; I just hope nobody in the cast dies after it's released, with their role in this turkey-to-be as their last."

"It won't look as bad as that on screen."

"But hey, this instalment of X-Men looks completely comic book. Full to the seams with characters and too much plot and over the top."

"X3 may indeed suck but at least i'm not gonna prejudge the thing based on a couple of mediocre publicity stills."

"Superheroes are inherently stupid. And the movies need to reflect that fact."

"This movie is not gonna be terrible I mean, no one really knows anything about it, and it is one of those movies that, right now, is trendy to not like."

"I honestly think that Harry [Knowles] [...] is lieing to everyone and telling them that it is actually the way Colossus is going to look. HARRY, you're a journalist now, act like it!"

"Marvel is promising to screw up the amazing Hellfire club story to the same extent they blew the Daredevil-Electra-Bullseye story."

"geez u people are talking as if the first two xmen movies were like the first star wars and empire strikes back. They were above average at best. Their costumes SUCKED!!"

"I like the fact that these are for the most part real looking people with these powers. Only 'creatures' such as the Hulk, or Beast, should be altered. I think it's going to be a fun movie. You people all suck."

POW! BAM! ZAP! Comics in the news! 

"Marvel's new Spidey suit sure to fall flat with fans"
"Marvel is called the 'House of Ideas,' but the same ideas, which are obviously being used over and over, are getting pretty boring."

"French comic ribs Islamists and wins Muslim praise"
"[French Muslim Council] head Dalil Boubakeur praised its portrayal of arcane theological disputes in Islam as accurate and amusing."

"Quintessentially different"
"'Graphic novel,' as a term, is an American contribution [...] - as is the notion that comic books were written for only a juvenile audience."

"...It can be roughly defined as a book that will still be considered a novel if converted to plain text format."

"Etown's very own 'Superman'"

"If you could be any superhero, who would you be?
I want to be Superman. He can fly and that's awesome."

"SFist Looks With Dread to the East"

"Replace Minas Morgul with the Moscone Center, the Witch King with Kevin Smith, and put a 'd' in front of 'orcs,' and you've got WonderCon 2006. It's coming this weekend, and you can almost smell the protective plastic bags and acne medication in the air."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Follow-ups, mess-ups, and, um, comic-ups. 

Two follow-ups from previous posts:

If you want to see actual photos of the Marvel mood rings shown in the advertisement I posted yesterday, hie thee hither to This Is Pop and drink in the beauty.

And the episode of Bones I talked about a week ago aired last night...didn't see it, alas, but House of L did. Anyone else catch it?

New comics day...and guess whose store was shorted all their copies of Star Wars Empire, Ghost Rider, Teen Titans, Jeremiah Harm, JSA, Blade of the Immortal, Casefiles Sam and Twitch, and Invincible? Why, that would be our store! Yay! Fortunately, Diamond is sending out replacement copies for all these (well, except Jeremiah Harm, which went to back order) in an emergency shipment that hopefully will be at the store today, but more likely will be here on Friday.

Grrr...that really cheeses my crackers, I'll tell you what.

Anyway, let's talk about the new books that did arrive, and maybe quell my raging anger:

Hey, if you're at your local comicks shoppe and you see someone buying all nineteen X-Men titles that came out this week, pull 'em aside and tell him or her (ha, just kidding, it'll be a "him") to put a couple back and buy something good for once. And that "something good?" Why, that would be Tales Designed to Thrizzle #2, of course. Take a gander at the cover here. Now I've been trying to come up with some kind of pithy description of the book to entice you into buying it ("an extended-narrative Far Side," "retro-weirdo comics...from the future") but as you can tell from my examples, I suck at it. It's just plain weird, imaginative, and puzzling fun. And you're not going to experience a phrase like "we've had to move out of our house because of Baby Poop 'n' Tell" in that new issue of X-Men Unlimited, I bet.

Little Lulu Vol. 8: Late for School - I can't believe we're already up to eight volumes in this series. And, no, I haven't read it yet, but the past seven have been nothing short of excellent, and I have no reason to believe this new volume won't measure up. This is 250 pages of classic cartooning for a bargain price, and if you don't like Little Lulu, you can't be my friend. So there.

Fables #46 - Now, I loves me the Fables...myths, fairy tales, folklore, that's all stuff I've had a lifelong interest in, and having a comic book based around these subjects is right up my alley. Fables is one of those comics I look forward to the most each month. Aaaaand if you're waiting for a "but" to pop up in this paragraph, here it is: but, I really really really hate it when they use the "cursive" or "handwriting" font in the captions. Now I know Fables isn't the only book to use this font...I think it just annoys me more when Fables does it because I like the book so much, but I don't want to try to read that horrible typeface. Feh. (Yeah, I know, "boo hoo, Mike's aging eyes can't read a comic book caption.")

Spike: Old Wounds - Um, yeah, I like the Spike character and all, and his appearances in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel shows are usually the best parts of those series...but this comic isn't really all that great. The art is by the same artist that worked on the previous Spike: Old Times one-shot (which I spoke about way back when), and, like I said then, the panels seem sparse and empty, and anything that isn't a photo reference (actors' faces, or backgrounds, or cars) looks amateurish. In fact, in some of the panels it almost looks like photostats of the actors' faces are just pasted onto the artwork, and the disparity between the detail on the face and the lack of detail everywhere else is distracting. I mean, it's not all bad...the story, involving Spike's possible involvement in the murder of the Black Dahlia back in the '40s, gives us a nice look at Spike's past, and the artist does have moments when he can manage to make the photo references of the actors look natural, which is admittedly tricky. And the cover is nice. Overall, though...probably best for hardcore Buffyverse fans, though I don't know who else would be buying it anyway.

Jeremiah Harm #1 - I realize I said we didn't get 'em yet, but it just so happens I have a review copy here...the art by Rael Lyra is very detailed and nicely done (see it here), and, along with writers Alan Grant and Keith Giffen, does a good job in presenting an alien society that feels weird and "alien-y," while still keeping grounded enough for we humans to relate to the situation. And that situation, in a nutshell...a group of bad aliens bust out of space prison, the the only way to get 'em back is to set free an even badder prisoner...the titular Jeremiah Harm, bounty hunter...from Earth. To be honest, aside from the excellent art, the story didn't grab me at first, and I began to see Harm as a "Lobo-lite" -- only natural, given Giffen and Grant's involvement -- but once I read Harm's dark-humored exchange with an informant at the end of the book (which, I guess, is sorta Lobo-like anyway), and given the interesting conflict Harm finds himself with regarding where the escapees end up, I find myself looking forward to the next installment.

Incredible Hulk #92 - Holy frijole, this "Planet Hulk" storyline is going to take a year? (And is anyone else reminded slightly of the "let's dump the Hulk at the interdimensional crossroads where he can't hurt anybody" storyline from about twenty years ago?) An interesting bit of business that I didn't realize...a forthcoming Giant-Size Hulk comic, while tying into the "Planet Hulk" stuff with a new story, will also contain a full reprint of the sold-out and still in demand Peter David/Dale Keown Hulk: The End. Wow, it's about damned time.

Showcase Presents House of Mystery TPB - Several hundred pages of horror comics by Alex Toth, Gil Kane, Bernie Wrightson, Sergio Aragones, Neal Adams...if you like comic book art at all, you need to have this book. And the first person to complain "b-b-but it's in black and white" is going to get such a pinch.

Supergirl #4 - I'm still not buying this title after being burned by the extremely poor first issue, though a quick glance through this new issue seems to show some improvement. However, I am enjoying these Silver Age tribute covers (you can see the Supergirl one here, though the final printed version has Supergirl in all black with silver highlights). If only the inside of the book were more like that.

Conan Limited Variant Cover #24 - This is the one where the lady that was wearing the bikini top on the regular cover is now, gasp, topless. Oh, look, nipples. How shocking...will the Union stand?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Mysterious!!! Disappearing!!! It's Magic!!!" 

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I just sat here for a couple minutes trying to come up with a title for this post, until I realized what I was doing. 

Not that you need me to point out something on Newsarama, but this Mike Parobeck retrospective on the tenth anniversary of his death is a must-read. Parobeck was one of my favorite cartoonists...I was going to say "at the time," but he remains one of my favorite comic book artists, and his loss was a great one.

I also learned on Newsarama (among other sources) about the "Man of Miracles" figure in a forthcoming Spawn toyline. Looks like Todd McFarlane is continuing his quest to muddy up the issues regarding ownership of the Marvelman/Miracleman character. Oy.

I went to pull some choice quotes from the Spawn message board thread regarding this particular figure line, but the proliferation of giant signature images completely shut my brain down. Particularly the CGI dancing anime girl. What th--?

Well, here are a few comments regarding "Man of Miracles," anyway:

"Man of Miracles looks nothing like he did in the comic... what a jip. He still rocks."

"I AM SO BUYING MAN OF MIRACLES!!!! Obviously, it is Miracleman, just however McF managed to reimagine him so he could use him... But I will get that one, as it's the closest thing I will likely ever get to an actual Miracleman figure"

"I think that the idea of Man of Miracles being an updated Miracle Man.
is too cool. I dig the updated uniform and do not care that it it not
comic accurate."

"Man of Miracles: Boring. The comic version would have been a cool figure, he needs the face tatoos if nothing else."

"MoM: Not good and will still be on toy shelves in 2007."

"I am so friggin' tired of Todd's random obsession with this lame character and his annoyingly proliferated need to use it regardless of infringing ownership rights."

"I know that another company is releasing old Miracleman comics, so I would take that as a sign that Todd doesn not have the comic rights for Miracleman. However, by the statue and 3" figure, we know that he does have the figure rights. So, he looks different in the comic because he can't look like or be Miracleman, but this series presented Todd with the opportunity to make a Miracleman figure, to which he has the rights."

To follow up on a previous post, Chris "Lefty" Brown's weblog can now be found at leftybrown.blogspot.com...at least until the situation with his former web address is cleared up.

As long as I'm pointing to past posts, I tried desperately to find something substantial online regarding the Olivia Newton-John and (I believe) Dino De Laurentiis Silver Surfer film project for yesterday's post. There is a brief mention in the Comics Journal thing I linked, but I was hoping to find a little more on the topic. Of course, there may not be more, aside from "well, we were going to make this movie until realized it was a lot of money for something that was going to be a flop, so we gave up." Ah, well. I just wanted to bring it up in case some of you didn't know such a thing had actually almost come to pass.

The newest installment of Mike Sterling's Behind the Counter is now up at Comic Book Galaxy, where I lead off with one of my favorite puzzling back issue stories. Enjoy, won't you?

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Silver Surfer is stupid. 

I mean, c'mon. It's a guy, who's silver from head to toe, who rides a surfboard...through space, and all the while belting out Shakespearean-esque monologues. There is no possible way this idea should work...and yet, not only do most comic fans take this creation of Jack Kirby in stride, but the Silver Surfer is one of those few characters whose image has been embraced by folks in the "real" world as well...even being name-checked in films like Richard Gere's Breathless and in a well-known scene, written by Quentin Tarantino, from Crimson Tide. There's just something about the iconic presence of the character, an elegant figure riding his board through the stars, that appeals to people, whether they're aware of his four-color origins or not.

There have been other silly sports/recreation inspired comic book characters, like outer-space hockey goalie Gaard, or Kirby's embodiment of death-on-skis, the Black Racer...why we didn't get the Hoopster, with his cosmic powered slam-dunk of destruction, or Zamboni-Prime, the mighty shape-shifting robot that travels from planet to planet, resurfacing ice at their poles, I can't imagine.

But the Silver Surfer, as goofy an idea as he apparently is, has stuck around for forty years now, ever since Kirby snuck him into the artwork for the March 1966 issue of Fantastic Four. Not only stuck around, but has managed to maintain a measure of fondness from the character's fans, including yours truly.

Even if he is kind of silly-looking.

Additional linkage:

This article discusses the origins of the Silver Surfer, and compares and contrasts Kirby's take on the character with Lee's. Lots of original pencil work is presented.

A short bio on the Surfer.

Here's an authorized Marvel fan site for the character, featuring fan fiction for your enjoyment.

The "oldest continuously running Silver Surfer forum on the internet."

An old page with some Surfer images and related links.

Another Silver Surfer page, with an extensive collection of original comic art.

The Jack Kirby Comics weblog looks at issue #18 of the original series, as well as the 1970s graphic novel.

Remember the Silver Surfer animated series? Well, refresh your memory with this page devoted to the show.

A collection of links regarding a possible Surfer film. And here's an old rumor about the Rock starring as the Surfer. (Also mentions a Scorpion King 2, which is about as likely as an X-men 4.)

A brief animation showing the Surfer zipping through space. Warning: techno music.

Steve Englehart talks a bit about his work on the character.

Reviews of a few Silver Surfer graphic novels and trade paperbacks.

Here's a painted and assembled '89 Horizon model kit.

This desktop image features the Surfer flying off the cover of his first issue. Neat.

Another computer generated image.

A summary of the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer team-up.

Silver Surfer versus the Pepsi Duck.

Silver Surfer makes an appearance on the cover of this Joe Satriani album.

From my all-time favorite message board, Killer Movies, comes this "silver surfer vs ghostrider" discussion:

"you think silver surfer is better at surfing then ghost rider doing stunts ?
thats how ghostrider got killed and became a ghost is from killing himself doing a stunt. so yes i think ghost rider is better doing stunts then silver surfer surfing."

"your wrong about that the penance stair can hurt surfer because he is not insane and he has hurt alot of people in the past thats what sucks about being a harald of big G you got like billions of deaths on your head and Surfer does have that he has caused pain and thus he is even more vunreable to the penance stair and for your info the stair was used on galactus himself almost killing him you think surfer would do any better?"

"Hmmmmmm , surfer does have a board , which indicates that he could possibly surf/snowboard...but GR has a motorcycle made from hellfire.....which is badass.......damn this is a difficult choice "

Here's the Marvel Legends Silver Surfer action figure, which is packaged with Howard the Duck, for some reason. Yes, I have one...I got it for the duck. A more extensive review may be found here.

On a related note, here are a bunch of bootleg Surfer toys. Enjoy "The Star Surfer."

Some neat Surfer statues -- I like the one with Galactus' hand.

Screenshots from the Silver Surfer video game.

This excerpt from Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book (by Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon) mentions Stan Lee's proposed treatment for a Surfer movie (fourth paragraph from the end).

Mag nit-picks some boastful claims made about the Surfer.

Silver Surfer: The Lost Adventure - a cancelled project by Jean-Marc Lofficier and J.O. Ladronn.

Some British company tried to register the name "Silver Surfer" for clothing and toys lines, to which Marvel had a minor objection. Here's a very brief summary of the ruling in Marvel's favor, but you really should download the PDF file to see the huge list of products that Marvel had licensed the Surfer for. (Ear muffs?)

Links to three CGI Surfer images.

The Silver Surfer limited edition Heroclix figure.

An article about a Silver Surfer story that appeared only in France.

Another "versus" disussion, this time involving Superman versus the Surfer. "Surfer's far more powerful, Supes is a better fighter. The one thing you don't want to do though is piss off the Silver Surfer. If Supes angers the surfer at all, he's toast." There's seven pages of stuff like that. Fantastic.

Silver Surfer Funny Club. Well, that's what it says.

I'll let YTMND.com wrap it all up.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday evening misc. 

Boy, you don't often see ads like this (from the back cover of a '70s Marvel) for children's toys nowadays:

"Hey, kids...Satan thinks these model cars are great, and you will too!"

So a couple years back, Dave introduced his convenient and essential comics weblog update tracker, which I immediately and sorta facetiously dubbed the "Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron 3000" -- for which Dave, I'm sure, has never forgiven me. (In truth, he comments on the name at the end of his FAQ.)

Just on a whim, I did a little Googling on that particular title, and got just shy of 17,000 matches. Most of which, of course, are links duplicated on multiple archive pages on the same weblog, and that doesn't count the various permutations of the name I've seen...but still, Dave, I'm sorry for saddling your great contribution to the Comicsweblogosphere with my smart-aleckiness.

Speaking of the weblogs, what happened to Chris "Lefty" Brown's site? Now there's some kinda empty weblog in its place. Is it just a glitch? Did he change web addresses? Did he quit his site and some else picked up the name? Was it (and I'm really hoping this isn't the case) stolen out from under him? Does anyone know what happened?

EDIT: Just followed a link from Eddie-torial Comments to one of Chris' archive pages, so those still appear to be up.

So long, Grandpa.

As seen in the Superman Returns trailer. 

"It's Clark Kent, Superstar"

"After three decades battling to save Earth, Superman has a new mission. This time he must brighten up religious education as a modern-day model of Jesus Christ.

"Religious education teachers are being urged to make use of the fictional hero to give children an insight into morality and religious thinking."

("Three decades?")

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