mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, April 08, 2006

And now...a special message from the life-sized Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite statue. 

"Hi! I'm the Life-Sized Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite statue...some of you longtime readers of this site may recall Mike, the proprietor of this site, referring to me as the Nerdiest Object Ever.

"However, Mike, while perusing the fine Bedazzled weblog, was introduced to a possible competitor for my hard-earned title...

"...life-sized replicas of the Robot from Lost in Space.

"There is one very important difference between the Robot replica and myself -- a difference that allows me to keep the Nerdiest Object Ever crown -- and that difference is features.

"The Robot can actually do stuff. Parts of the robot are animated, and it comes with a built-in sound library, with sound bytes from Richard Tufeld, the Robot's original voice. And, apparently, for an additional fee, you can get custom recordings from Tufeld as well.

"There is also a stereo input, so you can connect an external sound source and use the Robot as the world's most elaborate speaker system.

"What can I do? I can lean against a wall. Or be hung on a wall. I also come with a plaque that reads 'HAN SOLO IN CARBONITE' in case there's any question about what I am. I also come with one of those Certificates of Authenticity that don't really mean anything. I mean, what, someone's gonna forge a copy of me? C'mon.

"So, if you buy me, you get...me. A life-sized replica of Han Solo. Frozen in carbonite. I have no animated parts, no audio jacks. I just sit there and look at you. Well, grimace in pain at you, anyway. I only exist so that a Star Wars fan can own me, look at me, and think 'hey, I own something that looks like something from Star Wars!'

"And there you have it...the Lost in Space Robot replica is still not the Nerdiest Object Ever, since it has a function, however limited, beyond just being a fetishistic reminder of a piece of popular entertainment.

"Many try to take the title, but none ever surpass me. Such is my blessing -- and my curse -- as the Nerdiest Object Ever."

Friday, April 07, 2006

The post with no name. 

Just noticed that "I'm Chalk!" appears in the Wikipedia "Swamp Thing" entry (apparently first appearing as of the March 5, 2005 revision, far as I can tell).

I should fix the entry, since it isn't really a "text bubble" reading "I'm Chalk" on the package, but that would require "effort," and I'm tired.

(EDIT: It's been fixed for me...thanks, So-Called Austin Mayor!)

Witnessed in the last week:

  • Someone so incredibly excited about a particular new comic coming out that he actually does the "pee pee dance."

  • Someone asking me, in our store -- a store devoted to actually attempting to sell comic books -- where he could download scans of currently-released comics for free.

  • A gaggle of kids, presumably walking home from the nearby high school, enjoying their after-school smoke, shouting "NERDS!" into the store as they walk by. Ooh, boy, I've been put in my place, for certain.

So that Jack Chick random generator I linked a while back...the fellow what runs that site pointed out that he got linked by the Generator Blog...and following that link back, I see that the Generator Blog got the link from Sarcasmo's Corner, who got the link from Link Machine Go, who got the link from me in the first place.

Just found that amusing, is all.

Congrats to Mag 'n' H for the Comic Treadmill's 1000th post!

"No time for love, Dr. Jones..." 

...or for posting, so enjoy this YouTube link in lieu of actual content:

Well, it made me laugh, anyway....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In which Mike makes a weblog entry while in a bad mood. 

So we've gone from "Stephen King is gonna write comics!" to "Stephen King will perhaps be collaborating on comics with a creative partner" to "Leonard Nimoy's Primortals," it seems.

Okay, okay, don't get on my case...I'm not trying to sound so negative about it. That's more a comment on how the project's been presented/perceived than on the actual quality of the project itself (and I am the target audience for this, having read the Dark Tower series across the couple of decades it took to complete, and being a fan of Peter David's work as well). I do get the impression that King will be more involved in the Dark Tower comic than just having his people rubber-stamp "APPROVED" or "NOT APPROVED" on submitted ideas.

But the progression of hype and news around this project does come this close to feeling like, say, Dark Horse announcing twenty years ago that George Lucas was going to be writing Star Wars comics for them, only to end up having all the scripts just run by Lucasfilm for approval instead.

And come to think of it...did Marvel ever actually say that King was going to write for them, or did they just hint heavily at it and let all the news sites and message boards and weblogs fill in the blanks for themselves?

So some new comics came out this week, I guess:

Infinite Crisis #6 - Swamp Thing cameo. Really, that's all you need to know. Oh, and Stanley and his Monster show up, too. There, that's two things you should know. Or three, if you count Stanley and the Monster separately.

Overstreet Price Guide #36 - House of Secrets #92 is up to $900! Woo hoo!

Moon Knight #1 - To hear a number of my customers talk about this comic, you'd think that every Moon Knight series ever published would have outsold the Bible. Where'd this love for Moon Knight come from? I mean, I know people liked the issues Bill Sienkiewicz drew way back when, but since then? Okay, there was that brief moment when people, desperate to invest in something, latched onto the S. Platt issues, but that bump in demand died out years ago.

Tick Days of Drama #5 - You know, I'm beginning to get the feeling that Ben Edlund may not be coming back to draw Tick comics.

Hell in a Handbasket by Tom Tomorrow - best thing out this week. Man, I loves me the Tom Tomorrow.

Book of Lost Souls #6 - I'm now officially at selling all of one copy of this per month.

Ed the Happy Clown #6 - the footnotes reach the point where Chester Brown discusses turning a penis into the President of the United States. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, I can only imagine how insane that sentence sounds.

Enough with the new comics, on to the linkage:

So that Doom t-shirt ad I posted yesterday? Shane had it first, and I totally forgot. I'm a big jerk. Sorry, Shane!

I have a new column up at Comic Book Galaxy. I apologize in advance for the fact that it's mostly recycled entries from this website. My time was pretty short ahead of the deadline. Of course, now, I have more time than I know what to do with. Ah, well.

Speaking of columns, pal Ian has a new one at the Comic Foundry, about how I helped him find...the Best Comic Ever. And about how I relentlessly pushed comics on him, parting him from his hard-earned money. And how I beat him up every day after school, pushing him in the mud and stealing his glasses. Well, okay, maybe not that last bit.

Gaze into a whole bunch of Kirby eyes.

And now, because I'm in a bad mood, I'm going to subject you to this:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Check Size: ___Monstrous Youth ___Gargantuan Adult" 

For those of you who don't know, the back of the sweatshirt reads "There goes the Incredible Hulk" with a pic of the Hulk walking away while pulling a toy duck on a rope. That still remains one of the greatest superhero shirt designs of all time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Movies, links, and approval. 

You folks brought up some good suggestions for some solid movie-inspired comic books...I'm ashamed I didn't think of the Creepshow adaptation by Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson, for example. You also reminded me of the slew of two and three-issue movie mini-series Marvel churned out throughout the 80s (usually reprinted from, or reprinted in, the Marvel Super Special magazines)...Dark Crystal was a favorite of mine as a young Mikester...in fact, and my nerd-credibilty may be completely shot by this admission, but I've never seen the movie. The comic remains only exposure to this particular story.

Buckaroo Banzai was another Marvel mini, and I remember sampling the first issue but never getting the second. As long as I'm destroying my geek-cred for all time, I wasn't much of a fan of the movie either, finding it to be a mostly unwatchable mess. Now, before you jump all over me, keep in mind I haven't seen it since it was in theatres, and now that I'm older perhaps I could appreciate it more. Maybe I'll throw it onto the Netflix queue and give it another go someday.

Dave mentions something I didn't realize...that there was a comic book adaptation of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie drawn by Al Williamson! What th--?!? Now, I loved this movie (yes, I loved Flash Gordon but not Buckaroo Banzai -- keep reading for a more appalling admission), and I know the movie's no damned good. But, it is fun to watch, and it's certainly visually beautiful...I'd love to see what Williamson did with this material.

Another interesting adaptation was Hook, a four issue series from Marvel released in the early '90s and featuring work by Charles Vess, Gray Morrow, John Ridgeway, and several others. It's certainly an attractive-looking book, regardless of what you think of the film...it's a guilty pleasure of mine, despite featuring Steven Spielberg at his Steve Spielbergiest and Robin Williams leaving his toothmarks in every bit of scenery. Yes, I liked Hook more than Buckaroo Banzai...the beatdown line begins to the right -- please, no shoving.

I'm also glad to see Topps Comics getting some credit for their adaptations: I personally never warmed to the continuing Jurassic Park series, but the original adaptation featured Gil Kane art, inked by George Perez, so how bad could it be? And some issues featured standout covers by Michael Golden. Also, Mike Mignola's adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula is bit of a hidden treasure, perhaps better than the inspiring film.

Please keep adding your thoughts to the discussion...I've been enjoying what you've had to say!

Some linkage from around the interweb:

James Sime of Isotope Comics fame has been running a Legal Download Fest on his site: go download a PDF preview of Oni Press' Leading Man here, and enjoy new downloads every day for the rest of the week. Go check it out!

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag has a couple entries about her visit to the Emerald City Comicon...lots of photos, Kurt Busiek, Aquaman, and trolls. It's a fun read.

Pal Dorian reviews the next batch of DC's One Year Later titles.

And have I mentioned the (not by me, I swear to God) Swamp Thing Blog?

Monday, April 03, 2006

A quick movie comic aside. 

So please feel free to keep letting me know what your favorite movie-inspired comics are...you're reminding me of a couple I'd forgotten about, and I'll probably follow up on that post soon.

Anyway, it does remind me of one of my favorite movie-to-comic translation glitches, from DC Comics' Star Trek: Generations.

In the film, there's a scene where the Enterprise is on the verge of crash-landing on a nearby planet. The camera focuses on Data, newly in possession of an "emotion chip," who exclaims "oh, shit!" Here's how that exact moment appears in the movie:

It's funny because 1) it's an entirely unexpected use of a vulgarity, in a franchise not known for them; 2) it's from the last character you'd expect; and 3) it's an entirely understandable reaction, a reaction that normal people like you or I would have should we be in the exact same situation (saucer section of the ship about to crash due to an attack by the Klingons, captain on the planet surface fighting Malcolm McDowell, recently installed emotion ship not working properly...you know, situations like that).

Here's how that same scene plays out in the comic book adaptation:

"Oh, shit" is still there, but entirely stripped of the context that makes it amusing. Who said "oh, shit?" Who knows? You can't tell from this panel.

Oh, and by the way...

...it's Comics Code approved.

In which Mike tries to draw you folks into his particular obsessions again. 

A random thought from work: Dark Horse has hitched its wagon to its share of chickens re: licensed movie tie-ins. Lost in Space, the Tim Burton version of Planet of the Apes, Aeon Flux...with POTA especially it looked like Dark Horse was trying to create an ongoing funnybook franchise, which kinda petered out. That's a long way from the salad days of Aliens, Predator, and Terminator (and, to a lesser extent, Robocop).

Part of the problem, of course, is with the films themselves readily available on DVD, there's little incentive to read the adaptations and film-inspired tie-ins to "recapture the excitement of the movie"...not like the heyday of comic book movie adaptations decades ago, when you saw the movie once in the theatre, and that was pretty much it unless it eventually turned up on television or in rerelease.

Plus, it doesn't help that the films themselves barely inspire any desire to see more. Did anyone seeing the largely-unnecessary Tim Burton "reimagining" of Planet of the Apes really want to read more about it? Obviously somebody must have, since they did a couple minis, but not enough to produce any more than that. (And I just want to note here that leaving the "surprise ending" out of the adaptation of the film was a really, really bad idea...I'm sure it was the studio's decision to keep the ending secret, but really, so what? They kept it secret for, what, an extra week? Or two? And the Drudge Report ended up totally spoiling it right away, as I recall. Anyway, without the ending, the adaptation now just looks stupid. Well, more stupid. Feh.)

Star Wars, of course, is the notable exception, and the comics and trades inspired by this movie series are still selling quite well. Dark Horse even managed to get the adaptations of Episodes I, II, and III to move, primarily by releasing them prior to the films' debuts. However, to its credit, I regularly sell the trade paperback collections of the film adaptations, mostly to children.

I also still sell lots of the Aliens and Predator comics as back issues...even the three Batman Vs. Predator series continue to move. I'm assuming that Dark Horse still has the rights to these two properties, though, if I'm remembering correctly, some behind-the-scenes shenanigans has put the kibosh on those comics for the time being. If so, that's a shame...those appeal to younger readers as well (I do warn parents about content, but generally, and unusually, if they're letting their kids watch the films, they don't object too much to the comics).

Of the Big Two companies, Marvel lately just publishes adaptations of films based on their characters, while flooding related titles with the villains that are featured in said films. (If I never see Doctor Octopus again, it'll be too soon.) DC also recently has stuck to adapting films based on their books, though they released a handsome-looking adaptation of Sleepy Hollow a few years back. (And remember the earlier adaptation of Alien Nation and, despite the Gene Colan art, the ghastly Little Shop of Horrors? Comic book presentations of musical films are a really, really bad idea.) Most of those sold okay, not great, and when those prequels to Superman Returns arrive, I'll be interested to see how well those sell.

So, once again, I throw the question to you folks...what comic book adaptations (or spin-off series, or prequels) of films have you really enjoyed? Some of my favorites include the Heavy Metal graphic novel version of Alien drawn by Walt Simonson (with its notoriously fragile binding), the infamous adaptation of Steven Spielberg's 1941 by Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch, and the Time Bandits comic (that I've mentioned before).

What say you, internet pals?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Normal service has resumed. 

Just for posterity's sake, here's a screenshot of this site from yesterday's April Fool's shenanigans:

Since I actually had a couple people ask what was up with that, I'll note here that it was a takeoff on Fanboy Rampage. Yes, I know most of you folks already knew that, but some didn't. (Thanks to Graeme, under an assumed name, giving it that extra touch.)

And, in case you missed it, you really need to visit the Swamp Thing Blog. I had no idea that my life was missing Swamp Thing/Abby/Blue Devil/Black Orchid/Detective Chimp golfing fan fiction until I read it for myself.

I'm a little short on time this morning, so let me at least give you a couple links full o'good reading that I totally stole from Mark Evanier: an online Treasure Chest collection, and, even better, all the "This Godless Communism" stories in sequence. Fantastic. As J. Edgar Hoover himself says in the introduction:

"The most effective way for you to fight communism is to learn all you can about it."

You don't want those Commies to win, do you? Then get readin'.

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