mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I don't know which of these makes me the most uncomfortable... 

...this ad for He Said/She Said #1, with its promises of advice columns and a "centerfold pinup" of Amy Fisher:

...or this unsettling shot from one of the TMNT martial arts books, featuring Donatello splayed for your pleasure:


Friday, May 19, 2006

I went looking for reactions to All Star Batman & Robin #4, but I found this instead. 

" women who read comics"

"i need one. i definately need a woman who reads comics. seriously. i'm hoping to use this thread as a platform for folks (men and women) who want to meet someone of the opposite gender (or even of the same gender, hell, who am i to judge?) if you want to reach out and connect with someone, i suggest that you post on here:
your age
what city/state area you can be found in
which comics you like to read
and any other random bullcrap about yourself that you think someone might care about"

"You know that's not enough. You need to be more specific if you're going to catch a ladies attention. We need to know:

-How tall are you?
-How much do you weigh?
-What's your build?
-What's you're income?
-What's your proffession?
-Do you still have a full head of hair?
-Would you describe yourself as looking okay, cute or hot?
-Do you have any pets?
-Do you live alone/own your own home or do you live with Mom?
-Can you cook?
-What's your view on women?
-Do you believe in what's yours is our and mine is mine?"

"man i have this comic book women at my comic store, and shes alrite lookn.........shes got sum nice big round........eyes..................lol"

"There is a really cute girl who works at [removed] in NYC. I want her...yum, yum."

"Quite possibly the most pathetic topic ever. Do you think women are actually going to try and meet a potential boyfriend on these boards? If you do, more power to you, but damn."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another week, another new comics day. 

from Sweety #1

Well said, Sweety, well said.

Boom Studios sent along another review pack of books, including Cthulhu Tales, which actually came out last week. However, if you've got the interest in Lovecraft, it's certainly worth a look...several short, creepy stories of unknowable, unearthly terrors and tentacled things, all suitably illustrated with just the right amount of ickiness. "Quality Time," by John Rogers and Andy Kuhn, is the high point, keeping just enough of the horror off panel to let us fill in the gaps with our own imaginations...always more effective than just putting it all out there.

Another Boom Studios release is Talent #1 (by Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski, and Paul Azaceta) which the publisher has been ballyhooing as being somewhat similar to the TV show Lost. Well, they both involve a plane crash and mysteries, but beyond that, a closer comparison may perhaps be Matrix...a fellow finds himself with new, unusual abilities, and pursued by various groups who want him for their own unknown reasons. It's a quickly paced and entertaining book that wastes no time in getting us into the action and wrapped up in the mysteries presented.

Jeremiah Harm #3 was the third Boom Studios book...not much to say that I haven't said before, aside from he art by Rael Lyra and Joe Prado being nicely detailed, as usual. It's still a comic about space bounty hunter purusing alien criminals on Earth, as written by Keith Giffen and Alan Grant. We're not talking high art here, but it is a fun sci-fi shoot-'em-up, told with wit and dark humor.

All-Star Batman and Robin #4 - So, it appears as if the scenes featuring Batman's seemingly erratic behavior from the earlier issues (including his "testing" of Dick Grayson) are a plot point, as that behavior is beginning to be addressed in-story. Between this and the description of this issue ("Can the Earth's most powerful heroes rescue the kidnapped Dick Grayson and save Gotham from the clutches of a Dark Knight who has obviously gone mad?") it's almost as if Frank Miller knew what he was doing from the get-go. And that multi-page fold-out featuring the Batcave is nice, but for some reason I was even more entertained by the other side of the fold-out, with the multiple DC "One Year Later" house-ads. There they all are, in one place for easy reference:

Fell #5 - Another fine installment of Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's series of "done in one" stories, as Detective Fell faces off with a gunman in an interrogation room. Intense and emotional, and surprisingly dynamic given the majority of the action is in one room. Don't miss Ellis' back-of-the-book essay about the influence Will Eisner's Spirit had on this project.

Superman/Batman #26 - I was a fan of this comic early on, with its focus on Big Stupid Superhero Action, and not pretending to be anything but. However, this last storyline, with multiple versions of multiple characters from multiple universes running around and mayhem ensuing...hey, I'm all for craziness in my capes-'n'-tights books, but for some reason it just seemed to get in the way of pushing the story forward this time around. Anyway, Joker and Mr. Mxyzptlk (and a surprise guest) explain everything, it all gets wrapped up in a perfunctory fashion, and the way is cleared for the new creative team. Overall, writer Jeph Loeb gave us a fun and goofy comic...well, aside from the nigh-unreadable Michael Turner-illustrated Supergirl saga, and the hard-to-follow final storyline...but for the most part, not too bad for what it was.

Shadowpact #1 - The supernatural team from Day of Vengeance gets its own ongoing series, about which I have to say 1) I guess the DC Universe has reclaimed the Phantom Stranger for good from Vertigo; 2) it sure is nice to see Bill Willingham art again; 3) any series that gives me Blue Devil is okay with me; 4) any series that features not one, but two of DC's Silver Age era animal heroes is a series worth reading.

Castle Waiting hardcover - Linda Medley's fantasy series is collected into a handsome (and thick) hardcover book by Fantagraphics. Beautifully done, and well worth looking at if you have any interest in fairy tales and folklore.

Innocence & Seduction: The Art of Dan DeCarlo - A very attractive hardcover book celebrating the work of the famed Archie Comics cartoonist (though he did plenty of work besides). Features tons of material from throughout his career, everything from his girlie cartoons to his Archie work to the post-Archie work on the Simpsons comics...plenty of shots of his beautiful original pencil work are also included. (Amusingly, one of the Archie covers represented is this infamous issue.)

Edgar Allen Poe's Haunt of Horror #1 - Well, put this on the list of "Marvel Titles I Least Expected to Ever See on A Comic Rack" (along with Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck - The Creator-Owned Series, X-Men: This Series Is Good, Honest, and Ultimate Wolverine Versus Hulk #3). It's a black and white horror comic, illustrated by Richard Corben, published by the modern Marvel Comics. Wow. And it doesn't hurt that it's pretty good, too.

Did I mention this video of pal Ian getting smacked with a book? It's fantastic.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Timeline of a tragedy. Or comedy. 

1. I post a Secret Defenders shelf-talker on my site.

2. Pal Ian doesn't recognize the window design from Dr. Strange's pad.

3. James Simes, Isotope Comics mastermind and current primary provider of Ian's funnybooks, can't believe Ian's lack of Dr. Strange knowledge, and says that he should put a copy of Essential Dr. Strange in Ian's hold box.

4. I suggest that Mr. Simes smack Ian with said Essential Dr. Strange, to better embed the information contained within its pages into Ian's brain.

5. Mr. Simes fulfills my request.

EDIT: And here's a YouTube link, too, for unobscured Ian-whacking action.

"Regard each encounter as if it could be your last!" 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Authorized Martial Arts Training Manual #5 (1986)

Even opening this comic means CERTAIN DEATH for you, the reader:

Somehow, I don't see finding "many, many hours" to spend alone will be a problem for anyone actually using this comic as a training manual:

"Mr. Comic Retailer, do you have a comic book that will instruct Little Billy on how best to disembowel and kill his enemies?"

At last, some sensible advice:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Trying something new. 

Over in the sidebar there is something I'm calling "ACAPCWOVCCAOE NEWS," for the lack of anything else to call it...I wanted some kind of title to set that section off, and that'll do for now. Anyway, I wanted a little place on my page specifically for link-weblogging...short entries that I didn't necessarily want or have time to devote a whole post to, kinda like what pal Andy does.

Pal Dorian will also be contributing links, and, should everything work right, the same links will appear on his site as well.

We hope.

Anyway, I'm gonna try it out for a while, since I don't think my sidebar was quite cluttered enough yet. Let me know what you all think.

By the way, apparently my site was down for an unspecified time early this morning. I blame sunspots.

I'm titling this post "Halle Berry's pants" just to get your attention. 

Hell freezes over, OFFICIAL: Halle Berry open to theoretical Catwoman 2:

"'I think Catwoman is a great character that maybe wasn't presented in the right way,' she said, adding, 'But when people see it on video they seem to like it. They're like, 'It wasn't as bad as they all said!'"

In honor of this shocking revelation, here's a picture of one of those trading cards with a piece of a movie costume (in this case, Berry's pants) embedded within:

That's a little something from the previously-mentioned eBay auction folder. Yes, that means I once touched something that once touched Halle Berry. I can feel your jealousy from here.

As a comics weblogger, I must note the new DC Comics solicitations, if only to say 1) the new Flash series already has a guest artist; 2) I like this Action Comics cover; 3) missing scenes included in the Infinite Crisis hardcover? You bastards; and 4) I'll need that Golden Age Atom figure for my JSA action figure set. C'mon Golden Age Johnny Thunder 'n' Thunderbolt two-pack!

So what are the chances that we'll get a 1,200 page compendium of the entire weekly run of 52 when it's over, like the Complete Bone? (And forgive me for giggling at the headline "Jeff Smith Displays Complete Bone" - I'm 12, apparently.)

Just think - Absolute 52, only...say, $150. A STEAL.

Or maybe a couple volumes of DC Showcase, reprinting them all in black and white.

Most likely...6 or 7 trade paperbacks. Or hardcovers...DC does like the hardcover/softcover publishing plan, nowadays.

This page of Batman microheroes includes a to-scale Giant Penny (as seen in the Batcave). Just wanted to point that out.

The page also has other micro-versions of various Bat-oddities, such as that Bat-genie pictured to the right.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Missed one. 

Fulfilling this website's requirement of "one mention of 'The Death of Superman' every four weeks," here is the two-sided shelf-talker for that storyline and related one-shots:

You know, the more I look at that "bloody S" design, the classier it gets.

Here's the granite tombstone-esque reverse side:

The shelves are talking to you. 

A few more goodies from the store vaults...some of the shelf-talker boards that would be placed behind or under the new comics.

This first batch got quite a bit of usage, as you might be able to tell from the images:

Some of you young'uns may not remember a time when Ghost Rider was a popular guest-star in Marvel Comics. Say, does Darkhawk need a sales boost? Well, throw America's favorite flaming skull-headed antihero into the book, and watch it just fly off the shelves. That second one was for all your X-Men related guest-shots ("In this issue...Caliban!" "YAY!"), and as for the Wolverine one...well, I was showing these to the other guys at the store, and one of my customers commented that nowadays, we'd find more use for a shelf-talker that read "This issue NOT guest-starring Wolverine." Man, ain't that the truth.

"Hi, X-Factor!"

For some reason, we had approximately one billion of these Secret Defenders signs. We didn't order these...they were just sent to us as part of Marvel's promotion for this title. I don't recall the Secret Defenders making enough guest-appearances to require using these signs on multiple titles...and I wasn't about to fill multiple shelf spaces with the same issue of this comic. It is a neat looking card, though.

Now this was a bit peculiar...this could have been used as a generic shelf-talker for any given issue of Electric Warrior, as it was unlikely the customers would ever see anything more of it than the "Shocker of the Month" bit at the very top. That DC decided this series needed the extra push that only a shelf-talker designed for a specific issue could give...well, that was just a little surprising. (Electric Warrior isn't a bad series, by the way.)

Marvel may have dipped in the "Infinity" well a few too many times, but this first series was fun...and that backer is pretty cool-looking, I think.

I am filled with the urge to color that picture. I don't know why.

Oh, Good Lord, did we need to use these. Ah, crud, I just realized, I should have used it for comics that tied into that last Secret War series.

This part of the Secret Wars II card was never required. We never sold out of any tie-in. I could probably still put together a full set from our store stock even now.

Um, not that anyone would want one.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My conversation with employee Nathan. 

Me: "It used to be that the readership turnover in comics was pretty high...a kid would read comics for a few years, grow out of it, and be replaced by another kid, and so on. When that was happening, the publisher didn't have to overly worry about keeping continuity straight for years, or decades, on end. If something in issue #144 was contradicted by something in issue #418, it wasn't likely anyone in the audience was going to notice.

"The turnover isn't so high anymore...there's not a whole lot of new blood entering the hobby, and there are more and more people dominating the comics market who are like me, who've read comics for decades, and who, sad to say, notice when something in Superman/Batman #1 contradicts something from the 20-year-old Man of Steel mini-series. It for people like that, like me, that continuity-cleaning series like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis are created."

Nathan: "So you killed Superboy!"

Okay, how would you describe the premise of Infinite Crisis to someone who doesn't read comics? (I mean, aside from "nerds who worry too much about things that happened in comics 20 years ago get a series just for them.")

Now I did enjoy Infinite Crisis, but then, I'm right there in that target audience (about the same age as its writer, Geoff Johns, and read all the same comics he did...plus, there's the whole "worrying about things that happened in comics 20 years ago"). Plus, I'm a sad old DC fanboy and am thus a sucker for events like this. However, I'll admit that IC may be a challenge to summarize.

Commenter Dwight gave it a shot:

"Twenty years ago, reality got hard-rebooted. Now, a few survivors of those who had to make that reboot happen in the first place have decided they're not happy with the results, so they're gonna do it again. Mayhem ensues."

Per Bully's suggestion, I'd replace "reboot" with, I don't know, "rebuilt?" "Restructured?"

How about

"Twenty years ago, the shared DC Universe was rebuilt from the ground up. Now, a few survivors, left out of the new restructured reality despite helping it come about, have decided they're not happy with the results, so they're gonna do it again. Mayhem ensues."

That still uses fan-concepts like "shared universe," but I don't think that's too bad.

You folks have any ideas?

Shirts and other short bits. 

Found in an old t-shirt catalog:

You wore this shirt design, didn't you? ADMIT IT.

I'll give Marvel's Civil War series this: it's a lot easier to explain to the uninitiated than Infinite Crisis.

"What's Civil War about?"

"There's a superhero-related disaster that kills a lot of people, which causes the government to step in and attempt to regulate the heroes, which then divides said heroes into two camps...for regulation and against."

"What's Infinite Crisis about?"

"Well, when DC's multiverse was collapsed down to a single universe as a result of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Superman of Earth-2 and his wife, Lois Lane, the Superboy from Earth-Prime, the son of Lex Luthor from Earth-3 survived, but return to the modern DC universe to...."

"Whoa, hold on, I think my nose is bleeding."

Pal The Ferrett, inspired by that discussion I found, poses a question of his own: which superhero has the largest...er, manhood?

Ever get the feeling that arguing about comics is like two crocodiles fighting over a rapidly evaporating stagnant pond at the height of an African summer?

Thank goodness for the Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes comic, so that I have at least one Supergirl comic on the stands that young girls would be interested in. Because it sure as heck isn't the regular series.

And yes, that means I have young girls buying Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes at our store.

The thought occurred to me that Marvel's Sentry character is similar in some respects to DC's '90s character Triumph, in that they were both past superheroes forgotten by the rest of the heroes in their respective universes, and reintroduced into modern continuity...but it looks like Wikipedia beat me to it. Darn, and here I was thinking I was all clever and insightful and stuff.

Via the godfather of comics-weblogging, Neilalien, comes Peanuts characters drawn as Marvel characters. This one is my favorite:

In a similar vein, here is the Battlestar Galactica cast as the Simpsons, which has already been posted on every weblog ever, but there's the link anyway.

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