mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yes, those are Boston lyrics...it's acknowledged in the story. 

from Cosmo and the Big Bang #1 (September 1994) by Robert Spong

Friday, June 30, 2006

If your breath mint is freshening my breath, you're standing too close. 

Yes, I did have the above thought at one point during my working week at the shop. Hey, at least the guy had a breath mint.

Anyway, I didn't say anything about Wednesday's new comic releases because, well, I was pretty sick of comics by the time the day was done. "What, sick of comics, can such a thing be true?" Yes, indeedy, it certainly can be, especially when you have a ton of comics and other merchandise being cranked out 1) in time for the holiday weekend, and 2) in time for the Superman Returns release, that you have to unpack and count.

DC's big release this week is Brave New World, the $1 80-page one-shot containing prologues for a handful of forthcoming series, as well as hints from the "surprise" character at the end of the book regarding whatever the next DC Universe crossover brouhaha is going to involve. Not big hints, really, just the usual "something miserable is coming that flying men in tights will have to punch" cryptic warnings that usually come this far ahead of the crossover series in question.

As for the actual contents of the previews...well, you can see 2 Guys Buying Comics for an overview of the stories. (I don't necessarily agree with that review, but it's fun to read and that's good enough for me.) Ultimately, I don't think this comic has really changed the interest in the titles that I had prior to reading Brave New World...the comics I was looking forward to I'm still looking forward to, and the ones that I was indifferent or one the fence about...well, no change there, either.

Oh, hell, I was going to be lazy and stick 2 Guys with the burden of the BNU overview, but I guess I'm going to have to do one anyway:

  • The All-New Atom - Gail Simone's superhero funnybooks for DC have been pretty solid, and this series appears to be more of the same. Just good ol' fashioned superhero action.

  • The Trials of Shazam! - I do like the Captain Marvel comics, and read every one that comes out (I even read that godforsaken Shazam: The New Beginning mini), so I'll be buying this, too. DC's been ballyhooing Howard Porter's new painted artstyle for this series, and, well, it's okay, I guess. Doesn't blow my skirt up or anything, but does make this Shazam! series at least visually different from previous attempts. And I am curious as to what they're planning on doing with the Shazam family.

  • The Creeper - Doesn't do anything for me. Sorry. Went in my eyes, and apparently went right back out my ears, leaving no impact on me whatsoever.

  • OMAC - As also noted in the 2 Guys review, after Infinite Crisis, I don't think I need to see another OMAC again as long as I live. I wasn't planning on reading this series, and the preview didn't change my mind. I do like seeing the evolution of the OMAC concept toward Jack Kirby's original concept.

  • Martian Manhunter - Was on the fence, still mostly on the fence after reading the story. I'm probably going to get it, if only because I happen to like the Martain Manhunter character, and his visual redesign is interesting. Aside from that redesign, however, nothing in that preview really grabbed my interest. I'll give the first issue a try, at least. Geez, I'm waffling on this.

  • Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters - I was planning on buying this solely because of the character of Uncle Sam. The superheroic Sam is really one of my favorite comic book concepts. Fortunately the comic itself doesn't look too bad...some sharp dialogue, some dark and moody art...the new Phantom Lady is perhaps a little too breastacular, but one could argue that's in the tradition of the character. Um, not that I'm arguing that.

  • And then there's the epilogue with the "surprise" reveal...I keep putting "surprise" in quotes because the promo image for this comic featured a silhouette of the character in question, and, as Employee Nathan noted to me recently, DC has had a habit recently of using silhouettes to disguise characters that really don't do much to disguise them. Oh, and on Wednesday at the shop, a certain Mr. McSpoiler Revealypants went and flipped to the last page of the comic, showed it to me and said "Oh, look, it's [character name]" -- good thing I'd already looked at the end and seen the exact nature of the return, which was a surprise, or I would have been pissed.

Wow, totally wasn't planning on doing that. Let me quickly cover the remaining points I intended to address in this post:

1. Superman Returns is getting plenty of thumbs-ups from our customers...at least one has seen it three times already, and several have seen it twice. I'm getting a lot of "have you seen it yet" questions, with no explanation of what "it" is...it's assumed that I know what they mean. And I say "Yes, I have seen The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep rulz! W00t!"

Also, I've had a handful of folks looking for Superman comics...that's a good sign. Let's hope it keeps up.

2. Just noticed that Tim O'Neil's sidebar link to my site reads "Swamp Thing Sucks And Is Stupid." I think he's getting back at me for my "Silver Surfer Is Stupid" post. (And before anyone reads anything into this...I like Tim's site, the text on that link to my site made me laugh, and I know he's only ribbing me. So there. Besides, Tim ain't saying anything about Swampy there that pal Dorian hasn't already said to me.)

3. Congrats to both pal Ian and pal Tom for reaching their two year weblogging anniversaries. I made those two everything they are today...

...broke, with too many comics.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Progressive Ruin Presents...The End of Civilization. 

Yeah, I know, all you folks are busy with the Superman Returns-seein', but I was busy with pouring through the new issue of Diamond Previews, and these...are my results:

(Previous installments: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16)

p. 141 - Joss Whedon Is My Master Now T-Shirt: "The fellow who did a couple reasonably entertaining TV shows and a handful of fair-to-middling movies is my master now" didn't fit, I guess. Oh, relax, I'm only teasing. Though I have to wonder if Mr. Whedon gets a little embarrassed when he sees folks wearing this shirt.

p. 151 - Shadowhawk #15: The entirety of the description of this issue's contents: "Eddie gets laid. Finally." Okay, I'm hardly a fan of the comic, but that is kinda funny...particularly with the faux romance comic cover.

p. 178-9 - Astonishing X-Men Wolverine Mask Prop Replica:

And that is why Hugh Jackman didn't wear the comic book Wolverine costume in the X-Men movies.

p. 202 - The Vault of Michael Allred #1:

"It's unlikely that any publication has ever provided this amount of detail and insight into the career of an artist."


p. 223 - Soulfire #10: Final issue. Relaunching with a "Volume 2" and, presumably, a new #1 issue. Color me surprised. (See also the dozen or so Fathom #1s from the same folks.)

p. 254 - Classic Battlestar Galactica #1: Yes, you read that right. A comic based on the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica TV series will be running concurrently with a comic based on the current Sci-Fi Channel series. You know what that means, don't you?


Earth-2 Adama versus Earth-1 Adama...to the death! (E-2 Adama has the advantage, with his healthy coat and strong teeth, thanks to Alpo!)

Will Earth-2 Boomer face changed attitudes from his shipmates when they find out his Earth-1 counterpart is actually a Cylon?

Will Earth-2 Starbuck put the moves on Earth-1 Starbuck? (Of course he will...it's Starbuck.)

p. 296 - Whoops...they put a Grimjack picture to illustrate the ad for the new Jon Sable reprint. Just thought I'd point that out.

p. 380 - Infinite Crisis mass market paperback: A prose retelling of DC's recent reality-altering mini-series. Given how successful the Crisis on Infinite Earths novelization was (short review: blech), I'm fully calling "no way" on coherently explaining the events of the series to someone who hasn't read the comics (in the unlikely circumstance that someone who hasn't read the comics actually picks it up).

Don't get me wrong...I'm still getting it. Yeah, I don't know why, either. I'm just a sucker for these things, I guess.

p. 428 - Monty Python Series Plush Holy Grail:

"This is the Holy Grail. It is your sacred task to seek and purchase this Grail. That is your purpose, the quest to buy this Holy Grail. (NOTE: Quester/purchaser must be valiant and pure of spirit, otherwise, after purchase, said purchase may turn into a grail-shaped 9" plush.")

p. 432 - V for Vendetta 7-Inch Action Figure: I'm of mixed feelings about the movie, but a V action figure? Fantastic.

p. 450 - Alien Kubricks: Space Jockey Box Set: Okay, this is pretty neat...I remember being fascinated with this critter from the original Alien movie, and the toy is tempting. I find myself amused, though, that the essentially immobilized Jockey was given a moveable arm:

And I think that hand is holding a control of some kind, but I prefer to think it's a gun. Oh, if only that were true.

p. 482 - Kurt Cobain 2006 Shooter Set:

I realize that's what you call this kind of glassware, but honestly, hearing a Kurt Cobain anything described as a "shooter" makes me wince a little.

p. 482 - Insane Clown Posse Steering Wheel Cover: "If only I had a way to identify myself as a person of class and taste. Wait, what's this...?"

* Yes, I know there's an irony of a sort referring to the different BGs with a term that includes the word "Earth," since, you know, that's the mysterious planet the characters are seeking in both series, and, um...okay, I'll stop now.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

So I understand there's a new Superman movie coming out... 

...as evidenced by this auction found on the eBay:

"Superman Returns KFC Limited Variant Bucket"

"This special collectable bucket from Kentucky Fried Chicken displays scenes from the new movie Superman Returns, is a super addition to any Superman fan䴜s collection. Picture shows the scenes as depicted around the bucket. A variant design which is hard to find."

I so want to make fun of collecting buckets from Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I, um, sell funnybooks for a living, so "calling the kettle black" and all that.

And there's a Spider-Man 3 teaser trailer out, and yes, it looks like we're getting Sandman, the black Venom-esque costume, Harry as the Goblin, and a new expression for Tobey Maguire:

And now, for no good reason whatsoever, a subject near and dear to my heart:

"Meet Any Weird People At a Comic Shop?"

"There's a Jamaican guy at mine. Seeing as I'm from Nova Scotia, it's kinda funny."

"That same day I also had to mediate (i.e. kick out temporarilly!!!) two Green Lantern fans that were arguing(ie yelling at the top of their lungs!!!) over Hal vs Kyle!!!! These guys were regular customers who went a little nuts."

"I happen to have a CIA Operative, working DEEP undercover (so don't tell anybody!), shopping at the comic store I frequent."

"At my neighborhood comic shop there's this gawky 6'1" acne-fied sales/stock girl who all at once channels Blossom meets Daria meets Alice the Goon. As if that wasn't jarring enough, she walks around the comic store in an ILL-fitted Wonder Woman costume and calls herself 'Diana of Themyscira of Earth 17.' I kid you not."

"I'll always remember the guy who was looking at a D&D calendar featuring some cheesy good-girl art. He licked his lips and, with a natural lisp, said 'mmm...nith firm breathts...', and then stroked the painting's chest area for a moment."

"I met this weirdo once who liked All-Star Batman and Jason Todd's return. I had to cover my son's eyes. Talk about a weird things going on in that guy's brain."

"He had a fixation of Hitler openly talked about dying the same way Hitler did. This fellow said he had a complete German uniform for the day he was going to kill himself, I spoke to the owner about him and the owner said that he really didn't like the guy coming into the shop but he thought the guy was harmless"

"I saw two women in the comic shop at the same time yesterday. That was pretty weird."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Too tired to do a real post. 

If you'd like to see the cover of another of my vintage Comic Reader fanzines, hie yourself hither to Neilalien and check out this recent post. I think you'll see why I passed it along to him.

Found on the eBay:





No, I suppose not. Except no one is actually nude on the cover...well, it was drawn by Jim Balent (link probably not safe for work), so I guess I can see where the mistake can be made. Or maybe she's nekkid inside...that's probably a safe bet.

"Moon Knight # 5, MK is NOT the Poor-Man's Batman !!"

Okay, he's NOT. Geez.

"Rare Lil Abner Figural Glass Blue Shmoo Bank"

I know I talked about Shmoos relatively recently, but I found that auction on the eBay and had to share. Ended at over $300, too. And definitely not a bong, officer.

Monday, June 26, 2006

"You'll get to doing a post all about Kitty Pryde by about 2017 at this rate, Mike." - pal Mojo_IV 

The Marvel Universe entry on Kitty Pryde...and here's an entry on the "Fairy Tale" version of the character.

The Catbox...Home to All Things Kitty ... watch out for the embedded sound file.

Interview with Ellen Page, who played Kitty in X-Men: The Last Stand.

LiveJournal Kitty Pryde fan community -- more icons than you can shake a mutant at.

The Urban Dictionary definition, which, alas, isn't something completely dirty and horrifying.

The Kitty Pryde and Lockheed bust.

Joss Whedon quoted as saying that Kitty influenced his creation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A thread on my all-time favorite message board, Killer Movies, discussing the Kitty and Iceman kissing scene from the third X-Men movie. At least, it starts out that way, until the posters' miscellaneous fantasies come into play:

"She is hot, it wasn't Bobby she was kissing it was me."

"No it was me, they decided I don't need a stunt double."

"you guys were kissing ...um... fake kittys the real kitty/ellen page was in my trailer with me."

"can u guys get over urselves, she hasnt even met any of u, u should stay on topic about kitty and bobby, not ur own fantasies, there is a thread in the off topic forum about that"

Pics of Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde from the third X-film.

Someone trying to trade a Kitty Pryde figure for a Swamp Thing figure. Good show, sir.

"These are logs of roleplay on Project Infinity, a text-based online RPG. I play Kitty Pryde there, a young woman sometimes better known as Shadowcat. Kitty is not by any means my original creation; she belongs to Marvel Comics. The take on her is original, though, as this Kitty's timeline diverges from mainstream continuity close to twenty RL years' worth of comics ago." May I recommend this story: "Pete, Kitty, and John Constantine run into Steve Rogers in Chinatown."

Kitty Pryde mod for Sims 2.

A discussion of Kitty's Jewish faith.

...And on a related note: JEWS KICK A$$ (Kitty Pryde Edition). (YTMND link, and therefore noisy.)

Synopses of Kitty Pryde: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Kitty Pryde & Wolverine. She's a secret agent and a ninja!

"This is an opinion that is probably very unpopular among readers of Marvel comics but...I don't like Kitty Pryde."

Nice Casey Jones sketch.

"Kitty Pryde. Lonely. Tissues." No, it's not what you think.

Kittypryde.com goes to a Warhammer 40,000 weblog. Wha-huh?

X-Entertainment takes on the Pryde of the X-Men cartoon.

I don't think this is supposed to be the X-Men's Kitty Pryde, especially since there are references to Starfleet in some of the entries, but I'm going to pretend it is, because it's funnier:

"Bare breasted, my chest only crossed by the straps of my twin blades, in tight leather pants, stradleing an unconcious man. His buddies lay dead not more then five feet behind him."

"Blood. Blood on my clothes, blood on my hands, blood in my mouth. I taste blood and it excites me. I haven't felt this thrill in a long long time. The animal that was caged inside of me is barely being restrained. I've killed two men today, severly injured another as well as stripping him of his clothes and what little dignity he had with my bare claws."

The body of this Kitty Pryde custom action figure comes from an Aunt May figure. So how does that make you feel?

Approximately one kazillion Kitty Micro-Heroes.

Discussion of Colossus' inappropriate advances toward Kitty in Uncanny X-Men #165.

Speaking of "inappropriate" -- "Kitty Pryde and Coloss X-men Original Sketch Pinup Art." Not safe for work, probably.

A character overview of Kitty from X-Men: Evolution. The main site has embedded sound, but also has the greatest animated gif ever at the bottom of the page. (You may have to click away a Tripod password dialog box.)

In the "don't hold your breath" department: "David O. Russell is now considering a spin-off based around Kitty Pryde..."

"Yeay!!! I am dead pleased to hear that, and i can only imagine hwat one Ms KittyPryde must feel about it! Personally I think I'd be more excited to see that than either Wolverine OR Magneto...GOSH."

"who is this david o Russell?? because I LOVE him, I need to tell him he has such good ideas, no not good BRILLIENT. Oh my gosh movie based around Kitty pryde [...] I wonder what they will do?? Days of future past? somthing from astonishing? Shadow and flame!?"

A "9.9" CGC-graded copy of Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #2. In other news, someone sent in a copy of Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #2 to be "professionally graded."

Phantom Girl (of the Legion of Super-Heroes) versus Kitty Pryde...who would win? WHO?

"Sure, Kitty's got ninja training, but if her opponent can't be touched, then it ain't happening. Unless... when two intangible-turning-people both turn intangible, can they hit each other while they're intangible? Cause maybe they're... geez, I dunno..."

Comics Should Be Good tells you about the real Kitty Pryde (about halfway down the page).

"Welcome to the exclusive fanfiction archive dedicated to Kitty Pryde (Shawdowcat)" [sic] "& Lance Alvers (Avalanche) of X-Men: Evolution."

And if the fanfic about Kitty 'n' Lance isn't enough, have a video:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More answers. 

Here are a few straggling questions from the original comments section and the comments section for my initial post of replies.

By the way, if you run a weblog, and you're a bit under the weather one day, asking your readers to supply questions for you to answer is no way to take a break from the site. Sheesh, that'll learn me.

Chance: "What are Ace (of the Ambiguously Gay Duo)'s powers?"

According to the Wikipedia entry, Ace has powers on par with Superman's. Flight, heat vision, tight-fitting costume, the works.

Chris "Lefty" Brown: "1) Mike what new cd is currently making your ears sing, and what we must run out and purchase?

No Business by Negativland.

"2)What's the best 4 issue miniseries? Six issue? And 12?"

4 ish - The Phantom Zone by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan.

6 ish - The Mighty Magnor by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier.

12 ish - Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

"3) You get to plot out 12 issues of Swamp Thing. What would be some storyline ideas?"

I don't know if I have specific ideas, but I'd like to see Swamp Thing merged back into the mainline DC universe. The Moore and Veitch runs cast such a long shadow that everyone who comes on the book is still playing with plot elements from 20 years ago. Besides, I'm a little Vertigoed-out on the character...I think going back in the other direction would be a nice break.

That said...Swamp Thing battles the Swamp Thing of Earth 2, travels into the future to team up with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and then, when he returns to the present, finally has that battle with Hawkman promised at the end of #24 (original series):


"4) Best superhero villian ever. Who would that be?"

Pal Ian: "If there's one thing you could change about the Direct Market what would it be?"

An end to Diamond's effective monopoly of the direct market. More competition would mean, hopefully, improved service...and fewer instances of "whoops, forgot to send you your entire order of Batman...we'll get it to you in the next week or two."

Chalk: "Who is your favorite super hero/super villain? I'm well aware of your love for Swamp Thing, but we're talking traditional 'men and women in tights', here."

I mentioned DOOM above as my favorite villain...my favorite superhero is Superman. How unimaginative, I know.

"How about your favorite bloated, company-wide mega crossover (as much as it may seem the two concepts are, as a rule, mutually incompatible)? Worst crossover ever?"

Best is probably Crisis on Infinite Earths, in terms of art (Perez drawing every character ever? Yes, thank you) and in lasting impact. Worst crossover...DC's Genesis series. So there's a wave of energy disrupting superpowers, and, um, something happens, and, uh...BIG FAT WHO CARES.

"In your opinion, what is the biggest positive trend perpetrated by the 'Big Two' over the past few years? The worst potential blunder?"

Best trend: Cheap reprinting of older material.

Worst: constant restarting and renumbering of series for short term order increases and readership, as well as continual additions of new titles featuring characters and teams already being published.

"Which non-super person genres would you like to see attain greater prominence on the stands?"

I want more pirate comics. I'd especially want one drawn by Sergio Aragones. How cool would that be?

"J*** B****: Great creator or greatest creator?"

Sorry, I don't talk about that person on my site any more.

High Priest, Church of Klugman: "Is it true you are actually a 'big cheater pants'?"

According to this site, I am. And it's on the internet, so it must be true.

"And what size pants do you wear?"

34 waist, 30 length.

Acorn: "Best Vertigo series current and all-time? Best DC and Marvel ongoings?"

Whew, we're wrapping this up with the big questions.

Best current Vertigo series? Probably Fables, but I'm biased, since myth and folklore stuff is really right up my alley.

All time? Swamp Thing, natch. Well, okay, it wasn't always under the Vertigo banner. Preacher was, so we'll go with that one.

Best current DC title? Hmmmm...I could tick everyone off and say All-Star Batman and Robin (some people don't like it, but they're oh so wrong), but I think I'll say the astounding and beautiful All-Star Superman (with ASB&R a close second).

All time? Sugar and Spike. No doubt.

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