mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Girls are apparently held to a lower "daring adventure" standard than boys. 

from a full-page ad in Unusual Tales #38 (March 1963)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sometimes Mike needs to be kept away from the customers. 

Customer: "Hey, is this new Dr. Strange comic a limited series?"

Me: "Well, ALL series are limited, really...life on Earth is going to have to die out someday."


Customer: "How come there's no ongoing Dr. Strange series?"

Me: "Yeah, you'd think there would be, what with the popularity of Harry Potter and the subsequent increase of interest in Satanism."

(Don't worry...this is a longtime customer, and he's used to my nonsense.)

"While this book works well as either a paper weight, a sleeping pill, or fly swatter, it doesn't function very well as a story." 

For no good darn reason whatsoever, here are some Amazon.com reviews for Wolverine: Origin:

"I ordered this item because I thought is was a novel, but instead it was a fat comic book I wish they wouldn't have described it as a paper back. I wouldn't have purchased it if I knew what it was. I did know someone who wanted it so it was given as a gift. I don't think I will use amazon anymore."

"It was just a money making ploy on the part of Marvel Comics, and it really doesn't reveal anything that any Wolverine fan didn't already know. I knew he was born with the claws when Magneto ripped the adamantium out of him back in 1990 somethin'."

"Wolvie's just another hero who is - gasp!! - brooding over his daddy's unfortunate demise. Hint to Marvel writers: Freud did write more than one paragraph in his life, maybe you should try doing the same."

"I am a novice comic book reader, I've read a measley twenty or so trades from scattered authors, but EVEN I KNOW that Wolverine's origins are supposed to be complicated, and sad, and dramatic, involving a conspiracy, or a shady group of evil scientists or something!"

"If you are an X-Men diehard fan, don't waste your time and get it as soon as possible; otherwise, don't waste your time reading it. Shop through amazon and get some real books instead. And if you NEED to read comics, look for more mature european comics or japanese manga (you know, those comic books where you can see real people, real problems, and real fun, not mere superzeroes wearing tighs and red visible underwear)..."

"While this book works well as either a paper weight, a sleeping pill, or fly swatter, it doesn't function very well as a story."

"Read Barry Windsor Smith's Weapon X TPB, read the Fatal Attractions TPB, read Marmaduke comics if that's what it takes, but don't read this. It is trash. 'Comic book literature'?? I think some reviewers are too anxious to get another 'Dark Knight Returns' story so that they can be first to give it the thumbs up."

It's not all bad:

"Rumor has it that In the 1980s Jim Shooter (former EiC of Marvel Comics) wanted Wolverine's origin to be that an actual wolverine had been evolved into a wolverine-man... thank God they waited to tell this story."

"I looove comic books, particulary graphic Novels, and this just so happens to be one of the best one in my large collection. The art is absolutely beutiful, the story and writing are stylish, full of suprises, and some of the best Marvel has ever produced (and thats saying alot). If you are a Wolverine fan, or even an X-men fan, hell, any fan of art or story, GET THIS BOOK! It's worth it. I usually re-read it at least once every 3 months, and it still gets me in that special place in my heart. sniff sniff. /wipes tear"

"Wow. I just finished reading this comic and it was so cool. I'm not a huge fanboy so I didn't know a lot about Wolverine before I read it. I mainly knew what my friends told me. One of them is that Wolverine didn't have claws before Weapon-X, well that friend was wrong."

"The beginings of Logan have be told. Thank you Marvel! I can't wait to see who else they well tell about."

"There aren't enough words to describe how great this book is, this is a reading requirement for all comic book fans or fans of graphic art."

Hey, look, Amazon review spam:

"In addition to this graphic novel I'd like to recommend THE ADVENTURES OF DARKEYE: CYBER HUNTER...a fun, fast-paced Sci-Fi, that reads like a graphic novel, written by myself, Dan Bivens, and my partner, Gerald James Seward."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"As you would expect, all information regarding SuperShadow is above top secret (classified at the highest level)." 


This week brought us the release of The Most Perfect Issue of Looney Tunes Ever, as #143 contains the cover-featured story teaming Marvin the Martian and the Tasmanian Devil.

Why "perfect?" Because, 90% of the time, when I receive a request for a Looney Tunes comic, it's from someone looking for either Marvin or Taz. And 90% of those times, it's from someone trying to find tattoo ideas.

And thus I'm tempted to reorder another 500 copies, so that for the foreseeable future, when anyone comes into the shop asking "Hey, do you have any Looney T--" I can immediately shout "HERE! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT!" and throw one of these comics at 'em.

Now if I can just get my hands on a giant stack of Hot Stuff comics, that'd take care of the rest of the tattoo customers.

Employee Josh: "Wow, this issue of Giant-Size Wolverine sure is giant."

Me: "Yeah, that comic's bigger than your mom!"

Employee Josh: "And the staples are about as loose as your mom!"

Me: "Oh, SNAP."

Former Employee Josh: "Um...what?"

Speaking of employees, former or otherwise, Kid Chris sent this text message to my cell phone the other day:

"Dead Heat. Genius piscopo film. Genius."

I have very strange friends. Not that I'm disagreeing with Kid Chris, of course.

Notable new releases:

Swamp Thing poster, with Eric Powell's cover for #22 of the recently-deceased series. I don't buy many posters, but I bought this one. I think the last poster I bought was the previous Swamp Thing poster (the one by Michael Zulli).

Complete Peanuts 1961-2: only four more decades to go! Hang in there! Classic, funny, insightful, and poignant stuff, as always.

MAX Sampler - We need to stop ordering these preview/sketch/sampler books from Marvel, since they're always crap and they don't sell, even for the low $1.00 price tag. If you want to pay a dollar for some unfinished, undialogued art for series you're either going to buy anyway, or going to continue to ignore because this "comic" ain't gonna convince you, well, here's your chance.

Life of Pope John Paul II in Comics graphic novel - I haven't checked to see if this pope story matches up continuity-wise with the life story as presented in the Marvel version...otherwise we're going to have issues with discrepancies in the Pope-iverse, requiring either a Pope of Earth-1 and a Pope of Earth-2, or perhaps even a Crisis of Infinite Popes, and nobody wants that to happen.

Old Jewish Comedians hardcover - beautiful book with black and white full-page illustrations of, yes, Old Jewish Comedians, as caricatured by Drew Friedman. Nice touch of having each comedian presented with their real name first, and their stage name in parentheses.

American Splendor #2 - More mundane-yet-compelling Harvey Pekar slice-of-life stories, as only Pekar can do 'em; 52 #22 - my customers are expressing some weariness with the series, so something better grab their attention soon...I'm enjoying it, myself; All-New Atom #4 - new artist, no Swamp Thing cameos, same fun writing.

Another item we received this week was the new issue of Star Wars Insider, which I glanced through briefly and came across a Q&A in which someone was asking about whether something they read on a particular website was true or not. What surprised me was, rather than being coy about it and giving a generic "well, don't believe everything you read," the site was mentioned by name, and the answer explicitly stated that not only does Lucasfilm have nothing to do with that site, but that a good deal of the content is outright fabricated and that Lucasfilm has gone after this site for some of its actions in the past.

Well, I had to see this site for myself, and you can too, right here. Now, I don't know how I missed this site before, as apparently it's been around a while and a thorn in the side of what's left of Star Wars fandom. Even if you don't want to check Supershadow.com directly, the history of the site on Wikipedia is a hoot, especially the stuff about the site owner's purported series of "girlfriends."

The best bit of the site has to be where the owner pretends to be George Lucas and answers fan questions. "George" does this exclusively for Supershadow.com since:

"Answering questions at SuperShadow.com is the best part of my life. I could not survive without SuperShadow. He has made Star Wars into what it has become."

Now, part of me thinks that this whole site is a put-on, just someone pretending to be a fan pretending to be George Lucas' bestest pal (particularly since, if it is a put-on, that previous quote could be read as a criticism of certain types of SW fans). But, hoax or not, it's certainly good for a laugh or two.

And something about the sheer level of...obsessiveness about it tells me that it may very well be legit, that the fan actually believes all this stuff he's spouting (or that he thinks he's fooling everyone with his claims). There's a Myspace page supposedly by Supershadow, owning up to the bogus nature of his site, but, you know, who knows if that's real or not.

Stupid internet, obfuscating the truth. Anyway, here's the text from the "About Supershadow" page, which...well, here, check it out:

"As you would expect, all information regarding SuperShadow is above top secret (classified at the highest level). Mysteriously and very enigmatically, nothing is known about SuperShadow except that SS is very close, personal friends with George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars.

"SuperShadow.com played a crucial role in the development of the prequel trilogy. Many fan ideas submitted at SS.com were integrated by Lucas into the final scripts of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. A majority of film critics attributed the phenomenal success of the prequels to Lucas utilizing the talents of the legion of SS fans to improve the Star Wars saga. Lucas has acknowledged many times in public that SuperShadow is the best thing to ever happen to Star Wars.

"SuperShadow is also legendary for revealing the plot scripts to Star Wars Episode 1, 2 and 3 many years prior to their theatrical release. SS.com was the only web site permitted by Lucas to post the scripts and plots to the prequel trilogy. Currently, SS is employed by Lucasfilm as a high-paid consultant related to future Star Wars and Indiana Jones projects.

"SuperShadow.com is the official web site of George Lucas."

I mean, c'mon. There's so much wrong there that this has to be a prank, right? ...Right?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"It is not the usual mass-produced item with ordinary so-called powers." 

"BEWARE! This very moment, someone, somewhere, may be giving you the EVIL EYE...and YOU don't even know it. For your own personal well-being, please DO NOT ignore this sincere warning! Read this message - and take immediate counter-action!"


"Though its very name sends shivers down your spine, the EVIL-EYE EVADER could be the best friend you ever had. A protective ally SO strong, SO forceful, SO terribly destructive that it fully eliminates the most powerful EVIL EYE. That's why you MUST use it with extreme caution. Yes, it's that dangerous...to others!"


"However, before I send you the EVIL-EYE EVADER, you must agree to this ONE unshakable condition.

"You must promise to never, ever tell anyone that you will be using the EVIL-EYE EVADER. And I mean ANYONE!

"Here's why: I'm afraid that the one person you tell might be the very one who is secretly casting the EVIL-EYE upon you...and you don't even know or suspect it. So for your own sake, tell no one! NO ONE!"


"When you want to drive someone away - simply call upon the EVIL-EYE EVADER!

"When you want to save your job - simply call upon the EVIL-EYE EVADER!

"When you want someone to stop double-crossing you -- simply call upon the EVIL-EYE EVADER!

"When you want your full measure of happiness, success, love, or money...and NOT despair - simply call upon the EVIL-EYE EVADER!"


"...Don't try to buy the EVIL-EYE EVADER in any store. It is not the usual mass-produced item with ordinary so-called powers.

"No, the EVIL-EYE EVADER is an exquisite work-of-art available ONLY from us. You'll cherish and use this true masterpiece for the rest of your life."


"To prove to you that I mean every word I've said - I'll give you this fantastic DOUBLE MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE: The EVIL-EYE EVADER must work for you within 30 days, or I'll return ALL your money PLUS ANOTHER $6.66 for your time and trouble. That's right! You'll receive DOUBLE YOUR MONEY BACK with absolutely no strings attached!

"If you've never thought of clipping a coupon before, do it NOW. It may be the answer to all your prayers!"

from Haunted #66 (March 1983)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Racial sensitivity in comic books. 

Here are a few more panels from Tip Top Comics #158 (Sept/Oct 1949) that I didn't include with that previous post, since it didn't seem terribly appropriate.

These panels are from the "Broncho Bill" story, and yes, I know it was a product of the time, and that in cowboy 'n' Indian stories, the Indians were gonna be the bad guys...but still, after reading Nancy and Sluggo and the Katzenjammer Kids in the same book? Yikes:

...And those last two panels ended this exciting installment, but with the promise that we'd get to see more authentic Native American portrayals in the very next issue of Tip Top.



Monday, October 02, 2006

Corny but great. 

Captain America proves that he is worthy enough to lift Thor's hammer, from Thor #390 (April 1988) by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Brett Breeding:

This was from a period in Captain America's history when he had resigned his usual superhero identity and became "The Captain," independent of any government agency, in case you were wondering what was up with the costume.

I tend to have a soft spot for stories where characters (like Beta Ray Bill or Superman) find themselves worthy enough to lift Thor's hammer Mjolnir, which normally only Thor himself is able to do.

Yes, I know that's a weird thing for which to have a soft spot. What can I tell you?

EDIT: Please see Comics Should Be Good's Top Five Non-Thor Mjolnir Wielders article for more information.

Monday misc. 

If I may make a brief callback to the last "End of Civilization" installment, there's one other thing from the Marvel catalog I wanted to note:

So if the books sold 3 million copies, as that blurb from the Marvel catalog states, that should translate to, what, 15 thousand, 20 thousand comic fans picking up the Anita Blake comic? (And if you're thinking that all those Stephen King fans are going to flock to the direct market and make Marvel's forthcoming Dark Tower adaptation a huge, huge seller...well, don't hold your breath.)

There we go, just one last bit of jerkiness left over from last Thursday. Good morning!

And so you know that Diamond doesn't have a monopoly (har har) on dumb stuff in catalogues, check out this fine item from Harriet Carter:

"Farting slippers 'break wind' as you walk. They're a gas! Present these sound-off slippers to any 'fart'-u-nate old timer and get ready for 'explosive' laughter. One size fits all."

Only $12.98. Small price to pay for your chance to abuse the elderly.

Gordon repurposes that photo of pal Dorian and yours truly. What did I ever do to Gordon?

So the other day, I was trying to think of the Worst Halloween Costume Ever, and what I came up with was Freddy KrueBorg -- Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger as assimilated by Star Trek's Borg, complete with a cybernetic eye and all that.

Not sure why I bring it up, really, other than to ask you folks...what's your terrible Halloween costume idea?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"He could play bobby brown beter than tony stark." 

1. One more step forward for the public acceptance of comic books, from the entertainment section of "PC Magazine's Top 99 Undiscovered Websites:"

"Get your sticky fingers on the keyboard and go to Comic Book Resources, a site that can give you all the info on your favorite spandex-wearing crimefighters and other freaks of nature. And since it's on the Internet, you don't even have to leave your mom's basement!"

2. So three weeks ago I link to this guy and his homemade Wolverine costume, and hey, no big whoop. And then a couple days ago Boing Boing links to it and suddenly everyone's all "hey, look at that, isn't that cool, woo hoo!" Oh, sure, fine, I see how it is.

2a. I'm just kidding. Relax. It's not as if I don't know that I get about one-jackdiddilyth the daily visits Boing Boing gets.

2b. Speaking of Wolvie costumes, that Wolverine aluminum claw kit I'd linked before is back on the eBay again. Get 'em while you can!

3. Another item on the eBay: "SDCC 2006 Comic Con Green Lantern Power Ring promo 52 1" - someone got $4.99 for that free GL promo ring that accompanied the release of Green Lantern Corps #1. You can see former employee Kid Chris modeling a bunch of those rings right here...why, that's $69.86 worth of rings on those digits!

4. So perhaps you've heard that Robert Downey Jr. has been cast as Iron Man in the forthcoming Marvel movie. And yes, much hay has been made of Downey, a man who has had a public struggle or two with substance abuse, playing a comic book character that is a recovering alcoholic.

But to see what the average person on the street has to say, let us go to Killer Movies:

"I'm upset because i dont like the guy. His whole drug thing just makes him less respectable as Tony Stark. I just dont like the guy, doesn't seem like he would look like Tony's smart/rich character."

"Eventhoug he doesn't really resemble my classic image of Tony, he does have the capacity and life experience to bring an enormous amount of depth to this adaptation. He ain't no snotty, polished and smooth little brat like Brandon Routh, which is good!"

"Only trouble is he's 41 years old. If they make a trilogy, he will hit 50 before it's finished."

Yeah, don't get ahead of yourself there, champ.


"While I think Robert Downey is a good creative actor i dont see him playing Iron Man. Thats just my opinion, maybe somebody can convince me otherwise."

"Yeah I am not too big on this one. I guess they picked him because of his alcoholism and stuff, he thinks he can relate to Stark."

"Downey is too old - he's hit his 40's, right?"

"na he looks good for a 30 ish dude, got a lot of years left in him"

"That;s some bullshit. He could play bobby brown beter than tony stark.
Give me a day and I can come up with 10 better for the role."

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