mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 28, 2006



from Flying Saucers #5 (October 1969)

Friday, October 27, 2006

You might want to skip the bit about Mickey Mouse. 

I don't mean to harp on this from yesterday's post, but, honestly:

Marvel perfumes? Good Lord A'mighty.

From new funnybook day:

That's Howard the Duck from the cover of Marvel's Civil War: Choosing Sides one-shot. Y'know, if there actually were a humanoid duck like Howard in the real world, it would probably look just this creepy.

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE WEEK: the Abraxas and the Earthman trade paperback by Rick Veitch. I have been waiting for a collection of this series for twenty years, since reading it in serialized form way back when in Epic Illustrated. It's weird, it's touching, it's grotesque, it's beautiful, it's funny, it's horrifying, it's disgusting, it's spiritual, but mostly it's just wonderous. And odd. And...ah, hell, it's just great. It's the comic that made me a lifelong fan of Veitch, guaranteeing that I'll always check out anything he has a hand in. I'm terrible at giving any kind of insightful review, but let me point you to this preview of the first chapter, as well as to pal Ian's old review (which, when it was written, no collection was in the works, so Ian suggests using Bittorrent...don't do it, you cheap bastards, it's only $16.95).

Tag #2 - the second installment of Keith Giffen and Kody Chamberlain's clever zombie series is finally out, as we learn some of the back story behind the person behind the "blog" explaining the "tag, you're a zombie" game. One of the things I enjoy about this series is that the internet aspect of story feels natural, like it's written by someone who may actually have used the internet once or twice, as opposed to just sprinkling in some buzzwords that the writer may have heard on TV. The story doesn't go too far, beyond learning the background material, but remains compelling and creepy. (By the way, don't read the Diamond Previews solicitation information for the next Tag series if you want to avoid possible spoilers.)

Nextwave #9 - Features the intro of quite possibly the last group of heroes into Marvel continuity (or, rather, what passes for Marvel continuity in this title) that you'd expect, and ends with a great sequence that not only pokes fun at a famous sequence from The Ultimates, but is also a pointed commentary on some current American attitudes. Yeah, I know, that's all vague, but I don't want to be Mr. Spoilypants.

Seven Soldiers of Victory #1 - Yeah, I think I'm gonna need to read that again. It's like Grant Morrison tried to pour his brain into my brain through my eyeballs, and some of it didn't quite make it in there. 'Course, I was on medication at the time...which probably wasn't a good idea, since I could very easily have ended up like Ian. Anyway, it's good funnybookin', but requires more absorption.

Random conversations from work:

A discussion of Turok: Son of Stone brought us to Tuvok: Son of Stone ("Captain, the poisoned arrows appear to have no affect on the honker") and Tupac: Son of Stone ("We gotta put a cap in that honker's ass").

A discussion of the Super Pets brought me to the point of creating Carmine, the Super Aardvark, whose arch-nemeses were the pet ants from the Phantom Zone Villains' ant farms.

A discussion of DC/Wildstorm's acquisition of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre license brought us to the possibility of Disney someday acquiring the license, and the inevitable Leatherface Meets Mickey Mouse:

"Oh, ha ha, you're a big fella! What's that you're holding?"


"Ah, God, my ears! The blood, the blood! No, kill Minnie, take her, not me, not me!"

In an odd sort of way, this is absolute genius:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Progressive Ruin Presents...The End of Civilization. 

Yes, it's that time of month again, with a scary selection of spooky horrors from...oh, not buying my Halloweeny intro, huh? Okay, fine...here's some goofy crap from the new November 2006 edition of the Diamond Previews catalog. Crack open your own copy and follow along...if you dare! (Previous installments, which really should go in the sidebar instead of each post: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20)

p. 270 - Star Wars Collect's Club "George Lucas Family" Exclusive Action Figures Boxed Set:

"Previously A Star Wars Collector's Club Exclusive! This Worldwide Exclusive Lucas Family Action Figure Collector Set is brought to you by Dynamic Forces Inc. in association with StarWarsShop.com, and was previously available only to Hyperspace members!"

["We couldn't unload them all online, so we're forced to go the direct market route."]

"The George Lucas Family Set is now available to all Star Wars enthusiasts,"

["The few that we haven't driven away with Episodes I-III."]

"...and features the entire family of George Lucas as they appeared in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith! This exclusive four-figure set includes three brand new sculpts available only at StarWarsShop (and now brought to you by Dynamic Forces working with Star Wars Shop). Included in the set are: Baron Papanoida (George Lucas), Chi Eekway (Katie Lucas), Terr Taneel (Amanda Lucas), and Zett Jukassa (Jett Lucas)!"

["Remember those kids' names, because those are the people that'll be bringing you Star Wars Babies* in about twenty years."]

"Collectors will recall how quickly the previous George Lucas/Jorg Sacul action figure sold out when offered a few years ago!"

["And for legal reasons, we're not going to actually say that these will be expensive collectibles down the road, but, c'mon, we both know they will be, right? Buy lots!"]

"History is destined to repeat itself with this exclusive offering, which depicts Lucas as a character actually seen in a Star Wars movie (unlike the Jorg Sacul figure)."


"Make sure to celebrate the Lucas Family legacy to the Star Wars universe by adding this set of StarWarsShop exclusives to your collection today!"

["Help the Lucas Family celebrate their legacy with your money! Sorry, no Supershadow figure included."]

p. 384 - Fruits Basket Riceball Plush Handbag:

I know it's supposed to be cute, but something about it terrifies me. I think it's the little feet.

p. 385 - Anime Fleece Caps:

Wearing someone else's head on top of your head is slightly upsetting. It sorta makes it look like Sonic is eating your head. Or that you have some kind of hideous Sonic growth on your scalp. Have I stripped these of joy yet?

p. 386 - Wolverine Screams T-Shirt:


p. 386 - Battlestar Galactica Arrow of Apollo T-Shirt:

There's something about genre shirts that refer to a very specific moment in a movie, TV show, or comic that make absolutely no sense out of context or to the uninitiated that really set off my "for God's sake, don't wear this" alarm.

p. 387 - Bill and Ted Most Excellent T-Shirt:

There's "retro," and then there's "past the expiration date." (That "More Cowbell" shirt on the same page is pretty close, too.) I do like the hand-gesture in the ad, though.

p. 393 - Naruto Sasuke's Fire Attack:

"Load the 11" fireball and unleash four fiery blowjectiles with Sasuke's Fire Attack! Kids can pretend to have the fire-breathing power of the Sasuke character from the popular Naruto series with this breath-activated ninja weapon!"

One, I'm not sure this is an authentic ninja weapon; two, "BLOWJECTILES" may now be my new favorite word.

p. 396 - Toxic Teddies Misfits Figurine Set:

Every time the Misfits are brought up, I'm reminded of that one kid that came into the store asking me for one of their comics: "I'm looking for a Misfits comic...the Misfits, they're a band." AAARGH, stupid kid, I remember not buying Misfits albums before you were born...anyway, I just wanted to point out this set is a limited run of 666 pieces. OOH SCARY.

p. 396 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel Feigenbaum Bunny Plush Replica:

I don't know how they do it. Every month, it's another crazy prop replica from the Buffyverse...this time, a forty dollar stuffed bunny with glasses.

p. 408 - Cinderella Replica Glass Slipper with Case:

"In an effort to achieve absolute authenticity, numerous frames of the film were studied to produce this high quality, officially licensed replica. This timeless symbol of romance is produced from smooth, high-quality crystal in a size appropriate for a real-life princess. The slipper is presented on a lavish satin pillow adorned with gold tassels."

Holy crap. The copy writers almost make it sound like this is worth the 250 bones this is gonna cost you. Those guys are good.

p. 410 - Woody Woodpecker Maquettes:

It would almost be worth it to have the "retro" Woody around just to frighten children. "You know, back in the good ol' days, we weren't afraid to traumatize the young'uns. MADE 'EM TOUGH. Not like those sissified cartoons today." Then again, do children even know who Woody is anymore? What's Woody's Q rating?

p. 412 - Mandarin Mini-Bust:

Iron Man: "I'm here to stop your evil scheme, Mandarin!"

Mandarin: "Guess again, Iron Man! I'll...I'll...whoa, wait, hold on...ah..AH...AH...."


Iron Man: "Gesundheit!"

p. 423-4 - Tandem Twin: Animal Girls - Sheep Girl Worara PVC Statue:

"Tandem Twin: Animal Girls - Sheep Girl Worara is anything but 'sheepish' - especially for a sheep girl! Worara comes complete with display base and removable hair parts for hours of 'shear' fun."

p. 428 - Soul of Chogokin [GX-32] Gold Lightan Chogokin Wooden Box Set:

Gold-plated, transforms from "lighter form" to "robot form," comes with a base and a wooden case lined with red velvet cloth. $280. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS IS.

p. 451 - Marvel Fragrances:

"Now you can have a super sweet smell like your favorite Marvel super-hero with these awesome fragrances! Choose from your favorite X-Men members such as Storm, Wolverine, or the entire X-Men gang!"

"(SNIFF SNIFF) Hey, what smells like deer blood and cigars?" "Oh, that's my Wolverine toilet water, honey!" And God only knows what the "entire X-Men gang" scent smells like...a room full of sweaty people in leather, I'm supposing. (Or maybe it's just relabeled "Scent of San Diego Comic Con" bottles.)

p. 454 - Emily's Fat Balms "Kitties Rock!" Lip Gloss:

"Emily may be strange, but she's no stranger to rockin' lip gloss!"

It's like they just toss a bunch of youth-oriented buzz words and images into the "Teen-Goth-Exploit-A-Tron 3000" and out comes new Emily merchandise.

Marvel Previews p. 28 - Ghost Rider Finale:

You could have knocked me over with a feather with this solicitation. The last issue of the '90s Ghost Rider series, #94, was never released, even though the story in #93 was to be concluded in that issue, and everything in #93 indicated "Hey, see you next month for the big finish!" The result? My having to tell customers for eight years that, no, there never was a #94, honest, I'm not kidding, and having them look at me like I'm 1) an idiot, or 2) lying to them.

And yeah, I know the only reason this is being released is to have more Ghost Rider product available when the Ghost Rider movie eventually comes out...but still, good on Marvel for finally concluding this story.

Now someone get DC on wrapping up Sonic Disruptors. I've been waiting 18 years to finish reading that series.

* Tip o'the hat to pal Dorian.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The revenge of Sir Links-a-lot. 

Batfatty shows us a vintage Marvel ad from a college magazine. "The growing Marvel hysteria threatens to overrun the nation."

Pal Dorian has a great anti-Green Arrow "fan" letter, as well as that hot new game that's sweeping the nation: Gay Porn, Country Singer, Pro Wrestler?

Pal Tom runs down some of the TV season's new offerings.

Happy Fourth Anniversary to both Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog and Johnny Bacardi!

"It's that nimble robber...the Flipper!" over at Blockade Boy's weblog.

I like Jim's review of the latest 52 over at Double Articulation.

Tom Foss at the Fortress of Soliloquy goes over some search terms that brought folks to his site, with some interesting, and funny, commentary. (Where does Superman keep his boots?)

Chipped Ham Productions reviews The Prestige, a flick of interest to fans of funnybook movies.

Bully is two-faced.

AAIIIEEEE! Giant shoe!

Jon at Facedown in the Gutters braves some old episodes of Superfriends. And yes, they're just as awful as you remember.

I've always wondered why anyone ever thought the Mandrill was a good idea for a supervillain...until I saw this panel over at ChaosMonkey's virtual pad, and suddenly all was clear.

Thought Balloon has love for the original Marvel Universe series.

Brandon gives us a Reader's Digest version of a classic EC Comics horror tale.

Spencer at Of Course, Yeah contemplates the fate of Mark Bagley, who's departing his near record-breaking run on Ultimate Spider-Man.

Polite Scott looks back at Tenzil Kem's All-Star Rebuild the Earth Benefit Concert.

Booksteve has Vincent Price books, just in time for Halloween.

"Lefty" Brown ponders Green Lantern.

Also on the topic of Green Lantern...High Velocity Super Disco has gathered together some GL YouTube videos.

What does Chris Karath have? Why, he has Green Lantern-themed snack food, that's what he has.

Tim O'Neil continues his essay series "The Fate of the Critic," including a review of Eddie Campbell's The Fate of the Artist.

Not much to do with comics, but I love old time radio, and so does Milo George.

See here for some context.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sick day. 

So, after being sick a week ago, I just now caught something else, and it's much worse. Feh.

And that means, alas, no real post today.

Don't worry about Jughead in that cover, there...it was just his appendix or his tonsils or something. Archie's just being a big drama queen.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Hey, gang! If it's one thing I know you folks want from this site, it's comic book investment advice, and I aims to please!

The primary importance of the comic book collecting hobby is, of course, a return on the money you invest in the purchases you make. Hopefully these tips will help you stretch your comics dollar and increase your wealth, turning you into a savvy investor!

1. NUMBER ONES - Hey, number one on the list is "Number ones!" See how I did that? Pretty cool. Anyway, as I'm sure you all already know, all first issues have high investment potential, and should be purchased in quantity. Which reminds me...you know that old collector's tip of buying two copies of something, so you'd have one to read and one to keep? Forget that! Keep 'em both, read neither -- double your money!

2. ENHANCED COVERS - You know, for a while there I despaired of ever seeing another foil cover. Sure, in the glory days of the late 1980s/early 1990s, they were everywhere, and it was like they'd never stop coming out! But, alas, stop coming out they did, as publishers misread the marketplace and decided that those smart comic collectors no longer wanted foil hologram die-cut covers on our favorite investables.

I mean, look at this cover:

How could anyone not buy this comic? Look how cool it is! This comic will always be in demand. And if any more enhanced covers like this show up on the stands...grab 'em, because they'll be just as hot and rare and valuable as Namor #37.

3. VARIANT COVERS - Ooh, I do like these. Unlike the enhanced covers of the past, which could be ordered by retailers in whatever numbers they'd like, the new wave of variant covers are tied to orders of the regular cover. For example for a retailer to get one copy of the Civil War sketch cover, they need to order 75 copies of the regular cover. And you know what that means, right? RARITY AND HOTNESS - a comic fan's two favorite words.

Let the investor beware, however - Marvel Comics has been in the habit of marking their variants as such, with a little "VARIANT COVER" blurb on the cover. Normally, this would be a big help, but they also use that same blurb on covers that are available on a 1 to 1 basis (as opposed to the much more valuable 1 to 75 ratio of the Civil War sketch cover). Also, they used to use that blurb on their freely-orderable reprints, to try to hide the fact that they were trying to unload worthless second printings onto an unsuspecting marketplace. They wisely gave this practice up, probably in response to angry collectors having their portfolios undermined in such a sleazy manner.

4. 2ND PRINTINGS - "Whoa, hang on there, Mike," you're probably saying. "Didn't you just say that reprints were worthless?" I sure did, pals, and they are...most of the time. But sometimes, just sometimes, a second printing can be worth just as much, if not more, than the first printing. This involves "supply" and "demand" and other confusing words, so that should probably be left to ADVANCED INVESTORS ONLY. But, you know, it probably wouldn't hurt to buy one or two copies, just in case.

5. GHOST RIDER - Ghost Rider always, always, always means BIG MONEY, so if you see him in a comic, snap it up! And now, even more than before, with a big budget hit movie starring Nicholas Cage coming soon, Ghost Rider's investment potential is going to shoot through the roof! Which leads me to...

6. MEDIA TIE-INS - Comics that tie in to movies or books or TV shows? Always a good investment, since public awareness of big media projects inevitably translate to huge sales on the tie-in comics. Millions of fans of, say, the Anita Blake or Stephen King's Dark Tower novels clearly mean millions of new potential marks entering the comics market looking for the comics based on these properties. And you, as the smart comics investor, will have your hoarded stock of those books available for sale...at a significant mark-up over your purchase price, of course!

7. DEATH - I hate to say it, but death sells. No, not the death of a comic artist or writer -- heck, those guys are drinking themselves to death every day -- but the death of people the public at large had actually heard of...that's where the money is! And you gotta do it while the death is still fresh in everyone's minds...when Mickey Mantle died, any comics featuring him were hot commodities. Not so much now, unfortunately, so the lesson you learn from this? ACT FAST. The smart investor might even be able to exploit the deaths of folks who wouldn't seem to have a comic book tie-in...for example, what famous death could you have tied this comic to? ...Yup, that's right! See, you're learning already!

8. SLAB THAT BABY - You don't want to take the risk of accidentally letting someone open up the protective comic book cover or, even worse, actually flipping through the comic! Comic investors are no stranger to the horror of finding one of their valuable commodities being read by someone, touching skin to paper, too ignorant to realize that every time a page is turned, or a cover bent back, the value plummets!

The solution? Seal it up! Plenty of companies out there are willing and able to hermetically seal your comic book in a clear plastic case, protecting it forever from the elements or from grasping, dirty hands, ensuring its maximum investment potential for all time! Actual handling or opening or even, God help us, reading of the comic is death to your coming comics fortune.

These tips aren't all-inclusive, but that should be enough to start you on your way to building your comics investment portfolio. Now more than ever, comics are RED HOT, valuable and collectible, and wisely investing in choice rare items is...is....

...ah, shit. Just shoot me.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wazoos, spoilers, firsts, and Joao. 

So, as mentioned yesterday, I upgraded the webhosting plan for this here website. I now have bandwidth to burn, baby. What does that mean to you, the end user? Bigger images, higher quality images, maybe the occasional MP3 download, and PORN, PORN, and MORE PORN. Well, okay, not so much porn, maybe -- I don't want to step on pal Dorian's toes -- but, for the time being at least, I don't need to worry about getting charged up the wazoo for bandwidth fees.

That doesn't mean you can hotlink my images, though. Look: Photobucket! Flickr! Imageshack! All image hosts, all free (or have basic free accounts)! Please use one of those instead of hotlinking my images.

SPOILER FOR LAST WEEK'S LOST: So, what, now Desmond is Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen?

A customer asked me at the shop yesterday which comic is actually considered to be Hellboy's first appearance: is it San Diego Comic Con Comics #2 (1993) or is it Next Men #21 (December 1993)? Well, just on the face of it, it seems the Comic Con book would be the actual first appearance, since presumably it was distributed during that summer's San Diego con. However, both comics are noted as being Hellboy's debut in the Overstreet Price Guide. Thanks for clearing that up, Overstreet!

And now, a series of panels that made me laugh for no good reason:

from Flying Saucers #5 (October 1969)

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