Presumably he gathered moss despite himself.

§ September 3rd, 2015 § Filed under swamp thing § 5 Comments

So I just picked up a big ol’ stack of Famous Monsters of Filmland, and put it right back down again because it was so heavy. I’m still in the process of stripping off the awful, awful bags and their gooey taped flaps (don’t use tape on comic bags, c’mon people) and throwing them on the eBays, but to the surprise of surely nobody who has read this comics blog for any period of time, I’m hanging onto this issue:


Haven’t had much time to do more than just flip through the issue, but I did want to note that while the tagline right there at the beginning of the Swamp Thing article is okay:


…the header they used as a section break within the article is a thing of sublime beauty:


Well played, writer for the May 1982 edition of Famous Monsters of Filmland…well played, indeed.

Wes Craven (1939 – 2015).

§ August 31st, 2015 § Filed under obituary, swamp thing § 2 Comments


I know there’s no shortage of more impressive and better remembered films the man was responsible for, but, by God, Wes Craven brought Swamp Thing to the screen. Sure, the film may have its issues, and may have taken the occasional liberty with the source material, but it works anyway and I still am quite fond of it. And Roger Ebert liked it too, so there.

So long, Wes.

Cartoon Network probably would have been all over this.

§ August 28th, 2015 § Filed under jack kirby § 1 Comment

Let us all hail reader Chris K, for ’twas he who came to the rescue and revealed the secret hidden name of Jack Kirby’s most forgotten character, the one I could not recover on my own (as detailed in yesterday’s post). And thus, now shall we never forget the second-most* powerful, yet most enigmatic, creation of Jack “The King” Kirby:


HEIDI HOGAN, LADY LUMBERJACK

Chris K informed me that I was right about originally encountering this in a Jim Woodring interview, but not in The Comics Journal, as I believed, but in Peter Bagge’s comics ‘zine I Love Comics from 1993:


In the interview, Woodring mentions this was just one of many, many ideas Kirby was bringing into the animation studio, and, as Woodring says, “after having drawn 3,000 of these big crescent board pictures he was running out of legitimate ideas, but he was being paid to bring this stuff in.”

Now, in fairness, Woodring only says the character’s name is “Heidi Hogan,” but he did describe her as a lumberjack in a dress, and, well, cartoonist Pat Moriarty provided an illustration based on Woodring’s description of the picture he saw:


I have no idea if the original Kirby drawing still exists but hopefully it’s simply hidden away in storage somwhere, waiting to be unearthed.

Anyway, a big thanks to Chris K for helping out.

Happy Jack Kirby’s Birthday, everyone.

 
 

* First-most.

Bet I don’t put the magazine back this time, either.

§ August 27th, 2015 § Filed under jack kirby § 2 Comments

So I was talking with customer Brook on Wednesday about one of Jack Kirby’s unused creations that I remember reading about, but couldn’t come up with the name. I Googled terrible, terrible things trying to find the character, but nothin’ doin’. My memory was that it was brought up in an interview with cartoonist Jim Woodring, who had been employed by the same animation studio where Kirby was working at the time, and that the character was (I think) one of Jack’s many proposed but unused cartoon concepts.

I went directly to the issue of The Comics Journal where I thought this information was located — well, semi-directly, as I’d pulled that issue out a while back to research something else then threw it into the sort-stack instead of putting it back where it belonged — and, lo, that information wasn’t there.

The character was this, assuming I didn’t imagine it: a somewhat burly-ish woman, almost lumberjack-ian in appearance, wearing a helmet with a giant propeller attached. It seems to me that the mention of this character was accompanied by an illustration, either by Kirby or a recreation by the person discussing it (maybe Woodring, perhaps someone else). I also feel like there was a gallery of interpretations of this character by several cartoonists, either in the same publication or sometime later.

Anyway, the Googlings, they did nothing, so if any of you out there can point me in the right direction, or at least remind me of the character’s name, I would greatly appreciate it. The first person to come up with good info will win the very first Progressive Ruin Nope-Prize! (“Do I get a prize?” “NOPE.”)

At the very least, I’d like to tell customer Brook that this was a real thing, and that I’m not crazy. At least about this.

I hate Mond…er, Tuesdays.

§ August 25th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, self-promotion § 2 Comments

Well, I hate missing a Monday post, but sometimes things just get away from you and, well, What Can You Do? I’ve had some real-life type stuff of late that’s been getting in the way of blogging fun time, so content may be a bit sparse…well, more sparse…around here for a little bit. But, I assure you, I’m still here. Watching. Waiting.

In the meantime, I still participated in the Trouble with Comics Question of the Week, which in this week’s case was “The nine-panel grid. Love it or hate it?” As I explain in my response, the question caught me off guard a bit, which is exactly why I’m joining in on this…to be caught off guard, to stretch my writing muscles a bit so that I’m not always posting on how great Frank Miller’s The Spirit is and other such topics about which I’m completely correct. I never gave the nine-panel grid much thought, really, especially why anyone would hate it, but…well, you can read my response there, which, as I’d mentioned to Mr. Doane as I was working on it, is basically “I’m dumb; here’s why.”

There’s also an accompanying gallery of nine-esque panel grids for you to enjoy. And here’s what TWC got up to in the past week or so, like this bit of business someone beat me to. I’ll have my revenge, oh yes.

Anyway, I’ll try to be back in the blogging groove later this week. Thanks for your patience, pals. Remember, you can always find me on the Twitterers if you really miss me. Also, please visit my store‘s eBay store, if, you know, you’re not busy or anything.

How I was never quoted in any kind of advertising or on any print edition for All-Star Batman and Robin, I’ll never know.

§ August 20th, 2015 § Filed under dc comics, obituary § 6 Comments

So the other day I sold a copy of the Superman: Krypton Returns trade paperback, and as I flipped it over to get the price, I noticed the following pullquote on the back cover:

“Superman is still super.”

And, well…yes, I know it’s a play on words meaning “Superman comics are great!” but it’s hard not to look at that and immediately parse it as “Superman still retains super abilities, hence the name ‘Superman.'” But that got me to thinking.

I’ve been quoted by publishers in the past, once or twice. I know I had a quote on the back of an AiT/Planet Lar trade, and I was quoted in this Previews ad for a Rick Veitch book. But boy, I think it’d be pretty neat to get quoted on the back of a DC graphic novel.

And thus…DC Comics or representatives thereof, if you’re reading this, hear me out. Now, you guys ‘n’ gals publish, what, four or five dozen Batman graphic novels and trade paperbacks a month? I might be rounding up a bit, but it’s a whole lot. You’ve got plenty of space to fill on the backs of all those books with pullquotes from, like, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal or Modern Bride or whatever. Now, my little site here, Progressive Ruin Super Adventure Hour and Family Recipes dot com, may only have approximately three quarters of the prestige of any of those fine publications/organizations, but surely there’s room for just a few words from your pal Mike.

You can use this quote for any Batman book you’d like. I would be perfectly okay endorsing any Bat-title with the following words:

“Batman is still batty.”

                            –Mike Sterling, progressiveruin.com


Perfect for every Batman story, I’m sure you’d agree. If you want to save it for the eventual print collection of Dark Knight III, feel free. If you want to use it on every Bat-collection over the next year, well, who could blame you? Anyway, I look forward to your usage of this pullquote, DC Comics.

• • •

All seriousness aside: just as there is the Best Batman, there was also the Best Batgirl, Yvonne Craig, who sadly passed away this week. Mark Evanier has a pretty good story about her that you should read.

So long, Yvonne.

Does whatever an iron can.

§ August 17th, 2015 § Filed under retailing, self-promotion § 7 Comments

So here’s something that happened a few times this past weekend that I’m surprised hasn’t popped up more often in recent months: customers looking for the latest Avengers or X-Men or whatever, and I have to tell them most of Marvel’s Big Name Series are currently on hiatus while the Secret Wars event is underway. I also let them know that new series for most of these titles are on their way, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t do any good right this very moment.

Reactions are mixed. Sometimes the customer will try out one of the Secret Wars tie-ins that’s related to the character/team requested, or s/he’ll buy some of that character’s back issues, or some non-Marvel book will be bought instead. (Or maybe the customer will try to opt for no purchase, but no one gets out of my store without buying somethin’, see.) As I said, this hasn’t been a big problem, but I had enough people bring it up in a short period of time for me to realize, oh, hey, yeah, having all the standards on hold while doing your big event could cause a minor issue.

Related: I was discussing with some fellow retailer pals this forthcoming Invincible Iron Man #1 that’s part of Marvel’s post-Secret Wars publishing initiative. Yeah, there’s a whole slew of new #1s headed our way…and to be fair, a lot of them look like they’ll be pretty good. That new Extraordinary X-Men by Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos, for example, seems like it’ll be fun, so long as they can hang onto that creative team. Anyway, I digress…our concern with a new Iron Man series is that Iron Man comics have, of late…underperformed, shall we say. And I would love, love, love a great selling Iron Man comic to burn up my racks, but conservatively-ordering this particular series seems like the smart move. I hope I’m wrong, and that everyone rediscovers their love of four-color Tony Stark, but recent sales history shows otherwise.

Now since I’ve had that discussion, the very high order numbers (relatively speaking) of that particular issue of Iron Man became a bit of a news item. That linked article mentions it would be the highest-selling issue of Iron Man in years, and, well, highest-selling to retailers, sure…whether those retailers can in turn sell those comics to customers is another story entirely. We’ll see soon enough. Like I said, I hope it sells great. There certainly won’t be any shortage of them.

I’ve been asked why I think Iron Man comics haven’t been selling as well as they could be, especially since they’re the basis of an extremely popular series of movies. That could be the problem: the movies deliver a more visceral thrill, present a more relatable cast of characters, than the comics can, and the comics suffer as a result. Oh, and also, most people who see Iron Man movies don’t read comics. And on top of that, Iron Man, in the comics world, is still kind of a…well, “second-stringer” seems a bit harsh. Maybe “one-and-a-half stringer” is closer to it, and the comics sales just reflect that status.

Or maybe people just didn’t like his comics. Hey, it happens. Maybe this new series will be the Iron Man comic everyone’s been waiting for.

• • •

This week’s Trouble with Comics roundtable question was “what makes a perfect comic shop?” and while the temptation to answer “having me running it!” was strong, I put a little more thought into it than that. You can read my responses, and those of my fellow Troublemakers, right here. Given as how I’ve devoted a lot of the past 11+ years of my site to this very question, not to mention this retailing column I wrote, you may find some of my answers familiar. But hey, I’m old now, I’m allowed to repeat the same ol’ stories over and over.

Back to Trouble with Comics: you can see what those folks have been getting up to over the past week in this summary post.

Sorry, pals…

§ August 14th, 2015 § Filed under low content mode § 3 Comments

…I said yesterday there’d be more stuff today, and as it turns out, I don’t. I’m currently occupied with some other things and while I’d rather be having fun with comic book type stuff, unfortunately this other business has to come first.

Again, sorry, gang…I’ll hopefully be up to speed again this Monday. Thanks for reading.

I haven’t had the time to generate actual content…

§ August 13th, 2015 § Filed under low content mode, the eBay, zines § 6 Comments

…so please accept this scan of a Linda Ronstadt book from 1978 in its stead:

lr
I currently have this up on the eBay, so I’m using this as an excuse to plug my eBay auctions, I guess.

Oh, this does remind me, I did recently list some other music-related magazines that may be of interest to funnybook fans, such as these issues of the music ‘zine Who Put the Bomp. Issue #7 from 1971 has a cover by underground comics artist George Hansen:

bomp71971

…while #9 from 1972 has a cover by another underground cartoonist, Jay Kinney:

bomp91972

Later the mag shortened its name to Bomp and went to slick color covers, such as this one for #18 from 1978 by William Stout:

bomp181978

Also, I’ll put up actual scans of those first two Bomps here when I get a chance…the digital photos didn’t work as well as I thought they would.

So there you go…I started off claiming there would be no content, and lo, there was content. Just how do I do it? I must be some kind of miracle worker.

More stuff tomorrow, pals.

So this is like the third post in a row about a movie I haven’t seen yet.

§ August 10th, 2015 § Filed under fantastic four, movie reviews, self-promotion § 11 Comments

Yeah, I know I’m stretching this thing a bit, adding more fuel to the fire on something studios would rather just vanish into thin air. However, it occurred to me over the weekend that perhaps one should have some measure of pity for the poor guy(s) and/or gal(s) in charge of the official Fantastic Four movie Twitter account:

I’m sure they’re not locked away in a secret bunker somewhere, away from all media…they know the film is critically despised and tanking, but they’re still plugging away, hyping the film and trying to generate interest. And, of course, what else would they be doing? Presumably someone’s being paid to run that account…I mean, I’m guessing, I don’t suppose they’d throw some unpaid intern on there. And right now, that’s probably the last place they’d want an unpaid intern.

So, yeah, you’re not going to see “um…hey, everyone, sorry about the film” tweeted on there anytime soon, though that would be amazing. But if this account hasn’t yet, well…. But still, those folks running the Twitter account have a job to do, and they have to do it as best they’re able, because I’m sure the last thing they want is the studio deciding the reason the film flopped was because the Twitter campaign was insufficiently compelling and pointing their big ol’ stogie-wielding movie mogul fingers at them.

The other issue with running a Twitter account for a less-than-popular movie is that, well, on the Internet everyone gets their say. Sometimes it’s erudite and refined educated folks like all of you fine readers perusing my site, and sometimes it’s just straight-up dummies. I wondered aloud about the temptation of whoever’s in charge of the FF account to click the “Notifications” link and see how everyone’s responding to them. Because, boy howdy, are people responding to them, letting them have it with both barrels. You can pretty much just click on any post there and see the parade of haters venting their keyboard rage, for whatever good that’ll do. But I have to tell you, this particular exchange cracked me up:


So there are defenders for the film, too, presuming that they’re not all Fox employees.

There’s beginning to be some backlash to the backlash, suggesting that maybe we’ve gone from “well, that movie didn’t turn out as planned” to just dogpiling on the dopey film because it’s the fun thing to do. And, yeah, okay, it’s a little fun, and a small heaping of deserved scorn onto a studio once in a while helps remind them that maybe there’s some shit we won’t eat. But thanks to the Internet, any creative product with a social media presence gets hit with waves of anger over anything, sometimes deserved, usually not, and it all just blurs together into one bit ol’ mass of “why are we bothering reaching out to the fans again?” Who knows if the FF people are even paying attention to online reaction. I suspect the box office returns are keeping them occupied.

Anyway, that’s enough of that. I think I’ll hold off further comment ’til I actually see the darned thing, rented from Netflix in three or four months. Like I’ve been saying, the look of the film is very appealing, so I’d at least like to enjoy that aspect of it. And if it’s all that bad, I’ll just throw on my Blu-ray of Frank Miller’s The Spirit and wash that taste out.

• • •

As mentioned last week, I am now contributing to the Trouble with Comics group blog, mostly to the weekly roundtable question discussion thingie. This week’s question is regarding the future of the comic book periodical, and I pitch in with my usual overlong, rambling and nonsensical response.

Plus, here is an overview of what’s been going on over there, and boy, those folks have been busy as all get-out. And there’s plenty more to come!

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