“Get out of there, your patient is haunted!”

§ May 21st, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 2 Comments

Dr. Kildare #4 (December 1962-February 1963)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

The Low Content Mode is continuing until morale (and health issues) improve…I should be up and running again more or less as normal next week. Thanks for all your patients…er, patience, pals.

Tying the week together.

§ May 18th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 4 Comments

The Nearsighted Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing #6 (November 1953-January 1954)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

Oh, wait, I just got my own “can’t focus” gag in the last post.

§ May 16th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 3 Comments

Gerald McBoing Boing and the Nearsighted Mister Magoo #3 (February-April 1953)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

Low content mode for a bit.

§ May 15th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 1 Comment

Sorry pals, but I can’t focus on the site at the moment. I’ll be back in full form in a week or two, with any luck. You can still find me working the shop or causing problems on the Twitters.

In the meantime…GET READY TO BE MAGOOED:

Mister Magoo #3 (March-May 1963) – image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

THE MIKE WITH THE X-RAY EYES.

§ May 11th, 2018 § Filed under sick day § 11 Comments


Well, as you may have seen on the Twitters, I am having some vision health issues that required a lot of shuffling among clinics, specialists, pharmacies, and whathaveyou most of Thursday. Now, this is mostly just affecting one eye, but still, that’s enough to put a crimp in one’s day, I’ll tell you what. But as write this, my eyes are still dilated from the last treatment, and to be honest, I’m not really up to looking at a computer screen for too long tonight. I’ll be back on Monday, so thank you for your patience.

Shop’s still open, I’m still working, though former boss Ralph filled in for me this Thursday, and he’ll be back over the next couple of Thursdays as I attend future appointments for this issue. But have some patience with me when you come into the store and I’m squinting at you all Popeye-like. I’m told the medication should start clearing up my vision in that one eye, but causes still need to be addressed to prevent that symptom from recurring. It’s a process…I’ll be okay, it’s just a matter of doing what I need to do.

Thanks for still checking in with me after all this time, pals…I’ll talk to you again soon.

Actually, come to think of it, I would like boxes of candy year ’round.

§ May 9th, 2018 § Filed under free comic book day § 4 Comments

Longtime ProgRuin-ite Andrew noted on my last post:

“Congratulations. I miss browsing in a fun comic shop.

“BTW, not many kids in the pictures.”

Like I said to him in response, yeah, I didn’t get much of a chance to get away from the register and take too many photos. It was literally a challenge to find enough time to pull out coin rolls to replenish the drawer, I was so busy. But I did have plenty of children pass through the shop that day, as particularly evidenced by my much-depleted shelves and racks of kids books and comics from which I sold throughout the day. All those Raina Telgemeier books…whoosh, out the door they went. I had to pull comics out of the back issue bins to refill the new kids comic rack, that stock got so low. And I’m still getting kids into the shop for FCBD…there were plenty of people who couldn’t make it the day of, but I still have comics laid out for folks to take, and take ’em they are.

Turns out my dad did get a photo or two of the goings-on that day from his perspective at the front of the shop, so here’s a pic showing more young’uns awaiting the gift of free comic books than my photos did:


Okay, I didn’t get a photo as iconic as this one from 2016:


…but rest assured, I had plenty of customers of all ages who left the store happy and with handfuls of free comics!

The Signal Watch buzzed by with

“…This was the first year I noticed that people seem to actually know about FCBD as a thing, that they may only show up once a year like some people do for church on Christmas or Easter, but they know about it and spend money when they’re at a comic shop. That seems good, right? And yesterday my neighborhood’s ‘Little Library’ announced on fb that they’ve got all the FCBD offerings – and people seemed to know what that was. Pretty far off from when this whole thing got started.”

I explained Free Comic Book Day once as “like Valentine’s Day for the See’s Candies stores,” (or Easter, or Christmas, yes) which is sort of like what you’re saying. Okay, some people don’t need boxes of candy year ’round, but when that special day comes, they know where to go. And when Free Comic Book Day approaches on the calendar, folks know they need to seek out Ye Olde Local Comick Booke Shoppe. And yes, a whole lot of ’em do spend money while they’re on the premises.

Yeah, I think there’s a lot more awareness of Free Comic Book Day now…it helps that it’s been around over a decade and a half, and it’s consistently put on every year at around the same time (except maybe that once). Local event publications made sure to note the day, I heard ads on a couple of the comedy podcasts I listen to (plugging the Starburns FCBD comic). It’s become just an “it’s that time of year again!” thing versus “hey, get this, people are giving away free comics, isn’t that weird?” I mean, sure, it’s not achieved 100% awareness across all demographics, but just from personal experience, when I ask people new to my shop (or any comic shop) if they’d heard about Free Comic Book Day, lately the answer is more often “yes, yes I have.” And hey, that’s good. That’s just one more positive thing for the general public to associate with comic book stores, which as a whole can use all the good press it can get.

Free Comic Book Day 2018 is over, but someone tell my legs and hands that.

§ May 7th, 2018 § Filed under free comic book day § 7 Comments


It’s done, it’s done, and as you may have seen me announcing on my Twittererers, it was quite the successful one. Gave away more comics, had more people come in (swamped pretty much from opening ’til the late afternoon, and even after that we still had a good crowd), and, as far as actual cash/credit business goes, it was my biggest Free Comic Book Day yet at this store of mine…a 65% increase over the business I did my first FCBD here four years ago!

Here are a couple of shots of how my store looked that day…once again, I was pretty busy at the register and couldn’t get out to take too many photos, but I took this one right after we opened the door:


…which is the photo I’ve been using on the store Facebook page and Instagram and whatnot. This second photo I took has a better look at the Free Comics Table, as well as a shot of someone’s reading glasses on the counter that he has to use because of his aging eyes who is definitely not me:

Anyway, this is my 17th go-round on FCBD, which means I’ve been doing it since it was unleashed nearly a couple of decades back, and every year, both at my previous place of employment and now, it’s been a resounding success. Lots of folks of all ages got their free comics, and because I order extra for future use, I’m still giving them away now to those folks who weren’t able to make it in to the event. Saw lots of new faces, too, many of whom went out of their way to tell me it was their first trip to my shop and how much they liked it, which was nice to hear. I know we go around and around about how much good FCBD actually does, in regards to return business etc., but it never hurts to remind people that 1) your shop is there, and 2) your shop is pretty awesome, if I may switch my own-horn status to “TOOTED.”

No real problems or inconveniences I noticed this time…you know, the guy who always wants to look at all the dirty comics while the store is filled with kids, that sort of thing. I was a little bummed when a comic saver customer that I’d long given up on came in to ask for his pull, after not responding to any of my phone calls for months. Er…sorry, pal, gave you plenty of chances. But, you know, that was pretty much it.

There was one other very minor annoyance that I mentioned on the tweeters:


And of course, the internet and that platform’s search function being what it is, I quickly got this response:


Well, at least they know about it! But boy, those paper trimmings just got everywhere.

The most popular giveaway this year was the Spongebob book…ordered lots of those, and ran out of them right quick. There were a couple books that appeared to fit into the “not even for free” category, which I won’t name here so that people will be fooled into thinking I’m nice. But that’s the one downside of letting folks freely pick what they want off the tables versus what we used to do at the old store (create prefilled bags for different age groups, containing all the comics)…some customers just plain will not want what you’re offering. Now, the comics this happened to I didn’t order very high on, but still, it’s a little disappointing to see an unloved book just sittin’ there while its free comic brethren and sister-en fly off the tables.

Pal Dorian (who helped out again this year, along with my dad, and my girlfriend Nora – big thank to all of them!) pointed out that Marvel “left money on the table” (you know, relatively speaking) by not doing a straight-up Black Panther freebie. Apparently we were getting lots of requests for such a thing, and yeah, that seems like a missed opportunity.

I gave away that DC Nation comic, which threw a few folks off by the fact that there was as 25-cent price tag on the cover. “No, it’s free, honest!” I reassured everyone.

And as usual, I sold a lot of new comics off the shelf as well…yes, “sold,” we were making sure nobody thought those were free, too. The big surprise was selling all the available issues of Doomsday Clock, but not as surprising as moving a bunch of that Jean Grey lenticular cover from a few months back that, um, I may have still had a few copies floating around. And I had a few of each issue of that Action Comics “Mr. Oz” storyline with the fancypants covers…moved quite a few of them as well. Speaking of Action, that #1000 just keeps selling and selling. Sold a bunch on FCBD, and I have a constant cycle of reorders on that thing.

Overall, like I said, it was one heck of a good day. Everyone was happy, I made a little scratch, and I gave away a lot of comics, making for my 17th consecutive successful Free Comic Book Day. And I owe it all to being visited by the GUMBY OF SUCCESS the Friday prior, as I was setting up:


Remind me to speak further on this someday.

It’s Free Comic Book Day!

§ May 5th, 2018 § Filed under free comic book day § No Comments


Today’s the day! Get yourself out to ye olde local funnybook emporium and get your mitts on some free comics! And maybe help said shoppe out by buying a thing or two while you’re there! And most of all — have fun! If you happen to be near my store — like, on the same continent or in the same hemisphere — drop by! I’d be happy to see yoU!

Pal Dorian has posted his picks for the comics of note this year, so be sure to pop over there and see what he has to say.

A Progressive Ruin Breaking News Alert!

§ May 3rd, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

A live-action Swamp Thing TV show is coming to the DC Universe digital steaming app-thingie-whatever:

This article gives a pretty good overview on what’s going on, though the paragraph regarding the character’s comics history in the ’70s and ’80s appears to be garbled a bit. Also, the article notes that the show going to series depends on the how good the initial script is, so it’s not 100% a for-sure thing, I guess? Anyway, from the brief description given there, it sounds like they’re conflating Abby Arcane with Alec’s wife Linda Holland to, I don’t know, simplify the set-up of the series? Get to the romantic tension right away without contending with the whole “dead wife” thing? To save costs by reducing the number of actors in that pilot episode? I say “pilot,” assuming they don’t go all Netflix on us and take an entire season to approximate the original property. (“SEASON ONE ENDING CLIFFHANGER: Will Alec survive the lab’s explosion?”)

Well, not that I need another streaming TV service or anything, but DC played dirty pool and now actually have me considering dropping the dough on this. Not that they’ve said how much dough will be required…hopefully more towards about $6 or $7 a month, and not something stupid like $25 a month, $275 for a year – that’s one free month! We’ll see.

In other Swamp Thing media news: what’s that Dave Sim character up to nowadays?

“I’m free / and freedom tastes of reality.”

§ May 2nd, 2018 § Filed under free comic book day § 3 Comments


Okay, this is a little earlier in the week than I usually post my “hey, Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday” reminders…I try to drop ’em the Friday before, but I’m not 100% sure how much bloggin’ time I’ll have Thursday night, so there you go. Also, longtime customer Mike W. told me he’ll look to my blog here for his FCBD reminder, so…hey, Mike W., see you on Saturday!

Anyway, like the last couple of times I’ve posted here about FCBD, I’ll tell you I don’t know what else to add that I haven’t already said over the last near decade-and-a-half. Just remember:

1) No purchase is required to take FCBD comics…if the store is making you buy something to take free comics, they’re doing it wrong.

2) That said, if you can, maybe do buy something while you’re at the shop…retailers do have to pay for the free comics which, while individually aren’t that expensive, can add up if you’re like me and ordered a whole lotta them. Also like me, many stores will probably be having special deals that day, so take advantage of them! Please!

3) But if you can’t buy anything and just want some freebies…that is perfectly fine. I want people to take comics and enjoy them! I mean, take the Free Comic Book Day comics, not the early 1960s Detectives I have in the case.

Also, once again I’ll not have limits on the number of different comics you can take. That’s been a successful and non-problematic strategy in the past, and I expect it will continue to be so, despite the occasional naysayer that turns up in my comments to tell me I’m doing everything wrong. Given the option, not everybody takes a copy of every single comic…sure, some people do, and that’s okay, but in my experience, a lot of people will only take a half-dozen different titles, or maybe only one comic, and that’s okay too. (And just SO WE’RE CLEAR…I’m not down on stores that do limit things for financial reasons…I UNDERSTAND. I just hope most stores can offer each customer more than, like, two different freebies.)

I’m pretty much ready to go…at this point, all that’s really left to do is rearrange the store Friday night for the festivities the next day. All the freebies are in neatly-stacked boxes in the back room, I’ve got the roll of “I Got A Free Comic Today!” stickers ready to go, and I’ve got suckers family and friends ready to help out. So, now, all I can do is wait.

Speaking of said friends, pal Dorian will be on hand on FCBD to help me control the madding crowd, and, once again, he should have his overview of this year’s offerings posted on his site that Saturday morning. I don’t know how I manage to get him to do those reviews every year, but I’m glad he does ’em!

Oh, and before I forget, let me point you to this article on my shop’s participation in Free Comic Book Day that ran in the local town paper, which also featured a couple of my customers. Nice, right?

Okay, if I don’t talk to you again before the day, everyone have a fun and safe Free Comic Book Day, and I hope you all find some new comics to enjoy! Also, maybe buy a couple things! A suggestion, not a requirement!

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