And now, Betty talking with Veronica about their favorite song by The Coasters.

§ July 19th, 2017 § Filed under archie § 6 Comments

Okay, The Coasters spell “Yakety” differently, don’t email back.

from Betty #23 (March 1995) by Mike Pellowski, Doug Crane and Mark Brewer

Yes, I know about the Swordquest retailer incentive comics, too.

§ July 17th, 2017 § Filed under this week's comics § 3 Comments

Minor SPOILERS ahead:

So usually when I pick up an issue of DC’s recent “Rebirth” titles, since everything has two covers (at least) now, I’ll pick the cover with the image I like the most. I mean, duh, right? With Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, that decision is made easy by the fact that every biweekly issue has, as an option, a cover by Kevin Nowlan. I likes me the the Kevin Nowlan.

The comic itself I’ve been enjoying…well, quite a bit, actually. The focus right now is on the integration of former adversaries the Yellow Lantern Corps with the Green Lantern Corps into one big happy space cop family, and the subsequent bumps in the road, plus some subplotty stuff with GL Kyle Rayner hitting a rough patch with his paramour, the Yellow Lantern leader Sora. It’s actually all quite entertaining and very soap-opera-y in the best sense of the term, even if this book (like its companion title Green Lanterns more often than not seems to be about dealing with internal issues relating to the various Corps and their histories and not, say, punching Goldface. I mean, that’s fine, we had decades of punching Goldface, I’m not complaining. There’s just that Mike of Decades Ago who remembers reading Green Lantern before it got all complicated an’ stuff, and kind of missing those days once in a while, but understanding that’s just how it goes, sometimes.

Also, we as a people aren’t talking enough about Space Ape.

One of the very first things I bought on eBay (aside from the Swamp Thing Pencil Sharpener) was a still-sealed-in-the-box copy of Galaxian for the Atari 2600. No, not for the video game itself (though that did sort of kick off a brief nostalgia-fueled wave of Atari cartridge collecting, but that’s another story), but for the pack-in Atari Force comic book. You see, during the original wave of Atarimania, I acquired three of the games that had the AF comics, but never did get the other two. But then, along comes the eBay, and suddenly I can complete that set (along with finally getting a copy of Berzerk, a game I never got way back when as a friend had it and I could play it at his house).

I often thought about getting the other comics Atari had packed into their games. I mean, there aren’t that many of them, but I had my chance at getting Swordquest #2 and #3 without buying the cartridges, as the previous place of employment had ’em available singly at one point. And, basically, I just never got around to it.

But here’s Dynamite Comics, putting out a bunch of Atari-related comics, and as a retailer incentive they offered reproductions of the original pack-in comic from Centipede. Yeah, it’s a silly thing to want to have, but I’m glad I have it. It’s got nice art by Howard Post of Harvey and Star Comics fame, and, um, I may have liked it a little more than the new Centipede comic that it was the incentive for. I think I was expecting more High Fantasy (or at least Semi-High) like the old mini-comic, than the apocalyptic sci-fi war comic that we got. I mean, it’s not bad, and I’ll come back for issue #2, but I’m not quite sure I’m getting the setting…? It’s not Earth, but an alien world that’s just like a slightly more futuristic Earth, but they’ve heard of Earth and observed its broadcasts? Yeah, I know, that’s the thing that’s tripping me up about a dude standing along against the invasion of a space centipede. Hey, what can I tell you, I hit a bump, then I hit a bump.

Yes, I’m one of those people who bought the original Mage more-or-less as it was coming out in the ’80s (I think I started about halfway through and picked up the rest as back issues), then read Hero Defined in the late ’90s, and have been waiting for this ever since. I think that puts me squarely in the Mage “30+ Year” Club, patiently anticipating the arrival of the concluding mini. It’s very much the “old warhorse not impressed by these cocky new kids” story, but it’s Matt Wagner and it’s Mage and it’s great and it was sadly missed. And I was only half-joking about wanted “The Hero Disco-Dances” as the follow-up.

Okay, technically this isn’t from “this week’s comics” as per the tag on this post (but then again, the previous comics aren’t from this week, either), but I didn’t get around to reading it ’til last night and there you have it. Mostly, I just wanted to note the plot point (that Shadow has met Batman before, but “clouded his mind” to make him forget) makes all the previous Shadow/Batman crossovers canon. Well, “canon,” you know how DC is. And there’s a sequence showing other DC heroes being killed off, so that’s hard to reconcile. But, you know, close enough!

• • •

So long to Martin Landau of Space: 1999 and Ed Wood fame (yes, I know he did more, but I loved those the most)…Mark Evanier re-presents an interview he did with Landau about his cartooning career. So long also to George Romero…in whatever afterlife that may exist, let us hope that he and Bernie Wrightson are collaborating on one heck of a zombie movie.

The post I was working on for today…

§ July 14th, 2017 § Filed under superman § 7 Comments

…didn’t exactly come together, so in the meantime, please ponder this important question and answer it in the comments section, if you’d like:


“He’ll GRILL up your body and eat it as hamb — no wait”

§ July 12th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, archie § 1 Comment


from Archie #131 (September 1962)

I’m sure my complaining about kids today and their cellular phones doesn’t make me sound old at all.

§ July 10th, 2017 § Filed under movie reviews § 3 Comments

So here’s something I haven’t done in a long time…gone to a big blockbuster film on the very first day it opens to general release. I mean, I used to do it all the time, 20, 25, even 30 years ago. I had to go The Very First Day because I didn’t want anyone else spoiling things for me, and also because I’d get all excited for these films and I just couldn’t wait.

Nowadays, I don’t have quite the energy or enthusiasm that I did for movie-going, as I slowly slip into my dotage. Part of it is not caring nearly as much about spoilers, part of it is not wanting to deal with huge crowds, part of it is everyone’s friggin’ cell phones that they apparently paid 10 bucks a ticket so they could sit in a dark room and look at them. There’s also the fact that movies tend to get released to home video right quick and I have a large widescreen TV at home and a Blu-ray player and the ability to pause when nature calls. Blah blah blah get off my lawn, etc.

Generally, if I do go to movies, it’s either the following the first weekend, when the crowds have died down a lot, or two or three months after said film has opened, when we go onto the local Navy base and see movies in the free movie theater that’s offered for Navy personnel, their families, or civilian Naval employees (the latter category my girlfriend falls under). The Navy theater was how I got to see Logan, for example. And this fine flick.

But anyway, as I said, I did go to a film on opening night last week, thanks to the girlfriend’s nephew buying tickets for his family, my girlfriend and me for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The theater was in this giant newly-built mall, it was packed, there was also an outdoor festival going on, it took me nearly half an hour to find a parking space (on pretty much the exact opposite side of the mail from where the theater was located), and I was plenty stressed by the time we all managed to get to our seats just in time for the 20 minutes or so of trailers.

However, the actual viewing experience was fine. It was crowded, yes, but we had good seats right in the middle of the theater (this particular showing had assigned seating, and apparently the nephew ordered early enough to get his pick of seats), nobody around us was too obnoxious (though at the end of the film I had to tune out the guys behind me talking about Spider-Man comics — NO WORK TALK ON MY FREE TIME, PLEASE), and the projection at this theater seemed to be properly lit (as opposed to this other local small midtown theater that always seems to project their movies through several sheets of black construction paper).

Yes, yes, but what about Spider-Man: Homecoming itself?

I liked it just fine. I joked on the Twitters that “it didn’t have Dancing Evil Dork Peter Parker” so Spider-Man 3 remained the best film, but I think this film succeeded very well in giving us a sufficiently nerdy Peter Parker that integrated quite well into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Michael Keaton was great as the Vulture, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. In fact, I’d say most of the cast here did solid jobs, and let’s hope a lot of them can stick around for a while as friends/foils for Spidey and we can stave off yet another reboot.

I have a couple of specific comments to make that could be construed as SPOILERS, so I’ll toss ’em in here between the two stills I grabbed from the trailers so you can skip over them if you need to. And by the way, holy crap does it seem like EVERY beat from the film can be found in these trailers. The trailers need spoiler warnings.

  • One of the “these guys are dorks” moments from the film is when Peter’s pal Ned excitedly tells him about the Lego Death Star set he just acquired, to the derision of a couple of girls who overhear the exchange. Peter is thrilled to hear the news, which caused someone on Twitter to remark “Peter didn’t know what an AT-AT from Empire Strikes Back was in Civil War, and now he’s excited about Death Star Legos? He’s a Fake Fan” — or words to that effect, because I’m pretty sure that’s over 140 characters.

    I think there are three clear responses to that. Either 1) Peter has since learned about Star Wars, what with getting all caught up in the excitement around Episode VII; 2) Peter is excited because his friend Ned is excited; 3) Peter just plain loves Legos, especially if he gets to work on a massive set that’s probably way out of his price range. There, problem solved…where’s my No-Prize, Marvel?

  • I talked about this somewhere before, on Twitter, on this site, on a BBS running Wildcat, I don’t remember, but I noted how…isolated Spider-Man seemed in his previous films. He was like the one guy with super-powers…well, one good guy, since he kept running into bad guys, obviously. Still, though, I couldn’t help but think how lonely it seemed, with Spider-Man separated out from the rest of the Marvel Universe. Now that he’s in the Cinematic Universe, it feels…satisfying, like a big piece that was missing is finally plugged back in there. It would be nice if someday the Fantastic Four could rejoin their four-colored friends onscreen, instead of a bunch of diminishing-returns reboots that never quite seem to, you know, get it. Oddly enough, I’m okay with not getting X-Men mixed in there, too, since, at least to me, they always seemed like they were kinda off on their own in the comics anyway. Yeah, of course there were crossovers and guest-appearances and such, but it always felt to me like “Here are the X-Men, and here is the rest of the Marvel Universe.” Not that I wouldn’t love an X-Men versus the Avengers movie.
  • I’m okay with having the Super Spidey Tech suit as a specific plot point for one film, but I’m hoping the replacement costume he gets at the end of the movie is just a cosmetic improvement without all the bells and whistles. Spider-Man as Iron Man-Lite on a regular basis wouldn’t feel like Spider-Man.
  • I know at this point in his life the movie is presenting, Peter isn’t working at the Daily Bugle yet, but man, I feel sorry for whoever they’re going to cast as J. Jonah Jameson. J.K. Simmons so nailed the part in the first trilogy, that they didn’t even bother to recast in the two-movie Andrew Garfield reboot (though you can see JJJ’s name as a sender of some emails at one point). I mean, I suppose eventually it’s going to happen, but it’s funny I can accept a new guy as Spidey, but JJJ’s recasting is going to be tough to take.
  • How great was Zendaya as “Michelle?” I want to see her “no time for your crap” attitude bump up against her inevitable discovery that Peter is Spider-Man. That’ll be a confrontation for the ages, I think.
  • There’s a mid-credits scene (that provides an answer re: the film’s plot point regarding Peter’s identity) and a post-credits scene that actually sort of depends on you performing the actual act of waiting through the credits. It’s quite clever, and a nice follow-up cameo to the character’s other cameos throughout this film.

And in conclusion, I can’t believe Spider-Man tried to get a job with the Fantastic Four at the end of the film. Who saw that coming?

I do have more to say, I think, that’ll probably wait for another day. In the meantime, it’s nice to have a new Spider-Man movie that’s actually good and doesn’t force us through the origin yet again. Even it there was no Evil Dancing.

New Swamp Thing-a-Thon post up…

§ July 7th, 2017 § Filed under self-promotion § No Comments

…over on my Patreon, discussing issue #3 of the 1970s Swamp Thing series. See how many times I can type the words “Patchwork Man!” Only a buck to get in and see these posts good ‘n’ early!

A progress(ive ruin) report.

§ July 6th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 3 Comments

Sorry gang…between feeling crummy over the last few days (I’m mostly over it now, thankfully) and just having a lot to do in my Real Life, I’m a bit behind on everything.

I should have the next installment of the Swamp-Thing-a-Thon up at my Patreon page this week…it looks like it’s going to be a bit longer than normal, as I’m trying a little something different in my coverage of the issue (#3, with the Patchwork Man!) so we’ll see how that goes. I mean, other than taking a long time to write.

I am hoping to having another actual post this week, or at the very least something fun for Saturday, so hopefully it’ll all work out. Next week I should be back to my regular schedule of posting long, rambling diatribes about things nobody cares about except me and maybe one or two of you oddballs out there, plus the occasional out-of-context scan from an old Archie or Harvey comic. You know, just like the old days of comics blogging, back when we were all so young and innocent and talking about that Lois Lane story “I Am Curious (Black)!” every two to three months like we were the first to discover it existed.

I’m also going to continue answering your questions at some point, before those of you who asked them die of old age. I mean, holy cow, that was in March, I’m stretching this out a bit.

I really do appreciate you all reading this site, and an additional thank you to the folks who throw a buck or so a month at me on the ol’ Patreon. I feel bad when I’m not pushing out the content like I want to (even if it isn’t at the previous 7-days-a-week schedule the younger and apparently more insane me used to be on), and I’m glad you understand that sometimes life just gets in the way. Yes, I have a life. This is shocking news to someone.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk at you again in short order.

Progressive Ruin celebrates its independence with…the End of Civilization.

§ July 4th, 2017 § Filed under End of Civilization § 14 Comments

Yes, we here at Progressive Ruin Industries are celebrating American Independence Day in the way of our forefathers…by paging through the newest edition of Diamond Previews (the July 2017 edition) and seeing what will soon be invading our shores. Pick up your own copy and follow along:

p. 116 – Wonder Woman/Conan #1:

“…And to hear the lamentations of their women!”


“Er, nothing! Nothing, ma’am!”
p. 142 – Justice League of America The Detroit Era Omnibus HC:

ME, VISITING 1985 FROM THE FUTURE: “In my era, there is going to be an oversized deluxe hardcover collecting together all the Detroit League stories!”

PRIMITIVE HUMAN OF 1985: “Wha–? Nobody likes these comics! Who’s gonna spring for a big ol’ hardcover?”

ME: “Oh, and also Gypsy and Vibe are characters on a popular DC superhero television show in my time.”

p. 154 – Star Wars Adventures #1:

What, a children’s version of Star Wars? What’s next, children’s versions of Spider-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy comics?
p. 212 – Divided States of Hysteria #4:

Huh, can’t seem to get that pic to load for some reason.
p. 241 – The Walking Dead Faction Logo 4″ Patches:

Ah, special patches for the different groups in The Walking Dead, like “Hilltop” for the people living in the Hilltop community, or “Kingdom” for the folks living under Ezekiel, or “Dammit I Had A Good Thing Going” for actors whose characters were killed off on the show.
p. 285 – The Hoth Face T-shirt:

Okay, I gotta admit…I know this is referencing something, but honestly have no idea what. I can’t believe I have to admit defeat to one of these “two things” shirts. I’m sure once someone tells me I’m going to go “oooooh, THAT.” …Honestly, pals, this is pretty embarrassing.
p. 340 – James Bond Casino Royale HC:

Finally, Peter Sellers, David Niven, and Woody Allen in the comic book movie adaptation of the year!
p. 343 – Fruit Ninja #1:

Hey, they should do a comic based on that popular “Pokemon Go!” mobile game.
p. 345 – Turok #2:

“Hey, look, a comic based on that ancient video game!” the person perusing the rack declares, as Mike crumbles into dust behind him.
p. 351 – Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers One-Shot:

Don’t really have any kind of joke here. Just letting you know it’s a thing. (And was there a comic for Tusk? I’d probably read that.)
p. 492 – Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food HC:

I’m going to assume “eating like Walt” involves inhaling an entire cigarette between each bite, like most mid-century adults.
p. 493 – How Comics Work SC:

If you’re talking about the industry as a whole, I think the answer to “How Comics Work” is “despite itself.”
p. 495 – The Dark Crystal The Ultimate Visual History HC:

Wouldn’t the ultimate visual history be, like, the movie?
p. 500 – Star Wars Mad Libs Deluxe Edition:

Oh, great, George Lucas went back to the Mad Libs Original Edition and added in new word types to fill in, like “adjouns” and “verjectives.”
p. 500 – Star Wars BB-8 on The Run HC:

The Pineapple Express sequel you never expected!
p. 513 – Team up Cablepool Black T-shirt:

Isn’t Cable’s glowy eye his left one? But then again, that wasn’t always consistent, I guess.
p. 515 – Swamp Thing House of Secrets #92 T-shirt:

Store uniform, house uniform, grocery shopping uniform, formal dress, meetin’ the Pope clothes…better order a few dozen of these.
p. 544 – Alien Convenant Xenomorph 7-Inch Action Figure and Neomorph 7-Inch Action Figure:

Well, this will make for an interesting variation on the yin-yang symb…

…welllll, maybe not.
p. 552 – Pop! War for the Planet of the Apes Maurice Vinyl Figure:

p. 568 – Reverse Flash The Flash TV ArtFX+ Statue:

“Hi, do you have anything that’s the exact opposite of the Maurice Planet of the Apes Funko Pop?”

“Why, as a matter of fact….”
p. 568 – DC Comics Super Sons Jonathan Kent & Krypto Two Pack ArtFX+ Statue:

Okay, how much just for the Krypto statue? You know, the character that’ll still be around three or four reboots from now.
p. 598 – DC Heroes Batman Kids Costume:

Please note that regardless of age or costume design, all Bat-children look like they’re ready and able to fight crime. Kid-crime.

And yes, yes, the pics arranged like that it looks like that’s Giant Bat-Baby, 10 feet tall, towering over his/her compatriots with a diaper full of justice.
p. 615 – Marvel Hydra Logo 24-Inch Necklace:

Sure, you’re all sick of this Hydra stuff, but picture Larry on Three’s Company tugging this just the slightest bit out from under his too-unbuttoned shirt to show to Mr. Furley, as he leans in and whispers “Hail Hyrda.” Mr. Furley gives a hugely exaggerated wink in response. Cue laugh track.
p. 629 – Golden Girls Clue Game:

“Okay, let’s get this game start–”

“Betty White did it.”

“Wait, what? We haven’t even started playing y–”

“It has to be her, she’s the only one still al–”

“HA HA okay who’s up for some Battleship?”
Marvel Previews p. 4 – Marvel Legacy #1:

Here’s hoping the legacy in question is something other than an endless stream of relaunched #1s stretching as far back and as far ahead as the eye can see. Or R&D for movies.

In which Mike just rambles on, making baseless and crazy assumptions.

§ June 30th, 2017 § Filed under publishing, supergirl § 4 Comments

Just following up on a couple of comments from my most recent post:

Andrew responds with

“I want to read those comics NOW (well maybe not the Fox and Crow, since my pocket money is finite).”

Fox and the Crow is actually pretty good, though I understand not having the scratch to throw down on everything. The particular issue being plugged in that ad is issue #95, which was the first appearance of “Stanley and His Monster.” Now, the lead stories were based on what I assume is a now-obscure series of animated shorts…at least, nobody seems to be trying to market or “reboot” the characters at the moment, so I’m pretty sure they’re mostly forgotten. But the comic lasted a good long time, with new Fox and the Crow stories illustrated by Not That Jim Davis, squeezing out endless variations on the Crow pulling some kind of scam on the Fox.

But, with the introduction of Stanley and His Monster in the mid-1960s, at a time when lighthearted monster-based entertainment was really taking a foothold, Mssrs. Fox & Crow began to lose their starring position in their own comic. Eventually, with issue #109 of the series, Fox and the Crow were discarded entirely as the title of the book changed to Stanley and His Monster. The previous stars likely seemed too old-fashioned, particularly in a comics marketplace that was focusing more on weird concepts and wacky “modern” humor, where Stanley and friend seemed to fit right in. Too little, too late, however, and the series ended with #112, though S.A.H.M. would be revived years later in a Phil Foglio mini-series and as supporting characters in a Green Arrow storyline, of all things.

Fox and the Crow, however, have mostly vanished, though it looks like they’ve made cameo appearances, or where at least mentioned in dialogue, here and there. I think technically they were licensed characters, so I don’t even know if DC has the rights to them now. I keep thinking about all the licensed books DC published over the years, and how it would be great to have a collection of, say, The Adventures of Bob Hope, despite the fact that the potential audience for such a thing ain’t exactly expanding of late. I’d love to have a Fox and the Crow collection, but given it took years of consumer demand to get even one reprint book of old Sugar & Spike comics out the door, I suspect the forgotten obscurities, especially ones that would cost extra licensing fees, will continue to languish.

But honestly, DC had two chances to get a Stanley and His Monster trade out to an audience that may have been interested by the characters’ revivals. Ah, well.

Andrew also adds

“It looks like those issues of B&B before Batman took over have been passed over for reprints.”

Well, if this series went to a volume 2, they would have reprinted this Supergirl/Wonder Woman team-up. Alas, ’twas not to be.

• • •

Wes Wescovich writes

“I think this may be the first time that Supergirl logo was used on a cover?”

I’m not 100% sure, but I think you may be right. My first instinct was that the logo showed up on one of the 80 Page Giants, and it sure did…a few months later. I don’t see the logo on previous issues of Action, where Supergirl primarily appeared, so it could very well be that the logo made its cover debut on that very issue of Brave and the Bold. If someone knows otherwise, hopefully they’ll let me know.

Once thing I noticed while looking at the Action covers on the Grand Comics Database is there’s about a three year gap between Supergirl’s introduction in #252 and her “going public” to the people of DC Comics Earth in #285. In the meantime she was “Superman’s secret weapon,” privately training and keeping the existence of Supergirl a secret. Three years probably seemed like an eternity to keep a plotline like this going in the late 1950s/early 1960s, though it’s not like this was the grand scheme planned from the get-go. I’m sure it was more like “okay, this is how Supergirl fits into the Superman family of books” at the start, and eventually “hoo boy, this ‘Supergirl’s a Secret’ thing is a drag, let’s put an end to that.” But I’m just imagining a bunch of kids who read the Supergirl stories at the start, grew out of reading comics a few months later, and went the rest of their lives thinking that Supergirl went on continuing her superheroic deeds in hiding from the general public. You know, watching the new Supergirl TV show and thinking “this is all wrong! She’s superhero-ing out in the open!”

I do wonder if anyone at the time made it all the way from Supergirl’s first appearance to her eventual introduction to the world. I’m sure someone did, even with the huge turnover readership likely had at the time. Like I said, three years was a long time in comics then, even if now it can be a not-unheard-of gap between issues in high-profile series. Or, more commonly nowadays, that’s not too far from how long it takes for some event stuff to pay off (like the whole Watchmen in the DCU thingie). Funny how we went from long-running titles with a high turnover in readership to a huge turnover in restarted/rebooted titles trying to get the attention of folks who’ve been reading comics forever. …Well, maybe not so funny.

Please do not shoot Charlie Brown.

§ June 28th, 2017 § Filed under peanuts § 4 Comments

NOTE: This is from a story in which Charlie Brown imagines that he accidentally gets trapped in a plane, which then takes off and he proceeds to get yelled at by the control tower for not knowing how to fly or land it:

In essence, he fantasizes about screwing up and being called a blockhead. Oh Charlie Brown.

from Peanuts #7 (Nov-Jan 1961)

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