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The contest, Star Wars, and full-frontal nudity.

§ May 24th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

So, as promised, the winner of my Couscous Express giveaway, the person whose name I randomly pulled from a hat (well, a virtual hat, anyway):


Bryan Boles of Tennessee!


Your book will be placed in the tender mercies of our fine postal system shortly. Thanks to Big Larry, king of Ait/Planetlar, for supplying the book, and thanks to everyone who entered the drawing!


So, yeah, that new Star Wars movie.

Wasn’t bad.

Well, there’s my spoiler-free review. I suppose I should say that Lucas has finally focused more on the action, which is what he’s generally good at, and less on the love story, which has been somewhat less than convincing, to say the least. At any rate, I thought I’d list some random reactions to the film (like I did with Spider-Man 2 way back when). I’ve been avoiding other people’s reviews, so I apologize if I cover ground already, um, covered by others.

So, SPOILER ALERT…yeah, yeah, “Anakin is Darth Vader?!?” I haven’t heard that joke enough:

  • Like I said, Lucas brings on the action, and keeps the draggy parts to a minimum. The initial lovey-dovey scenes between Anakin and Padme are still remarkably unconvincing, with awkward dialogue…but the later scenes, after Anakin’s turn to the dark side, the “romantic” dialogue suddenly has a more menacing undercurrent, which works quite nicely.

  • Palpatine finally going into all-out scenery-chewing villain mode was something of a relief, and something that the previous two movies desperately needed.
  • How to improve any Star Wars movie: insert Yoda, kicking ass. I never, ever get tired of Yoda’s lightsabre fight with Dooku in Attack of the Clones, and I greatly enjoyed his action scenes in this film.
  • Dumb jokes were at a minimum in this film…no C3P0 “I’m beside myself!” lines, like in AOTC. Not that there wasn’t humor…mostly in the most badass of droids, R2-D2, giving some of the bad guys what-for.
  • Though, speaking of our favorite astromech droid, what’s with R2 popping out of his spaceship socket like a piece of bread out of a toaster? I hope he has good shocks in those legs of his.
  • As you know, Jar Jar is in the film, but doesn’t say a word (though I bet we’ll get some deleted scenes with him in the eventual DVD release). In an odd sort of way, I missed him, and that last shot of him in the funeral procession was sadly touching.
  • I’m not 100% certain I bought that Anakin would turn so completely to evil…okay, maybe he was emotionally broken after giving a hand (har har) to Palpatine during his battle with Windu, but going straight into killing “younglings?” Well, then again, he’s done it before, slaughtering a whole Sandpeople community in AOTC (as recreated in the cheery “Tusken Raider Encounter” Lego set).
  • Hey, who else liked Senator Organa’s tricked-out flying hot rod?
  • The reveal of Darth Vader was handled well…I’d been afraid for six years that we were going to get Vader rolled out of the lab (or wherever) and a jump-cut to Jar Jar waving his arms and shouting “meesa thinks we’re in trouble now!” I could have done without the never terribly convincing “NOOOOOOOOOO!” cliche. I’m half-surprised he didn’t fall to his knees at the same time.
  • So am I understanding Palpatine’s story about his Sith Lord’s powers right, that Palpatine himself is responsible for Anakin’s “virgin” birth?
  • For just a brief moment, as Yoda was talking to Obi-Wan about his “further training” at the end of the film, I thought we’d be getting a Qui-Gon cameo. No dice…I guess Liam Neeson was busy (or just refusing to have anything more to do with the series).
  • Neither my girlfriend nor I caught Padme’s last line of dialogue, prior to her passing. Could someone let us know what it was?
  • As we were leaving the theatre, we heard a young boy tell his mom, “you know, there’s going to be an Episode IV.”

Okay, END SPOILERS…though I’m betting if you were planning on seeing the film, you would already have done so by now!

I’m sure there are inconsistencies between this trilogy and the original trilogy (there’s gotta be some weird timeline kinks in there, somewhere), but I’ll let someone else dope those out. I’m just happy that the movie ended up being better than expected, given the previous two installments. Not perfect, but acceptable and enjoyable.

Of course, I may have just been in a good mood for the showing, since one of the trailers preceding the film was for Stealth…surely the greatest movie ever made. Evil robot plane, I love you.


I’m sorry to say that there is no full-frontal nudity in this post. My apologies.

What, more buttons?

§ May 23rd, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Oh, I have a lot more pins and badges in my collection…see here and here for the first two installments.

That Superman sheriff’s badge on the left was a promo for DC’s The Kents, an unusual series about Jonathan Kent’s ancestors in the Old West. It’s a nice metal badge (dated 1997), about 2 1/2 inches wide, and sorta reminds me of an old radio serial mailaway item. On the right is the “Superman Commemorative Pin” from ’93, a high-quality cloisonne pin featuring the four Supermen emblems from the “Return of Superman” storyline. It’s surprisingly heavy, given its size. Plus, I think it’s kinda neat looking.

Dave Lartigue mentioned that first pin, the Invisibles pin from ’94. I don’t recall the story Dave relates, about Grant Morrison wanting the pin to be completely white, but it certainly sounds like something Morrison would do!

The second pin is from the mid-’80s, and there’s kind of a sad irony in that slogan there, I’d imagine. Anyway, I had bought an issue of Batman off a newsstand, and inside the comic was a customer survey card that promised a free gift if one were to fill it out and send it in. Well, who am I to pass up a free gift? When I received the gift in question, it was a copy of Legends #1, which I already had (being the dutiful DC crossover follower that I was…er, am), and that button, telling me that Legends #1 was apparently not just for kids.

Third is one of those cheapie metal badges, the kind with the little bendy-bit at the top that you’d fold over and latch onto your pocket. This one is advertising the late-80s Starman series. No “Goodbye STARMAN” button was released when they disposed of this version of the character in the Starman series that followed.

Fourth is a cloisonne pin advertising the then-forthcoming release (on November 16th, 1990) of the first Robin mini-series. I believe DC sent a bunch of extras of these to give away to customers as well, so they were sparing no expense to get the word out.

Fifth – hey, remember DC’s imprint Paradox Press? Neither does DC.

From 1991. Okay, so I don’t have much to say about this particular button. I liked the TV show well enough, I guess. I’m surprised we haven’t seen a DVD release yet.

That first pin was advertising either a free comic or a mailaway comic offer (Dethgrip 1/2, in case the glare obscures the name) in the Overstreet Price Guide‘s Wizard-clone Fan. There’s no date on it, but hey, it’s a button advertising a promo comic released with a price guide. It must be the early ’90s.

There was no amount of money you could have paid me to make me willingly wear that 1991 “Mutant Genesis” badge in the shop. Please note the lack of my name on said badge.

The “One Nation Under DOOM” pin plugged a 1995 crossover for Marvel’s 2099 line, in which the future version of the good doctor takes over the planet, or some such thing. That’s a great pin, perfect for political rallies: “Hey, where’d you get the swell Dick Cheney pin?” (It’s a joke, son…relax!)

I got that Archie Fan Club button back when I worked for a public library, sometime in the Stone Age. Well, okay, 1987. The library subscribed to several Archie comics, so we occasionally received promo materials, including that swank button. Somewhere I also have an Archie ink pen that can write in three different colors, and lemme tell ya, that impresses the ladies.

Sure, right now the Rann/Thanagar War is all the rage (that’s a button featuring the emblem of those Thanagarian scoundrels, advertising some Hawkman series or another), but surely you remember Operation: Galactic Storm? Our Earth heroes somehow got caught up in the conflict between the spacefaring empires of the Kree and the Shi’ar, and Marvel encouraged fans to choose sides by issuing buttons for both alien races (but none for the heroes, tellingly). Were you a right and good Kree booster, or were you a downright reprehensible Shi’ar supporter? By the way, I have no idea if those two buttons are right side up or not.

And thus is my existence summed up.

§ May 22nd, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Your latest Rann versus Thanagar update: a Google search on “Rann” brings up about 430,000 results, while a search on “Thanagar” pulls up just under 39,000. Image search on “Rann”: about 3,500. For “Thanagar”: about two dozen or so. The people are abuzz about Rann! Okay, so not all the results for “Rann” directly refer to Adam Strange’s adopted home, but it just goes to show the impact Rann has had on contemporary society. But that’s okay…I’m sure the Thanagarians have a nice planet, too.

Ooh, wait, make that “had a nice planet”…they don’t have one anymore! Oh, so sad….


So I was listing some items on the eBay yesterday (have I mentioned our auctions?), and I noticed that there’s an Identity Crisis area in their Comics section. I suppose that makes sense, but it just surprised me. Plus, as usual, there are a few items in there where the people listing them either 1) weren’t paying attention to the category, or 2) trying hard to make their auctions stand out by listing them with other dissimilar items. For example, as I looked at this section again last night, I saw someone trying to sell Ultimate X-Men. Ooh-kay. At least it was still comics, and not, say, a lamp or a remote-control toy car or something.

There’s an Avengers Disassembled section, too.

But no Gambit section? The shame, the shame.


I never did get around to discussing new comics this week, which is just as well since I didn’t really have much to say. But that’s never stopped me before!
  • The initial collection for The First Kingdom by Jack Katz came out this week, and, well…when I was younger, first reading about this series in Comics Scene magazine, I was fascinated by it. A hyper-detailed, obsessively complex and deeply personal fantasy world fully created and laid out on pages with absolutely no space left blank whatsoever…the idea of it really captured my imagination. Once I saw the actual comics themselves, they didn’t really do anything for me, unfortunately, but I can certainly appreciate the work that went into them.

    As an aside, I was putting together some stuff for our eBay auctions (have I mentioned…oh, never mind), and came across an autographed copy of The First Kingdom #5. Well, I thought it was neat.

  • Perhaps you remember my post from last Wednesday, where I warned you about a possible misprint in the last Plastic Man. Strike that; ignore it. Had I looked more closely at my copy, I would have seen that the problem was simply an extra centerspread stapled into the book. Ah, well…at least it’s easily solved. (RIIIIIP!)
  • Goon #12 is the issue that has the monster created by one of our customers, Glenn, for the “Create-A-Monster” contest. Glenn’s original sketch is in the letters page…check it out!


Pal Dorian: “Man, we’ve been asked for a lot of back issues for Frank Miller’s 300 lately. Has it been announced as a movie project?”

Me: “Ah, c’mon. Who’s gonna make a 300 movie?”

(one Google search later)

Me: “I can’t believe someone’s tryin’ to make a 300 movie.”


The winner of the Couscous Express giveaway will be announced on Tuesday. Hey, you can’t jump right into a random drawing…you gotta work your way up to it!

§ May 21st, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off


Cocaine Comix #4 (1982) – art by Shawn Kerri

§ May 20th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

YOUR LAST REMINDER: I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is tonight Friday, May 20th at midnight Pacific time…please see this post for rules and restrictions.


Okay, that’s not much of a post. So, here, have a page of Kirk/Spock “slash” art. No need to thank me.

§ May 20th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

ENDS TONIGHT: I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is tonight Friday, May 20th at midnight Pacific time…please see this post for rules and restrictions.


My pal JP loves crazy comic book stuff. The crazier the better, especially if Batman’s involved somehow. And, God bless ‘im, he’s always sending me fantastic links that I enjoy sharing with all of you. A couple of his latest finds on the eBay:

A magazine featuring Freak Brothers/Wonder Warthog creator Gilbert Shelton, the Real Don Steele, and Adam West in full Batman regalia.

Cool as that is, it pales in comparison to this other item he found:

Adult baby plastic Batman pants.

That’s right, I said

ADULT BABY PLASTIC BATMAN PANTS.


As long as we’re discussing undergarments, here’s a GrimJack thong. (courtesy pal The Ferrett)

§ May 19th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

So I was going to post about the new comics that came out this week, like I usually do on Thursdays, but…forget it! After this post yesterday, I’d rather talk about buttons!

Now, that button for the first Batman movie is from ’88, and it’s my recollection that there was a huge demand for this particular pin. It was given away at a monthly Los Angeles convention, and I think by the next month dealers at that same convention were selling it for $5 to $10. Also, that particular image by Bob Kane…um, evoked the art style of Todd McFarlane, to say the least.

On the right is a promo button for the always a bridesmaid, never a bride Sgt. Rock movie, back when it was going to star Arnold Schwarzenegger, but before it was going to star Bruce Willis. (I think I have those actors in the right order.) It does have a Warner Brothers copyright notice (from 1988), so I’m fairly certain this was an official product.

This pin is advertising the graphic novel A Conversation Between Two Guys in A Bar, Or A New Model of the Universe by Neal Adams, and gives me an excuse to finally link to this interesting interview with the man at the Comic Foundry (part one, part two). Anyway, has that graphic novel ever even been released? I swear Adams has been talking about it for years. Oh, and did you know Neal Adams has challenged every geologist on Earth? He certainly did.

Pins from three of my favorite indie comics series: the 1986 Miracleman pin (art by Chuck Austen, formerly Chuck Beckum), the 1983 Nexus pin (Steve Rude, natch), and an ’86 Zot! pin (art by a certain Mr. McCloud).

Pins especially for retailers to wear around the store are a lot of fun, too. I like the expression on that gal’s face on the Femforce pin…did they really intend for her to look embarrassed? The center pin was for Marvel’s shortlived attempt at getting another Merry Marvel Marching Society or Friends of ‘Ol Marvel club going…yes, I was an Official Recruitment Officer, like it says there. That third pin advertised Marvel’s 99-cent line…which I thought was a pretty good idea, although (with the possible exception of Untold Tales of Spider-Man) the 99-cent books weren’t really all that good. (For a laugh, at least look at the first page of Fantastic Four Unplugged #1…a splash page of the Thing’s angry face, shouting “Ya freakin’ crud! I’m gonna rip you a new one!” Beautiful.)


No, please don’t.

§ May 19th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

I’ll be putting up a real post later this morning, but I did want to remind you that, as I’ve mentioned before, I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is Friday, May 20th…please see this post for rules and restrictions.

Hey, it’s free. Whaddaya got to lose?

Also, my copy of this week’s new issue of Plastic Man (#16) has repeated pages. I think all the story pages are there, but some of the pages are duplicated. When I go into the store today I’ll check and see if all our copies are like this, but you might want to check your copy as well.

§ May 18th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

So I wonder how steamed the Discovery Channel is that the two-page ad for their Alien Planet TV show didn’t show up in Marvel’s comics until this week, even though the show aired last weekend? Oops. Well, I guess they can consider it an advertisement for the inevitable DVD release.

Things I did today that you (probably) didn’t: sold Adventures of Kool-Aid Man comic books to Japanese-national tourists. Sometimes my days are just fantastic.

§ May 18th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off


I picked up this Superman pin at a convention sometime in the late ’80s/early ’90s. I’m guessing it’s not authorized, judging by the lack of any copyright information and by the slightly off-model “S” shield.

Despite its probable bootleg status, we surely can get behind its message: we must all work together to prevent Earth from exploding due to its unstable radioactive core.

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