§ October 31st, 2006§ Filed under halloweenComments Off on “Pink Panthers are real….”
So, somehow, the Pink Panther’s life of vagrancy has him stranded on a rainy night, looking for a port in the storm:
Frankly, I’m left wondering what circumstances put him in this position. Thrown out of a house by a jilted lover? Broken down car? On the run from the Inspector? What has brought Pink so low?
Anyway, as Pink approaches the castle, we see the castle’s two occupants…an apparently mad scientist and his hulking assistant:
Why does he need a generator? Well, one panel and one change of shirt later, we see why…he needs it, and a brain, for his manmade…tennis instructor? Gym teacher? What is that monster wearing?
By this time, Pink has entered the building and, of course, makes a beeline to the kitchen to help himself to some food, but not without making a crack about health food nuts. Boy, those health food nuts sure eat some crazy stuff, am I right, gang:
Finally, the mad scientist catches on that there’s an uninvited guest rummaging through the kitchen, and he and Bruno easily capture the freeloading panther:
Apparently the standards for a perfect brain slack a bit according to need and availability:
Pink, finally catching on that he’s not in a bread-and-breakfast, makes a run for it, but is quickly captured by Bruno again. Pink then makes a startling discovery:
So did that hatch just pop open by itself, or did Pink somehow accidentally open it up while he was, I don’t know, feeling Bruno’s manly chest or something? Seems like bit of a design flaw, either way. Anyway, Pink takes the opportunity to fiddle with Bruno’s delicate instrumentation. In the process, Pink succeeds only in 1) apparently making things worse, and 2) giving the story its pink-themed and wholly inappropriate title:
Somehow Pink slips Bruno’s grip, but instead of running for his life, follows Bruno back to the lab. The sounds of violence and some dismembered limbs come from the lab’s entrance:
Curiosity and a taste for violence drives Pink to peek in on what’s on, and makes yet another startling discovery:
So not only is the assistant a robot, but the mad scientist is a robot as well…so what we have is an old castle occupied by two robots whose apparent purpose is to build more robots for…well, who knows why, really, beyond perhaps simple self-replication.
Pink finally wises up and splits the scene, comforted only by repeating his mantra of self-affirmation:
And it’s probably too much to hope that he went directly to the local authorities to report dangerous robots on the outskirts of town, who have been attempting to kill living people in order to obtain their brains.
So, um, “BOO! OOOOH, SPOOKY!” I guess. Happy Halloween.
§ October 30th, 2006§ Filed under UncategorizedComments Off on "Is this some sort of joke, man?"
So I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of Flying Saucers Stories #5 (Oct. 1969) lately…we recently acquired a copy in a collection and, as is probably evident from some of my posts over the last week, I just can’t put the thing down.
I like how it’s marked as a “collector’s edition.” Clearly it’s marked as such because…um, it has UFO stories? You know, unlike the rest of the issues of Flying Saucers Stories? Maybe it’s the rare treat of a Frank Springer cover.
Before I stopped darkening your virtual doorstep with stories from this funnybook, I did want to at least show you this one last story, “Far Out Physical.” Dig the title font…I seem to remember a time when you couldn’t get away from that particular typeface:
The single caption on the first page splash sets up the story:
“Carl Romain, gentleman farmer, connoisseur, horse breeder and dog fancier leaves his large house on a clear fall evening to walk his favorite show dog on the remote back portion of his country estate. Curious about an odd light glowing in a rear meadow, Carl Romain investigates…much to his great surprise!”
And sure enough, Romain takes his dog, Earl of Derby, out for a walk, and stumbles upon a landed UFO, its occupants pouring out of its portal:
And, like pretty much every alien in this comic (save for the fellas…excuse me, “MEN” on the cover), they’re colored a bright white. No “Greys” here, pal!
Romain’s not going to put up with any shenanigans from a bunch of trespassers, and gives them a stern talking to:
Even when the alien critters start getting a little touchy-feely, Romain doesn’t lose his cool:
Now, in a couple of those previous panels, you may have noticed something. The aliens are clearly speaking, but the word balloons are empty. This wasn’t an error…this is the story’s conceit, its shorthand for our inability to understand the alien language. On the face of it, it’s a clever idea, letting an empty word balloon be a symbolic representation just on its own, without filling it with random gibberish or pictures indicating speech.
But after three and a half pages (out of a six page story) that look like this:
…Well, whatever cleverness existed with this particular storytelling choice begins to get silly (or gets sillier, depending on your point of view) through repetition. I would bet money that the vast majority of the copies originally sold of this issue had these balloons filled by their young owners in short order. (And probably filled by some of you in short order as well, you rascals.)
Anyway, the aliens run Mr. Romain through a number of tests (as pictured above) and apparently make a plaster cast of his body, to…I don’t know, mass-produce copies of him back on their home planet, I guess:
And then they let him and the Earl of Derby go, just in time for the shocking “lost time” ending:
And yes, his assistant is named “Sims,” who is no relation, I’m assuming.
So, first…granted, we didn’t see him in his best light, but Romain sounds like a bit of a humorless jerk. I guess we need to take the “gentleman” part of “gentleman farmer” from the opening caption at the narrator’s word. Er, and the “farmer” part, too, I suspect.
Second, again going back to that opening, there frankly wasn’t enough horse breeding in this story. I guess there was some dog fancying, though. And what was he a connoisseur of, exactly?
Third, I would have liked to have seen a sequel, where the aliens unleash a bunch of Romain-duplicates on Romain’s country estate and they wander around, threatening to throw trespassers in jail and basically being dour and cranky. And fancying dogs.
Four, calling this “Far Out Physical” implies, at least to me, groovy aliens taking advantage of half-naked hippy chicks, not pasty-faced critters probing some stodgy middle-aged landowner. Poor show, sirs, poor show.
§ October 29th, 2006§ Filed under UncategorizedComments Off on Semi-reviews, and I tempt the fates with merchandising ideas.
Okay, fine, I’m rereading Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory mini-series…I think the problem I had absorbing the contents of the concluding one-shot comes from the fact that the darned thing came out so behind schedule that I don’t remember the details from the previous issues.
I’m reading the minis in alphabetical order — I’m halfway through Klarion — and I’m noticing is that these comics read at a lightning pace. No lulls in the action, no wasted words and/or images, all killer, no filler. What a breath of fresh air it is to read a funnybook that is so well-tuned, effortlessly pulling the reader along from beginning to end. These past couple of weeks I’ve read a couple comics that were a real chore to get through, where it was as if the creators of the book were daring you to try to slog through to whatever passed for the comic’s conclusion, and the Seven Soldiers comics are a nice contrast.
So, yeah, I’m enjoying the rereading.
Watched the Hellboy: Sword of Storms animated movie on Cartoon Network Saturday evening, and…well, don’t really have much to say about it. It did its job, told its story, the characters were attractively drawn and well-voiced, there was humor to the script…it was perfectly acceptable light entertainment. Characterization was minimal, restricted mostly to Liz being mopey about her lot in life, but the focus was on Hellboy fighting monsters, and there was plenty of monster-fightin’ to be had.
It was fun, if not exceptional, but it was certainly better than the Ultimate Avengers 2 movie. But then, a blank screen may have been better than Ultimate Avengers 2.
And as long as I’m in a reviewin’ mood…for the most part, I’ve been enjoying Justice, Alex Ross’ extended tribute to the Super Friends cartoon and the comics of his youth, even with the occasionally-obvious undercurrent of “today’s DC Comics are bad, Sue should still be alive, Barry and Hal should always be best pals,” etc. But this latest issue had a confrontation between Plastic Man and Elongated Man that…excuse me for a second, I can’t believe I actually just typed that. Well. Anyway, those two characters have a pissing match over who belongs in the Justice League more, and it felt less like a reasonable argument between two adults and more like a kid playing with with Plastic Man and Elongated Man action figures, making ’em fight: “I’m the League’s stretchy guy!” “No, I’m the League’s stretchy guy!” Not that superhero comics are usually paragons of realistic relationships or anything, but this particular exchange seemed awfully forced, more the result of “hey, we’ve never seen PM and EM really have it out over their places in the JLA…that’d be cool!”
What was cool was seeing the Phantom Stranger pop up in this issue. It’s nice that folks remember that he’s kinda/sorta a member of the team…okay, he was invited, he never officially said “yes” as far as I know, but that’s close enough for me. Hey, we’re all dorks about something.
My idea was a model of Gile’s car, scaled for action figure use. And if the figures lack sufficient articulation to be able to be seated in the car…well, that means it’s time for a whole new line of BTVS “Car-ready Super Articulated Action Figures!”
I’d mentioned this to pal Dorian, who told me that there have been die-cast versions of Buffy vehicles already. Obviously they’re not sized for use with action figures, but I’d honestly thought Buffy cars hadn’t yet been merchandised.
Dor’s idea for BTVS merchandise is a clothing line, so folks can dress like their favorite Buffy/Angel characters. “Here’s the shirt Tara wore in episode #117!” You know, like that. My initial thought was an overpriced replica of Spike’s leather jacket, which seems like a natural.
It seems to me that this would have already been done, but my brief Google-fu attempt reveals nothing except your standard silk-screened Buffy t-shirts. If it has been done, let me know…or, perhaps, let me live on in blissful ignorance instead.
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!”
§ October 26th, 2006§ Filed under UncategorizedComments Off on 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: 1234567891011121314151617181920)
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:
“WHAT’S HAPPENED TO MY ARMS! MY HEAD IS MISSHAPEN! AAAAAAHHH!”
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.
§ October 23rd, 2006§ Filed under UncategorizedComments Off on PROGRESSIVE RUIN INVEST-A-RAMA!
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….