mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 06, 2006

And so it begins. 


Don't forget Twomorrows is also offering a free sample of one of their magazines for FCBD. (I picked Back Issue #3.)

Reviews of the free comics may be found at pal Dorian's site and at Comics Worth Reading (1, 2, 3).

My picks: you need to get Owly (cuter than a cute thing that's cute...look at last year's Owly FCBD book for a sample), the Bongo freebie (a bit fanboy-humorish but the Comic Book Guy story is good for a larf), Preposterous Voyages of Ironhide Tom (silly and amusing), and Donald Duck (which contains one of my all-time favorite Don Rosa shorts).

Picks to miss: I think next year we can safely skip whatever it is that Wizard plans on offering.

Anyway, good luck to all of you folks out there, on either side of the counter. I'll report back and let you know how it went at our store.

Additional linkage:

"Holy free comics, Batman!"

"Shazam! It's free comics day today"

"Literacy campaign targets comic readers"

"...Educators say [comic books] can provide the same function as other children’s books — acting as a gateway to more advanced reading and thought."

See? It's educational, too!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Here's the smell of the blood still - all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh! 

So, just out of curiosity, and out of a need to lessen my own guilt a tad, I decided to return to the eBay and see what the Civil War Michael Turner 1 in 75 sketch cover variants have been selling for. I looked at only closed auctions, and only at auctions for just the sketch variant (there were quite a few that had all three versions of the cover, or just the two variants), and took only the first twenty auctions I came across (I figure that was enough of a sampling). Here is what I found:

Lowest price: $75.00

Highest price: $115.00

Average price of all 20: $96.87

And once these start going through the CGC "professional grading" process and getting relisted, we'll probably be looking at prices several times that amount. Well, at least until Civil War goes the way of Secret Wars II and Atlantis Attacks and we've all moved on to the next big "nothing will ever be the same" event series.

So, I suppose, I could have put that Turner sketch cover on the eBay and got a few more bucks for it, but that smacks of "effort." And a bird in the hand is worth two on the internet, as the saying doesn't go but probably should. Plus, I didn't have to worry about the PayPal fees, and eBay fees, and packing the comic up, and wondering if it arrived, and so on.

And thus, I'm going to be happy with our seventy-five bucks, the customer is going to be happy with his comic (I just found out that he had bought other copies of the same variant elsewhere, so he's almost certainly going to be reselling them), and we can put that money to some good use...buying more manga books, or keeping us stocked in Lenore, or keeping the bourbon flowing...you know, whatever.

I also took a look at what the regular Turner variants were selling for...I didn't do an exact average or anything, but they looked like they were selling in the $25 to $30 range. And someone sold a set of both variants for $177. Goodness.

And here's someone who sold the Civil War promo postcard for $0.75. You know, I still have a bunch of these on the front counter...hmmmmm....

Oh, relax, I'm only kidding.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Found on the eBay. 

Sold for $13, in case you were wondering.

I'm starting this post with an out-of-context Lewis Black quote, just because I feel like it. 

"If you wake up next Tuesday, and you feel like being Batman
...go for it."

--Lewis Black, The Carnegie Hall Performance

Okay, so Marvel's Civil War #1, their latest in an apparently unending series of crossover events, came out on Wednesday. And, as has been the trend lately with titles from both Marvel and DC, retailer incentive variant covers were offered with this issue. For every 25 copies of the regular #1, you got a copy with the alternate Michael Turner cover. For every 100 (EDIT: 75, apparently) copies you ordered, you were able to get 1 copy of the Michael Turner black and white sketch cover.

Well, we got copies of these variant cover editions, and really, what the heck are you going to price these at? We turned to the eBay, and researched what people were already selling these for, or at least what bids had been driven up to, and ultimately we went with $24.95 for the 1/25 ones, and $75 for the sketch cover. Yeah, I know, but that was actually less than some of the prices that we were seeing. And I have no idea what they're up to now, and I don't really want to know.

Within about a half an hour of putting them out for sale, they were all sold. All of them. At those prices.

We're going to hell. See you there!

We also received the Free Comic Book Day Bongo and Archie comics that we didn't receive last week, which is good since, by looking at our invoice online earlier in the week, I couldn't tell if we actually were getting the comics or just getting a credit for them. Thank goodness they actually arrived...I don't like receiving FCBD stuff after FCBD. We also received our Stargate SG-1 FCBD action figures which, um, I don't get why these are being offered for FCBD, but what the heck, I know people who'd like them. And we got our boatload of Wolverine Heroclix freebies, which, though I didn't say it at the time, someone was also selling as a "hot, rare" item on the eBay at the same time as those Superman/Batman books I found. Oh, yeah, real hot and rare, there.

Other books:

Infinite Crisis #7 - THE CROSSOVER IS OVER. RETURN TO YOUR HOMES. Of all the scenes in this comic, the one that was the most affecting was Robin's reaction to seeing the body of his teammate. Only a couple panels long, barely mentioned, but touching nonetheless. There are also a couple of lines of dialogue explicitly mentioning certain changes to character histories caused by the events in this series...I'm going to assume we'll get some follow-up on that, I hope. (I'm being deliberately vague...I'm trying not to spoil anything for pal Dorian, who won't get to see this comic for a couple of days.)

And, as Employee Nathan has been noting to us at the shop, if Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers series takes place before Infinite Crisis, then by process of elimination, by seeing which of the Soldiers have appeared in IC, we now know which character is going to die at the conclusion of SS. Maybe. Unless we're wrong, in which case...never mind.

Complete Peanuts 1959-1960 - No chance to read it yet, but I know that the series is entering what some folks consider the classic period of the strip. These books have been nothing less than completely enjoyable, and the Fantagraphics folks should be blessed as the saints they are for seeing that this material is made available.

War of the Worlds: Second Wave #2 - The comic makes its shift to black and white from color, and, if anything, the lack of color adds to the creepiness of the proceedings. We also learn a little more about the marriage problems of Miles, the lead character, in flashbacks, as he and his traveling partner Duke evade a Martian invader and team with some other survivors. And, sorta like Infinite Crisis #7, a background scene sticks in my mind just as much, if not more so, than the lead action: as Miles and Duke drive down a city street, over the span of three panels, we (and Miles) see a shopkeeper walk out of shop, carrying a gun, and, apparently despondent over the new invasion, kills himself. This, more than almost anything else in the book, underscores the seeming hopelessness of the struggle the characters face. A good, enjoyable action/horror comic.

Action Comics #838 - I'm having trouble believing that Clark Kent would use the expression "pissed off." Is that nitpicking? Actually, I'm still having trouble believing the Comics Code Authority let "pissed off" slide by. (Then again, given what they've let go in the past....)

Pal JP: "Hey, is it true that Luthor was the U.S. President in the Superman comics?"

Me: "Yes...yes, he was."

JP: "That's stupid."

In other news:

Comic Book Galaxy is giving comics away...all you gotta do is send an e-mail. I can't enter, but YOU CAN. It's free, free, I tell you, so what have you got to lose?

Also giving comic books away is Yet Another Comics Blog, sending out free funny books for every day of the month. Also free, also easy to enter!

My old, old friend pal William e-mailed me with the news last night that the original, unaltered Star Wars movies are being released on DVD this fall for "a limited time." The two disc sets for each film will include both the original version and the "remastered" version with all the extra and mostly unnecessary CGI noodling. I don't mind the new versions, but resented that was all that was available. Glad I never got around to buying the first DVD releases.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"This page is protected...thrash-style." 

"Night Thrasher has just 72 hours to rescue Chord, gain control of the Taylor Foundation, and grow up.

"Anyone taking any bets?"

"He's grown up.

"Now it's time to knock some sense into the rest of the world."

Night Thrasher on Wikipedia.

Night Thrasher custom figure (and another).

Stats for the Champions RPG, the original Marvel RPG (his Psyche is Incredible!), and a Magic: The Gathering card.

Night Thrasher is discussed (along with the rest of his New Warriors teammates) at this site. "Night Thrasher saves the day while catching some totally radical air."

Justice, Firestar, and Night Thrasher fan art.

Night Thrasher micro-heroes.

This Myspace person wants to meet Night Thrasher. Oh dear.

"This page is protected.. thrash-style" (WARNING - pop-up)

UPN Pursues 'Night Thrasher'" (from 2002, so don't hold your breath).

Found in the Google cache: "Is Night Thrasher gay?"

Dave doesn't think skating heroes are cool, and Spencer respectfully disagrees.

Nothing to do with the comic book character, far as I can tell, but here's a wrestler with the same monicker.

And here are a number of horses named after superheroes ("Superheroes of Racing"), including, yes, Night Thrasher.

Night Thrasher apparently plays an important part in today's release of Civil War #1, Marvel's latest big event series. Gee, hope nothing bad happens to him.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Defamer celeb gossip weblog has
this to say about Comic Book Resource's report on some big-whoop Superman Returns merchandise unveiling, including the CBR columnist's interview with Kate "Lois Lane" Bosworth:

"...Holding the sweaty, trembling palm of a comic book nerd for over a minute puts [Bosworth] on a higher level of starlet PR appearance saintliness in our books, and we have no doubt our graphic novel enthusiast not only has refrained from washing it in the hours since, but has also put that palm to good, Lois Lane-lusting use."

Oh, dear. Well, good to know comic fans are still being held in such high regard.

DUDEs, Discos, and Derring-Do. 

Yes, I changed the corner box image already. Usually I change it once a week, but I didn't care for the pic I used this time (but it's still represented on this page). So, instead, you get another picture of America's favorite hero, CAPTAIN DUDE.

Speaking of CAPTAIN DUDE, the upshot of his story is that he isn't really the fancypants he presents himself to be. He basically acts and dresses like that to make himself appear larger than life, a morale-boosting hero that gives the other grunts something to talk about. Or complain about. Or give the enemy something to aim at, what with those brightly-colored shirts he's wearing. Anyway, that copy of U.S. Marines #1 was the best fifty cents I've spent on comics lately.

That's right, only fifty cents. It was one pre-loved comic.

Boing Boing links to this site, which features MP3 files for the Mad Magazine flexidisc "It's A Super-Spectacular Day." The original disc had eight different series of grooves, so depending on where you put down the needle, you'd get a different ending to the song. About three or four years ago, I was on a "recording records to my computer to convert to MP3" binge, and "It's A Super-Spectacular Day" was one of the records that made the conversion. Well, the first five or six versions of the track were easy to grab, but trying to get those last two took forever.

It does make me wish that more of Mad's flexidisc offerings were available on CD...there's Mad Grooves, and apparently flexi tracks are also on the Totally Mad CD-ROM collection (where the "Super-Spectacular" MP3s above came from). I remember really enjoying the entirety of the Mad Disco flexidisc, which may say something unfortunately revealing about me.

Looking at that Mad Disco cover at the last link really made me feel old. I remember buying it when it came out, despite being really, really outraged at the price. Your standard Mad was $0.75, and the thicker specials were $1.50 (even the ones with flexidiscs, such as the very one that had the "Super-Spectacular Day" record). That Mad Disco was two bucks, and it was the same size as a regular issue. (I remember it being even thinner than a regular issue, but my memory may be playing tricks on me...Overstreet says it's 36 pages.) I don't know why I didn't just pass it up, but I guess, being the Mad fan that I was, I couldn't stand the idea of letting an issue slip by.

And don't get me started on Alien: The Illustrated Story. $3.95!? And it fell apart almost as soon as you tried to read it? You bastards!

Return to Comics sums up my feelings about the new Zoom Suit comic at the end of his post. We have yet to sell one copy of at our shop, which is funny, because back in October I received a letter from this publisher telling me that fans in our area were writing to the company and requesting promo materials for this comic. Surely they weren't trying to suck me into the hype whirlwind that's been surrounding this comic for months now?

Anyway, like Kurt at Return to Comics, I read a copy of this that we received a couple months ago, and it was...eh. I'm guessing I'm not the target audience for this (i.e. someone who's been reading comics for more years than probably is healthy, and has seen it all before). It's certainly colorful, there's definitely a lot of money put into it (both the comic's production and the advertising), and it's not terrible, really, just kinda average; unfortunately, no one around here is buying just yet. Maybe the prerelease hype has been going on for so long that nobody's realized that, oh, hey, there's actually supposed to be a comic book coming out. Though I imagine the actual performance of the comic is secondary to getting a movie/toy/video game/miscellaneous licensing deal of some kind. Can't blame 'em, really...that's where the real money's at. Good luck to them, at any rate.

Found a really stupid and embarrassing typo at the end of this post from Bat-Week...using "worst" when I meant "worse," and it'd been like that for months. Gaaah...Mike no like think.

I go on and on and on about price guides over in my new Behind the Counter column at the slightly refurbished Comic Book Galaxy. Believe it or not, I actually cut some stuff out...man, don't I ever shut up?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Make way for...CAPTAIN DUDE. 

from U.S. Marines #1 (Fall 1964)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Free Comic Book Day and the Atom. 

An exchange between a parent and a kid in our store:

Kid: "Hey, Free Comic Book Day is May 6th! That's next Saturday!"

Parent: "We saw the comics they're giving away, remember? There's a reason they're free."

No love for the free comics, I guess.

Speaking of FCBD, I thought I'd do a search on the eBay to see what Free Comic Book Day 2006 goodies are already being auctioned off...and found someone selling the Superman/Batman reprint:


You know, if it's in shoret supply in your area, e-mail me after May 6th and if we have any left over, I'll send you one for free so long as you cover the shipping. We ordered pretty heavily on them, and should have some extras...unless FCBD is especially busy this year.

And, by the way, the wholesale price we paid for this comic is 29 cents per copy. For comparison, the Justice League, Donald Duck, and X-Men/Runaways giveaways were cheaper by a few cents, while Funny Book, Deadbeats/Soulsearchers, Scott Pilgrim, and Owly cost more. Keenspot is nearly twice the price. So the price for Superman/Batman isn't really that out of line...it may be a little pricier than about half of the books, but it's only 13 cents more expensive than the cheapest one.

Here, have an old Atom cartoon to watch...perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon:

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