mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 10, 2007




from Superboy #103 (March 1963) by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan & George Klein

Friday, February 09, 2007

More Dark Tower, Blogging About Blogging Is A Sin, some links, Cage vs. Elektra, and more Green Arrow Big Party Action-Time! 

Well, "don't post when you're tired" is the lesson I learned with yesterday's entry, what with the typos and link errors and the rambling and the totally gratuitous use of the word "incongruously." For a little insight into how I do this weblog: I generally write up the next day's entry the night before, post-date it (which is why my daily posts all have time stamps of a minute past midnight), publish it and go to bed, waking early the next morning to see what you folks have been getting up to in my comments sections. Wednesday night, though, I got in late, and I was beat, and thus along with the errors I also forgot to mention a couple things about the Dark Tower release, such as
  • the new customers who balked at purchasing the comic when they discovered that it was a monthly (hopefully) series that they'd have to follow

  • the fact that we didn't do the special "Midnight Release Party" because 1) our town rolls up the sidewalks at night, especially midweek, 2) I need my beauty sleep, so that I may become even more gorgeously radiant, and 3) well, I don't really have a 3, other than wanting something to draw attention from the dumb joke in #2. But, like Tom, I did think it was a good idea and a welcome effort on Marvel's part for promoting the book. However, we didn't think we'd have sufficient turnout for a midnight event, so we passed. Maybe we were wrong, I don't know, but it didn't seem to hurt sales as, after two days, we've nearly sold out of it.

I also wanted to point out Dirk's link to my post about Dark Tower yesterday, which read "Mike Sterling comments on how his shop handled the debut of a new Peter David comic." I laughed out loud when I read that.

For more thoughts on the Dark Tower release, may I recommend Tim O'Neil?

I mentioned in that first segment a bit of the process I go through in slapping together this weblog. Well, since giving advice on weblogging seems to be going around (see also Kevin's and Laura's excellent notes on the subject), let me butt into the discussion with my own unasked-for advice:

First, like Kev and Laura, I recommend that you post regularly in order to build an audience. Early on, I read that same recommendation, and apparently I took it to heart since I've posted every day since then. Get people used to the idea that you'll have new content on a regular basis, and they'll come back. 'Course, once you're established, you can probably safely take a day or week off once in a while without losing your readers, but I'm too obsessive/compulsive to do so. I'm gonna have to be forced to not post, I think.

Second, if all you do is post about once every few weeks or months with a message that begins "Sorry I haven't posted lately" and follow with a promise to do better in the future...perhaps you need to let the blogging thing go for now.

Third, those online quizzes (you know, like "Which Herman's Head Character Are You," that sort of thing) are fun once in a while, but if all your weblog consists of is one quiz after another...NOBODY CARES.

Fourth, don't hotlink images. It's rude. Get your own image host, you cheap, lazy bastards.

Fifth, warn folks if you're linking to something that's Not Safe For Work, whether it contains nakedtivity or if it just makes an ungodly, and unexpected, loud noise. It's only the nice thing to do.

Sixth, have fun. If it gets to be a burden, if it feels like a chore more than a pastime, then stop.

And that's all the real advice I have for you. Well, that and "don't be a dick," but I realize some people can't help that.

BATFATTY RETURNS with an image that will both delight and terrify.

I'm sorry, did I just see Luke Cage kick Elektra square in the crotch?

Oh dear. "Friends Of Ol' Marvel," indeed.

For more details, if you must know, Caleb covers the whole sordid story.

The Rack should have a new strip up for Friday (remember, I'm writing this the night before), so keep refreshing this page until it shows up. Until it does update, you'll see the new strip from last Monday which I forgot to link to. But read, enjoy.

I had a leftover image from Wednesday's Green Arrow post, so please feel free to make up your own caption in the "badly-translated English" style I was using:

Difficulty: no "goatse." If, perhaps, you are new to the internet and don't know what that means...don't look it up. Trust me on this.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dark Tower and Zombies. 

Just to get it off my chest:

From here:

"Will the Dark Tower be a gateway comic?"


This has been another installment of simple answers to simple questions (to borrow that particular turn of phrase from Atrios).

Expanding further upon this is Blake Bell (via Neilalien), who goes into great detail explaining not only why Marvel's Dark Tower funnybook won't be a gateway comic, but why there probably won't ever be a gateway comic book.

Marvel's trying, though...the few ads in the Dark Tower's initial issue are for an adaptation for The Last of the Mohicans, the hardcover collection of The Eternals (with an emphasis on "New York Times best-selling author, Neil Gaiman"), and a Dark Tower handbook. Incongruously, there's also an ad for a collection of Civil War, which I guess Marvel had to squeeze in there to show off the characters that are their main bread 'n' butter. But the ads were nicely designed, looking like real print ads that one might see in a magazine read by the general populace, and not too disruptive to the flow of the book. Thank goodness there wasn't one of those damned Wii ads stuck in the center.

The comic did sell very well on Wednesday...most of our regulars picked it up, and we did have several unfamiliar faces come in specifically for it. Having been through this sort of thing before, I know that a lot of these new faces probably won't move into buying other comics aside from whatever particular focus of interest brought them through our door in the first place...and most of them will probably stop buying the comic long before the series is completed anyway. But, at least we can be polite, friendly, and helpful to them while they are shopping with us, and that will be more likely to bring them back to the store than, say, trying to hardsell them on other comics in order to force the "gateway" aspect of this event.

Yes, we can be polite, friendly, and helpful when we put our minds to it, smart guy.

Um...I suppose I should say something about the comic itself. I quite enjoyed it...Peter David does a good job mimicking the rhythm of the narration and dialogue from King's original stories, and Jae Lee's detailed, moody art is a nice match to the tale's somber events. The story itself requires no knowledge of the Dark Tower series, telling you everything you need to know to follow along. If you thought you'd have to read through all those thick tomes to catch up, or, if you're like me, you'd read the entire series but were afraid you couldn't remember enough of it to enjoy the story...eh, don't sweat it. Whether this'll be true about future issues, who knows, but so far, so good.

Oh, and I almost mistook the new Lone Ranger variant cover for the 1:75 ratio Dark Tower variant. That would have been a surprise for the customer.

In some non-Dark Tower news:

A couple weeks back, I was poking through Diamond's available stock list, and noticed that there were two different codes for the Marvel Zombies hardcover. A quick check revealed that the earlier code was for the long out-of-print first printing of the book. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I went ahead and placed an order for those first printings, expecting an "ITEM UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER" response.

Imagine my surprise when, a couple weeks later, I did indeed receive first printings of the hardcover (the one with the Secret Wars parody image, pictured to the right, there).

So where did they come from? They'd been unavailable for months, and a third printing of the book just came out. Did Diamond uncover a small stock in a warehouse somewhere? I thought maybe they were bookstore returns fed back into the direct market, but they showed no evidence of the typical shopwear we usually find on Diamond's other repurposed bookstore returns.

And they're no longer available, so I can't order more. Damn, should have raised the numbers.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007









Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bat-art, more t-shirts, Dalgoda, and comic book movies. 

Via Brandon:

Thanks to all you folks for your comments to yesterday's t-shirt post. I do read all of them, and I appreciate the responses.

For example, to Cheddar Bob: I'm not aware of a Blue Beetle shirt of that particular description. I don't remember any Blue Beetle shirts in recent years, unless some popped up in the '80s during that particular burst of the character's popularity.

Bully - I may have the shirt in question in stock, if you're interested! (Please pardon my crass shilling.)

To Joe G. - I think the problem with finding comic shirts in sizes larger that XXL is that, given a brief glance through the last Diamond Previews, they aren't offering any up for sale! Seems to me I've seen 'em in the past, so I guess the various shirt companies didn't receive enough orders to justify producing the size. There are a few non-comics shirts available in XXXL in that catalog, though.

To Jones, who wonders why I won't accept Wolverine into my heart? Dude, don't you remember Wolverine Week (starting here)?

Anyway...I was reminded of another shirt I had (or probably still have...some stuff still remains packed from the last move). I had a shirt with the cover of Action Comics #1, which I don't have a scan of, but I do have a picture of a similar one:

...so you get the idea. I like these types of shirts the best, though I wish I could pick 'n' choose the covers I could get (like this one).

And don't worry, Dave O, I remember Dalgoda, too. That was a darn fine series. A quick Googling mostly just turns up lots of folks selling Dalgoda comics, plus a bunch of people with "dalgoda" for their e-mail handle, and a piece of fan art.

"Keep it in the panels" - a list of comic book properties that shouldn't be made into movies:

"Rob Schrab cut his teeth on [Scud the Disposable Assassin] before writing Monster House, and he's said before that it might be nice to see it on screen. Save us and yourself the trouble, Rob. Scud's rambling, surreal robot love story will not be improved by the voice of Robin Williams."

Monday, February 05, 2007

The shirts off my back(room). 

I've owned a few funnybook-related shirts in my time...I had a Ralph Snart shirt, a Flaming Carrot shirt, and an It's Science with Dr. Radium shirt, back in my college years. Oh, and if you don't tell anyone, I may have had a Batman shirt, too, around the time of the first Burton film.

And I'm still not admitting that I owned a Howard the Duck movie shirt. That's slander, sir, and I won't have it!

The only comic book shirts I still own are the classic Cerebus for Dictator shirt, perfect for any election season, and several Free Comic Book Day shirts advertising FCBDs of years past, which I wear around the house when I'm doing yardwork and other chores, or just plain loafing. And I think I still have a "DC One Million" retailer promo shirt floating around here somewhere.

Recently, in an attempt to clear out some room in the back of the store, I unloaded several old t-shirts on the eBay (where I was re-introduced to the concept of "losing one's ass," given the prices we got on most of them, but at least they're out of the backroom and now taking up space somewhere else). Here are just a few of those shirts, unloved at our shop, but now hopefully in the hands...or, rather, on the torsos...of folks who can give them the appreciation they deserve.

Cerebus is saying, there (and I'm doing this from memory, so I'm probably paraphrasing) "Look, kid...Cerebus is in love with your wife." This is one of those shirts where only people in the club (i.e. Cerebus readers who read "Jaka's Story") will be able to fully appreciate it. And this is kind of doing a disservice to the "Jaka's Story" segment of Cerebus, which was honestly one of the better parts of the Cerebus saga. I think a shirt that read "I survived slogging through the last 100 issues or so of Cerebus" may be more fitting.

I suppose the shape Elektra's body is in on this shirt can be explained if the point of view is down below Elektra, looking up at her. Though the perspective would have to work kinda like this: giant thighs, giant breasts, then little tiny head way off in the distance.

I've put a couple of these up on the eBay so far, and, surprisingly, this was the shirt design I got the most questions about. (Mostly lots of questions along the lines of "do you have this shirt in a size other than the one you've listed?") Actually, even though I'm not a Gen 13 reader and would have no reason to wear this, this isn't a bad looking shirt. The color certainly stands out, and I like the design choice of having the logo run down the side.

Sometimes I forget that Venom used to run around and bother superheroes other than his regular arch-nemesis Spider-Man occasionally. I'm pretty sure this isn't the only Wolverine versus Venom shirt produced, too. Speaking of Venom, you know what shirt design has been popular at our shop lately? The all-black Venom t-shirt, where the only design elements are his eyes, mouth, and slime-dripping tongue are on your chest Arnim Zola-style. We keep blowing those out the door.

This particular image (from the cover of Uncanny X-Men #251) always struck me as an odd choice for a t-shirt. I mean, it's CRUCIFIED WOLVERINE. "Hey, I like Wolverine! Let me wear a shirt that shows him being tortured!" I suppose if you thought it was a nice, dramatic image, it'd be a shirt you'd want to wear, but still...kinda grim.

Now I bet you know what I'm going to ask you, don't you? (And hopefully I haven't asked it before....) Do you have any comic book t-shirts at home? Are there any you used to wear and fondly remember (or, perhaps, not so fondly remember)? Are there any shirts you can't believe they actually produced (like the Gold of the Metal Men shirt I mentioned a while back)? Leave a comment...I'd like to know!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"We are the pet cats of Kryptonian criminals!" 

On Saturday, a customer asked me, in all seriousness, "When DC Comics published 'The Death of Superman,' did anyone get fired for that?" I told that person, no, probably quite the opposite...sales on Superman books skyrocketed, at least for a while, so I'd imagine there were no complaints businesswise within DC.

But I've been pondering the question. "Did anyone get fired for 'The Death of Superman,'" as if the story were somehow snuck out of the offices, to the printers, to the distributors, and to shops without anyone but that particular creative team knowing what was going on:

Mike Carlin (then-editor of the Super-books): "Say, Dan, I'd just thought I'd check in and see what's been going on in the Superman books lately. What can you tell me?"

Dan Jurgens (writer/artist Superman #75): "Oh, you know, the usual...we have that Satanus storyline still going on, Mr. Mxyzptlk's popped up again, and, um, I killed off Superman...oh, and Lex Lu...."

Carlin: "Whoa, wait, hold on...you did what?"

You know, like that.

I also had to spend fifteen minutes of my day listening to someone explain to me why the funnybook he brought in was actually in Very Fine condition, and not the Fine condition I told him it was. This is my life, and welcome to it.

Found on the eBay:

So I was doing some searching for Lobo items on the eBay (don't ask), and turned up a couple things worth noting:

"Omega Men #3 1st Lobo Bondage Cover DC" - only brought up because I've never thought of this as having a "bondage cover" (and thanks to the Overstreet Price Guide, among others, for helping instill this into our heads as a category for collectible comics)...but, well, I guess it is a bondage cover at that. Though, lacking any kind of punctuation, that auction title makes it sound like it's Lobo himself who's actually in bon...um, that's enough of that.

But then I saw the title of this auction, which contained no clue to what it actually was other than it had something to do with Lobo:


Turns out it's for a Simon Bisley Lobo poster. When I write my own listings for the eBay, I tend to be very brief and to the point...dry but informative is what I'm going for, I suppose, which may be why I love the unadulterated Lobo fandom present in this description:


Yeah, Lobo never sold out, man! God bless this eBay seller.

A brief discussion pal Dorian and I had at the shop:

Dor: "Hey, there's a continuity error in this Krypto comic."

Me: "How so?"

Dor: "It shows the pet dogs of the Phantom Zone villains...but the Phantom Zone villains had pet cats!"

At which point Dor managed to disgust even himself.

And yes, 1) we know there are several ways to work around this (they had both dogs and cats as pets, it's different PZ villains than the ones who had cats, etc.), and 2) WE'RE ONLY JOKING.

But seriously...honestly...we need a Showcase Presents Krypto book. That's more cool than any of us deserve.

I know a lot of you saw this insert in the new issue of Wizard, but here you go:

"Justice Awaits at the Dark Edge of Night

Replica knife features a dynamic sculpture of the Caped Crusader, and full-color artwork on the porcelain blade."

As a customer pointed out whilst we were pondering this at work...wouldn't having a three-dimensional Batman figure as the handle make the knife a little hard to hold? Well, of course, it's not like you're gonna be using this knife to open the past-due electric bills or the packaging on the government cheese. It's just going to sit on the mantelpiece and look...well, "pretty," or "disturbing," or "pretty disturbing."

Ultimately, though, this is probably the last thing in the world I expected as a Batman tie-in. Okay, maybe not the last, but it's up there.

Thanks to you folks for contributing your own ideas to the image of Dino I've been abusing. If there are any others out there I don't know about, drop a line in that comments section. I'm thinking about making an archive page for all the pieces, so point me in your direction if you've got a Dino pic I haven't seen.

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

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