mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007


Stuff you've already seen elsewhere...but first... 

...I've finally got around to using the internet browsing function of my cell phone to search for online images to use as the phone's wallpaper.

Specifically, I've browsed my own images, my sidebar "icons," and I now have these three pics on my phone to use as wallpaper whenever I please:

At last, the phone justifies itself.

In other news:
  • Welcome back to Polite Scott! Glad you're feeling better!

  • Enjoy your (presumed) Batman Begins promo website: "I Believe in Harvey Dent."

  • Pal Nat and his little friend, Licensable Bear™, are auctioning off the chance to have your message on the cover of the very next issue of Licensable Bear™. It's for charity, so bid big, bid often. (And if the winning bidder were to, say, use his message to plug my site...I wouldn't object.)

  • Alan David Doane speaks frankly about Comic Book Galaxy.

  • Alan linked to this, but it's a great story of '80s comics retailing and I wanted to share it here: Roger talks about the Counterfeit Cerebus #1. (A few years back, we actually had copies of both the real and the fake #1s in the shop at the same time...we ended up selling them both to the same fellow, who happened to be a hardcore Cerebus fan who was actively seeking one of the counterfeits for his collection.)

  • I'm the last person on the planet to mention this, but Diamond Comics Distribution has decided against carrying the print incarnation of the Comic Foundry website. It always amazes me what Diamond will and will not carry. They won't carry a comics magazine that, from the sounds of things, is on par with the half-dozen or so TwoMorrows publications, and yet they'll carry, say, talking Snakes on a Plane pens long after that film's expiration date. Okay, admittedly it's an uphill battle for any new magazine to build a readership, and maybe Diamond didn't feel like waiting for Comic Foundry's sales to justify their distributing the book. But I hear about stuff like this and I think "What? Not enough room on the warehouse shelves among all the Avatar variant covers for one more measly comics mag?"

    I mean, I'm not entirely unsympathetic toward Diamond's position, but it's a shame Comic Foundry didn't even get a chance.

  • Updates for a couple ACAPCWOVCCAOE* members:

    Pal Sean is still keeping up the mad weblog updating, this time with his "Comics on a Budget" reviews.

    Pal Tom surveys the carnage of cancelled TV shows.

* Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs. ...Boy, it's been a long time since I've had to explain that.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

This post is comprised of miscellaneous topics, separated by horizontal lines. 

Conversation at the store:

Employee Aaron: "I wonder what George Takei's power is on Heroes?"

Me: "The power of being incredibly cool."

Employee Aaron: "...I'll accept that."

...And then Employee Jeff asked about the sequence in the most recent episode, where he wondered if Hiro's father (Takei) really taught Hiro expert swordsmanship in so short a period of time. That resulted in this shameful display:

Me (in my best Comic Book Guy voice): "Well, if you were to refer to your copy of All New Collectors' Edition #C56, better known as 'Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali,' you will see that during the course of the story, Ali trained Superman in the sweet science while in another dimension...a dimension where time passes at a far different rate to our own dimension. Only minutes would pass by in the 'real world' while hours, or even days, could go by in this other dimension.

"Perhaps, with his time-altering powers, possibly even unwittingly, Hiro altered the passage of time for his father and himself, allowing them hours or days of training while only a short period of time passed outside of Hiro's influence."

Employee Jeff: "..."

Employee Aaron: "...I need to go sit down now."

The whole Mary Jane "sexy" statue brouhaha reminded me of this oddity from a while back: the Marvel Milestone Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy statues:

The sculpts are absolutely identical, save for the heads. This should tell us something, I'd imagine.

And then there was this Mary Jane statue, which I mentioned in a previous End of Civilization installment:

And, as pal Dorian had noted, the "sexy" MJ statue is still better than this damned thing:

Why? Why would you want that?

Speaking of offending people, I wanted you to know that I had this title banner all ready to go when All Star Batman & Robin #5 was finally unleashed on the marketplace:

I was going to replace my regular title banner just for the day, without comment, just to...well, be annoying, I guess. But right now, with all the hoo-har over the sexual nature of the aforementioned Mary Jane statue, I thought maybe now may not be the best time to splash Wonder Woman's rear end across the top of my page. I mean, sure, all you folks reading this site would get that I'm just messin' around, but I suppose I don't need the additional grief it could bring at the moment.

I wasn't even going to bring it up, except for one thing. Would you like to know when I made that banner?

According to the file creation date of my original image, I made it on April 26th.

Of 2006.

It's been about a year since the last issue of All Star Batman. It's been several months since the last issue of Ultimates 2 (also out this week). And, as I've noted before, it's been a year (and counting) since the last issue of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk.

Quite frankly, this is embarrassing. Appalling and embarrassing. There's no excuse for alleged periodicals to be this late. I'm willing to cut folks a little slack, but once we're measuring lateness in years, it becomes obvious that something's broken at Marvel and DC.

Come to think of it, when was the last time a Frank Miller project was released on a timely basis? Daredevil? I remember the delays on Ronin. Dark Knight Returns #4 was so late DC actually released a promo item for stores to post, announcing its arrival:

And I'm sure most of you remember the delays on the Dark Knight sequel. Did the various Sin City series maintain a schedule? I'll have to check.

Do any of Marvel and DC's lateness problems have any repercussions? I mean, aside from readers giving up on the books and the occasional, sheepish "yeah, I know we're late, we're working on it!" interview in Wizard? Or have the companies 1) realized that readers are accustomed to late books now being the norm, and 2) grown attached to the slight sales bump provided by the low-rent star-f'ing of having minor league "celebrities" write their books regardless of their consistent lateness issues, and therefore just don't care?

Wow, that got bitter, fast. I really just wanted to say, hey, finally a new issue of All Star Batman, it's a hoot! But I'm too pissed off right now to be particularly enthusiastic about it.

But here are some questions I'd like to see answered by the powers that be:

1. Why are these books so late?

2. What is being done to correct this problem?

3. What is being done to prevent this problem from recurring?

4. What are you doing to repair the erosion of consumer (and retailer) confidence in your products?

Let us lighten the mood with a little joy:

I hadn't known that there was a flash animation of the Alan Moore-vocalized "March of the Sinister Ducks" song:

...but now I do.

And since some of you were wondering how this turned out:

And you can blame Kevin for this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


from Nancy and Sluggo #174 (Jan-Feb 1950)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This post brought to you by Licensable Bear™

Something I don't get: I was processing a collection of recently acquired (read: dumped on us) comics, and there was an issue of Amazing Spider-Man that was taped...taped...to the backing board it shared its polybag with. A big piece of double-sided tape was stuck in the middle of the back cover, and then the comic was affixed to the backing board before being bagged.

And it wasn't plain ol' Scotch tape either...it was some kind of unholy, gnarly sticky tape that wasn't going to let go of the paper, which meant tearing the back cover of the comic in order to deboard it. Luckily, it was a recent issue that we already had plenty of...and, also luckily, it was dumped on us, as I said, so it's not like we had any money into it.

But still, taping your comic to your backing board...that's not recommended comic book care, friend. Nor is hot-gluing the comic to the board, or stapling it. NO CGC 9.8 FOR YOU.

In other news:
  • At last! New Groo for me and you! Groo the Wanderer is returning late this summer in a 25th anniversary special, to be followed by a new mini-series (Groo: Hell on Earth). One of my Frequently Asked Questions at the shop is "When's the new Groo coming out?" -- and now I have an answer. Thank goodness.

  • New Mary Jane Watson cheesecake statue announced, shit hits fan(s). I know everyone's already seen this statue (and the outrage it's created) by now, but my pal Cully (who only follows one comics weblog - this one) probably hasn't, and he'll get a laugh out of it, I'm sure. Please note it's already sold out, even prior to shipping, so look for more statues along these lines to follow. ("Aunt May...as you've never seen her before!")

    My favorite response to the statue is this post that pal Dorian dug up. Damned funny.

  • You know what you people need to cheer up? You need a Licensable Bear™ animated short:

    It's yogurty!

    I'm also going to shamelessly plug some Licensable Bear™ comics, because 1) that's what Licensable Bear™ would want me to do, and 2) pal Nat, who's responsible for unleashing Mr. Bear™, is a nice guy and I want to help him out.

    Retailers are placing orders this month for two comics starring Licensable Bear™ that are coming out in July. One is Licensable Bear™ #4 (p. 215 of the May Previews, order #MAY073114) and the other is Liberty Stories #1, with a short full color Licensable Bear™ story (p. 310, MAY073516). Tell your retailers quick, since orders are due soon.


    Now that's a plug!

  • More plugging: no link...but last night's episode of Heroes featured a pile of comics Micah was looking through, the most prominent being Silver Surfer #1 (1968), mentioned by name in dialogue. There's your stealth plug for the new Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie, one of the show's sponsors. In fact, an extended preview of the film was advertised during last night's show as airing during the Heroes series finale.

    Nice in-joke: the comic initially at the top of the pile was an issue of the Hulk: Gray mini-series, which was drawn by Heroes staff artist Tim Sale.

  • For those of you who like your political commentary unsubtle: "Superheroes sing for peace"

    "Singer-songwriter August Bullock loved comic books as a child. Superman, Batman, and other heroes he admired never tortured their victims, never struck the first blow, and always adhered to the highest ethical standards.

    "He composed a protest song, 'Heroes of America -- an anti-war anthem,' around this idea, lamenting the loss of America's moral compass."


    "'Heroes of America' was instantly popular, but the music video he made from it really made it fly. 'The whole process was serendipitous,' explains Bullock. 'At first I was just going to wear a Superman costume while I sang the song. Then I had the idea of filming other 'superheroes' in public places on Halloween. Then I added protesters at a huge peace rally in San Francisco. When I spliced everything together I discovered I had a made commercial for the peace movement.'"

    You can read the whole press release at the link...note that there's an embedded YouTube video that will automatically play.

    This YouTube clip, in fact:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Justice League Unlimited: Locker Room custom figures. 

"...This latest series of Justice League Unlimited figures shows the men of the League in their natural habitat: the locker room! Whether you've saved reality in a dirty battle with Mordru the Magician, or just want wash off a bit of that Javelin 7 cockpit smell, the Watchtower Locker Room is where the gods go to feel like men."

Read and, er, see more at Toymania.

(via reader Rob)

Oh, man, not that picture again. 

I have a reason for running this image again...well, sort of a reason, anyway, as I wanted to run down the titles featured on the newsstand, and see how many of them were used for real-life print publications. So, here we go (omitting repeats and titles obscured by Charlie Brown)...let me know of any additions and corrections:

Mangle - I think the closest we got was Mangle Tangle Tales, published by Innovation in 1990.

Terror - "Terror" was used frequently in titles, but I don't think it was used as a title just by itself. The closest I found was one of the EC Comics mags Terror Illustrated. And, of course, the Comics Code forbade its use in any titles.

War - A comic by this title was published by Charlton Comics from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s. Here is one of my favorite covers from that series. (I know it says "World of..." above the "WAR" logo, but the official title was still "WAR.")

Hate - Of course everyone remembers the classic and funny Peter Bagge series, beginning in 1990 and still occasionally coming out today.

Gouge - Like I told someone in the comments for yesterday's post, what a great name for a comic. I picture a Punisher-type character as the star.

Kill - Several comics with the word "KILLER" or "KILLING" in their titles, and of course there's Kill Your Boyfriend. None called just "KILL," far as I know.

Slaughter - Slaughterman, baby! Close enough for horseshoes.

Choke - There was a title called (I believe) The Choke from Anubis Press. Choke also sounds like something Eros might publish, someday.

Murder Comix/Comics - Renegade Press published a series called Murder in the '80s, and, though it's not an exact match, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of my all time favorite comic book titles: Murder Me Dead by David Lapham. Man, I love that title.

Ouch! - Seems to me like this would have been the title of one of the many, many Mad Magazine rip-offs that have come out over the years.

Stab! - Unused, I think. What a great title, though.

Throttle - There was an Aircel comic called Full Throttle, which isn't exactly the same thing. Well, then again, this is Aircel we're talking about...

Crush - Dark Horse and Image both had comics by this name, but probably not nearly as interesting as the sorta-implied contents in the Crush comic from the Peanuts strip. "In this issue - more criminals crushed! Under collapsed walls! In crashed cars!"

Hit! - Quality Comics has a series called Hit Comics prior to this strip's 1952 publication date. Debuting in this series: Kid Eternity and the freakin' Red Bee!

Kick Komics - Nothing called just Kick or Kick Komics, or, God help us, Kid's Kick Komics, which would only cause problems. There was Kickers, Inc., but not quite the same, really.

Smash - Another Golden Age Quality Comics title that preceded the Peanuts strip. Debuting in this series: Bozo the Robot. Don't look at me, that's what Overstreet says. Here, read more about it.

Jab - Adhesive Comics published a funnybook by this title in the '90s, and it featured not only Too Much Coffee Man, but also my favorite cover enhancement.

Ruin Funnies - As some of you have noted, this title is strangely appropriate for my site. And there has been a mini-comic with "Ruin" in the title....

Slash - Northstar Comics had a horror comics anthology by this title a decade or so ago. Crow creator Jim O'Barr had some work in it.

Mob - Nothing called just Mob as I recall, but the first closely-related title I can think of is the Kirby-riffic In The Days of The Mob. "Mob" pops up in several other titles, too (Mobfire, etc.).

Killer - As I noted under Kill, lots of titles use variations of the word. However, there was a comic with the prominent logo "KILLER" - though technically the full title is KILLER...Tales by Timothy Truman. And there's a series currently running called The Killer.

Horror Funnies - There was a book shortly after that Peanuts strip was printed called The Horrors. "Horror" actually is used a lot as part of longer titles, and it too was banned from use by the Comics Code. Nothing called Horror Funnies, unfortunately...I'm amused by the juxtaposition of terms in that title.

Blast Comics - There was a British comics mag called Blast, which is about as close as we get, and "Blast" was used a lot as part of longer titles. Otherwise, the title would have been ideal for one of the many atomic bomb-related comic books from the 1950s (and it kinda, sorta looks like an atomic blast on that cover Schulz drew, there).

So there you go. Like I said, any corrections or additions, please send them my way. There are probably some undergrounds or, more likely, mini-comics that used some of those titles that I may have overlooked. And yes, I didn't list every single title variation of every real-world comic that uses some part of the titles Schulz created for his newsstand. I mean, what do you think I am...obsessive or something?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It's sad when it happens to someone you know. 

So in Saturday's mail delivery, I received the ballot for the upcoming Eisner Awards, for various outstanding achievements in funnybooking. What caught my eye, however, was the "Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism" category:

Along with some fine and deserving print publications are two equally fine and deserving comic weblogs: Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter and Dirk Deppey's Journalista. I think we can all agree that both of those websites are essential reading for anyone interested in comics as an artform and/or an industry, and I of course would applaud the awarding of an Eisner to either.

However, I can't help but notice that there's room for a write-in ballot. And since they're considering weblogs:


Hey, why not? Surely I'm deserving of an Eisner for my in-depth investigative reporting. Okay, it's mostly about things that happened a decade ago, or me complaining about whatever stupid thing Marvel's done this time, but I've been in the industry for (ahem) many years now, toiling in the funnybook fields, and feeding my hard-won knowledge into this weblog. That must count for something. Plus, I once touched Jack Kirby. (Appropriately touched, thank you.)

At the very least, I deserve a trophy for managing to sell a full run of Marvel Vision. I realize that's not "journalism," but it's like Hercules cleaning the Augean stables, baby, and I demand recognition!

Oh, sure, you could vote for other, lesser weblogs run by...well, I don't want to throw the word "Communist" around, or bring up anyone's time in prison. But you folks know what to do. VOTE RUIN! Vote early, vote often, as they say.

If I win, I promise to totally abuse my newfound power and cruelly crush my enemies...so you know your vote is going toward a worthy cause.

This image from the end of yesterday's post:

...comes from an early '50s installment of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts, featuring a funny contrast between the "for the kiddies" blurb across the top of the display and the actual comics therein. It's amusing, at least to me, to look at the titles and pick out the ones that eventually were used (or, in the case of Smash, had been used) for real comics.

I particularly like the drawings Schulz provided for the covers:

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!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?