mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 23, 2008

There's only one way to mark pal Dorian's birthday... 

...and that's with


Not that Dor has any shortage of nekkid Wildcat pictures, but, you know, it's the thought that counts.

Happy Birthday, buddy!

Beware the Flaming Cornucopia. 

Batman #299 (May 1978) - art by Jim Aparo

Only posted because that's the single greatest villainess costume of all time. MS. DISCO STATUE OF JUNGLE LIBERTY-X DEMANDS YOUR SURRENDER.

Friday, February 22, 2008

There is a notable lack of All Star Batman on this list. 

"Eight comic books to read before you die."

Swamp Thing is on the list. This writer...he has pleased me.

I haven't looked at the comments for that article yet, but I'm sure hijinks have ensued in full force there.


By which I mean "Wolverine's penis." 

So I've been sitting on this issue of Adventures of the X-Men #4 (July 1996) for a while now, because it features C'thulhu and "the ancient R'lyeh texts" and other kinda-sorta Lovecraftian things being raised by the Marvel Universe demons, the N'Garai. It all sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is, so basically, I never got around to it.

But I was poking through the comic again, and noticed something. The story begins with Cyclops out riding a motorcycle and coming across trouble, which, you know, is gonna happen. As the story progresses, the motorcycle gets lost during some battle or other, and the issue ends with Wolverine whining about it:

First, if you knew anyone who referred to himself as "the old Canucklehead," I'd imagine you'd do your best to stop knowing him in short order. Second, I tried to cut off as much Gambit as I could in this scan...I apologize for not being entirely successful. Third, Wolvie explicitly says the motorcycle was his, but let's look at the license plate of the motorcycle Cyclops was riding:

So, the posssible explanations:

1. This is Cyclops' motorcycle -- he bought the cycle, registered it, paid extra for the personalized plates -- but because Wolverine is a big greedy grabby jerk, he decided at some point prior to this story to lay claim to it, and uses it whenever he feels like without asking Cyclops for permission. And, thus, feels it's his bike.

2. It actually is Wolverine's motorcycle, and he has the "ONE EYE" personalized plates to mock Cyclops for not being cool enough to have a bike of his own.

3. Wolverine and Cyclops went in "halvsies" on buying the bike, and Cyclops won the coin toss and got to personalize the plates.

4. It actually is Wolverine's motorcycle, and "ONE EYE" actually refers to...um, something else. Compensating much, Wolvie?

Well, here's a bit of the C'thulhu-esque shenanigans at work in this story...this is the only cool part, honest. I couldn't even fit it all on the scanner:

And Wolverine, of course, can't shut up about it. I always figured Wolverine was a little more stoic than this:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The dorkiest geek that's ever nerded. 

  • The Spirit #14 - As I was hoping, Mike Ploog's art puts a little life back into this series...it's a little rough around the edges, but that's how I like my Spirit comics. Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier also do a good job on the scripting end of things -- this issue is definitely from the "light" end of the Spirit story scale, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they handle a darker, more dramatic adventure.

  • Comics Journal #288 - First issue of the new trade paperback-esque format, with a swell Fletcher Hanks cover. I keep flipping through our copy of the Hanks book at the shop...I really need to buy the damned thing one of these days, as it's demented genius.

    This issue of Comics Journal also includes a whole lot of "Best of 2007" lists, as well as several color Sunday Miss Fury strips by Tarpé Mills - fun reading.

  • SPOILER for Superman/Batman #46 - So, Silver Kryptonite is like, I don't know, Space Marijuana?

  • Hulk #2 - Unlike the first issue, this ish has that Red Hulk everyone's been waiting for. It's big, loud, and stupid...and fun, thankfully. Ed McGuinness' art looks great, and you don't even mind that perhaps too much of the book is taken up by BIG BIG PANELS and two-page splashes. And even Jeph Loeb manages some acceptable scripting.

  • Youngblood #2 - Look, I gotta say it...it doesn't look terrible. Yeah, I know, it's Youngblood, But it appears to be competently done, which I realize is unlike 95% of most Youngblood comics. And it has Doc Rocket, whom I always thought was a pretty cool looking character. Anyway, it's not groundbreaking by any means, but if you find yourself in dire need of yet another superhero book to read, this one doesn't look like it'll give you diseases or anything. High praise, indeed.

  • Geek Monthly Vol. 2 #2 - Okay, we've been carrying this magazine since it started. Just one copy, no big whoop, but we've had yet to sell one. Even putting Katee Sackoff on the cover couldn't get it to sell.

    Until this week. And which cover model got it to sell, finally? Freakin' Jorge Garcia - Hurley from Lost - that's who. Which proves what everyone already knows -- everybody loves Hurley.

  • Sam & Max: Surfin' the Highway trade paperback - a new edition of a collection that originally came out some years ago, which also appears to have a smidgen of extra material the original doesn't have, dammit.

  • Transformers Spotlight: Arcee - Look, you people stopped buying these Spotlight issues, so we dropped orders on them. Now, everyone wants them again, and we don't have enough to go around. Make up your minds! Plus, Employee Aaron informs me this issue is about the Transformer robot with breasts, which makes me hate everything.

  • Umbrella Academy #6 - Features a full-page illo by our longtime customer Weshoyot. Cool! Why, we can now say "we knew her when...."

In other news:

  • Rick Veitch has a blog. I like Rick Veitch. I (mostly) like blogs. This will obviously work for me. (via)

  • J. Michael Straczynski no longer exclusive with Marvel - article accidentally refers to his Thor title as a "monthly."

  • I look at Ain't It Cool News so you don't have to -- here's a still from Watchmen, featuring Rorschach in action. Still not sure about Rorschach's look, but...well, what did I expect a guy in a full face mask, overcoat, and hat to look like?

  • Charles Burns' graphic novel Black Hole is being adapted to film by Alien 3 director David Fincher, with a screenplay cowritten by Duran Duran biographer Neil Gaiman.

  • If I may join my blogging brethren in this matter -- a Kitty Pryde & Wolverine Premiere Hardcover? What, were there too many trees in the world, so you had to kill more of them off, and degrade them further by making them into a hardcover collection of this series?

    Okay, perhaps I'm overstating it just a little, but...gah, this comic is crap. Well, Marvel, I'll let you have a trade, I suppose, if you have to collect it under one cover, but not a hardcover, for God's sake. I HAVE SPOKEN.

  • Just to confirm for everyone how suspect my tastes are...you know what X-Men mini-series I really liked? X-Men and the Micronauts. I thought that series was just dandy. It'll never get collected and printed on nice paper, because Marvel will never want to pay whatever the rights holders are overcharging for the mostly-forgotten-except-by-comics-fans Micronauts license (see also Marvel's Rom series). But it'd be nice.

  • I'm the dorkiest geek that's ever nerded, because I want this Batman as Green Lantern action figure:

    Because if it's one thing I need, it's more comic book stuff around the house.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy 2nd Annual Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine Day! 

Once again, just like last year, I'm observing Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine Day on New Comics Day rather than the actual date (Feb. 22nd), since it seems a little more fitting that way.

But, yes, as hard as it is to believe, it has been two full years since Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #2 was unleashed upon the comics buying public, leaving us with four issues to go.

When the television writers strike occurred, there was a brief moment of wide-eyed optimism, that perhaps the TV writer in question responsible for this series would be able to find the time to script four more issues of Hulk and Wolverine beating the tar out of each other...but I haven't heard anything about it. Okay, granted, I haven't really been looking, but I imagine if there was any real news about it, I wouldn't have been able to avoid it. (EDIT: Here's a report from July about the writer's alleged progress -- thanks, Kevin!)

So, I don't know what more I can add about the absolute ridiculousness of the lateness of this book that I didn't say last time. Minor delays here and there are one thing...a two year delay in the middle of a six issue mini is whole 'nother problem entirely. There's apparently a rumor going around that DC Comics may be instituting a policy to avoid problems like this, though it remains to be seen how well that sort of thing would work out. I'd settle for a "no year-long gap between issues on an alleged monthly" policy.

Oh, well. So, will I be celebrating the 3rd Annual Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk Day next year? Pop by then and find out!

In other news;
  • Okay, all that stuff I said about Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier, and Mike Ploog taking over The Spirit for the last issue, which in fact wasn't the issue they were taking over? The issue being released today is the issue they're on, so reread what I said before, and apply it to the new issue. Got it? Good.

  • Crud...forgot where I originally saw the link, but here's a story about the creator of the Perry Bible Fellowship strip going into "semi-retirement." Nothing on the PBF site about it, it seems, and apparently the news comes from a letter sent to papers carrying the strip.

    Also, the above-linked story summarizes the cartoonist's appearance on a Fox News show, which sounds sort of embarrassingly amusing.

  • Via Dirk, Simpsons producer Matt Selman discusses the episode featuring Alan Moore, Dan Clowes, and Art Spiegleman. Spiegleman wearing the Maus mask was apparently his idea, not the Simpsons writers', which may be one of the greatest things I've heard today.

    That was part 3 of the annotations for this episode...here are 1 and 2. And you can actually watch the whole episode here.

  • Internet pal Chris Sims must have bumped his head something fierce, because he's devoting his site to the greatness that is...the Bring It On series of films. That means cheerleaders, cheerleaders, cheerleaders, and more cheerleaders. In case you're unfamiliar with the films in question, Mr. Sims thoughtfully provides a brief summary for your perusal.

  • This Metafilter post on whether video games will ever become a respected method of storytelling features this quote from the game designer who thinks they never will: "I'll bet you that fifty years from now they'll be just as mature and well-respected as comic books are today." (Though the designer in question is sympathetic toward comics, and details the public perceptions and problems that comics and video games share.)

    The following discussion debates the worthiness of comics currently held as classics, primarily Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen (with at least one person desperately misunderstanding the latter). Interesting for the perceptions of funnybooks from folks who aren't necessarily among the converted, like you and me.

  • I have no explanation for yesterday. Sometimes, beauty demands to be released.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Suddenly--!! POW!" 

Every occurrence (I believe) of the sound effect "POW" from Jack Kirby's original New Gods saga, as presented in the six issue deluxe format series from 1984:



Monday, February 18, 2008

"Look out, world!" 

So for whatever reason, we were discussing at work the point in Wonder Woman's history when her chest emblem changed from the eagle's wings to the more marketable and copyrightable double-W design. That happened here, in issue #288 of Wonder Woman (Feb 1982)...well, actually, it happens in a preview insert in DC Comics Presents #41 and continues into this issue of the Wonder Woman series proper:

"Wonder Woman is bustin' loose!" is sorta unfortunate phrasing, given the part of the costume that's changed. And it seems odd that the new costume's introduction occured in a preview insert in a Superman team-up book....well, except for the fact that the team-up book's sales probably were much higher than the then-traditionally poor-selling Wonder Woman.

The panel of the actual hand-off of the new costume, though a bit more sizable in the preview, is squeezed into the bottom corner of one of the pages:

The Wonder Woman Foundation, as most of you already know but I mention here since the person I was talking about this with at the shop didn't, was a real world charitable organization backed by DC and its parent company Warner Brothers. I tried to find some info online through a little Googling, but mostly found just brief references to it. Pro comics letterer Todd Klein mentioned that the Foundation was very shortlived, and this cataloging of Gloria Steinem's papers features a brief description of the Foundation near the bottom of the page, noting that the few papers Steinem had relating to the Foundation mostly related to awards ceremonies. (Also noted is that this college also has more Foundation paperwork, but it's not available for examination at this time.)

As to the comic itself...Gene Colan was the artist for this issue, and he struck me as an odd choice for the Wonder Woman book...he tends to strike me as an odd choice for a superhero book, given his style is more suited to dark, moody, and mysterious settings and characters, rather than slick, streamlined superbeings in skintight suits. And yes, I'm aware he's done some classic superhero work...I did recently note my appreciation of this series, after all. And he was a good match for Batman. But Wonder Woman? Feels like an odd choice, with the occasional strange-looking panel:

But I do still love Colan's art, as occasionally quirky as it may be, and as occasionally oddly suited it may be for a particular assignment. As noted in Les Daniels' book Wonder Woman: The Complete History, then-WW writer Roy Thomas recalled that Colan had to remember to draw full, clearly visible shots of Wonder Woman to show off the new logo, rather than leaving her or her costume obscured in shadow. But shadowy art or not, Colan still did a nice art job on Wonder Woman, if not in a style one would normally expect for this title.

And Wonder Woman may be all about female power, there's still a little something for the lads in this issue...by which I mean "shower scene:"

I do like that Thomas goes out of his way to explain that, hey, it's magic, that's how Wonder Woman's costume just appears. I think the phrase "we must leave it to prophets and pundits to ponder just how how [sic] her spinning lariat weaves the garments" is overstating it a little. "Prophets?"

And in conclusion, I love this guy from the cover:

Now that's a face with character. No one does 'em like Mr. Colan.

By the way, that Todd Klein link includes further discussion of the WW emblem transition, including a page from DCCP #41 with the logo handoff.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Crybaby duck. 

Halloween in February. 

So I was putting together an order of Robotech comics for a customer when I noticed a serious case of "jaggies" on the logo for the Halloween Special. Now, this was 1996, so font-smoothing wasn't an esoteric technology or anything, so either this accidentally slipped by the editors or it was a deliberate design choice. If it was deliberate...well, it didn't work. (Or the third possibility..."Hey, that's good enough...send it to print, move on to the next book.")

The only reason I really spent extra time looking at this comic, when normally I couldn't care one way or the other about Robotech, was my very brief curiosity as to what would make a Robotech adventure particularly Halloweeny. Answer: haven't the foggiest, though someone mentions ghost stories at one point. But during my brief scan of the book, I did notice the letters page, which featured three readers' letters...two of which were from my hometown of Oxnard, CA. I know nobody else could possibly care about this, but I was amused by it, at any rate.

And hey, chances were that we sold 'em the Robotech comics they were commenting upon! Okay, they could have bought them somewhere else, but there weren't a whole lot of shops at the time willing to give up shelf space to low-selling black and white indies, except for chumps like us who were still attempting the "full line comic shop" thing at a time when the industry was about one Deathmate away from disappearing forever. So, anyway, who knows. I don't recognize the letter writers' names, at any rate.

Okay, enough about me, let's talk more about me:
  • J. Caleb mounts a defense for Mr. Snapper Carr, part-time Justice League sidekick and full-time swinging cat, and upon whom I heaped a tiny pile of scorn and ridicule. Caleb does a little extree-analysis of that third panel of mine, which really points out just how crazy that whole thing is.

    Also, apparently Snapper Carr has his army of defenders, who turned out in force in my comments section. And when the artillery began heading in the direction of Wonder Woman's pal Etta Candy, the Etta Defense League turned up there, too.

    So, in the future, I'll stick to mocking sidekicks no one can possibly care about. Like Spoiler.

  • In one of my posts about Steve Gerber, I pointed folks to a Halloween-themed article I wrote on The Horror Blog about scary Superman scenes. Just on a whim, I thought I'd check back and see if that link resulted in any more comments being posted in response to that article. And behold:

    "this is so oooooosososo

    My article is apparently a non-threatening homosexual. I HAVE DISAPPOINTED MR. ANONYMOUS COMMENTER! Will I ever get over the shame -- oh, wait, I just did. Never mind.

    There's also a comment there about "picking up women." I have to avoid picking up anything, really, thanks to this trick back.

  • The aheader I get, the behinder I am: I spent some time at the shop on Saturday making some space in the back issue bins around the Justice League/Justice Society titles...pulling out doubles and triples of back issued comics that don't really need doubles and triples out there, that sort of thing. I ended up with some pretty good slack in those boxes, and then I started the restock check of what JLA/JSA issues we currently needed to have pulled out of our back room storage.

    I ended up with a pile of JLA/JSA comics from the back room twice as big as the space I managed to make. Oy.

    However, going through those comics did remind me of that eternal question: which JLA crossover comic is my favorite?


    ...or JLA Versus Predator:

    How can one man decide?

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?