mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 05, 2008

No amount of logic can prepare you... 

...for the overwhelmingly adorable sight of Kid Spock and Baby Scotty:

The splash page for the issue is pretty good, too...it's supposed to represent the "de-aging" process the two characters endure in this story:

...but it looks more like Spock and Scotty have invited their bratty lookalike kid nephews along for the adventure, like the 23rd century equivalents of Pipeye, Pupeye, Poopeye, and Peepeye.

images from Star Trek #42 (Jan '77) - art by Alden McWilliams

Friday, July 04, 2008

So, that promotional Stand sketchbook that comic shops received piles of this week... 

...and that they're (hopefully) giving away for free to their customers?

Please enjoy these eBay listings.

The morning news. 

from Batman #85 (Aug 1954), reprinted in Batman #182 (Jul/Aug 1966)

Looking at the dates of the two different printings of this story...and, in fact, of all the panels I've posted this week...I'm always a tiny bit surprised that it's so short of a gap. Twelve years doesn't seem that long, but, then again, conventional wisdom at the time was that comics' readership experienced significant turnovers, with most readers only sticking around for a few years (or months). Twelve years was probably plenty of time for an old story to be "new" again to most of the audience.

So, how many of you folks out there have been reading the same comic book series (more or less, including "reboots" or "new #1s" -- you know, where it's essentially the same series, without a significant gap between "volumes") for more than ten years? Twenty? Thirty?

I don't have any continuous series I've been reading more than thirty years, but there are more than a handful I've read for over twenty. I've been reading Hulk comics, in their various incarnations, since 1983, for example.

Thinking about this sort of thing reminds me that there was only a five year gap between the last Golden Age Flash comic and the introduction of the Silver Age Flash. Always seemed like that should have been more of a break than what it was, given its relative significance. (As I recall, one of the reasons for introducing a new Flash was that, five years later, most of their readership would probably not have been around for the previous Flash character.)

Of course, all this has precious little to do with the actual content of the scan. I just found it amusing, is all. Whoever wrote those headlines was really emotionally invested in how Batman comported himself, wasn't he?

Happy Fourth of July, where applicable.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Can Batman and Robin outwit such a cunning trio?" 

Now while that does look like an impressive lair for this trio of Batman baddies, one can't help but notice some...deficiencies. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that this cutaway does exclude necessities that, perhaps, were located in the area that was cut away, allowing for a more uncluttered view.

Even with that being so, the Vulture doesn't appear to have much room for anything:

Sure, he's got plenty of room to play "Dogfight" with his model pla...er, I mean, "generate and practice strategy for future aerial criminal endeavors." I'm guessing he has room, maybe, for a fold-out couch or something...maybe that was against the opposite wall.

The kitchen's not bad...pretty sizable, and while I'm sure we're missing something that's been cut away, the presence of pots and pans implies at least some form of stove...unless they're being used to prepare cold foods, or, ahem, they're being used to address the bathroom problem (see below).

I can't tell if that's some kind of vent about the fridge, or a stack of really large pancakes, or big serving platters, or what. (EDIT: Read the comments to see me get schooled in the ways of '50s refrigerators.) I don't see a door to get in, either.

The Fox has it pretty good:

Plenty of room, even has a stool, and lots of theoretical not-visible-in-this-cutaway space for a bed, or some kind of barcalounger.

It's the Shark that got screwed, at least when it comes to headroom:

At least he seemed to be reasonably furnished, and plus, he has direct access to the ocean. I don't see anyway way in, but since he's beneath ground level, maybe there are some exterior "basement access" doors we're not seeing.

Another thing I'm not seeing is any kind of plumbing, which again, might be obscured by the cutaway. Or maybe there's an outhouse just off panel we're not seeing. Or, as I referred to earlier, perhaps those pots and pans are being used to collect their leavings for later disposal (i.e. dumped into the ocean). The Shark's got it easy...he's already got a big hole in the middle of his floor....

images from Detective Comics #253 (Mar 1958), reprinted in Batman #176 (Dec 1965)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mike's New Comics Day Lunchtime Update 3010. 

Happy Hellboy Day! Our Hellboy promotional material showed up...today, an hour and a half after we opened. To be fair, UPS did try to deliver it Monday, at 7:30 in the morning when we weren't here, according to the tracking info. (In our defense, nobody is at their stores at 7:30 in the morning anywhere on our block.) And apparently they tried again on Tuesday, though I was here all that day and never saw a UPS truck.

But all is well now, and we're having a sale on Hellboy books, and we're giving away bookmarks and posters, and everyone's happy. The end. (Or...is it?)

Employee from the game store next door, looking at a copy of Superman #75, the "Death of Supes" ish: "Say, is this the issue that came with the memorial armband?"

Me: "Yes, it certainly is."

Employee Aaron: "Mike, did you wear the Death of Superman memorial armband?"

Me: "Yes, but not on my arm."

Employee from the game store: "Oh, man."

Employee Aaron: "Mike, this Echo comic book...."

Me: "Yes?"

Employee Aaron: "You realize it's about super-boobs, right?"

Me: "..."

"No! Not the kids' holiday parade!" 

Wrecker, you jerk:

Here's a closer look at that "million dollar" mural:

The microscope is a nice touch.

And apparently "Mr. Mxyzptlk" is another popular balloon in Gotham's parade:

images from Detective #197 (July 1953), reprinted in Batman #218 (Jan/Feb 1970)

"Gain this new power and become the invincible leader." 

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

From the days when villains had a sense of fashion, and Batman had a helmet for every occasion. 

from Batman #47 (Jun/Jul 1948)
reprinted in Batman #198 (Jan/Feb 1968)

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Vinnie, no!" 

"Comic+books+are+stupid" is the Google search that never disappoints. 

"Which comic series is better dc or marvel?"

"DC are the batman, superman, catwomn, green lanturn, aquaman, and wonderwoman heros.

"Marvel are Spider-man , X-men, The hulk, the avengers, The fantastic 4, thor and daredevil.

"I think Marvel are better for the fact of they Have X-men and daredevil.

"Go gambit and dare devil"

And the responses PILE IN:
"Marvel has Venom thus making it superior to everything else"

"I'm torn. Although Besides Superman, I think some of the other DC Comic charecters are wussies... LOL. If only Marvel had Superman... jeez..."

"MARVEL...because of X-men (don't get me started on the movie okay?) but then again...nvmd marvel all the way"

"marvel arcade games!!=D and and and..THE MOVIES!!=D wonderwoman's slutty."

"Marvel 3 reasons


the 3 most awesome villains"

"Marvel has venom and Carnage..thats it for me

oh and Spawn..I think"

WAIT SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET, so the correction comes quick:

"nope Spawn is a character from Mcfarlane comics"

Um...well, close enough.

This fella sums up:

"neither...comic books are stupid"

Well said.

In other news:
  • Bitterandrew is well on his way to becoming the greatest webcomic creator ever.

    You should be reading Armagideon Time on a regular basis anyway, if you aren't already. He's a smart cat, that Bitterandrew.

  • Things that disturb me:


    Caught the trailer on the DVD for, um, ahem, 10,000 B.C. YES I RENTED IT SHUT UP and seeing Sexy Lego Catwoman walking toward me, swinging her hips...is this where technology has brought us?

  • Speaking of DVDs: received the second installment of Cinematic Titanic, The Doomsday Machine, over the weekend, and as promised, unlike the last DVD, this one came in an actual case with an actual sleeve.

    And it also came with a hand-signed thank you note:

    Whether the whole cast signed these and they were randomly distributed in packages, or if Trace drew the short straw and signed 'em all, I have no idea.

    And I'm only a few minutes into the presentation, but there are a couple differences from the first DVD. There's a very brief prologue/skit that takes place before the riffing begins, as we see (in CT's characteristic "silhouette vision") the gang arriving in a long hall outside the theatre. The picture zooms in on the theatre once the show begins. During the prologue, names and full color photos of the cast flash by on screen, introducing us to all involved, in the off chance you didn't know already.

    There are also a couple of gags referencing Mystery Science Theatre 3000. RIFFING EATS ITSELF. And the actual film features a young pre-M*A*S*H Mike Farrell and a less-old Casey Kasem. Whether those are selling points or not, I'll leave up to you.

  • There's also a new Negativland album due out soon, which sorta caught me by surprise.

  • I realize those last two entries have really nothing to do with comics, but it's stuff I like, so there you go.

  • SWAMP THING CONTENT: Well, it's someone else's Swamp Thing content, but I haven't mentioned my favorite swamp monster in a while, and this is what I've got. Over on Comics Bulletin, Jim Kingman waxes nostalgically about Swamp Thing #17 from 1975. (In response to Jim's question -- Bolt sticks around through issue #20, if memory serves, and that was pretty much it for him. I remember hoping, all those years ago, that Alan Moore would bring him back...but all things considered, Bolt was probably better off without Moore getting his hands on him! Who knows what terrible things would have happened to that character?)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday misc. 

Comic creator Michael Turner passed away Friday evening at the far too young age of 37. I realize I've been pretty critical of his work in the past, but I know he had his fans, and that he of course had family and friends who loved him, so my sincere condolences to all of them.

The Aspen Comics message board has posted addresses where you can send your own condolences, and places where you can make donations to Mr. Turner's preferred charities.

  • Over at WFMU's Beware of the Blog, they've turned up some original master recordings of the background music for the '60s Spider-Man cartoon, and it's totally far out, man. You can read about it here and here, and pick up the accompanying hour-long podcast focusing on the music. It's great stuff...give it a listen.

    EDIT: Matthew points me in the direction of someone performing covers of the Spider-Man background music. The world is large enough to contain even this. Also, that artist makes reference to another band that had covered that background music previously, though that CD is out of print.

  • Currently reading: Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw...700+ pages of comics, all centered around an excruciatingly detailed examination of the members of a family, interacting with each other and on their own. It's tragic, gross, funny, uncomfortable and compelling...it's certainly an immersive experience, and I'm only about 1/6th of the way in. I can only admire the amount of effort that went into the world-building for this story, and Shaw's dedication to assembling 700 pages of comics to relate it in such detail.

  • This man went to go see Steve Ditko for his birthday, and drew a comic strip about it. (via Mr. Dan Kelly)

  • A couple of things about Final Crisis:

    First, it's selling just fine for us. In fact, when I checked our cycle sheet numbers, the first issue of Final Crisis just barely outsold the first issue of Secret Invasion at our shop. Now, granted, there may have been a few people buying one of each FC cover, which would inflate the numbers a bit...but we haven't been experiencing too much of the "gotta buy both" reaction to this comic, so it isn't that much of an impact. Even so, it's hardly the blow-out people are trying to characterize it as, for whatever reason.

    Second, I don't get the complaints that Final Crisis is hard to understand. Prediction #3 appears to be a "hit," I think.

    Third, the complaints about continuity problems with the New Gods involvement...well, fair enough, and particularly noticeable in the midst of DC's ongoing attempts at revitalizing/spring cleaning their shared universe continuity. But even that's not a fatal problem...given how most people reacted to Death of the New Gods and Countdown, you'd figure they'd jump at the chance to ignore those series. And I have kind of a personal workaround anyway...given Morrison's take on the New Gods and how powerful and godlike they really are, perhaps the cosmic impact of their actions leading up to, and including, their deaths affected the reality around them, causing universal "glitches" of sorts, resulting in repeated, or even contradictory, events to occur. Hey, why not? Works for me, anyway...if Marvel can have the Spidey/Mephisto/Mary Jane thing, then let me have this. (EDIT: Reno informs me that Grant Morrison had a similar suggestion in regards to dealing with the contradictory accounts.)

    Fourth, I was watching some of the Justice League cartoon marathon on Boomerang Saturday night, and boy, I sure liked seeing the New Gods in animated form. Okay, that has nothing to do with Final Crisis, but I do like my New Gods cartoons.

  • DC's newest weekly Trinity remains strong in the sales department (we just sold out of #3, necessitating another reorder). I figure we'll probably hit the "weekly fatigue" drop off point in a few weeks, with sales shooting back up again near the series' end (which is what happened with previous weeklies 52 and Countdown).

  • For being "Marked for Terror," "Keith Partridge" sure is cheery:

    "Rock's first family hits a new high in adventure!"

    Ah, yes, "high" -- very amusing.

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