Saturday, December 06, 2008
And so begins Year 6.
I've pointed this out before, that Dark Knight Returns #4 was so late that retailers were sent a little "hey, gang, look, it's finally out!" mini-poster they could hang up:
I really need to find that thing again, so I can make a better scan of it.
Anyway, as I was going through the Surprise Stash of Promo Stuff I found in the back room, I came across another "remember this book? It's finally out!" retailer poster. This time, it's the nearly-a-year-overdue-at-the-time Camelot 3000 #12:
Clicking on that should bring up a slightly larger image.
I'm thinking Ronin had one of these kinds of posters, too, since that series had all kinds of delays as well. I do have a poster specifically advertising issues #3 through #6, but I don't know if they put something out after #6's excessive delay.
I wonder if we'll get a "Hey, Kids! It's Finally Out!" poster for the nearly-hypothetical, Mystery of Edwin Drood-esque Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #3. "Three Years in the Making! Surely Worth the 36+ Month Wait!" Could probably use posters like that for All Star Batman, too...well, except for the fact that each new issue of All Star Batman is like a beacon of beauty and wonder that calls directly to the minds of fans everywhere, so a poster would be pretty much redundant.
How you people have put up with five years' worth of me, I have no idea.
Friday, December 05, 2008
"Suddenly, five years later...."
Five years I've been doing this website. Five years of daily updates. Seriously, what's up with that?
After going through the thanks four times previously, I'm totally repeating myself here, but thank you. Thank you to all you folks who come back day after day, reading what I write here, interacting with me in the comments, putting up with my occasional cranky moments, tolerating my eccentricities, contributing banners, clicking on my Amazon links hint hint nudge, and so on. It startles me sometimes to know that there are a few thousand people looking at what I'm doing here on a regular basis.
And thanks, once again, to my girlfriend Nora and her incredible tolerance of my peculiar four-color obsessions; to my parents, who don't always know what the heck I'm going on about here but think it's pretty neat anyway; to my fellow comics webloggers, with whom I don't always agree except in that, hey, we do love the funnybooks; to Neilalien, for blazing the trail and his always welcome advice; and of course, to pal Dorian, my swell friend and nefarious partner in crime.
This site has become sort of my online home, my base of operations despite having other internet boltholes here and there...I have a MySpace (EDIT: link removed - I canceled the MySpace account) and a Facebook, both of which I hardly use to their full potential, though I check in on them on a fairly regular basis. And someday I may use Mikesterling.com for something other than a gateway page to here. However, over the last year I've been expanding my use of the oddly addicting Twitter, which at first I thought was a ridiculous idea, and now I find myself in the position of convincing friends to sign up for it. I love the Twitter. I can't promise I'll follow everyone who follows me there (I'm at about the max number of people I can comfortably keep up with), but I suggest you check it out if you want some kind of online soapbox without the burden of a full-blown blog.
Speaking of burdens, I keep saying I'm going to stop the daily schedule, that maybe I'd go to, say, three times a week. That seems like a reasonable amount of content for the site, right? Well, I still can't bring myself to do it. I'm going to keep up the daily posting for as long as I'm able...will I make six years? We'll see. Will it make me lose my mind? That's a fair bet.
And that's as good as a segue as any into what's become my annual tradition: a listing of highlights from the past year, and by "highlights" I mean "about 2/3rds of everything I've posted because I can't edit myself," apparently. But just the same, feel free to peruse some of these links and relive the horrors:
When Darkseid met Swamp Thing (or at least sat in him), the wit and wisdom of Genocide, Marvel subscription inserts, BEHOLD CUTE GALACTUS, yes I saw Underdog - what of it, All Star Batfan banners, the only comic review scale you need, the Black Racer is still cool, hey this Flash comic ain't too bad, I have to be stopped, it's just a wee dram o'Comic Sans, the Sluggo Strut, Cloverfield shenanigans at the shop, I meant to blog more about the Flash, smart-ass pie charts, don't mess with Alvin (with bonus Sluggo content), making a buck off Heath Ledger's death, Sluggo was here, I talk a bit about Doctor Who, '90s X-books and the collectibility thereof, stop bedwetting you hideous monster, The Shadow over Aqualad, bolos bolos bolos, I don't do story overviews like this much anymore, Snapper Carr annoys you, so long to Steve Gerber (1 and 2), I'm only including this link so I can type "Wolverine's Penis" again, the 2nd annual Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk Day, I can't believe I actually did this post, Wonder Woman's marginally new costume (plus bonus shower scene), I may have had a specific person in mind with this YouTube video, BAD TRIP OWL, the Turok DVD, God bless you Herbie Popnecker, a few words on the passing of Gary Gygax, DC's stamps, I'm glad I didn't have to explain why I posted about Jack Benny on my 39th birthday, Lois Lane in Near-Immediate Irony Theatre, Darkseid bids one bleen, the Question meets Rorschach kinda sorta, people took this comic ages thing way more seriously than I intended, the horrifying carnage of Wizard World L.A. (1 and 2), Dynamic Forces comics, Garfield Minus Everything, half of a full run of the Brady Bunch comic, SHADOWMAN RAP CONTEST, Mike's a smart-ass about Secret Invasion, All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, I'm the only person who thought the stealth Durlan variant was funny, DVDs and James Brolin, Doom's got words for you, LITTLE ARCHIE VERSUS SHARK, Archie's Giant-Size Freak-Out isn't as cool as it sounds, Greek Batman (there's a joke there somewhere), I really wanted to order those tribbles, the beauty of Funnybook Shatner, Monkey Doodle got me linked on Boingboing, Star Trek and Spiro Agnew together again, this post resulted in a whole lot of Wikipedia editing, are you Space-Crazy, oh go cry about it Validus, this is a really inappropriate title for my Iron Man review, Free Comic Book Day aftermath, apparently giving away as many FCBD books as possible makes me the jerk, this panel still makes me laugh, that Phantom movie ain't half-bad, oh Lord these X-Men cards, Lex Luthor versus Swamp Thing, THE NOSE OF VALIDUS, Hex versus the Legion, Steve Ditko versus the Legion, new members for the Avengers, this is just way too much to think about Brainiac 5, letters to Jimmy Olsen, a tribute to the moustache of Bouncing Boy, this still puzzles me, Slash the turtle, entirely inappropriate in-store behavior, seriously some people need to yank that stick out, X-Men versus Pizza Hut, Kubert School student 'zines, in which we talk novelizations (1, 2, 3), MIKE REVIEW HULK MOVIE, Condorman: International Adventurer, this Batman panel drove me crazy, Batman's villains had the most awesome hideouts, Baby Spock, Batman and Robin don their rubbers, Bizarro Break, the future of Peanuts, no one loves the Badrock Skydisc, my Hellboy 2 review, seriously just what the hell is going on in Batman comics, my Dark Knight review and follow-up, the disturbing faces of Popeye, Swamp Thing masks and Employee Aaron at San Diego, Mike's mini-comic nostalgia (and some actual comics by me: 1 and 2), emo Batman is emo, the Cosmic Cube's love for Twinkies, Superman and Batman and the state of their friendship, that whole stupid NOT BUY thing (and the inability of people to, oh, I don't know, ADDRESS THE ACTUAL POINT), extreme close-ups of old comic ads, things I have found inside other things, OBVIOUS POINT COMING IN ON RUNWAY 12, why oh why was Walking Dead Vol. 1 unavailable all summer, Squeeks the Monkey, Land of the Lost creeps me out, in-store oral adventures, Mike's dirty Aunt May post, CONTEMPLATE SLUGGO, Mike watches cartoons, no honestly don't invest in F/X comics you dummies, I thought these panels were funny, thank goodness my readers have got mad Photoshop skillz, Sluggo planes wood and is awesome, Marvel and Star Trek coins, Avengers swimtrunks, Dead Jonah Hex is still Badass Jonah Hex (and follow-up: 1 and 2), King Richard I is a fighter, this is really gross, the Punisher versus typefaces, the Golden Age Sub-Mariner is so much better than the modern one, the Batman and Robin movie is discussed to death (1, 2, 3 and 4), Buenas Noches Dr. Manhattan, gorilla arms and adult babies, the internet's only quality source for Rex the Wonder Dog adventure (1, 2 and 3), we actually had to explain why this might be construed as racist, plain brown wrappers, only I care about MacKenzie Queen, the forgotten faces of laughter, this is not suitable for viewing by anyone, French super-comics, a few quotes from an issue of Turok, hey kids comics, Sluggo questions the universe, way too much discussion about Smallville (1, 2, 3, 4), this mystery half-wit accidentally duplicated a post by Dr. K, the most important election of the year and the follow-up, an original Dark Knight Returns press release, the greatest promo poster of all time, Heroes for Hope radio script, and some bits of business re: Heroes for Hope interior pages (i.e. the ones are any good).
For looking at all that, let me show you yet again the unofficial mascot of Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin, the Swamp Thing Chalk:
...but with one important difference, thanks to Employee Aaron taking it with him on a recent convention visit:
It's now autographed by Swampy's cocreator Len Wein...who, according to Aaron, saw the chalk and exclaimed "hey, I have one of those!" AWESOME.
Thanks again for reading, internet pals, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I kept wanting to type "Heroes Against Hope," and that's just depressing.
Okay, just to follow up a bit on yesterday's post...I thought I'd bust out my copy of Heroes Against Hunger, DC Comics's African benefit book from 1986, out of the Vast Mikester Comic Archives.
First thing I noticed is that, unlike the X-Men book, there aren't any particular sequences that immediately leap out and grab your attention. This may simply be a structural problem: the DC book features Superman, Batman and Luthor (or some combination thereof) on nearly every page, giving a visual sameness to everything despite the number of artists, and the narrative thread flows (more or less) smoothly from beginning to end. In comparison, the X-Men book is more episodic, with several sequences focusing on individual characters in a variety of settings, giving a little more opportunity for visual diversity.
Not to say that there isn't some nice work in the DC book...some Curt Swan, some Walt Simonson, some Carmine Infantino, the Neal Adams/Dick Giordano cover, and the following:
Gerry Conway, Barry Windsor-Smith and Jeff Jones (as noted by reader Matthew)
Ed Hannigan, Jack Kirby & Al Milgrom
...and, as reader Matthew also mentioned, this Bill Sienkiewicz back cover.
Of particular note is a two page sequence with Batman running the gauntlet at Luthor's hideout, before facing Luthor himself, written by Robert Bloch and drawn by Bernie Wrightson and Mike Kaluta:
If only we could have had a whole comic by that team. Especially if it were Batman versus Luthor.
But overall, like I said, not as visually distinctive or interesting or just plain weird as Marvel's effort. The story's on pretty much the same level, though (another alien feeding on the starving people's misery), so there's that.
I was pleased that I correctly remembered this comic featuring the not-completely-evil Luthor of the pre-1980s revamp era...who's genuinely moved by the plight of the suffering Africans when he's not, you know, ranting about how he wants to kill Superman. Always thought that Luthor, the one who was occasionally capable of acting like a human being, was infinitely more interesting than the current Pure Evil Luthor inhabiting comics today.
One final bit: reader Cej speaks of a fellow he encountered at a con, collecting autographs of every member of the creative team for Marvel's Heroes for Hope. Actually, I think that's a neat idea...it's certainly more interesting than collecting them all into a plain ol' autograph book. And Cej says the guy only needed two more autographs at the time...and one of those was Stephen King's. I wonder who the other was? Did the guy get Alan Moore to sign it, or was he the other holdout? We may never know.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Okay, here's a little bit about Heroes for Hope.
A few reasons to check out Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men (1985):
This creepy Kitty Pryde segment written by Stephen King
and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson and Jeff Jones
This bit of business with Wolverine by Harlan Ellison, Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz
This little twisted scene by Chris Claremont, Brian Bolland and P. Craig Russell
And this Magneto nightmare by Alan Moore and Richard Corben.
Not saying these are the only reasons...there's some nice work by Steve Rude, some Howard Chaykin inked by Walt Simonson...but these are the four bits I think of when I'm reminded of this comic.
Overall, the story is...well, the X-Men are fighting some "living embodiment of their worst nightmares" or something, which is feeding off of the misery of the starving Africans, and...well, yeah, it's a little tacky. But "helping Africa" was in the air at the time, and their hearts were in the right place. I suppose this comic did raise at least a little money for the relief fund, and you got a nice collection of art to boot, with at least four outstanding sequences as noted above.
There was a similar project from DC a little later, Heroes Against Hunger, in which the heroes fight against some alien creature that...um, feeds off the misery of the starving Africans. Or maybe not...it's been a while since I've read it, but I know some nasty alien critter is involved. And unlike the X-Men book, I really can't recall any specific sequences or creative teams involved that really stand out. I do seem to remember that this was one of the last "hurrahs" for the pre-revamp Not-A-Complete-Asshole Lex Luthor, who does try to help out (occasionally grudgingly, depending on who's writing what sequence).
Back to Heroes for Hope: in my post from the other day, where I put up a small image of the cover, reader Steve Canadian had a question:
"Holy iconic Art Adams Wolverine pose on the cover! Am I right in thinking that they singled him out, popped his claws and made a poster out of that?"
This was, as Steve says, quite the iconic pose, and I'm pretty sure variations on it, all drawn by Adams, popped up on shirts and buttons and who knows what else. Here's a version of it that was on a promo poster I, coincidentally, just happened upon in the backroom last week:
For more reading about Heroes for Hope, here's Dr. Polite Scott with a few words.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
The post about Heroes for Hope...
...that I promised last time will have to wait 'til just a little later, I'm afraid. But here's a scan of a Bicentennial Cap Stamp, instead:
Enjoy, won't you?
Monday, December 01, 2008
In which I begin to talk a little about what I posted over the weekend.
In doing some digging through musty, forgotten boxes in the back room of the shop, I turned up a heapload of promo materials dating mostly from the mid '80s though about the mid '90s. One of the things I found was an original Batman: The Dark Knight Returns press release/promo pack, which was the source for the content of this post from Saturday. Also included in the package were some photocopies of interior pages, such as that one shot of Superman hefting the tank over his head.
The letter notes a "three-dimensional point-of-purchase poster," and while I know we have one in the shop...er, somewhere, I couldn't recall where it was, and even if I could find it, as I recall it's not in the best of shape.
But thankfully reader Dave O. was good enough to send a photo of his nearly pristine copy of the same 3D Bat-thingie to me, just in case I hadn't seen one before. Well, as I said here, I had, but Dave's photo certainly came at just the right time, and he was good enough to let me use it here:
It's fairly fragile, made with a very thin plastic, if I'm remembering correctly, and it really doesn't take much to bust this thing. I think ours may have actually had a hole punched in it. WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
A couple of other notes about that press release:
Sunday, November 30, 2008
"...YOU'LL FIND MUSIC, ENTERTAINMENT, REFRESHMENTS, PRIZES AND FREE GIFTS FOR EVERYONE, ALL AT (name and address of your store)."
THIS IS IT. YOUR CHANCE TO JOIN THE RANKS OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST HEROES, AND DO YOUR PART TO FIGHT THE DEVASTATING FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA. COME TO THE SPECTACULAR HEROES FOR HOPE DAY AT (name of your store) AND GET YOUR COPY OF HEROES FOR HOPE: THE X-MEN BENEFIT SPECIAL FOR EAST AFRICA.