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In which Swamp Thing asks what seems like a perfectly sensible question…

§ March 31st, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on In which Swamp Thing asks what seems like a perfectly sensible question…

…except you’d think they’d be easy to fight, since they’re all soft and squishy and probably really easy to damage. Unless Swampy’s referring to the whole flying thing, since I could see where that would be a problem.

Anyway, from the same issue is this big red fella. I love this monster:

Look at the detail on his spear, and on the monster’s skin, and inside the monster’s mouth…I know Wrightson is the standard by which ST artists are judged, but man, Bissette and Totleben really created some awesomely weird-ass work on this series.

Also, I kind of miss the days of Swamp Thing comics where the title character would get carted around in wooden crates, as shown above, to avoid startling the populace. Swamp Thing doesn’t catch rides inside cars as a regular passenger too often anymore, either:

…but the cat can still pilot a mean jeep.

images from Saga of the Swamp Thing #17 (Oct. 1983) by Marty Pasko, Steve Bissette & John Totleben, and from Saga of the Swamp Thing #10 (Feb. 1983) by Pasko, Tom Yeates & Totleben

Clone Wars, Free Comic Book Day, and the shocking return of Sgt. Shark.

§ March 30th, 2009 § Filed under free comic book day Comments Off on Clone Wars, Free Comic Book Day, and the shocking return of Sgt. Shark.

So my initial response to the new Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoons may have been a bit hasty. When I first saw the trailers for the theatrical release, I thought it looked terrible, with ugly character designs. Well, the humans still look a bit awkward, as CGI humans tend to, but…the look of the series has since grown on me.

And it’s more than just the look. While the feature film (actually, three or four episodes edited together, I believe) was a bit much to take at once, the episodic adventures, at about 20 minutes per, are just the right length. It’s the strongest aspects of Star Wars (the exciting action, the bizarre worlds and aliens) without the worst aspects (the unconvincing love stories, the attempts at expanding characterizations beyond two dimensions…or even one). It’s probably the most successful attempt yet at emulating the old movie serials that partially served as inspiration for this franchise.

Additionally, there’s the aspect of just when this series is taking place…between Episodes II and III. We know what happens in III (and in case you don’t — here come some SPOILERS): the clone army is given the command to kill all the Jedi, and Anakin finally gives in to the Dark Side of the Force. The impending sense of doom and irony pervades this series, as the Jedis are allied with the clone army, giving them advice, saving their lives, complimenting their skill, and so on…basically, the Jedi are feeding their own defeat.

And then there’s Anakin young Padawan in the series, Ahsoka, who…well, most Jedi meet their makers in Episode III, aside from Ben and Yoda, who go into hiding. I suppose Ahsoka could make it out alive, too…but dramatically, it would make the most sense for her to be killed by Anakin. Of course, this’ll never be shown, otherwise you’d have the parents of many a traumatized child writing in to Lucasfilm, but that’s my guess for the character’s eventual fate.

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying Clone Wars, mostly for the action and visuals, but at least partially for the feeling of dread. Oh, and for that one scene where R2D2 fights to the death with an evil astromech unit. That was pretty awesome.

A couple of things about Free Comic Book Day:

EDIT: 0. Apparently the Free Comic Book Day site is coming up as a “reported attack site,” and even a Google search has the “this site may harm your computer” caveat attached to the results. No idea what’s going on, there, but I’m changing the link to the Wikipedia article for now.

1. Had a mom and her kid tell me they’re going to make a two hour drive to come to our shop for FCBD because 1) they weren’t happy with the event at their local stores, and 2) they’d heard and read good reviews about how we handled things. That’s pretty gratifying, though I suspect (judging by some of the things she mentioned — specifically, detailing how we distributed the books — and that she identified blogs as one of her sources) one of the “reviews” may have been my account of the event, so tooting my own horn has paid off, perhaps. But anyway, it’s a bit amusingly sad that an event designed for customer outreach can have the result of driving said customers away to other shops. That’s colloquially known as “Doing It Wrong.”

I suppose, technically, it is having the intended effect of getting people into shops, but still.

2. A few people still seem to think that FCBD is something that our store created and just our store is doing. I emphasize that it’s an industry-wide thing (theoretically) and that we’ll be giving away newly-publishd comics specifically provided by multiple publishers…and not just handing out books pulled from our bargain boxes (which some folks appear to think).

It’s not as many as in previous years, so word about the event is still spreading.

3. Still hearing too many people read the advertising tagline “1ST SATURDAY IN MAY” as “oh, it’ll be on May 1st.” I’m doing my darned best to correct everyone I hear saying that.

This week’s logo banner is brought to you by reader Matthew Allison, who also provided this terrifying callback to that Sgt. Shark ad I posted a couple of months ago:

Yes, the parrot does have an eyepatch.

"Your Choice – 88 Cents Each."

§ March 29th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "Your Choice – 88 Cents Each."

What I like most about ads like these:

…are the little cartoony drawings contained therein. For example:

Wha–? That dog’s not working at all. He’s just hanging around outside the office building, taking yet another smoking break, the shirker.

I’m not sure how happy a real policeman would be about someone passing out fake parking tickets. Unless that’s the prankster in the 88-cent “Impersonate an Officer of the Law” costume, moments before the arrest.

The expression is great…he is dismayed and puzzled by the explosions on his fingertips. “The pinky’s gone nuclear…nuclear!”

This is quite possibly the saddest person alive. He simply can’t believe one of his “friends” pulled this hoary old joke on him. “Did you really blacken the end of a telescope to give me a black eye? Really? …Which of the Little Rascals put you up to this?”

And…hey, wait a second:

…is that the same as one of these? Looks like some of the ten functions may be a little different now.

And now, Swamp Thing by Benjamin Birdie…

§ March 28th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on And now, Swamp Thing by Benjamin Birdie…

…via a commission piece given to me by pal Dorian, because he’s a swell guy and a good friend.

You can get more hot Benjamin Birdie action at his very own website, or you can see him strut his stuff multiple times a week at America’s favorite comic strip about a comic shop, The Rack (written by known accomplice Kevin Church).

In which Mike exposes himself to worldwide ridicule.

§ March 27th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

So on a New Comics Day a couple of months back, as we were breaking down the order in the morning before we opened, Employee Aaron, Kid Chris, and I were discussing the works of Dr. Seuss, as we often do. Specifically, we were discussing The Lorax, and I found myself in the position of trying to recall the name of the Lorax’s industrial nemesis.

Now, as a former children’s librarian, and as a former child who had been exposed to both the book and film versions of The Lorax multiple times, I should have remembered the antagonist’s name. But, at that moment, all I could come up with was this: “Well, I know this isn’t the character’s name, but it sounds something like…’the Sneezler.'”

Well, this was apparently the funniest thing Employee Aaron and Kid Chris have ever heard, because they laughed their fool heads off that morning, and even now, months later, they’re still giving me a ration of shit about it.

The character’s actual name, by the way, is the Once-ler, but I’m sure I didn’t need to tell any of you folks that. I figure, though, that the Sneezler could have been a fitting nemesis for the Lorax, chopping down forests and pulping trees to make enormous supplies of tissue paper for his gargantuan nose, as seen here in this hastily-drawn rendition:

Yes, the Sneezler also goes barefoot. He’s allergic to shoes. I guess.

So there you go…I didn’t have anything to say about comics today, so instead you get another example of why I’m a big dope and none of you should ever listen to me about anything.

Three things.

§ March 26th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Three things.

1. So my gag in yesterday’s post about Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series resulted in some unexpected knowledge, courtesy reader Brian: that’s there’s an eighth book in the series, released relatively recently. Entitled Under a Velvet Cloak, it adds Arthurian legend into the mix (which I don’t recall being part of this series prior to this, though feel free to correct me) and despite the fact the series hit diminishing returns fairly quickly, I still feel that urge to read this one, too. Hell, I’ve read Star Wars novels…I’ll pretty much read anything.

I’ll just drop one of these handy things in here, in case any of you want to read it as well:

I had to go look it up on Amazon right away after Brian dropped that bombshell on me. I totally thought he was joking.

I may have been a bit hard on the series…I did enjoy it overall, and like Tim said, For Love of Evil, the sixth book in the series, was actually a bump upward in the series’ quality. But the clever world-building from the first book seemed more forced as the series progressed, the situations more ridiculous, the suspension of disbelief less willing…keep in mind it’s been a while since I’ve read these, so I’m working off general remembered impressions rather than any specifics. Could very well be if I reread them today (and I could if I wanted…they’re still right there on my bookshelves) I’d like them for the quickie surface-level fantasy pulp adventure that they are and be less of a Mr. Critical-Pants about them.

But seriously, the magical giant flying fish everyone was riding around in. There’s just no getting over that.

2. THIS:

…is completely awesome. It’s also completely sold out, alas, but second printings are coming. It’s a wonderful piece of work by Roger Langridge, structured just like an episode of the Muppet Show, with skits, behind the scenes mayhem, Statler and Woldorf, and even a musical number which, oddly enough, actually works on the printed page. Boom Studios really knocked this one out of the park, and if you can’t find a copy right now, be sure to look later in April when the reprints hit the market.

3. I was totally lying yesterday about having eaten spicy chicken wings. I don’t like spicy foods. Progressive Ruin regrets this shameful episode of deceit.


§ March 25th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Corrections.

In yesterday’s post, it was indicated that The Spirit did more poorly in the box office than Punisher War Zone, when in fact the opposite is true. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

Also in yesterday’s post, it was claimed that Green Lantern #40 was only reprinted in three other publications, but apparently it has been reprinted in more places than originally noted. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

In addition, certain assumptions were made regarding potential scheduling problems with Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s forthcoming Batman and Robin series. These were already addressed in interviews with the creative team. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

In a previous post, Secret Invasion was described as “readable.” Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

In this site’s review of the Watchmen film, Dr. Manhattan’s penis was only mentioned in passing, when in fact it should have been discussed and commented upon and joked about ad nauseum. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

During last year’s Free Comic Book Day giveaway, the store associated with this site gave away as many comics to as many people as was possible, until supplies ran out. Progressive Ruin was supposed to regret this error, apparently.

Over the last several years, All Star Batman and Robin has been described by many a fan and critic as not being a good comic. Progressive Ruin regrets your error.

Due to a records issue, the age of this site’s owner was noted last week as being 40, when in fact he is 24. Progressive Ruin wishes this was an error to regret.

A while back, this site spent about a week discussing the Batman and Robin movie. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

About three years ago Employee Aaron was hired. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

The site’s owner kept reading Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series past, oh, the third or fourth book. Progressive Ruin doesn’t really regret the error, as such, but boy that was rough goin’.

While the store ordered a lot of the book itself, Watchmen tie-in products and parodies and the like were ordered at very low numbers. Progressive Ruin regrets the er…well, no, actually, it doesn’t.

Many years ago, the site’s owner saw both Mannequin and Mannequin 2: On The Move in the theatre. Progressive Ruin really doesn’t know what it was thinking.

About five and a half years ago, the Progressive Ruin weblog was started. Progressive Ruin only occasionally regrets the error.

In the ’90s, a crossover series between Valiant Comics and Image Comics seemed like a great idea and that the store should order lots of copies. Progressive Ruin regrets the error.

For lunch, this site’s owner had an extra helping of the spicy chicken wings. Hoo boy, is he regretting the error.

In a previous post, a number of bird images were mislabeled. Progressive Ruin egrets the error.

I don’t have a title for this post.

§ March 24th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on I don’t have a title for this post.

  • Saw the Punisher War Zone movie over the weekend, finally…yeah, I can see why Punisher fans seemed to like it. Hell, sometimes you’re just in the mood for excessive violence and explosions, and the film delivered. Not enough Wayne Knight as Microchip. Too much scenery chewing by the villains, though that’s just par for the course, really. Interesting that they “retconned” the film-Punisher’s origin to be more like the one in the comics, as opposed to the “everyone Frank Castle was related to, or even just sorta knew, is killed by criminals at a family reunion” origin the previous film gave us. I guess this was a retooling of the character for the Punisher film franchise, though given the only other big-budget movie to do worse than this one last year was The Spirit, I’m guessing the point is moot.
  • Via the DC solicits, I see the entry for the new Batman and Robin title by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. I can’t wait to read it…I’m sure it’ll be great, but the real question is this: are they going to have fill-in artists to maintain the monthly schedule, or are they just going to publish the issues as they get done? Because, seriously, no way this is going to stay monthly as is.

    Also, a big thumbs up for the reprinting of George Perez’s ’80s run on Justice League of America, one of my favorite comics as a young Mikester.

  • So over the weekend someone asked me for a Green Lantern comic that would go into the backstory of GL’s bosses, the Guardians of the Universe. My first thought was “oh, yeah, Green Lantern #40, that’ll do the trick,” because I could have sworn that there was a one-off reprinting of that comic, like a Millennium edition or a Silver Age Classics, or a reprint in the Greatest Green Lantern Stories Ever Told, or something like that. But no, it just appears to be currently available in the Archives, and in the black and white Showcase volume. Oh, and in on the digests from the early ’80s, but alas, we didn’t have that one.

    I did find the customer a few comics to satisfy his Guardians need, though he didn’t want to go for the Archives or the Showcase. But still, I really thought there was some kind of standalone reprint of GL #40. I could even see it in my head. Ah, well, at my advanced age the mind is the second thing to go.

  • Speaking of reprints, Alan Doane has been discussing the ’80s Baxter paper reprints from Marvel and DC over a couple of posts. I quite liked those reprint series, which helped me catch up on some otherwise difficult to find or afford classic stories…like Deadman, or the Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow run. I do remember at the time (and I mention this in the comments over at Alan’s) there were several complaints about the market being flooded (particularly by Marvel) with unnecessary reprints, presumably to take the retailer dollar away from those upstart indie companies that were popping up all over the place at the time. I can see where that may have been a problem, but still, I don’t know that I would have read, for example, Jim Starlin’s Captain Marvel or Warlock comics otherwise. And it certainly was easier, and less of a financial impact, to get the reprints at $2 a shot per month, instead of, say, buying a $10 or $15 book.
  • And just talking about the paper stock sorta stirs up a nostalgic feel for me, as it seemed like we were always discussing paper stock on comics back in the ’80s. Newsprint, Mando paper, Baxter paper, Miraweb, whatever Marvel Fanfare was printed on, and so on.

    Nostalgia for paper stock discussions. I’ve been doing this too long.

EDIT: Pal Nat corrects me on the respective takes for Punisher War Zone and Spirit, but my original point stands…don’t expect another Punisher movie anytime soon.

And there are other corrections and elaborations and such in my comments, too…my research team will be beaten accordingly.

“Thus it is the spine which must first change.”

§ March 23rd, 2009 § Filed under customer gary § 2 Comments

So some of you may remember Kid Chris’ drawing of me standing in front of a comic rack…said rack holding real titles and titles that existed only within the Kid’s fevered brow.

Well, my friends, one title has made the transition from fantasy to reality thanks to longtime customer Gary. And I do mean longtime, as in a customer…or rather, patron…of mine from my pre-comics retailer days as a librarian. Anyway, Gary was taken with the concept implied by the title Frog by Day, and, well, check this out:

I was given a printed copy and files on disk of this, the very first, and likely only, issue of Frog by Day, and he gave me permission to share it with all of you. It’s beautifully peculiar, and I hope you all enjoy it as much we did here at the shop. Watch for cameos by other titles from Kid Chris’ comic rack.

Click the thumbs for larger, froggier images, my friends:

Very late Sunday update.

§ March 22nd, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Very late Sunday update.

As you folks who follow my Twitter thingie (or at least read it in the sidebar of my site) may already know, I’ve been having some back problems again, which makes it a bit difficult to sit at the computer and generate some content for the site, here. So, sorry I let it slide for most of the day, but I’m riding that Advil wave at the moment, so let’s see if I can’t give you folks a little somethin’-somethin’ for today.

First, I direct you to the very fine site of a certain Mr. Todd Klein, a comics letterer of some note, who recently concluded his 5 part look at the logos of Green Arrow. In particular, I direct you to the fifth installment, in which he examines the development of a logo by one of my longtime customers, Glenn Parsons. Glenn’s done quite a few swell logos for DC over the years, and this behind-the-scenes business regarding one of his most high-profile DC jobs is quite the treat.

Secondly, I was digging through some old image files I had backed up on a disk somewhere and turned this up:

This was from the cover of an issue of Starlog we had received at the shop several years ago, and that was pretty much how I found out that there was going to be a Battlestar Galactica revival on the Sci Fi Channel. My reaction to that at the time was, basically, “‘Sexy Cylon?’ What the hell?”

I had no intention of watching the show, but one night I was just flipping through the channels and happened on to the first installment of the BSG mini-series, and I figured “what the hey?” and decided to watch for a few minutes.

Well, it hooked me in good, and it easily became one of my two favorite shows of the last few years (the other being The Shield). I often said, during the show’s run, “I can’t believe a show called Battlestar Galactica is actually this good!” I’m glad I gave it a chance when my initial reaction was so dismissive.

It’s over now (save for some prequel material on its way), and while other folks will certainly have detailed postmortems for the series, I’ll just say “thanks for the ride!” and leave it at that.

Thirdly, I have no idea why someone would do this, but I’m just glad they did. (via pal Andy)

Thanks for your patience, internet pals. Not sure what kind of post I’ll have tomorrow, but we’ll see what the medication brings us.

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