mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Free Comic Book Day! 

Today's the day! Mosey on over to your local funnybook store and get your free comics! And think good thoughts for folks like me, who'll be on the other side of the counter surveying the mayhem.

Also, in case you missed it...my scheduled post for yesterday is finally up, after Blogger's 24-hour-long publishing outage which affected a large number of its users...including, of course, yours truly. I apologize for the interruption in the regular delivery of your required daily doses of iron-fortified Progressive Ruin.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Wolverine, Kid Chris, Employee Aaron, and Naked Galactus. 

So reader DJ requested I scan 'n' post a panel from page 16 of Super-Villain Classics #1 (May 1983) for Galactus Week. Assuming he meant the page numbered 16, and not the actual page 16 (counting from the front of the book, including ads), I'm fairly certain he's speaking about this panel, since he didn't specify which exact one he was talking about:

So yeah, it's Naked Off-Panel Galactus assembling his gloves, booties, delicate underthings, his awesome helmet, and so on. Well, you know, those clothes had to come from somewhere, I suppose. Not like he can go store-bought with his outfit...I mean, I've heard of Big 'n' Tall, but this is ridiculous!

But it's this other panel on the page that really got me wondering:

Briefly, Galactus is the last survivor of the universe that existed prior to the currently-existing one...his ship was trapped intact in the "cosmic egg" that eventually exploded and created the universe, expelling the ship in the process. The "lifeless companions" mentioned in the caption are Galactus's shipmates, from his home planet, who died prior to entering the "cosmic egg."

So, according to that panel, there exists floating around in the Marvel Universe cosmos a shipload of Galactus's people (barring the ship flying into a star or a black hole or something). Dead, sure, but you know how death never seems to stick in superhero books. They went through the same process, more or less, that transformed Galen the scientist into Galactus...maybe their incubation period is just lasting a little longer. Maybe there's a gaggle of Galactus-type beings about to appear in the Marvel Universe.

Hey, just throwing that out there. Just seems like an interesting and overlooked detail from the origin of Galactus.

Here's something I've been meaning to comment upon for a while now: Marvel is fiddling with the Wolverine release schedule, so that #73 (the first part of a two part story) comes out before #72 (the penultimate chapter of the "Old Man Logan" story). The reason given is so that following the excitement built by the new Wolverine movie, the hordes of new fans flooding into comic shops across the nation will have an issue of Wolverine that's more of a jumping-on point, rather than be in the middle of an ongoing story.

That's all well and good, but overlooks a couple of things:

1. Wolverine #73 won't be out until nearly two weeks after the movie opens, so movie-driven traffic into comic shops, if any, will be good 'n' done by then. If the comic was coming out THIS week, that's one thing. Two weeks from now...why bother with the schedule shuffle?

2. It's not as if there's any shortage of Wolverine comics on the stands at the moment. Having one of those comics be in the middle a story isn't going to make a difference. Perhaps having a fresh batch of reprints of the early issues of "Old Man Logan" ready for the film's release would have been a better idea. (Reprints have been solicited and ordered, but won't be in for another week or two, at least).

Here are a couple of points in Marvel's favor, however:

1. The recently-begun Wolverine: Weapon X series, which by most accounts ain't half-bad, and is as good a starting point as any for anyone inspired by the movie to check out the source material. Has the added bonus of being available (with a new printing this week!) in the prime movie-inspired-comic-purchases window of opportunity (i.e. prior to the film's release).

2. The Free Comic Book Day Wolverine comic, which, surprisingly enough, actually is appropriate for All Ages. This should make a lot of kids happy this weekend.

Speaking of Free Comic Book Day...here are Kid Chris and Employee Aaron pausing for a moment from their prepping and sorting for the Big Event this Saturday:

Please note Kid Chris is wearing a FCBD shirt, a FCBD button, and a FCBD baseball cap. Now that's commitment, friends. I'd like to see that same level of commitment from the other employees, Aaron.

You know, looking at that photo, Kid Chris looks a bit like Sylar from Heroes, there. PLEASE NOTE: Store not responsible if Kid Chris attempts to eat your brain.

Well, before I go even more on a tangent, I'll just note that we're well on our way to being prepared for the Big Event. I've written about Free Comic Book Day pretty much every year since I started the site (search the archives in late April/early May for 2005-2008 for previous posts on the topic...I'll try to put together the actual links in the next day or two), so I'm not sure what else to add, really. I'm sure I'll do the usual postmortem, and I'm going to try to do a little live-Twittering that day, if I have time. Pal Dorian has done his regular FCBD preview review (though I have four more that came in this week that I've not been able to get to him yet).

Among my many posts on the topic, I've offered hints and tips for funnybook sellers on how to have a successful FCBD, which I shall sum up thusly: 1. Clean your store. 2. Don't be dicks. (To be fair, I haven't quite mastered step 2 yet.)

So, in conclusion -- Free Comic Book Day:

I will. Won't you?

And just to wrap this post up with a little bit of a tearjerker...The Rack says goodbye to one of its cast members in today's strip.

But don't worry...the character will soon be starring in this here new strip, the URL of which may be a spoiler if you haven't been following The Rack over the last couple of days.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reminder: this week is Pal Dorian's 5th Blogging Anniversary. 

Congratulate the man at Postmodernbarney.com.

Just thought somebody should mention it.

Galactus presents...the End of Civilization. 

"HUMANS! Galactus must FEED upon the life force of worlds for sustenance, but must not expend any more energy than necessary in conquering those worlds for consumption. My herald upon your world, the Silver Sterling, has spent the past 50 months examining your world's cultural artifacts and sending his reports to me...and it's become increasingly clear that your world will pose NO difficulty for me to consume.

"You can examine my herald's previous reports in the links present in the sidebar of this primitive communications medium. His current report, taken from your Earth publication Diamond Previews, of the Earth date May 2009, begins NOW. So says GALACTUS."

p. 129 - The Dark Knight 1:6 Scale Joker (Gotham City Police):

Commemorating that approximately 1 second of screentime Heath Ledger had in this particular costume.

p. 168 - Beserker #2:

"As seen on the Today Show" -- by no one who's actually going to buy the book. (Well, okay, that's not fair...there are always some people that'll buy anything they've seen on TV, whether or not it's something they're likely to enjoy.)

p. 189 - President Evil one-shot:

Okay, it's great people are excited about our President, and that comic publishers have discovered that slapping Obama on a cover is a good way to grab sales...but seriously, enough is enough. I'm hoping for a "Sub-Mariner Meets President Taft" special just to mix it up a bit.

p. 196 - Archie Double Digest #200:

"Archie's dad receives the promotion he's worked a lifetime for, but it comes at a price: the family must relocate and leave Riverdale! [...] It's the most poignant 'New Look' story yet."

I'm pretty sure we've seen this story a number of times in Archie comics before. Then again, you can say that about pretty much any Archie story. Then again, you can say that about pretty much any story in any long-running comic book. Well, maybe not this story, but you know what I mean.

p. 210 - Female Force #5:

Okay, we've had five issues of origin stories for Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, and so on...I'm getting a little impatient for the Female Force superteam to finally form and start fighting crime together. I mean, c'mon.

p. 333 - Batman Brave and the Bold T-Shirt:

Tying into the popular children's cartoon. Shirts available in Adult Medium through XXL.

p. 346 - Star Trek TOS Series 5 PX Salt Vampire:

I've been trying to come up with something to say about the Salt Vampire figure other than "OOH AWESOME," which is just sad so perhaps I should just move on.

p. 352 - The Exorcist Possessed Regan Electronic Deluxe Box Set:

There's a crucifix joke in here somewhere, but I ain't gonna make it.

p. 374 - Walt Disney Classics Collection Runaway Brain Figurines:

Now, I know this is based on a specific, relatively recent animated short, but still:


p. 378 - Batroc Mini-Bust:

If ever a bust cried out for a full-figure statue, it's Batroc. A statue of him in mid-leap, along with a sound chip containing readings of choice bits of his dialogue in an over-the-top French accent. That's how you make Fine Art even finer, my friends.

p. 380 - Thor The Frog God of Thunder Mini-Bust:

And now...the greatest Marvel statue ever made:

p. 384 - Star Wars Chess Set:

Not shown is the Jar Jar Binks piece, that occasionally pops up and completely disrupts the game and generally makes everyone miserable.

p. 384 - Star Wars Legacy Darth Talon Mini-Bust:

Remember back when Star Wars was this mostly sexless thing? I miss those days. (And don't throw Slave Leia in my face..er, so to speak. That never really did anything for me. Heresy, I know.)

p. 401 -Sif Ex Ikki Tousen Sonsaku Fighting Repaint Figure:

I'm assuming the panties haven't been repainted.

p. 410 - Watchmen Be@rbricks 3-Pack:

Oh, dear...you may wish to avert your eyes:

Good God in heaven. Dig this Comedian:

That's like the worst Mouseketeer ever.

Those do have the effect of making the plain vanilla Watchmen Kubricks a little more acceptable:

p. 412 - Land of the Lost Chaka Funko Force Bobble Head:

As much of a Land of the Lost fan that I am, I'm gonna have to draw the line here, I think.

p. 413 - Star Trek Romulan Ale Energy Drink:

I don't know, man...the last thing you want to deal with is a wired Romulan, I tell you what.

p. 415 - Robin Secret Wishes costume:

This should awaken some new feelings in a few people. Also, I realize "Secret Wishes" is a brand name, but my initial reaction to seeing that is "what are they saying about Bruce, exactly?" Yeah, I know, a "Batman is totally gay" joke, I'm sorry.

p. 416 - Bizarro Deluxe Mask:

This is honestly far more terrifying than it has any reason to be. Casts a new light on those wacky Silver Age Bizarro stories.

p. 418 - Stargate SG-1 Coaster Set:

This seems clever and yet strangely...diminishing, for some reason.

p. 420 - Disney Traditions Mickey and Minnie Kissing Figurine:

Man...furries, I swear.

Marvel p. 3 - Reborn #1:

"Solicit to be revealed soon," says the spot where the solicitation information should be. Totally not involving the return of the currently presumed dead Captain America, or totally not trying to make you think it involves the return of said dead Cap.

p. 103 - Mephisto Vs. Premiere HC:

This series gets the deluxe hardcover treatment. Really. Well, okay, there's some nice John Buscema art, but...c'mon, you're surprised by this book, aren't you? It's not just me?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oh, here are those laughing Galactus panels from that issue of Hercules... 

...courtesy pal Dorian:

Also included: bonus Hatless Galactus, which is...well, a bit disturbing, actually.

images from Hercules #4 (December 1982) by Bob Layton & Sam De La Rosa

Galactus clearly states his position. 

...Just in case anyone was, you know, wondering.

BONUS GALACTUS CONTENT: Galactus has a good belly-laugh:

Actually, he looks a bit like he's having a seizure, or that he needs the Heimlich Maneuver, or something. Granted, laughing ain't something Galactus does very often, so I'm guessing it does hurt a bit.

If I recall correctly, he has a good laugh in the last issue of Bob Layton's first Hercules mini-series as well. Alas, my copy is misplaced in the Vast Mikester Comic Archives, so a scan will follow later in the week. In the meantime, here's pal Dorian with a taste from that same ish.

images from Fantastic Four #175 (October 1976) by Roy Thomas & John Buscema, and from Rom #26 (January 1982) by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema & Joe Sinnott -- that's two, two, two Buscemas in one post, at no extra charge!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I demand some consistency from my 20-year-old trading cards. 

Here's probably my favorite trading card image of Galactus, drawn by Art Adams and taken from the 1991 Marvel Universe set from Impel:

That's a nice, imposing image of Galactus, there...is it just me, or does it have a little Moebius feel to it? Also, Adams did a handful of other very nice cards for this set, including one of Absorbing Man that, at the time, former employee Rob was trying to corner the market on, or something. He had, like, dozens of the damned things. I still have no idea why. Probably best to remain blissfully ignorant.

Anyway, back to the Galactus card...the characters in this set were given power ratings on the card backs, and here are the Big G's:

And that's all well and good, I suppose. I get the "stamina" thing, since he's gotta eat a planet every few days or his blood space-sugar gets dangerously low. And his agility is low, presumably due to his size, so he's probably not going to be doing any pirouettes. But let's take a look at the stats from his trading card the following year:

It looks like Galactus took some dumb pills because his intelligence stat dropped a couple of points. Or maybe because he maxed out the first set of stats, they readjusted the scale to get a more accurate reading. Or maybe they're just making this crap up off the top of their heads. Whatever.

But get a load of the speed stats on both cards. With his speed score maxed out, and his agility score as low as it is...this guy's going to be tripping over a lot of footstools and walking into walls. And given that he's already wearing a hat pretty much designed to keep you walking through doorways sideways, this is seriously a disaster waiting to happen. Keep him out of the china shop!

In other mostly non-Galactus news:
  • Pal Dorian is celebrating his 5th anniversary of blogging this week, kicking off with pics of some of his favorite men, and continues with a look at the first comic he ever read. So congrats, Dor! Thanks for keeping at this blogging thing for as long as you have...if it weren't for you, pal, I don't think I'd have as much fun as I do with this site.

    And by the way...Dor's Uncomfortable Plot Summaries post just keeps going and going and going...I keep seeing new links to it pop up all the time. Even from people who actually get the Rocky joke. He was even on the front page of the Internet Movie Database, for God's sake. And Neil Gaiman his own self was a good sport about a joke at his expense that, er, I may have been involved with. Dor's shown me his traffic stats, and he's getting some crazy-ass numbers....that post is probably the single most popular thing ever generated by someone in the comicsweblogosphere. You'd think some of the bigger comics sites would have noted it by now.

    So again, congrats to Dor for five years of blogging. He's a swell guy, so give him your best wishes!

  • Over at the great Flash fan site Speed Force, there's a brief discussion about how the continuity-heavy Free Comic Book Day offering Blackest Night #0 is intended to preach to the converted, rather than grab readers new to comics. And, yes, there's that, I'm not disagreeing...but the last time I worried about a continuity-heavy FCBD offering from DC, JLA #0, the girlfriend's nieces ate it up. So I'm not going to worry too much about it this time. No, it's likely not going to make kids come in every Wednesday and get the latest installment of the crossover...but I'll settle for kids popping in once in a while to buy a comic or two because they enjoyed the free comics they got.

  • P-TOR shares a dream he had about me and Neilalien. A dream...or a nightmare?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ah, what the hell...let's do "Galactus Week." 


By the way, the "mutate" referred to by Galactus's little robot helper is none other than Marvel's disco queen superhero, Dazzler, who had been recruited by the big G to do some damned thing or 'nother that he couldn't do for whatever reason. Anyway, that's not important. But what is important is that after, what, three days, suddenly Galactus is all moody (well, moodier) after crushing hard on the celebrity babe he'd just kidnapped. You just know after he stomped off to his room in that last panel, he logged into his InsaneJournal to post private entries about his breaking heart. "Current music: Air Supply - 'All Out of Love.'"

And now, for no good reason, I see Galactus grabbing a succession of disco singers to help him cope with whatever nefarious plans and/or emotional issues he's dealing with. "GLORIA GAYNOR -- YOUR SONG 'I WILL SURVIVE' HAS TOUCHED THE LONG-DORMANT HEART OF GALACTUS. YOU HAVE GIVEN ME THE RESOLVE TO CONTINUE, TO SURVIVE. TRULY THE POWER COSMIC PALES IN COMPARISON TO THE POWER OF DISCO."

Okay, at this point, I have no idea what the heck I'm saying.

And yes, Galactus's head-wing-antenna-thingie is missing in that first panel. Hey, he's Galactus, he can do stuff like make part of his headgear disappear.

images from Dazzler #11 (January 1982) by Danny Fingeroth, Frank Springer & Vince Colletta

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Galactus means business. 

from Fantastic Four #75 (June 1968) by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott

Sorry...got in late and had no time to properly blog. So, here's another swell pic of Galactus. We all love Galactus, don't we? Sure we do.

I'm probably not doing "Galactus Week" as suggested by pal Cully, at least not right now...but I totally could.

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