Oh, it’s another one of these, so put on your nice shoes, comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash behind your ears, trim your fingernails, pluck out those stray hairs, put on your worm suit, and follow along in your copy of Previews, July 2011 edition. …Also, I work the room a little blue in this installment, for which I apologize. Clearly violent video games are to blame.
p. 66 – Justice League #1:
Whoa, hey, a new Justice League
#1! Well, that’s certainly unexpec…
p. 68 – Aquaman #1:
…Wait, hold on? An Aquaman
#1, too? They’re gonna try and make Aquaman stick again, huh? Well, good lu…
p. 73 – Green Arrow #1:
Oh, come on
. Didn’t they just restart this series, like, a year ago? Is this like that old Zero Hour
event, where they gave every series a #0 issue? Like, this is One Hour
p. 84 – Batman: The Dark Knight #1:
A new #1. For a series that’s had a whole two issues so far. DC’s just screwing with me, isn’t it?
p. 87 – Batwoman #1:
Oh, yeah, right
p. 119 – The Bible HC:
So I hear DC is rebooting Christianity with this issue, and giving everyone new costumes and powers.
p. 144 – True Blood The French Quarter #2:
“Hey, do you have that photo variant cover?”
“Nah…we were only able to get one for the number of regular covers we ordered and we’ve already sold it.”
“Oh, that’s too bad, that’s the only cover I was interested in.”
“Yeah, I hear that a lot.”
p. 226 – Angry Bird of Prey T-Shirt:
You’d be angry, too, if you had that stickin’ in your rear.
p. 274 – Green Hornet #20
Sure are a lot fewer Green Hornet comics in this catalog. I’m sure the number will pick up again once Seth Rogan starts working on the sequel.
p. 291 – Mangaman HC:
I was kinda working on my own Mangaman character for a while. He was a superhero, with the power of asking retailers for manga by their original Japanese titles instead of the English titles they might actually recognize them by, and then would get upset when he found out there aren’t any volumes past the point of the fan-translations he’s already read online for free.
But clearly that’s crazy. Who would ever believe such a preposterous scenario?
p. 298 – Holy Terror HC:
I’m going to call that “New Frank Miller GN!” blurb the least necessary blurb ever. (And not just because it says “Frank Miller’s” at the top there.)
p. 338 – The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir HC:
I had no idea the Chris Sims
autobiography was out already.
p. 338 – The Batman Files Deluxe HC:
“The Batman Files includes in-depth computer files, news articles, crime scene photos, blueprints, schematics, and actual maps of Gotham City that were collected, and in many cases even drawn, by the Caped Crusader himself.”
THE CAPED CARTOGRAPHER. Of course, some kid is going to take that “drawn by Batman himself” thing to heart, and then see whoever the maps are actually credited to in the fine print, and then he’ll be all “oh my God…Eugene Miller is Batman?”
p. 352 – Star Trek Vault: 40 Years from The Archives:
“REVEALED WITHIN: Gene Roddenberry originally pitched Star Trek
as, not ‘Wagon Train
in space,’ but as The Long, Long Trailer
in space,’ with Kirk and Spock stuck in an out-of-control rocket ship traveling across the galaxy, and the two men constantly being tossed about the cabin by the rocket’s erratic movements.”
No, I’m sorry, I’m totally lying. Bet I completely fooled you, though.
p. 352 – Star Wars The Blueprints Deluxe Slipcased Edition:
“Hey, where’d the Death Star plans go?”
p. 372 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael Classic Muscle Adult Costume:
What all the store employees shall be wearing.
p. 372 – G.I. Joe Cobra Commander Deluxe Costume:
…And what I
shall be wearing.
p. 376 – Star Wars Jawa Costume:
That is one tall damn Jawa.
p. 376 – Star Wars Tauntaun Inflatable Costume:
NOT A SEX TOY.
p. 377 – Star Wars Boba Fett Candy Bowl Holder:
“NO DISINTEGRATIONS. Or popcorn balls. I mean, gross, who likes those things?”
p. 377 – Star Wars Yoda Candy Bowl Holder:
“Stunt your growth too much candy will.”
p. 377 – Star Wars Darth Vader Candy Dish Holder:
“Can someone please help me shove some Twizzlers through my mouth-grate? I’m so, so hungry.”
p. 387 – My First Bacon Talking Plush:
Never too early to start instilling children with those vague half-memories of strange, unexplained things from their infancy.
p. 388 – Doctor Who Fourth Doctor & Sontaran 8-Inch Action Figures:
So nice to see Sebastian Shaw get some work after being unceremoniously replaced by Hayden Christensen at the end of the Return of the Jedi
p. 391 – Plush Beating Heart:
And once I get my hands on a plush human brain, my plush Frankenstein’s Monster will be alive…ALIIIIIIVE
p. 392 – The Lego Ideas Book:
First idea: build a Lego version of this book.
p. 402 – The Dukes of Hazzard The Ghost of General Lee 1/25-Scale Model Kit:
“On October 26, 1979, the famous Dukes of Hazzard episode, ‘Ghost of General Lee,’ aired on CBS. It featured Rosco getting scared out of his wits by a glowing General Lee charger, back from the dead- or so he thought!”
I never watched much of this show as a kid…but had I known there was an episode about a dude being scared by the ghost of a car…! You’re not going to see anything this great on your Sons of Anarchys or your The Wires, smart guys.
p. 407 – Red Skull Mini-Bust:
“Well, before we approve this….”
“Does he have to be so…you know, red?”
“Uh, his name’s the Red Skull.”
“That’s another thing…the skull’s a bit much. Can you…flesh him up a bit?”
“He’s the Skull.”
“Oh, oh…sure, he’d still have a skull, you know, under his skin. His more pinkish skin.”
p. 410 – Star Wars The Clone Wars – Savage Oppress Statue:
“Okay, before we start printing up the boxes for this thing, we’re going to need the character’s actual name to replace this placeholder name you sent us.”
“Yeah…this ‘Savage Oppress.’ We need to replace that on the packaging with the real name.”
“Um, that is the real name.”
p. 422 – Halloween Necklace Prosthetics:
AND NOW, THE WORST JOKE I HAVE EVER WRITTEN:
I think there’s a white-colored version in the Adult Previews.
THANK YOU FOR READING PROGRESSIVE RUIN. WE’LL MISS HAVING YOU AROUND.
p. 424 – Zombie Costume Tee White T-Shirt:
At the shop, in the near future:
ME: “Hey, you’re wearing one of those novelty Zombie t-shirts!”
DUDE: “A novelty what?”
ME: “Um…nothing. Didn’t say anything.”
p. 430 – Green Lantern Spinning Ring:
Meanwhile, Myrwhydden constantly has motion sickness.
p. 432 – The Exorcist Regan Lenticular Mirror:
When I was but a wee Mikester, I had as a toy a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy. No, I’m not 70 years old, wise guy…they’re still marketing these things
. Anyway, there were times when I was terrified
of it…I’d seen the movies and TV shows, I knew ventriloquist dummies were just sitting there waiting for the right moment to strike and strangle a kid. But there it would sit, in my room, and, late at night, I just knew
it was going to get up off that chair or clamber out of the toybox and get
I would still rather have that ventriloquist doll than this Regan mirror thing lookin’ at me from a wall.
p. 447 – Operation Star Wars R2-D2 Edition:
So that’s what happened to all of Artoo’s gadgets between the Prequel trilogy and the Original Trilogy…you
pulled those out of him! How can you people live
p. 449 – Munchkin Axe Cop:
I do not envy the gamemakers’ task in constraining this comic to a set series of rules.
Marvel Previews p. 92 – Avengers: West Coast Avengers – Sins of the Past Premiere HC:
So that’s the cover you really want to go with. Here, let me recommend a slightly less creepy image:
I’ve talked about this before
, where Frank Robbins (or the editor, I haven’t any idea) seemed determined to have Superboy stories be set in the 1930s, like in the story discussed at that link where Bonnie and Clyde menace Smallville. Or in the story I just found here, in issue #168 (September 1970) where Superboy must match wits with Nazi saboteurs in his hometown.
Assuming, as I did in the previous post, that Superboy stories take place when Clark is in his mid-teens, and that Superman stories always take place “now” (in this case, 1970), this would make Superman in his late 40s/early 50s at the very least. Which would be okay, I suppose, but seemingly contradictory to Superman’s usual portrayal as a somewhat younger man. (Not that being in one’s 40s is old, said the 42-year-old.)
“Oh no, some Superman comics may have odd continuity issues!” What a shock, I know. But I haven’t read a whole lot of the Superboy comics from this particular period of the very late ’60s/early ’70s…was this particular timeline unique to Robbins, or were other writers placing Superboy in the 1930s as well?
(You know, if DC is set on this whole “Superman is the first superhero” continuity reset that’s supposedly coming with the September relaunches, maybe they can go back to the Robbins timeline, with his teen years in the 1930s. With a 90-year-old Superman, who still looks like he’s in his 30s thanks to his alien physiology and super powers, you can still have the JSA active during WWII, and Captain Comet in the 1950s, and whatever else, and Superman would still be first. See, a perfect solution, and everyone’s happy!)
image from Superboy #168 (September 1970) by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Murphy Anderson)
Here’s another paperback acquired in the same collection as the Batman TV show tie-in book I recently featured here: a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents reprint paperback from 1966:
I hadn’t known this even existed. It reprints the story in black and white, about two panels per page. I couldn’t scan this bit (and the book is already sold, so I can’t double-check it) but one of the text pages inside described this as “camp adventure,” or words to that effect. To be frank, I’m no T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents connoisseur, but I always got the impression it was played more or less straight. Was it knowing high-camp comedy/satire all this time? …Or maybe it was camp because it was unintentionally goofy while
still being played straight (case in point: the covers above). Or are superheroes just intrinsically
camp, because, you know, c’mon. Or am I reading too much into a blatant coattail-riding of the Batman
TV show’s success with its camp formula? At any rate, I know a few T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents fans who wouldn’t care for that characterization.
Let the hair-splitting begin!
• • •
Speaking of that Batman book
, reader Pietro sent me a photo he took at a flea market in his home country of Italy, featuring an Italian version of what he believes to be the same book:
Pietro notes that the title translates as “The Three Cruel,” which is grammatically odd if still pretty awesome. Thanks for the picture, Pietro!
• • •
So I was in a Twitter conversation about Superman: The Movie
and Superman II
, and as these things usually go with me, the topic of Swamp Thing found its way into the mix. As a result, Daniel generated this fine piece of Swamp art:
The world is just a little bit more beautiful today.
So anyway, that Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1 that came out this week…
…Well, I can certainly say that, as I was reading it, I was getting the vaguest shadow of an impression that the writer was perhaps trying to convince me that John Constantine may have something resembling a British accent. …It just felt laid on a bit thick, is what I’m saying.
And by the way, the Zatanna on the cover that was replaced by Hawkman on the cover is now back to Zatanna again.
None of that tells you if the comic is any good, and…well, remember when I mentioned that Tim O’Neil had asked me if I’d rather have no Swamp Thing comic than a bad Swamp Thing comic? I think I have my answer, since I’m apparently glad to have this comic.
Well, okay, it’s not as terrible as all that. It’s not all that good, really…I mean, God bless ‘em, they try hard, and given the editorially mandated goal of squeezing John Constantine and his big swampy buddy back into the superheroic DC Universe…well, that’s certainly John Constantine interacting with superheroes, here. It’s kinda sloppy and rough-hewn, but I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy seeing Constantine reuniting with Zatanna and getting into Batman’s face a bit. (And there’s even a reference to the last time John ‘n’ Bats met.)
As I said when I originally addressed Tim’s question: when it comes to Swamp Thing, the filters tend to go down. There’s “appreciating the efforts of a writer and artist in telling their story,” and then there’s “oh boy, I wonder what’s going to happen to my favorite character next?” Swamp Thing is probably one of the very few characters that still trigger that latter fanboy response in me, where what is happening with the character is more important to me than how what is happening to the character is presented. I can recognize that perhaps this isn’t the best comic book in the world, but I didn’t loathe it like some reviewers I saw out there, and I still enjoyed it more for furthering the continuing adventures of Swamp Thing than for its artistic or literary merit. So, you know, I guess it was a success, at least for me.
“Too long/didn’t read” version: Your pal Mike loses his critical faculties when it comes to Swamp Thing, so don’t count on him for an unbiased review of this Search for Swamp Thing mini-series.
However, when I tell you that the Return of Swamp Thing movie is a piece of cinematic genius, that’s not just crazy old man Mike talkin’…that’s indisputable fact.
A couple of other funnybooks from this week:
- The regular edition of Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (the final, I guess, chapter of the Death of Spider-Man storyline) comes in the Death of Superman-esque black bag:
The variant cover, available in 1 in 25 or 40 or whatever, comes in a red bag:
The “blank sketch” cover, which you can presumably take to a comic artist at a convention or something and have ‘em draw their own Dead Spideys, comes with no bag:
…And seriously, they should have put this in a clear cellophane wrapper. Not to protect the contents of the story from lookie-loos or anything, but, you know…blank cover, “blank” bag? As opposed to the black or red bags? No? Well, I was amused by the idea.
We may be pretty much at the end of the run for media-driven non-comic readers coming into stores to get the latest Big Death Issue. When the Human Torch allegedly “died,” I noted at the time that even the media coverage gave a slightly cynical spin on the matter, and that I didn’t see that much of a bump in sales to many people beyond regular customers.
This time around…well, we ordered equal numbers of The Search for Swamp Thing #1 and Ultimate Spider-Man #160. By the end of Wednesday, the first day of sale for both, we were nearly out of the Swamp Thing comic, and we’d barely moved any copies of Ultimate Spider-Man. …I know what you’re thinking, and I promise, I had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t until late Thursday afternoon, when I started having a string of people I’d never seen before show up asking about “that Spider-Man comic,” so I’m guessing it turned up in the local paper or on the news or something.
Of course, most of the coverage I have seen (primarily online) has emphasized that it’s not the real (ahem) Spider-Man, but from the alternate Ultimate line, which may have dampened the media-driven investor interest somewhat.
I will say that sales have come up slightly on Ultimate Spider-Man as this storyline has progressed, given the moribund state the Ultimate line has been in for quite a while. That’s what was so surprising about this new issue just kind of sitting there on the shelf, untouched and unloved, for New Comics Day.
- And then there’s Superman #712, which was supposed to be a story guest-starring a Muslim superhero, but was pulled at the last second and replaced by a long-shelved Krypto issue that ties into Infinite Crisis, of all things. As you might suspect, there’s a big Internet hoohar over this, but I’ll just let pal Dave summarize the silliness with his comprehensive Metafilter post.
As for the Krypto story itself…when it was first announced, years ago, that a Krypto solo issue was prepared but pulled from publication, with no explanation forthcoming, for some reason I kept picturing, like, really over-the-top dramatic reasons for DC shelving the story. “THE DEATH OF KRYPTO!” or “KRYPTO COMES OUT!” or “KRYPTO MEETS JESUS!” or some other kind of earth-shatttering story where things will never again be the same.
Of course, it’s nothing like that…just a quiet follow-up to Infinite Crisis that kind of loses its impact this far along from the event (and not helped by art that, unfortunately, really did nothing for me). But I’m all for Krypto stories, and I suspect we’d better enjoy this one while we can, since there may be no room for flyin’ superdogs in the new post-September DC publishing regime. Except maybe in Tiny Titans, of course.
Then again, Grant Morrison will be writing Superman….