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Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ May 31st, 2012 § Filed under End of Civilization § 30 Comments

Civilization is still ending, and so am I! …Er, wait, let me rephrase that. …Ah, never mind, let’s just jump right in and see what the new edition of Diamond Previews (for the month of June 2012) has in store for us! Crack open your copy and follow along!

p. 67 – Game of Thrones Iron Throne Replica:

“You see, Little Billy, back in the olden times, before toothpicks were invented, hobbyists used to make models from old swords they just had strewn about the castle.”

p. 100 – Green Lantern Annual #1:

I hope I see one of those “bloody” Lantern insignias tattooed on someone’s arm twenty years later, like I did with the Superman bloody-S tattoo.

p. 116 – Superman Earth One Vol. 2 HC:

Well, here’s at least one point in Earth One‘s favor – Supes still has his red shorts.

p. 123 – Legends of the Dark Knight Alan Davis HC:

Includes Detective Comics #569 – 575…#575, of course, being the first chapter of the four-part “Year Two” storyline, with the other three parts, drawn by Todd McFarlane, not included. …Thanks, DC…I’ll price our backstock on those accordingly! (Please insert evil laugh here.)

p. 140 – V for Vendetta Book & Mask Set:

Why don’t they do these for more graphic novels? Like, box a Flash mask with the Trial of the Flash book? Or pack in a giant mouse head with the Maus graphic novel?

Or maybe DC could have converted V for Vendetta into 3D and put little red ‘n’ blue lenses in the V mask. That’d be awesome.

p. 159 – Danger Girl/G.I. Joe #2:

So is IDW just gonna team up all their licenses? Where’s my Popeye/Dick Tracy team-up, where Popeye just beats the daylights out of Flattop? Or Magic the Gathering Vs. Dungeons & Dragons, where Magic just suddenly comes out of nowhere and pounds D&D into dust? C’mon, you guys at IDW know you want to.

p. 233 – Cylon Raiders T-Shirt:

How ’bout “The Green Bay Frakkers?” You can have that for free, Antarctic.

p. 273 – DC Super Pets Hopping Hero TP:

“Sobek the evil crocodile is on the loose! Luckily, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny is close by.”

Ahem…I believe you mean “Hoppy the Shazam Bunny.”

p. 370 – Firefly A Celebration – Anniversary Edition HC:

Wait, so this is for the tenth anniversary of the show? It’s been off the air for ten years and people are still going on about trying to get it back? …I don’t feel so bad about my several petitions to get Doctor, Doctor back on the air, then, since that’s about as likely.

p. 382 – V for Vendetta Black Line Mask White T-Shirt:

For a second there, I thought that “Our Kind of Guy” text was actually part of the shirt, and not just ad copy. …That would probably make this a better shirt, actually.

p. 383 – Community “Inspector Spacetime” Light Blue T-Shirt:

I’ve never seen one second of Community, have no idea who’s in it or what it’s even about, and I’m already sick of this friggin’ Doctor Who parody. “Oh, hey, wait, is that a mildly-amusing one-off gag I hear? Quick, let’s run it into the ground as quickly and thoroughly as possible!”

p. 394 – Blackest Night costumes:

“Why, Little Billy, aren’t you precious? You’re dressed as…something I’ve never seen before, I think. Are you supposed to be the Devil?”

p. 394 – Superman Second Skin Costume Hero:

Just think, the New 52 version of Superman could’ve looked like this. If you’re disturbed by No-Panties Superman, try dealing with Once-ler-sleeved, no-faced, half-dressed-as-Clark Superman.

p. 396 – The Walking Dead Little Girl Zombie Adult Costume:

Ah, a new selection from the “This Is A Fetish for Someone” fashion line….

p. 403 – Santa’s Ship Minimate Vehicle:

“…So you see, Little Billy, Santa was cursed to wander the skies forever in his flying boat, and he and his crew are forced to make gifts that they must pass out in full every Christmas, or they will meet with an even more terrifying fate.”

“Mike, why is Little Billy crying?”

“Um…I don’t know! I was just telling him about Christmas!”

p. 403 – Marvel Minimates Venom Through the Ages Box Set:

“This is the worst Goth band I’ve ever seen. Let’s get out of here.”

p. 411 – Jumping Brain “DIY Version” 5-Inch Vinyl Figure:

Finally, I can make one of these for my D&D tabletop game.

p. 416 – The Walking Dead Plug-N-Play Game:

Now, I know why toy guns have to be colored like that, so no one playing “Let’s Shoot and Kill the Zombie, i.e. My Kid Sister” won’t get taken out by a SWAT team thinking Little Billy’s holding a real gun, but…man, just look at that thing.

But if they somehow made it into a Captain Power-type thing where you used to gun to shoot at zombies on the actual show, instead of just playing video games built into the gun, then you’d have something, regardless of gun-color.

p. 434 – Magneto Action Statue:

Now, has anyone made an actually-magnetic Magneto statue? It’d be artistic and functional: “Hey, do we have any paperclips?” “Yeah, I think there are a few on the Magneto statue.” “Oh, here they are…thanks!”

p. 437 – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Station 1/3300-Scale Model Kit:

I was thinking “did someone actually have to determine this was exactly 1/3300 scale” and “what if they just sorta guesstimated…’oh, it’s, um, 1/2990 scale,’ who’s gonna check” and then I remembered “oh, right, it’s Star Trek.”

p. 440 – Marvel Comics Hawkeye Classic Avengers Fine Art Statue:

Okay, hold on to your shorts, it’s time to separate the nerds from the boys with the following joke:

“Man, just look at those powerful gloved hands!”

(EDIT 6/3/12: Reader Ed explains.)

p. 442 – Star Wars Boba Fett Return of the Jedi Ver. Artfx+ Statue:

Can I also rearrange his limbs into flailing positions to reenact his being taken out by a blind Han Solo and falling into the Sarlacc pit like a chump?

p. 450 – Peanuts Ultra Detail Figures:

There’s something about a three-dimensional representation of Charlie Brown that’s always disturbing. Of course, that may just be I looked at these old 3D sculpture ViewMaster reels of the Peanuts gang as a kid, which are absolutely terrifying and have colored my perceptions of such things for all time.

p. 456 – One Piece Arlong Figuarts Zero:


p. 470 – KISS Panda Plushies:

“Hi! Were you planning on sleeping tonight? …Good! We’ll see you there! Pleasant dreams!”

Just a couple of links to other sites…

§ May 30th, 2012 § Filed under pal plugging § 2 Comments

…since I was busy last night prepping tomorrow’s End of Civilization post:

First, a reminder for all you Curt Swan fans out there that you should be visiting Swanderful, discussing various pieces of the artist’s work. This is from a while back, but these posts, comparing the original art to the final printed product, are nicely done.

Second, Jason Sandberg, creator of the late and very lamented comic Jupiter, sent along some print copies of a children’s book proposal he worked up, and it’s a hoot. The book is called S Is for Someday – A Science Fiction Alphabet Book, and you can read the whole darn thing right here. Some great Kirby-inspired illustrations can be found therein, along with some quirky humor and the odd moment of poignancy. Jason also has other children’s book proposals you can enjoy for free…as a former children’s librarian, I can assure you kids would eat this stuff up.

When in doubt…SWAMP THING POST.

§ May 28th, 2012 § Filed under retailing, swamp thing § 14 Comments


  • So, Yahoo Answers, what do you have for me today?

    And the sole, and entirely gracious, response:

    By “Knightfall #11” they’re of course referring to Batman #497 from 1993, where, as the first person says, more or less, Batman is taken out by Bane and we get months and months and months of repercussions and crossovers and eventually The Dark Knight Rises. It was quite the hot item at the time, and I do still get the occasional request for it, and the three trade paperbacks reprinting that whole hoohar have been consistent sellers. Or, rather, they were before the third volume suddenly became unavailable for reorders recently, just in time for the aforementioned Bane-enriched Dark Knight Rises to be released in theatres, so you can imagine how thrilled I am about that.

    As a result of its popularity during its initial release, we’ve got plenty of copies of Batman #497. It’s relatively common, and I still see them in collections brought into the shop for sale all the time. But the New 52 Swamp Thing #1…in that New 52 first issue-buying frenzy, nearly all the first issues sold out for us, and most (if not all) of the those first issues went to second printings (and in the case of Justice League, an eighth printing). And we still have demand for first printings of those initial issues from the majority of those series.

    In other words, if someone came in, and the only two comics they had for sale were Batman #497 and Swamp Thing (New 52 version) #1, and I could only buy one, for whatever reason, I would pay handsomely for the latter, and decline the former, and that someone doing the selling would walk away with one shiny American nickel in his pocket following the transaction.

    So right now, I have more demand for Swamp Thing. Yeah, yeah, I know, “of course you do.” But I mean that in the “people want those New 52 #1s” sense, not in the “people love Swamp Thing because he’s the best” sense, which is true nonetheless, but not my argument here, exactly.

    Now, the specific question is which will be worth more in “a few years,” to which my answer to that kind of question usually is “come back in a few years and I’ll tell you.” In terms of strict scarcity, there’s probably only a fraction of the Swamp Thing #1s in print (maybe tens of thousands) compared to that issue of Batman (maybe hundreds of thousands), so all other things being equal that first Swampy should be worth a million dollars at least. But, people do like the Batman, so I suppose I’ll give that the edge in eventual value, if I have to. And if you wait long enough, after all the trees finally die off, all paper products will be extremely valuable, because I assure you no one’s gonna want to go back to using corncobs for…well, you know.


  • “‘The Swamp Thing’ Goofy But Strong” – a very brief review of Wes Craven’s 1982 cinematic masterpiece Swamp Thing…the reviewer accidentally writes “something less than a classic” when I’m sure he meant “totally the textbook definition of a classic,” but I’ll overlook the error.

  • You are completely not ready to gaze upon this Swamp Thing costume. You really aren’t.

    Okay, tough guy, you think you’re ready? Then click here if you dare.

    Yeah, I thought you weren’t ready. Anyway, here’s a pic of the costume from a slightly less disturbing distance, and then there’s this photo recreating that famous Emma Frost/Swamp Thing team-up of years ago. Remember that comic? That was awesome.


  • Here’s that crazy-ass Animal Man/Swamp Thing diptych that’ll grace the twelfth issue of both series, courtesy Steve Pugh and Yanick Paquette.

  • So someone keeps going on in my comments about the supposed fate of this current Swamp Thing series, though Googling hasn’t turned up any news on the subject. It has been selling very well for us, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just because I, Swamp Thing’s Best Friend, work here…I think it’s selling reasonably well overall. If someone thinks he’s got information otherwise, then let’s see it, rather than just bemoaning the comic’s alleged demise at me. (The subscription shenanigans don’t count, I think, since that seems to be just DC penny-pinching processing costs rather than a precursor to impending cancellations.)

I wasn’t planning to post today, but I had to mention this.

§ May 26th, 2012 § Filed under pogs § 2 Comments

I knew when I saw this Metafilter post on POGs this morning, it was only a matter of time before I got mentioned. Thank you, Martin…I think.

Anyway, that encouraged me to go through and add the “POGs” tag to some of my previous posts to fill out the category a bit. I consider that part of my penance for having sold the damned things in the first place.

I’ll pretty much put together a blog post about any stupid thing.

§ May 25th, 2012 § Filed under found art, moustache, superman § 13 Comments

So sometime between the release of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #122 in 1969 and today:

…the previous owner of a copy of that very comic decided Jimmy Olsen needed a snazzier look more appropriate for the modern gentleman. And thus, with the gentle application of a ballpoint pen, Mr. Olsen went from snoozy:

…to groovy:

Sure, it’s a little on the bluish side, but in the Superman comics, whose hair isn’t? Well, aside from Lana’s. And Perry’s. And Lex’s. Well, young Lex.

By the way, have I mentioned I have a moustache category on my site? All the cool sites do.

NOTE: Moustachioed copy acquired in a collection on Thursday. Non-moustachioed copy from the Vast Mikester Comic Archives, and shown for comparison. I’m spelling this out because someone’s gonna ask why I drew on a copy of this comic for a blog post. Someone probably still will. I’ll bet that person won’t have a cool moustache.

Just a little housekeeping.

§ May 23rd, 2012 § Filed under cartoons, fanzines, golden age, I cast magic missile, scans § 9 Comments

So, remember those British Dungeons & Dragons ‘zines I posted about a few days ago? I threw them on the eBay, and most of them brought in $10 to $15 apiece, with a couple in the $30 range. But that Dragon Lords #1, with the signatures?

I started that at $8.99, by the way. Figured I’d get about ten or twelve bucks for it. …Guess I’d better break into that additional case of Dragon Lords #1 I have in the back room…!

Now, about that housekeeping promised in the subject of this post…I’ve had a few scans just sitting on my computer’s desktop, awaiting my use here, and I’m never seeming to get around to creating posts about each of them. Thus, I’m just going to throw them all into this post. Enjoy!

We had this copy of Choice Comics #2 from 1942 in our shop for all of, oh, I don’t know, five minutes before selling it off, but I managed to get a couple of scans from it anyway. I enjoyed Bingo the Kangaroo’s dismissive response to superheroes on the cover there:

I mean, we were this close to Kangaroo/Parrot Buddy Comedy-Adventure being the dominant genre in the comics industry. If only things went slightly differently…if only.

I also got a scan of this tough guy:

This is pretty much what every angry ‘n’ anonymous commenter on every Internet message board and comments section looks like, so don’t mess with ’em.

Marvel recently released a bunch of “Avengers Art Appreciation” incentive variant covers for many of their titles, which featured the characters from the movie as depicted in a variety of art styles, and regardless of whether the comic sporting said variant had anything to do with The Avengers. But I thought this one by Steffi Schutzee in the style of Al Hirschfeld was nicely done:

They all look great, but Hawkeye is particularly amazing:

And finally…cast your minds back to the innocent, carefree days of 1975, where Six-Year-Old Mike sat in front of the TV in the living room, enthralled by the giant bird-monster featured in this episode of Return of the Planet of the Apes:

“Mom! Mom! Look at this!” Mike shouted to his mother, but alas, she didn’t come to the room in time to see the bird-monster cart away these…buffalo-things:

So, Dad, if you’re reading my site at home right now, be sure to call Mom over and show these to her, so she can see what she missed nearly four decades ago.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with anything, but I mentioned on the Twitter that I was reading this amazing article about the even-more amazing history of TV’s ALF, and pal Ian…remember pal Ian, he wrote some comics, I hear…he replied to me with a link to a YouTube video of the ALF cartoon’s theme. I’d never heard that before, and it ain’t half-bad. Thanks for exposing me to that, Ian…I take back most of the bad things I’ve said about you!

The Avengers movie sucked, and here’s why.

§ May 21st, 2012 § Filed under movie reviews, retailing § 15 Comments

…Ah, I’m just yankin’ your chains, I thought it was pretty good. And, let’s face it, with a handful of popular superhero films functioning as prequels and the unavoidable advertising onslaught, the film could have been directed by the reanimated corpse of Ed Wood and still pulled in more money over the course of the opening weekend than most everyone who’s reading this has ever seen, combined. But, credit where credit is due, Whedon and the gang did a good job making all this nonsense entertaining and appealing to the general public, which kept people buying tickets past that first weekend. Of course, they had good characters to work with, thanks to Jack Kirby and the rest of the Marvel Bullpen, and in a good and just world it would have been “Jack Kirby’s” — well, okay, “Stan ‘n’ Jack’s The Avengers” and not Marvel’s The Avengers on the marquee.

And, yes, as you’ve likely heard, the Hulk is the best part of the film. Finally, it is understood by Hollywood that Hulk smashing stuff is fun, and the Hulk/Banner relationship can have some gravitas without dragging the rest of the film down with it. I fully expect this newly-remade golden egg-laden goose to be cut open for new Hulk movies, but perhaps I’m just being cynical.

I’m not going to go overlong on my comments about The Avengers, like I usually do for my movie “reviews,” but I did want to note a couple of things: first, when I saw Iron Man and Captain America teaming up to fight Loki, the 12-year-old part of Mike’s brain immediately thought “WHOA! COOL!” while the grown-up part of Mike’s brain thought “…what the hell am I looking at? Is this actually happening?” Fortunately, 12-Year-Old Mike won out, because, damn, it was Iron Man and Captain America fighting Loki. In live-action. On a movie screen. Played by actual adults. That hits me right in the nerd-spot.

Second, there’s this bit of business which really annoyed me ahead of my seeing the film. Thankfully, they were just very minor props whose sole use was as beacons for Iron Man’s costume, and we didn’t get any sales pitch beyond a long, lingering look at them onscreen, but still, I glared at them and thought unhappy things when I saw them. “Ooh, I know what you are!” I thought, clutching at the armrests of the theatre’s chair. …Okay, I actually just rolled my eyes a bit, but c’mon.

Finally…did I mention that this post may contain spoilers? Because freakin’ THANOS, man:

I’m totally in the bag for Jim Starlin, especially for Thanos, and if we get full-on Thanos action in the next movie, as implied by that mid-credits scene, that will indeed be an Oscar-winner…in my heart. I mean, just picture this on the silver screen:

You’re right, it would be beautiful.

So, anyway, The Avengers…a fun superhero movie, and probably in the top…oh, six or seven superhero movies ever made, I’d guess, somewhere after these two.

Speaking of Thanos, I’ve had a handful of people coming into the shop over the last couple of weeks asking after 1) Infinity Gauntlet, 2) Thanos Quest, and 3) Iron Man #55 (the first appearance of Thanos), usually saying something along the lines of “I bet these are really popular thanks to the Avengers movie!” Well…not really, no…those particular titles have been in high demand for the better part of twenty years. I don’t think I’ve had every issue of Infinity Gauntlet in stock at the same time more than a dozen times since the series wrapped up way back when, and copies of Thanos Quest blow out the door almost as quickly as we buy them. And it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure nobody cared too much about Iron Man #55 ’til after Thanos came back in the early ’90s…now I almost never see copies of it.

To answer Andrew‘s question from the other day, about the Avengers movie effect on sales…actually, I don’t think I’ve seen that big of a bump. We’re doing very well right now, but I’m not getting that “we’re only here because of the Avengers movie” vibe from anyone…except maybe the people looking for “key” Thanos comics. Avengers Vs. The X-Men is doing exceptionally well, though that’s more preaching to the converted than bringing in new readers. I am getting some kids here and there picking up Avengers comics that probably normally wouldn’t, and, you know, I’ll take it.

images from Silver Surfer #34 (February 1990) by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim & Tom Christopher; Warlock Special Edition #6 (May 1983), reprinting Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (1977), by Starlin & Joe Rubinstein; movie poster from Internet parts unknown…I just like the sound of “Los Vengadores”

If he were really evil, he would have just run over the dog.

§ May 19th, 2012 § Filed under adam-12 § 21 Comments
















from Adam-12 #5 (November 1974)

You go ahead and read your Avengers Vs. The X-Men

§ May 17th, 2012 § Filed under collecting, x-men § 19 Comments

…and I’ll read my 1993 trade paperback of X-Men Versus The Avengers:

I kind of miss the days when Marvel would put spangly foil logos on their trade paperbacks. (Of course, this ain’t a patch on those all-foil covers Marvel put on their Age of Apocalypse trades.)

ALSO: haven’t looked at panel one of any of these new Avengers Vs. The X-Men comics or tie-ins, but I feel pretty safe in saying there probably isn’t anything in them as cool as that battle between Ursa Major and Doctor Druid from the older series:

I’m sure there are only another, oh, three or four dozen more comics to go in this current Avengers/X-Men hoohar…hopefully there’ll be room to revisit this classic rivalry.

Please tell me you didn’t do this.

§ May 15th, 2012 § Filed under freak out, misfit toys, star wars § 15 Comments







Context, if you insist.

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