Another month, another Previews catalog, and another one of these…the End of Civilization, where I take a look at some things slowly slouching towards your local funnybook shop, and proceed to either crack wise at, or despair of, them. Don’t make me go through it alone…grab your copy of the September 2012 issue of Previews and accompany me on my little retail excursion:
Cover – Rotworld crossover event:
Oh, sure, there’s guy flyin’ around in an iron suit on the flipside of the new Previews
, but pffft
who wants to look at that nonsense when you’ve got Swamp Thing doin’ his thing on this
p. 12 – Indie Edge:
Hey, you know, “Able,” “Abel,” either / or, that’s close enough.
p. 69 – Game of Thrones Tyrion Statue:
It’s a damn shame this is just part of a series of Game of Thrones
statues and not a line of Peter Dinklage statues. Oh, sure, your high-falutin’ film fans will want the Station Agent
statue, but the real
fans will want the Maurice statue from Tiptoes
p. 78 – Wonder Woman #14:
At long last, Wonder Woman has finally achieved her full potential, as Batman’s newest Robin.
p. 113 – Deathstroke #14:
Oh, man, we’re gonna miss you, Rob.
p. 143 – DC Comics Super Heroes Supergirl Bust:
Honestly, you can’t just half
-commit to Walking Like An Egyptian. C’mon, Kara, what would the Bangles say?
p. 143 – DC Comics Super Heroes Shazam! Bust:
“Mom makes me wear this when it’s raining. …Seriously, guys, stop laughing!”
p. 146 – The Dark Knight Rises “The Bat” Glass Etching:
If there’s one iconic image that represents Batman to the public at large, it’s…this one vehicle-thingie that appears in just this one movie and will probably never be seen again. Not, like, the Bat-symbol or anything.
p. 198 – Spawn #225:
I hear the probability of finding the “Ron Paul Wins!” variant is practically nonexistent.
p. 362 – Doctor Who Doctionary HC:
You know, it’s kind of a cheat to use the same pic of River Song for the definitions of both “overplayed” and “pandering.”
p. 378 – “Dim Shield” and “Like A Hawk” T-Shirts:
“Dim Shield” is probably the least-used of derogatory terms villains would shout at Cap. And the guy on the other shirt looks nothing
p. 395 – Star Trek Select Spock Figure:
Unclear as to whether or not the Horta is separate from the base. I think
it is, but I’m not sure. But here’s hoping at long last I can finally have my Horta action figure and I can stop using that old baked potato stuffed with overcooked cheese.
p. 407 – E.T. Bendable Figure:
The “E.T. flashes Gertie” scene was cut after poor reaction from test audiences.
p. 407 – E.T. Hand with Lighted LED Finger:
This is identified as a “role-play accessory” in the catalog, and all I can picture is a kid running around shouting “the maniac has cut off E.T.s hand, OH GOD WHY”
p. 412 – Tarzan of the Apes 100th Anniversary Statue:
Not pictured: the Nude Variant:
p. 416 – Street Fighter Sagat 1/4-Scale Statue:
Not sure I care for this Nick Fury redesign for the forthcoming Joss Whedon S.H.I.E.L.D.
p. 424 – DC Comics Green Lantern Movie Light-Up Be@rbrick:
You know, this reveal of the First Lantern from the current Green Lantern
comics is kind of disappointing.
p. 426 – Doctor Who Large Inflatable Dalek:
Exterm-inflate! Exterm-inflate! Exterm-inflate!
p. 427 – Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Accessories:
Okay, that’s actually the pen case, but I swear, at first glance I thought it was a Final Fantasy-themed coffin. …Hey, don’t look at me like that, you know
that’s within the realm of possibility.
p. 430 – Star Trek Captain Jean-Luc Picard Mini-Bust:
“Engage my finger.”
“Oh, Captain, no! Not to the Andorian ambassador!”
p. 431 – Star Wars 7-Inch Taking Plush Balls:
This is not the direction I expected for the inevitable Star Trek/Star Wars crossover, as the crew of the Enterprise gets involved in a civil war amongst mutated tribbles.
p. 439 – Black Widow Perfume for Women:
I’m just going to let this amazing solicitation text speak for itself:
Russian Spy, Trained Assassin, World Class Ballerina, Girl from Legal Department. A clear shot of citrus and fresh berries create a statement which slowly gives way to a sensual caramel and honey note; but kept too sweet by a pairing of dry Australian Sandalwood. Then, like a spider spindling silently from above, Black Widow dries down to a deeply desirous gourmand delight of bitter chocolate, clear patchouli and praline. This is a fragrance for those who can navigate the high-tension tightrope of love and duty – and who knows what it takes to be called Black Widow.
I am so totally sold, I can’t even tell you.
p. 441 – Tintin Snowy and Crocodile Plush:
You see, when the plucky pet of a young reporter and a hideous member of the family Crocodylidae
love each other very much….
p. 442 – Pez Presidents of the United States Gift Sets:
Extra-sized Taft dispenser sold separately.
p. 442 – Gaming Dice Set Hard Candy:
Candy shaped like (and usable as) gaming dice. …There’s no possible way this could go horribly wrong.
p. 450 – Incredible Hulk Fist Pewter Keyring:
“So, um, Steve…I see by your keyring you’re really into…uh, fists, I guess.”
“What? No, it’s a Hulk keyring…see, it says ‘Hulk’ right there.”
“Yeah, whatever, Steve, keep it to yourself.”
p. 452 – Pez Star Trek The Next Generation Gift Set:
DAMMIT Wesley’s screwed again
! Maybe he was off with the Traveler Pez dispenser when this set was assembled.
p. 454 – Anti-Zombie-Viral Hand Sanitizer:
So, by cleaning your hands with this hand-sanitizer, the surviving germs will continue to spread, requiring stronger sanitizers, which result in stronger germs, and this Darwinian cascade will eventually result in the actual zombie viral epidemic breaking out. DAMN YOU, CLEAN PEOPLE…YOU’VE KILLED US ALL!
p. 465 – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Collector’s Edition Monopoly:
Do not pass GO, do not play any reindeer games.
…Yeah, I know, it was low-hanging fruit, but c’mon, it was right there!
p. 698 – Amazing Spider-Man #698:
“The end of Spider-Man’s world begins when Doctor Octopus discovers who Peter Parker really is.”
I originally read this as “Doc Ock finds out Spidey’s secret identity,” but maybe he just finds out that Peter Parker is, like, a jerk or something. “Man, that Parker kid never tips! What a dick!”
THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO: Somehow completely forget that the comic order is due, like, THAT EVENING, and you completely drop freakin’ everything to get that bastard typed into the computer and then suddenly there’s like a thousand different Uncanny Avengers #1 variants you have to figure out and you’re all “Uncanny Avengers, oh dammit Marvel” and you’re trying to balance out order plateaus and ratios and what have you to get the right amounts of everything and oh Lordy I was actually feeling nostalgic for the time when we were only dealing with pre-bagged copies of X-Force #1, each with a different card.
Anyway, the order’s in. Hopefully I didn’t have a slip of the finger while speedily entering the order and accidentally got 5,000 copies of the Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan statue. I mean, I only need a thousand.
Also, there are some Avengers Vs. X-Men follow-up series, which hopefully won’t go the way of the Fear Itself follow-ups, where we went from the main series selling pretty well to the series that followed having us think “hmmm, well, maybe we can glue these back together into trees.” My general feeling is that once the main event is over (whether it’s Avengers Vs X-Men or Fear Itself or whatever) then the readers are pretty much done with that particular idea, too, and don’t need these supporting series after the fact. It’s like “yeah, okay, we did that, what else you got?” I mean, nothing against the comics themselves…maybe they’re fantastic. But it’s better to move on before the diminishing returns set in, which is something that goes against everything that’s ever happened in the comics industry ever, but still, c’mon.
In other news, a lot of hay has been made about Superman and Wonder Woman hooking up in Justice League, which, yeah, I don’t know. Hasn’t the point of nearly every previous story featuring an attempted Superman/Wonder Woman romance been “Superman and Wonder Woman really shouldn’t be romantically involved?” Well, okay, maybe not Kingdom Come, and I’m sure there’s another story somewhere I’m forgetting. But, hell, why not, so long as DC’s new publishing policy is “throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks,” this isn’t any better or worse than other decisions they’ve made. And I’ll link to this news story about it because the headline is kind of amazingly crass. This is showing up in real world news sources too, which is even more amazing.
I get some folks at DC want to try new things, which is cool, and I’m sure the attention doesn’t hurt, but DC Comics only has itself to blame for teaching me over the years, among other important life lessons, that Supes and Wondy aren’t meant for each other. Besides, I prefer the Batman/Wonder Woman romance that they sorta danced around in JLA.
Also at DC, Rob Liefeld is outta there, apparently unhappy with how things were going behind the scenes. I honestly figured he’d be done and gone three issues into Hawk & Dove, but he worked on ’em all, I believe, and went on to do even more titles, at least for a bit. Ah, well. …I was thinking “maybe Marvel can get him back again” and then I was wondering what the absolute last title would be that he would do, and Howard the Duck was the first thing that popped into my head. I would break my “no non-Gerber Howard the Duck ever” rule for a Liefeld Howard.
For some reason, I was reminded of Image United…if you don’t remember this as yet uncompleted mini-series, ask your grandpa if he recalls buying it off the stands. Anyway, checking with the distributor, issues #4 and #5 are in the system, with “scheduled” shipdates for the end of the year. I put “scheduled” in quotes because they both have the same date, the last shipping day of 2012, which makes me think they’re placeholder dates and not the real thing. I guess we’ll see. We’re not quite up to Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk levels yet, but soon. Soon.
Pal Jim just started up The Laughing Magician: A Reader’s Guide to Hellblazer, a blog documenting his thoughts and analyses as he reads through the adventures of John Constantine. As a Constantine fan since Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985), I mightily approve of this endeavor.
…Speaking of Hellblazer, there’s been some discussion among pals of mine about what’s going to happen when the series hits #300. I’m not sure what sales are like on the book…it does okay for us, moving low-ish but consistent numbers. Jim says his shop orders only 3 copies a month. I suspect this series, now DC’s highest numbered series being published, is getting a little long in the tooth in this era of digital sales and reboots and people wanting to be able to get the “whole” story right away rather than just jumping in and hanging on. The recent retooling of the Hellblazer trade paperback line, reprinting all the issues in consecutive order in books with actual volume numbers on the spine, is a start in rebuilding some readership, I suppose, but I think a restart after 300 is within the realm of possibility.
I mean, I have no idea. Maybe DC has a great new jumping-on point planned with issue #301 with a wonderful creative team that’s sure to get a whole bunch of new readers. This Hellblazer message board is listing fan nominations for dream creative teams for a post-300 series, including several names I’d love to see on the series myself. And when I search on the Googles for more info, the first result I find for Hellblazer #300 is, well, me. Well, specifically, reader Jeff R.’s prediction for what will happen regarding the series this year. My gut feeling is that Jeff is right…#300 will wrap up the Vertigo run, and we’ll get a New 52 version of ol’ Johnny in his own series. (I mean, aside from Justice League Dark, which he also appears in…and has been a fun read, in case you haven’t been following it.)
Like I said, I don’t know, and I haven’t been keeping up with the comic news sites lately, so it’s very possible I missed any news on this topic. And if I did, I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the comments. But I hope Hellblazer does continue its numbering past 300…when everyone else is starting over with new first issues, it feels right that Constantine would continue to be his old contrary self and buck the trends.
So a long time ago, prior to the early 2010 redesign of my site, I used to have a different title banner on my site every week. Sometimes I made them myself, but usually they were contributed by readers, and I’d post them up with a little link credit to the designer.
One submitter, noting my particular attitude about the POG phenomenon in a then-recent post, sent in a banner whose image presented a scattering of milkcaps, with the site name “mike sterling’s pogressive ruin” printed across it, and with an “r” sorta squeezed in above and between the “p” and “o.” Alas, my backup of all those banners is not immediately available (and my local one on the hard drive was lost during my recent computer troubles), so I have neither the actual image nor the name of the contributor, but that person was the first to make, at least to my face, the “POGressive Ruin” gag, way back in the distant mists of time (aka 2008 or so). (EDIT: Why, it turns out to be no less a personage than Pal Dave who was responsible!)
With the recent resurgence of the “pogressive ruin” name in my comments and, yes, people saying it to my face, the thought did cross my mind, “hmmm, maybe I should grab that domain name,” and then I thought “some of these milkcaps are pretty bizarre, it might be amusing to present them on said site,” and then I thought “maybe this could help me whittle down the pile currently at the shop,” and then the next thing you know, this happens.
So yes, pogressiveruin.com is now open for your viewing pleasure. I plan on this project to be primarily image-heavy and text-light, so this won’t be some extended treatise on ’90s fad marketing and exploitation, beyond what’s already implicit in the products themselves and what I’ve already written on the explanatory page. I just want to be amused by weird things, and hopefully I’ll amuse some of you, too.
I’m also not planning for this to be a permanent, ongoing project. I figure about six months, tops, so feel free to come back and laugh at me when I’m still doing this a year later.
Most importantly, at least for some of you, this is separating out the pog content from this site, so come back, it’s safe now! Well, after today’s post, anyway.
Thanks to Seth, the store owner who acquired this ginormous pog collection in the first place, who’s also totally behind this pog blog project of mine. And a very special thanks to the greatest stuffed bull of them all, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull…I needed a particular quote for this new site from an issue of Brave and the Bold, I didn’t have that issue, I put up the Bull-signal, and Bully answered right away with exactly what I needed! Thanks, Bully!
So anyway, pogressiveruin.com. Look what you all made me do.
EDIT 8/21: Dave found his copy of the “Pogressive Ruin” banner mentioned above!