“Suddenly, ten years later….”

§ December 5th, 2013 § Filed under suddenly... § 31 Comments

I like to think of it not so much as “ten years of blogging,” but rather as “about a quarter of my life.”

But, you know, it’s been fun, sometimes rewarding, usually entertaining, and it gives me an outlet to go on and on and on and on and on about comics to people who might actually want to read what I have to say, as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, info-dumping on my poor customers stuck at the cash register who just want to buy the latest issue of All-Star Western. Speakin’ of, thanks to my customers to read this site and yet still come into our shop. You guys ‘n’ gals are troopers!

Also a big thanks to my girlfriend Nora, who still puts up with this comic book nonsense of mine, to my parents who either read the site or use my Amazon links, to pal Dorian, to my put-upon coworkers, to my fellow comic bloggers, and to my partners-in-crime the Bureau Chiefs. And, as always, to the inimitable Neilalien, who may only occasionally still post to his site from comics blogging Valhalla, but is still a big influence on what I do here.

Someday I may join Neilalien in that place of rest, but…well, for now, you guys are still stuck with me. A big thanks to all of you who still come back to my site, day after day, sometimes commenting, sometimes emailing, but hopefully always finding something worthwhile enough to keep you around. I appreciate it deeply.

This past year I didn’t do a whole lot outside my site, aside from my usual goings-on on the Twitter:

Sometimes I remind myself of my own mortality:


Sometimes I relate the important day-to-day responsibilities of store management:


Sometimes I just gotta vent:


Sometimes I have to let you know that my job ain’t easy:


And sometimes I have to reveal to you months after the fact that my dream was about comics creator (not so much comics blogger any more) Kevin Church (read ‘em from bottom-to-top):


As long as I’m revealing things, I was also semi-secretly doing this Twitter account, Your TV Listings, for a few months. Might start it up again someday. We’ll see. But in the meantime, follow my regular account on Twitter! Learn amazing facts! Win prizes! (NOTE: no amazing facts or prizes are actually available.)

I was also interviewed about DC Comics’ 3D cover hoohar, as some folks suddenly remembered “oh, hey, here’s a guy that’s been doing comics retail for a long, long time…maybe we should ask him what’s up once in a while.” Feel free to ask me for my thoughts! I won’t bite! Unless you specifically request that I bite!

I sent a few scans of paperback book covers to pal Dorian for his Paperback Book Club posts. Halloween was the first of mine to hit his site, and hopefully more will turn up soon.

Plus, I may have made a cameo in an Onion article. Yes, I know that’s just a coincidence, but hey, close enough.

Anyway, as per usual for my anniversary posts, I like to present a few highlights from the last twelve months. I don’t know if anyone else finds these useful, but it’s a quick and convenient way for me to do a little commentary/follow-up on older posts, so I’m going to keep doin’ it:

DECEMBER 2012:

The recovery of a long-lost Swamp Thing artifact, my attempt at starting a beef with Vermont was for naught, I still need to give this record a full listen instead of just admiring the cover’s beauty, that last pic is the most terrifying Christmas image of all time…and here’s the cutest, an info-dump of Star Wars comic book nostalgia.

JANUARY 2013:

There are a whole lotta posts dealing with predictions for the new (i.e. this) year and covering predictions from previous years (1 2 3 4) and we’ll be doing that again in about a month so get your loins girded, I still can’t believe someone thought this logo was acceptable, I still sort of regret not going for this Nancy and Sluggo board game, that time I ordered comics based on a dream.

FEBRUARY 2013:

I finally get a copy of Yummy Fur #9 after looking for it for years, if you read only one Frank Miller joke on the Internet it had better be this one, the best thing about being Swamp Thing on Valentine’s Day is that you never have to buy flowers, I talk about comic ordering to you so I don’t stand around the store muttering to myself about it, the amount of support I received for this decision (inspired by our pals at Zeus Comics) far outweighed the grumpy message-boarders, oh hey Adam Warrock performed at our shop and it was awesome, I hope this British Dukes of Hazzard Annual will tell me whether or not Daisy loved flying.

MARCH 2013:

Pal Cully and Jack Kirby, more than you ever wanted to know about me sorting my comics and rereading B.P.R.D., that friend of his who used to drive him to the shop every month still hasn’t called to tell us Errol passed away, I still haven’t found time to reread any of these suggestions, a selection of later Gil Kane Green Lantern covers just because, the debut of Spider-Man 2093, this was some good timing finding that old TV guide re: the ’60s Batman series, I am unduly proud of that Admiral Ackbar joke.

APRIL 2013:

So long to Carmine Infantino, Roger Ebert and George Gladir, I had no Clue this existed, “Beware of Women, Batman,” my heart just about stopped when I saw the loads of Free Comic Book Day comics waiting for us at UPS, the more I think about this the more terrible it seems, more of those Whitman pre-bagged comics.

MAY 2013:

Why would you name an octopus Ethyl, the Free Comic Book Day 2013 Post-Mortem, Old Man Plays Video Games, Looks Back Fondly on Days When Your Character Was A Square Box You Moved Around on Screen And That Was Good Enough for Everybody, surely we’re ready for the dark ‘n’ gritty reboot of Execution Buzzard, I don’t review the new superhero movies often enough any more, how I would resuscitate the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise, the many origins of the Heap, this seems to indicate someone shouted out the word “voodoo” during their merrymaking, another comic that took me a while to find, never too late for a post about Ross Perot, you never know when one of my images will have some alt-text.

JUNE 2013:

A brief update on some New 52 sales, I think I just threw that Eclipso comic back in the box without anything cover the jewel…again, there’s probably a way to make an online horror comic generator just using random panels from old comics, a part two on “How to Kill Juggling Nazis” is not likely forthcoming, oh hey I totally forgot I did review the Man of Steel movie, an alternate universe New 52 if I were in charge of DC Comics, Kim Thompson sure was responsible for some of my favorite Fantagraphics comics, I was going to use the phrase “lost their shit” but that seemed inappropriate for a post about Superboy.

JULY 2013:

Come to think of it, if you’re laughing for a full hour something’s wrong, some swell Odgen Whitney art on Modeling with Millie, I forgot to mail the stupid thing back to Diamond so I guess it’s mine now, some late-arriving Free Comic Book Day photos (featuring ME ME ME at least in one shot), if they actually make a Firestorm the Nuclear Man movie I will eat my fiery hat, seriously this Spider-Man knife is terrifying.

AUGUST 2013:

I’ve got a Dog Boy sketch in a big ol’ Dog Boy hardcover, I think the time is about right for a kinder reappraisal of the Howard the Duck movie, sorry Spider-Man but five hundred bucks can get you a good-sized flatscreen now, my initial reaction to DC’s 3D cover fiasco, Thanos buttons, Jack Davis is still with us (and I still can’t find my own copy of this comic), more 3D comics fallout plus I totally called that Killing Joke thing way before Grant Morrison, when I started this site this comic was priced by me only ten years ago, funny I just sold a boatload of old comics this past weekend, some comics don’t sell like they used to however.

SEPTEMBER 2013:

We still have this X-Men box kicking around the shop, nobody loves Terror Inc., the X-Men coloring book, the old Nickelodeon TV show that helped get me into Swamp Thing, a couple of posts regarding comic racking/retailing and restarting series (1 2), Cerebus parodies of new and old vintage, a Swamp Thing parody from Crazy, Swamp Thing on Blu-Ray, I haven’t yet lost my Swamp Thing marbles, Golden Age funny animals are so destructive.

OCTOBER 2013:

I was surprised by the number of folks who didn’t realize this Kirby-Swamp Thing connection, I have to thank pal Brook for introducing me to the idea of the sci-five, I follow up on that previously-mentioned Robot 6 interview, this is one crazy-ass sci-fi comic, each day Richie Rich wasn’t chased down and murdered by the common folk is a day I hope he appreciated to its fullest, turns out this comic is kinda pricey considering, maybe you’ve heard that Miracleman is coming back (1 2), I love my high quality print of this Swamp Thing cartoon (and you can get one as well), LIBRARY-CON 2013.

NOVEMBER 2013:

These really are the best Nick Cardy panels ever, whoa hey I’m reading an X-Men comic again until the creative team bails or I get sick of the crossovers, in retrospect I honestly have no idea why I thought renting this DVD was a good idea, HANDMADE WATCHMEN MAP, kids ask your grandparents about Image United, I think the lower end of the comics grading scale should go “good – fair – poor – storage unit,” Devil Scotty is the greatest.

DECEMBER 2013:

Why, it seems like it was just yesterday I was telling about you about this book, and it seems a few of you out there had the same experience with it.

Civilization also ended throughout the year, as I did my civic duty of going through each new issue of the Diamond Previews catalog to warn you poor bastards about the future that awaits us. (My personal favorite joke of the year was the Monopoly gag at the end of this installment.)

In addition, I tried to do a little more actual comic-reviewing this year. It seems like people enjoy these posts, and I’m having fun with them too, so look forward to more of those coming up.

Again, I have to thank all of you for your readership. The old friends who’ve been reading since the beginning. The folks who may have just discovered me today. All of you make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something of at least a minimal amount of value here, and it means a great deal to me. I say every single time I do one of these anniversary posts that I’m amazed that anyone outside a small circle of friends has any interest in what I have to say, and it’s just as true now as when I first said it ten years ago.

Thank you.

For reading all that, here’s a picture of me from about twenty years ago, standing out in the middle of nowhere with the world’s puffiest shirt and apparently no comb:


Oh, for the days when the brownness of my hair didn’t come from a bottle.

See you all again soon.

31 Responses to ““Suddenly, ten years later….””

  • Sean Harris says:

    Congratulations, Michael! Also, ten years!??!?!! Good Lord, has it been that long?

  • Aaron says:

    At last it can be told! Progressive Ruin is the blog of John C. Reilly’s stunt double!

    Congratulations on ten years, Mike, and thanks for writing such an enjoyable blog. I’ve been reading for… maybe four or five years now? and PR is one of the few blogs where I make sure to read every post. I’ll raise a psychedelic orange tuber in your honor tonight!

  • Congrats, Mike! Your blog is a light when all other lights have failed!

  • Congratulations, Mike. I really enjoy your site. Here’s to ten more years!

  • Robert in New Orleans says:

    Thanks for the blogging, Mike! I don’t read that many comics related sites anymore, but I’ve stuck with PR since I found it.

  • Adam Farrar says:

    “SUDDENLY, TEN YEARS LATER…”
    “Then…KOREA!”

    Congratulations Mike. Thanks!

  • Snark Shark says:

    Elflord AND Lady Death- GAH!

    ” Gil Kane Green Lantern covers”

    Now THAT’S good stuff! :D I bought one of those issues because of that post- thanks!

  • Greg Burgas says:

    Man, I’ve been reading this blog almost since it started. Congratulations, sir. Always remember that I’m taking you to hell with me!!!!!

  • Kelson says:

    Wow…congratulations!

  • ExistentialMan says:

    “…make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something of at least a minimal amount of value…”

    Modesty suits you well sir. Take a bow – you deserve it. Thanks and Congratulations.

  • Philip says:

    I gird my loins for no one else.

    8 years and four jobs later, I still visit Prog Ruin ever day. Which might explain all the jobs. Whatever. Thanks, Mr. Sterling!

  • Andrew Weiss says:

    You were (and still are) a huge inspiration and supporter of my blogging stupidity, and a prince of a man.

    Congrats for ten years, fellow March 13th baby!

  • C. Elam says:

    I think I’ve been around for 8 of those 10 years, and it’s still one of my favorite blogs. Keep on keeping on, sir.

  • Chance says:

    May I just say, first, congratulations and thanks for the years of free Internetainment.

    And also, please do pick up that TV twitter again if you ever find time. It’s genius!

  • Kevin Church says:

    Well, wait until I tell you about the dreams I’ve had about you…

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I was going to make the “THEN…KOREA!” joke, but I wanted to see how quickly someone else would make it.

  • Pal Cully says:

    What a huge waste of time. Thank you for that.

  • Adam says:

    Jesus, Mike.

    I don’t know if that Twitter account is more brilliant or upsetting. The Breaking Bad series was downright heartbreaking. Definitely keep that up. It’s a justification for the medium.

  • adam barnett says:

    Congrats, and here’s to another ten!

  • Nate A. says:

    And many more!!!!
    Seriously, this is my connection to the central coast comics scene (I’m from SLO), and I relish your tales of local retail. Of course, I also dig your take on the big picture (“end of civilization”). Long story short, keep it up please.

  • Rich Handley says:

    Ten years, and then…

    KOREA!!

  • Tim B. says:

    Congratulations!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Interstate Shogun says:

    Congrats on 10 years! Taking a peek at my predictions from last year, I got all of them wrong. I suck.

  • CONGRATULATIONS, Mikester!

    !0 years…
    That’s phenomenal.

    I just recently crossed my 5-year bloggiversary (and it sometimes feels like forever), so I couldn’t even imagine 10!
    (And Neilalien made it to 11, so… something for you to shoot for – and beyond!)

    Thanks for giving us all a site that I need to visit every chance I can.

    ~P~

  • Sorry I’m late to the party. Your buddy in Chicago saying Congrats. And in regards to that photo: Suddenly…AREA 51!!!

  • Rich Handley says:

    Congratulations, man. Back when I was running the Swamp Thing site, you were always very supportive, and I appreciated it.

  • Crowded House says:

    Happy Tenth-iversary Mike! Here’s to many more years of this. (And yes, I said years. Satan will force you to update this site even after you’re dead, Mike. That shall be your punishment. And in hell, you can’t turn off the comments).

  • Roger Green says:

    It’s a bit ironic, but me posting every day – now for over 8.5 years! – was a function of YOU posting every day (which tyou dont and that’s fine), plus Hembeck (who just does FB now) and Steve Gerber (who is deceased).
    So you’re STILL one of my blogging heroes, but don’t get a swelled head about it!

  • Rob March says:

    Mike, is that picture from your guest appearance on The Rockford Files? Because I’m pretty sure that I saw that episode where there is some shady land deal going on.

  • Casie says:

    Happy 10th, Mike! You’re amazing! :)

  • Omedetou, fellow Mike.
    Here is a copy of a cover from an almost century old book called Swamp Thing Samurai!
    http://gurafiku.tumblr.com/post/291811331/japanese-poster-design-swamp-thing-samurai-1917