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“I had the strangest dream, as if I’d posted about POGs on my weblog for an entire week.”

§ August 13th, 2012 § Filed under swamp thing § 10 Comments

So I get an email from Joe, and Joe sez to me, he sez: “there’s a new Swamp Thing toy out” and I sez “okay, well, off I go then, as there’s a Major Toy Store Chain along the path from my home to my place of employment at the Ventura Comic and Cardfight Vanguard Shop and Video Deli and I shall make a stop during my journey to work, oh yes.”

And what is this toy, you dare ask? Well, there are these things called “Squinkies,” it seems, which are little squishy rubbery toys that are indeed very very tiny and perfectly sized for fitting one or four into each nostril, not that I’ve ever done that, nor have I taken pictures of it, but there is a line of DC Comics Squinkies, and you can see Joe’s pics of his own purchases right here.

The deal here is that each package of twelve “Squinkies” includes three that are “blind-packaged,” so you can’t see what they are. Swamp Thing is one of those “blind-packaged” ones, apparently to avoid riots at toy stores as people rushed in and mobbed the aisles trying to get their hands on the latest Swampy item. The blind-packaged Squinkies not randomly packed, and if you were to pick up the package marked “Series 2,” you too could have a wee elemental that looks a little something…like this:


Here’s the little guy next to somethin’ to give you a sense of scale:


The other two “blind” Squinkies in the Series 2 package are Kamandi and Sinestro, the latter of which actually looks a little like a bee from the back, or maybe a member of Stryper, what with the yellow and black costume he’s wearing.

I almost, almost bought Series 1, since there was a little squishy Darkseid in that package, but, you know, it’s already problematic as it is that I purchased the one set.

So anyway, if you’re a Swamp Thing collector and you need one of these, look for the package with a picture of Green Lantern on the backer card in the lower right hand corner…also, note that a couple of other Squinkies in the package are Batman and Aquaman, to help you identify that you’ve got the right set. And when you’re buying your Squinkies, tell ‘em Mike sent you…I mean, chances are pretty good they know a Mike, they’ll just assume you mean him.

Another look at Marvel Super Heroes POGs.

§ May 10th, 2006 § Filed under pogs Comments Off

Well, a good chunk of them are just pictures of the characters, with their logos:

Then there are a handful of group shots:

Some group shots are “themed,” such as “Brusiers” (with Hulk, Venom, and the Thing), or “Fire ‘N Ice” (Human Torch and Iceman), or this one, featuring a skull motif:

This one brings up some vague memories of the Great POG Scare of the early ’90s, particularly that the “skull” POGs were considered more desirable, for some reason. Or maybe I’m confusing them with the “poison” POGs (not to be confused with these guys)…or maybe the skull POGs and the poison POGs were the same thing. I don’t remember. I don’t really want to remember.

At any rate, the themes get a little strained, like this one:

Because, you see, the Thing is rocky, and Ghost Rider…rolls, I guess, since he has a motorcycle. ROCK AND ROLL, DUDE.

And there are quite a few POGs that just have logos:

The sample pack we opened was primarily just logo POGs.

All those images above were taken from a promo poster we were sent a few days back, by the way. I’m half-tempted to put it up in the store just to see customer reactions: “No, not POGs! Not again! Nooooooooo-“(deep breath) “-ooooooooo!

I think this attempted POG collectible revival may be about five-to-ten years too early for the typical 20-year “nostalgia gap” that most things like this seem to have. Assuming, of course, there will be nostalgic interest in these at any point in the future…most of my customers who had bought them as young’uns seem embarrassed by it now, and in my case, I’m embarrassed that I even sold them here at the shop.

Given that the superhero trading card market is fairly moribund (it primarily consists of people not buying new cards, but trying to sell their old Marvel sets to us and being surprised that they’re not worth much of anything now), I don’t think the tangentially-related superhero POG market is going to take off. Unless, of course, they sell it as a gaming item (since there is a game of sorts associated with POGs, mainly involving throwing things at other things) to the kids buying the Yu-Gi-Oh collectible card game and the like, but even the CCG market sorta looks like it’s slowing down.

POGs. Geez, of all the things I thought I’d never have to deal with again….

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ March 28th, 2014 § Filed under End of Civilization § 17 Comments

Hey, remember comics? Boy, I sure do. Those cute little booklets of pictures, folded and stapled, that we all so enjoyed. Those were the days, back when we had trees, and people who could read, and before the electromagnetic pulses destroyed all electronics. Ah, yes.

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself! Civilization’s still here, but not for long, as perusing this month’s selection of goodies from Diamond Previews may show. Grab your copy of the April 2014 edition and follow along:

p. 101 – Superman #32:

“A NEW ERA for SUPERMAN begins….”

Oh, good, that’s like era number, what, four? five? in the last three years or so?

p. 149 – Superman Vs. Darkseid Statue (Second Edition):


“YOU WILL NEVER HAVE MY MAGICAL POOL OF ORANGE JELLO, KRYPTONIAN!”

p. 150 – DC Comics Super-Villains Harley Quinn Bust / DC Comics Cover Girls Katana Statue:


Oh, sure, the item that might sell has less than half the production run of the statue of the character no one’s ever been interested in, ever.

[THREE DAYS LATER: policeman gather around Mike’s body, slumped over at his computer desk. A spilled Diet Coke is at his feet.

“We’re not sure what happened here. The only clue we have is…this,” says one policeman, as he points at the katana handle sticking out of Mike’s back.]

p. 154 – Scribblenauts Unmasked Mini-Figures Blind Boxes Series 4:


Man, “blind box” packaging. There’s no way they’re going to suck me into buying blind-boxed stuff ever ag…


…DAMMIT.

p. 182 – Star Slammers Re-Mastered! #4:


I can’t believe they got four comics outta space pogs.

p. 259 – Mountain Dewback T-Shirt:


Coming soon: Yodoo-Hoo, 7-Ugnaught, Black Sunkist, Pepsi Max Rebo, Jar Jar Barq’s, and the dreaded Dooku Pepper.

p. 264 – Fathom Annual #1:


To be followed next year by Fathom Annual #1, and then Fathom Annual #1 the year after that.

p. 323 – The Twilight Zone Vol. 1 TPB:


I know the creative team’s decision to tell multi-issue stories over the course of this series was bit of a controversial one, but my disappointment is that the series wasn’t like “Crisis of Infinite Twilight Zones!” The aliens finally decide to take direct action on Maple Street, only to be countered by Mr. Dingle, who retains his superhuman powers from the Martian and Venusian experimentation! Meanwhile, the gremlin, who landed just outside of town after falling from the plane, teams up with Anthony Fremont to exact revenge upon a world that fears and despises them! Will Robot Grandma step in to help save the world, even as the Kanamits wait in orbit to eat whoever survives?

…I probably need to get out more.

p. 353 – The Smurfs Volume 18: The Finance Smurf:


Bilderberg Smurf’s secret meetings are looked upon with suspicion by Conspiracy Smurf: “They’re up to something smurfy…very smurfy indeed,” he says during his Smurf-to-Smurf AM radio interview.

p. 367 – Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor #1 / Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor #1:


…released on a just slightly more-than-monthly schedule, with, I’m sure, a Twelfth Doctor series in the offing. And then, eventually, Doctors One through Nine get their own 15-issues-a-year series, and then there’s the War Doctor series telling all those adventures from those missing years. And then the series with the Curator from Day of the Doctor, fighting art thieves and such. And then a series starring the companions…heck, a series for each companion. Sarah Jane, of course, and Ace because Ace is awesome, and K-9, probably Leela, and sure, Rose, why not. And a Brigadier series. And a series for Vastra, Jenny and Strax. And so on.

Will probably still only be about half of the number of Avengers titles that’ll be on the stands by the time they get all these out.

p. 431 – Dream Vader T-Shirt:


Oooh Dream Vader
I believe you can get me to the lightsaber fight
Oooh Dream Vader
I believe we can find the Jedi Knights
Fly me high through the starry skies
Maybe to Dantooine
Cross the highways of hyperspace
Help me to forget Tatooine

p. 434 – Adventure Time Duality Leggings:


Yet another piece of clothing to add to the official store uniform.

p. 480 – Doctor Who Stress Toys:


Oh, good, I’m going to need these squeezable stress toys…

p. 481 – Mr. Potato Head Doctor Who Figures:


…after looking at these nightmarish things. Sheesh.

p. 489 – Star Wars R2-D2 Egg Cup:


Knowledge of the reproductive cycle of the droid is not for the weakhearted.

p. 501 – Doctor Who Car Magnet 3-Packs:


Okay, items like these generally only make sense to other fans of the property when they’re out of context like this. But, c’mon, “Bad Wolf” barely made sense in context.

p. 507 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Soft Touch PVC Key Holders:


“Honey, which one’s the key to the Ranger?”

“The Donatello one!”

[stares at the key rack for another five minutes]

Marvel Previews p. 75 – Marvel Minimates Series 57 Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Asst.:


Featuring a bunch of other sets that you’ll be shoving aside only to discover you can’t find the Drax/Groot/Rocket Raccoon pack.

Marvel Previews p. 79 – Marvel Masterworks Not Brand Echh Vol. 1 HC:


A missed opportunity to make one of the book’s variant covers look like the DC Archives trade dress.

“NOT BRAND ECHH ARCHIVES” — one of you Photoshop masters can slap together a replacement dustjacket for this, I’m sure.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ October 31st, 2013 § Filed under End of Civilization § 13 Comments

It’s Halloween, and you can forget all those ghosts and witches, those haunted houses and demonic possessions. You want to see something really scary? Then grab your copy of the November 2013 edition of Diamond Previews and follow along!

p. 63 – Never Ending #3 (of 3):


Wait…Never Ending is ending? I feel as if my trust have been breached. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME, KNAVE, KIRKBRIDE AND LOVE?

p. 149 – DC Comics Super Villains Deathstorm Action Figure:


This will look nice next to my Tomorrow Woman figure on my “Characters I’ll Never See Again” shelf.

p. 289 – Li’l Ernie one-shot:


So, Dynamite Comics. You’ve found a way to get me to buy an Evil Ernie comic: 1. Make him cute. 2. Throw an Art Baltazar cover on it. 3. Have it written and drawn by Roger Langridge.

Well played, Dynamite Comics. Well played indeed.

p. 298 – Deflower the Boss:


Don’t you get any ideas, employees Aaron or Timmy!

p. 328 – Hello Kitty: Delicious:


Hello Kitty’s stint on Iron Chef was shockingly disruptive.

p. 368 – Batman Science: The Real World Science Behind Batman’s Gear:


Shame about the subtitle, because I was really hoping for “POW! Take that, creationists! BIFF! Down for the count, psychics! SMACK! You’re out cold, antivaxxers!”

p. 385 – Topps 2014 MLP Chipz:

“Get ready to kick off the 2014 Major League Baseball season with MLB Chipz. You can collect these chipz, trade with your friends, or use them to play games. There are a number of different types of chipz, featuring the stars from around the Majors, including Magnetic, Glow-in-the-Dark, and bat chipz. You will be able to find one team sticker and one game board in each pack.”

These are basically pogs, aren’t they. Please tell me they’re not pogs. Please. PLEASE.

[Mike huddles in a fetal position in the corner of his living room. He is crying. The camera slowly pulls back as the room fades to black.]

PLEASE.

p. 389 – Deadpool Bold FX Snap Back Cap:


+1 for the Breaking Bad reference in the caption.

-1 for the creepy Steve Ditko-ish Dr. Strange interdimensional limbo-esque mouths being used in place of the Os.

p. 397 – Nightwing 52 Symbol Hoodie:


“Hey, why do you have a picture of fancy red briefs on your hoodie?”

p. 399 – Dr. Who “The Girl Who Waited” Junior’s Blue T-Shirt:


Totally going to be misinterpreted as some kind of statement of commitment to virginity ’til marriage, just you watch.

p. 402 – Doctor Who “Tardis” All-Over Print Navy Lounge Pants and My Little Pony “Multi-Character” Lounge Pants:


What, I don’t want ponies or sci-fi stuff on my pajama bottoms! That’ll make me look silly when I wear them to the store or the bank!

p. 406-7- Batman Classic TV Series Batman Bust:


Okay, I initially read the blurb as “6′ TALL!” and the idea of having a six-foot bust of Best Batman Adam West in my home was almost too much to bear.

p. 416 – ReAction Figures Alien Action Figures:


The proposed 1979 Alien action figure line finally comes to life. Store shelves that have waited so long, so very long, to be warmed by Dallas figures quiver with excitement.

p. 422 – Futurama Hedonismbot Vinyl Figure:


While I love Hedonismbot, I just don’t have the fifty bucks to frivolously spend on his vinyl representation. Truly I have violated the very spirit of Hedonismbot.

p. 429 – Dumb Ways to Die 4-Inch Rotocast Figurines:


The more merchandise based on Internet videos that’s produced, the greater the chance that I’ll finally get merchandise based on my favorite online cartoon.

p. 430 – Mr. Potato Head Homer Simpson Figure:


Ah, from the new Nightmare Fuel line of children’s toys, apparently. Well done, well done.

p. 438 – Lady Death La Muerta Statue:


“Whoa, what did they do to her face?”

“…She has a face?”

p. 438 – Conan the Brutal Statue:


This will provide a nice contrast to my “Conan the Remarkably Genteel” statue.

p. 442 – Juggernaut Mini-Bust:


“I’M THE JUGGERNAUT, BUST!”

…That was funnier in my head.

p. 443 – Battlestar Galactica Medal of Distinction 1/1-Scale Prop Replica:

“ANOVOS is humbled to release the 1:1-scale replica of Admiral William Adama’s Medal of Distinction featured in Battlestar Galactica’s third season episode, ‘Hero.'”

“Humbled.”

p. 483 – PEZ The Hobbit Movie Gift Set:


While people were mostly favorable to the Hobbit PEZ, they didn’t find it nearly as fresh or interesting as the Lord of the Rings PEZ.

p. 491 – G.G. Allin 1989 Throbblehead:


Let us hope that for maximum authenticity, each Throbblehead has been inserted into someone’s [REDACTED] prior to packaging and shipping.

p. 491 – Bouncing Souls The Guy Mascot Throbblehead:


SUPER-DEFORMED FRANK GORSHIN

p. 494 – Star Trek Pet Product Collection: Uniform Shirt and Spock Hoodie:


Surely this is the Trek reboot movie that we deserved.

p. 498 – The Walking Dead Rockmaster Electric Guitars:


SUNDAY 10 PM: THE WALKING DEAD – Rick finally defeats the walkers with the power of rock, exploding zombie heads with his awesome guitar riffs. WOOOOOOO [Series finale]

Marvel Previews – all those “MARVEL.NOW = ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW #! solicitations:


So we just restarted everything from #1s again, and now we’re kinda-sorta trying to do it again? What, did Aspen Comics buy Marvel when I wasn’t looking?

Marvel Previews p. 34-39: Miracleman #1 & #2:


The day after the day after Free Comic Book Day.

§ May 6th, 2013 § Filed under employee aaron, free comic book day, pal casie § 9 Comments


I did indeed get a free comic. And so did the several hundred folks who passed through our doors on Saturday, most of whom didn’t get just one free comic, but many free comics pulled from the several tables we had set up for funnybook distribution.

This shot:


…is from much later in the day, when we’d taken down one of the tables once we were out of a handful of titles. But this should give you kind of an idea of what was goin’ on at our store for pretty much the entire day. And yes, that’s a shelf of pogs. There is no escape.

Here’s a shot from sort of behind the register “island” near the front of one side of our shop…that’s Employee Fredat the far right behind the register there:


And here’s the boss, Seth himself, posing with a box of Bongo comics, Employee Timmy lurking just over his shoulder:

Part-Time Employee Aaron and his lovely wife Kempo manned and womanned the Cash Only register we set up on the other side of the store, with only the occasional bout of violence:


And then there was this fella, Customer Brandon, who helped out a bit, too. I think he’s dressed up as someone from Speed Racer or something, I’m pretty sure:


Special thanks to Pal Casie, who dropped off a box of cakes and cookies, decorated in such a way that clearly indicated they were all meant for me and not for any other of those crummy employees:


Those were the only pics I managed to take; Employee Mark took more photos but hasn’t yet sent them to me, but as soon as he does, I’ll toss ‘em up on the site. One of those photos includes me, so consider yourself warned.

Anyway, remember how in this post I mentioned I was going to de-emphasize the distribution of our free comics in age-appropriate bags…a bag of freebies for kids, one for teens, one for grown-ups. Well, I de-emphasized the heck out of it since I ultimately decided not to bag any of the comics at all. The goal was to keep some stock of freebies through most of the day by not giving everything to everybody. And I have to tell you, that morning, as I was unloading and stacking all the comics on all the tables I had a moment of panic. “Oh man, we’re never going to get rid of all of these, I shoulda bagged ‘em, oh we’re screwed,” which is a variation on my usual FCBD pre-opening panic that no one’s going to show up and that it’ll be a disaster.

Shouldn’t have worried. We were slammed from the second we opened our door at 10 AM, and the store was crammed full with people until mid-afternoon, when things slowed down to just merely insanely busy. Seth and Employee Mark even had to function as gatekeepers for a couple of hours, standing at the door and letting customers in only a few at time, and we still had a line stretching around the interior of the store, down one side, across the back wall, and forward by the tables as they head back towards the the register and the exit. As previously noted, the shots of the store above were later in the afternoon, when folks were just heading straight in from the door toward the tables, when the crowds were slightly more manageable.

Also as previously noted, we had a second register set up for cash only transactions, having learned my lesson from last time when we had register lines a mile long. As it turns out, not a whole lot of people carry cash nowadays, but enough did to help lessen line wait times at least a little.

Back to this year’s free comic distribution test (i.e. “Mike was too lazy to sort out the comics into bags this time”), there were two main results. First, yes, as I’d hoped, the comic stock lasted a bit longer this time around. In fact, for the first time in a few years, I still had a small assortment left over, enough to fill a small Diamond shipping box, which is quite the reduction from the many dozens of Diamond FCBD shipping boxes I originally received. That’s probably a combination of the non-bagging and of my increased orders this time around. That’s okay…we’ve left some out for anyone who couldn’t make it in on Saturday.

Second, it did increase customer wait time as everyone picked out the comics they wanted instead of just grabbing a pre-packed bag or three and running off. Nobody really seemed to mind, however, and the wait time wasn’t that long.

Another thing I did this year was take a bunch of those bargain-priced comics we still had hanging around (all those 50-cent Invincibles and $1.00 “Image Firsts” and 25-cent Vampirellas and such) and put those out for giveaways, too. And that giant stack of free Marvel Point Ones that Marvel overshipped to us a couple years back, and that one issue of Garfield that, ahem, I may have accidentally overordered by entering the wrong number on the order form and not noticing…all put out for giveaways, all gone.

AND I think I am finally, finally out of that Avatar Comics Robocop freebie from years ago. I thought I was done with it before, but more keep turning up. But I think I finally unloaded all our backstock of books from FCBDs past. …Well, it wasn’t more than two or three shipping boxes’ worth, so it wasn’t that much, but it still feels good to have found good homes for them.

We didn’t have any in-store signings or other planned special guests…there just wouldn’t have been room…but I did briefly greet pal Nat; got to see the bearded visage of Matt Digges and his non-bearded niece; reader Dave Z., who makes the trek from Bakersfield every year to get free comics that had been personally touched by my filthy, filthy hands; and hugged Gina, my former editor at Music Confidential magazine.

In addition to the goodies pal Casie brought us, Heather from the local library brought us a tray of cookies, thanking us for providing a bunch of this year’s FCBD books for them to distribute. And Employee Mark’s uncle Jay brought us his candied balls. …Before you ask, yes we did. How can you not.

End result: the busiest, most successful Free Comic Book Day yet…gave away more comics than ever before, and made more money than ever before. I’m not trying to be crass by mentioning the money thing, but it’s important to note that the expense of Free Comic Book Day…the cost of the comics, the employee wages, the trapeze artist, the stunt drivers…was more than covered.

I have been sent a few stories, in comments and via email, from people whose own FCBD experiences at their local shops were less than exemplary. I’m sorry to hear it, but I’ve also heard from folks who had wonderful times, so maybe things have been improving on that front. Like I’ve said many, many times before…it doesn’t take much to make Free Comic Book Day into an event, and boy, what an event we had this time around. Plus, I think I’ve convinced Seth into letting me spend even more money for Free Comic Book Day next year.

I should also note the efforts of Employee Robert the Friday night before, who did a lot of set-up rearranging part of the store to accommodate the free comic distribution. EFFORTS ARE NOTED.

And yes, I know that’s Goku…don’t send me emails.

Don’t worry, there’s more retailin’ talk after the pog talk.

§ February 13th, 2013 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pogs, retailing § 5 Comments

A small reminder: I’m about to wind down the daily posting over at pogressiveruin.com, the Internet’s #1 source for watching a middle-aged man slowly drive himself crazy wallowing in some fad from a couple decades ago. I don’t know if we’ve learned anything, but one thing’s for sure: we certainly got to see a lot of large scans of pogs.

Anyway, I originally intended to go into that site with a finish line in mind, and that finish line was always meant to be six months after I started. I figure that’s probably enough. It’s not grinding to a complete halt…I’d like to keep the option open for featuring any more future oddball cap discoveries from this collection, so there will probably still be a new entry every now and again. But, as of February 15th, the daily posts there are done.

If you followed that site, I appreciate it! Also…why? Are you nuts?

In other news: it’s time for me to start going through Previews for actual business-related reasons instead of End of Civilization reasons, and put together the monthly comics order. So basically, take this post and multiply it by several thousand items. Not every comic requires that much hemming and / or hawing over the numbers, of course. I have sales histories for many titles, and I can easily base orders on those, noting any increases or decreases and adjusting accordingly

And then of course there are the comics that never change sales levels, ever, no matter what the publisher does, what gimmicks they try, etc. For example, sales on one particular long-running-through-a-variety-of-publishers property have been pretty much unchanged for some time now. Don’t go up, don’t go down, don’t do nothin’ but sell the same number of copies every month. But when a second series featuring this same property was solicited, I thought the variety of different covers, plus the fact that it’s a new first issue of this once very popular character, might encourage additional pick-ups. And, when the comic came out…hey, we sold more copies of a comic based on this specific property than we normally have of late! …Then I realized that one of our regular customers who usually bought the other series bought one copy each of most of the variants of this new #1, so while we technically did increase sales of individual copies, we didn’t increase the number of actual customers for it. So while it was a good thing for me to bump up orders like I did, it didn’t actually bump up readership, but that’s okay. Not everything works like I planned…and I did sell more comics, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

History (well, really recent history, as the story in the previous paragraph wasn’t from that long ago) is sort of repeating itself this week, with the release of this new Ghostbusters comic from IDW. IDW’s previous Ghostbusters comics started off…okay, saleswise, but have slowed down a bit for us. I’m taking a bit of a chance on this new series, having bumped orders up a wee bit over what I normally sell on Ghostbusters, since I think the comic looks like fun, the covers stand out, and my plan was (which I in fact implemented last night as I was setting up the racks) to display each cover separately, rather than shoving them all together into a single shelf space, which should garner a little extra attention. I may just sell more of the first issue, and maybe we’ll be back to regular Ghostbusters sales levels with the second, but there would be no chance of increasing sales on #2 if I don’t have the #1s for people to try out right now.

Maybe it’s good money after bad, I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. Ghostbusters is a known property that people generally like, and with a bit of sales strategy combined with a comic that looks a little more appealing than the previous GB attempts from IDW, maybe I’ll sell a few more copies. Worth a shot.

Now if they could somehow bring back the Slimer solo title, then IDW would be cookin’ with gas!

Yes, I said “link-a-doodles.”

§ November 8th, 2012 § Filed under pal plugging § 2 Comments

Sorry, gang…been a bit ill, so I’m totally in Low Content Mode right now. But here, have some link-a-doodles:

  • The second issue of Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingom, by Kevin Church, Grace Allison and Josh Krach, is now available for purchase. Only $1.99…why, it’s so good, I’d even have bought it if it were a whole $2!
  • Pal Ian, one of the founding members of the Associated Comics and Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA and Outlying Enrions (which is, as always, ACAPCWOVCCAOE for short) has written a new funnybook for Boom! Studios: Freelancers #1 is now available for only a buck at your finer four color emporiums or even digitally, if you gotta be like that.
  • So pals Chris Sims and Matt Wilson opened the latest episode of War Rocket Ajax speaking briefly about my completely ridiculous and misguided side project POGressive Ruin, thanks to some milkcaps I sent to Mr. Sims. I KNEW THE BRIBE WOULD WORK.

There might be a minor spoiler or two for The Omen, which is nearly 40 years old, but you know someone would complain.

§ September 7th, 2012 § Filed under doctor who, mad magazine, misfit toys, retailing § 18 Comments

So the other night I saw that The Omen was on Netflix Watch Instantly, and I realized a couple of things. One, it had been years since I’ve seen it…in fact, I probably wasn’t any more than about 10 years old, and I probably only saw parts of it on whatever local pay-cable channel we had as a precursor to HBO at the time. Two, my memories of the movie were primarily of the Mad Magazine parody from issue #189 (March 1977):


Actually, that’s not the panel burned into my head, but the ones specifically concerned with the fate of David Warner’s character, which might be a bit much to hit you with without any warning, so I picked that panel above as being a little more representative of the parody as a whole.

I wonder how many more movies and TV shows with which I have passing familiarity mostly because of the Mad parodies, versus actually seeing the darned things. I keep meaning to get around to watching A Clockwork Orange, which, yeah, I know, I haven’t seen it yet, I’m a bad person, but I’ll tell you I still have images from the George Woodbridge-illustrated Mad parody stuck in my brain. And since it seems like I’ll never get around to actually watching Blade Runner, I should find its Mad parody and just settle for that.

Anyway, speaking of what happens to David Warner’s character, I thought I’d be a smart guy and post this to the Twitter the other night:


I thought I’d just remembered the images from the Mad parody involving this scene, but apparently I remembered the joke, too, since I apparently just up and stole it. (Not the “pageboy haircut is adorable” part, but the “losing your head” part. Though David Warner is adorable in this movie.)

Another thing I hadn’t remembered about the film is that Patrick Troughton, Doctor Who‘s Second Doctor, has a significant part:


…Which of course caused me to make Yet Another Obvious Twitter Joke™:


Yes, I think I’m hilarious.

…And this has been another installment of “What Mike Does in His Spare Time.”

• • •

A couple of you had more questions from the other day, re: Spawn and related merchandise:

Heli asks

“…Have you covered the ‘party Angela’ phenomenon?”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, I’m going to strip away your innocence forever: McFarlane Toys produced an action figure of Spawn supporting character Angela (the warrior angel character created by Neil Gaiman), but, alas, lacked the paint job beneath the figure’s loin-armor or whatever that is to give her warrior angel-appropriate undergarments. Thus, this figure, and, according to my brief-but-probably-getting-me-on-watch-lists Googling, other figures that have similarly gone commando are referred to as “party” figures. And in case you’re wondering, that term does seem more appalling the more you think about it. …I remember a brief hubbub about it at the time, but it seemed to die down once people realized they were getting overly excited about a toy not having paint-panties, and hopefully that nipped it in the bud. Well, except on eBay, where no bud is ever nipped.

Tim O’Neil asks

“What about modern sales of Spawn? Has the series picked up new readers since it entered its 20 year anniversary with all the variant covers and such?”

I haven’t seen any real boost in sales, no…I think we may have gained a new reader or two on the series, but otherwise sales have been very consistent as a low-to-mid range seller. During 2010, when only four issues were released, that may have…well, “put the nail in the coffin” is a bit strong. Maybe “pushed it down the stairs” is more like it.

• • •

COMING NEXT WEEK: Yes, I’ll probably talk about Swamp Thing #0, don’t nag me. Also, more comic book talk! Maybe! And not so much about the pogs!

 

Special thanks to Bully the Little Stuffed Bull for providing the Mad image.

And now, some things more interesting than comics “professionals” having grade-school recess fights on Twitter.

§ August 28th, 2012 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot Comments Off

  • Pal Jim use big brain to talk smart about John Constantine, with an in-depth look at Hellblazer #1.
  • Pal Andrew use big brain to talk smart about comic book crossover events, in the context of his latest choice for “Nobody’s Favorites.” You know, I remember liking the comic discussed at the time, but it has been nearly a quarter-century since it came out. After all, I read these comics and didn’t respond negatively to them back then.
  • Amid use cartoony brain to post about William A. Emmons, “The Disney Animator Who Almost Was.” Mr. Emmons was only at Disney for a few months in the 1940s, but at the time wrote a bit about his experience in a letter to his sister, reproduced at that link. A fascinating inside look at the early days of Disney.
  • Mike use small brain and post about comic pogs over on his other woefully misguided website. I know you folks like it when I post about Death of Superman on this site, so here you go.
  • Pal Dorian use floppy brain to post Flop.

I’m reasonably certain we do sell comics.

§ August 10th, 2012 § Filed under pogs, teenage mutant ninja turtles § 16 Comments

So get this: Thursday morning, we had a gentlemen come to the store carrying a couple of filled bags, who told us he’d just been cleaning out his storage unit and came across some materials and was wondering if we were in the market for them? He then opened up the bags to reveal what he was trying to sell…

…you’re way ahead of me…

…and it was POGs. …We pointed him to the corner of the store where we were trying to contain the vast amounts of POGgish items of which I’d only barely scratched the surface in these last couple of posts. I told him I didn’t know what to do with all the POGs we already had. He suggested I give some away with each comic book purchase. I replied that I wanted to keep my customers. And we both laughed, though I think my laugh was tinged slightly with hysteria and despair.

Okay, okay, it’s not as bad as all that. Everyone at the shop, customers and employees alike, are fairly amused by all this so far, and we even had a brief POG demonstration yesterday evening, run by Employee Debra:


And yes, we will totally have POG tournaments at the shop, if people want to play ‘em. I mean, why not. Might as well dive fully in.

But enough about POGs, let’s talk about this other collection of stuff we got in…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise from the early 1990s, like this big ol’ action figure carrying case:


“Holds 20 Figures,” it says, though none were inside. Instead, the figures were loose, scattered about the boxes in which this collection was stored. Figures like this terrifying Splinter figure, complete with faux fur:


…Or this poor bastard Turtle, who as part of his city camouflage, wore a manhole cover on his back:


I don’t know what’s going on here:


…except, well, what teenager doesn’t have problems with acne?

I honestly have no idea (or just didn’t remember) what the deal was with this character:


…until a quick trip to the Turtles Wiki explained she was a fifth turtle mutated by the radioactive stuff that created the regular TMNT gang, who did not know of her existence.

Here’s a closer look…I didn’t know turtles had breasts:


Having this Turtle’s eyes on separate fingers freaks me out just a tad:


…and c’mon, he clearly just endorsed the glove for a paycheck:


…unless there’s a two-fingered / one-thumbed version he was able to personally try out and I don’t know about.

“Remember kids…crush the entire tissue in your fist and then just shove the exposed ends against your nose for best effect!”


I wonder if kids blew their noses on these printed tissues in such a way as to give the Turtles’ faces, I don’t know, beards:


That would take some fine nasal control, I’d imagine.

I took a picture of this just because it’s a big rubbery Frisbee-type thing:


And I took a picture of this suction cup-fastenable Turtle face because it’s shifty-eyed and terrible:


These TMNT binoculars worked about as well as any other toy binocular set I’ve ever had:


…in that it made things look, oh, about an inch or two closer than just plain looking at that thing.

Most of the weapons and other accessories were separated from the loose figures and stored in this plastic bowl:


Of note was this weapons sprue, which I’m featuring here partially because I thought it was a bit sad that these accessories were never detached and used as intended, but mostly because I like using the word “sprue.”


And then there’s this:


I guess if a turtle can have breasts, then why not a mustache?

Finally, just to bring it all around:


All roads lead to POGs, I’m afraid.

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