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Hiya, pals!

§ October 30th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, self-promotion § 1 Comment

I didn’t want to skip another Monday, but I don’t really have anything ready to go for today, so let me just cover a couple of things:

1. The new End of Civilization post will be up on Tuesday, just in time for Halloween. Not that it’s specifically Halloween-themed or anything, beyond its typically scary content. Sorry for skipping last month, but this month’s installment should be, you know, okay, I guess.

2. No, I haven’t forgotten the Swamp Thing-a-Thon over on my Patreon. I’ve been otherwise occupied the last few weeks, with health issues and other distractions, but I should good to go from here on out. I may be down to one entry a month rather than the planned two, but we’ll see what happens. Thanks for all your patience.

3. Googum wonders in response to my previous post:

“Returns, or ‘returns’? Didn’t they used to have to mail back part of the cover for credit, but not always?”

Yes, in general newsstands returned either just the logo, or perhaps the whole cover, in order to receive credit on unsold copies. Even in the direct market, in which I “make” my “living,” where comics are generally sold on a non-returnable basis (advantage: higher profit margins for retailers; disadvantage: enjoy eating those unsold copies) sometimes comics are returnable. Reasons vary: either a special publisher promotion (“try this comic out, and your order is returnable!”), or the comic is distributed not as originally solicited, or it’s hideously late, or, you know, whatever. Every week we get a list of what’s returnable, and it’s indicated on the sheet if we should just send back the stripped covers (usually the case, particularly with periodicals) or send back the whole thing (not terribly often, and usually for books and such).

Also in those comments: Ben has a few words about how direct-sales-only books were offered up in England, and Dave explains why even just a reprint book could be so unprofitable. Oh, and read Thom H.‘s and Dallas‘s comments, too, so they don’t feel left out.

• • •

Okay, be back with the End of Civilization tomorrow…if the actual End of Civilization doesn’t beat me to it.

Yes, as in “Star Wars Porgs.”

§ September 18th, 2017 § Filed under batman, blogging about blogging is a sin, low content mode, self-promotion § 3 Comments

I am pretty dog-tired as I write this…in fact, I believe I am as tired as, at the barest minimum, four dogs, so I’m going to just check in briefly for today’s Porg-essive Rue-Ann installment. I do intend on going back and discussing some of your responses to my Batman ’89 memories, and seeing if any more bits of info re: Mike of Comics Retailing Past have joggled loose in what we may refer to as “my brain,” for the lack of a better term.

However, after checking with him to make sure he wasn’t going to expand this information into a full-blown post on Armagideon-Time, I wanted to link to pal Andrew’s Bat-Burton era memories, such this tale of the Bat-worm turning on public perception of the Caped Crusader, or this one which almost defies explanation.

There’s a few more steps take down this particular memory lane, I’m sure, so I’ll get back to it mid-week. Add your own First Tim Burton Batman Movie Remembrances in the comments, if you’d like!

Also, I finally updated the Swamp Thing-a-Thon over on my Patreon with a discussion of Swamp Thing #7 (1973), the One with Batman in It. Taking a slightly less verbose, less recapp-y approach, and it’s still going to take some retooling, but I’ll get a hang of this whole “talking about Swamp Thing” business eventually. Just a dollar gets you in to see the magic!

Yes, I know zombies in The Walking Dead don’t actually say “braaaaiinnns.”

§ September 8th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging, publishing, swamp thing § 1 Comment


So customer Ryan came by the store on Thursday with the above gift for me…a full page pencil drawing of Swamp Thing that he drew. He said “I began to realize that you kind of like Swamp Thing, so I thought I’d do this for you!” That was very nice of him. I actually have a bunch of art in frames ready to hang up, I just haven’t found time to do so yet…I do have this piece by pal Matt on display, but I’ve got several others that need to go up. Someone remind me to do so.

Also, I may need to redact part of my post from Wednesday, in which it turns out the extra story pages only present in the variant’s variant (sigh…) are in fact preview pages from the next issue, so readers won’t miss out on any material. It was just a little something extra to give me a headache for the lucky fan who was able to get their mitts on it. Anyway, glad I moved my copies already. I’m not sure how I’m going to edit that post, but I’ll put an explanation at the top so they’ll know to take my rantings with a grain of braaaaiinnns. Thankfully nobody reads blogs anymore, so I didn’t get many complaints.

In Patreon news…I will have a new installment in the Swamp Thing-a-Thon up soon. I’m just retooling the format a bit, oh, and also trying to find time to write it, which hasn’t been easy of late. I didn’t give up, I’m just a wee bit behind. I’m attempting to make the process a little less time-consuming, so that a biweekly schedule won’t become an enormous burden. I’ll let you know when the new one is up.

And in news that’s not all me me me me me me, Bully, the Little Funnybook-Pricing Bull, and his pal John are selling comics to support good causes! Plenty of photo evidence at the link! If you’re in the area, why not drop by and pick up some great comics at low, low, low prices…and that’s no Bull(y)!

A progress(ive ruin) report.

§ July 6th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 3 Comments

Sorry gang…between feeling crummy over the last few days (I’m mostly over it now, thankfully) and just having a lot to do in my Real Life, I’m a bit behind on everything.

I should have the next installment of the Swamp-Thing-a-Thon up at my Patreon page this week…it looks like it’s going to be a bit longer than normal, as I’m trying a little something different in my coverage of the issue (#3, with the Patchwork Man!) so we’ll see how that goes. I mean, other than taking a long time to write.

I am hoping to having another actual post this week, or at the very least something fun for Saturday, so hopefully it’ll all work out. Next week I should be back to my regular schedule of posting long, rambling diatribes about things nobody cares about except me and maybe one or two of you oddballs out there, plus the occasional out-of-context scan from an old Archie or Harvey comic. You know, just like the old days of comics blogging, back when we were all so young and innocent and talking about that Lois Lane story “I Am Curious (Black)!” every two to three months like we were the first to discover it existed.

I’m also going to continue answering your questions at some point, before those of you who asked them die of old age. I mean, holy cow, that was in March, I’m stretching this out a bit.

I really do appreciate you all reading this site, and an additional thank you to the folks who throw a buck or so a month at me on the ol’ Patreon. I feel bad when I’m not pushing out the content like I want to (even if it isn’t at the previous 7-days-a-week schedule the younger and apparently more insane me used to be on), and I’m glad you understand that sometimes life just gets in the way. Yes, I have a life. This is shocking news to someone.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk at you again in short order.

Entering Low Content Mode.

§ February 24th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, low content mode § 2 Comments

Sorry, pals, but due to equipment failure at the old homestead, I have no internet service there and service technicians won’t be out to take a look at it (much less fix it) until the following week. Thus, Progressive Ruin Industries will be entering a brief hiatus until at least March 6th, when, with any luck, I’ll return with the latest installment of the End of Civilization. Between then and now, I’ll try to put up the occasional something, if I can prepare it at home and bring it on a flash drive to post with the work computer, but we’ll see. In the meantime, please enjoy the website’s 13+ years’ worth of archives, at least some of which have working links and unbroken images, and you can always see what I’m up to on the Twitters.

Thank you for your patience, and I should be up and running again as normal (or “normal”) soon

EDIT 2/26:: Belay that Low Content Mode, mister! The internet ‘n’ phone people squeezed in an earlier appointment for me, and the situation has been resolved! The Progressive Ruining will continue unabated!

I wonder if Ian ever notices when I reference him in my blog posts.

§ June 20th, 2016 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, how the sausage is made, question time § 4 Comments

Back to your questions…cruisin’ in with the following is Pedro de Pacas:

“So how DOES the sausage get made?”

Well, I take some of the excess bits of Progressive Ruin, ground it up, and…okay, that’s not what I do. Generally, before I turn in for the evening, I plop myself down in front of the ol’ Atari 800 and start to type away. Now, typing’s the easy part. I’m a goood tipyst. It’s the actual content that can be tricky, since, as you likely know, I’ve been hackin’ away at this blogging thing and generating content for nearly 12 1/2 years now, and that’s not counting my previous online behavior at LiveJournal or on message boards or on local BBSes and of course the secret journals that can only be revealed after my death and I’m long past Ian’s vengeful reach. Point is, I’ve said a lot of stuff, and covered a lot of ground, and I’m not sure I have any more “good ol’ ‘Death of Superman‘ days” stories left in me.

In general, though, posts on this site can come from just my daily adventures in retail and overall retailing philosophy, seeing something odd in an old comic, reminiscing about past events, reacting to current comics news, occasionally reviewing comics, and just being silly…you know, the usual stuff comic blogs are made of, but hopefully I provide enough of a unique perspective to keep you all coming back every couple of days. I mean, I see my stats, and that can’t all be search engine spiders and people in the Ukraine trying to crack my password.

The one source of blog content I do miss is interactions with store employees, most of whom were about halfway nuts and therefore good inspirations for postings. Like, for example, this interaction I had with Employee Aaron about the Dungeons & Dragons comic, or my conversations with Kid Chris. Sadly, now, at my own store, it’s just me and my volleyball Wilson, and he doesn’t say much.

And on a related note, googum googums

“Anything new and good in what’s left of the comics blogosphere, or is it all over?”

I’d been sort of dreading this particular question, since I felt like this would be a big topic that I couldn’t do justice to. For example, I might end a sentence with a preposition.

However, I wouldn’t say the “comics blogosphere” is over, by any means, though even typing the phrase “comics blogsphere” whisks me away on nostalgic winds to the year 2004. Even now, you can go take a look at the current iteration of the Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron 3000 and see the latest updates from many still active comic book weblogs. (And I always point out that I saddled the previous iteration of the Update-A-Tron with that particular name, an act for which I likely should apologize.)

The comics blogosphere as it existed Way Back When in the early/mid-2000s, when I entered the mess, is largely gone, of course. I don’t just mean “folks ain’t around,” though folks did move on, leaving behind blogs to move into actual paying writing jobs, or just leaving when they decided they were done, or guided their blogs toward other topics, or just lost interest and let things peter out. A lot of the interaction between bloggers is gone, too, as others have mentioned…inter-blog discussions and debates and the infrequent feud (joking and otherwise) aren’t as common as they used to be. At least, not that I’ve seen, and that’s another thing….

…I don’t frequent other blogs as much. It used to be, before I’d post, I’d do a quick rundown of the latest posts on the Update-A-Tron to make sure I wasn’t accidentally duplicating another person’s content. Seems crazy now, since I’m pretty sure I was the only person championing All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, and besides, even if I was tackling the same topic as another blogger, I’d like to think my voice is unique enough to put my own personal spin on the matter. Nowadays, however, I simply don’t spend a lot of time reading comic blogs. I mean, I do follow some, and I have ’em in my feed reader, and sometimes other sources (like Twitter) will direct me to blog posts that interest me. But that level of interaction I used to have, going directly to other sites, leaving comments, building conversations…there just isn’t enough time anymore.

Another change in the blogging world that initially discouraged me was the advent of the group blogs, the ones hosted at the comics news/press release sites that had several people creating multiple posts every day, and how was one poor dumb blogger like me going to compete with that amount of content? Why go to Progressive Ruin and his handful of posts per week, when you can go to The Big Professional Comics Blog Emporium and get dozens of posts about Lois Lane having to become a Black woman every hour upon the hour? …Okay, I’m teasing slightly, but it was a bit imposing at first, until I accepted this wasn’t a competition, that several folks working for these sites were people I liked, and that my site had the one thing I was “selling” that other sites couldn’t: me! Sure that’s a bit egotistical, but one doesn’t write a comic blog with his name in the title, relating his opinions for nearly 13 years by being a shy, retiring wallflower. (Also, I did write for the group comics blog Trouble with Comics for a while until some scheduling problems took me away from the site for the time being, so take my group-blog comments with a grain of virtual salt.)

The other thing is that online comics discussion is always evolving…traditional blogs may have been “the thing,” and for lots of people they still are, but there’s Tumblr, there’s Instagram, there’s Twitter, there’s podcasting, and so on. I’m sure there’s some platform people are actively using to discuss comic books about which I am totally unaware, because I am an old person and not hep to your current jive. I suspect I’ll be sticking with my trusty WordPress installation long after everyone’s moved on to BrainJet DirectConnext online communications since I tend to hold onto things way past their shelf life.

In short; yes, googum, the comics blogosphere, or Twittersphere, or Tumblrsphere, is not yet over. It’s not the same as it was, but that’s a good thing. …But I’ll require someone to tap me on the shoulder when it’s time to go, because I won’t be able to tell, myself.

Tuesday is the new Monday.

§ December 15th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging, self-promotion, star wars § 1 Comment

Sorry for missing Monday again…I’m still recovering from a cold, and decided “turning in early” was the better strategy for Sunday evening than “generating website content.” Write in for your refunds, etc. etc. …But seriously, while I’ve been at the reduced schedule on this site for a few years now, I always like to have a Monday post, but sometimes it just can’t happen. Thanks for your patience!

In other news:

  • Last week I was interviewed about the 1977 Star Wars Early Bird Kit for an article that appeared yesterday over at Yahoo! Movies. For those of you who don’t know what the Early Bird Kit was, it’s explained thoroughly in the article, but in short, it was a gussied-up coupon for the first batch of Star Wars action figures that parents could put under the Christmas tree since Kenner wasn’t going to have the figures themselves ready for the first gift-giving season after the film’s release.

    As the article states, I was the recipient of one of these kits, and while I’m sure modern kids would think that would have been a completely ridiculous thing to receive in place of actual toys, I assure you, I was quite thrilled with it. I filled out that coupon and mailed it in right away, and probably not so patiently awaited the several months for the toys themselves to arrive.

    I mentioned this in my interview, but it didn’t make the article, so I’ll go ahead and share it here: the batch of figures was supposed to be Luke, Leia, R2-D2 and Chewbacca. However, when my package of Early Bird figures finally arrived, there was sadly an R2-shaped hole in my particular assortment. The plucky little astromech was accidentally left out of my box!

    Well, 8-or-possibly-at-this-point-9-year-old me wasn’t thrilled at this turn of events, as you might imagine. At my parents’ encouragement, I wrote a letter to Kenner apprising them of the situation, requesting a replacement R2 unit. I even drew a picture (or, ahem, three or four) of R2-D2 in my letter, just to make sure the folks at the toy company knew exactly which Star Wars figure I was specifically referencing.

    Eventually, Kenner did send me a replacement R2-D2. It took a while, or at least what passes in the head of a 8-or-9-year-old as “a while,” and while I was waiting, during a Star Wars-oriented visit to the local toy emporium, I had gone ahead and purchased another R2, among several other figures. Which of course meant that when that replacement from Kenner arrived, I had R2-D2 and R2-D2 starring in The ‘Droid Trap or whatever sort of Star Wars toy playing I was doing at the time.

    Sadly, several decades later many of my Star Wars toys are long gone, including both R2s. I do have a few figures left, including that original old Early Bird Chewbacca, and I currently have my original one of these sitting on top of my desk even as I type this, staring at me with its single eye.

    Sigh. Not that I need more stuff in my house, but I do still wish I had all my Star Wars figures. I have one of those books that has nice big color photos of every figure from the line, but it’s not quite the same.

  • This week’s Question Time over at Trouble with Comics was “name a favorite book by a creator new to comics this decade.” There are several good answers over there, including one or a dozen I wish I’d thought of, but I think my response isn’t a bad one.
  • Bully the Little Computerless Bull now has a new magic counting box in his barn so he’s back to busily tapping his little hooves on his keyboard generating content just for you! However, pal Andrew of Armagideon-Time fame stepped in for a number of guest-posts while Bully was down-and-out, and did his usual excellent job filling in with some great entries celebrating the fun of comics.

Pretty sure my house *is* the Old Bloggers Home.

§ December 7th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, cap and the falcon, pal plugging § 1 Comment

So in case you missed it, the twelfth anniversary of this here website was this past Saturday, so be sure to go back and check out my crazy epic-length post. Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes, and let’s hope I can get a few more years out of this thing before I am forced to enter the Old Bloggers Home.

Particularly kind was this write-up from Twitter pal and fellow blogger Ryan. It’s nice when people remember that I’ve been at this…not blogging, but in the comics retail business in general…for a long, long time. I’ve seen some things, maaaaaan. And with any luck I’ll be around to share even more of those things that I’ve seen, even if I have to wait ’til certain involved parties 1) pass away or 2) are jailed. …But enough about pal Ian!

Really, though…thanks for reading and sticking with me all this time.

• • •

I had a small collection of old comics come into my shop the other day…well, not on their own, someone was carrying them…and I ended up purchasing about a dozen copies of 1970s Captain America, back when it had been retooled as Captain America and the Falcon. That reminded me an old feature on this site, which I last did in…2006? Good gravy, that long ago? But it was “And Now A Moment with Cap and the Falcon,” which always made me laugh if not anyone else. So, here we go, making its triumphant return to the virtual pages of Progressive Ruin after nearly ten years away:

And now a moment with…Cap and the Falcon:

capfalc191
I hope those two crazy mixed-up kids can learn to get along.

• • •

What’s THIS? Disaster strikes!? Bully, The Bull Who Is Stuffed, without a computer? But wait! Who’s this!? Pal Andrew, filling in with a swell post just in the nick of time! The day is saved!
 
 

image from Captain America #191 (November 1975) by Tony Isabella, Bill Mantlo, Frank Robbins and D. Bruce Berry

Tempted to just caption photos with “look at this vinyl doll! JUST LOOK AT IT!”

§ November 2nd, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging § 3 Comments

Hey, pals…just wanted to apologize for not having done an End of Civilization post in a while. I always intend to…I flip through each Previews looking for likely entries, and even generate a folder of some scans…but I just haven’t been feeling it lately. I don’t know why…maybe it’s too much like work, though I did the monthly orders at my previous place of employment and I still managed EoCs. Probably the fact that I’m at the shop seven days a week now means I’m less inclined to spend free time paging through the catalog for laughs.

I still intend to keep it going. In fact, I still haven’t given up on this month’s entry, but we’ll see how it goes. At any rate, thanks for still reading my site, regardless.

In the meantime, here are some folks who, unlike me, are doing interesting things:

  • Pal Andrew just finished up this year’s Halloween Countdown, with a month full of good reading.
  • Bully, The Stuffed Bull That Walks Like A Bull, is casting his cute little button peepers upon Jack Kirby’s monsters in his own inimitable way.
  • Pal Dorian also just finished a month full of themed horror posts, mostly movies but some books mixed in as well. Certainly found more than a few to add to the ol’ Netflix queue, like I’ve had time to watch movies lately. (sigh)
  • Pal Dave is still looking back at old video and computer games of his youth, and since I’m about the same age as Dave, they’re of my youth, too. However, my experience with most of the games he discusses are via reviews and ads I’d read at the time, so it’s nice to read his experiences with them.

And by “they” he means “Mike Sterling.”

§ September 30th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, self-promotion § 1 Comment

So the latest Trouble with Comics question time entry is a little different, in that it’s a roundtable discussion with the TwC contributors on the topic of “comics blogging: what was up with that?” Okay, Alan was a little more eloquent with how he put that particular query, but we all chimed in with our thoughts, and though I wish I’d contributed a little more, I’m in the mix nonetheless. So go on over and relive those long-ago, nigh-mythical days when comic blogs existed.

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