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…though I should have an End of Civilization post up tomorrow. Sorry, gang, I’ve had some long days of late and my blogging muse has temporarily flown the coop, apparently. I’m not asleep, I’m just resting my eyes.
Here’s a thing about my site that you probably don’t know about. When I started, waaaay back when, the plan was to some some kind of audio programming…I’m not sure “podcasting” was even a thing in late 2003, but I had half an idea of somehow broadcasting my dulcet tones across the internettings and into your earbuds. (Hmmmm…”PODgressive Ruin,” maybe?) I even have a soundboard here donated to me by pal Dorian toward such a purpose.
Alas, that never came to pass, but “never say never” I suppose, as someday the bug may bite me and I’ll put the effort into actually speaking to you, instead of hunting and pecking at the keyboard with this pen in my mouth, please, someone send help, I’ve been tied up here for days. Anyway, I created a subdomain on this site back before I even posted my first post, and that subdomain is right here. No idea where I snapped that clip art, though I’m pretty sure the coloring of said clip art is my fault. Also, that’s your reminded that my original color scheme for the site was going to be bright green lettering on a dark background, like the clunky ol’ personal computers of my rapidly receding youth. Friends advised me “that’ll make me want to put my eyes out,” so I wisely opted not to go with those colors.
It’s also a reminder that I should never use the phrase “coming soon” because that’s almost a guarantee I’ll not get around to it. Or only get around to it grudingly.
Well, enough about that. Remember, a new End of Civilization is coming…er, soon. Yeah.
First, please go back and check out my Fourth of July post, as our pal Bully the Littlest Stuffed Bull of Them All provided a lovely animation to accompany that entry.
Second, some instances of the unwanted pop-up video ads and possibly the page-redirect ads may have been traced to a stat-tracker I’ve had on this site for years that seems to have just recently (like, within the last few months) been causing these problems for its users. I’ve removed that plug-in, and hopefully that’ll solve at least some issues. (Please note that similar problems can be caused by installs on your browsers as well, so keep an eye on all those Firefox/IE/Chrome add-ons!)
Third…well, there is no third. I said only a “couple” of updates, after all.
1. I’ve had reports from folks using the Silk browser on the Kindle that they can’t access my site, receiving a “script not responding” message. (I’ve also had a message or two from folks who say they can bring up my site in Silk just fine.) Have any of you Kindle users had trouble accessing my site? I mean, I suppose if you only have a Kindle for web access, you’ll not see this message, but if you happen to also happen to have a Kindle in addition to whatever magical computo-box you use to look at my ramblings, please let me know.
1a. Alan tells me that searching for my site with the Kindle’s Duck Duck Go app seems to be a workaround, if that helps.
2. I also hear tell that Safari on a laptop also brought up some glitches recently. The only change I’ve made was installing a WordPress plug-in that would streamline the mobile access to my site, which shouldn’t affect Safari browsing, but who knows. Anyone else have recent trouble with my site via laptop browsing?
3. I’ve also once again heard about pop-up ads turning up on my site. Last time this happened, the culprit was adware/malicious plug-ins/etc. on users’ computers, not my site, so I’m hoping that’s the case this time. Well, “hoping” makes me sound like a jerk…I’m not really hoping you guys have viruses on your computers, but as far as I know and can tell, I shouldn’t have any pop-up anythings on my site here. If you see any, let know in as much detail as you can manage (like what they’re advertising, and if there are any “ad supplied by [x]” notations somewhere in the window).
I have multiple computers and phones and even a Nook, at home and at work, with various operating systems and browser types. I have about five different browsers on my personal desktop computer alone. I have never been able to duplicate any of the problems that have been reported to me, which makes me dependent on you folks to let me know when something seemingly goes haywire. Last night, I spent a lot of time bugging Twitter pals about this, including a couple of comic pros who probably could’ve been writing/drawing stuff rather than helping me debug my dumb webpage.
Now, it’s not like my site is cleanly-scripted pure HTML5 poetry. There are a couple of security plug-ins installed, this particular WordPress theme I’m using seems to have vanished from the Internet entirely so it hasn’t been updated in a while, and, well, those Amazon ads in the sidebar which everyone should use and click hint hint shouldn’t be doing anything to my site, and plus I’m secretly installing cookies on every visitor’s computer that will redirect Google image searches to pictures of Swamp Thing and Sluggo, but most of these things don’t seem to cause any access problems as far as I can tell.
The absolute last resort is refurbishing the entire site, getting a new WordPress theme, dropping all the sidebar plug-ins…well, no, the really absolute last resort would be restarting completely from scratch, burning down the old and setting up Progressive Ruin 2.0 (well, 3.0, actually) on the ashes, but nobody wants that. Well, I don’t want that, anyway…some people out there would be glad to see all this nonsense go up in flames. But I’m not ready to give up, and hopefully I can work out whatever quirks exist so that I can still talk to you all about comics without worrying whether or not anyone can see what I’m saying.
I started writing a long ol’ post about comic book ordering, but I’m not going to finish anytime soon, and it’s already really late, and your pal Mike needs his beauty sleep. I mean, really needs it. Have you seen Mike lately? Sheesh.
Anyway, I know my site has been a bit light in content lately…I’m still here, I promise. My goofin’-around-on-the-blog time has been in short supply, and some nights I’ve been getting in too late, too tired and too scatterbrained to put together an entry of any real substance (not that scatterbrainedness has ever been in the way before).
My comic ordering post should be up on Sunday, then I’ll be back on Monday and I’ve got an End of Civilization post coming this week (already? are months like only two weeks long now or something?) so I’ll be back up to speed soon.
I was going to maybe do a Sluggo Saturday post, but I almost can’t bring myself to get up, go to the other room, grab the stack of Nancy comics and flip through ‘em for inspiration. This is terrible. My mind is going, I can feel it. Daisy, Daisy, give me…your answer…do
So for some reason, instead of wanting to write new content for this here site, I spent an awful lot of my allotted late Sunday evening comics blogging time looking at some old posts of mine, and old posts from a friend’s site from a number of years back, the heyday of “let’s everyone get in on this comics-blogging thing” activity. Don’t know why I was feeling this weird sort of nostalgia for that particular era, where folks (including me!) were a little more earnest and angry and some of us bumped heads over things for no real good reason (and I don’t even remember who or what this was about at this late date).
I posted a links to a couple of old things I wrote on my Twitter account last night as I found them, and even reblogged some old Photoshopped thing of mine onto my hardly-used Tumblr, but…yeah, sorry, I just don’t have real content today. Just had an evening of thinking back to the way things used to be, the interactions I used to have with the other comics bloggers, and so on. This isn’t a “COMICS BLOGGING IS DEAD” post…it’s “COMICS BLOGGING IS DIFFERENT” what with your Tumblrs and Twitterers and I’m just feeling old, don’t mind me.
I really need to get back into regularly looking at the ol’ Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron (and it’s nice that the person running that site remembers that I was the one who came up with that name for the original comics weblog update lister) and see what new names are out there. I’ve been fairly insular, just doing my own thing here and not doing a whole lot of looking around beyond friends’ sites and whatever linking trackbacks I happen to spot in my referrals.
Plus, we had an enormously busy weekend at the shop, so I’m a little fried from that. The only unusual comic-related thing I did this weekend was that I finally got around to straightening up our poster racks, since apparently someone took all the rolled posters out of their proper slots and just shoved them back in there randomly and that was terrible. And I got it all rearranged just in time for our friendly Traveling Poster Salesman to pop on by the shop and offer his wares, and I was totally prepared for him. See, how exciting is that story?
Thus, no post today. Well, aside from all that you just read. Or skimmed, which I wouldn’t blame you for.
• • •
REMINDER: As noted a couple of days ago, pal Mark (cocreator of Fake AP Stylebook) and his wife can use a little financial help due to health issues and loss of work. Thanks to your generosity, they are way past their goal, but the fund drive continues for a few more days and getting that much more of a cash buffer would be of great help to them. If you have a couple of spare bucks, please consider donating. Thank you very much.
…as I have been too short on time in the last couple of days to give it the proper attention it deserves. It will be up Friday, I’m reasonably certain.
In the meantime, a few clarifications:
- It sort of dawned on me that perhaps I wasn’t clear about the origins of that “Mike Sterling is a jerk!” image that Bully, the Little Photoshopping Bull, made for me and I linked to at the end of this post. It was created in response to this Twitter post of mine in which I quote Employee Aaron expressing his opinion of me, based of course on the famous X-Men comic splash page. So, to be very clear, Bully does not actually think I’m a jerk, nor did I ever think he did. I know he was just teasing!
However, Bully does think Professor X is a jerk, and for good reason!
- For this post, my example of Power Pack #27 was used almost entirely at random. In fact, as I was writing the post, it was originally New Warriors #27, until I decided to write a little something about New Warriors #1 at the end. I thought “well, that’s two mentions of New Warriors in one post, clearly that violates some sort of zoning law” and Power Pack was the first thing to pop into my head to replace it. So, I wasn’t really making any kind of specific point about Power Pack #27, just a general one about guide-pricing versus real world sales potential.
However, in response to my mention, this nice person (who also says a few much-appreciated kind words about my goofy site) takes a more in-depth look at the comic in question.
- MrJM was only kidding with the “Thanks, Obama!” comment. Honest!
- A few of you have noted that Howard the Duck #1 was a comic that was once red hot and inflated in value, due to its 1970s popularity, and remained fairly pricy up until a certain movie of some note was released. I wish I’d remembered to dig up some of the old guides while I was at the shop to double-check pricing, but in general I do recall a sudden dip in demand and value on the comic. Exactly how much, monetarily speaking, I am not sure, but yeah, it certainly happened. In recent years prices have been creeping back up, partially because those comics are sort of crawling out from under the shadow of the film and regaining some critical appreciation again, and partially because it’s a noteworthy series that’s approaching its 40th birthday and it’s getting more difficult to find high-grade copies.
Anyway, that’s enough of that. I’ll bring a proper end to civilization tomorrow, I (mostly) promise!
…In case you needed reminding. Also, pal Dorian runs down the FCBD books
for this year.
In other news:
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!
So I had a fellow bring by a couple of comics he wanted to sell…an issue of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1960s series) and a copy of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, both of which had these taped to the front covers:
As it turns out, these comics were stored in such a way that the tape essentially dried out, and with only minimal effort these additions came right off, leaving behind only minor discoloration where the tape had once adhered to the paper. And while I offered the customer many times that long ago asking price of two cents apiece, it still wasn’t a whole lot, since the comics otherwise were in what we like to call “previously well-loved condition,” and the customer opted to hang onto them. He did thank me for taking those tags off the covers, and now, here they are, for you to enjoy.
Also, please don’t tape things directly to your comics. Unless you’re going to bring them to me and I can show them on my site and say “look what this person did to his or her comic…can you believe it?”
• • •
In my End of Civilization post
from a few days ago, I noted the existence of the Batman and Robin action figures done in the style of Aardman Animation and how I was baffled that such a thing would even exist. Now…well, it is sort of amazing that such a thing is in the world, these Bat-Aardman figures, but I honestly hadn’t realized there are actual animated shorts by Aardman
featuring these characters. A quick Googling
reveals that this is hardly news to anyone except me, since I 1) cancelled my cable long ago and thus haven’t seen this DC Nation thing, 2) don’t read comic websites aside from my own, because I’m so amazing and perhaps somewhat self-aggrandizing, and 3) don’t really have a third thing. In short, that these animated shorts passed me by is just One of Those Things, I Guess, and since I do enjoy Aardman’s output, I should track ‘em down someday.
• • •
…this is a thing that is real. Just look at it. …Look at it.
Normally, I’d just delete spam comments, but this is a comment
in French extolling the virtues of hentai, so I just left it after editing out the website address because it made me laugh. YOU WIN, SPAMMERS.
• • •
So I discovered (or, given my usual track record for such things, “found out long after everyone else” — see earlier this post) that our funnybook distributor Diamond Comics apparently has a Twitter account
Huh. Well. …I mean, I’d happily run that account for them, for, you know, the occasional drop shipment of some coin of the realm, but, well, there might be a conflict of interest there for me.
• • •
In other news, pal and fellow Bureau Chief
Euge, AKA ADAM WARROCK
, will be performing at our shop in a couple of weeks
! This will soon increase the number of Internet pals I’ve met and touched in person by one! PREPARE TO BE TOUCHED, EUGE.
So I received a used copy of this hardcover in a collection I purchased the other day:
And, well, I did have it in the shop as a new item before, but I never really did sit down and give it a good looking-at then, despite my enjoyment of Don Newton’s Batman. Thus, before putting it out for sale I thought I’d take it home and give it a read…what, it’s going to get more
used? …Well, okay, yeah, I suppose it is, but I’ve the gentle touch of a professional comics handler, and can easily peruse this volume without causing further discoloration, dogearing, spine stress, or, God help us, foxing.
Anyway, I was a fan of Newton’s work, both on Batman and on Infinity Inc., which he had just started to work on when he passed away in 1984 at the too-young age of 49. Reading this book, I find myself struck by one thing, which will hardly be a new or original comment in regards to these sorts of reprint projects, but nevertheless it’s still an honest reaction. The pages are just too white and clean. The Young Mike that’s still rattling around in my head is expecting to be reading these stories on brown-ish newsprint. In fact, when I mentally picture Newton’s art, I imagine dark, moody images…all shadows and mystery. Reprinting in this book on bright pages with bright coloring, even the shadows look like you’re staring at the sun. …Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but still, it was a bit jarring to have the art right in front of me and contradicting my memories of same.
And before you say anything, yes, Infinity Inc. was printed on bright white paper with eye-searingly bright colors, but Newton’s sadly brief tenure there doesn’t have the nostalgic hold his Batman work has for me.
As I was writing this, another sorta unsung comics artist fave of mine came to mind that I’d like to see reprinted in a book like this. I’d totally be all over The Complete Irv Novick.
• • •
One of my readers was kind enough to point out that, in an old post of mine…I mean, really old, within the first month of this site’s life…one of the links I’d posted way back then had apparently since gone feral and now pointed to a porn site. Okay, first off…porn on the Internet? When did that start? And secondly…yeah, link rot. This site is on the verge of turning nine years old, and I’m sure many links in a lot of my old posts now go to destinations I did not originally intend. I mean, if I was sending you to a dirty filthy dirty site
, I was usually pretty good about warning you up front.
I’ve heard about some people going through and consistently maintaining and / or removing links on old posts, but frankly, it’s hard enough to find the time to keep with new posts, or sleep. And then there was the great Blogger-to-Wordpress shift I underwent in early ’10, which resulted in some formatting and archived-post issues, and then whatever that company was that was supporting the old commenting system cut that support, so links to those comments are now no bueno, I guess, and…man, sometimes I feel doing a reboot, and just starting this website from scratch. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNEW BEFORE: WELCOME TO THE NEW PROGRESSIVE RUIN! and then I’d never refer to anything before that date ever again.
I’m not going to do it, but, back past a certain point, my site’s a mess. I do still go back and fix links and formatting and stuff if I have occasion to link to an old post, so I’m not letting things totally fall into barbarism, but…well, just assume any super old link is probably taking you straight to a site that’ll sell you V1aG4a or promise you pictures of people inserting Tab A into Slot B.
However, I am happy to note that I still occasionally edit my very first post to make sure it’s still sending you where I want you to go. Man, had I known they’d be fiddling with those addresses every year or so, I’d have picked something else for my debut entry.
• • •
Reader d asks
“Hey Mike, we all know you have every Swamp & Man Thing appearance, but do you collect The Heap as well? Just curious.”
Well, I don’t have every Man-Thing appearance…I do have every one written by Steve Gerber, as well as the first appearance in Savage Tales (not by Gerber), but from about the ’90s forward, I’ve been a little pickier about touching Man-Things.
That has nothing to do with the actual thrust of your question, which is all about the Heap, the original comic book swamp monster dating back to the 1940s. Sadly…no, I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out Heap comics, though I have picked up some of the latter day revivals, such as this 1971 one-shot I’ve discussed in the past, or this new version from Moonstone, or the Airboy/Mr. Monster one-shot from 1987, in which the Heap plays a prominent role, and is a great comic, to boot.
The original Heap comics are about to be reprinted in a series of three hardcover volumes, and I’m still waffling a bit on whether I can afford to pick these up for myself. My usual argument to talk myself into such things is “if I don’t get them now, I’ll probably never have another chance, at least this (relatively) cheaply,” so we’ll see. I am tempted.
• • •
On a related note, in that it’s asked in the same comments section, Casey wonders
“Mike, have you ever done a post about toxic Teen Titans continuity?”
Oh God, no. What I’d wished I had done is recorded pal Dorian and myself going on and on and hashing it all out and realizing that some of the time frames involved would make some of the adult characters a lot older than they should be, or that some of the lengths of time of team membership would be extremely short, or…hell, I don’t remember now. This was prior to DC kind of pushing the “sliding scale” of the Modern DC Superhero Universe to being about 20 years old, as of Identity Crisis, which I recall thinking was a slightly more reasonable time frame, given the amount of “important” events and continuity, not just for the Titans but for everyone, you had to squeeze in there.
Of course, post-Flashpoint, that scale is now about 5 or 6 years, depending on who you ask, I guess, so it’s all a moot point. And I hear tell Titans continuity has even more exciting problems now, as in some indecision whether there were previous Titans teams or not, but I leave the pondering of that question to younger, abler folks than myself.
• • •
And then sometimes I repost a gag I already made on the Twitter
, such as presenting this gag header from Archie’s Joke Book
#134 (March 1969 – hey, my birth month!) and lamenting the fact that in no way does the story live up to this title:
…which is just as well, since Archie couldn’t participate anyway:
Oh, scatological humor! You’re the best
• • •
To bring things back around to the nostalgia of Young Mike from the beginning of this post, just before I soiled it all with continuity nitpicking, porn, poop jokes, and Man-Thing innuendo, I found myself the other day discussing the joys of Omega Men
with a customer of mine.
Although I had read the introduction of the Omega Men in those three or so issues of Green Lantern, I didn’t follow them to their own series (which experienced some small controversy in its early issues due to depictions of violence, back in the “they didn’t know how good they had it” days of fandom). It took Alan Moore, a writer of some note, writing a back-up in two successive issues of the series (#26, pictured, and #27) to get me to take a look…and quite wisely, a new storyline in the main feature started up at that same time, giving Moore-ites like me a solid jumping-on point. It helped that 1) the new regular artist on the series was Shawn McManus, for whom I was developing a strong appreciation, and 2) that the comic itself was just a darned weird, creepy, and plain ol’ interesting sci-fi adventure.
As I was talking about the book with the customer, a couple of things dawned on me that, I suppose, shouldn’t have surprised me but did anyway. The actual run of that “new direction” for Omega Men, from #26 to the book’s eventual cancellation, was only 13 issues, plus an annual. It sure felt like it was longer…not in a bad way, I mean. It’s that a whole lot of stuff happened along the course of that comic, and it’s hard to believe they managed to fit it all into only about a year’s worth of stories (well, technically a year…I think some issues ran a bit late, if I recall correctly). Also, there was a Teen Titans crossover, and, of all things, a Crisis on Infinite Earths-engineered Blue Devil crossover, and an appearance in DC Comics Presents, so that probably helped in the perception of the comics’ apparent length.
The other thing that dawned on me was that the series wrapped up while I was still in high school, which doesn’t feel weird for anyone but me, I realize, but still, it seems like it’s more recent than that. Ah, well…tempus fugit, and all that.
I’ve since picked up the remainder of the series, which of course includes the first appearance of Lobo (which guides at a low $7.00, which sort of surprises me, except I suppose Omega Men print runs at the time were fairly large), and despite the occasional terrifying Kevin O’Neill art job, those earlier issues were fairly staid compared to the outright craziness of the McManus-era stories. Still fun, and worth checking out if you can find ‘em cheap, which they usually are.
• • •
Just to let you folks know, I’m probably entering Low Content Mode for the rest of the week, or at least lower
content mode…the Thanksgiving holiday is coming up, and I’ve also got another project I’m working on at the moment that requires the focus of my creative energy, he said in a hopefully non-New Agey way, so probably you’ll not be seeing much more out of me this week aside from maybe a pic or two. Or you can follow me on the Twitter
where I’m still likely to spout off about something. At any rate, I’ll see you on the other side, and please enjoy your Thanksgiving, where applicable, and everyone else, enjoy your Thursday. Thanks for reading!
• • •
the end of the post! I was wondering where that was.
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