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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!
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.
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.
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:
• • •
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
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.
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.
Well, I hate missing a Monday post, but sometimes things just get away from you and, well, What Can You Do? I’ve had some real-life type stuff of late that’s been getting in the way of blogging fun time, so content may be a bit sparse…well, more sparse…around here for a little bit. But, I assure you, I’m still here. Watching. Waiting.
In the meantime, I still participated in the Trouble with Comics Question of the Week, which in this week’s case was “The nine-panel grid. Love it or hate it?” As I explain in my response, the question caught me off guard a bit, which is exactly why I’m joining in on this…to be caught off guard, to stretch my writing muscles a bit so that I’m not always posting on how great Frank Miller’s The Spirit is and other such topics about which I’m completely correct. I never gave the nine-panel grid much thought, really, especially why anyone would hate it, but…well, you can read my response there, which, as I’d mentioned to Mr. Doane as I was working on it, is basically “I’m dumb; here’s why.”
There’s also an accompanying gallery of nine-esque panel grids for you to enjoy. And here’s what TWC got up to in the past week or so, like this bit of business someone beat me to. I’ll have my revenge, oh yes.
Anyway, I’ll try to be back in the blogging groove later this week. Thanks for your patience, pals. Remember, you can always find me on the Twitterers if you really miss me. Also, please visit my store‘s eBay store, if, you know, you’re not busy or anything.
So the big hoohar over the last couple of days is the new Daredevil TV series, all thirteen episodes of which were unleashed on Friday and, apparently, everyone on the planet except yours truly somehow managed to burn through every one in the first couple of hours they were available.
Okay, perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but while I was workin’ hard for the money at my store (that would be Sterling Silver Comics, located in the shining heart of Camarillo, CA), all the rest of youse guys were relaxing in your easy chairs, a cool drink in one hand and probably another cool drink in your other hand, using your toesies on your smartphones to Twitter and Facebook at your pals to let them know what episode you’re on and to spoil the shocking cameo appearances of Odin and Squirrel Girl in the last episode.
Phooey sez I. I’m going to spoil the end of Frank Miller’s Spirit movie, and see how you like it! (And I know it’ll be a spoiler, because none of you had the good sense to experience this masterpiece.)
…Ah, okay, I’m not as bent out of shape about it as all that. Some of y’all are all excitable-like about this Daredevil show, which has turned out to be pretty good, so I can’t blame you for your enthusiasm. I’m only through episode 4, but this is shaping up to be an interesting, if surprisingly violent (for a Marvel product) program. I saw one of my Twitter pals describe it (or retweet someone describing it) as a 13-hour superhero movie, which I’m sure is certainly the effect generated by grinding through every episode one after another. I’m experiencing it with long-ish intermissions, but I suspect I’ll have a similar opinion by the end.
At the very least, it’s likely better than whatever the end product of that other Daredevil show might have been, as seen in this PROGRESSIVE RUIN FLASHBACK! Though, on second thought, that show could have been fantastic in its own right.
• • •
In other news: sorry about the Low Content Mode lately…turns out working a shop (that shop being Sterling Silver Comics
, still located in the still-shining heart of Camarillo, CA) by yourself seven days a week can take a lot out of you, so I haven’t had a lot of energy to generate content here. I’m not going away…as I promised you all a while back, barring my surprising demise in a shocking deep sea diving accident, I will give you advance warning if I’m shutting down the blog. Which, by the way, I have no intention of doing. I’m just letting the batteries recharge a bit.
You can usually find me annoying anyone who made the mistake of following me on Twitter, so feel free to check in on me there if you somehow believe I’m more tolerable in smaller doses. But I promise, I’ll still be here on this site doing whatever it is I think I’m doing. Thanks to all of you for still reading.
Johanna’s long-running site Comics Worth Reading recently had some behind-the-scenes tech trouble, resulting in a corrupted database and years of lost posts. She’s going through and restoring some of the older reviews as she’s able to extract them, but…man, talk about a nightmare. My most empathetic thoughts are sent her way as she deals with this problem.
While this can be a drag, suddenly losing all that work built up over a decade or more, on the other hand I can see where it can almost be…liberating, in a sense. A lot of my posts, once you go back far enough, are so link-rotted or just generally awful that I’d almost prefer you didn’t go back and just read each and every post I’d made. There are lots of links to Haloscan comments that all went away went Haloscan vanished. There are interlinks between my posts that go to the old Blogger version of my site, which I still maintain copies of on my server just to that any old outside links to those old versions of my posts won’t be dead ones. Basically that means for entries from 2003 ’til whenever it was I switched over to WordPress — in 2010 or so — there are effectively two versions of my site here (though I’ve blocked the old Blogger pages from indexing, which should reduce any Googling confusion). Anyway, it’s a mess.
I’ve said before I’d almost want to start a Progressive Ruin 3.0 (2.0 being this site, 1.0 being the site I talk about in my first anniversary post), where I could just begin completely anew, and leave this site as a frozen archive for what has gone before. Or, I could bring over all the best posts from this site, leaving behind the worst ones, and retool the posts slightly so that they are less dependent on off-site links.
But that sounds like a mess, too. What I have been doing, on and off over the years, is that if I link to an older pre-Wordpress post in a newer post, I’ll go back and fiddle with that old post so dead links are either removed or noted as such, or any in-site links are corrected to the modern WordPress site rather than the archived Blogger pages. I haven’t been consistent about it (like in that first anniversary post I just linked to), but at least I try. At the very least I keep checking my first post to make sure it goes where I want it to go.
Ultimately, if I plan on keeping this site around for a while, I’m probably just going to have to bite the bullet and fix each post individually…or somehow program something into the site so that if you access a page here older than, say, 2010, something pops up that says “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” or, you know, something similar.
Anyway, again, my sympathies to Johanna, mixed with a little “there but for the grace of God.” Should probably look into backing up my WordPress database.
In other news:
…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.
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