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Just so we’re clear from the get-go…I’m not quitting the site.

§ April 12th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, does mike ever shut up § 32 Comments

So at work, we had some kind of insane virus end up on one of the store computers which took me more time than I really cared to spend trying to clean out the system and make sure the damned thing was gone. And then, a day or two later, I had yet another computerized brouhaha at home which required hours of maintenance and reinstalls and such, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I hit my breaking point and said “screw it, I’m tired of staring at computer screens.” And that’s when my vacation from the Internet began.

Yeah, I know, a whole three days, wooo, big deal. But for someone who’s been obsessing about updating his website daily for about 8 1/3 years, it did feel like kind of a big deal, at least to me. And while I was avoiding computer usage at home, I actually was feeling a tad…anxious, maybe? Upset? …Whatever it was, there was certainly an undercurrent of something bothering me regarding not updating the site, even at the same time I was realizing that I needed to step away from it just a bit.

It wasn’t just computer problems that drove me into my mini-sabbatical. There’s a hint in my last regular post where I mentioned that I was nodding off at the computer working on my post for the next day. …I’ve done that more than once over the years, given that my available free time to work on the site is generally in the evenings, prior to going to bed. Sometimes, when I have an idea for a post all ready to go, it doesn’t take much time at all to put it together, and I get it all done right quick and I’m off to dreamland.

However, sometimes I find myself just sitting there, looking at the screen, no idea what I’m going to write or post, and it takes forever to come up with something, and instead of sleeping, or maybe reading something, or just plain relaxing, I’m agonizing over what to put up on my site for the next day. And that’s not something I really can do any more.

I used the word “obsessing” above, and that’s not an inaccurate description of how I was treating this website of mine. I was obsessed with making sure I had a post. Every. Single. Day. whether I really had anything to say or not, and the only way I was going to break myself of the habit was forcing myself to not post for a few days. And it should probably come as no shock to you that, more than a few times during my break, I thought to myself “well, maybe I can write up a few posts and backdate them for the days I missed to keep my streak.” …Yeah, I know.

I’ve said before, early on, that my need to post every day was generated by a recommendation I read somewhere about regularly updating your site, so that readers will come to expect new content and maintain your traffic. I really did have this fear that if I skipped a day all my readers would dry up and my site would just wither and die. …It’s a bit heartening and sobering to see that my site’s traffic didn’t take a hit at all during my brief break, probably because 1) three days isn’t really enough to make a difference, 2) people were still popping in to see if I’d returned yet, and 3) people finding my site via Google searches for dirty pics and nekkid celebrities don’t care if I update or not. (For you #3 folks, sorry, this is all I’ve really got for you.)

Of course, the other side of the argument is that posting too much will discourage and drive away readers, and…well, I don’t think there was much danger of that happening here.

In typical Progressive Ruin fashion, that was a long row to hoe for me basically to tell you: I’m not going to be on a strict daily schedule anymore. Forcing myself to post every day doesn’t do me any favors, and I’m sure it doesn’t do most of you any as well. Does that mean I’ll never post every day for an entire week? No, of course not. Does that mean I might only post one day a week? …Unlikely, but it could happen, depending on outside forces, life demands, and maybe when Grand Theft Auto V comes out.

And of course it doesn’t mean that from now on, because of the occasional extra time between posts, every new entry on my site will be some in-depth, thoughtful essay on the subtle symbolism of the color yellow in Justice League Dark. It may just be something silly. (Well, sillier.) I’ll post when I feel like it…not because I have to, but because I want to. It’ll increase my enjoyment of the site, and hopefully it’ll increase yours as well.

I like doing this site. I don’t want it to be a chore. And I want to keep it going. And I like interacting with all you folks. But I also want an evening or three, or four, during the week where I don’t need to think about feeding the beast.

Anyway, that was a lot to read, and if you made it this far, thanks for putting up with me. I apologize for just up and disappearing for a couple of days, but I hope you understand. And, as I’ve said before…I promise, if the day should ever come when I actually quit the site, I won’t leave you hanging. If I’m able (and not, you know, unfortunately deceased or something), I’ll tell you folks when the site is done.

It’s not done yet.

I’ll see you all…well, on Saturday, I think. Yeah, Saturday.

I apologize for the unintended interruption in service.

§ April 10th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, low content mode § 16 Comments

Not dead, just resting. I’ll be back soon. (And not “soon” in the usual blogging parlance of “…and we never saw him again,” but “soon” as in “probably Thursday.”)

Thanks for your patience.

No joke…

§ April 1st, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, here comes the april fool, pal plugging, sluggo, swamp thing § 4 Comments

…this is one fabulous image:


So Daniel Butler, artist of Copernicus Jones, has been drawing personalized Twitter icons for folks, and, well, you can see what I asked for…and baby, I sure got it. If you want Mr. Butler to create an icon just for you, then hie yourself hither to this site for details and samples!

In other news…I don’t really have an April Fool’s Day post this year, which is only the second AFD I’ve missed, so hey, you know, my record’s still pretty good. Besides, will I ever top this? No sir, I will not.

However, I did add a new category for my previous April Fool’s posts, so you can go enjoy my past glories, back when this website was good. And the 2005 posts may not make sense out of context without seeing this, a screenshot of when pal Dorian and I switched our website templates for the day. …Of course, neither of our sites now look like they did then, so consider the word “context” at its lowest value, if you would.

Also, the joke here is that I included two fake items. …I wonder if anyone out there is still going store to store looking for them?

So you may have noticed…

§ March 29th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, superman § 7 Comments

…that I’ve been in bit of a Low Content Mode this week. Sorry about that, but there’s been a confluence of events and moods and time constraints that’s been in the way of producing daily content here. Which also means that I’ve not yet finished the new End of Civilization post, which usually would be up the Thursday after the release of Diamond Previews. There will be an EoC post, but it’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow.

Again, I’m not goin’ anywhere, but your pal Mike needed just a slight break from the site for a while. I still love you! Well, like you. …”Like” you, at least. I mean, I’m not totally disgusted by you, by any means. Mostly.

Just so there’s something about comics in this post, I did read this week’s new issue of Superman, with the debut of the new creative team. Other than editorial notes pointing out tie-ins to stories in other current DC titles I’ll never get around to reading, I thought this issue was…a little better than the previous storyline. At the very least, I felt like the character of Clark/Superman was a little more relatable than in the earlier issues. Probably didn’t hurt that the new creative team isn’t trying to squeeze 40 pages of story into a 20-page package, which sounds like “hey, getting my money’s worth!” but in practice results more in “infodump” than “story.”

That new costume, though…bleah, I say again.

We are still experiencing technical difficulties…please stand by.

§ February 4th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, sluggo § 4 Comments

While I hurriedly replace all the hamsters in the wheels that run Progressive Ruin Industries, please enjoy this fine Sluggo-riffic post from that best of all little stuffed bulls, Bully. A finer hooved friend one cannot have.

And for those of you who have expressed concern…no, “technical difficulties” is not a euphemism for “Mike is sick…again.” It actually was a computer problem. Things are on their way to being back to normal after many hours of computer hoohar and an ill-advised purchase of a more powerful disk utility tool than the one provided with the system, which I ultimately ended up not really needing, but I guess I have it now just in case I ever do. Don’t make significant purchasing decisions with money you don’t really have at 1 in the morning when you’re exhausted and pissed at your computer, kids!

But at any rate, I’m at the point where the initial problem is resolved, and now I’m just restoring from back-ups and redownloading software and system updates and just plain getting everything back to where it was, so it should be business as usual sooner rather than later.

Thanks for your patience, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Due to technical difficulties…

§ February 3rd, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 4 Comments

…there is no post today. Well, aside from this, which barely counts, I guess. Hopefully I’ll have an actual post tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Part Two of my look back at your 2011 predictions; plus, I totally steal a joke from Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I apparently don’t know what “truncated” means.

§ January 13th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, predictions § 11 Comments

So I received a call very early Thursday morning telling me the store alarm is going off, and the police are there waiting for me to show up…and when I finally arrive, I see that our glass front door had been smashed. Some of you may remember that this has happened before…but unlike that instance, which just apparently vandalism, this was definitely burglary. All they got away with was a five-year-old laptop computer that didn’t have any vital information on it, but still…it’s a drag.

Thus we had a morning of sweeping up glass and calling around for replacement glass…and unlike last time, we should have the new glass within a day, instead of waiting for it forever.

This is my long-way-’round of explaining why my 2011 predictions post for today will be slightly truncated. I know, I know, I could probably let it slide a day and you’d all understand, but I need to distract myself, and hey, I got a blog, might as well use it.

Speaking of which: now, I know everyone just assumes I am the all-knowing master of all things comic book-related; flawless and magnificent. Alas, I am only a mere human, just like you…well, maybe a little better than you. However, I can make mistakes and forget things and just plain miss things outright, and my post yesterday was no exception. For example, I either hadn’t known or simply forgot that, unlike what I said yesterday, there were some digital-only releases as indicated by Randal and Dr. Polite Scott in the comments.

I have repeatedly admitted that I am not up on digital distribution stuff, beyond 1) it exists, and 2) Marvel and DC are directly marketing it in comics they’re sending to comic book stores, so I really don’t know a lot about preferred formats and such, so I appreciate it that Bruce and Kevin have attempted to clue me in a bit on all this.

Once again, taking the long-way-’round: if there are any more predictions that I don’t know enough about to comment upon, I may very well call upon one of you folks to chime in and help me out. I know the thing right now is to deride and eschew comments sections (ahem), but by and large, the readers who engage with me here in my comments sections have usually been helpful and funny and interesting. Yes, yes, in every pile of Star Wars figures there’s the occasional Ric Olie, but for the most part, I think my comment sections add to the experience rather than detract. Well, aside from the occasional death threat or crazy person. Or maybe because of.

Hmm. Almost left myself some time to actually go back over those predictions. Lemme get going on those. But first…don’t forget, I’m still taking your predictions for 2012!

  • Bret writes

    All government will be replaced by Thunderdome.

    I suspect some of us would have preferred this.

    Superman will decide to walk around the world after walking across America. He will spend the majority of his time mocking the less fortunate and spitting in their faces.

    With that collar and armor he kinda looks like he’d be the kind of super “hero” who’d do this. But nah. Not yet.

    There will be a public apology for the commercial failure of Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Whether it will be the public writing a letter to Edgar Wright, or Edgar Wright and Micheal Cera releasing one of those hostage videos at gunpoint apologizing to Universal for under-performing is unclear at this time.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that I actually liked the Scott Pilgrim movie, even though the comic doesn’t really do anything for me. And I was a bit surprised that it failed that badly, given that you’d think a movie featuring Michael Cera repeatedly getting hit would be more popular. There were some comments from the head of Universal that were…okay, not an apology, but at least an acknowledgement that the film should have done better.

    Also, the new Dr. Who will be good.

    I thought it was pretty good. Your Who Mileage Will Vary, of course.

    But really, most people will only notice the Thunderdome thing.

    Can’t people just get beyond Thunderdome?

  • Al Ewing is perhaps less than serious when he writes

    Quick predictions – Steel is NOT going to die, but John Stewart is. There’ll be a funeral issue where the other Green Lanterns agree that he was the most soldierly, like a true soldier, and his past as an architect – wimp of the professions – will be erased once and for all. Probably he’ll be back as a Red Lantern within the year, blowing away some dudes with a sniper rifle.

    I’m surprised this didn’t happen. Give it another year.

    Some comics will be sold for $4.99, but only if they have really amazing pinups at the back.

    We did get some $4.99 annuals, regardless of pin-ups. Did the Hellblazer annual have pin-ups? Man, I’d rather have another page or two of comics than more pin-ups.

    Vertigo will die off. Archie Comics will do a series where Archie goes to Heaven and also Hell, in a format similar to the Betty/Veronica marriage. Reggie will be revealed as a Satan.

    Vertigo’s still hanging in there, and while Archie didn’t do this story, I can’t think of any reason in the world why they shouldn’t.

    A Drunken Bakers movie will be announced, directed by Lars Von Trier and starring Ken Stott and Paddy Considine.

    I wasn’t familiar with the Drunken Bakers…until I looked it up and now I want this movie.

    They’ll reprint all Hugga Bunch comics in a big absolute edition hardback costing $299.99 including free hug.

    If someone gave me three c-notes for a Hugga Bunch collection, I’d definitely hug them.

  • Demoncat had a lot to say, so let me break it up a bit

    Marvel will have Mickey and co visit their universe.

    Not yet…but I expect some kind of crossover at some point. I mean, don’t you?

    Marvel will give the x-men a break with cross overs. right after they have jean grey come back from the dead as dark phoenix one more time and wreck havoc.

    No break for the X-men yet. And Phoenix is still dead…but not for long, I’m sure. I mean, that’s pretty much her deal, yeah?

    marvel will finaly bring scarlet witch back in the avengers fold sane.

    Leading back towards that, probably, if I’m understanding that Wikipedia entry about her involvement in Avengers: Children’s Crusade properly, but perhaps someone more versed in this material can let us know.

    dc not only will kick marvels butt sales wise digitaly but will have Oracle back walking around . the death of barbara a fake out to restore her walking.

    I’m not sure how the two are connected, but…as I understand it, the publishers are still being cagey about exact numbers, unless something got out there that I didn’t see, so any butt-kicking is as yet unresolved. …Barbara Gordon is up and walking again, thanks more to New 52 Reboot than any faked-death plot. (Though we haven’t seen the explanation of her cure yet.)

    dc will also have swamp thing return in his own title and Mattel will give him his own dc classic wave. wave 25

    Yes on the new title, no on the wave of figures…but we got a new deluxe figure that as far as I was concerned was its own wave.

  • Decker decks us with

    Joaquin Phoenix will be hired to write a high-profile book, while ten genre-breaking, critically-acclaimed books will be canceled.

    I get the point here, but I don’t think any Big Name Celebrity Comic came out and received an inordinate amount of attention to the detriment of better books. It sort of feels like that time has kind of passed for now.

    Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern media blitz will receive a second wind in time for dvd sales when John Boehner is caught in a Sassy Larfleeze costume during a fundraiser.

    Please tell me this didn’t happen and I missed it.

    Somebody will create something moving that sends me back to the comic shop looking for another fix.

    Well, only you can tell me if this happened, Decker. Let us know!

  • I can’t help but sense a bit of irritation from Subzero when he predicts

    Marvel will continue f – word – ing up Spider – Man by telling the story that was SUPPOSED to be told in BRAND NEW DAY. And, yes, this will make things even more confusing and contradict all stories before it. Deal with it. Additionally Marvel will go from one big mega – crossover to two every year. And the price for singel issues will go up to 4.99 now including 20 extra pages from the New York City phonebook – collect them all.

    None of that happened…though in the case of the $4.99 Marvel book, I will add “yet.”

    DC will kill of another big character then bring him back – before the end of the storyarc – only to kill him a second time. Now for real…yeah, right. At least they don´t f – word up the GREEN LANTERN movie. At least the original Batsymbol will stay awhile.

    I think Flashpoint sort of pushed back any big “DEATH OF [DC HERO NAME HERE] stories for now. As for the Green Lantern movie…er, sorry, friend. And I’m pretty sure the Batsymbol won’t be going anywhere for the foreseeable future!

    Savage Dragon will still be one of the best superhero comics and still be ignored by most comic readers. Who will keep buying the big two megacrossovers instead – while bitching about it. Same thing with Invincible and other good independent books.

    …Pretty much a “hit” here. Savage Dragon is kind of an overlooked gem now, isn’t it? Erik Larson just keeps doin’ his thing, and it just keeps getting weirder and more amazing.

    All the people who claimed none of the CrossGen books were any good after the company went bankrupt will be bitching that they aren´t as good now that Marvel does them. They will still buy them.

    In my experience here at the shop, folks seemed to like the new CrossGen just fine. I didn’t pay attention to how the general worldwide reaction was.

  • Bully the Little Stuffed Psychic Bull predicts

    A comic book starring a water-skiing, flame-thrower wielding cat will becomes a surprise cult hit.

    This only happened in a world I’m not fortunate enough to live in.

    At least one comic book will be published on lunch meat. At least one.

    “I thought I had a comic here to read while I enjoyed my honey ham sandwich, and now I can’t find it!” …COMIC MEAT TRAGEDY.

    One major DC or Marvel superhero character will be changed into a woman. Not replaced by a female version. Changed into a woman.

    …Not in any comic I read. Did this happen anywhere that I know about? I mean, aside from the more “adult-interest” titles?

    The Captain America or Thor movie will provide an easter egg which suggests a Marvel heroic character not even hinted at previously in movies or casting news will be in “The Avengers.” And that character will be Rocket Raccoon.

    There was an Easter egg in Captain America with the original robotic Human Torch…could it be…? …Nah.

  • Mikey Wayne relates

    In the next big cosmic event for DC, the Spectre will be taken down first.

    I don’t think the Spectre was in Flashpoint, but then I only read the issue that had Swamp Thing in it. Spectre’s been pretty much a no-show for a while…maybe he’ll pop up in that new Earth 2 book.

  • Michael Grabowski grabs at

    I predict that Marvel will publish an entire Spider-Man comic story in a digital format only. No print version of that story will be announced or made available, at least not in 2011.

    Given my track record regarding my knowledge about digital comics, I hesitate to answer…but I’m pretty sure I would have at least heard of this had it happened. And if it hasn’t happened yet…I’m sure it will soon.

  • Adam Horovitz calls upon all his mystical energy to foretell

    Personally, I’m holding out for the return of ‘Mazing Man in a new Seinfeld/Swamp Thing crossover comic…

    It wasn’t in a Seinfeld/Swamp Thing crossover, but sure enough…frighteningly enough…’Mazing Man came back. That’s enough for me to point at Adam and call out in terrified tones “Sorcerer! Sorcerer!”

And that’s about that for now. I’ll wrap this up on Sunday, hopefully. Yeah, I know, it’s a three-parter. Sorry, gang!

So here’s what happened.

§ January 11th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, predictions § 2 Comments

So I was working on my “let’s look at your predictions for 2011″ post and responding to every single prediction and it was going on forever and I’d already pretty much provided commentary on most of the predictions last year. (Click on that “predictions” tag at the top of this post to check it out, if you’d like.)

Instead, I think I’m just going to go over some of the “hits” you guys got, and keep it short ‘n’ sweet…but of course I decided this way late at night, and I need to get my beauty sleep. (To become even more beautiful, of course.) Thus, that’s what I’ll do with tomorrow’s post. Or at least start on it, because I expect, in true patience-trying Progressive Ruin fashion, I’ll go on way too long despite trying to keep it at a reasonable length.

In the meantime, here’s a scan from Walt Disney Showcase #46 (September 1978), a comic I’d never seen prior to last week, containing a Dan Spiegle-illustrated adaptation of the film The Cat from Outer Space:


That’s got nothing to do with anything, except I’ve always had a soft spot in my head heart for The Cat from Outer Space.

Anyway, please keep your predictions for 2012 coming…I think I learned my lesson and won’t be doing extensive commentary on your predictions ’til next year, when it’ll actually be appropriate.

I have no idea if The Shade has “The” in its title, or if Huntress doesn’t, and I’m not going to check. So there.

§ January 6th, 2012 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, dc comics, retailing, sir-links-a-lot § 10 Comments

So Trevor A asked in a comment yesterday if I’d discuss some of DC’s post-New 52 titles and how they’re doing in this brave new retail world. The two he mentions specifically are The Shade and Huntress, and…they’re both doing…okay, I suppose, with Huntress selling just slightly better. They’re definitely at the low end of the sales scale when compared to the New 52 line…not as low as Static Shock or I, Vampire, but maybe around Voodoo levels. Not great, but they seem to be consistent from issue to issue at least, enough so that when I heard that talk about The Shade mini-series possibly getting canned halfway through, I was a bit surprised. It doesn’t seem likely now, as that would be definite egg in DC’s face if they had to cut a mini-series short so soon after their big publishing initiative.

Plus, not that I’m some big publishing marketing genius or anything, but I’d think there’d be a payoff in finishing the mini and collecting it into a trade as a companion to the Starman series it spun off from. …Which of course begs the question why they wouldn’t just go straight to graphic novel format to begin with, but that wouldn’t be a strategy they’d take with a third-stringer like the Shade, I’d imagine.

Well, that went off on a tangent a bit. So, Trevor A, what I’m trying to tell you is that those two series at least are selling okay, if not great. Other post-52 series like T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and My Greatest Adventure are selling about as well, with Penguin: Pain and Prejudice being kind of the surprise hit, necessitating multiple reorders to fill back issue requests.

In other news:

  • Super-Team Family presents…Swamp Thing and Man-Thing!
  • A new storyline over at The Rack begins with Three Days of the Con, Part One.
  • Tony Isabella re-presents: Watchmen 2: Rorschach’s Revenge.
  • REMINDER: you need more robot detectives in your life. Thus, Copernicus Jones.
  • Oh, right…this isn’t a link to anything, but I wanted to thank longtime reader and commenter philip (with the lowercase “p”) for dropping by the store and daring to meet me in person, thus getting to see me in my natural unshaved and mostly undyed state. I of course thanked him for his visit by prying as much money as I could out of his hands. Thanks, philip, for coming by!
  • Pals Dorian and Ken have another batch cooked up of those movie trailer reviews that I like so much.
  • Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull That Walks Like A Little Stuffed Bull, brings us all what we didn’t know we wanted, but what we definitely needed: 366 Days of Alfred Pennyworth. …It is far more than we deserve.
  • Also, I wanted to thank all of you for still coming back and reading my site. December was…not a great month for me, with health issues and working extra hours and just plain getting a bit burnt out, which of course affected content here. I’m feeling a lot better now, so hopefully everything will be up and running here as normal. Or whatever passes for normal. …Thanks, gang, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

So I don’t even know why I do this to myself.

§ December 19th, 2011 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, publishing, reader participation, superman § 4 Comments

I suppose I should probably get around to discussing your responses to my inquiry about how folks feel regarding DC’s New 52 initiative. …Especially since, thanks to Jim, we’re up to 52 comments! Coincidence? …Nah.

I’m probably going to go through over the next day or so and respond more thoroughly to specific comments, but the first thing that I noticed was that a few people are not entirely thrilled with Action Comics thus far, citing plot or art concerns. And, I can understand that….

A PROGRESSIVE RUIN ACTION ALERT! Okay, I just deleted several rambling paragraphs about changes to the Superman franchise and how this new status quo may be interfering with Morrison’s storytelling, or at least reader interaction with same, and blah blah blah you can read what I already wrote about some of my disconnect with this New 52 Superman here. In essence, I think Morrison may have been better served picking up from where the previous Superman creative teams left off, and just telling crazy new stories with the franchise’s toys (like he did with his New X-Men run) without having to deal with these editorially-mandated alterations. Of course, “Superman’s New Costumes!” gets more real world media attention than “Mad Scottish Writer Takes Over Superman, Vows Revenge” so that probably wasn’t going to happen.

Anyway, a lot of what I wrote felt awfully dismissive of people’s reactions to the actual plotting and pacing of the stories, which I totally wasn’t intending to do, so out all that went. I do think there’d be less of a disconnect if it were stories about the Superman we knew and not the post-Flashpoint version, but that wouldn’t necessarily address any storytelling concerns folks might have. I mean, I like Morrison’s Action quite a bit, and it’s selling very well for us, but I can see where people might not be so into it. “‘Your mileage may vary,’ he clichéd.”

I do admit that I’m not sure I like how Jimmy Olsen is being drawn in Action. I prefer the “Representational Archie Andrews” version of the character.

Urgh. My struggling over even that bit of incoherent weblogging took up all my ProgRuin time tonight, and then some, so I’ll get to your specific comments and such tomorrow. Especially those terrible, terrible things being said about Swamp Thing.

…Yes, today’s post was bit of a carwreck. Please enjoy its flaming glory, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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