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…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.
So then there was this in the most recent Previews catalog: a 1,200 page Man-Thing Omnibus:
And here is what it contains, cut ‘n’ pasted directly from the solicitation text because I’m
not going to retype it:
“Collecting ASTONISHING TALES (1970) #12-13; FEAR #11-18, and material from #10 and #19; MAN-THING (1974) #1-22, GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #1-3 and material from #4-5, INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #197-198; MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #68; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #43; MAN-THING (1979) #1-11; DR. STRANGE (1974) #41; and material from SAVAGE TALES (1971) #1, MONSTERS UNLEASHED #5 and #8-9, and RAMPAGING HULK (1977) #7.”
First thought is, as Chris more or less implied in his response to my Twitter post about this book, if anything deserves to be called Giant-Size Man-Thing, it’s this monstrosity. Secondly, it seems odd that they’d pass up Marvel Two-in-One #1 while including Marvel Two-in-One #43, which is also (as I recall) the second part of a two-part story. Plus, there are a couple of other appearances of Manny in this general time period that don’t appear to be part of the contents…but they gotta leave something for Man-Thing Omnibus: The Second Volumening, I guess.
The $125 price tag is a bit dear, but let’s face it…no one is going to pay full retail for this. And it’ll probably cut off circulation to your lower extremities if you keep this book in your lap while reading for too long. But, it would be nice to have good reprints of this material, in color, on white paper. Some of the older comics were printed on…not the best paper available for magazine use, and certain artistic decisions (like printing white text on black backgrounds) can make some of the stories a bit of a challenge to read. I’m interested, of course, but I may just hold out for a more affordable format. (A color format, I should add, since I know Marvel has the black and white Essentials books reprinting a lot of this same work.)
One more note: I could have sworn something like this already came out, but I didn’t see any record of it in our distributor’s stock listings. Maybe I was just imagining things…Man-Things, that is!
• • •
A brief site update: I think I am a lot happier with the reduced posting schedule. I’m enjoying working on the posts more, and it feels like I’m actually having something to say rather than having
to say some
thing. Even the single-image gag posts are the result of just having come across those images and wanting to share them, rather than scouring books seeking out something to scan.
In addition, the new schedule frees me up to do things like, oh, reread the entire run of The Boys thus far, in preparation for the series wrapping up in the few months. I don’t have a whole lot to say about that, other than noting that the story certainly flowed a lot more smoothly for me reading it over a relatively short period of time, instead of an issue a month for about six years. Easy to lose some of the nuances, and to lose track of some of the set-ups and payoffs, of the plot when you’ve got four weeks between installments.
Anyway, got sidetracked a bit there…what I’m trying to say is that I’m ultimately pleased with having dropped the pace down a bit here at the site, and I hope that comes across in what I’m doing. Thanks for your patience, and for sticking around and reading my nonsense.
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.
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.
…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?
…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.
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