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Your mom was probably a woman.

§ October 28th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, this week's comics § No Comments

I intended to have more of this week’s comics read for an end-of-week reviews post, but I’ve only managed to read a couple from this week’s rather sizable haul. Part of the reason is that I’ve been distracted by this massive tome that details Atari’s artistic history, from the covers of the Atari 2600 game cartridge boxes, to ad campaigns, to designs of their arcade cabinets. Not just pretty pictures, but also includes a history of the company and commentary from the artists. For a guy like me, who still thinks of the original Nintendo system as “that newfangled video gaming machine,” and still has his original, working Atari hooked up to the big ol’ widescreen, this hits pretty much all my nostalgia triggers.

Just so there is at least a tangential relation to comics, the various Superman games are briefly covered. For you longtime ProgRuin readers, you may remember the 2600 Superman was used for the image on my 404 “file not found” page:


I did manage to read a few comics…Flash #9 pushes ahead the whole “Watchmen? In the DC Universe? WHA–!?” metaplot by an inch or two; Swamp Thing is still in The Hellblazer as of issue #3, which also brings back another character from the title’s Vertigo days; and then there’s this comic:

…which still remains fresh and entertaining with each issue. This is a solid done-in-one story in case you wanted to sample the book, in which the Surfer and his pal Dawn get stuck on a gambling planet and have to bet their way to freedom. It’s a lot of fun, and is topped off by a great cover gag:


One other comic I read was the digital-only release of the new BOO! Halloween Stories anthology:


…available right here from Comixology. A bunch of my pals are involved, including Ken Lowery, Matt Digges, Andrew Weiss, Dave Lartigue, Joe Hunter, Dan Butler (who drew my Twitter icon!), Andrew Ihla, Dylan Todd, Josh Krach, Matthew Allen Smith, Pete Toms, and some other folks I haven’t really interacted with but are swell creators anyway. C’mon, it’s only $2…it’s really good, I promise.

• • •

Speaking of money, here are a couple of worthy and/or interesting causes you may consider contributing to:

First, Matt Brady, proprietor of the “Warren-Peace Sings the Blues” comics blog that I’ve linked to a few times, is currently seeking some assistance paying legal fees for a difficult divorce proceeding that’s already drained many of his resources. If you can spare a little, please help him out.

Second, not that this particular endeavor needs my help given the coverage it’s received, but there’s a Kickstarter for a game based on the infamous and voluminous works of Chuck Tingle. If you know who that is, well, you can guess the link is perhaps just slightly Not Safe for Work, if your job can’t handle the idea of butts and what may or may not be done to them. The primary reason I’m linking to it is that one of the game’s writers is pal Karla Pacheco, she of Inspector Pancakes fame, and frankly I can think of no better match for a project of this majesty. The other reason I’m linking is that the write-up on that Kickstarter page is hilarious. Even the dollar amount the Kickstarter is seeking is hilarious. Chuck Tingle, this world hardly deserves you.

• • •

One final note, given what’s happened in the comics industry this week: certain dudes out there, stop being jerks to women. C’mon, nobody needs this.

I did it for the Chicks, man.

§ October 26th, 2016 § Filed under obituary, pal plugging, self-promotion § 7 Comments

hitherechickSo, about Jack Chick. On one hand, he seemed to be an always-present part of the weirdo comics landscape …his little religious funnybook pamphlets were just some strange thing we’d come across once in a while, in a variety of circumstances. I’d get them with Halloween candy as a kid. I’d see ’em at the local church neighbors attended. A neighbor of another friend “witnessing” to me (at me?) would press one into my hands. Some years back, my old high school friend and former coworker Rob would actively collect them, and a couple of his spares he’d pass along to me.

Nobody I knew took them very seriously. Well, maybe that one friend’s neighbor. But they were all amusing in some dark fashion…little morality tales of horror and death, all footnoted with Bible verses, where “bad” people were punished for doing shitty things to their fellow humans, and for not accepting the tenets of Chick’s particular interpretation of Christianity. That one booklet about the dangers of role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons is a highlight, much parodied and mocked over the years.

Some of the images still stick with me…the “lake of fire” that I’m pretty sure was used and reused in many of Chick’s comics. The construction worker trapped in hell, wondering if he’d get to see his friends again, and being told he’d be alone forever. The dead fella being forced to watch all the sins he committed in life, aghast that he’d have to watch himself tell the filthiest joke. “No, not that joke, not here!” Usually the comics were crudely arranged and drawn, but there was that occasional moment of frisson achieved, sometimes more by accident than by design, but still there.

On the other hand, beyond the amusement value, mixed in with the sporadic positive religious message, were messages that were anti-gay, anti-science, anti-Catholic, anti-anything Jack Chick personally didn’t care for. That undermines the pop-culture jocularity a bit. True, these were in the usual ham-fisted style and thus hard to treat seriously at face value (though I know some folks did), but it still revealed the ugly undercurrent of ignorance. Even saying that would make me one of those sinners in these comics, shouting and sweating and exclaiming my bad points of view, while the even-tempered hero calmly explains why I’m wrong and surely going to hell.

Still, I felt that I should note Jack Chick’s passing. Something…unique, shall we say, has gone from the comics world, what could be described as an odd sort of “outsider” art aside from the fact that Chick’s tracts are probably some of the most widely-read pieces of the comics artform ever.

• • •

In other news: pal Tim, who wrote this lengthy essay that you should read if you haven’t already, has published his follow-up which I think you should read as well. Tim’s gettin’ back into the old blogging game somethin’ fierce, and if you’d like to help him out, he’s got one of those Patreons that you can throw some simoleons at if you’ve got a couple to spare.

I’ll be contributing myself in the next couple of weeks, as soon as I get through a month with the quarterly sales tax payment, car stuff, plus other big expenses, and by total coincidence here’s a link to my own Patreon.

The implied promise of the eventual “Wicket W. Warrick, Ewok Lawyer” comic.

§ October 14th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, this week's comics § 1 Comment

So you guys all remember pal Ian? The fella who was one of the founding members of ACAPCWOVCCAOE, which is short for, as long-time readers will remember, Associated Comics and Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA and Outlying Environs? The kind and gentle editor of the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Comic Book Archives who was good enough to place a credit for me in the collection due to my small bit of production assistance?

Well, pal Ian can use a little help…he’s been out of work for a bit, and while he tries to get more employment in the comics biz, he could stand a bit of assistance to keep himself going in the meantime. If you have a few spare dollars, he’d be most appreciative, so please visit his GoFundMe page and help out if you can. Or just straight-up hire the dude…he’s a good and talented guy! I’ll vouch for him!

• • •

Meanwhile…COMIC BOOKS:


I’m genuinely surprised that Marvel is ending the Darth Vader series, but in retrospect that’s probably a good thing. Too much Vader can spoil whatever mystique is left (I mean, yes, we got a lot of Anakin in various Star Wars-ian media, but Vader is another thing entirely), and we basically know how it all ends for him, so having a short-run adventure with a beginning, middle, and end in the midst of already-established Star Wars “history” is for the best. And it’s also probably just as well that the series bows out now while sales are still strongish, though they were beginning to sag a little…switching up the titles on a regular basis for ones starring different characters keeps things fresh. Yeah, that’s like the exact opposite of what I usually want from Marvel, another parade of new #1s, but Star Wars sales generally remain strong and enthusiasm for new titles is still present in the marketplace, unlike the groans I hear at the same titles being relaunched over and over again, sometimes only months apart.

Now elements of the Darth Vader comic will continue in this new series, and by the way that entire link is a SPOILER in case you haven’t read that last issue. I wonder if the main Star Wars title has a planned conclusion in its future? I suspect not, but I am surprised at the lack of a current comic based on the Rebels cartoon, since the Kanan series wrapped up some time ago. I think an Ahsoka series would probably be like printing money.

We’re beginning to see a little more of a direction in the Doom Patrol series with the second issue, after a very strange, but still quite interesting, debut issue. Glad to see the return of concepts from the Grant Morrison era, which is a couple of decades old now (but usually readily available in trade paperback form at a comic shop near you!) but I still have fond memories of those crazy stories and it looks like this new series should build quite nicely on them without necessarily repeating what we’ve seen.

Every time one of the new Superman comics comes out, like this week’s Action #965, I say the same thing: “this shouldn’t be working.” But it does, somehow, even with the convoluted set-up of the pre-Flashpoint Superman returning to the New 52/Rebirth universe after the reboot Superman died, and then there’s the other non-Superman Clark Kent running around, and two Lois Lanes (or are there) and the Son of Superman, and so on and so forth. It makes for compelling reading, as the reader wants to know what the resolution is going to be, and I sure as heck hope it’s not tied to the larger metaplot of the Watchmen’s involvement in Rebirth. But eventually there’s going to be some sort of “smoothing out” of continuity which results in One Universe, One Superman, One Lois Lane, and I’m about 90% certain No Son of Lois and Clark, and it’ll probably be Dr. Manhattan waving his hands and saying “well, I thought that would work, let me put the pieces back together.” We’ll see.

Anyway, this issue of Action had a couple of great Lois Lane-focused covers, appropriate for the Lois-heavy content within. It was hard to pick which one I wanted for myself, but ultimately went with the one pictured above.

I buy every issue of Haunted Horror (and its sister mag Weird Love)…it reminds me of that late, great series Tales Too Terrible to Tell, without the great historical text pieces discussing the stories and publishers, alas, but it is in color and it’s always great to see what was going on in vintage horror titles that weren’t from EC Comics. The stories can be of…shall we say, varying competency, but they always make for some entertainingly ghoulish reading. Hey kids, comics!

If you told me years ago that in 2015/2016 I’d be reading and enjoying a Howard the Duck comic that wasn’t written by Howard’s creator Steve Gerber, I’d probably be secretly plotting a way to get my hands on your time machine. Also, I would have been surprised by this revelation. It’s not Gerber’s Howard, but it was definitely Zdarsky’s Howard and it’ll be missed. Yeah, this is the last issue. That’s too bad. …Still can’t believe I’m saying that about a non-Gerber Howard. YES, I’M CLINGING DESPERATELY TO THE PAST, WHAT OF IT

I’m assuming it’s pronounced “FOO.”

§ October 12th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging § 6 Comments

Just a couple of plugs for pals today:

In which I totally plug a book where I’m mentioned by name.

§ October 7th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing, watchmen § 1 Comment

So there’s a little extra information brought to my attention by pal Christopher in regards to that lost DC Comics Presents Swamp Thing/Superman team-up that I mentioned last time. Christopher informs me that an interview with early ’80s Swamp Thing scribe Marty Pasko in Back Issue #87, Mr. Pasko relates that he had a script for said team-up ready to go, but the script was assigned to artist Alex Toth, who never got around to completing the job and turning it in. Though no details about that story were related in the article, Christopher guesses that this may have been the story promised in Saga of the Swamp Thing #16, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Ah, well…that’s too bad, as I’d like to have seen an Alex Toth-drawn Swamp Thing…I know his Superman wasn’t too shabby.

timewatchcoverIn other news:

Pal Rich has published his book Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a gathering of all the events from all across the Watchmen universe, from the original comics to the prequels to the movie and even the video games, and placed into a chronological order. Each entry is tagged with its source, so you can determine the level of its relevance yourself. Rich even points out where there are contradictions between sources on particular topics (such as multiple conflicting details about the character of Rolf Müller, who may or may not be Hooded Justice).

There is an enormous amount of information presented here, and for someone like me, who likes seeing how the various interpretations of the same material/franchise fit together (or don’t), there’s a lot to enjoy. And yes, even the unproduced film scripts are included in the chronology. Rich was very thorough. Also noted is the virtually hot-off-the-presses inclusion of the Watchmen characters in the DC Universe “Rebirth” event. No, Rich doesn’t know any more about what’s going on there than we do. He can save that for Watching Time Part Two!

Now I’m a little biased here, since, as implied by the “pal” above, Rich has been an online chum for some time now, and I am in fact thanked in the acknowledgements in the book (I helped look into a couple things for Rich as he was putting this together), and he was good enough to send me a digital copy of the book to peruse. However, I think I’m going to end up getting a print copy of this to keep with the rest of my Watchmen goodies. And you can, too, if you go to his promo page and follow the various store links there.

In other, other news: I produced another in my “Back Issue of the Week” entries for my store site. I like writing those…it’s very “back to basics” blogging that I don’t do enough of here. Hey, remember when it seemed like bloggers were rediscovering this comic every couple of months? I don’t think I ever got around to writing about it…maybe now’s my chance!

You don’t actually need to remind me…I’m thinking about it already.

§ September 14th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging § 1 Comment


  • So you folks remember Batman paying a visit to my shop during Free Comic Book Day? Sure you do. Anyway, here’s the Facebook cosplay page for customer Mark, who may or may not have had something to do with that particular occurrence.
  • Pal Andrew looks back at a few Nobody’s Favorites from the 1980s Superman reboot. One of these days I need to do a post about this particular event, how it was both sort of necessary and sort of a symptom of the End Times…someone remind me. …Though come to think of it, it would probably be 1,500 words basically getting to the same point Andrew arrives at in a single short and elegant paragraph. Well, we’ll see.
  • Surely you’ve been following along with A Month of Board Games, as presented by Bully the Little Pop-O-Matic Bull?
  • Pal Shane, one of the Old Timey Comics Bloggers who was there with us back in the days when people read comic blogs, has returned and is now posting at Near-Mint Hero. Hi Shane!

Though I have to admit I’m curious as to how a rebooted Spawn comic might sell.

§ September 9th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, promo, retailing § No Comments

Now here’s a thing I’d totally forgotten about: the 8-page Marvel Spotlight giveaways from the mid-1990s. I mean, I completely forgot this was even a thing. I remember the various iterations of the regular DC promo flyers, the Eclipse Comics one…but no memory at all of this one from Marvel. It’s got the usual features: the individual issue spotlights, the brief interviews with creators, the full checklist of every comic due out that month. I know we must have had carried these at the shop, and I’m sure I shoved them into the shopping bags of customers, but…nope, these have completely departed what’s left of my mind.

Anyway, this turned up in a box of comics that looked like it had been pretty much untouched since the 1990s…all the usual X-Men and Avengers comics that you see in every collection, plus a small stack of Wizards probably used to price said comics — RECREATION OF THEORETICAL PRICING EVENT PICTURED BELOW:

…And as usual with collections like these, there are a small handful of comics that are actually of use, and then there’s the pile that goes straight to the bargain boxes. Ah, well. But it was neat seeing that old Marvel Spotlight…makes me wish for the days of regular individual company “coming attractions” freebies again, though those have been mostly supplanted by the Comic Shop News weekly paper and by Diamond Previews and oh, maybe the internet too, I guess. I mean, yeah, there are occasional high end free preview comics from Marvel and DC, but that’s not quite the same as a regular newsletter. The things one can get nostalgic for….

• • •

In other news:

  • DanielT asked in response to my recent End of Civilization post:

    “…I presume Erik Larsen coming to Spawn did absolutely nothing? How does Spawn sell for you compared to Savage Dragon?”

    Well, despite my joke from that post, Spawn appears to be slowly crawling up in sales. Yes, it’s true that for the most part, this series sells pretty much at the same level, month after month, with the occasional fluctuation, and right now we seem to be in a slight upward trend. It seems unlikely that it’ll ever come close to its ’90s heights again, but what titles do? That it’s still selling at all is a success worth noting.

    Now Savage Dragon…it’s fine, more power to Larsen to keeping it going and staying true to his vision, but it’s bit of a hard sell around here, I’ve noticed. Well, at least on the rack…I have pull customers for it, but it’s not a title that people just sort of casually grab off the shelf anymore. Even at my previous place of employment it wasn’t a comic purchased by walk-ins…it mostly just went into hold boxes. Which is a shame, because it is a solid and weird superhero comic. Hopefully our area is just an oddball one, and that it sells just fine elsewhere.

    And you know what? Good on both McFarlane and Larsen for not relaunching/rebooting their respective series with new #1s!

  • Hey, after a long hiatus, Dr. Polite Scott has resuscitated his site and once again doing comics medically-related funnybook blogging! Encourage that man to stick around a bit…go, read!

And they weren’t happy about Thor being called the “God” of Thunder, either.

§ July 25th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

Longtime reader Wayne passed these two screen shots my way, from an episode of the TV series Naked City. He apologizes for the time stamps, indicating that the images are from the year 2025, if man is still alive…oops, wait, wrong year. Anyway, Wayne was reminded of this after I pointed out another funnybook cameo in a moving picture entertainment, and here you can see Amazing Fantasy #15, with the first appearance of what’s-his-name:

…and Journey into Mystery #83, the debut of that other fella:

Okay, sure, this bit of TV trivia has made the rounds before, but hey, it’s neat, so why not put it here, too. Now if anyone has stills of that 1980s episode of the 700 Club where they go after comics, and are particularly unamused by crucified Professor X in the X-Men graphic novel, please feel free to send those my way, too!

• • •

And speaking of Elvira, which I was a few days ago and linked back to just a couple of paragraphs back, reader Paul directed me to this story of how Cassandra Peterson might be hanging up the ol wig ‘n’ dress for good. As Peterson herself says in the story, she’s been saying she was going to stop portraying Elvira for like three decades now, so I suspect the Mistress of the Dark will still be around a bit longer.

• • •

Reader Daniel, remembering that I featured Condorman on my site once or twice way back when, thought I would be interested in this Sunday newspaper strip adaptation as well. And sure, of course I would be. No idea it ran in the papers, though I do have memories as a young Mikester of various short-run strips tying into something-or-‘nother in the funnypages, and I suppose this is yet another example of that.

• • •

And finally…I helped Bully, the Little Bull What Don’t Need No Help, with a pancake post! Go, enjoy the yumminess!

He has swamp thing to say.

§ June 15th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing § 2 Comments

I’ve had a particularly long Tuesday, so all I have energy for, before I crumble to dust before your eyes, is to type out this link to Pal Andrew, who has answered my question posted to him re: his favorite Swamp Thing story.

I should ask him more Swamp Thing questions…he’s good at answering them!

And by “oddities” I don’t necessarily mean the other Trouble with Comics folks, or Ryan.

§ May 27th, 2016 § Filed under collecting, pal plugging, self-promotion § 4 Comments

Trouble with Comics had a massive response to Question Time this week…so massive that the responses were posted in three parts, all of which can be found here. The Question this time around is “what are your three favorite current titles?” and you can find my response at the end of Part Three.

Also, Twitter pal Ryan is Kickstartererering a comics-related novel he’s written, Four Color Bleed, and you can check out the details about that, including a preview sample of the novel, right here. Plus, my pal Weshoyot is one of the artists on the project, so you’ll be helping her out, too!

• • •

A few days ago I was chatting with pal Nat, and somehow the topic came up about a particular bagged four-pack of comic books published by Hamilton Comics in the mid-1990s that was distributed exclusively through the Walmart store chain. Three of the included books were the Eek! the Cat mini-series, pictured here in a scan “borrowed” from this eBay auction:

Nat wrote one of the stories featured in this comic, which is why he owns a couple of copies of the four-pack, and also why he was able to let me know the fourth comic in said pack was inexplicably the comic book adaptation of the Alex Winter/Tom Stern horror/comedy film Freaked:

(Image also “borrowed,” this time from the Comic Book Database.)

Now, why Eek! the Cat and Freaked were paired up like this, aside from Hamilton having these apparently piled up in a warehouse and undistributed to comic book shops (sadly, because I would have been all over that Freaked comic) I don’t know. But this was bit of an oddity, I thought, and what use is this blog if I can’t showcase oddities?

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