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Well, I tried to watch the 1984 Supergirl movie for the first time…

§ February 4th, 2016 § Filed under movie reviews, pal plugging, publishing § 9 Comments

supergirlmovie1
…but I just couldn’t do it. I got, I don’t know, about 40 minutes or so in, over a couple of attempts on consecutive nights, and decided it just wasn’t worth the effort. It did have 1) Helen Slater as a charming Supergirl despite everything, 2) Peter Cook being as Peter Cook-ish as the movie would allow, and 3) Matt Frewer in a brief role as a street creep, but that just wasn’t enough, I’m afraid. There is a fine line between the filmmakers allowing the viewer to fill in narrative gaps and filmmakers just not giving half a darn, and I’m afraid Supergirl veered more closely to the latter. It’s the kind of thing that brought us “Phantom Zone Villain Levitation-Ray Finger” and “Restore-Great-Wall-of-China-Vision” in the Superman films, the “who cares/it’s good enough” method of storytelling that tells anyone even vaguely familiar with the source material that they, and said source material, don’t matter enough to be treated with even the slightest respect.

I tried to be more charitable…even the venerated Superman: The Movie isn’t without its flaws, but even trying to view Supergirl as a near-dreamlike fairy tale, which one suspects was at least partially the intent, it’s just not very well done. Or it’s just that what passed for cutting-edge superhero movie-making in the mid-1980s just hasn’t aged well into the early 21st century. Or maybe I just plain wasn’t in the mood for it. Whatever the reason, it was more than I could bear, so back in the ol’ Netflix envelope it goes. Sorry, #1 Fan of the 1984 Supergirl Movie That I’m Sure I’ll Be Hearing from Soon.

• • •

In other news: I’ve been trying to come up with a follow-up to my last post, in particular the response from blogging brother Tim, but I’ve been having a hard time of it. It’s a complicated issue, regarding how best to return an old series to the stands after years of absence, and there’s no good answer. You can just ignore what came before and start afresh (like Valiant), you can reissue everything previously published prior to starting new material, either in individual issues (Miracleman) or in book collections (Beanworld).

Or, in the case of the Badger, which, as I’d said before, is pretty continuity-light, just bring him back in new adventures and reintroduce old characters/situations as needed. Old fans will be satisfied, and new fans won’t feel like they’re out of their depth with missed backstory.

I don’t know…it’s tough, and anyone, from new creators to long-established ones, trying to claim a little space on retailers’ shelves among the multiple Batman and Deadpool comics has my sympathies and understanding. It’s a small, tough marketplace and you’ve got your work cut out for you.

• • •

In other, other news, pal Andrew will be featuring Shrinking Violet from the Legion of Super-Heroes all this month. Why, you may ask? Why not, I reply.

Tuesday is the new Monday.

§ December 15th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging, self-promotion, star wars § 1 Comment

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.

Pretty sure my house *is* the Old Bloggers Home.

§ December 7th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, cap and the falcon, pal plugging § 1 Comment

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:

capfalc191
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

Of course the Atom would be in a mini-comic.

§ November 27th, 2015 § Filed under batman, pal plugging, retailing § 2 Comments

dkiiicvrSay what you will about Dark Knight III, and boy howdy you sure have, but it certainly brought customers into the store specifically for just that book. Now the real trick is “will they come back?” and of course I’ve had a customer or two ask the very astute question of whether or not this series will be released in a timely fashion (if it is, this would be the first Frank Miller-involved Dark Knight series in history to do so). And of course, there’s been some curiosity from parts hither and yon as to how involved Miller actually was in the series.

Having read it, I personally feel that this is definitely an interesting Brian Azzarello-written take on Miller’s Dark Knight-iverse, if not as quirky and strange as the previous installments. It lacks the wild shifts of tone in a lot of Miller’s work, from straight-up satire to dead seriousness, which is probably fine since trying to duplicate that particular balance is a chump’s game. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more, but I’m not feeling the Dark Knight-ishness of it quite yet. The inserted mini-comic with the Atom comes close.

As a retailer, I gotta complain about that cover, though. I’m trying to convince people they’re getting unique “FINGERPRINT SMUDGE” variants, but I think they’re beginning to catch on.

In other news:

  • Speaking of Miller’s Dark Knight, Alan over at Trouble with Comics has a somewhat more critical look at the Dark Knight Saga than I tend towards, but still an entertaining read nonetheless. All Star Batman is a saint, I tell you…a saint!
  • A wee bit of Star Wars comics history for you…here’s an old SW toy ad drawn by Rick Veitch.
  • Can you believe that I’ve had to explain to people just who the Star Wars rabbit is? Oh, how very soon they forget that minor character from a handful of Star Wars comics published nearly four decades ago.
  • First, read this Nobody’s Favorites post by pal Andrew about a certain superhero named Static…no, not the Static people like, the other one. Pay close attention to the lettering in those panels, and then look at this Twitter post I made a while back and tell me I’m wrong.

Those of you who had “belly-up by month 11,” you’re out of the pool.

§ November 5th, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, sterling silver comics § 15 Comments

Perhaps you’ve seen me make brief mention of my comic book store Sterling Silver Comics on this site once or twice over the last several months. Well, today is the one year anniversary of having opened that shop to the public, and I wanted to thank all of you folks, whether you bought something from me or offered moral support, for your encouragement of this sort of behavior. Many folks who’ve known me for years have commented on just how much…happier I’ve seemed now that I’m piloting my own retail ship, and you know, I really do think I am much happier. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before, but it bears repeating. At least, I like hearing it.

I’ve already talked about a lot of this back when I hit the one year anniversary of leaving the previous job, about the ups and downs of the first year, about the stress of starting up and the travails of keeping everything going. But here I am, at the first year anniversary, and if I could make it through the first year, I can make it through the second. And the third. And the tenth. And the…hundredth? I expect to see you all there for “Mike’s Brain-in-a-Jar Comics” at that anniversary.

Seriously though, thank you, my Internet pals and my real life pals who read this site and remain my pals anyway, for all of your support and kind words for this particular endeavor. It means a lot to me. I’ve been working the retail end of this business for twenty-seven years, and yet, in my own shop, it feels new and fresh again. That’s a good feeling.

• • •

In other news:

For Halloween, customer Mark popped by the shop in his great Batman costume:

bm-393x640

He’s entered himself in the Halloween ComicFest costume contest, and if you could pop over to Facebook and vote for him, I’d really appreciate it! Alternatively, you could go to the main site and search “sterling silver comics,” and his entry will show right up. Thanks!

Tempted to just caption photos with “look at this vinyl doll! JUST LOOK AT IT!”

§ November 2nd, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, pal plugging § 3 Comments

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.

If that Swamp Thing book existed, I would never fall behind on it.

§ September 21st, 2015 § Filed under collecting, pal plugging, self-promotion § 1 Comment

Well, now I’m at the point where the to-read pile of comics is beginning to creep every so slightly upwards each week, as I find myself with decreasing amounts of time to keep up with them. The side effect of owning a store, surely, particularly since it’s still just me running the place seven days a week, so “free time” is no longer the easily-obtainable commodity it once was. “Read ’em at work,” I’m sure someone may cry out, but I’m generally too busy trying to make some coin of the realm while at the shop, and I’m sure it wouldn’t help matters any for comic book guys ‘n’ gals across the nation to perpetuate the idea of “wow, a job where you just sit around and read comics all day…sounds like hard work, har har.”

It’s not as if I get all that many comics, either. And I manage to make time to read the Peanuts reprints and last week’s release of Kate Beaton’s new book, so it’s not as if I have towers of unread runs of Those Other Avengers and Swamp Thing’s Kung-Fu Force teetering over me in my Gentleman’s Reading Room. Like I said, it’s a slow creep, a small stack getting gradually, almost imperceptibly higher each week, filling me with no small amount of nostalgic lament for the days when I’d bring home the week’s new comics, and just sit there and read ’em ’til I was done with the stack. Now I have my allotted comic reading time, where I read what I can until I have to go on and do whatever the next thing is.

Okay, it’s not quite as regimented as that, but I’m a little more aware of the free time I have and more careful about how I spend it. Like spending an hour or so every other night writing a comics blog.

Some of the comics that are getting backlogged on me:

The Maxx – Sam Keith and William Messner-Loebs’ weirdo Image comic from the early days of the company, now being reprinted issue-by-issue by IDW. I read the first six issues of the original release back in the ’90s, and cut it from my reading list in a cost-saving measure, I think, and sort of regretted it ever since. I fell behind on reading the newest reprintings, but knowing this is a finite run makes it easier to deal with. I suspect this comic holds together better reading all together over a short period of time, anyway, rather than absorbing it in monthly installments.

Haunted Horror and Weird Love – two of Craig Yoe’s bimonthly reprint series, which are great, don’t get me wrong. However, being as how most of the stories contained within date from a time when comic publishers weren’t scared of piling the text into each panel, it can take a little longer to properly appreciate each issue. Which is great…get that $3.99’s worth out of each installment, but sometimes they get sorted to the bottom of the pile as other, more current, more easily absorbed titles get read first.

Miracleman – well, sure, I read ’em all the first time when Eclipse Comics published them decades ago, and still have those issues in what’s left of The No Longer Quite So Vast Mikester Comic Archives. I’m still buying the reprint issues, partially to appreciate the recoloring/remastering, partially to complain, and partially to support the series so that we can finally get the new Miracleman stories by Gaiman and Buckingham, picking up from where they left off twenty years ago, or whatever it was. Tends to get left for last because I don’t feel like prying off the mostly-unnecessary polybags.

In conclusion, “a bloo-bloo, I don’t have time to read my funnybooks,” which is the whiniest of my complaints ever. I think I’m in good shape, though, so long as I don’t backlog myself into a warehouse full of boxes filled of unread comics, awaiting that day I’m bedridden with some horrible yet non-reading-impairing illness that will allow me to catch up.

And that’s just comics. Here’s a stack of hardcovers sitting on an endtable in the bedroom, and the Netflix queue, and…ugh, someone tell the Grim Reaper I can’t fit death into my schedule for the next few decades, I have too much entertainment to follow.

• • •

This week’s Question Time over at Trouble with Comics addresses the most terrifying of queries: “DO COMICS MATTER?” The answer is of course, NO WAY, NUH UH, FORGEDDABOUDIT…well, okay, we all say they do, more or less. SPOILERS. Also, this time around everyone’s question is put up as a separate blog entry, so this little ol’ link here to this week’s question time should take you to all of them. You’ll need to scroll down a bit to see mine…stop when you find that one somewhat familiar picture of me (which has been altered ever so lightly).

The image at the top of the linked article may be a subtle clue.

§ September 4th, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion, swamp thing § 3 Comments

So a couple more thoughts to wrap up “Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing Week” here on Progressive Dot Ruin Comma Com Interrobang:

I never saw the Swamp Thing movie in the theater. I’m not sure why. It’s not as if I didn’t know it was out. I think I even watched a review of it on Siskel and Ebert’s TV show. I suppose I just never thought about it. I was twelve or thirteen at the time, and my parents probably would have taken me to see it if I’d asked. Plus, at that point I was beginning to ride my bicycle to local theaters once in a while to see movies…I know I made a bike trip to go see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s possible that Swamp Thing may not have made it anywhere close enough to me to go see…there were plenty of theaters around, but in 1982 they were still mostly one or two screens, and I’m guessing it was pretty unlikely they were going to throw away a screen on some dumb low-budget rubber monster movie. It’s possible it made it to one of the several drive-ins in our area, but I doubt they would have let me ride my bike into the lot.

Ah, well, just one of those mysteries, I guess. At least I have both the original “naughty” DVD and the new Blu-ray to experience the film as God intended…on a big ol’ flatscreen in the privacy of your own home without having to deal with fellow filmgoers, who are usually the worst.

Anyway, speaking of the film, as I have been this week so I don’t know why I really needed the segue, Reader Jonathan from Australia emailed me about this recent article, 23 Things We Learned from Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing Commentary. Just what it says on the tin, it’s a list of interesting bits from the Blu-ray commentary that I still haven’t found time to listen to, but I really need to, now. And by the way, if you get a chance to listen to Jim Wynorski’s director commentary on the Return of Swamp Thing DVD, that’s a hoot as well.

• • •

I forgot to mention I once again participated in this week’s Question over at Trouble with Comics, where the query posed to us this time was “name a comic where a later creative team exceeded the work done by the comic’s original creators, but without ‘damaging’ the initial work.” That’s a hard question to paraphrase, by the way. But answer the question I did, and one guess as to which comic character I may have discussed.

Oh, and you should be reading the rest of the site, too. A new feature started up this week, Mick Martin’s “It Takes A Villain,” which promises to be a fun read. TWC is turning into the kind of comics ‘zine I’ve missed reading, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. With any luck, maybe I can find the time to do more than just answer a question every week! …Ah, who needs sleep, anyway?

But will either of these projects tell us which first issues will be hot hot HOT?

§ August 3rd, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion § 5 Comments

So a long time ago, Alan David Doane asked me to contribute a regular column to his website Comic Book Galaxy. That monthly column, Behind the Counter, ran for a little over a year and a half, until CBG underwent…a retooling? A brief hiatus? I don’t recall now, but it was fun to do and I’m glad Alan gave me the opportunity to do it.

Alan continued blogging at Trouble with Comics, which he just recently relaunched with a whole new slate of contributors, including yours truly (and a few others who are participating but didn’t get their bios in on time, you guys ‘n’ gals).

Now, I warned Alan that between my own site and that store of mine, I’m probably not left with a lot of time or material to contribute there. However, one of the regular features is a roundup of responses to a weekly question, which sounded like fun to me, so that’s where you’ll likely see my input on that site. This week’s question is “Which single creator most influenced your perception of the artform?” and while I’m sure you all think I’m gonna answer “Ernie Bushmiller” or “Frank Miller” or “Alan Mooremiller” or “Charles Miller Schulz,” I think my response may surprise you.

• • •

Speaking of this sort of thing, Tom Spurgeon just released the first bit of business from his Comics Report project, the monthly comics magazine you can support right here for a practically-free two bucks a month. It’s an interview with cartoonist Keiler Roberts, and this preview gives us a sneak peek at the layout and design of the magazine, which is very nicely done. The aforementioned Alan (David Doane, not Mooremiller) has a review of that very thing on the also aforementioned Trouble with Comics site.

Now it used to be, back in the olden days when I had this now nigh-mythical thing called “free time,” I would regularly scour the new comics ‘zines as they came in. Amazing Heroes, Comics Interview, Comics Journal, and so on…I would absorb these cover to cover, even reading the articles and interviews I wasn’t especially interested in. As these faded away, only to be supplanted by Wizard and Hero and other magazines that…were less to my taste, shall we say, I sort of fell out of the ‘zine reading thing, though I’d still pick up the occasional decades-old Comics Reader I was missing from my run, and maybe, like, one of Roy Thomas’s Two-Morrows mags if something caught my eye. And of course there were comics news sites on this Internet thing, and comics blogs, but feh, who wants to read a comics blog?

It looks as if Spurgeon’s The Comics Report may be a return to the more in-depth comics mag of yesteryear while maintaining the ease of online convenience we’re all accustomed to now. I can’t wait to see the final product. It’s only two bucks a month, like I said. That’s only half the cost of Age of Ultron Versus Marvel Zombies, and I’m sure The Comics Report will be at least twice as good.

You don’t really need me linking you to the new Bloom Country strips, do you?

§ July 23rd, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

 

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