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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.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-ins were a hell of a thing.
- Pal Andy is trying to raise funds on Kickstarter for his children’s book SpaceBear, so please help out if you are so inclined.
- REMINDER: the Ultimate Powers Jam continues, in which Pal Andrew rolls up a character using the Marvel Super-Heroes role playing game system, and other folks step in to flesh out the character. Probably better than whatever comic you’re reading right now. Unless that comic is All-Star Batman, and nothing is better than that.
- AND NOW, A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR: please buy some stuff from our shop’s eBay store. Dig some of these shirts, man. This Jar Jar shirt is made from real Gungan skin. Help me clear some of this stuff out…I need to make room! Thank you.
- Humble Opinions…a new site offering comics and pop culture reviews and commentary. “Everything in Greece was on fire all the time” made me laugh.
- I haven’t linked to swell chap Tony Isabella in a while, so here’s today’s post of comics reviews. I haven’t really gone out of my way to seek out other people’s opinions of the current Superman books. I’ve been enjoying them, thinking they’re an improvement on what’s been going on with the character since the New 52 hoohar began, so I was interested to see Mr. Isabella’s somewhat-opposed take.
- It was pointed out in the comments that the Sluggo doll from this post was probably just some other doll repurposed into a Sluggo doll, and yeah, that’s probably what happened. It was still apparently marketed as a Sluggo doll (along with a Nancy doll) in the 1950s as a Post Grape-Nuts cereal promotion. Here’s a shot of them in their box. …Phew, Nancy didn’t make out so great, either. Assuming that is supposed to be Nancy and not some generic “Girl Friend” as the box would have it.
- So just in case you wanted to read more of me picking at the scab of DC’s Villains Month — and geez, why wouldn’t you — here’s a long-ish interview I did over at Comic Book Resources on that very topic.
- BEHOLD: Swamp Thing art! The Louis CK/Swamp Thing mash-up you requested, Cute Poison Ivy versus Cute Swamp Thing, and (people have been sending me this one a lot, and thanks to everyone…it was my work computer’s wallpaper for a while!) “If you see Swamp Thing, say Swamp Thing.” And then there’s my old pal Batfatty, much missed around these parts, who sent me a link to the Japanese VHS cover for Return of the Swamp Thing (based on the beautiful U.S. one-sheet, which I do have!).
- A couple of weeks back I posted a link to a YouTube video of Video Comics, an early Nickelodeon program that would present print comics onscreen panel-by-panel, with voice actors and sound effects. The Swamp Thing episode didn’t feature the kids-on-bikes “Ride of the Valkyries” opening that many entries in the series had, but reader tvguy1979 sent along a link to a short promotional video which contains most of that missing intro.
I don’t have anything too scary today, except for those pictures of me accompanying this here interview I did via email over, oh, the last six or seven months, since I’m terrible about answering email. Anyway, Señor Editor, who conducted the interview, was very kind and patient with my chronic lateness, and please give the Editor your thanks by visiting the site. There’s a story or three there that you may have read here before, but I’m old and that’s what old people do, tell you the same story over and over again.
Also, I finally wrapped up my Halloween pog posts over at Pogressiveruin.com, which I’m sure you’ve all been following breathlessly.
So Bob asked a few guest-bloggers to pop in and talk up stuff that they might like that other folks don’t care for, and I submitted this bit of hoohar just to be a problem. Find out why people are already heaping such ebullient praise upon this post as “what gives?” and “clinically insane!”
Anyway, don’t came back here to tell me I’m wrong. I’ll just assume you already think that.
So a long time ago, prior to the early 2010 redesign of my site, I used to have a different title banner on my site every week. Sometimes I made them myself, but usually they were contributed by readers, and I’d post them up with a little link credit to the designer.
One submitter, noting my particular attitude about the POG phenomenon in a then-recent post, sent in a banner whose image presented a scattering of milkcaps, with the site name “mike sterling’s pogressive ruin” printed across it, and with an “r” sorta squeezed in above and between the “p” and “o.” Alas, my backup of all those banners is not immediately available (and my local one on the hard drive was lost during my recent computer troubles), so I have neither the actual image nor the name of the contributor, but that person was the first to make, at least to my face, the “POGressive Ruin” gag, way back in the distant mists of time (aka 2008 or so). (EDIT: Why, it turns out to be no less a personage than Pal Dave who was responsible!)
With the recent resurgence of the “pogressive ruin” name in my comments and, yes, people saying it to my face, the thought did cross my mind, “hmmm, maybe I should grab that domain name,” and then I thought “some of these milkcaps are pretty bizarre, it might be amusing to present them on said site,” and then I thought “maybe this could help me whittle down the pile currently at the shop,” and then the next thing you know, this happens.
So yes, pogressiveruin.com is now open for your viewing pleasure. I plan on this project to be primarily image-heavy and text-light, so this won’t be some extended treatise on ’90s fad marketing and exploitation, beyond what’s already implicit in the products themselves and what I’ve already written on the explanatory page. I just want to be amused by weird things, and hopefully I’ll amuse some of you, too.
I’m also not planning for this to be a permanent, ongoing project. I figure about six months, tops, so feel free to come back and laugh at me when I’m still doing this a year later.
Most importantly, at least for some of you, this is separating out the pog content from this site, so come back, it’s safe now! Well, after today’s post, anyway.
Thanks to Seth, the store owner who acquired this ginormous pog collection in the first place, who’s also totally behind this pog blog project of mine. And a very special thanks to the greatest stuffed bull of them all, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull…I needed a particular quote for this new site from an issue of Brave and the Bold, I didn’t have that issue, I put up the Bull-signal, and Bully answered right away with exactly what I needed! Thanks, Bully!
So anyway, pogressiveruin.com. Look what you all made me do.
EDIT 8/21: Dave found his copy of the “Pogressive Ruin” banner mentioned above!
So a while back, Matt Wilson (he of The Supervillain Handbookfame) asked me “if superhero movies are so successful, why aren’t people buying more comics?” And I said “because people are big poopie-heads.” Well, okay, I didn’t say that, but you can see what I did say by looking at Matt’s article right here. My response is hardly the be-all/end-all answer to that particular quandary, but, you know, it’s a start. Oh, and some other people responded, too, but pfffft, they’re obviously not me.
A couple of you expressed difficulty in spotting the overgrown Swamp Thing in that splash page from Saga of the Swamp Thing #22 I posted yesterday:
…so I thought I’d help you along with a minor visual aid:
You can see Swampy’s head in the lower left corner, his right arm across the image underneath, and his left hand sort of sticking out above him, there. Hope that helps!
Anyway, we have some interesting submissions in the “iconic Swamp Thing panel” discussion going on in the comments to yesterday’s post, so feel free to chime in, if you’d like.
In other news:
- Kevin Church, Max Riffner, and Rick Hiltbrunner just started up a new strip (a spinoff from Lydia, itself a spinoff from The Rack) called Signs and Meanings, so go on over there and enjoy yourself some free webcomicking.
Okay, that was a lot of links all thrown together there. Lemme try again.
New free webcomic, Signs and Meanings. Church ‘n’ Riffner ‘n’ Hiltbrunner. Go read it.
- So our partner business is participating in this Mission: Small Business program via Chase Bank, in which 12 businesses will receive a fairly sizable chunk o’change. We need to get 250 votes to be put into the consideration pool for this grant, so if you could go here and vote for “Seth’s Games and Anime” I would appreciate it, since both our businesses would benefit. Plus, I could finally build that rocket car to…um, help me deliver comics more quickly. Yeah, that’s it. …Thanks, pals! (NOTE: Facebook account required to vote. Yeah, I know, sorry.)
The California tax law that caused Amazon to boot CA residents from their Associates program has been repealed, so my Amazon search box and links have returned to the sidebar. Just in case, you know, you happen to need to buy a $3000 camera and are stuck on where to go for one.
Also, click on the Bureau Chiefs link and pick up something from there while you’re at it. I get no direct commission from that, aside from a mild sense of bemusement that someone, somewhere, might be drinking coffee out of a mug with my “ATM Machine” gag on it.
So, yeah, sorry about that post yesterday. I really meant to keep it short, honest, but, you know, get me talking about Swamp Thing, and look what happens. But at least I do it here, where you all have avenues of escape, and not at the store, where I could possibly corner some poor bastard and discuss Patchwork Man continuity for half an hour.
I answered a couple of questions in yesterday’s comments already, but let me address a couple more here today:
Dwayne the Canoe Guy asks:
“I saw today that Tamga.com is selling a discount subscription to Swamp Thing and recently featured Justice League. Tanga normally discounts boardgames & novelty electronics. Does this discounting indicate that DC is desperate?”
I’d say the fact that DC restarted all their books with new #1s was already a pretty good sign of desperation. But no, offering cheap subscriptions to comics on a discount deal site sounds more like loss-leading promotion than “oh dear God someone please buy our comics.” It’s just another venue to hawk their wares, rather than just pushing their offerings through the usual places.
eee-gah wants to know, in response to my slightly snarky comment about blood ‘n’ guts in DC’s superhero books:
“Has anyone ever complained to you at the shop about the level of gore in a random DC book?”
No, not really “complained” as such. The few people who have noted it usually do so with a sense of…bemusement. Like, “oh, look what DC did THIS time.” But I haven’t had any angry parents stomp into the store and gripe that their precious Little Billy picked up a copy of Teen Titans: Risk – A Call to Arms #1 and was offended by all the violence therein. But I have had a parent complain about Lesbian Batwoman, so I guess I know where the lines are drawn in our neighborhood.
Also…it’s been a while since this happened, but I always like to mention that one mother who complained that the Spider-Man comics her son was reading were “too sexy.” Specifically, the Steve Ditko Spider-Man comics her son was reading in reprints. That’s probably the one and only time that particular complaint was leveled at Ditko’s Spidey.
• • •
Okay, so you’ve read Fake AP Stylebook
, you’ve bought your mandatory three copies per household of the Fake AP Stylebook book Write More Good
, and maybe some of you are following our lonely, lonely Twitter feed The Content Farm
. Now, The Bureau Chiefs
bring you…Fake Pew Research
, featuring improbable statistics for an intractable society.
Anyway, as pal Dave L. so accurately puts it, it’s just another goofy thing we’re doing to make each other laugh, and hopefully it’ll make some of you laugh too.
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