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I like to think of it not so much as “ten years of blogging,” but rather as “about a quarter of my life.”
But, you know, it’s been fun, sometimes rewarding, usually entertaining, and it gives me an outlet to go on and on and on and on and on about comics to people who might actually want to read what I have to say, as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, info-dumping on my poor customers stuck at the cash register who just want to buy the latest issue of All-Star Western. Speakin’ of, thanks to my customers to read this site and yet still come into our shop. You guys ‘n’ gals are troopers!
Also a big thanks to my girlfriend Nora, who still puts up with this comic book nonsense of mine, to my parents who either read the site or use my Amazon links, to pal Dorian, to my put-upon coworkers, to my fellow comic bloggers, and to my partners-in-crime the Bureau Chiefs. And, as always, to the inimitable Neilalien, who may only occasionally still post to his site from comics blogging Valhalla, but is still a big influence on what I do here.
Someday I may join Neilalien in that place of rest, but…well, for now, you guys are still stuck with me. A big thanks to all of you who still come back to my site, day after day, sometimes commenting, sometimes emailing, but hopefully always finding something worthwhile enough to keep you around. I appreciate it deeply.
This past year I didn’t do a whole lot outside my site, aside from my usual goings-on on the Twitter:
Sometimes I remind myself of my own mortality:
Sometimes I relate the important day-to-day responsibilities of store management:
Sometimes I just gotta vent:
Sometimes I have to let you know that my job ain’t easy:
And sometimes I have to reveal to you months after the fact that my dream was about comics creator
(not so much comics blogger
any more) Kevin Church
(read ‘em from bottom-to-top):
As long as I’m revealing things, I was also semi-secretly doing this Twitter account, Your TV Listings
, for a few months. Might start it up again someday. We’ll see. But in the meantime, follow my regular account on Twitter
! Learn amazing facts! Win prizes! (NOTE: no amazing facts or prizes are actually available.)
I was also interviewed about DC Comics’ 3D cover hoohar, as some folks suddenly remembered “oh, hey, here’s a guy that’s been doing comics retail for a long, long time…maybe we should ask him what’s up once in a while.” Feel free to ask me for my thoughts! I won’t bite! Unless you specifically request that I bite!
I sent a few scans of paperback book covers to pal Dorian for his Paperback Book Club posts. Halloween was the first of mine to hit his site, and hopefully more will turn up soon.
Plus, I may have made a cameo in an Onion article. Yes, I know that’s just a coincidence, but hey, close enough.
Anyway, as per usual for my anniversary posts, I like to present a few highlights from the last twelve months. I don’t know if anyone else finds these useful, but it’s a quick and convenient way for me to do a little commentary/follow-up on older posts, so I’m going to keep doin’ it:
The recovery of a long-lost Swamp Thing artifact, my attempt at starting a beef with Vermont was for naught, I still need to give this record a full listen instead of just admiring the cover’s beauty, that last pic is the most terrifying Christmas image of all time…and here’s the cutest, an info-dump of Star Wars comic book nostalgia.
There are a whole lotta posts dealing with predictions for the new (i.e. this) year and covering predictions from previous years (1 2 3 4) and we’ll be doing that again in about a month so get your loins girded, I still can’t believe someone thought this logo was acceptable, I still sort of regret not going for this Nancy and Sluggo board game, that time I ordered comics based on a dream.
I finally get a copy of Yummy Fur #9 after looking for it for years, if you read only one Frank Miller joke on the Internet it had better be this one, the best thing about being Swamp Thing on Valentine’s Day is that you never have to buy flowers, I talk about comic ordering to you so I don’t stand around the store muttering to myself about it, the amount of support I received for this decision (inspired by our pals at Zeus Comics) far outweighed the grumpy message-boarders, oh hey Adam Warrock performed at our shop and it was awesome, I hope this British Dukes of Hazzard Annual will tell me whether or not Daisy loved flying.
Pal Cully and Jack Kirby, more than you ever wanted to know about me sorting my comics and rereading B.P.R.D., that friend of his who used to drive him to the shop every month still hasn’t called to tell us Errol passed away, I still haven’t found time to reread any of these suggestions, a selection of later Gil Kane Green Lantern covers just because, the debut of Spider-Man 2093, this was some good timing finding that old TV guide re: the ’60s Batman series, I am unduly proud of that Admiral Ackbar joke.
So long to Carmine Infantino, Roger Ebert and George Gladir, I had no Clue this existed, “Beware of Women, Batman,” my heart just about stopped when I saw the loads of Free Comic Book Day comics waiting for us at UPS, the more I think about this the more terrible it seems, more of those Whitman pre-bagged comics.
Why would you name an octopus Ethyl, the Free Comic Book Day 2013 Post-Mortem, Old Man Plays Video Games, Looks Back Fondly on Days When Your Character Was A Square Box You Moved Around on Screen And That Was Good Enough for Everybody, surely we’re ready for the dark ‘n’ gritty reboot of Execution Buzzard, I don’t review the new superhero movies often enough any more, how I would resuscitate the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise, the many origins of the Heap, this seems to indicate someone shouted out the word “voodoo” during their merrymaking, another comic that took me a while to find, never too late for a post about Ross Perot, you never know when one of my images will have some alt-text.
A brief update on some New 52 sales, I think I just threw that Eclipso comic back in the box without anything cover the jewel…again, there’s probably a way to make an online horror comic generator just using random panels from old comics, a part two on “How to Kill Juggling Nazis” is not likely forthcoming, oh hey I totally forgot I did review the Man of Steel movie, an alternate universe New 52 if I were in charge of DC Comics, Kim Thompson sure was responsible for some of my favorite Fantagraphics comics, I was going to use the phrase “lost their shit” but that seemed inappropriate for a post about Superboy.
Come to think of it, if you’re laughing for a full hour something’s wrong, some swell Odgen Whitney art on Modeling with Millie, I forgot to mail the stupid thing back to Diamond so I guess it’s mine now, some late-arriving Free Comic Book Day photos (featuring ME ME ME at least in one shot), if they actually make a Firestorm the Nuclear Man movie I will eat my fiery hat, seriously this Spider-Man knife is terrifying.
I’ve got a Dog Boy sketch in a big ol’ Dog Boy hardcover, I think the time is about right for a kinder reappraisal of the Howard the Duck movie, sorry Spider-Man but five hundred bucks can get you a good-sized flatscreen now, my initial reaction to DC’s 3D cover fiasco, Thanos buttons, Jack Davis is still with us (and I still can’t find my own copy of this comic), more 3D comics fallout plus I totally called that Killing Joke thing way before Grant Morrison, when I started this site this comic was priced by me only ten years ago, funny I just sold a boatload of old comics this past weekend, some comics don’t sell like they used to however.
We still have this X-Men box kicking around the shop, nobody loves Terror Inc., the X-Men coloring book, the old Nickelodeon TV show that helped get me into Swamp Thing, a couple of posts regarding comic racking/retailing and restarting series (1 2), Cerebus parodies of new and old vintage, a Swamp Thing parody from Crazy, Swamp Thing on Blu-Ray, I haven’t yet lost my Swamp Thing marbles, Golden Age funny animals are so destructive.
I was surprised by the number of folks who didn’t realize this Kirby-Swamp Thing connection, I have to thank pal Brook for introducing me to the idea of the sci-five, I follow up on that previously-mentioned Robot 6 interview, this is one crazy-ass sci-fi comic, each day Richie Rich wasn’t chased down and murdered by the common folk is a day I hope he appreciated to its fullest, turns out this comic is kinda pricey considering, maybe you’ve heard that Miracleman is coming back (1 2), I love my high quality print of this Swamp Thing cartoon (and you can get one as well), LIBRARY-CON 2013.
These really are the best Nick Cardy panels ever, whoa hey I’m reading an X-Men comic again until the creative team bails or I get sick of the crossovers, in retrospect I honestly have no idea why I thought renting this DVD was a good idea, HANDMADE WATCHMEN MAP, kids ask your grandparents about Image United, I think the lower end of the comics grading scale should go “good – fair – poor – storage unit,” Devil Scotty is the greatest.
Why, it seems like it was just yesterday I was telling about you about this book, and it seems a few of you out there had the same experience with it.
Civilization also ended throughout the year, as I did my civic duty of going through each new issue of the Diamond Previews catalog to warn you poor bastards about the future that awaits us. (My personal favorite joke of the year was the Monopoly gag at the end of this installment.)
In addition, I tried to do a little more actual comic-reviewing this year. It seems like people enjoy these posts, and I’m having fun with them too, so look forward to more of those coming up.
Again, I have to thank all of you for your readership. The old friends who’ve been reading since the beginning. The folks who may have just discovered me today. All of you make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something of at least a minimal amount of value here, and it means a great deal to me. I say every single time I do one of these anniversary posts that I’m amazed that anyone outside a small circle of friends has any interest in what I have to say, and it’s just as true now as when I first said it ten years ago.
For reading all that, here’s a picture of me from about twenty years ago, standing out in the middle of nowhere with the world’s puffiest shirt and apparently no comb:
Oh, for the days when the brownness of my hair didn’t come from a bottle.
See you all again soon.
Funny, it only feels like I’ve been doing this for no more than about, oh, say, twenty or thirty years. But here I am, still plugging along with my slow decline into irrelevance, and here you are (presumably), still putting up with it. Thank you folks for sticking around and reading and commenting and just generally tolerating this sort of behavior. I really do appreciate it.
Thanks also, as always, to my girlfriend Nora, to my parents, to pal Dorian, to my fellow comics bloggers and Bureau Chiefs, and of course to Comics Blogger #1 Neilalien — all of whom are probably secretly plotting an intervention to break me of this blogging habit.
Speaking of which, this was the year I finally, finally stopped updating the site every single day. It took a combination of multiple computer failures (at home and at work) and my immense frustration with same, to drive me away from the internettings for a brief period in time in mid-April. I’m sorry for any concern that may have caused at the time, but I literally could not look at a computer for a few days. But, that did break me of the daily update addiction, and like I’ve said once or twice since then, the reduced schedule has increased my enjoyment of the site, and hopefully yours as well.
And what did I do with my free time? Why, started up a pog website, of course, thanks to a mid-August arrival of a storage unit’s worth of pog store stock. I’m still planning to stop that site in February or March, so enjoy it while you can, pals!
In the last year, I’ve popped up on a couple of other sites: I was interviewed about life in comics retailing here, and I sullied Bob’s fine comics blog by deliberately goading people with this bit of hoohar. If you want me to make a cameo appearance on your site…well, don’t let those two examples scare you off. Particularly if it’s a paying job!
I’m also still hanging out on the Twitter, where, over the past year, I’ve made deep and insightful observations on the comics industry such as these:
Seriously, that last one…I hear that story about once every week or so. “Thanks for your hours of labor, Bill…here’s a box full of comics that smell like cat pee.” “MY FORTUNE IS MADE!”
Anyway, aside from all that, I occasionally posted on this site right here, and here are a few highlights, or lowlights, from the past twelve months:
Kicked off year 9 with a look at a naughty Milo Manara card game, the lovely gams of Zatanna and Green Lantern, I will never be cool enough to wear this Fonz shirt, superhero skeletons – the latest fad, I really do completely unironically love Spanner’s Galaxy, the Brat Finks 1 and 2, the infamous Swamp Thing Holiday Hiatus: 1 2 3 4 5 6…
…and 7, Richie Rich has got money and looks, yes I actually did scan an all-black panel for this post, always time for a Gil Kane splash page, the greatest Gelatinous Cube drawing of all time, trying to find time to reread comics and the follow-up post, behold the infinite sadness of non-white Joker, GRENDEL ‘n’ MAGE TALK: 1 2 3, I thought more people would be amused by this Joker thing, at long last here are the lost Swamp Thing pages.
The greatest Watchmen prequel that never was, it had been so long since I’d done a gaming post that I created a new “gaming” tag without realized I already had one, surely marketing this mask was just asking for trouble, the publishing implications for the Watchmen prequels, hey I finally sold this thing on the eBay just last week, Sgt. Fury teams up with…Dracula!?!?! — how can this be, I am far happier about this Valentine’s Day post than I have any reason to be, I’m never going to top this animated graphic so I might as well just shut it all down then and there, it’s the Champ, I really intended to do more of these, the introduction of…THEN, KOREA and some follow-ups: 1 2.
We think that’s Tom Jones, seriously this was really creepy in the cartoon, CLARK KENT VERSUS ART, FRED FLINTSTONE VERSUS THE FUTURE, they didn’t really think out the full horrible potential of the Phantom Zone, the manifest destiny of Little Lotta, one more THEN KOREA post, no idea what I’m going to do for my 44th birthday, Krypto thinking “look at those eats!” is truly the best thing from the Silver Age, I’m expecting the restraining order from Mr. Snyder any day now, holy crap IT’S SLUGGIUS, there’s probably a series of jokes about what Peanuts character created what Internet-related thingies, Enndo obeys no man while also probably having too many Ns in his name.
The Sluggo/Swamp Thing mash-up you’ve been waiting for (or dreading), pal Casie whips out an awesome green drawing, the Great Progressive Ruin Hiatus begins in this post, I check in here, I ‘splain what’s goin’ on here, the second Ghost Rider movie was really something else, why do people like comic books, more butt, Mike vs. CGC, Mike vs. misogynist jerks, college finally pays off, boy that Man-Thing sure is big, if only I had a way of describing it.
I don’t get enough credit for creating the term “panelogical onanist,” Free Comic Book Day 2012 – The Hideous Aftermath, the greatest shirt I’ve seen this year, nobody had anything to tell me about these insanely rare mini-books, I’m wearing my Commtech Chips right now, here’s the good X-Men Versus The Avengers comic, ADAM 12 VERSUS SATAN, I swear I get multiple “Avengers sucked” Google referrals every day since I posted this, the moustache of Jimmy Olsen.
This comic ended up going to the home of the biggest Gil Kane fan I know, and in conclusion these Before Watchmen books are solid mid-rangers at our shop, it was only a matter of time before a Snooki cameo on my site, aside from the shitty writing and the nonexistent editing this book wasn’t all that bad, I am getting serious inquiries via Google as to whether or not the sticker’s presence affects the book’s value, my favorite Swamp Thing panels, “fast as hell,” I never get tired of these kid-drawn monsters, yes Suckmaster Burstingfoam, I see your regular comments on this post (and I swear they make me laugh every time), you have no idea how long I tried to find a good panel with Shipwreck.
I’ve heard from a lot of people who’ve had this book and want it again, boy it’s a good thing variant covers are a thing of the past, Alan Scott – the Swamp Thing connection, yes okay fine everything you own is worth millions, CHARLIE BROWN VS. RUSSIA, that is one dreamy Swamp Thing, oh that Richie Rich, MIRACLECOSTELLO, the rare Swamp Thing / Archie crossover, I never thought I’d see a Swamp Thing kid’s book, but here we go.
Ghost Rider Butt! — er, I mean, buttons, the beginning of the end: THE POGMAN COMETH, turtle power, Squinky Thing, the most terrifying announcement made on my site in its nine years of life (and in response, my single most favorite comment a reader has ever made), the explanation for said announcement, I beat the rush on the Heckblazer joke, some vintage X-Men criticism, this is one groovy cover.
The Todd McFarlane Action Figure (and the follow-up), Doctor Who Meets The Omen, the Time Bandits comic is a lost classic, I take a peek at Swamp Thing #0, I get all weepy-eyed over an old Archie Annual, Popeye Versus Bull, those 1980s revisionist Popeye comics were darned peculiar, I miss the Jupiter comic, I missed Doop.
I ask you folks what creators are without-question must-buys (and the follow-up), that’s a lotta Swamp Thing artists’ signatures on that cover, my look at the Dark Knight Returns cartoon of course brings in Swamp Thing, I managed to sell some Jungle Annuals because of this post, in which I talked my girlfriend into smuggling me some comics from Mexico, POPEYE NO, people sure seemed to take a liking to my Lovecraft/Fantastic Four pastiche, yet another brief discussion of media impact on comic sales, I’ve held this comic in my hands and I still don’t believe it’s real, all those years of Sluggo Saturdays has brought us to this,
Debbie Preston sounds like a happenin’ gal, I go way too in-depth on Swamp Thing continuity stuff — sorry about that: 1 2 3 4, now that I’ve started watching the first season of American Horror Story this panel takes on a whole new meaning, that is one groovy ad, it’s a lot funnier when you hear me doing this in person I swear (I hope),
Have I mentioned that I love Golden Age Sub-Mariner, because I love Golden Age Sub-Mariner, more Swamp Things from foreign and exotic lands.
Plus, don’t forget civilization ended all year long. And sometimes there were Saturdays…maybe with Sluggo, maybe not.
Again, my sincerest gratitude to all of you for reading my site. I comment every year about how I’m surprised anyone aside from a few friends even care about anything I have to say here, so I am very grateful for your readership.
And for reading all of that, you get this lovely portrait of me, as drawn (I believe) by Former Employee Jeff:
Yes, Swamp “Thong.” Let’s not dwell on that. Also, my arms are marginally longer than pictured. Otherwise, that’s almost like looking at a photo.
Now, on to Year Ten!
So I’ve been doing this for the equivalent of two U.S. Presidential terms. …Can I start the lucrative speaking tours yet? Maybe get a library named after me, at least?
I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again, but…I am still surprised every day that this goofy website of mine has any readership beyond a handful of pals. So, my most sincere thanks to all of you. Thank you for sticking with me for all this time and putting up with my nonsense and leaving comments and sending emails and generally reminding me that, despite my occasional low points and periods of frustration with the industry, I do love this art form.
Thanks also to my girlfriend Nora, who tolerates this behavior; to pal Dorian, who only barely tolerates me; to my parents, one of whom reads my site and the other uses my Amazon links; to Former Employee Aaron, whom I miss having around; to the other folks at the comic shop, most of whom haven’t made it onto the site yet, but maybe someday; to my fellow bloggers, some of whom are on this pretty well outdated links page…I’ll update it eventually; to The Bureau Chiefs, with whom I’ve done some funny stuff; and of course, to Comics Blogger #1, Neilalien, who may have retired from regular blogging, but still remains a singular inspiration.
Speaking of the Bureau Chiefs, this was the year that our book Write More Good, based on our popular Fake AP Stylebook Twitter feed, was released. AND NOW THE AMAZON LINKS (physical on the left, Kindle on the right):
And we’ve started a new feed, Fake Pew Research
, with all the fake stats you need for your daily life. (Here’s one I wrote
I also started occasionally using my Tumblr account this year, mostly revisting old posts with new commentary, or reposting amusing things from friends, or putting up brand new non-comics things that I found. (You can also still find me on the Twitter, on my barely-used Facebook, and on Estate 4.1, the worst Tumblr ever.)
Anyway, like I do every year, I indulge myself in a little backwards glance at some of my self-proclaimed notable posts from the last year. Please, look, enjoy, or be appalled:
The terrifying 1960s animated Brainiac, why would Superman waste his valuable time doing this, the Bi-Onic and Possibly Slightly Communist Hand, those elitist superhero bastards versus Swamp Thing, the son of the artist of Supergirl panel showed up in the comments, I still think DC’s animated movie/TV logo is a bit odd, in which I apparently redid work already done in some book or ‘nother, I refuse to accept Minnie Mouse as a sexual being.
The 2011 Predictions round-up part a-one, a-two and a-three, this Star Trek recipes book is hilarious, my Hembeckian Sluggo drawing, can’t spell “Christmas” without “Pantsless Superman” you know, you have no idea how long I worked on this stupid gag, piecing together the story of how Superman totally killed a dude, pretty sure we’re within spitting distance of the end of the sales-boosting death, God I love Adam West Batman.
Swamp Thing chatting with his animal pals, my last button from Former Employee Aaron, this post about ’90s superhero art has the best title I’ve ever written for a post – seriously, I should have just stopped blogging right then, I do not regret the hours spent putting together Adam West Batman Valentine’s Day post, Superman Meets Pac-Man art (and reader Dave bought it after seeing it here!), SUPERBABY BUSTS LOOSE, solicitations for Joe Kubert’s The Redeemer.
I love pausing cartoon DVDs and looking for in-jokes and sight gags, if only there were some way I could tell fellow motorists of my love for Thor, my totally work-safe Playboy post, pretty sure I busted the spine on my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comic scanning the images for this birthday post, NINE DAYS OF MAN THING: day one | day two | day three | day four | day five | day six | day seven | day eight | day nine, more freeze-frame fun.
APRIL (AND A LITTLE BIT OF MAY) 2011:
I think some people didn’t get I was joking, my “Lusty Gutsy” post resulted in someone making the best joke in the comments, BLOOM COUNTY UNCUT aside from a production error, my super run-on post about Swamp Thing’s return, that’s some fine editing in that Swamp Thing Secret Files there Lou, pre-Swampy Wrightson plant-monster, The Adventures of Alec Holland, pal Tom Foxmarnick’s bad-ass Swamp Thing & Man-Thing drawing, suckered into buying Swamp Thing variant covers, hey remember when I tried to stop doing Sluggo Saturdays (1 2).
THE REST OF MAY 2011:
I go on and on about Swamp Thing’s return, more Swamp Thing versus the DC Universe, I had this first Satan Saturday planned for like six months, Former Employee Aaron’s wedding and Free Comic Book Day — two great tastes that go great together, attack of Steve Ditko’s cute werewolf, so I really did watch Smallville for ten freakin’ years, alternate art for that first Search for Swamp Thing cover, let me just overanalyze this old Swamp Thing comic, I actually sat on this Robotman post for months.
My first post about DC’s New 52 thing, I’m an old man and don’t “get” this “digital comics” thingamajig, I never ever ever get tired of Grant Morrison and Ken Steacy’s superhero version of John Constantine, probably my single favorite post-Sluggo Saturday gag, I scanned my Swamp Thing t-shirt, I imagine it would be quite terrifying to be Superboy’s friend, I worked hard on getting a good Barry White/Swamp Thing gag for the title, shame about that Green Lantern movie, Adam West Batman = classic literature, there’s nothing quite like Frank Robbins Superboy.
I talk about passage of time between certain comics industry events like it has any meaning, Elasti-Girl and Multi-Woman pound the tar out of each other — go ahead and look — I’ll wait, Klarion: PIMP, dirty filthy dirty comics, I’d probably wear one of these around the store if I had one in my possession, we’re onto your secret identities Supes and Bats, this What If Conan panel makes me laugh every time, “Black Savage” is actually that character’s name, more superheroes from that Foom contest, CONAN VERSUS MAMMOTH, Swamp Thing drawings by Former Employee Aaron and Daniel, that Swamp Thing mini was pretty pointless, Former Employee Timmy brings me Swamp Thing action figure tribute, this is the worst parade-dragon ever.
What the hell was wrong with kids in the ’60s, I’m glad I was able to find what that gesture was actually called so I didn’t have to say Sinestro was giving people the finger, I can’t get enough Vaughn Bodé, the best thing about posting about comics an’ stuff is when someone involved in it shows up in the comments, which New 52 titles I’m getting (subtract Justice League International and Mister Terrific, add Aquaman, Omac and Batgirl), and here are the Marvels I’m reading, I suggest that caption in a Swamp Thing comic was added after the fact, and Rick Veitch says I’m right, THE THING VERSUS VEGETABLES, Violet is a hideous human being, I love it when members of the actual creative team write to tell me about Swamp Thing tie-ins, I am Swamp Thing’s best friend and it’s OFFICIAL you bastards.
A little more new 52 sales discussion, and some more, I asked what new DC title you were looking forward to and you answered, here’s why Superman’s new costume is terrible, I totally cave on the Sluggo front and then explain why, Swamp Thing and Abby cosplay, wow Hela — you’re hot, a picture of me being tired and old, I answer some complete stranger’s Swamp Thing question, I have a soft spot for Firestorm, these Swamp Thing shirts should be showing up relatively soon.
SUPERMAN VERSUS PUPPY, I deface one of Former Employee Aaron’s drawings, that balloon is still sitting here on my desk, Former Employee Aaron became Former Employee Aaron on this very day, Ambush Bug: Murderer, Curt Swan is awesome, THUNDERBOLTS VERSUS THE UNFORTUNATE TYPO, the only piece of Wolverine merchandising that ever need exist, Batman movie ad slicks, the older I get the more I relate to Lanny Lummox and less to the Raccoon Kids, purchasing comic collections is not for wimps, I still can’t believe this happened, sometimes I don’t mind when people have written in my old comics.
Camels are indeed humpy, please enjoy the Six Million Dollar Man’s body parts, remember when Aquaman’s hook hand was a thing, Christopher Reeve is awesome, everybody loves Chewbacca (except…the Empire), I’m afraid to check if there’s a Green Lantern Confessions Tumblr yet, I really should scan more from this old Monster Manual, frankly I think my capybara drawing is fairly realistic, AMBUSH BUG AND SUPER-TURTLE VERSUS FRED HEMBECK, an awesome Jim Aparo splash and one of the writers of that comic provides a bit of commentary, I’ll take any excuse to post about Composite Superman.
Okay, seems kind of silly to separate December out at this point, but let’s look at that great Superboy drawing again, why don’t we? And I didn’t note these in any of the above links, but every month had an End of Civilization, which surprisingly hasn’t ended yet, so go back and take a look at a few of those, if you are so inclined.
• • •
For reading all that, you get my earliest extant superhero drawing, which I drew circa 1974. Apparently that’s Super-Rabbit busting out of a house window, there:
Thanks for reading, everyone, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Yes, it’s the seventh anniversary of this little site of mine, and clearly, that’s eight years too long. Plus, I’ve been reminded on the Twitter that I’ve been doing online comic book type things since my BBS days over twenty-something years ago. I obviously need some sort of intervention.
I say this every time (hey, dig that, a category for my anniversary posts!) but I also mean it every time: thank you all so much for reading my site and, hopefully, enjoying it. For something that just started as a way to amuse a few friends to have acquired the audience that it has stills surprises me, and I’m very grateful for your attention.
Thanks of course to my family and my girlfriend, who seem to tolerate my obsessions or at least don’t complain about them in front of me; to my best pal Dorian who does complain about me in front of me, but I know he’s doing it out of friendship; to Employee Aaron and the rest of the cast of characters around the comic shop where I allegedly work, who have yet to file any restraining orders against me; to all the other members of the Bureau Chiefs, who allow me to hang with them even though I’m not nearly as funny or clever as they are; to my fellow bloggers, comics and otherwise, who mostly don’t hate me, I think; and, as always, a big thanks to Neilalien, Comics Blogger Alpha, because he is awesome.
The other thing I do pretty much every time an anniversary comes around is say “well, I don’t know that I’m going to update daily for another year” but then I end up doing so anyway (aside from the occasional technical glitch I have no control over). So, I’m just going to assume that I’ll do so for the next year, too. Barring accident, traumatic life change, or bribery, naturally.
A couple of interesting events happened over the past year, relating to my online activities: first, of course, was the book deal stemming from Fake AP Stylebook, the title of which (Write More Good) we were finally able to announce publicly a couple of months ago. We wrote the book earlier this year and we had a lot of fun cooking up the gags and running them past each other for suggestions and improvements, and hopefully you folks will like it too. And despite what I say at that link, the book is now available for preorder so if everyone out there each buys, like, thirty copies apiece, that’ll work out nicely.
And speaking of Fake AP Stylebook, that’s still going strong, with over 180,000 followers on the Twitter…and we’re still writing plenty of jokes for it, so it’s not going anywhere any time soon. The folks behind that feed, the bloggers and professors and rappers and whatnot who comprise the previously mentioned Bureau Chiefs, also worked on a comedy/commentary site for most of this year, featuring my regular This Is A Fetish for Someone column. I also occasionally contributed to pal Dorian’s News Briefs there.
Plus, because I don’t spend enough time online, I started a second weblog on the Tumblr platform all you kids are into, called Estate 4.1, in which I pull only the most choice user comments from online news stories and gather them together for your amusement. Find out why all my friends tell me “Mike, I can’t read your new site…it’s too depressing.” (I first announced Estate 4.1 in this blog post, where the combined quote and image still makes me laugh.)
And, let us not forget, this was the year of the Great WordPress Transition, where I finally moved from the Blogger software platform and ended up breaking my entire site. (I’ve fixed most of the problems since then. Well, I still write for this site, but I’m afraid we’re stuck with that particular issue.)
So anyway, enough about me…here’s more about me: behold these few…well, okay, too many posts of note from the last year:
Bruce Wayne totally using a gun, these Wolverine trading cards are silly, ROSEANNE BARR SPANKS BOY WONDER – HOT PICS INSIDE, nobody wins when you shoot craps with Darkseid, it’s like Rashomon only with Archie Comics, I’m maybe too proud of the Winnie the Pooh joke, Swamp Thing and Herbie – together again, the best part about this Superman Spectacular review is that writer Paul Kupperberg turned up in the comments (bottom of the page), Maxwell the Magic Cat Volume 4 really exists, this was my favorite strip in my college paper, PARADE HATER HORACE, Samuel Taylor Coleridge versus Batman, this Sluggo Saturday is not only terrifying — it is also the wallpaper on my cell phone, I get to say “Bruce and Dick’s sex dungeon,” then I get to say “squared-off udder teats,” Employee Aaron draws a giant mosquito on top of a tiny elephant and customer Gary continues it then finishes it off, Michael Pollard poisons your mind with a live-action Mr. Mxyzptlk, pal Nat improves a Sluggo Saturday, Valentine’s Day cards from pals Dana and Jorean (1 and 2), behold the 1990s, remember when Brainiac was awesome, Absorbing Man absorbs some cancer and it’s totally weird, I still have no good reason why I have Bloodlines trading cards, the Evil Eye Evader, J. Jonah Jameson and Morgan Edge have a power meeting while their employees screw around, post #3000, pal Dana’s Sluggo and Swamp Thing and sombreros birthday card, pal Dana brings us Batman cake, Darth Vader boxes the Hulk, Australian Swamp Thing, I was mostly trying to see how long a title I could get away with, Spock versus the planet of Phantom cosplayers, Sgt. Shark rescues a gal then apparently starts macking on her hard, the Tantrum Mat, behold JFK mags, this year’s Free Comic Book Day postmortem (with bonus Swamp Thing/Nancy & Sluggo mash-up art by Matt Digges), romance comics are weird, it’s Hellboy versus Jesus and the winner will surprise you, speaking of Hellboy here’s my original Mignola sketch, the Punisher and Wolverine emoting, Employee Aaron and I draw sad superhero logos, my Iron Man 2 review, seriously guys call me when it’s time to script Iron Man 3, some old Comico promo stuff, please enjoy my Kirby character cosplay, I liked Electric Superman, I suspect psychiatrists do gangbuster business in Metropolis, I am stupid for missing these three things, I review the Watchmen Heroclix set, someday there’ll be a DC Challenge trade paperback (or an Absolute Edition, so long as I’m dreaming), Golden Age comic publishers had no compunctions about traumatizing their readers, so Employee Aaron asked his girlfriend to marry him which finally gave me an excuse to run that pic of her dressed as Plastic Man, probably the only decent picture ever taken of me ever, here’s a photographic recreation of Aaron asking Kempo for her hand in marriage, Good Lord this is a long title for a post but there’s an awesome pic of the Joker and Lex Luthor, that ’70s Batman cartoon has some ‘spainin’ to do, I scan the hell out of the cover for Marvel: The End #1, those cones are still behind the store, here’s that oddball 3-D Flintstones comic, some weird things in Peanuts, HULK BREAK LEG AND NOT IN SHOWBIZ “WISHING LUCK” WAY, John Wayne can do anything, sometimes I’m too “clever” for my own good, surely no Robin costume can be worse than the one he’s already wearing…GAAAAAAH, dig this crazy Dipsy Doodle story, just what is wrong with that kid’s eye, I’m still the #1 Google result for this particular comic, fun with maps (1 an’ a 2, an’ a 3), I overexplain a Smurf gag, an’ a 4, this is the greatest “awareness of impending doom” expression of all time, I’d honestly better see the Black Racer in Smallville, I shouldn’t judge ahead of time but c’mon, just look at it, oh the abuse those poor Swamp Thing comics are experiencing, the more I think about it the more that anonymous comment on this post cheeses me off, my nerd equilibrium is upset by Smallville‘s timeframe, man they tried to sell kids some serious crap, so this trio of Batman panels eventually caused me to discuss the art by Jim Aparo and Bill Sienkiewicz, the first of two Sluggo magnets, so did Spooky scare you, the greatest Wonder Woman letter of comment of all time, oh go cry about it Superman, the second of two Sluggo magnets, this post made one comics site remember that I existed, I suspect Charlie Brown grew up into a disturbed adult, mechanical mermaid tail-submarines are a fetish for someone, these Charlie Brown ‘Cyclopedias are a bit odd, fifty years from now I’ll be dead and it won’t matter how I sorted my Superman comics, God I love old Green Lantern comics, this D&D comics discussion is pretty much verbatim, Medphyll is awesome, this Spider-Man Index only went for $1.49 on the eBay if you can believe that, I probably should have titled this post something other than “Space Butt,” when you take off the nostalgia goggles this Superman cartoon is terrible, and Luthor should spend more time on his schemes and less time setting up the infrastructure to support his personal entertainment.
Plus, I also wrote this review of The Comic Reader #212 for the Trouble with Comics website, in case you missed that the first time around. • • •
And for reading all that, you get this picture Employee Aaron and I drew of Beholders from Dungeons & Dragons:
Mine’s in the lower left.
Thanks for reading, everyone, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Six years. Daily updates.
If you’ve read the previous five times I’ve gone though this particular preamble, there probably won’t be much here new to you guys. But as always, I wanted all of you to know how much I appreciate your readership, your comments, your e-mails, your banners, and so on. The feedback and the back-and-forth is part of the enjoyment I get out of putting together material for this site every day, and thank you for that.
Plus, I once again thank my long-suffering girlfriend Nora for putting up with this particular obsession of mine, my parents for me even being here in the first place, pal Dorian for being my continuing partner in crime and a swell friend, and employees Aaron and Timmy and former employee Kid Chris for allowing me to exploit them for the entertainment of others. Well, not “allow” as such, but they haven’t sued yet, so I figure I’m okay.
And, as always, I must pay homage to he who came before: the enigmatic Neilalien, First among Comic Bloggers, for showing us how it’s done and for all the helpful advice he’s provided. Thanks, Neil! (Can I call you “Neil?”) (Er…I mean, Mr. Alien. Sir.)
A little something different happened over this last year as well…internet pals Ken and Mark, just as a goof, cooked up the parody grammar/journalism advice Twitter feed Fake AP Stylebook back in October, and invited a few other friends to participate, including me and some other comic bloggers you might recognize. It turned out to be a big hit; within a few days we had thousands of followers and multiple agents contacting us about pursuing a book deal. And now, a month later, we have nearly 71,000 followers (as of this writing) and we’ve got an agent and things are happening and it’s all very exciting. Turns out this internet thing has its uses. But seriously, I couldn’t have been a part of this if it weren’t for this goofy site of mine here and building the online relationships I have with all these talented folks. (Read more about the Fake AP Stylebook in this recent article.)
So again, thank you to all you folks who continue to tolerate my internet presence here day after day. I’m still trying to have fun with this hobby and this business I’ve been involved in for more years than I care to think about, and I hope you’re having fun with me.
And now, let the self-indulgence begin…well, continue: a selection (i.e. about 80%) of my posts from the past year that you may enjoy revisiting. BEHOLD:
The return of the Conquistador, the most patience-testing series of posts I’ve ever made (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), The Spirit movie promo items, I was totally implying that was urine, secrets of my magazine-writing past…revealed, Swamp Thing and Sluggo – together at last, Mike’s BBS days, the death of customer Sean and the arrest of the suspect , Green Arrow’s bullbleep, more of Mike’s BBS days, the worst Watchmen (unofficial) merchandising tie-in ever, 2008 Prediction follow-up (1 2), dude, the Hoaxmaster, Biblical UFOs, Grundy ain’t no Swamp Thing, Spider-Obama mania, a tribute to Porkins, the fans react to Mopee, QUESTION TIME 2009 (0 1 2 3 4 5 6), Swamp Thing fights a giant purple monster, SGT. SHARK, raw mutants in vicious nightgowns, no it’s not weird at all that I have children’s size Swamp Thing slippers, I knew not what I asked: Defense of Rob Liefeld and Youngblood Week (0 1 2 3 4 5), possibly my favorite comic strip panels ever, the “After WATCHMEN” initiative, the 3rd Annual Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk Day (soon to become All Star Batman Day), in which I posit the Watchmen reading experience in serialized form is different from trade form, original Watchmen solicitations, I’m totally making a urine joke here, the amazing 10 IN 1 SCOPE, I saw the Watchmen movie for free and really late at night, I turn 40 and immediately drop dead, Who Eats The Watchmen Cupcakes, the Watchmen/A-Team crossover, BIG-ASS KIRBY STYLE MUTANT DOG, the senses-shattering Frog by Day, Progressive Ruin Regrets the Error, screw you – the Sneezler is awesome, Swampy by Birdie, Swamp Thing monsters and vans, America’s favorite comic strip about a comic shop The Ruin, oh that crazy Twist, I bought the Howard the Duck DVD – what’s it to ya, someone keep Jor-El away from the bottles, rejected by Marvel, Rogue vs. Dazzler’s apartment, Legion of Super-Heroes stickers, pal Cully asked for Galactus Week and lo, I delivered (1 2 3 4 5 6 6 1/2 6.75), I’ll have you know that my original joke for the Female Force comic in this End of Civilization installment was going to be “THIS ISSUE: A Female Force member dies!” – yeah, I know, Look at My Butt and listen to my podcast interview, Free Comic Book Day aftermath, the very first Sluggo Saturday, Klingons off the starboard bow Captain, Doiby Dickles – badass, Yul Brynner’s puppet show comic: the cover and the hideous nightmare inside, what YOU can do with comics, so anyway, Ben Grimm is in his 90s, I don’t post about Dr. Doom enough, I kick a guy out of the shop, and my friends turn into jerks, Hell-Rider is awesome, man , never look Popeye straight in the face, the strip that could only be called Fumpy, behold the wiener ring, hangin’ out with my governor, this issue of Sgt. Rock sponsored by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, I answer more questions (1 2 3), nobody in the Justice League knows when to shut up, I thought my Question joke was funny, I ponder a very hypothetical situation regarding a reduction in books starring the same properties, and a follow-up, Casper cosplay or something like that, I still get a lot of traffic going to the page with naked Jughead, dig the Drag-U-La, a Beatle, Stonehenge, UFOs, and nose candy, Kung-fu Kirby, I didn’t completely hate Transformers 2, in which I fail to explain why Nancy and Sluggo appeal to me, the “Which Is Nerdier: Star Wars, Star Trek or Doctor Who” debate…settled at last, Employee Aaron looks a bit like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka in that first pic, gaze into Darth’s eyes and see…something, still waiting for TRUK: Rebirth , the many faces of Ch’p, the day the Bat broke, behold Cardboard Batman, the hideous terror of Sweet Sue, a handful of True Retailer Stories, whoa what the hell Reed, and now – some Beatles quotes, boy, people really didn’t care about Models Inc., this Metal Men series had nice covers anyway, Kirby covers Comics Reader #100 , Arisia says what? (and the follow-up), yet another Sluggo/Swamp Thing mash-up, I am inappropriately amused by dead Green Lanterns, CRACKBUSTERS, what’s new from DC in July 1986, did someone say…Puffy Conan Stickers, Swamp Thing fire truck patch, ’90s Avengers dangly shelf-talker thingie, my terrible Dick Tracy villains, Hugo, man of really only one face but a variety of extra features, I lived through the Death of Robin, but barely remember it, the Clone Saga will never go away, it’s like they don’t want fans to find the comic, Linus is coming down from a bad trip, man , the metaphysical horror of Frisky Fudgie, Jaime draws purty, my favorite Gilbert panels ever , Mike Organism Designed Only for Killing , Sentient Weaponized Amorphous Man-Plant Designed Only for Killing, Flintstones vs. Indians, the inherent humor in bird death , the deadliest animal in the sea, MONSTEREX, NANCODOK and SLUGGODOK, Sgt. Preston is making damn sure you’re PREPARED, Holy Batman bookmark, this is probably the best thing about those late ’80s Superman cartoons, Swamp Thing pog kinda sorta, I bought way too many of these Aliens toys, this is a terrible Superman poster, you know what’s great? Writing at length about tampons, even superheroes love Crumb, the worst alien ever, Casper’s mom and his eternal doom, yes yes “Dan Cooper” I know, when a man and an elephant really love each other, this is the grooviest Veronica has ever been, when Dutch Spaniard Cowboys ruled the beaches, Joker loves his bootleg Jerry Lewis manga, and Shmidlapp has a bad day.
By the way, not that I’m one to sing my own praises, he said in his sixth annual anniversary post, but I think I deserve some kind of reward for that Rob Liefeld week. Sainthood at the very least.
And for reading all that, here’s a picture of me in the Virginia woods as a child, borne aloft upon my cranberry flares:
Thanks to everyone for continuing to read, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
And yes, don’t worry, there will still be a Sluggo post this weekend.
Five years I’ve been doing this website. Five years of daily updates. Seriously, what’s up with that?
After going through the thanks four times previously, I’m totally repeating myself here, but thank you. Thank you to all you folks who come back day after day, reading what I write here, interacting with me in the comments, putting up with my occasional cranky moments, tolerating my eccentricities, contributing banners, clicking on my Amazon links hint hint nudge, and so on. It startles me sometimes to know that there are a few thousand people looking at what I’m doing here on a regular basis.
And thanks, once again, to my girlfriend Nora and her incredible tolerance of my peculiar four-color obsessions; to my parents, who don’t always know what the heck I’m going on about here but think it’s pretty neat anyway; to my fellow comics webloggers, with whom I don’t always agree except in that, hey, we do love the funnybooks; to Neilalien, for blazing the trail and his always welcome advice; and of course, to pal Dorian, my swell friend and nefarious partner in crime.
This site has become sort of my online home, my base of operations despite having other internet boltholes here and there…I have a MySpace (EDIT: link removed – I canceled the MySpace account) and a Facebook, both of which I hardly use to their full potential, though I check in on them on a fairly regular basis. And someday I may use Mikesterling.com for something other than a gateway page to here. However, over the last year I’ve been expanding my use of the oddly addicting Twitter, which at first I thought was a ridiculous idea, and now I find myself in the position of convincing friends to sign up for it. I love the Twitter. I can’t promise I’ll follow everyone who follows me there (I’m at about the max number of people I can comfortably keep up with), but I suggest you check it out if you want some kind of online soapbox without the burden of a full-blown blog.
Speaking of burdens, I keep saying I’m going to stop the daily schedule, that maybe I’d go to, say, three times a week. That seems like a reasonable amount of content for the site, right? Well, I still can’t bring myself to do it. I’m going to keep up the daily posting for as long as I’m able…will I make six years? We’ll see. Will it make me lose my mind? That’s a fair bet.
And that’s as good as a segue as any into what’s become my annual tradition: a listing of highlights from the past year, and by “highlights” I mean “about 2/3rds of everything I’ve posted because I can’t edit myself,” apparently. But just the same, feel free to peruse some of these links and relive the horrors:
When Darkseid met Swamp Thing (or at least sat in him), the wit and wisdom of Genocide, Marvel subscription inserts, BEHOLD CUTE GALACTUS, yes I saw Underdog – what of it, All Star Batfan banners, the only comic review scale you need, the Black Racer is still cool, hey this Flash comic ain’t too bad, I have to be stopped, it’s just a wee dram o’Comic Sans, the Sluggo Strut, Cloverfield shenanigans at the shop, I meant to blog more about the Flash, smart-ass pie charts, don’t mess with Alvin (with bonus Sluggo content), making a buck off Heath Ledger’s death, Sluggo was here, I talk a bit about Doctor Who, ’90s X-books and the collectibility thereof, stop bedwetting you hideous monster, The Shadow over Aqualad, bolos bolos bolos, I don’t do story overviews like this much anymore, Snapper Carr annoys you, so long to Steve Gerber (1 and 2), I’m only including this link so I can type “Wolverine’s Penis” again, the 2nd annual Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk Day, I can’t believe I actually did this post, Wonder Woman’s marginally new costume (plus bonus shower scene), I may have had a specific person in mind with this YouTube video, BAD TRIP OWL, the Turok DVD, God bless you Herbie Popnecker, a few words on the passing of Gary Gygax, DC’s stamps, I’m glad I didn’t have to explain why I posted about Jack Benny on my 39th birthday, Lois Lane in Near-Immediate Irony Theatre, Darkseid bids one bleen, the Question meets Rorschach kinda sorta, people took this comic ages thing way more seriously than I intended, the horrifying carnage of Wizard World L.A. (1 and 2), Dynamic Forces comics, Garfield Minus Everything, half of a full run of the Brady Bunch comic, SHADOWMAN RAP CONTEST, Mike’s a smart-ass about Secret Invasion, All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, I’m the only person who thought the stealth Durlan variant was funny, DVDs and James Brolin, Doom’s got words for you, LITTLE ARCHIE VERSUS SHARK, Archie’s Giant-Size Freak-Out isn’t as cool as it sounds, Greek Batman (there’s a joke there somewhere), I really wanted to order those tribbles, the beauty of Funnybook Shatner, Monkey Doodle got me linked on Boingboing, Star Trek and Spiro Agnew together again, this post resulted in a whole lot of Wikipedia editing, are you Space-Crazy, oh go cry about it Validus, this is a really inappropriate title for my Iron Man review, Free Comic Book Day aftermath, apparently giving away as many FCBD books as possible makes me the jerk, this panel still makes me laugh, that Phantom movie ain’t half-bad, oh Lord these X-Men cards, Lex Luthor versus Swamp Thing, THE NOSE OF VALIDUS, Hex versus the Legion, Steve Ditko versus the Legion, new members for the Avengers, this is just way too much to think about Brainiac 5, letters to Jimmy Olsen, a tribute to the moustache of Bouncing Boy, this still puzzles me, Slash the turtle, entirely inappropriate in-store behavior, seriously some people need to yank that stick out, X-Men versus Pizza Hut, Kubert School student ‘zines, in which we talk novelizations (1, 2, 3), MIKE REVIEW HULK MOVIE, Condorman: International Adventurer, this Batman panel drove me crazy, Batman’s villains had the most awesome hideouts, Baby Spock, Batman and Robin don their rubbers, Bizarro Break, the future of Peanuts, no one loves the Badrock Skydisc, my Hellboy 2 review, seriously just what the hell is going on in Batman comics, my Dark Knight review and follow-up, the disturbing faces of Popeye, Swamp Thing masks and Employee Aaron at San Diego, Mike’s mini-comic nostalgia (and some actual comics by me: 1 and 2), emo Batman is emo, the Cosmic Cube’s love for Twinkies, Superman and Batman and the state of their friendship, that whole stupid NOT BUY thing (and the inability of people to, oh, I don’t know, ADDRESS THE ACTUAL POINT), extreme close-ups of old comic ads, things I have found inside other things, OBVIOUS POINT COMING IN ON RUNWAY 12, why oh why was Walking Dead Vol. 1 unavailable all summer, Squeeks the Monkey, Land of the Lost creeps me out, in-store oral adventures, Mike’s dirty Aunt May post, CONTEMPLATE SLUGGO, Mike watches cartoons, no honestly don’t invest in F/X comics you dummies, I thought these panels were funny, thank goodness my readers have got mad Photoshop skillz, Sluggo planes wood and is awesome, Marvel and Star Trek coins, Avengers swimtrunks, Dead Jonah Hex is still Badass Jonah Hex (and follow-up: 1 and 2), King Richard I is a fighter, this is really gross, the Punisher versus typefaces, the Golden Age Sub-Mariner is so much better than the modern one, the Batman and Robin movie is discussed to death (1, 2, 3 and 4), Buenas Noches Dr. Manhattan, gorilla arms and adult babies, the internet’s only quality source for Rex the Wonder Dog adventure (1, 2 and 3), we actually had to explain why this might be construed as racist, plain brown wrappers, only I care about MacKenzie Queen, the forgotten faces of laughter, this is not suitable for viewing by anyone, French super-comics, a few quotes from an issue of Turok, hey kids comics, Sluggo questions the universe, way too much discussion about Smallville (1, 2, 3, 4), this mystery half-wit accidentally duplicated a post by Dr. K, the most important election of the year and the follow-up, an original Dark Knight Returns press release, the greatest promo poster of all time, Heroes for Hope radio script, and some bits of business re: Heroes for Hope interior pages (i.e. the ones are any good).
For looking at all that, let me show you yet again the unofficial mascot of Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin, the Swamp Thing Chalk:
…but with one important difference, thanks to Employee Aaron taking it with him on a recent convention visit:
It’s now autographed by Swampy’s cocreator Len Wein
…who, according to Aaron, saw the chalk and exclaimed “hey, I
have one of those!” AWESOME.
Thanks again for reading, internet pals, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
I’ve been doing this website for the same amount of time I was in high school…that’s a thought to make me feel my age.
Anyway, I don’t know what I can say that I haven’t already said three times before, except to repeat, as always, my great appreciation for you, my readers, and all of your e-mails and comments (and logo contributions). Interacting with all of you just adds to my enjoyment of this goofy little website here, and makes me feel as if I’m not just shouting to the wind. That any of you find enough of value in my site to keep coming back means more than I can say, so thank you for that.
Also, thank you for putting up with the addition of advertising on this site over the last year…I’ve tried to keep it non-obtrusive, aside from my remarkably subtle hints to click a link or do an Amazon search, etc. It’s not a lot of money coming in from those sources, but as I’ve said before, every little bit helps. If you’re one of those folks who used those services…it’s very welcome, and I thank you.
And thanks, of course, to my fellow comics webloggers…most of whom I get along with swimmingly, some of whom frustrate me occasionally, and none of whom I’d want to be without. It’s the convergence and/or clashing of opinions and ideas that keeps things interesting, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Of course, a special thanks goes out to my good friend and partner in crime pal Dorian. It just wouldn’t be the same without him around.
So for the last couple of anniversaries, I did a brief round-up of some of my favorite posts from the previous year. Well, I kinda overdid it this time, but I hope you don’t mind:
Hanna-Barbera Pie Fight, Swamp Thing slippers, MODOK link-dump, refuting someone’s incorrect assumption about comics ordering, my quote in Previews, How X-Force #25 made Canadians hate us, what Dino the Dinosaur is thinking, MIGHTY GREEN ARROW IMAGE SHOWCASE FOR LAUGH TIME, in which I was right about Dark Tower not being a gateway comic, the creepiness of Superboy Sphinx, BIKINICHROME, Swamp Thing dancers, Happy Ultimate Wolverine Versus Hulk Day, buy more comics, Abby Arcane’s forgotten super powers, one of too many posts in which I explain the whole “Death of Captain America” thing , Mike’s Comic Shop…of EEEEEEEEVIL, Batman Defeated by Joker – Seven Decades of Superheroing Come to End, Skywald’s Heap comic, how not to get Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans to bid on your auction, a Pizzazz subscription card insert, a comic to make you feel old, a page of kid-drawn monsters, the 2007 April Fools post: “Attending Church: The Official Internet Fansite for Kevin Church,” dancing Galactus, on the passing of Johnny Hart, an overanalysis of some nerd trivia, Jack Kirby’s Demon versus Linus, Snoopy, and Broom Hilda, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II tells my fortune, Spooky versus Pencilman, the Fist of Purplish-Pink Justice, Little Lulu freaks the mundanes, why Turok is cool, being a fink is fun, Free Comic Book Day aftermath 1 and 2, Spider-Man 3: not completely horrible, the zoo trip, a whole lotta ECs, a look at that comic book rack from an old Peanuts strip, NANCY MUST NOT EAT IT, Fallen Son: Nancy, a complete Spunky the Monkey story, Mike Sterling’s Progressive Cranius, pure putty tragedy, Star Wars‘ 30th Anniversary, at least I liked this animation, the girlfriend brings me comics from Mexico, Archie’s shirt freaks me out, the single most depressing robot story you’ll ever read, Dr. Doom versus Superman, Fantastic Four sequel review, the Archie gazes also, Ibis the Invincible will freakin’ kill you, man, Linus versus the pooping robot (and a follow-up with monster Peanuts), I explain the Pietà, the worst battle cry ever, how DC Comics totally screwed us with their handling of The Flash, a tribute to my customer Bruce, Good Lord we have a lot of old posters, I answer some questions about the ’90s boom ‘n’ bust (follow-ups 1 and 2), putting words in Satan’s mouth, these comics protected by Spawn, battle of the disembodied heads, a review of Mad Magazine’s Up the Academy, I get snarky, the break-in (follow-ups 1 and 2), the random gift of a Man-Thing sketch, the possible negative impact of retailer blogging on sales, the secret origin of Tarzan’s trunks, CONTEMPLATE SLUGGO, more local mini-comic memories, who’s who at the Death of Superman, tiny comic book ads blown up good ‘n’ big, “IN HELL, BABY, IN HELL,”, Jack Kirby’s creepy as hell leprechaun, Darkseid versus the Care Bears, on Joe Quesada’s attempts to convince everyone that the Spider-Man marriage was a bad thing (and a follow-up, plus my initial vague hint to current Spidey shenanigans), some Darkseid fine art, the MONDO-THICKARAMA BACKER 3000, the kickassery of Walt Simonson’s Thor, the only Richie Rich cover analysis you’ll ever need, logic is applied to the bottle city of Kandor for no good reason, a celebration of Don Rosa’s Captain Kentucky, Kirby’s Super Powers, the nightmarish frog thing what gathers bunnies, helping with a search for back issues, DC staffer cameos in the Daily Planet newspaper, Richie Rich versus ‘the Googol,’ the secret life of Sluggo, the Mickey Mouse thesis, Pink Batman, “WHERE’S ME GOLD,” Mike versus Fire, the Superman: Doomsday DVD review, Stan Lee Presents Se7en, the chameleon torture toy for kids, a complete scan of the Golden Age story “The Widow of Death,” things to not post about: is Kirby the Liefeld of the ’70s, why Herbie rules, Fearless Fosdick and the Poisoned Beans, Mr. District Attorney and the Fastphoto system, the constant abuse of Porky Pig…
…and, at long last, my podcast interview.
Again, let me express my gratitude for my readership. I know I’ve said it before, but when I started I never expected more than a few friends (in real life and online) to read my site. That I have as many readers as I do is a never-ending source of surprise to me. And that they all seem to think I have some kind of obsession with Swamp Thing is a surprise as well. I wonder where they got that idea?
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Oh dear heavens, I’ve been doing this on a daily basis for three years now?
Okay, after doing two previous anniversary posts, and running off at the mouth each of those times, I don’t know if I have that much new to add…well, I’ll probably run off at the mouth again anyway, since I can’t seem to help myself. So, if I repeat myself, I apologize.
There had been times, over the last year, when my enthusiasm for comics weblogging wavered a tad, as I noted once or twice, but you folks, your comments and your e-mails and your generally positive reaction to my ongoing nonsense provide continuing inspiration. As I’ve said before, I never expected to have an audience beyond a few friends, so the fact that I have the audience that I have now quite simply amazes me. Despite my occasional low moments, I do still enjoy doing this site, and I still enjoy interacting with you folks. I don’t plan on going away any time soon, barring health issues, accidents, meteor strikes, the Man keeping me down, or what have you.
So, let me thank all of you for your continued readership, which is, as always, much appreciated. Thanks to my fellow funnybook webloggers, for making the online comics world an interesting one. Thanks to my store’s employees, current and former, and the occasional customer, for not minding too much when I talk about them on the site. (Typical conversation at the store: “Oh, that thing I did is gonna go on your website, isn’t it?” “Ayuh.”)
And, of course, my thanks to the other members of the Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs: pals Ian, Tom, J.P., Kid Chris, Corey, Sean, and Nathan (some of whom don’t post nearly enough, Sean)…but most of all, big thanks to best pal Dorian, without whom I don’t know that I’d enjoy doing the weblogging thing as much as I do. So thanks, Dor, you big lug.
Let’s shift the self-indulgence lever all the way up to “FULL BLAST,” if I may, as I present some posts of note from the last twelve months that you may have missed, may want to revisit, or that I’m misguidedly proud of:
“That was Chuck Norris,” my Adam West/Frank Miller mash-up, DC screwing up its reprint of Alan Moore’s Superman story, my evil, evil animated Joker gif, the gaslighting of Jean Loring, possibly my all-time favorite panel from a romance comic, Swamp Thing speaks on behalf of Greenpeace, “Tubby, NO,” comic book titles I don’t want to see, some thoughts on weblogging, Superman Vs. Goku, the stupidest thing I’ve ever posted…no, wait, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever posted, “Everyone has C.B. now,” the Best Horror Comic Host ever, my birthday post, Amazon.com reviews of Alan Moore’s work, some of my favorite covers (parts one and two), Man-Thing’s war on Swamp Thing, a special message from the Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite Statue prop replica, the best Batman YouTube video ever, the Comics Code approves the “s” word, the editing of the Outsiders, I look at naked Adrienne Barbeau…for science, Free Comic Book Day before and after, the Secret Crisis of Infinite Wars, Captain Dude, abandoned plot points, shelf-talkers (1 2 3), the Smurf life cycle, my X-Men 3 review, my memorial tree, get a look at my rack, too many comics, my Superman Returns review, casting the 1980s X-Men movie, DESTROY ALL ROBOTS, my signed Morn photo, superheroes and supermodels, dropping books, Low Content Mode week (starting here), Tom’s Casebook (1 2), BEHOLD THE BENOSED FACE OF DOOM, Mike’s many copies of House of Secrets #92, the continuing evil of Cicero Pig, that one guy from Swamp Thing #1, Dueling Myspace Wolverines, BOW BEFORE YOUR ALIEN MASTERS, controversy, the worst comic story I’ve ever read, the Evil Eye Evader (with a comment from someone who actually had one!), the runaway arrow, farm folk versus aliens, Invest-A-Rama, a terrible, terrible article about comics, I liked these panels even if nobody else did, some great Captain America sound effects, Richie Rich is a jerk, Let’s Go Bowling, and all roads lead to superheroes. And, every once in a while, I manage to put some words together in the right order and turn out a piece of writing that makes me think, hey, apparently I can write coherent English when I put my mind to it: in particular, my Bat-essay from the end of Bat-week.
As I was putting together those links, I went ahead and scoured the entire
archives to finally assemble an index of my character linkdumps. Eventually they’ll get into the sidebar, but, what the heck, here they are for your amusement and/or edification. Note: some linkrot may have set in on some of the noted sites:
Batman (’60s TV show version)
I’m still stunned that I was able to put together so many links for that Matter-Eater Lad post. I mean, who knew?
For putting up with all that, I give you a picture of me wearing 3D scratch ‘n’ sniff gorilla glasses:
Yes, that’s right, I said 3D SCRATCH ‘N’ SNIFF GORILLA GLASSES
3D SCRATCH ‘N’ SNIFF GORILLA GLASSES
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Don’t worry, I won’t run off at the mouth like last time. I was briefly tempted to go with H‘s idea of “everything you knew about ‘the secret origin of Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin’ is wrong,” however.
But anyway, here it is, the two-year anniversary of this goofy weblog of mine. Even though I had planned on slacking off a bit on the daily posting once I passed the one-year mark, I still had something new on my site every day. Cut it close that one day while I was in the process of moving, but I still managed it, gosh darn it! Whether that’s something to be terribly proud of, I’m not sure (“I goofed off on my computer every day this year…yay!”), but it’s an achievement of some sort, surely. I even squeezed in a monthly column at Comic Book Galaxy as well (new installment today, in fact).
Now, for the future…ah, heck, I’ll still keep trying to post every day, barring disaster, personal upheaval, and/or finally getting fed up with it. Don’t worry, I’m not likely to get fed up anytime soon…I still like talkin’ about comics, so you’re not rid of me yet!
I had planned on doing some kind of annotated index of highlights from the site over the last year, but as I was working on it, it was turning out to be horribly, horribly long, and more
self-indulgent than I was planning.
However, I’m not above a little self-indulgence, so let me tell you about a couple things on this site that you may not know about: for example, a page I put up, at Bjorn’s request, showing how this site looked on April Fool’s Day. (For comparison, here’s pal Dorian‘s April Fool’s page.) Also, I posted a page of all my sidebar icons, accessible by clicking the current pic. Now that I’ve got a lot of ‘em, that page is beginning to look pretty neat, if I do say so myself.
I think I’ll still point out a few of my favorite things from the last year, like my Free Comic Book Day speedos, ROBOT SHERLOCK HOLMES, the Swamp Thing sketch by Fred Hembeck, the Swamp Man drawing that Scott Saavedra was nice enough to place in my possession, Swamp Thing versus Man-Thing, deviant sexual behavior in Riverdale, some comic book haiku, some masterful packing, the Watcher movie, “you help blow too,” the many faces of Lex Luthor, the racial sensitivity of Green Arrow, DOOM BUTTON, scary Swamp Thing moments, and, God help us, the “SPECIAL EXTRA LARGE LESBIAN UNICORN ISSUE” — ask for it by name.
And it’s been that long since my last audio post? I need to do more of those.
In all seriousness, thanks to all of you folks out there who read my site. The traffic on this site is way up…still not a patch on some folks
, but pretty good for a comics weblog, I think. In case you’re curious, the consistent top referrers to my site, aside from the Update-A-Tron
, are Cognitive Dissonance
, Dave’s Long Box
, and, unsurprisingly, pal Dorian
…but a big thank you to everyone else who links to this site
When I started this weblog, it was just another way to express my enjoyment of comics, particularly the more goofy aspects of the hobby, as well as talking about some of the tribulations of selling the darn things for a living. I never expected to have an audience beyond a few friends…but it’s very gratifying to know that a lot of you out there come back to my site day after day, reading whatever crazy talk I happen to be posting. I honestly appreciate your readership, as well as your comments and e-mails. Again, thank you.
And special thanks as well to the Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs: pals Dorian, Corey, Sean, Tom, Ian, JP, and Kid Chris, who all encourage me in this sort of behavior.
Well, for the one-year anniversary
I presented an embarrassing letter of comment of mine that was printed in a Superman
comic. Alas, I have no more LOCs of mine to show you, but, to wrap things up, I do have this embarrassing photo of me as a young Mikester:
The certificate I’m holding is an award for “Most Fantastic Hair in Ventura County” (a title I still
hold, thank you).
See you tomorrow!
When I first started this weblog of mine, my intention was to attempt to post something new every day for at least one year. And here we are, one year later, and despite illness, despite weddings, despite floods and locusts and power outages and Blogger‘s usual shenanigans, I actually achieved that goal, and only managed to irritate one or two people along the way. Some days, especially early on, I didn’t post much – maybe just a link or two – and the one day I just wasn’t able to post and had pal Dorian fill in, I still managed to put in a brief appearance explaining why Dor was filling in.
Over a year of posting, I’ve managed to knock a little dust off my HTML skills, though some lessons took a while to learn — like specifying exact dimensions for images so that the permalinks don’t cause the page to jump all over the place as the images load. Er, sorry about that. Also, I had to find out about “hotlinking” — I never did it, but plenty of people did it to me until I learned how to block that sort of behavior. The thought did occur to me to replace hotlinked images with something appalling, like some sites do…but decided against it because 1) I’m a nice guy, and 2) it sounded like that would be hard work.
Best of all, I managed to drag some of my pals into the weblogging world with me, including one coworker, two former coworkers, and two customers. (Okay, so maybe Sean‘s been a little lax lately, but the poor boy just got married, so cut him some slack!)
ASIDE #1 – THE NEVER BEFORE REVEALED SECRET ORIGIN OF
“MIKE STERLING’S PROGRESSIVE RUIN”
Well, the origin of the name, anyway. The first half of the name is easy…I’m named after my dad. I’m Mike Sterling Jr., he’s Mike Sterling Sr. Now why my grandparents decided to name my dad “Mike” remains a mystery.
The second half requires a little more backstory. For about a five year span in the mid-90s, I was involved in a local mini-comics publishing concern started by my old friend Rob. The “company,” named Full Frontal Harvey (after an offhand comment from an MTV veejay regarding Harvey Keitel’s performance in Bad Lieutenant), published about three dozen different digest and mini-sized publications. The flagship title was an anthology book entitled Wood-Eye, and contained work by Rob and myself in all twelve issues, and also had plenty of work by future Xeric Grant winner Fred Noland…not to mention one cover by Love & Rocket‘s Jaime Hernandez (posted on this very site yesterday), a couple cartoons by novelist Scott Phillips, and the occasional cartoon by this weirdo.
At any rate, in 1998 I eventually took the pages I’d done for Wood-Eye up to that point, along with a couple pages from a solo book (Lookit!) I had done early on, and several new (or, at least, previously unpublished) pages, and put them all into one volume. Stuck for a title for this comic, I took the name from my original website — “Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin!”
My original website, which I refer to as “Progressive Ruin 1.0,” was first put on the web on November 8, 1996, and was basically there to, well, fill up some of the 5 megabytes of free web space offered by my ISP of the time. It was also the Official Website of Full Frontal Harvey, featuring cover scans of all our books, a downloadable mini-comic, and other goodies.
Yes, the origin of my website’s name is that it’s from a previous website. It’s a cop out, I know, but it’s still better than the ending to What Dreams May Come.
“But what does it mean,” you ask? Well, it’s a reference to the fact that…um, well, I’m going to grow older, my body is going to weaken, my cognitive faculties will dull, and I’m eventually going to die…and as such, any record of my actions and experiences, such as through a collection of comic strips I’ve drawn, or posts on a weblog, can be seen as a document of that steady decline. Or, if you will, of my progressing ruin.
See? A laugh riot, no? Oh, relax, I’m not chronically depressed or anything…I just thought it was an amusing title, an ironic counterpoint to the hopefully humorous offerings both in my old comic strips and here on my weblog. Besides, I plan on living forever, so I don’t really have to worry about any of that aging or declining health stuff.
I’ve done some online comics discussion in the past. In the local BBS community (remember those, way back in the pre-internet days?), I was the go-to guy to run comic book message groups on various boards. I think I in charge of about four or five, as I recall, including a message board on a BBS run by this fella. And in the early days of AOL, I would occasionally pop in on the comic boards there, though the level of discourse was…um, not exactly quality, shall we say. I never participated in the Usenet thing, like a handful of my weblogging brethren (and sisteren) did. So, after the fall of the BBS scene, aside from talking with some of my friends or the occasional discussion at the comic shop, my comics talk was at a minimum. I didn’t (and still don’t) try to use my position at the store to excessively inflict my comic book opinions on hapless customers…I really try hard to not be one of those guys, you know?
And that’s why I’m glad I now have a weblog. I can talk at length about all the funnybooks I want, without having to worry about preaching to a captive audience (like I could do at the store, were I one of those guys), and without having to bore my audience to tears (presumably, if you’re reading this site…in particular, if you’re still slogging through this post…you must have at least a passing interest in comic books).
And to think, when I started, I didn’t plan on making this weblog comics-only!
ASIDE #2 – EVEN AT A YOUNG AGE, I COULDN’T SHUT UP ABOUT COMICS
Dave at Yet Another Comics Blog posted the cover of Superman #369 (March 1982) as part of his ongoing Christmas comic cover series. It just so happens that this issue contains my only printed letter of comment. As a preemptive measure, I shall reproduce it here, it all its horrifying glory:
Oh dear, oh dear. I was insufferable even way back then, wasn’t I? I was very obviously trying to be “funny,” and failing miserably at it. Plus, God may never forgive me for my slight against the late Mr. Swan. It’s also one of those “recap the plot” kind of letters, which I hate. Even being 12 years old at the time is no excuse. At any rate, I’m sure they printed this letter more because it fit the space available rather than because of any perceived quality. If only they’d followed my advice to keep Cary Bates, though….
Please note that the city I lived in at the time was Port Hueneme, though whoever typeset this letter accidentally appended the state abbreviation of the end of the city’s name, making it “Huenemeca.” Thus, I was able to track all the mail I received as a result of having my letter printed in this comic. Fan club offers, conventions flyers, catalogs…all addressed to “Port Huenemeca.” Okay, it wasn’t that much mail, but it was neat to see what a 12-year-old kid could get just for having a letter pop up in a comic book.
I only ever wrote one other letter of comment, in reference to DC Comics Presents #50, which was never printed. Though, looking at the letter that did get printed, it’s probably just as well. There’s only so much public humiliation one person can stand!
One of the unexpected results of this weblog was getting to interact to some extent with professional comic creators, including Tony Isabella (whose Hawkman comics still remain some of my favorite featuring that character), Fred Hembeck (whose cartoon overviews of bizarre comics of the past is a definite inspiration of mine), and Scott Saavedra (whose mighty Comic Book Heaven magazine celebrated the goofiness of comics in a way that my little website can only try to imitate).
Another result I really wasn’t anticipating was cartoonists, writers, and publishers sending me items for review. The first I received were the volumes 1 & 2 of the amusing children’s series Sidekicks by Tom Mason and Dan Danko. Items from Ait/Planetlar‘s Larry Young, cartoonist Steve Lieber, and Atomeka Press were to follow. It’s all part of their marketing strategies, I realize, but it still makes me feel pretty good to think that my opinion on their releases is desired, and that my little venue here is important enough to warrant being sent review copies at their not-inconsiderable expense.
ASIDE #3 – HOW I FIRST MET SCOTT SAAVEDRA
Scott Saavedra was publishing through Slave Labor Graphics a comic/magazine called Java Town, featuring his cartoons as well as several pages of found ads, weird items, and so on. In the back of issue #2 was a reproduced image from an advertisement for a board game called “The Sinking of the Titanic.”
Well, I had this game when I was a kid. (You can read more about the game, and see some pictures, here.) And, when Rob, Fred, and I went to the second Alternative Press Expo in San Jose, CA (in ’94, I think) to shill our Wood-Eye comic, I got my chance to meet Scott Saavedra and tell him in person about the game and how it was played. He was appalled, as any decent human being would be, and from that point on I was “the guy who had the Titanic board game.” Well, I don’t think Mr. Saavedra ever referred to me as such, but I’d mention it on occasion to remind him who I was, like when I’d order copies of his original self-published version of Comic Book Heaven, and he was nice enough not to tell me I was annoying him.
Okay, it’s not much of a story, but it gives me an excuse to once again plug Scott Saavedra’s weblog which you should visit immediately after you’re done here. You should also buy the Dr. Radium trades and the Comic Book Heaven digests and collection as well.
I do have a thank you or two, or a dozen, to pass along, if you all will bear with me:
First off, thanks to the grand-daddy of the comics webloggers, the enigmatic Neilalien, who offered me some assistance early on, particularly with cleaning up the comic scans. And thanks as well to Graeme, as his Fanboy Rampage, though he doesn’t know it, was the site that finally made me say to myself, “hey, maybe doing a comics weblog would be fun!”
Thanks to Rory, who was the first person I knew in real life to put a link to my weblog on her website (Baresark), and to Bill Sherman, who was the first person I didn’t know to link me on his own site (Pop Culture Gadabout).
Thanks to pal Andy, who has been kind enough to link me on his essential Waxy.org a handful of times…which directly led to me being linked by Boing Boing, giving me my largest single day’s worth of traffic thus far (just shy of 7,000 unique visits).
Thanks of course to everyone else who has posted links to my site as well.
Thanks to my pals Dorian, Corey, Sean, Tom, and Ian, the mighty Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs…more is definitely the merrier.
Extra thanks to Ian, whose mentions of me on the Comics Journal message boards must certainly have brought me to the attention of Dirk Deppey…which brings me to thanking Dirk, for his many kind mentions of my site on the sadly missed web version of Journalista. This post in particular, the last before his farewell message, still brings me visitors all these months later.
Thanks to all my fellow comics webloggers, who have made a fun hobby even more fun.
Thanks to the customers from our store who read my site, but still shop with us anyway.
Thanks to my girlfriend Nora, whose tolerance levels are apparently higher than any normal human’s, as she’s put up with my silly comics stuff for what I’m sure she thinks is much too long.
Thanks to my dad, who reads my site every day, even though I’m sure he doesn’t know what the heck I’m talking about half the time, what with some of the comics minutiae I get into. I don’t even know what I’m talking about half the time. And thanks to my mom, for…well, you should always be thankful to your mom, you know?
And thanks to you, the readers, who have decided that my goofy ramblings are of enough value to keep you coming back. Your readership, and your comments, are always much appreciated.
Thus endeth my most self-indulgent post ever. The only way it could have been more self-indulgent is if I posted pictures of my d…
…oops, sorry, just slipped out.
See you tomorrow!