If anything can drive the spirits away, it’s Dennis the Menace.

§ September 26th, 2018 § Filed under dennis the menace § 7 Comments

Here’s one of those weird things that showed up in some collection or ‘nother at the shop that I didn’t really pay much attention to ’til it came up during processing:

This is a variant on Dennis the Menace #140 (September 1975). with the date and price removed (you can compare the two versions here). The lead story features Dennis and his long-suffering parents visiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. The price-less variant was apparently used as a promotional item for the attraction. The Grand Comics Database linked above refers to it as a “giveaway,” so I suppose it was handed out on the premises. I wonder how many were printed? How long did they give copies away? San Jose is only a few hours away from the stores I’ve worked at…I’m surprised I haven’t seen more copies. Or, perhaps I have and it just didn’t register with me that “oh hey, this one’s missing the cover price.”

What made me notice this particular copy, and what makes it different from the sample on the GCD, is that huge ol’ sticker affixed to the bottom of the cover:

Clearly not every copy got that sticker slapped on the cover, as per, again, that scan on the GCD. And this is the kind of sticker that ain’t comin’ off, so it’s not like someone got one of these and removed it. My guess is that stickerless copies were given out at the Mystery House itself, while stickered copies were used as advertising elsewhere, with the sticker making it clear that the point of being handed the comic was “oh, yeah, the Winchester House,” not “here’s Dennis the Menace, now available in comic book form…enjoy!” I have no idea…maybe copies were just randomly stickered. Only the Winchester House spirits know for sure.

So let’s rap about Batman’s penis.

§ September 24th, 2018 § Filed under batman § 6 Comments

So when I initially ordered Batman: Damned, there were a couple of points against it that kept my orders on the conservative side:

First, its dimensions. It’s larger than your standard issue comical book. It is, for all intents and purposes, a graphic novel, a nearly-identical format to the Marvel and DC graphic novels from the 1980s. 8 1/2 by 11 inches and thin. Magazines and magazine-sized comics are generally harder sells.

Second, the price. Yes, okay, cover prices are creeping up (the coming Uncanny X-Men relaunch has a $7.99 price tag on the first issue, egads) but price is still a factor, Raise that price, lower those sales expectations.

On the plus side, it’s a strong creative team, and the book was bound to look gorgeous. It’s the opening salvo from a new DC Comics imprint. It’s Batman. It’s John Constantine. All factors that can push those numbers up.

Thus, a couple months ago, and again a few weeks back when I had the opportunity to rejigger those numbers, I decided what I was going to order and that was that. Not terribly high, but it certainly seemed like plenty to me, based on my customer base ond likely demand.

Then last Wednesday came along, and throughout the day the book sold about how I had expected it to sell. It moved briskly, and at some point in the day I decided to put in a reorder for some more copies, as once I’d actually seen the final product and saw how my customers responded to it, I figured it had some legs and was good for more sales. My assumption was that it would be treated as a trade paperback by the publisher, kept on the backlist for the foreseeable future, but I wanted to grab a few more while it was still currently available, rather than wait for DC to go back to press after the eventual sellout.

I was left with one copy at the end of the day. And then the phone calls began.

As you’ve probably heard, there’s a scene in the comic featuring a fully-nude Batman (or Bruce Wayne, I guess…feels funny to call him Batman without the Bat-costume) that reveals his…well, look, it’s totally his penis. Obscured by shadows, yes, but there it is, regardless. Holy short arm inspection!

After this particular bonus content was noticed, DC quickly announced that the Batpole would be stricken from digital editions and all future reprints. And of course, being comics, you know what that means. INSTANT COLLECTIBLE.

Probably a good 95% of the phone calls received at the store since Thursday morning have been people asking for Batman: Damned #1. Sunday I think I had only one call that wasn’t someone asking for that comic. The majority of those calls were not from anyone that I recognized, so the plus side is that new folks are seeking out comic shops and finding me, America’s Most Powerful and Beautiful Comic Shop Owner. The downside is, of course, not having that book they want. And they’re not wanting any future editions that may come down the pike…they want that first printing.

Now the reordered batch (ahem) I’m expecting is all pretty much already spoken for. Assuming of course they show up not damaged, which is sometimes the trick with these shipments. I mean, beyond folks looking for the aforementioned INSTANT COLLECTIBLE, there are those who may have been waiting to buy the story once it was completed and collected into a final edition, or were on the fence about picking it up, or whathaveyou, but were goosed into action by realizing if they wanted the uncensored version, they’d better grab it now. And I understand the impulse…when I finally got around to buying a CD copy of “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” I didn’t want the U.S. version with the stupid and insulting black box over (gasp) a lady’s naked bottom, I wanted the cover that didn’t treat me like an idiot, so I had to hunt around for the Canadian release.

So anyway, in the true Streisand Effect fashion, by trying to hide Batman’s Boy Wonder, DC has only drawn even more attention to it, even to the point of the comic being mocked on late night talk shows, and the brave new launch of an upscale line of serious comic books has been reduced to a vector for dick jokes. I know, I’m not innocent, there’s a couple in this post right here, but the whole situation is ridiculous, it’s hard (ahem) not to make fun of it. But I guess at least people are laughing at it rather than saying “LOOK AT WHAT THEY’RE SELLING TO KIDS, WE MUST BAN COMICS” though that’s probably out there too. There’s always somebody.

On a related note: I sure sold a lot of magazine-sized bags and boards on Wednesday.

Man, imagine what I’d write if they paid me to shill for them.

§ September 21st, 2018 § Filed under cartoons, dc comics § 4 Comments

Still enjoying the DC Universe streaming service…well, I’d better, I’m paid up for a year plus those extra three months. I particularly like the DC Daily show, updated every weekday, which (aside from the extra-long first episode) is about 15 to 20 minutes split across three separately-streaming segments: an opening bit with DC News of the Day (promos for newly released comics, media news, what’s new or of note on the service), a second segement that I guess will be for special features (like this week, three of the segments were devoted to a George Perez interview about his DC work), and a third roundtable segment, where the various DC Daily cast members discuss a topic (generally regarding a comic or movie/TV show available on the service, like the pilot for the ’90s Flash TV series). It’s light and fun and an enjoyable enough way to spend a few minutes while, say, winding down after a long day of work at the comic shop office.

That was a long-ish paragraph, so here’s a new one. The other thing I’ve been watching has been the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 1940s. I’ve seen a handful of the old DVDs that collected them together over the years, and wasn’t terribly impressed with the presentation. I think an eventual release did do right by them, but after being burned a couple of times, I never did get around to checking out any later releases.

But they’re here on the DC service, and they look pretty darn good. “The Mechanical Monsters,” possibly the most famous of the bunch, looks almost flawless:

…while another I watched, “Showdown,” had some light damage to the print, but still very nice looking and perfectly watchable. I look forward to perusing the rest of them as time permits…well, maybe not looking forward so much to “Japoteurs,” because…well, it was wartime an’ all, but hooboy.

The web version of the service, at least via Firefox (haven’t tested other browsers yet) still seems to have an issue with perma-on subtitles:

…but everything’s workin’ fine though the TV streaming.

Sorry, didn’t mean to be a commercial to DC Universe, available at only $7.99 a month, try it today, but I have been enjoying it quite a bit, even with the occasional glitch. And of course I’m greatly anticipating the Swamp Thing live-action series coming next year…as well as Doom Patrol, with…Timothy Dalton as the Chief? Iin full beard? Fighting the Beard Hunter? Well, okay, I don’t know about that last bit for sure, but c’mon DC, justify my subscription costs.

Also waiting for more material to be added, such as the 1960s Filmation Superman cartoon, if only because I watched it a lot as a kid and have this theme music permanently embedded in my mind:

So aside from all that, let me ask you this: wouldn’t you like to see Superman sporting this style of chest emblem again?

Rhetorical question; of course you would.

Look, I did my best to avoid spoilers.

§ September 19th, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing § 9 Comments

So there I was, reading Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 via the DC Universe streaming service app, as one does. And I gotta say, those pages look pretty good on a 50-inch hi-def TV…the colors really pop, the linework is nice and clear, it looks great even to my aging eyes.

But as previously established, there I was, reading that issue, when I noticed something a little unusual about this panel:

“Hold on,” I said to myself, out loud, like a character in a comic book,”those feet are missing the ‘color hold’ images representing the kicking of the feet as [REDACTED] suffocates in [ALSO REDACTED]’s mossy chest,” which you can see here in the printed original:from late ’83/early ’84:

I noticed another color-held image earlier in the book made it through to the digital version fine, but just thought this was a Thing of Note™. Still, nice to see the art all blown up big ‘n’ stuff.

EDIT: As per BobH’s comment…yes, the online version of #24 does leave out the last line from the last page.

images from Saga of Swamp Thing #21 (February 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ September 17th, 2018 § Filed under End of Civilization § 6 Comments

You’ve waited long enough, and here it is…the new End of Civilization, streaming your way over the app of your choice, except for those platforms we said there’d be apps for ut we couldn’t get them done on time! Oh well, maybe eventually! In the meantime, follow along win your copy of Diamond Previews, Sepctemer 2018 edition!

p. 93 – The Walking Dead Word Balloon Pin – We Are The Walking Dead:

To be followed by “If Daryl Dies, We Riot” and “Hey Aren’t These Just Zombies, Why Are We Calling Them Walkers” and “Think We’ll Get Renewed After Next Season?”
p. 93 – The Walking Dead Word Balloon Pin – F*ck You:

After that last election, pretty much anything’s fair game for politcal pins now.
p. 96 – William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1:

Okay, Marvel, you know what to do.
p. 98 – Dr. Horrible: Best Friends Forever:

Well, blogs are totally dead now, so the good bad doctor’s “Sing-Along Blog” is clearly over. So…Dr. Horrible’s Snap-Chat-along? Dr. Horrible’s Musical Tweets? Dr. Horrible’s INsta-Grammys?
p. 147 – Dick Tracy Dead or Alive #3:

Dick Tracy is spun round like a record, baby, by his greatest nemesis yet…Bon Jovi!
p. 160 – Magic The Gathering Chandra #1:

Retroactively considering this series of comics from the ’40s to be the adaptation of theRedmeption card game:

p. M21 – Marvel Movie Milestone Infinity War Thanos Resin Statue:

Why, I’m old enough to remember when Thanos would keep the top of his head demurely covered with his space-hat. Now here he is, just his noggin just hang out there for all to see. HAVE SOME CLASS, THANOS.
p. M38 – DC Cinematic Justice League Wonder Woman O-Fig Figure:

I’m all for Betty Boop as the new Wonder Woman.
p. M52 – Star Wars Dengar Collector’s Gallery Statue & p. M62 Star Wars Bounty Hunter Dengar ArtFX+ Statue:

That I’ve lived long enough to see Dengar-mania finally hit the pop culture zeitgeist. Two statues in the same catalog. Unbelievable. Next month: a statue of Dengar just face down on the ground, and a statue of his stretching upwards on his little tippy-toes.
p. M69 – Space Jam Bearbricks Marvin the Martian:

Just…okay, look, I collect comics, that’s pretty weird to some people, admittedly. And I suppose these are no stranger than Funko Pops. But…is there that demand for little plastic versions of characters with “bear” ears?
p. M78 – Pop Team Epic Jumbo Soft Vinyl Figures – Popuko:

Only interested if it actually comes with the little “censored” circles to attach to the hands.
p. M97 – Chia Pet Gizm-:

But…how can you water it? YOU KNOW THE RULES
p. N97 – Chia Pet Groot:

I am here for ‘Fro Groot. (Not to be confused with Frogurt.)
p. M97 – Chia Pet Donald Trump:

Hmm…well, as hairstyles for the Prez go…could be worse!
p. M105 – Five Nights at Freddy’s Monopoly Board Game:

Do not pass GO…actually, probably shouldn’t pass GO so long as you keed that security camera on.
p. M105 – Warhammer 40000 Monopoly Board Game:

“;You win first place in a beauty contest…pay $25 for every Snotling’ — wait, what”
p. M105 – Rugrats Monopoly Board Game:

Do not pass Sheldon Mayer. Do not give him $200.
Marvel Previews p. 2 – Uncanny X-Men #1:

At long last, a new Uncanny X-Men #1! Finally one single series that will address all of your X-Men needs, without having to go from series to series trying to follow the plot threads featuring your favorite characters! And best of all, it will never be cancelled or reboots or relaunched with a new first issue! Here’s to seeing issue #300 in 25 years!

Very brief first impressions of the DC Universe streaming service.

§ September 14th, 2018 § Filed under television § 1 Comment

Yup, I got in on the ground floor on this, getting that twelve months plus three extra months subscription, which translates to a whole lot of Sweary Robin in my future.

Anyway, I’m going to make this quick, because your pal Mike is up way past his bedtime again (8 PM during the week, maybe as late as 8:30 on the weekends if I’m feeling particularly wild), so let me just thrown some random thoughts out there in a bullet-pointed list with no particular order:

  • Okay, first off the Amazon Fire TV thingie was supposed to be supported at launch, which was what I was planning to use, but guess what? Har har, it ain’t, so the Roku stick thingie it is. I like the Roku’s interface a little better anyway…a lot less “HERE’S EVERYTHING YOU CAN BE WATCHING OR DOWNLOADING RIGHT NOW ON YOUR LANDING PAGE WHEN YOU FIRST TURN YOUR FIRE STICK ON” which is a bit overwhelming. Roku seems to work fine through my TV.
  • First thing I watched, which may be evidenced by the above screen shot, was the latter-day episode of Super Friends where both Firestorm and Darkseid were introduced. And, as Super Friends goes, given its reputation as a…not particuarly good cartoon, this episode wasn’t half-bad, to be honest. Definitely written with a young target audience in mind, as it should be, and the Standards and Practices dictates were fairly clear(losts of characters being trapped in nets or bindings, with no full-on punches to the face or anything…though I was surprised a bit at Firestorm calling Wonder Woman “a fox.” But overall, it was a fun episode, and I look forward to perusing other episodes of the series over time.

    However, as I watched that episode ogain on the computer, to het that screenshot and this GIF, I experience some kind of glitch where I couldn’t turn off the captions. Didn’t have that problem on the Roku. Not a terrible problem, but hopefullly they’ll get it fixed soon.

  • The video library seems fairly sizeable so far…nowhere near complete, of course (no Swamp Thing movies or TV series or cartoon) but it did have all three classic Christopher Reeve Superman films plus the fourth one, the George Reeves Superman show, the Lynda Carter Womder Woman series, several of the animated series and films, and more. None of the ’60s cartoons yet, which is what I’m hoping for, but they do have all of Constantine so I can finally watch that, at long last. None of the CW shows are on there, which I think was pretty well publicized but thought I should mention it here anyway.
  • The comic reading section I haven’t looked through too much yet…looks like some Golden Age mixed in with the more recent-ish titles, plus weird things like the original Authority comics. I tried looking at some DC Comics Presents but got a “not availale” response, so hopefully that’s something that’ll be addressed. But the actual reading of the comic is pretty neat, at least how I did it, which was to blow up the whole page and I could jsut scroll up and down as needed. There’s also a timed page turner/panel progresser you can use as well.
  • Peeked in on the community section, with message boards for fans to complain about things. Probably won’t be looking at this ever again.
  • And there’s an online shop where you can buy lots of mugs and figurines apparenntly. Don’t see myself doing much with that either, unless some exclusive DC Universe Streaming Service Swamp Thing goodies.
  • Probably should have mentioned it up there but IT’S TOO lATE TO TURN BACK NOW: episodic items have a “next up” box that theoretically should pop up over the credits, but I tried watching onoe of those DC Nation fhort cartoons and the “next up” box showed up well before it was completed, so that needs a bit of work, too.

Okay, I’m fading fast, so let’s check out here for now and I’ll report back after I’ve had a little more time to go through it. If you have specific questions about it, just let me know and I’ll try to answer ’em best I can.

I think posting a picture of those glasses on my site about once a decade should be okay.

§ September 13th, 2018 § Filed under Uncategorized § 9 Comments


“Prophet: The Quest Begins” poster from 1994:

…featuring the artwork of the Wizard Top Ten Artist (I’m presuming) Stephen Platt. His work always kinda reminded me of a slightly less goofy (and I mean “goofy” in a 100% positive way) Sam Kieth. He also has the perfect pen name: “SPLATT.”

Straight outta 1986, becaues when else, is this promo poster for New Wave from Eclipse Comics:

…a short lived experiment in a cheaper comics format…16 pages for 50 cents. It was a buck and a half by the end of its 13 issue run, well, that still sounds like a pretty good price to me nowadays. Anyhoo, check out pal Andrew’s write-up no this book, if you dare.

Here’s a particuilarly low-rent..er, I mean, “artistic” black and white poster for that new 1990 Marvel teen sensation, Darkhawk:

Well, okay, I shouldn’t tease. It’s actually a striking image, and really doesn’t need color, That logo could use a tad bit of work, however.

Now this next item isn’t a poster, but rather some store signage…an “OPEN/CLOSED” sign from Oni Press and View Askew (1999):

…with art by Michael Avon Oeming. Never did use it at the store…I mean, the “OPEN” part is okay, but the “CLOSED” part:

…seemed maybe just a tad too crass. Okay, look, that’s a feature, not a bug, I realize, but we weren’t sure how some of our clientele would take it seeing it in our front window.

Oh hey, here’s an Archer mousepad promoting season 2 of that show from 2011:

Never seen a single second of this show, though I understand it’s funny. The mousepad is approximately 1 micron thick. Do people even use mousepads anymore? Sure, I do, because I’m an elder, But I feel like that’s one of those things that’s becoming increasing obsolete, like CDs, phone books, and comic blogs.

This Eclipse 3D comics poster is undated, but c’mon, it’s from the 1980s:

I wonder how many more people we would have had coming into the shop asking just to straight-up buy our 3D glasses, had we had that in the window? We didn’t sell the glasses separately, of course…we had just enough to cover our back issue stock of 3D comics, and God forbid we didn’t have a pair to go with that 3D copy of BraveStarr should it have sold.

Didn’t keep me from claiming a pair of 3D SCRATCH AND SNIFF GORILLA GLASSES for myelf, however:

I swear this isn’t just a commercial for my eBay store, but if you happened to go there and buy something, I would not disapprove of your selfless behavior.

§ September 11th, 2018 § Filed under advertising, how the sausage is made, promo, self-promotion, Uncategorized § 3 Comments

So here’s the thing: I’m still planning on an End of Civilization post, but I just haven’t had the time to start putting it together yet. I’ve barely even cracked open the new Previews…I have no idea if that deluxe hardcover edition of Swamp Thing Meets Jesus is finally announced, or if the last issues of the Sonic Distruptors mini-series have finally been solicited. Could be in there, I have no idea.

But anyway…usually when I’m having a lunch break at work, I’ll buzz through the Previews and pick out some likely suspects for my EoC post, and then write up the “humorous” “gags” at home. Alas, this month my lunch breaks have been less leisurely and more “cram this food down my throat so I can get back to processing these huge collections I have to process” and “oh Lordy I gotta get all these things on eBay” and…well, you know, actual work. So, no Previews perusal has occurred as of yet. But soon…soooooooon. Hopefully before the DC Universe streaming service starts up next weekend and I suddenly disappar into binge-watching the Constantine series at long last.

Soooooo…let’s shoot for next Monday for the new End of Civilization. Agreed? Agreed! (I totally spoke for you there, I hope you don’t mind.)

In the meantime, let me tell you about some of the stuff I’ve been working on and processing (and may eventually get to my eBay store, if it’s not there already, and if it’s ite> already sold). Basically, former boss Ralph (I’m trying not to call him “old boss Ralph,” y’know) broght me more boxes of promotional funnybook items from the Good Ol’ Days, back when there was only one (or two) X-Men series, when many titles still had triple-digit numbering, when the only “-gate” we had to worry about had “Water” in front of it. I’ve been digging though them, and within I found:

Malibu Sun #13 from 1992:

…featuring a preview of Spawn #1, back when Image and Malibu Comics were briefly iinked together. As others have commented when I posted a pic of this on the Twitters…”that’s some logo.” Anyway, there are some black and white pin-ups by McFarlane inside, and a short (very short, since it had barely existed at this point) history of Image Comics and where it came from and why, and boy howdy do these things go for a pretty penny on the eBay.

Valiant Comics loved its chromium, as evidenced by this wee little “Ninjak on Sale” display piece from 1994 (I presume):

Measures about 5 by 8 inches, and is basically just a miniature version of the cover to the first ossie drawm by future Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada.

“Hey, where’s the new issue of Thor Corps?” “Why, right below the Thor Corps ‘New Arrivals’ sign, of course!”

Dated 1992. Odd choice to represent Marvel’s publishing line for All Time on a sign that’d be posted about the new comics and left there ’til it sunfaded into nothingness, but who am I to judge?

Speaking of odd choices, please enjoy this unopened pack of First Comics stickers from 1983:

And a closer look at said stickers:

Now, I read and enjoyed Mars as it was coming out, but even I’m like “…what would I do with a bunch of Mars cover stickers?” But stickers featuring First Comics mascot Teddy Q — well, those have no end of uses!

My favorite piece so far is the one that’s in the worst condition (a lot of dings and creases, but somehow never actually displayed!)…this promo poster for the second issue of the original magazine series of Nexus, from 1982:

Never did buy all those original mag-sized Nexus issues…got the third one for the flexidisc, but was otherwise satisfied with the trade collection First released years later. Also, that’s Paul Gulacy art on that nice-lookin’ cover, which I misidentified as “Steve Rude” in my rush to get this thing listed. Ah, well…fixed now.

You know, every time I’m reminded of Nexus, it makes me want to go back and reread all the comics. Man, I don’t have time for that…I’m behind on the new comics as it is. Anyway, Nexus is a good comic, is what I’m trying to say.

Next time…more stuff!

It’s dumb o’clock in the morning…

§ September 10th, 2018 § Filed under how the sausage is made § 2 Comments

…my planned Monday post is only halfway completed, my computer keeps hanging on me, and if I don’t go to bed now, I’m going to be of no use…well, even less use…at work. So, sorry pals, I hate starting the ProgRuin week on a Tuesday again this close to the last time, but that’s how it goes. Hey, it’s my computer’s fault, and as the saying goes, “a good blogger always blames his tools.”

SIGH. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Sluggo Saturday #133.

§ September 8th, 2018 § Filed under sluggo saturday § No Comments



from Nancy Loves Sluggo (2014)

« Older Entries Newer Entries »