I’ve typed an awful lot over the last couple of weeks…

§ July 25th, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

…so today I’ll just remind you to head to your local comics emporium and pick up this week’s new release of Scooby-Doo Team-Up #40, guest-starring Swamp Thing:


That is indeed Swamp Thing, cute little pug nose an’ all. (Why, that makes my Twitter avatar almost canon!) Anyway, this issue will make you long-time Swampy fans very happy, I think.

Also look for Swamp Thing in this week’s debut of Justice League Dark as well! Two covers to choose from, both prominently featuring that muck-encrusted mockery of a man. (Or be like me…don’t choose, just get ’em both!)

MIKE VS. TWITTER.

§ July 23rd, 2018 § Filed under big red cheese, blogging about blogging is a sin, retailing § 9 Comments

So the other day, a small gag occurred to me that I felt I should post on Twitter, and that gag was this:


Those of you who know me, or have at least read me for a while, know that’s a very Mike joke for me to make. Anyway, I thought it was cute, a silly gag, not a great one, that maybe my Twitter pals would get a chuckle out of, given most of them are comics-savvy and would understand the joke.

Well, for some reason, this tweet has received more “retweets” and “faves” than anything I’ve ever posted on the Twitterers before, outside of my contributions to Fake AP Stylebook. I don’t know if it counts as “going viral,” but by my supremely low standards it’s at least a very minor virus, perhaps only a slight infection. Regardless, it’s received far more attention than I would have thought..perhaps because of the timing with the release of the Shazam! movie trailer (more on that later in the post).

As per usual, whenever something I’ve written makes it outside the usual circle of “People Who’ve Learned to Tolerate Mike and His ‘Writing,'” I get to hear from people who don’t seem to..quite get the humor, which, okay, in all fairness maybe they’re trying to be funny back at me and I’m too lame to grok their superior hilarious commentary. Like, there seem to be more than a few folks who appear to believe that I’m…actually going to do this to some poor bastard stuck behind a window selling tickets? C’mon, son, I’ve worked retail for a living for decades, I’m not going to do that to my counter-jockeying brothers and sisters.

Then there’s the one fella who seemed to get, like, pissed off that I didn’t seem to realize that the Big Red Cheese isn’t actually called “Captain Marvel” anymore, but “Shazam,” thus invalidating my gag. Look, pal, read this post from about three years ago (near the middle somewhere) where I complain about the name change at length. TL;DR version: if they had to change the name, they should’a called him “Captain Shazam.”

There were some actual funny responses, which I always appreciate. Pals Ian and Myles were tuned into the same strange frequency with their replies:

(excerpt of the accompanying image…see his tweet for the full thing)


And this response made me MAL (“MAL” of course being the popular internet acronym all the kids use for “Make Audible Laughter”):


But Angel pretty much sums it all up with:


Oh, Angel, my friend, my blog here is pretty much my 15-year-long effort at trying to annoy as many people as possible. That tweet’s only the very tippiest-tip of that iceberg.

To those of you sick of seeing that tweet pop up in your feeds…I’m very, very sorry. And I’m sorry that it’s here again on my personal blogging website that you’ve surfed to on the World Wide Web.

• • •

Speaking on being annoyed on Twitter, someone drive-by hit one of my tweets on the whole “Wedding of Batman” thing (which I wrote about on my site here and here), where I said I felt for the stores that ordered huge numbers on #50 expecting the event but getting no event, while simultaneously being relieved that I appeared to order the exact number. Said drive-by-er’ reply was, in effect, “looks like you should have ordered more, dummy” with an excerpt of some article from somewhere talking about how that issue of Batman sold anyway, regardless of how things turned out. Of course, he went back into my Twitter timeline, past my own follow-up tweet where I stated “yes, of course it sold, it’s #50 of Batman, dur hey” so he could snark at me.

Well, let me tell you something, my retailing expert friend…I ordered a good number of these Batman #50s. Didn’t go overboard, didn’t have any kind of in-store event planned or anything…just lots of copies to put on the shelves. I had plenty pulled aside for the pull list customers, I had lots of walk-ins, I had plenty of phone calls from folks desperately seeking copies…and after that initial week or two of sales were over, I had exactly one copy left. That one copy, as I type this, is still on the shelf, even after having a particularly healthy and busy week at the shop…probably one of the biggest non-Free Comic Book Day weeks I’ve had this year. Lots of people coming in and out the door, calling the shop, etc., but none of whom needed that last copy of Batman #50 on my rack.

Basically, I ordered Batman #50 almost perfectly. I had almost the exact number of copies I needed to meet immediate demand. Now, that’s not to say someone won’t rush in demanding any and all copies of #50 when I get into the shop on Monday, but for the initial sales window for a new comic (which is primarily its first week of release), I exactly, save for that one remainder, met my local demand. So, no, person on Twitter I muted almost immediately because you seriously cheesed my crackers, I didn’t need to order more, because I ordered just right, thank you very much.

Sorry to go on about this, but the one thing that really makes me angry regarding store stuff is when other people, especially people who don’t know what they’re talking about, try to condescendingly tell me how to do my job. Also, when people seal their comic bags with tape. SO. ANGRY.

• • •

Oh, right, I was going to say something about the Shazam! trailer. Don’t have much to say, really…looks like it’ll be fun, despite my issues with Cap not being called “Cap” anymore. Also, it’s very much the “modern” take on the character, where Cap…er, Shazam is simply Billy in a grown-up body, as opposed to the “classic” version where Billy Batson and Captain Marvel were more or less treated as different people, and even referred to each other as such. Well, I suppose the classic version might have been a little too strange for modern audiences…the Big-starring-Tom-Hanks formula would more likely meet modern expectations for this particular premise. But I’ve gotta say…seeing Billy shout “SHAZAM!” and then transform…that was pretty great to witness in live action.

I’ve got a few old Captain Marvel entries from, egads, 2005 that I’ll need to clean up and link back to in a current post, so someone remind me to do that before the movie comes out.

“THIS ISN’T YOUR DAD’S TEEN TITANS! Or, um, your kids’ Teen Titans.”

§ July 20th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, teen titans, television § 5 Comments

So that surprising f-bomb in the Titans trailer had its intended effect — it’s got everyone talking about the TV show, and the DC Universe streaming service where it will debut soon. I mean, I’m not innocent, I had a couple of laughs (NSFW) about it, so DC got themselves almost Todd-McFarlane-buying-baseballs-levels of free publicity. (It also brought out the usual fellas who object every time a person who isn’t white and/or male is cast in anything.)

Now, I mean despite all that, it looks…you know, at least CW-levels of good (which I realize for some folks isn’t saying much). It does seem awfully dark-ish and gritty-ish at a time when it sort of looks like DC is at least trying to back away from that sort of thing in their media adaptations, which is an odd choice…I mean, aside from the odd choice of having Robin do a swear, of course. I feel like Raven is the breakout character here, not that we saw a whole lot of anyone else, but I can see her being especially appealing to young viewers, which is sort of ironic considering.

My other concern, as a retailer who tries to sell comic books (remember comic books? I’ve got a store full of them), is that if this particular bit of dialogue gets traction in cultural awareness, I could see parents steering kids away from Teen Titans comics in the future…”no, you can’t read that, Robin’s a pottymouth!” I did see this phenomenon with Deadpool after that first movie was released…kids wanted Deadpool comics, parents were all “isn’t that R-rated? NO WAY.” Granted, Deadpool comics are not generally speaking for the tykes, but it appeared this reaction was being fueled by the film and not by any particularly awareness of the comics.

Of course, that’s comparing apples and oranges, one of the most successful R-rated movies in history versus a streaming TV show that may be seen by upwards of tens of viewers. Who knows what impact this show will ultimately have, in a world where there is an enormous surfeit of superhero media, beyond the novelty of being part of a network presented by a comics publisher? Sure, I’ll be watching, because SWAMP THING TV SHOW, DUH. And I am curious about the Titans show, and the forthcoming Doom Patrol show (despite my reservations that Robotman will almost certainly have a “cloaking device” or something that will make him look like a normal human and not an expensive digital effect most of the time). And there are the digital comics, which…sheesh, I’ll just have to give up sleep at this point to keep up with everything.

Some folks were wondering why DC would even do this with the Titans, and…well, like I said, to get attention. I mean, aside from Deadpool, you haven’t really seen superheroes with quite so salty tongues. Plus, maybe DC is spreading their Titans demographics…you’ve got Teen Titans Go! for the younger set, you’ve got this new show for the older audiences, and, as was pointed out to me on the Twitters, there’s Young Justice (brand new Season 3 coming exclusively to the DC Universe streaming service, coincidentally!) for the folks who fall in between. I know seeing the shows divided up like that may seem weird to a lot of us who are fully capable of watching all three (or maybe two) of these shows and enjoying them, but hey, that’s marketing!

It was something of a relief to hear concerns that were more in-story character based about that specific attitude of Robin’s, like “why would he even think that about Batman to begin with?” And friend, if the people in charge of the DC Universe digital comics service are smart, they’ll curate a collection of the “Robin Is Pissed at Batman” genre for the edification of those in need.

Anyway, I’m already signed up, as the per-month price was pretty much just what I wanted to pay, so I expect I’ll be reporting directly upon the service here in short order. Maybe I’ll keep a tally of just how many swears I hear per episode. “OOOOH GET THE BAT-SOAP, SOMEONE’S MOUTH NEEDS WASHING”

“Coverless Plus” isn’t a real grade, but IT SHOULD BE.

§ July 18th, 2018 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 3 Comments

So the other day one of my regulars dropped by with a comic book he’d purchased via mail order, and he wanted my opinion on its grade. It was sold (and indeed, the backing board was marked) as a “9.0,” which works out to be Very Fine to Near Mint in Overstreet Price Guide terms. (It should be noted that this was not a Professionally-Graded-Sealed-in-a-Plastic-Slab comic, but a “raw” (as collectors’ cant would have it) funnybook in a mere bag and board in common use amongst we mere mortals.) Anyway, I gave the book a quick once-over and had to break the news that, given the few spine creases, a couple of which were color-breaking, plus some minor rounding/softness at the corners of the spine, this couldn’t be in VF/NM. At best, maybe a low Fine, or perhaps a VG/F if I hadn’t had my Diet Coke that day. (And since I haven’t had a Diet Coke for a few months, that comic’s darn lucky I didn’t grade it Coverless Plus.)

It sounds like he’ll be able to return it, which is good, but this particular interaction did make me feel a little better about my own grading abilities. It’s…not something that comes terribly easily to me, probably the part of the job that feels most like “work” (aside from the whole “taxes” thing, and having to deal with Ian). Mostly, at the previous place of employment, I didn’t do much with the “grading and pricing back issues” thing. That was left to my old boss Ralph, mostly for the sake of consistency in grading standards and price levels, while I mostly focused on…well, everything else regarding said backstock. I’d check for missing issues, pull stuff out of the back, bag ’em and tag ’em, put ’em in alphabetical order in the To Be Priced boxes, and after Ralph priced them all up, I’d put them all away in their appropriate spots. If someone wanted to know a grade on a certain issue, more often than not all I’d have to do if flip the comic over, look at the sticker on the back where Ralph placed the grade, and then happily reply “Sir, this copy of Saga of Crystar Crystal Warrior #6. guest-starring Nightcrawler of the X-Men, is in VF- condition!” and that would be that. I certainly wasn’t unaware of comic conditions, and could do some general grading, but it just wasn’t my main thing at that shop…someone else did that, while I attended to other duties.

Now that I’m sailing alone on the seas of comics in my own ship…er, store, I can’t depend on Ralph to do that for me anymore. Which isn’t to say I don’t bend his ear once in a while whenever he drops by to ask him some grading questions whenever I find something that stumps me And sometimes he tells me “huh, I’m stumped too,” which makes feel a little better that someone with a lot more direct experience in comic grading can get a bit thrown on occasion. There are so many different things that you weirdos do to your comics that the variety of wear and damage and, um, engine fuel smells, and…er, beginnings of essays that Overstreet’s grading guide never dreamed of, that even old hands need to do a little guesswork and interpretation to put your dime down on a specific condition. It can take a lot of effort, and a not-insignificant amount of concentration, but as time goes by, I think I’m getting better at it. Plus, I find when I do a whole bunch in a row, I get into that “grading groove” and start knocking ’em out at a more reasonable pace.

Don’t get me wrong…grading can be a challenge at times, but it’s still “Mike gets to look at old comics all day and call that his ‘job'” so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. And as I said, my skills are improving…I’m a long way from calling that comic with the holes punched with a pen through the center and the tape and the missing back cover a Very Fine Plus. I know now that’s clearly no better than a VF.

Good thing there wasn’t a Swamp Thing one, else I’d be traveling across the country looking for it.

§ July 16th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, publishing, retailing § 8 Comments

(NOTE: I’ve been told that these aren’t actually “digest-sized,” which for some reason I got into my head these actually were, similar to the ’80s DC digests. This is why I wanted a copy to look at for myself! Also, I’ve heard from various sources that they’re racked “with the Pokemon and Magic cards near the registers,” and, um, my local Walmarts don’t appear to have those either, unless I’m really missing that particular series of shelves.)

(NOTE TO MY NOTE: So, uh, just ignore every time I call these things “digests,” okay? Thanks!)

So I’ve been trying to track down copies of those Walmart-exclusive DC digests, mostly to have just at least one sample copy I can look at and discuss here on the site, before passing it on to a niece or nephew. Like, I wanted to know the actual dimensions of the thing, its readability at that size (likely extra problematic for me, Mr. Gots Eye Troubles), the paper quality, the story selection, etc. And as it turns out…no dice at two of the Walmarts in my immediate area. Not that I found the DC Digest display bereft of copies, sitting on a shelf somewhere…I couldn’t find any sign that there were any on display at all.

Now, given the, um, state of said local Walmarts, “not finding something” could be said to be the default result of any product search, and it could very well be that they were there, somewhere, diplayed in plain view in a disused lavatory with a sign that read “BEWARE OF THE LEOPARD” Douglas Adams-style, but I checked all the usual spots and didn’t find a thing. So, let us hope that this was a case of the comics finding their target audience (i.e. not me, Elderly Comics Guy) and the empty displays were removed to make room for economy-sized tins of mixed nuts, and not, as was suggested by some Twitter pals, disappeared into the hands of speculators, a possibility I honestly hadn’t considered but…well, yeah, that could’ve happened.

I mean, it’s just as well…these digests are not for me, but to get kids to try out comics. Despite my near-despotic command over comic sales in my area (via my foreboding Camarillo headquarters at Sterling Silver Comics) I realized not every young’un will come through my doors to discover the sublime delights of Swamp Thing and…well, pretty much just that, but kids like comics and if you get them into their hands, they more often than not will devour them. I mean, read them, but get ’em young enough they may very well eat them…it’s just paper, they should be okay. So yes, I’m very much for the idea of getting comics into the hands of new readers via publishing initiatives such as this one. I have zero idea if it’s actually happening around here, since I don’t know if our local Marts of Wals even had ’em, but they’re out there somewhere, presumably getting into young people’s hands and not just being mailed off to Comic Slabbers, Inc. to get graded and traded.

I heard about some comics collectin’ and retailin’ folks getting bent out of shape over these things even existing, for some reason. I mean, yes, there are new stories mixed in with the reprints, but, c’mon, it’s not like DC is going to sit on that Brian Michael Bendis Batman story…that’ll be a trade or a mini-series or something down the line. Or it could just be “there’s something out there I can’t have!” — how dare there be a Collectible Issue #1 of Something we can’t order through our shops. (‘Course, if it were, then we’d hear “$4.99 for a new 12 page story and a bunch of reprints? BAH!”) I mean, whatever…the good these could do versus…basically no valid argument against, I think. Get kids used to the idea of reading comics…that’s a net gain for the industry as a whole! And it’s not like Walmart’s going to “steal” your customers, since most of those kids weren’t going to your shop anyway, but now, maybe, if they decide they want more comics, maybe they’ll seek you out. You never know. And besides, just given my personal experience seeking them out, it’s not like you’re going to find well-curated permanent comic racks in these shops directly competing with you.

Going back to that DC Comics release, i can see a lot of the actual contents of the initial digest wave right there, and it looks like a pretty solid mix of recent-ish stories. Now, the old ’80s DC Comics digest fan in me was kinda sorta hoping for some Silver Age-y or even Bronze Age-ish reprints, but I realize those may come across as a little old fashioned. But man, at the very least I hope they drop some Neal Adams Batman stories into some of these digests, just to blow some kids’ minds. Here’s that Shirtless Batman fighting Ra’s al Ghul you’ve been waiting all six years of your life to read, Little Billy!

Anyway, these digests are fine in theory (assuming others have better luck than me finding them). If it gets some kids to realize that, oh, hey, these just aren’t movie characters, they came from somewhere…good. I hope whoever got their hands on these reads the hell out of them, leaving it with tattered covers and bent pages and happily awaiting even more.

Let me just end this on saying that this pic of an empty digest display pocket (courtesy Twitter pal Joe) leaves me in deep appreciation of some designer’s dark sense of humor, considering the source of the image:

\
“For all my super-speed I wasn’t (choke) fast enough!” …Me neither, Superman — me neither.

“Realistically.”

§ July 11th, 2018 § Filed under batman, publishing § 9 Comments

In response to my not-at-all-about-Batman-#50 post from the other day, I’ve had a few folks here and there note that a “these characters get married!” comics event isn’t really the same as a “this character dies!” event, and, well, yeah, sure. There’s more of an implied permanence, I think, with marriage in comics, versus a death in a comic basically having the “well, how will our hero get out of this one?” question implied. (Though maybe that question is implied in the former situation as well…joking, I’m joking.)

However, to clarify my thoughts on the matter…I don’t think the nature of the event itself matters so much as the fact a specific event was specifically marketed and then not delivered. It’s kind of a moot point now, I suppose, as the initial sales window for Batman #50 has come and gone, and hopefully retailers managed to sell the majority of their copies that they almost certainly ordered large-ish numbers on. I mean, yes, realistically, Batman and Catwoman shouldn’t get married, such a major change to iconic characters may be too much…but then again, Superman and Lois Lane are married. And have a kid. And for that matter, Batman has a child as well. Those are all fairly significant changes to the status quo, so yet another marriage didn’t seem entirely out of the question. And besides, all these changes could be swept away in the next series of relaunches/reboots when everyone gets tired of dealing with them.

Like I said, no beef with the story itself, or the tie-in “Prelude to the Wedding” issues and whatnot. But the “invitation” postcards and retailers being encouraged to do in-store celebrations…that’s the sort of thing that seemingly should only be occurring with an event that’s actually happening, not “FAKE-OUT! Nothing’s changed!”

It reminds me in a little way of the Fantastic Four issue where it was promoted as a big deal character death (complete with putting the issue in a black polybag deliberately reminiscent of the “Death of Superman” issue) and it was reasonably clear within the story itself that there wasn’t really any death happening. I wrote about it way back when, and yeah, a character goes missing, and the rest of the team is bummed and thinking he’s dead, but…it just felt like marketing overhyping a minor plot line that would get resolved in short order. I mean, most character death stories are like that, I guess, but this one in particular. Under normal circumstances that issue would have been follwed by the next one emblazoned “THE SEARTH FOR THE HUMAN TORCH!” and then we’d have that goin’ on for four or five issues.

So that’s that. I know a lot of you agree with me that the Batman “event” build-up was misleading, which I appreciate. Everything sold great anyway, so yeah yeah, I know, what are you complaining about, Mike? I just hope it doesn’t encourage more fake-outs: “hey, if we just TELL them that Iron Man is going to lose a leg in isue #12 and then never actually do it…they’re still gonna buy it!”

Okay, no Batman marriage stuff in the next post…I mostly promise!

Steve Ditko (1927 – 2018).

§ July 9th, 2018 § Filed under obituary § 1 Comment


Sometime in the late ’70s, my grandmother gave me a bag of comic books she picked up at a swap meet or thrift store, which included a number of oddball comics I hadn’t seen before. I remember specifically a Classics Illustrated adaptation of Frankenstein (my first exposure to this series), but there were also a handful of first issues from Atlas Comics, which I’d never heard of. Grim Ghost was one, and still remains a favorite to this day…and there was also Destructor #1, the splash page for which was pictured above. I don’t know how much Steve Ditko work I’d been exposed to at that point…I know I had a few Charltons from the period Ditko was working for them, so I probably saw some of his stories there. But I always thought that splash page was a pretty cool drawing. “Hey, this Steve Ditko guy isn’t bad, he should draw more comics.”

I’m a wee bit more knowledgeable about his output now, and about his personal beliefs and artistic standards. He definitely stuck to his guns all the way to the end…I just wish fewer people felt compelled to knock on his door and bother the man in recent years. I mean, he pretty famously wanted to be left alone to work on his comics, right, so, I mean, what were people expecting? “Oh, sure, yes, YOU’RE the one who’s got through to me! You will now be my best friend and I shall reveal to you all my secrets!”

Sheesh. I mean, okay, I admit that deep down I kept a tiny flame alive for Stan Lee and Ditko reuniting for one more Spider-Man story, or that Ditko would finally decide to give one tell-all interview, both of which would surely occur now that flying pig technology has been perfected and Hell finally installed those air conditioners.

Anyway…Steve Ditko. There’s no mistaking his work for anyone else’s, and, especially in his later years, he did it the way he wanted to, beholden to no one’s editorial edict. It was low-hanging fruit to poke fun at some of his odder moments, I admit, but sometimes genius takes you in strange directions, and few geniuses were stranger, or more amazing, than Steve Ditko.

So long, Steve.
 
 

image from Destructor #1 (February 1975) by Archie Goodwin, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood

Spoilers for Batman #50.

§ July 6th, 2018 § Filed under batman § 15 Comments

So you’ve found out that Superman is about to be killed, fighting the alien monster known as Doomsday. Pretty wild, right? I mean, it seems pretty obvious that DC Comics wouldn’t actually kill off Superman…er, would they? There’s a lot of anticipation and promotion building up for the issue where the deed is done. It’s being talked about, not just in the fan press, but on actual real news programs on actual television. It’s popping up on talk shows, in newspapers. You decide…hey, you need a copy of that! You’d better get yourself to the local comic book emporium and…whoa, stand in line to get in? In a huge line? Wrapping around the building? Holy cow, this must be huge! You can’t wait to get your hands on it!

Abd finally, it’s yours! You were lucky enough to get a copy, and at cover price even, despite stores being caught very off guard by the immense demand for a comic they’d placed order numbers for about two or three months prior. And look at that bag! That solemn black bag with the bloody red “S” on the front…that’s gotta mean Superman is dead, right? Defying all laws of collectability, you tear open that bag, marveling at the black armband you can wear to mourn Superman’s passing, at the promotional trading card advertising the forthcoming “Death of Superman” set, at the stamps highlighting characters from this momentous event. All these geegaws and tchotchkes, produced specifically to support the idea that the Man of Steel is gone, sacrificing himself for the greater good.

But the story, the story…! How does it actually happen? Everyone and everything is telling you that Superman dies, but just how exactly does he die? You’d better sit down and read the darn thing…I mean, you opened the bag, might as well. And you pore over the story, flipping through splash page after splash page of this knock-down, drag-out battle with Doomsday, as Superman’s friends and family look on in worry and fear.

And then, there it is. The climactic moment…Superman and Doomsday unleash their mightiest blows upon each other, each felling their opponent with their final exertion of strength. Now, there they both are, silent and unmoving on the ground, the air still with shock from the onlookers. Lois rushes to Superman’s side, tears in her eyes…tears matching the ones in your own eyes as you turn to the story’s final page…

…Whereupon Superman opens his eyes, sits up, puts a firm hand on Lois’s shoulder, and reassures her “Oh, I’m fine, Lois…that was some battle, huh?” Superman then stands, as the crowd that had gathered around the scene lets out an exuberant cheer! “Thanks, everyone! But you’d better stand back while I and the good men and women of the Metropolis emergency services clean everything up! We’ll have our fine city back in tip-top shape in no time!” You look at the final image of the story, with Superman’s smiling face winking at you, the reader, with the concluding caption reading “NEVER the end!” scrolled along the bottom of the panel.

And you wonder…okay, this was pushed as the Death of Superman. All the promotion, all the ads and radio spots and news stories and the cardboard tombstone standees DC sent out, was around the idea that Superman dies. Stores were encouraged to participate in their own homegrown celebrations — or, rather, wakes — for Superman’s passing. And despite all that, despite the endless promises of his demise, no such thing happened. Not to say it was a bad comic, by any means. It was professionally done, entertaining, and presented a kind of extended physical conflict for Superman that was rarely seen in the comics. But, regardless, you feel a little bit like you experienced something of a bait-and-switch, where marketing promised you one thing, but the actual storytellers had something entirely different in mind. That maybe the story should just have been left to work out as it worked out, without the ultimately misleading promises that this was an “event,” an unprecedented occurrence in the Last Son of Krypton’s life, rather than simply another exciting adventure.

There can be red herrings, and fake-outs, and surprise endings in stories, and you think that’s fair play. That’s all part of storytelling. But you think it seems a bit unfair when the marketing pushes the story as being one kind of event, with the implied promise that if you follow that story, the event would be delivered. …Oh well, lesson learned, you’ll be a little more wary of the insidious workings of the hype machine next time. But honestly, what are the chances they’ll try something like this again?

About as on-the-nose of an image as I could find for this Fourth of July.

§ July 4th, 2018 § Filed under popeye § 1 Comment


From the very aptly-named “Patriotic Popeye” from 1957…and I hope you all have a good holiday, where applicable

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ July 2nd, 2018 § Filed under End of Civilization § 5 Comments

There it was just a-walkin’ down the street, singin’ “Do wah diddy diddy dum Diamond Comics” — it’s the newest installment of the End of Civilization, seemingly closer than ever, so bust out your copy of the July 2018 Diamond Previews and follow along while there’s still time:

p. 44 – Bully Wars #1:

PRIVATE BULLY L.S. BULL REPORTING FOR DUTY and maybe some hot dogs, SIR:


 
 
p. 100 – Stranger Things #1:


For the full 1980s nostalgia effect, this comic should be in black and white, guest-star Concrete and/or Boris the Bear, and feature plenty of Tom Peterson references.
 
 
p. 104 – Mystery Science Theater 3000 #1:


Now if, TV’s Frank forbid, this particular issue turns out to not be any good, will a future issue of the Mystery Science Theater comic feature Jonah and the ‘bots riffing over pages from the first issue? And if that issue doesn’t work out, the next issue riffs over that issue? Just endless recursion…maybe the Overstreet Price Guide’s first “infinity contents” notation.
 
 
p. 147 – Star Trek Vs. Transformers #1:


If the Enterprise doesn’t transform into a giant robot at some point during this series, I’m calling my congressperson.
 
 
p. 154 – Batman/The Maxx #1:


Ah, I can’t wait to hear all the people who see this on the shelf start reminiscing about how they used to get high and watch Batman and the Maxx on MTV back in the day.
 
 
p. 178 – From Hell Master Edition #1:


Wait, a colorized version of From Hell? This is going to just wreck the market for the From Hell coloring books I’m, um, totally not printing up in the back of my shop.
 
 
p. 196 – Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #1:


“Hey, Dejah, why are we both dressed like this?”

“You know, Vampi, I feel like this is just pure titillation.”

“Well, let’s do something about it!”

VAMPIRELLA/DEJAH THORIS: THE EVENING GOWN AGENDA #1, COMING SOON
 
 
p. 311 – Garfield Complete Works Volume 1 1978-1979 TP:


I can’t believe a comic strip about our 20th President has been running for so long. I’m just afraid some of the political humor from the earlier volumes will seem a bit dated. Here’s hoping for annotations!
 
 
p. 311 – Guide to Groot A Sound Book HC:


Look, there’s only one way this can go, which can’t possibly be what they do with it, but the solicitation text sort of implies it, but there’s got to be other stuff mixed in, like general sound effects and such, but I would love nothing more than if each sound button on this book was just “I AM GROOT” in slightly different inflections. I mean, that’s what it has to be, right?
 
 
p. 332 – Lego Star Wars Ideas Book:


…And a lot of those ideas involve dudes making Star Wars Lego adventures with no girls in them. Hey, it’s a better use of their time than petitions or manifestos no one at Lucasfilm/Disney will ever take seriously ever.
 
 
p. 333 – DC Super Heroes: Super Heroes Say Please! Board Book:


“Ma’am, may I rip off your head and kick it around like a hacky sack, please?”

“Oh my, this young Lobo gentleman is so polite!”
 
 
p. M109 – Universal Monsters Dracula 1 Inch Punk Pin:


Not many people recall Dracula’s short stint as the drummer for False Confession, but we old-timers remember.
 
 
DC Previews p. 48 – Scooby-Doo Team-Up #42:


It’s the all-gorilla Scooby-Doo Team-Up issue! Finally, the shocking sequel to the all-gorilla Swamp Thing annual:


 
 
Marvel Previews p. 2 – Return of Wolverine #1:


What, he was gone? How can we miss you when you won’t go away?
 
 

Special thanks to the bulliest of all bulls, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, and his pal John for their assistance. Plus, happy 7th birthday to Bully!

« Older Entries Newer Entries »