Pardon my French.

§ May 30th, 2018 § Filed under this week's comics § 2 Comments

Of course when I heard the Brian Michael Bendis run on the Superman titles was going to begin with a six issue Man of Steel mini-series, à la the identically-titled mini from the mid-1980s that kicked off John Byrne’s brief tenure on the character, I pictured that this new iteration would be similar in structure. You know, “retell the origin,” “reintroduce the villains and supporting cast,” and so on. I mean, okay, we’re getting a little bit of that, except it’s a brand new villain (seen in that short story from Action #1000), and what appears to be a new supporting character, and we get a look at the Daily Planet and the folks there, and we get introduced to the mystery of Lois and Jon, and and and…yes, it is a reintroduction to everything, but more in the context of “here’s the latest adventure of Superman, whom we all know has been around a while” and not so much “FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNEW.” Pretty much the definition of a soft reboot, and, you know…it wasn’t bad. Nice dynamic illustration by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado (along with Jay Fabok), plenty of action and quieter moments, the classic costume with the trunks and without the collar (but with the new cuffs, which frankly I barely noticed)…this really did feel like a Superman comic, which is something the Superman comics only sporadically felt like since the New 52 relaunch. I hope this bodes well.

This book is certainly a slow burn…I know it’s all leading up to the eventual Superman Vs. Doctor Manhattan showdown, but in the meantime there’s a lot of characters from either fictional franchises occasionally bumping into each other and goin’ around and doin’ stuff and it’s a whole lot of shuffling pieces around to set up the eventual payoffs. A lot of Doomsday Clock‘s raison d’être is mimicking the style of the original Watchmen (the nine-panel grid, the awkward scene transitions where someone would say, like, “I need to reflect on that” and then there’s a mirror in the next panel, the attempts at world building, the overlay of “serious world politics” over superhero shenanigans), but it seems to me there was a whole lot more…plot progress issue-to-issue in the original than in this new series. I mean, yeah, sure, I get they’re trying to apply some level of mundanity to the usually over-the-top DC Universe, and continuing at this pace is part of that.

To be fair, this issue does seem to move things along a bit more, both with the main characters and with the background world events, and a character we’ve been waiting for to show up in this series finally makes an appearance (no, not Seymour). That payoff is mostly held back ’til next time, though (assuming it’s not all done off-panel).

I have been enjoying the back matter…this time, a “magazine” looking at the state of superheroes around the world. I think I’d almost enjoy more in-universe analysis of superheroes and their political/economic impact in this faux newsmagazine style without the accompanying comic story trying to use it as underpinnings for its plot. Or even the celebrity gossip mag that was in a previous issue…that was fun, too.

Okay, haven’t read this (or any of the other DC/Hanna Barbera crossover comics that came out this week) but the very idea of Jabberjaw being just straight-up drawn as a regular-looking shark, but still a goofball, interacting with Aquaman, is hilarious to me. I mean, he looks adorable. Jabberjaw, that is, not Aquaman…though I guess Aquaman is pretty adorable in his own right, with his certain je ne sais quoi. Wait, perhaps I’ve gotten a bit off track. Anyway, this comic looks pretty great…the “variant” cover (pictured above) is amazing. I mostly liked the previous batch of HB/DC crossovers, and this year’s assortment appears to be fairly quality as well. However, this particular one also has a Captain Caveman back-up by Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins, so I’m reasonably sure I know which of the one-shots this time around will be my favorite.

Speaking of eyes.

§ May 28th, 2018 § Filed under popeye § 11 Comments

So, always on the lookout for the latest and freshest Popeye news as I am, I spotted this story about a company about to debut brand new cartoons starring our favorite rough ‘n’ tumble one-eyed sailor with a heart of gold on his official YouTube channel. Well, first I was all “oh hey, new Popeye cartoons, cool” before it dawned on me that “oh, wait, there’s an official YouTube channel?” which I had no idea even existed (putting lie to my initial claim that I”m always on the lookout for Popeye news, I guess). Anyway, there it is, right now mostly heavy on the (relatively) later color Popeye cartoons post-Fleischer Studios, including a number in Spanish and, um, a Beetle Bailey cartoon for a reason not immediately obvious to me (though I suppose there is one if I bothered to look).

According to the article this studio is going to “take over” the YouTube channel once the new cartoons are ready to go, so I have no idea how long the currently-available offerings will remain so. Go watch ’em while you can, I guess. I did sample one myself, “Sky High Fly Try,” which featured the following sequence right at the beginning:

Here’s Olive, cookin’ up some hot dogs at her concession stand:

And along comes Popeye, wearing his traditional pilot gear outfit with which we’re all so familiar, pokin’ his nose right on in there to get a good gander at those wonderful wieners:

…when Olive, in her hot dog preparation exuberance, reaches over with the tongs and inadvertently grabs and yanks Popeye’s nose into one of her buns, resulting in this surprised expression:



Okay, given the limitations of the animation in question, all we can really determine is that there is a black dot where Popeye’s right eye should be…it could represent an empty, black pit, a hideous scar forever reminding him of whatever unknown tragic incident in his past (this notwithstanding) robbed him of that precious orb. However, I think it’s not entirely unreasonable to assume that it in fact represents an actual eye (otherwise, there’d be, I don’t know, an “X” as shorthand for the missing eye, or more likely not have bothered in the first place with briefly doing away with the squint).

Or maybe it was just a one-off gag done for the larfs, and not some kind of secret revelation that Popeye had maybe a scratched cornea, or a persistent stye, or similar, which is why he just kept that eye shut all the time instead of getting some Visine or even, like, an eyepatch.

Anyawy, just thought that was interesting. I’ll try to keep tabs on that YouTube channel for when they start cranking out the new cartoons…I’d like to see what they’re gonna do with it.

Speaking of Popeye, the Funko Pop! Popeye (or Funko Pop!eye, as it should have been called) just came out:

…and it’s just as adorable in person. Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve said before I’m not a Pop! “collector” but occasionally the right one (or, um, three or four, as in the case of the Swamp Thing Pops) comes along and I gotta have it. And yeah, it’s pretty amazing. Here’s hoping they eventually get around to Nancy and Sluggo…they seem like naturals for this particular format.

Hold on, what kind of crazy doctor office is this, anyway?

§ May 25th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 6 Comments

The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle #1 (1973)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

“The March of the Koala’s” what, I wonder.

Anyway, should be back in business on Monday with the usual Progressive Ruin Content™ you’ve come to know and dread. Thank you for all of your patience, everybody, and I’ll see you then.

“Paging Dr. T-Zone, Dr. T-Zone to the operating room.”

§ May 23rd, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 8 Comments

Ben Casey #2 (October 1962)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

“Get out of there, your patient is haunted!”

§ May 21st, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 2 Comments

Dr. Kildare #4 (December 1962-February 1963)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

The Low Content Mode is continuing until morale (and health issues) improve…I should be up and running again more or less as normal next week. Thanks for all your patients…er, patience, pals.

Tying the week together.

§ May 18th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 4 Comments

The Nearsighted Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing #6 (November 1953-January 1954)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

Oh, wait, I just got my own “can’t focus” gag in the last post.

§ May 16th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 3 Comments

Gerald McBoing Boing and the Nearsighted Mister Magoo #3 (February-April 1953)
– image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database

Low content mode for a bit.

§ May 15th, 2018 § Filed under low content mode § 1 Comment

Sorry pals, but I can’t focus on the site at the moment. I’ll be back in full form in a week or two, with any luck. You can still find me working the shop or causing problems on the Twitters.

In the meantime…GET READY TO BE MAGOOED:

Mister Magoo #3 (March-May 1963) – image “borrowed” from the Grand Comics Database


§ May 11th, 2018 § Filed under sick day § 11 Comments

Well, as you may have seen on the Twitters, I am having some vision health issues that required a lot of shuffling among clinics, specialists, pharmacies, and whathaveyou most of Thursday. Now, this is mostly just affecting one eye, but still, that’s enough to put a crimp in one’s day, I’ll tell you what. But as write this, my eyes are still dilated from the last treatment, and to be honest, I’m not really up to looking at a computer screen for too long tonight. I’ll be back on Monday, so thank you for your patience.

Shop’s still open, I’m still working, though former boss Ralph filled in for me this Thursday, and he’ll be back over the next couple of Thursdays as I attend future appointments for this issue. But have some patience with me when you come into the store and I’m squinting at you all Popeye-like. I’m told the medication should start clearing up my vision in that one eye, but causes still need to be addressed to prevent that symptom from recurring. It’s a process…I’ll be okay, it’s just a matter of doing what I need to do.

Thanks for still checking in with me after all this time, pals…I’ll talk to you again soon.

Actually, come to think of it, I would like boxes of candy year ’round.

§ May 9th, 2018 § Filed under free comic book day § 4 Comments

Longtime ProgRuin-ite Andrew noted on my last post:

“Congratulations. I miss browsing in a fun comic shop.

“BTW, not many kids in the pictures.”

Like I said to him in response, yeah, I didn’t get much of a chance to get away from the register and take too many photos. It was literally a challenge to find enough time to pull out coin rolls to replenish the drawer, I was so busy. But I did have plenty of children pass through the shop that day, as particularly evidenced by my much-depleted shelves and racks of kids books and comics from which I sold throughout the day. All those Raina Telgemeier books…whoosh, out the door they went. I had to pull comics out of the back issue bins to refill the new kids comic rack, that stock got so low. And I’m still getting kids into the shop for FCBD…there were plenty of people who couldn’t make it the day of, but I still have comics laid out for folks to take, and take ’em they are.

Turns out my dad did get a photo or two of the goings-on that day from his perspective at the front of the shop, so here’s a pic showing more young’uns awaiting the gift of free comic books than my photos did:

Okay, I didn’t get a photo as iconic as this one from 2016:

…but rest assured, I had plenty of customers of all ages who left the store happy and with handfuls of free comics!

The Signal Watch buzzed by with

“…This was the first year I noticed that people seem to actually know about FCBD as a thing, that they may only show up once a year like some people do for church on Christmas or Easter, but they know about it and spend money when they’re at a comic shop. That seems good, right? And yesterday my neighborhood’s ‘Little Library’ announced on fb that they’ve got all the FCBD offerings – and people seemed to know what that was. Pretty far off from when this whole thing got started.”

I explained Free Comic Book Day once as “like Valentine’s Day for the See’s Candies stores,” (or Easter, or Christmas, yes) which is sort of like what you’re saying. Okay, some people don’t need boxes of candy year ’round, but when that special day comes, they know where to go. And when Free Comic Book Day approaches on the calendar, folks know they need to seek out Ye Olde Local Comick Booke Shoppe. And yes, a whole lot of ’em do spend money while they’re on the premises.

Yeah, I think there’s a lot more awareness of Free Comic Book Day now…it helps that it’s been around over a decade and a half, and it’s consistently put on every year at around the same time (except maybe that once). Local event publications made sure to note the day, I heard ads on a couple of the comedy podcasts I listen to (plugging the Starburns FCBD comic). It’s become just an “it’s that time of year again!” thing versus “hey, get this, people are giving away free comics, isn’t that weird?” I mean, sure, it’s not achieved 100% awareness across all demographics, but just from personal experience, when I ask people new to my shop (or any comic shop) if they’d heard about Free Comic Book Day, lately the answer is more often “yes, yes I have.” And hey, that’s good. That’s just one more positive thing for the general public to associate with comic book stores, which as a whole can use all the good press it can get.

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