I’d probably hate that title less if there actually were three “Trinity of Sin” comics on the stands.

§ April 4th, 2014 § Filed under this week's comics § 6 Comments

Normally, on the rare occasion I buy Avatar comics and am forced to choose among the various cover options, the “regular” cover or the “terror” cover or the “propaganda” cover or the “lava leopard” cover or what have you, I usually go for the wraparound cover. Maybe it’s the mindset of “I’m want as much for my buck as possible, so I want twice as much cover as normal,” I don’t know. But this time, for Caliban, I went for the above “regular” cover, which just seemed more creepy and evocative than the perhaps more on-the-nose wraparound cover (which you can see on the publisher’s site). It certainly looks more like an old sci-fi paperback cover, at least to my eye.

The comic itself is off to an interesting start (an Earth ship unexpectedly merges with a mysterious, and much larger, alien craft, unpleasantness ensues) placing it solidly in the horror sci-fi genre along with Alien, Event Horizon and even Disney’s The Black Hole. …C’mon, you know that movie’s terrifying.

Some short notes about other comics this week:

Action Comics #30 – drawn, in part, by local artist and friend of the shop Jed Dougherty! Features the beginning (more or less) of the return of Doomsday storyline, or at least has that big ol’ “Prelude to SUPERMAN DOOMED” banner inset on the cover, and it doesn’t look like lightning is striking twice on this yet, but who knows. Maybe demand will pick up on these when the Doomsday story really gets moving along. And maybe all those copies of Adventure of Superman #500 will start selling again. And Superman #75 will finally break that $1000 barrier! I’LL BE RICH, I TELL YOU

Swamp Thing #30 – unexpected DC Universe guest-star in this issue, assisting Mr. A. Holland and friends with their particular dilemma. This installment ends with just about as disturbing a sequence as I’ve seen in Swamp Thing in quite some time, without having to resort to gore or corpses or really violence of any sort.

Starlight #2 – continues to be very by-the-numbers plotwise, but competently so, and thus is at least readable while you enjoy the true star of the book, the beautiful artwork by Goran Parlov.

She-Hulk #3 – everyone is telling you this is a great comic, and everyone is correct. This issue, She-Hulk tries to secure asylum for the “son” of Dr. Doom, and it’s exciting, it’s funny, and Doom’s son is both trying and a bit tragic. One thing I need to remember is that every two-page spread needs to be read across both pages, rather than down page one then back up to the top of the facing page. I’m so trained to do one page at a time that I kept having to remind myself “read all the way across before going down to the next tier of panels.” Not that I said that out loud to myself as I was flipping through the book, why would you even think that.

Phantom Stranger #18 – the Stranger helps Superman struggle against the ghosts of those he’s failed, or something like that. I’m pretty sure I need to read this again, because I’m not sure I quite caught it all the first time. The plot centers around that recent development over in the Justice League books, where a mind-controlled Superman straight up flash-fried Doctor Light, which is, mind control or not, kind of an upsetting thing to have as part of Superman’s history. Even the New 52 history, such as that is. I was kind of happy ignoring that, but nope, here it is in a book I read. Ah, well. Also, I’m totally shelving this comic in the Ps, not under T for “Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger” which is the official title, because that official title is dumb and I hate it.

“Let’s do some rapping, business-wise.”

§ April 2nd, 2014 § Filed under love is in the air § 10 Comments

Corine pays a visit to the Songbird Music Agency in an attempt to obtain a recording contract:

Alas, our young friend ends up learning a harsh lesson about the music biz.

from Secret Romance #47 (December 1979)

Prime #1/2 (Malibu Comics/Wizard, April 1994).

§ March 31st, 2014 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 8 Comments

So for a while there, price guide/news/interview mag Wizard would offer special issues of various ongoing comic series, usually numbered as “# 1/2″ (and there may have been a “#500″ in there once or twice, too) that you could send for by mail using the special certificate ‘n’ envelope enclosed. And also by sending that check or money order, too…hey, Wizard ain’t runnin’ a charity, here. The comics themselves generally contained a new short story unavailable anywhere else, plus some sketchbook work or similar backmatter rounding out the publication.

I only availed myself of that particular scheme a handful of times…I sent away for the Sin City #1/2 and Daredevil #1/2 and probably a couple of others I’m forgetting.

And, of course, the comic pictured above: Prime #1/2, by Len Strazewski, Gerard Jones and Norm Breyfogle. Prime, for those of you too young to remember or have just generally driven the ’90s comic market out of your memory, was a modern spin on Captain Marvel, in which a kid gains the ability to transform into a seemingly adult-aged superhero. In this case, the kid, I don’t know, exuded some kind of fleshy substance to, in effect, grow his superhero body around his actual body, and I think I probably need to take a look at these comics again and remind myself that was what was actually happening.

At any rate, it’s my memory that this was one of the better titles that came out of the Ultraverse superhero line published by Malibu, even though it’s been a couple of decades since I’ve read these and that semi-recollection of our hero’s abilities the paragraph previous is about as much as I can recall at this time. Even flipping through this #1/2, now that I have it out of the box, it all looks brand new to me. And I did read the series, at least for 18 issues of its initial run.

I always say “I should pull these out and reread these” when I’m reminded of some comic I know I read and enjoyed a long time ago and haven’t looked at since. But, there’s only so many hours in the day, and sometimes it’s just going to have to be enough to know that I did enjoy them at one time, even if the specific details have faded away.

Oh, and back to the whole Wizard #1/2 thing…these special issues usually came with one of these “Certificates of Authenticity,” to ensure you weren’t receiving one of those cheap knock-off bootleg #1/2s that were flooding comic markets all across the world:

Thank goodness, this comic is an authentic! It’s the authentic-est!

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ March 28th, 2014 § Filed under End of Civilization § 17 Comments

Hey, remember comics? Boy, I sure do. Those cute little booklets of pictures, folded and stapled, that we all so enjoyed. Those were the days, back when we had trees, and people who could read, and before the electromagnetic pulses destroyed all electronics. Ah, yes.

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself! Civilization’s still here, but not for long, as perusing this month’s selection of goodies from Diamond Previews may show. Grab your copy of the April 2014 edition and follow along:

p. 101 – Superman #32:

“A NEW ERA for SUPERMAN begins….”

Oh, good, that’s like era number, what, four? five? in the last three years or so?

p. 149 – Superman Vs. Darkseid Statue (Second Edition):


p. 150 – DC Comics Super-Villains Harley Quinn Bust / DC Comics Cover Girls Katana Statue:

Oh, sure, the item that might sell has less than half the production run of the statue of the character no one’s ever been interested in, ever.

[THREE DAYS LATER: policeman gather around Mike's body, slumped over at his computer desk. A spilled Diet Coke is at his feet.

"We're not sure what happened here. The only clue we have is...this," says one policeman, as he points at the katana handle sticking out of Mike's back.]

p. 154 – Scribblenauts Unmasked Mini-Figures Blind Boxes Series 4:

Man, “blind box” packaging. There’s no way they’re going to suck me into buying blind-boxed stuff ever ag…


p. 182 – Star Slammers Re-Mastered! #4:

I can’t believe they got four comics outta space pogs.

p. 259 – Mountain Dewback T-Shirt:

Coming soon: Yodoo-Hoo, 7-Ugnaught, Black Sunkist, Pepsi Max Rebo, Jar Jar Barq’s, and the dreaded Dooku Pepper.

p. 264 – Fathom Annual #1:

To be followed next year by Fathom Annual #1, and then Fathom Annual #1 the year after that.

p. 323 – The Twilight Zone Vol. 1 TPB:

I know the creative team’s decision to tell multi-issue stories over the course of this series was bit of a controversial one, but my disappointment is that the series wasn’t like “Crisis of Infinite Twilight Zones!” The aliens finally decide to take direct action on Maple Street, only to be countered by Mr. Dingle, who retains his superhuman powers from the Martian and Venusian experimentation! Meanwhile, the gremlin, who landed just outside of town after falling from the plane, teams up with Anthony Fremont to exact revenge upon a world that fears and despises them! Will Robot Grandma step in to help save the world, even as the Kanamits wait in orbit to eat whoever survives?

…I probably need to get out more.

p. 353 – The Smurfs Volume 18: The Finance Smurf:

Bilderberg Smurf’s secret meetings are looked upon with suspicion by Conspiracy Smurf: “They’re up to something smurfy…very smurfy indeed,” he says during his Smurf-to-Smurf AM radio interview.

p. 367 – Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor #1 / Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor #1:

…released on a just slightly more-than-monthly schedule, with, I’m sure, a Twelfth Doctor series in the offing. And then, eventually, Doctors One through Nine get their own 15-issues-a-year series, and then there’s the War Doctor series telling all those adventures from those missing years. And then the series with the Curator from Day of the Doctor, fighting art thieves and such. And then a series starring the companions…heck, a series for each companion. Sarah Jane, of course, and Ace because Ace is awesome, and K-9, probably Leela, and sure, Rose, why not. And a Brigadier series. And a series for Vastra, Jenny and Strax. And so on.

Will probably still only be about half of the number of Avengers titles that’ll be on the stands by the time they get all these out.

p. 431 – Dream Vader T-Shirt:

Oooh Dream Vader
I believe you can get me to the lightsaber fight
Oooh Dream Vader
I believe we can find the Jedi Knights
Fly me high through the starry skies
Maybe to Dantooine
Cross the highways of hyperspace
Help me to forget Tatooine

p. 434 – Adventure Time Duality Leggings:

Yet another piece of clothing to add to the official store uniform.

p. 480 – Doctor Who Stress Toys:

Oh, good, I’m going to need these squeezable stress toys…

p. 481 – Mr. Potato Head Doctor Who Figures:

…after looking at these nightmarish things. Sheesh.

p. 489 – Star Wars R2-D2 Egg Cup:

Knowledge of the reproductive cycle of the droid is not for the weakhearted.

p. 501 – Doctor Who Car Magnet 3-Packs:

Okay, items like these generally only make sense to other fans of the property when they’re out of context like this. But, c’mon, “Bad Wolf” barely made sense in context.

p. 507 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Soft Touch PVC Key Holders:

“Honey, which one’s the key to the Ranger?”

“The Donatello one!”

[stares at the key rack for another five minutes]

Marvel Previews p. 75 – Marvel Minimates Series 57 Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Asst.:

Featuring a bunch of other sets that you’ll be shoving aside only to discover you can’t find the Drax/Groot/Rocket Raccoon pack.

Marvel Previews p. 79 – Marvel Masterworks Not Brand Echh Vol. 1 HC:

A missed opportunity to make one of the book’s variant covers look like the DC Archives trade dress.

“NOT BRAND ECHH ARCHIVES” — one of you Photoshop masters can slap together a replacement dustjacket for this, I’m sure.

The End of Civilization is postponed until tomorrow.

§ March 27th, 2014 § Filed under low content mode Comments Off

Sorry, pals. It needs to sit on the stove a little longer before I serve it up.

In the meantime, get a load of this.

Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones in Eyes of Alec Holland

§ March 26th, 2014 § Filed under swamp thing § 6 Comments

So they found a way to get me to buy those Robot Chicken photo-cover gag variants…GUESS HOW:

This, I realize, comes as a surprise to no one.

On a related note, I had a brief interchange with fellow Swamp Thing fan John regarding the possibility of the existence of color variations of House of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing’s first appearance. It seems that when I’ve posted panels from that original story in the past, Swamp Thing’s eyes were colored red:

…but when John got his own copy of HOS #92, the eyes were colored white-ish:

He wondered why there was an apparent difference between his copy of HOS92 and my own, if perhaps there was another print run of the original where the coloring was altered, purposefully or accidentally. And that had me wondering, too. Mostly along the lines of “how in God’s name am I going to track down this kind of variant for my own collection?”

Well, after a small amount of digging, actually it turns out my scans have been from one of the handful of reprints I have of that story, since I didn’t want to subject my own original House of Secrets #92 to the tender mercies of the flatbed scanner. In those reprints, the eyes have been recolored red from the original version’s white, which is a detail I hadn’t realized had been changed. So, no weird color variations in that original release of House of Secrets #92, I’m afraid. Sorry, price guides and eBay!

Also, I’d be lying if I said that didn’t come as some small bit of relief. Calling store to store asking them to check Swamp Thing’s eye coloring on their copies of House of Secrets #92…I’m not sure the human ear could endure that many hang-ups.

Airlock #2 & #3 (Eclectus Ltd., 1991).

§ March 24th, 2014 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 4 Comments

This wasn’t the first issue of this particular series that I’d purchased…it was #2, which had a Not-Safe-for-Work-ish cover I didn’t want to spring on you without warning.

Anyway, Airlock was a short-run black and white anthology series that I bought primarily because it contained “Taffy and the Pirates,” a humor-adventure strip by Cutey Bunny creator Joshua Quagmire:

There are other stories of note, too: issue 2 has “The Iluvlussey,” a funny and nicely-cartooned take on Greek myth by Tim Burgard, “Lost in The Jungle” by To Be Announced‘s Mike Bannon, and the Swamp Thing parody “Yuck Thing” by Jorge Pacheco:

It wasn’t all humor strips; there was an ongoing “Caligula” serial by Rod Underhill and Topper Helmers that was fairly elaborate and certainly mature reader-oriented, as you might imagine.

Issue three cover-features Panda Khan…or rather, “X-Khan,” as he’s known in the story within, and…well, I didn’t realize, or I’d forgotten, how science-fictiony these Panda Khan comics were, though looking now I see this cover of Mr. Khan on a meteor fighting a guy shooting a laser gun, so what do I know. I never read those comics, so beyond being vaguely aware of his ties to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, my knowledge of Panda Khan’s adventures is alarmingly deficient. This is also the most I’ve typed the words “Panda Khan” in my entire life.

The Taffy strips return and wrap up in this third issue as well. Quagmire (along with Dean Norton) also provides an illustrated prose short “Cyberfox,” which is some funny-animal sci-fi business.

There was a first issue, though I don’t recall having seen it, and that’s probably the sort of thing I should have checked for at the shop prior to writing this entry here. My usual sources don’t have any info on what was in the first issue, so I don’t know if I’m missing any Quagmire there. The “Taffy” story in the second issue pretty clearly starts there, and I’m also fairly certain the me of 1991 would have sought out that #1 if I’d known there was something in that issue I had to have.

I’m still going to check for it at the shop anyway.

I have multiple pals Andrew.

§ March 21st, 2014 § Filed under nancy, pal plugging, self-promotion, sir-links-a-lot, sluggo § 6 Comments


  • Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-ins were a hell of a thing.
  • Pal Andy is trying to raise funds on Kickstarter for his children’s book SpaceBear, so please help out if you are so inclined.
  • REMINDER: the Ultimate Powers Jam continues, in which Pal Andrew rolls up a character using the Marvel Super-Heroes role playing game system, and other folks step in to flesh out the character. Probably better than whatever comic you’re reading right now. Unless that comic is All-Star Batman, and nothing is better than that.
  • AND NOW, A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR: please buy some stuff from our shop’s eBay store. Dig some of these shirts, man. This Jar Jar shirt is made from real Gungan skin. Help me clear some of this stuff out…I need to make room! Thank you.
  • Humble Opinions…a new site offering comics and pop culture reviews and commentary. “Everything in Greece was on fire all the time” made me laugh.
  • I haven’t linked to swell chap Tony Isabella in a while, so here’s today’s post of comics reviews. I haven’t really gone out of my way to seek out other people’s opinions of the current Superman books. I’ve been enjoying them, thinking they’re an improvement on what’s been going on with the character since the New 52 hoohar began, so I was interested to see Mr. Isabella’s somewhat-opposed take.
  • It was pointed out in the comments that the Sluggo doll from this post was probably just some other doll repurposed into a Sluggo doll, and yeah, that’s probably what happened. It was still apparently marketed as a Sluggo doll (along with a Nancy doll) in the 1950s as a Post Grape-Nuts cereal promotion. Here’s a shot of them in their box. …Phew, Nancy didn’t make out so great, either. Assuming that is supposed to be Nancy and not some generic “Girl Friend” as the box would have it.

I had one heck of a busy and crazy day at the shop on Tuesday…

§ March 19th, 2014 § Filed under low content mode, trading cards § 7 Comments

…with this being the least of it, so I’m just going to contemplate card #49 from my complete set of Superman III trading cards:

…and relax while basking in the glory of Richard Pryor.

Miscellaneous Cat-Head Comics (1987 – 1992).

§ March 17th, 2014 § Filed under doog boog, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 4 Comments

So I was looking at this little stack of Cat-Head Comics from the Vast Mikester Comic Archives, trying to decide which one to talk about, when I decided “ah, heck, let’s throw them all up there.”

Duck & Cover #1 (1988)


Duck & Cover #2 (1989)

Satire and poetry written by Stephen Beaupre and Steve Lafler, taking on politics, religion, big business, and more. A special appearance from Dog Boy in #1, putting the bite on Rupert Murdoch!

Femme Noire #1 (1989)


Femme Noire #2 (1989)

Mystical detective shenanigans by Lafler, with Maria (the title character) and her occasional love interest, Dog Boy’s pal BenB (the hollow-eyed fella on the cover of #1). Dog Boy makes appearances here and there over the course of the story.

Out the Next #1 (1987)

A Beaupre solo book, more or less, with “ART • DESIGN” and a cover by Lafler. Mostly text/poems by Beaupre with accompanying photos and drawings. The condition of this copy is a little rough, having found in a quarter box sometime in ’88/’89. You can see the tears at the top of the cover caused by careless box-thumbing. JUST SAY NO TO CARELESS BOX-THUMBING. No Dog Boy appearances aside from the back cover ad.

Prometheus’ Gift #1 (1992)

A couple of short stories, including the Jack Kirby-esque “Snakes!” Tiny Dog Boy cameos in a two-page art/text collage and on the cover, as well as two unpublished Dog Boy covers rounding out the book (as a “sleazy way to fill up space,” Lafler himself admits in the introduction).
Those Dog Boy appearances aren’t in the Doggie Style collection (unless I missed something), since that was primarily reprinting his solo stories from his own titles and Buzzard. Most of the above would have been out of place there.

Anyway, there’s some fine and strange comic-booking in the above publications, some of which I suspect are pretty difficult to find at this point (the indicia for Prometheus’ Gift includes the note “first printing October 1992, barely two thousand copies if we’re lucky”). Poking through all these again makes me want to go back and try Bughouse one more time, since that was the one Lafler project that never really grabbed me. I do own the first issue…I’ll give it another go and let you know what I think.

You can keep up with what Lafler is up to at his official site.

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