§ March 13th, 2017 § Filed under old § 20 Comments





Yes, that’s supposed to be a cake with 48 flaming candles. Also, best wishes to my blogging-and-birthday brother, pal Andrew, whose own cake is almost certainly illuminated by tiny mushroom clouds.

Sluggo Saturday #130.

§ March 11th, 2017 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 1 Comment



from Sparkler #83 (September/October 1948) – special thanks to Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Three Rocks

Some people suggested I make End of Civilization Patreon-only, but I suspect you’d all kill me if I did.

§ March 10th, 2017 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion § 3 Comments


  • Bully, the Hopefully Well-Rested Bull, is back from his brief hiatus to correct a most egregious error in Esquire.
  • Pal Andrew has returned to his popular “Nobody’s Favorites” feature, and the character he’s focusing on this time is a real blast!
  • Blogging sister Tegan is an essayin’ machine over on her site, with loads of deep, thoughtful content well worth your perusal. And if you’re a Patreon backer, you’re not only getting extra essays of a more political nature on a regular basis, but Tegan just started a Patreon subscriber-only podcast as well. “Tegan Reads Wookieepedia” is exactly what it sounds like: Tegan hits the ol’ “random article” button on Wookieepedia, the online encyclopedia for all things Star Wars-ian, and lets the commentary spring forth. It’s a hoot. You can check out a free sample of the podcast right here.
  • Speaking of Patreon, and inspired by Tegan’s efforts, I’ve been planning a little bit of an expansion myself on what I’ll be doing with my own Patreon account. I’ve said before I was reluctant to provide “subscriber only” content, because I’d like everyone who reads my site to have access to everything I’m doing. However, my Patreon account has plateaued a little, and I’d like to give it bit of a goose, but at the same time, I don’t want to leave people out of anything I might do there.

    So, here’s the plan. I’m working on an ongoing series of posts, probably two a month, that will be available exclusively to Patreon subscribers, at least at first. Each of these exclusive posts will eventually go public, but not for a few months after its initial posting. Think of it like DC’s old newsstand/direct sales plan for New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes, where, for example, the comic shop only version of New Teen Titans #1 (1984) was eventually reprinted about a year later in Tales of the Teen Titans #60 (1985) for 7-11s or whatever. Not that my posts will be drawn by George Perez or Keith Giffen.

    These Patreon-only posts will be available to any supporters, so if you’re in for at least a buck a month, you’ll get them. I expect to start this series up in a few weeks, and I’ll let you know when it’s about to begin. I’m pretty sure the first installment will be posted for free here on this site right away just so you can see what you’re in for. Anyway, details forthcoming as I hammer everything out.

  • And speaking of Tegan, the other day she was surprised that this particular service still existed in some form, and I’ve not linked to it in quite a while (the first time being back in 2008!): the Update-A-Tron, which lets you know what comic blogs have updated recently. Yeah, I know, “but feed readers…!” But this is still a handy way to maybe learn about new comic blogs…and people are still blogging about comics, despite the constant death knells!

As far as I’m concerned, Clark Kent still wears a hat in the comics, whether they draw him in one or not.

§ March 8th, 2017 § Filed under this week's comics § 1 Comment

(Some minor SPOILERS AHEAD if you want to go into the new Action fresh.)

So we finally get some answers in Action #975 as to the nature of the Other Clark Kent, with the revelation done in such a way as to provide a nice anniversary issue-style showcase of some of Superman’s other adversaries over the years. They’ve done such a good job keeping this mystery going, and keeping in compelling, that I’m a tad a’feared that momentum will be lost once this plotline is wrapped up, much in the same way the Super-books meandered a bit after the roller coaster ride of the “Death and Return of Superman” storyline. Not that the Mystery of the Extra Clark was so overwhelming a thing that it took over the comics like Superman’s death did, but it was a great hook that kept people talking and wondering.

I’ve noted once or twice that I was hoping the resolution to the mystery did not involve the larger metaplot of the Watchmen incursion into the DC Universe…and, well, it might still, sorta, depending on who this Mr. Oz is that’s been turning up in the books. And it seems to be tied to all the multiverse-rejiggering that’s going on, but I’m glad the revelation involved the character it involved, and it wasn’t all Clark whipping off the fedora and declaring “ah HA, it is I, Dr. Manhattan!” That might have tied into the larger DC Universe activity, sure, but would have felt like a cheat.

This was an odd comic. Written by R.L. Stine, best known for the Goosebumps series of horror novels for young folks, it takes a tongue-in-cheek-ish approach to Marvel’s swamp monster as he tries in vain to get his movie career going. It’s actually a fun read, even though a talking Man-Thing, with the mind of Ted Sallis now fully functioning within, still takes me getting some used to. I know, I know, none of this is in regular Marvel continuity, I suspect, so I should just go with it, but I’m just used to there being more of a line between the kind of swamp creature Swamp Thing was (human trapped in a monstrous body trying to find a cure) and the kind Man-Thing was (mindless monster with practically no memory of the human it used to be). But that’s my problem, not yours. It’s certainly a different direction for the character, and I’m perfectly okay to see where it goes.

I haven’t even had a chance to read this yet, and I should probably be worried that the last time cross-company crossovers were so prevalent we were in the midst of an industry-wide slump and everyone was hanging together so they wouldn’t hang separately…but I gotta be honest, I love these nutty things. The first issue of Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern was mostly all set-up, so I’m looking forward to whatever weirdness awaits me in the new issue. Plus, the regular covers have been great, but the variants:

…are to die for.

Mostly, I’m just glad that we’re 56 issues into this reprint series, and it’s still going. The series is nearing the end of the Dell Comics run (with #65), and I’m hoping it continues into the Gold Key era (even though some of those are 80-pagers). Ideally, I’d love to have them reprint all the way through the 1970s Charlton Comics Popeye by George Wildman, though that’s probably unlikely. I’m guessing the emphasis is on getting all of Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye work back into print, which would include some of the Gold Key books, so maybe those will get printed after all! At the very least (and I know I’ve said this before) I’ve love to have a new printing of this cover.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ March 6th, 2017 § Filed under End of Civilization § 9 Comments

Hey, I was into the End of Civilization before it was cool…and so were a lot of you, if you’ve been reading my site for any length of time. So, let us all gather together in our old school hipness and plow through the new Diamond Previews, March 2017 edition, and see what new and frightening things are coming that those poseurs just wouldn’t get, maaaaan:

p. 46 – Predator: Hunters #1:

As opposed to “Predator: Cobblers,” or “Predator: Mailmen,” or “Predator: Senior Wastewater Treatment Operators.” …I suspect infrastructure on the Predators’ homeworld is something of a mess.
p. 71 – Lobster Johnson: The Pirate’s Ghost #3:

Now that the menace of the Pirate’s Ghost has been taken care of, I know what I want Lobster Johnson to tackle next…if he can figure out what exactly it is he needs to be tackling:

p. 127 – DC Currents #2:

Finally, a comic book adaptation of “Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle!”
p. 139 – DC Horror: House of Secrets Vol. 1 HC:

Okay, soon as this comes out, someone remind me to update this post with that book and the probably half-dozen other comics/books/quilts I’ve bought with the same danged story.
p. 158 – Ghostbusters Funko Universe:

Looking forward to the Pop! figures Funko will do based on the comic based on their figures. And then the comic based on those Pop! figures, and the figures based on that comic, and on and on until the black hole opens up and swallows us all.
p. 199 – Youngblood #1:

A looooong time ago on this site I cracked wise about whatever iteration of the Youngblood comic was then being published, and the writer sent me a long email griping at me that I actually never finished reading and accidentally (yes, honestly, accidentally) deleted before I could. I won’t have this problem with Chad Bowers, who’s a Twitter pal and thus his responses to my dumb comments will be restricted to 140-character chunks that I’ll be able to more easily consume.
p. 200 – Spawn #1 25th Anniversary Director’s Cut:

Maybe we’ll finally find out why the caption “His hell-cape…ADVANTAGEOUS!” was cut.
p. 283 – Trump Vs. Time Lincoln:

Sure, you laugh now, but the way things have been, this comic could very well turn out to be a documentary.
p. 283 – Bark’s Groot Beer T-Shirt:

It seems like this is just straight-up a Marvel Comics shirt not from Marvel Comics. I mean, is it just parody enough for them to get away with it? I honestly don’t understand.
p. 307 – Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal #4:

“Look, Jim Henson’s Dinosaurs: Season Five has the Sinclair family struggling to survive in their new frozen world….”

“Mike, please stop calling our offices.”
p. 330 – Swordquest #0:

“@chadbowers @theisb: Look this comic can be about a young Spike Merling who’s upset that this new Atari game isn’t really any good….”

“@mikesterling: BLOCKED”
p. 370 – The Magical Twins HC:

Okay, I just processed a whole bunch of Catwoman comics at the shop recently, so I think I can hardly be blamed for seeing the phrase “Magical Twins” and having this come to mind:

Nevertheless, I apologize to everyone.
p. 376 – Harvey Hits #1:

Hey, if you guys need any help putting together a themed Harvey anthology, I may have some ideas.
p. 492 – Colossus “Shine” Black T-Shirt:

I wouldn’t wear one of these around the nation’s capital right now, is all I’m sayin’.
p. 518 – Watchmen Vinimates Vinyl Figures:

No Seymour figure, hm? Snubbed again, the poor ginger bastard.
p. 539 – Pop! Godfather Vinyl Figures – Don Vito:

Please please please tell me the rare chase variant has him with the orange peel in his mouth.
p. 540 – Pop! Beauty and the Beast Vinyl Figures:

Boy, these Doctor Who villains just get weirder and weirder.
p. 546 – The Flash TV: The Flash Bust:

Oh c’mon, they just repainted those old Qwardian Thunderer busts.
p. 573 – Disney Hybrid Metal Figuration Figures – Huey Dewey & Louie Set:

Keep an eye out for the rare variant sets with the exclusive Phooey figure.
p. 578 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Dobby 1/6-Scale Action Figure:

Comes with Dobby’s “freedom sock” for his Red Hot Chili Peppers cosplay.
p. 619 – Monopoly Dragon Ball Z Edition Board Game:

“Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass GO. Do not GO OVER 9000!!!”

In which I buy something I didn’t actually need, but wanted anyway…which probably describes most everything I own, to be frank.

§ March 3rd, 2017 § Filed under collecting, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 12 Comments

So my old boss Ralph has been processing a bunch of comics magazines, including those two Atlas/Seaboard magazines I mentioned a couple of weeks back. Well, I finally got my hands on those two items, which I’ll probably talk about in the near future, but before that, let me discuss something else I acquired from Ralph at the same time…The Captain Kentucky Collection Volume 1 (1981) by Don Rosa:

And here’s the back cover:

…as well as a closer look at those pics ‘n’ captions, since they don’t show up too well in that scan:

I’ve written a few times before about how I first found the work of Don Rosa in the Comic Reader ‘zine, where they were reprinting his Captain Kentucky comic strips. I thought they were pretty great, and I always kept a lookout for any more work by Mr. Rosa, which brought me to his Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories magazines, and, eventually, to his official Disney debut in Uncle Scrooge #219. (And that of course sent me on a journey rediscovering the work of Carl Barks, but that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, I didn’t really need this, as such. I own this 2001 hardcover which reprints every CK strip:

…but it doesn’t have that great cover from the ’81 magazine, and there’s an introduction in the mag that isn’t in the hardcover. Plus, there’s those two great photos I have scanned above. The magazine also has an index to “People Offended” and “Places Destroyed” which I thought was funny, and unique to this publication…but it turns out the hardcover also that this index, expanded to the strip’s full run and not just the first 50 installments, which I didn’t recall.

For the most part, I try not to repurchase (or “double-dip” on) things I already own, says the guy with about fifteen different versions of House of Secrets #92. But there are always exceptions, and I remember really wanting this CK mag when I first heard about back in the ’80s, but thinking I missed the window of opportunity to get one and that I’d just have to piece together the run in the Comic Reader. Having that hardcover should have been enough, but finally seeing the mag in person while digging through Ralph’s boxes sort of rekindled that collecting desire. Even though at the time when I first saw it, I said “ah, I’ve got all those strips, I don’t need it” — but sure enough, a couple of days later I was on the phone with Ralph, telling him “sigh, okay, hold that Captain Kentucky ‘zine for me, too.”

And now, here it is, in my hands. Another weird old hole in the collection, filled. Like I said, I didn’t need to own this, but I sure am happy to finally have it.

“Say, what kind of noise do you loud musical pigs make?”

§ March 1st, 2017 § Filed under archie § 2 Comments


image from Laugh #293 (August 1975)

The post I wanted to call “the postmodern Stone Age family” except someone already used that phrase for The Croods.

§ February 27th, 2017 § Filed under cartoons § 2 Comments

So the story is nominally about Bamm-Bamm — excuse me, Teen-age Bamm-Bamm — finding his pet dinosaur Snoots holding a treasure map in his mouth, and then going off in pursuit of said treasure, while rivals Bruno and his gang, pictured here:

…try to get their mitts on the map.

There’s a lot of hoohar and goings-on as the battle for the map rages on, until the startling truth comes to light:

Now, I could go into the whole “which animals are sentient and self-aware, and which are just dog/cat-level pets in the Flintstones milieu” discussion, and that Snoots clearly has crossed the previously unbroken line between the two, if he’s, you know, making hand-drawn maps. Though I recall Dino’s comic book appearances give him thought balloons and a more comprehensive inner intellectual life than evidenced in the original animated source material. And then, of course, I’m trying to recall if the speaking animals actually interact conversationally with the humans (beyond repeating messages left by other humans), or if their comments are strictly for gag asides.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Mostly, I just wanted to point out this breaking of the fourth wall by one Mr. B. Bamm, in which he expresses his surprise at Snoots’ heretofore unrevealed cartological skills:

Perhaps one could surmise he is speaking to Bruno, whom he was speaking to just the panel previous, and we are taking Bruno’s point of view. However, the convention in comics storytelling for this particular panel composition is the direct addressing of the reader. Bamm-Bamm is expressing directly to you his surprise at his pet dinosaur’s skills. He has broken the fourth wall. He knows there are readers outside his world, looking in. Much like Buddy Baker in Animal Man #19 from 1990:

…he is aware he is in a comic book. In other words, what Bamm-Bamm is trying to say is


images from Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm #6 (September 1972), and Animal Man #19 (January 1990) by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood — special thanks to Bully the Little Image-Manipulating Bull for his production assistance!

Entering Low Content Mode.

§ February 24th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, low content mode § 2 Comments

Sorry, pals, but due to equipment failure at the old homestead, I have no internet service there and service technicians won’t be out to take a look at it (much less fix it) until the following week. Thus, Progressive Ruin Industries will be entering a brief hiatus until at least March 6th, when, with any luck, I’ll return with the latest installment of the End of Civilization. Between then and now, I’ll try to put up the occasional something, if I can prepare it at home and bring it on a flash drive to post with the work computer, but we’ll see. In the meantime, please enjoy the website’s 13+ years’ worth of archives, at least some of which have working links and unbroken images, and you can always see what I’m up to on the Twitters.

Thank you for your patience, and I should be up and running again as normal (or “normal”) soon

EDIT 2/26:: Belay that Low Content Mode, mister! The internet ‘n’ phone people squeezed in an earlier appointment for me, and the situation has been resolved! The Progressive Ruining will continue unabated!

I’ll just apologize for the last gag right here.

§ February 22nd, 2017 § Filed under this week's comics § 3 Comments

So the previous issue of Scooby-Doo! Team-up (featuring Frankenstein Jr.) was a little disappointing, in that there were little-to-no backgrounds in any of the panels. The figure drawing was fine, the writing was at its usual witty standard…but without the backgrounds, they might has well have all been floating in space, rather than in the concert hall the story was supposedly set in. This new issue is a vast improvement in that regard, with the Scooby gang running into Quick Draw McGraw in a dusty western town, with plenty of mountains and deserts caves and streets an’ all. A little scenery goes a long way to establishing some kind of time and place for the goings-on, and the Frankenstein Jr. story suffered without it. …Another aspect of this series I wanted to mention is how they could have very easily had the Scooby-Doo crew team up with a different DC superhero every issue in attempt to grab those direct market sales, but I’m glad they’re balancing issues with Harley Quinn with issues co-starring…well, Quick Draw McGraw, for example. Now, if only we can get Swamp Thing into this comic…

The current Hellboy storylines seem to be at an end, for now, and I’ve no idea if there’s going to be any forward motion in the Mignolaverse anytime in the near future. There is, however, no end of comics filling in the backstory and the missing years of Hellboy ‘n’ company, and the latest is The Visitor How & Why He Stayed, following up on the aliens that briefly appeared at the very beginnings of Hellboy’s funnybook adventures. I remember during a reread of the Hellboy comics thinking “what was up with the aliens?” and just figured that was an abandoned plot point which no longer fit into Mignola’s evolving storytelling for this series. Thus, this book comes as bit of a surprise, but a welcome one, and certainly a different take on the franchise’s past outside the “here’s another early adventure with Hellboy and the BPRD,” Not that those aren’t fine and great, of course, but The Visitor feels new, like a stretching of the premise. We may not be moving ahead in the Mignolaverse’s timeline just yet, but at least we’re pulling that previously-existing timeline into some different directions. …By the way, if you like the Adventures of Kid Hellboy, this will be a good comic for you to pick up.

Okay, we still don’t have any definitive answers as to who this Other Clark Kent is, but at this point my initial fear that this story would resolve as part of the larger Watchmen-in-the-DC-Universe metastory has lessened a bit. This appears to be a more conventional “someone we know in disguise as Clark” story (wouldn’t be something if it was Matrix, who somehow survived along with the pre-Flashpoint Clark ‘n’ Lois into the New 52 universe?), but we’ll see what happens. I do still think that the Superman books, as interesting as they are right now, are due for some event crossover rejiggering, with Dr. Manhattan merging timelines together so that the New 52 Superman never existed, the current Superman has always been Superman, the same Lois has always been around, etc. That leaves the fate of Jon, Clark and Lois’s son, with an indeterminate future, but that all depends on how the Super-Sons title fares, I guess. Or maybe that book can just start teaming up with kids of other superheroes. …Can’t think of a whole bunch of them right now, but I definitely pictured Damian Wayne teaming up with the Ghost of Aquababy. …Hey, look, if Richie Rich can team up with Casper….

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