Sluggo Saturday #128.

§ July 9th, 2016 § Filed under sluggo saturday § No Comments

THE SLUGGOTUS

OF LOVE

from Comics on Parade #98 (July 1954)

Some comic pages right out of history.

§ July 7th, 2016 § Filed under this week's comics § 6 Comments

Of course the first thing I thought of when I first heard about the then-forthcoming Flintstones revamp from DC Comics:

flint1cvr

…was John Byrne’s “realistic” version of the family from Sensational She-Hulk #5 (1989), as seen here in this detail from the cover:

shehulk5cvrdetail

…and here’s a bit from inside that book:

shehulk5intpage
Now, so far from DC’s Hanna-Barbera retoolings, we’ve had Future Quest (which everyone expected to be good), Scooby Apocalypse (which surprised people by being good as well), Wacky Raceland (bit of a misfire, but we’ll see how it goes), and now this, The Flintstones. I…I’m not quite sure what to make of it. My initial response to it I posted on Twitter, where I said it was “weird,” and I was asked “good weird or bad weird?” My reply was “weird weird.”

There’s stuff in here about Fred and Barney being veterans of “The Paleolithic Wars,” there’s Slate wanting to exploit Neanderthal workers, there’s the unpleasant fate of one of the characters shown in the modern day framing sequence…and that there even is a modern day framing sequence is a bit strange period. Tone shifts around quite a bit, from the expected dinosaur jokes to the poignant backstory for one of the cast. It’s definitely an interesting read…I didn’t know what to expect from writer Mark Russell on this, since I’d not read his work (though I understand Prez is good), but I’ve enjoyed Steve Pugh’s art in the past (on Grimjack and Hellblazer) and he did a fine job here, though trying to reconcile this version of the Flintstones cast with the permanently-embedded mental image we all have of the cartoons is quite the task.

Anyway, I’ll certainly be back for the second issue. It’s not often a comic catches me off guard like this, and that’s something I can very much appreciate. Don’t quite know if it’s good as such, but it has my attention.

Pamcakes!

§ July 6th, 2016 § Filed under batman, self-promotion, sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

I want to thank those of you who have pledged payments to my Patreon account, and I swear I’m not just saying that so I can link to my Patreon account again. I really am thankful for your generosity and willingness to spare a buck or three every month to my endeavors here. It’s very much appreciated. And like I said, there’s not going to be any special contributor-only content or anything, so everything I write for the site will be equally available to everybody. However, Patreon supporters will get to leave with me on my flying saucer to go live in my chocolate castle on Venus when the end times come, so just keep that in mind.

Meanwhile:

  • Bully, the Little Bull Stuffed with Butter and Syrup, is a few days deep into A Month of Pancakes, which you should dig into immediately. I voted for Pancake Month, and got exactly what I was hoping for! Democracy works, sometimes!
  • Blogging brother Tim relates his own thoughts on the state of comics blogging (as I did myself, not too long ago). One day soon, it will be just Tim and I standing alone in a wasteland filled with the desiccated corpses of fallen comic blogs, squaring off against each other, HTML tags in hand, studying each other for the smallest sign of weakness.
  • Pal Andrew tells us about that one time the Jack of Hearts met the Incredible Hulk. Man, there’s nothing quite like 1970s Marvel comics.
  • The Trouble with Comics gang look at nationalistic superheroing and discuss its impact on the medium. …I’ve been “on hiatus” from TwC for the last few weeks due to scheduling issues, but hope to be back and contributing there again in the near future.
  • And now, for no real good reason, NEEDLEPOINT JOKER:

    needlepointjoker
    Someone brought in a couple of bins holding piles of ’90s Batman stuff, and this is one of three things I bought from them, just because it was so odd. (I bought it specifically to resell to a fella working at my previous place of employment, who is way into the character…and it is at that store the NEEDLEPOINT JOKER is currently on display.)

    The other two things I bought were a Catwoman bank and a replica of a ’60s Batman fan club pinback button. Oddly enough, I passed on the signed Batman #500 from one of those home shopping TV shows, even despite being in one of those collectible fold-out comic binders. …The ’90s were weird, man.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ July 4th, 2016 § Filed under End of Civilization § 17 Comments

The End of Civilization is closer than ever, friends, and there’s no greater tome of portent than this, the July 2016 edition of Diamond Previews! Grab your copy and follow along, if you think your heart can stand it! Also, yes, I know there’s an easier way to do that Space Invaders thing…anyway, HERE WE GO:

p. 62 – Avatar The Last Airbender Coloring Book TP:

p63avacola
“Here, Little Billy, I even bought you some extra blue crayons since I know you’re going to need them.”

“THAT’S A DIFFERENT AV — sigh, thanks Aunt Millie.”
 
 
p. 63 – Serenity Adult Coloring Book TP:

p63serencoloring
“What color is ‘eternal longing for a thing that will never return?'”

“Periwinkle.”

“Okay, thanks.”
 
 
p. 98 – All-Star Batman #2:

p98allstarbat
At long last! The Greatest Batman Epic of Our Time finally continues! None of you believed, but only I kept the faith that Miller and Lee would return to this grand tale! HA! IN YOUR FACES, SUCKERS.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: nobody tell Mike. He doesn’t know yet.]
 
 
p. 108 – The Flash #6:

p108flash
Okay, having a speedster villain named “Godspeed” is pretty great. But if someone named “Black Emperor” shows up….
 
 
p. 130 – Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #3:

p130batmansteed
please please please “Batman ’66 Visits Gilligan’s Island” next please please
 
 
p. 137 – Goodnight Batcave HC:

p137goodnightbatcave

You know, if they’re going to be doing Batman-themed children’s book parodies, well….

areyoumymother
 
 
p. 139 – Watchmen Noir HC:

p139watchmennoir
C’mon, just call it the “Watchmen Coloring Book,” you know you want to.
 
 
p. 148 – Supergirl Book One TP:

p148sgirlbook

CUSTOMER: “So my daughter really likes the Supergirl TV show…will she like this book?”

ME: “Um, well, this Supergirl is actually a shape-changing artificial being from a parallel universe who merges with a human woman, and then there’s this whole angel thing….”

CUSTOMER: [blank stare]

ME: “Yeah, it’ll be fine.”

[PLEASE NOTE: the previous dialogue was simply a fictional exaggeration and not reflective of my actual in-store behavior. At least, not for another decade or two.]
 
 
p. 197 – Strawberry Shortcake #6 Scented Variant:

p197strawberry
“And now, My Little Pony scented variants!”

“OH GOD IT SMELLS LIKE THE END OF A PARADE…gaaaack”
 
 
p. 237 – Snotgirl #3:

p237snotgirl
So, a boy, then?

(Look, I’ve had that stupid joke rattling around in my head for months.)
 
 
p. 279 – Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space #5:

p279lostinsp
Surely with at least three versions of Lost in Space rattling around (what with the upcoming Netflix revival) we’re due for some kind of “Crisis of Infinite Jupiter 2s” or something. Actually, I’m still waiting for Classic Trek vs. New Trek thing…”Prime Universe Vs. The Kelvin Timeline,” if you’re nasty nerdy. (EDIT: I’m told Old Vs. New Trek is already a thing in the comics. I SAT TOO LONG ON THIS JOKE.)
 
 
p. 286 – Trump Vs. Clinton Coloring Book:

p286trumpclinton
NO MATTER WHO WINS, WE LOSE…well, okay, more one than the other, but still.
 
 
p. 287 – Major League Badass T-Shirt:

p287majorl
Please enjoy this t-shirt of a Generic Shaggy-Haired Fella What Carries What Could Be Just Any Crossbow, and Not Any Particular One, No, Really, I Have No Idea What You’re Talking About.
 
 
p. 328 – Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #100:

p328tarot
Number one hundred!? That’s a lot of haunted vaginas. In fact, haunted vaginas for everyone!

“Hooray!”
 
 
p. 336 – Art of Atari HC:

p336artatari
NOT INCLUDED: beautiful watercolor painting of me frying my 2600 so I could get two shots at a time in Space Invaders.
 
 
p. 351 – Battlestar Galactica #2 Subscription Variant:

p351bgmuffit
Ladies and gentlemen…the best one yet of these action figure variant covers.
 
 
p. 362 – Barack the Barbarian GN:

p362barack
“Ah, once I’m out of office, maybe they’ll stop making comics about me.”

PREVIEWS JUNE 2017: “Retired Barack Versus Predator #1”

“DAMMIT.”
 
 
p. 501 – Doctor Who A History of Humankind, The Doctor’s Official Guide HC:

p501drwho
“THE BEGINNING OF THE END: THE CREATION OF THE INTERNET”
 
 
p. 506 – Ghostbusters 2016 Little Golden Book:

p506ghostlittle
Oh, great, here come people complaining about women ruining their children’s books, too.
 
 
p. 508 – Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Star Wars Little Golden Book:

p508swgolden
“Um…open heart surgery?”

“Page 17.”

“How to file quarterly sales taxes?”

“Page 113.”

“Ballroom dancing?”

“Page 484.”

“This is one hell of a long Little Golden Book.”

“Contains all knowledge it does, yes? Hee hee hee!”
 
 
p. 554 – Batman & Robin Clooney Panther Cowl Replica:

p554panthercowl
Had literally no idea merchandising from the Clooney Batman was still a thing. Is there enough demand for that very specific version of the Bat-cowl to…oh, what am I even saying.
 
 
p. 569 – Pop! Aliens Alien Queen 6-Inch Vinyl Figure:

Man, that alien queen from Aliens, there’s no way they could make that more terrif–GAH

p569alienq
 
 
p. 576 – Alfred Hitchcock 1/6 Scale Collectible Figure:

p576hitch
Hitchcock figure making mysterious cameos in other action figure playsets: “hey, who’s that behind the Mission to Gamma VI set?” “BILLY, GET YOUR HITCHCOCK FIGURE OUT OF HERE!”
 
 
p. 601 – Batman V Superman Batman Nendoroid Justice Edition:

p601bvsnen
Even the most outspoken of Batman V Superman haters will love our newest version of the film, where every appearance of Ben Affleck has been replaced with this cutie pie.
 
 
p. 604 – Gundam Unicorn GFFMC Unicorn Gundam “Final Battle” Figure:

p604gundam
Thundercleese looks different from how I remember.
 
 
p. 609 – Pharrell Williams Real Action Hero:

p609phw
This is the worst Freddy Krueger cosplay I have ever seen.
 
 
p. 624 – Movie Icons The Godfather Vito Corleone 7-Inch Action Figure:

p624vito
Alternate Orange Peel Head not included.
 
 
p. 632 – Cthulhu Molded Mug:

p632ctmug
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die…before my first cup of coffee! Am I right, Augie?”

“I’ve asked you before not to talk to me, Howard.”
 
 
Marvel Previews p. 105 – Color Your Own Star Wars:

mp105colorsw
Look, I already did that with markers in my old treasury editions because the lightsabers were the wrong color, so, got that taken care of, thanks.

That clinking clanking sound / Can make the world go ’round.

§ July 1st, 2016 § Filed under self-promotion § 2 Comments

So yes, I started a Patreon account for myself, to fund this website. It’s something I’d been thinking about doing for a few months now, and actually had it ready to go for the last few weeks, but held off because 1) there was a thing going ’round a while back about comic sites opening up Patreons and I didn’t want to look like I was jumping on the bandwagon, and 2) there’s been a whole lot of awful stuff happening in The Real World over the last few weeks and it never seemed like an appropriate time.

But first, let me get a couple of things about of the way. I don’t plan on having any contributor-exclusive content…I don’t want anyone to feel as if they’re missing out on anything. Not that anything I write is so important and life-changing that people will start harming themselves if they aren’t part of the Progressive Ruin Elite and don’t have access to the Secret Good Stuff. But, basically, I don’t want to leave anyone out. This doesn’t preclude some eventual perk, though I don’t know what that will be. Buy you a cup of coffee, maybe? I don’t know.

Also, my production of Progressive Ruin isn’t dependent on financial support. Even if I wasn’t paid to do it, I’d still do it. I mean, I’d like to have a little scratch in exchange for the hours, days, years I’ve worked on this site. I have the big ol’ sidebar ad which helps with paying for hosting, but the Amazon referrals have declined of late and I’ve been looking for a way to replace that minimal income without putting up more ads.

I think Patreon is the way to go. It’s completely voluntary, and it’s just a small thingie in the sidebar to this site (and, um, there’s this meandering post, too). If you can pledge, like, a buck a month, every little bit will help. And of course you don’t have to…I’ll still be providing new content on this site every couple of days or so for everyone who wants it. Some of it might even be good, but no promises.

“But Mike! You own a comic book store! Surely you must be independently wealthy by now!” Well, sure, you’d think, but it turns out that comics retail isn’t necessarily a direct path to fortune. And starting up and running a small business is expensive. Everything’s going fine, it’s all paying for itself, I’m getting paid, but I’m working long hours and my free time is just that much more precious. Getting a wee bit of coin of the realm in exchange for using up some of said free time on this site would be welcome.

As I say in the introduction to my Patreon, one of my plans is to go back and clean up old Progressive Ruin posts, fix broken links and formatting, etc. I’ve been sort of doing that anyway, like when I occasionally link to an old post and decide to refurbish it a little so I don’t send you to old Haloscan comments or Journalista entries. What I want to do is start at the beginning and work my way forward, knocking everything back into shape. As this is nearly thirteen years of nearly-daily posts, clearly this will take some more of my free time, and subsidizing the project via Patreon pledges wouldn’t hurt.

Whether you contribute or not is fine. If you can spare a bit every month, that’s great…if you can’t, that’s okay, too. I appreciate all of my readers, even Ian, and the fact that my comment sections are regularly filled with funny and informative commentary from readers who aren’t insane hasn’t gone unnoticed by me. You folks out there are a big part of what makes my site what it is, and you all support me just by regularly reading what I write. Thank all of you for that.

Anyway, here’s one more link to my Patreon. I promise to try not to overdue plugging the thing here and elsewhere…and if I do, just give me a little tap on the shoulder and let me know.

DC Comics will never, ever call me.

§ June 30th, 2016 § Filed under question time § 7 Comments

Bet you thought I forgot about those questions!

Zeb muscles in with

“We all know anthologies just don’t work in the North American market–at least not as ongoings–but why is that? Is it the cost? The format? Just plain ol’ ‘I want only one story and damn you to Hades if you can’t give it to me’?

“Have you found the usual reluctance of people to commit to anthologies with the Legends of Tomorrow book? I was curious about whether this could finally be the book that breaks the curse but have seen nothing about it anywhere online.”

There was a point when regular monthly or quarterly anthologies were the norm rather than the exception in comics, way back in Ye Golden Age, with the idea being that even if a potential reader doesn’t care for one or two features therein, there’s gonna be something that grabs him or her. Why, just having one character or story in a comic would be a disaster! What if a kid doesn’t like that one thing? THAT’S A LOST SALE!

At least, that’s how the conventional wisdom went, anyway. If I were to hazard a guess as to why anthologies have a harder time getting traction in today’s market, it’s possibly the costs involved. A comic reader, faced with the cover prices in today’s market, isn’t going to want to spend money on a comic that he or she may only partially enjoy. If you’re spending $3.99 on 22 pages of comics, you don’t want 6 pages of that comic spent on a back-up story you’re not interested in reading. That’s a bigger risk than dropping a quarter on a 64-page anthology back in the 1940s. And yes, inflation and all that, but still, people tend to be a little more risk-resistant with their comic book dollars nowadays.

Not to say anthologies haven’t been successful…Marvel Comics Presents had a good run, featuring multiple serialized stories in each issue, though having a Wolverine story cover-featured on most of ’em helped. Action Comics Weekly didn’t do too badly, either. And there are tie-ins to crossover events, like Civil War II: Choosing Sides, where hopefully the interest in the event itself will be enough to attract sales, even if perhaps not every story in the issue may be of equal attraction to everyone.

A lot of what I’m talking about here doesn’t completely apply to indie anthologies, but even those have bit of a struggle on comic store shelves. A couple of recent ones started out strong, but even those have petered out to low sales. Dark Horse Presents is still hanging in there, but sales really depend on who’s in the book. Again, it’s possible it’s the perceived value versus cost…why spend that much money on something you’re not going to read completely.

You bring up Legends of Tomorrow, where DC took a handful of planned titles that would probably struggle on their own and squeezed them together into a bargain book (“an $11.96 value for only $7.99!”). That’s selling…okay, but I suspect it’s not long for this world either. I’m reading it, and I’m enjoying all of it, but I can see not every comic in the volume appealing to every reader. I’ve mentioned on the site before that this particular format DC has used of late is potentially the future of periodical comics, but a more tightly-themed presentation (the all-Superman one, or the all-Wonder Woman one) and the context of “this is the only place to see the ongoing in-continuity adventures of your favorite characters” is what’s going to make the sales.

Aside from that possible fate, anthology comics, at least from the Big Two or Four or However Many There Are Now, will probably be limited to the occasional short back-up in one of the regular monthlies, as opposed to a dedicated book with four or five stories in each issue.

Again, this is a fairly myopic view, focusing on superhero ‘n’ related anthologies that publish on a regular monthly, or semi-monthly, basis. This doesn’t address the annual or bi-annual or one-shot comics anthologies like Kramers Ergot, which are different animals entirely, filling entirely different audience demands.

• • •

Pal Skinslip dares to ask

“You can turn any existing other character in the DC Universe into the new Swamp Thing, who do you choose and why?”

Dan Cassidy, in a last ditch effort to rid himself of the Blue Devil costume that had been mystically bonded to his body, finds himself in a remote Louisiana bayou. Here, he has heard of many strange paranormal events, and believing he can tap into whatever magic that may exist in these dark waters, Cassidy begins the final ritual to cast off his azure-hued prison.

However, something goes terribly wrong. The ambient magical forces that drift through the air react violently to the many candles lit as part of the ritual. Flames exploding around him, his own “skin” burning, Cassidy casts himself into the swamp in an attempt to alleviate the pain…unknowingly diving into the same murk long ago imbued with the bio-restorative formula that permeated the seared flesh of a similarly aflame Alec Holland.

Soon, the waters are still, the fire dwindled away in the wet of the surrounding bog. Hours pass. And unseen, beneath the surface of the bayou, plants altered over the decades by chemical formulas and magical events wind their way into ruined human flesh.

Days pass. The water’s surface begins to tremble. Then, busting out of the marsh, a hideous…thing arises. Covered in mud and moss, the faintest hints of blue peeking through skin of green and brown, two misshapen horns jutting out from its ungainly head…red eyes flash open…the eyes of…

…SWAMP DEVIL.

(And Skinslip? You ask “why?” I say “why not?” Also, I like the recursion of a guy trapped in one unwanted “body” being trapped in yet another one.)

“No WiFi or USB port – 2 1/2 stars.”

§ June 28th, 2016 § Filed under harvey § 5 Comments

spymanhand1

spymanhand2
 
 

from Spyman #1 (September 1966) by Jim Steranko and George Tuska

When I die, Saint Peter is going to ask me how much of my life did I waste thinking about Popeye continuity, and it’s not going to go well.

§ June 27th, 2016 § Filed under popeye § 5 Comments

So in a collection I recently purchased for my store (that store being Sterling Silver Comics, located in beautiful Camarillo, CA) there were a couple of really beat-up copies of the 1970s Charlton Popeye comics. I haven’t been actively collecting those for myself, but occasionally they do fall into my hands and, thus, into what remains of the Vast Mikester (Personal) Comic Archives.

George Wildman was the cartoonist responsible for these particular comics I obtained, and was in fact responsible for most, if not all, of the Charlton Popeye run. (A quick look at the Grand Comics Database listing for the series doesn’t note credits for lead stories in some of the books, but I’m pretty sure Wildman did a lot of them.) Mr. Wildman, by the way, did pass on just recently, and I direct you to this obituary by Mark Evanier. Looks like Mr. Wildman drew a lot of fun comic books, and the Popeye comics of his that I’ve read are just close enough to the original strips to be recognizably Popeye-esque, but usually with a completely bonkers and anarchic feel to the proceedings to make them their own unique experience.

In any case, I was reading one of these Popeyes (specifically issue #124 from July 1974), in which Wimpy and Popeye are called out to a remote island estate to investigate a haunting, where I happened upon this great full-page splash that I just had to share:

popeye124aaa
Now admittedly, I’ve only read a handful of the Charlton Popeyes, but I don’t recall too many full-page drawings in them. I especially like this one, with its spooky ambience and the stairs winding through the cliffside. It’s the sort of picture I probably would have spent an inordinate amount of time studying and imagining about as a child.

Now, there is a ghost in this story, but not the one Popeye and Wimpy were called out to initially bust. Turns out Patcheye and his faithful ghost parrot Matey were on this estate, trapped in a bottle:

popeye124bbb
Yes, he’s identified as Popeye’s grandfather, and the fact they recognize each other right off made me wonder where he’s appeared before, since I’m not familiar with the character. A quick search shows that he first popped up in issue #67 of the Popeye comics from Gold Key, back in 1963…in a story by E.C. Segar’s successor Bud Sagendorf, no less. Now, that database listing has Patcheye as Popeye’s great-grandfather, which I think I’m a little more comfortable with, but regardless, if Sagendorf put him in the comic, I will consider that at least B-Level Canon in the Expanded Popeye Universe. Hopefully IDW’s Popeye reprint program will get this far into the comics so I don’t have to search out the originals!

Another cute gag is this callback to Popeye’s first appearance in comics:

popeye124ccc
You can see the original strip on this page for comparison.

Oh, and I just flipped through the other Popeye comic I had here (#123 from November 1973) and it turns out there are two full-page images in this comic, face to face, as the last two panels of a story:

pop123yy pop123zz

Maybe splashes like this during this particular period of Popeye books were more common than I realized. Clearly the only answer is tracking down all the rest of the issues for myself and doing a complete survey. I’ll let you know how that goes.

So I was going to write about…

§ June 23rd, 2016 § Filed under star wars, this week's comics § 2 Comments

STL006686
…the fact that the Force Awakens comic book adaptation is coming out now, long after the theatrical release and the home video release, theorizing as to why, etc., but it turns out the answer is apparently just “hey, it happened when it happened.”

On the Twittererers, @bensonmic let me know that Jordan D. White, one of the folks behind Marvel’s Star Wars funnybooks, indicated on his own Twitter and/or Tumblr that it just wasn’t something they were prioritizing. I went on the endless scroll through Mr. White’s Tumblr, not finding that particular post but certainly appreciating the man’s nearly endless patience for some of the fan interactions he was…enjoying. But anyway, the aforementioned @bensonmic later sent me the link to the actual post in question, put up last Christmas:

“The comic book adaptations of movies have not been as big of a thing since the advent of home video. Back when, getting a comic was one of the only ways to reexperience the story of the film when it was out of theatres. Now, you can own the film relatively soon after, so it’s less imperative to get the adaptation out right away. If we do one, we can take the time to do the comic as accurately and awesomely as we can.”

Which of course makes complete sense. I even said the same thing on this site…guh, eleven years ago, which is a mindset I’m still in, and that’s why I’m always surprised when a new movie adaptation comes out. Mostly, it’s just Marvel adapting previous installments of their superhero films before the next film comes out (like the Captain America: Civil War Prelude from late 2015/early 2016, which adapted 2013’s Iron Man 3 and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

But still, the Force Awakens comic feels like bit of an anomaly, but hey, what do I know, it came out this Wednesday and it sold just fine, so clearly there’s an audience for it. And, um, I got it too, since I’m pretty much in the bag for all things Star Warsian (at least as it pertains to the characters I grew up with, and not, say, novels set 10,000 years before A New Hope and featuring Jedi Master Tu Ma’nee Apos’troph’ez versus Darth Menacingname). And even though I know it’s a five-parter, it felt like the film’s story was so compressed in the opening pages I briefly wondered if this adaptation was a one-shot.

I mean, yeah, it’s probably an entirely unnecessary comic, given that most of us interested enough in actually buying it almost certainly owns the film itself in the format of one’s choice. But there are some nice illustrative moments, and the adaptation of the script is fine, and let’s face it, if there wasn’t a comic book version of Episode VII, it would certainly be noticeable by its absence. “Star Wars movie comic” is just one of those constants of the industry, present whether you want it or not.

I wonder if Ian ever notices when I reference him in my blog posts.

§ June 20th, 2016 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, how the sausage is made, question time § 4 Comments

Back to your questions…cruisin’ in with the following is Pedro de Pacas:

“So how DOES the sausage get made?”

Well, I take some of the excess bits of Progressive Ruin, ground it up, and…okay, that’s not what I do. Generally, before I turn in for the evening, I plop myself down in front of the ol’ Atari 800 and start to type away. Now, typing’s the easy part. I’m a goood tipyst. It’s the actual content that can be tricky, since, as you likely know, I’ve been hackin’ away at this blogging thing and generating content for nearly 12 1/2 years now, and that’s not counting my previous online behavior at LiveJournal or on message boards or on local BBSes and of course the secret journals that can only be revealed after my death and I’m long past Ian’s vengeful reach. Point is, I’ve said a lot of stuff, and covered a lot of ground, and I’m not sure I have any more “good ol’ ‘Death of Superman‘ days” stories left in me.

In general, though, posts on this site can come from just my daily adventures in retail and overall retailing philosophy, seeing something odd in an old comic, reminiscing about past events, reacting to current comics news, occasionally reviewing comics, and just being silly…you know, the usual stuff comic blogs are made of, but hopefully I provide enough of a unique perspective to keep you all coming back every couple of days. I mean, I see my stats, and that can’t all be search engine spiders and people in the Ukraine trying to crack my password.

The one source of blog content I do miss is interactions with store employees, most of whom were about halfway nuts and therefore good inspirations for postings. Like, for example, this interaction I had with Employee Aaron about the Dungeons & Dragons comic, or my conversations with Kid Chris. Sadly, now, at my own store, it’s just me and my volleyball Wilson, and he doesn’t say much.

And on a related note, googum googums

“Anything new and good in what’s left of the comics blogosphere, or is it all over?”

I’d been sort of dreading this particular question, since I felt like this would be a big topic that I couldn’t do justice to. For example, I might end a sentence with a preposition.

However, I wouldn’t say the “comics blogosphere” is over, by any means, though even typing the phrase “comics blogsphere” whisks me away on nostalgic winds to the year 2004. Even now, you can go take a look at the current iteration of the Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron 3000 and see the latest updates from many still active comic book weblogs. (And I always point out that I saddled the previous iteration of the Update-A-Tron with that particular name, an act for which I likely should apologize.)

The comics blogosphere as it existed Way Back When in the early/mid-2000s, when I entered the mess, is largely gone, of course. I don’t just mean “folks ain’t around,” though folks did move on, leaving behind blogs to move into actual paying writing jobs, or just leaving when they decided they were done, or guided their blogs toward other topics, or just lost interest and let things peter out. A lot of the interaction between bloggers is gone, too, as others have mentioned…inter-blog discussions and debates and the infrequent feud (joking and otherwise) aren’t as common as they used to be. At least, not that I’ve seen, and that’s another thing….

…I don’t frequent other blogs as much. It used to be, before I’d post, I’d do a quick rundown of the latest posts on the Update-A-Tron to make sure I wasn’t accidentally duplicating another person’s content. Seems crazy now, since I’m pretty sure I was the only person championing All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, and besides, even if I was tackling the same topic as another blogger, I’d like to think my voice is unique enough to put my own personal spin on the matter. Nowadays, however, I simply don’t spend a lot of time reading comic blogs. I mean, I do follow some, and I have ’em in my feed reader, and sometimes other sources (like Twitter) will direct me to blog posts that interest me. But that level of interaction I used to have, going directly to other sites, leaving comments, building conversations…there just isn’t enough time anymore.

Another change in the blogging world that initially discouraged me was the advent of the group blogs, the ones hosted at the comics news/press release sites that had several people creating multiple posts every day, and how was one poor dumb blogger like me going to compete with that amount of content? Why go to Progressive Ruin and his handful of posts per week, when you can go to The Big Professional Comics Blog Emporium and get dozens of posts about Lois Lane having to become a Black woman every hour upon the hour? …Okay, I’m teasing slightly, but it was a bit imposing at first, until I accepted this wasn’t a competition, that several folks working for these sites were people I liked, and that my site had the one thing I was “selling” that other sites couldn’t: me! Sure that’s a bit egotistical, but one doesn’t write a comic blog with his name in the title, relating his opinions for nearly 13 years by being a shy, retiring wallflower. (Also, I did write for the group comics blog Trouble with Comics for a while until some scheduling problems took me away from the site for the time being, so take my group-blog comments with a grain of virtual salt.)

The other thing is that online comics discussion is always evolving…traditional blogs may have been “the thing,” and for lots of people they still are, but there’s Tumblr, there’s Instagram, there’s Twitter, there’s podcasting, and so on. I’m sure there’s some platform people are actively using to discuss comic books about which I am totally unaware, because I am an old person and not hep to your current jive. I suspect I’ll be sticking with my trusty WordPress installation long after everyone’s moved on to BrainJet DirectConnext online communications since I tend to hold onto things way past their shelf life.

In short; yes, googum, the comics blogosphere, or Twittersphere, or Tumblrsphere, is not yet over. It’s not the same as it was, but that’s a good thing. …But I’ll require someone to tap me on the shoulder when it’s time to go, because I won’t be able to tell, myself.

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