A brief message…

§ September 19th, 2014 § Filed under sterling silver comics § 8 Comments

…just to thank all of you for your well-wishing and support and eBay purchases and what have you in response to my announcement on Monday. This was a pretty big decision to make, even after thinking about it and planning it out for so long, and it helps ease my trepidation receiving such encouragement from my family, my friends, and all of you guys ‘n’ gals.

Again, thank you, and hopefully when next I write something here I’ll have more news about how things are progressing. Like, oh, I don’t know, maybe finally getting the power turned on. C’MON, EDISON.

Well, this might be fairly big news.

§ September 15th, 2014 § Filed under sterling silver comics § 104 Comments

So in about a month, I will be leaving the employ of Seth’s Games and Anime/Ralph’s Comic Corner. And shortly thereafter, in late October or early November, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be opening my own store: Sterling Silver Comics.

I’m not leaving out of acrimony or any other negative issues…it’s simply long past time that I start doing my own thing, and after a very, very long time of planning and searching, a place finally opened up in a location I really like, and I jumped on it.

I’ve already done a lot of work in preparation, but there is a lot of work to be done still. I still sort of feel like I’m not entirely, well, ready to do this, but if I waited ’til I was 100% ready, I’d probably never do it.

In the near future, I’ll have more details about the business, like, you know, exact location and contact info and such, but in the meantime, here’s the barebones “coming soon” page on the website, with links to my equally barebones Twitter account and my somewhat barebones eBay listings (but only because I’ve sold a bunch of stuff in the last couple of days and haven’t had a chance to replenish).

Anyway, for those of you who still tolerate reading my site, I should warn you that, for the next month or so, posting on this site will be very light while I focus on getting my new store up and running. I won’t disappear…you can always find me on the Twitters, and I’m sure I’ll post occasional updates here on how things are going. Don’t expect an End of Civilization post, though, or at least much of one, either this month or the next. I like doing ‘em, but making sure I’ll be able to make a living must take precedence, otherwise my civilization will come to an end.

I’m remarkably nervous and excited; this could be a great new direction in my life, or it could be an expensive way of finally getting me out of comics retail. Hoping more for the former than the latter, obviously, because I don’t want to pass my dotage wandering from neighbor’s house to neighbor’s house asking to borrow a cup of food. But I’d like to think after two and half decades in the comics industry, I know a little something and that I can use that knowledge to build a successful and profitable business.

Well, we’ll see. Wish me luck, pals…I can certainly use it.

I’m going to miss the old shop, and my regulars, and my coworkers, but this needs to be done.

Oddly enough, even after paying for the business license and clearing the zoning and buying fixtures and all that stuff, it all still seemed somewhat abstract to me until I sat down to write this post.

It almost feels real now.

In which I kept typing “Infinity Man” as “Infinity Watch” when writing this post.

§ September 12th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 1 Comment

So in response to yesterday’s post, Adam says

“I would think 2 copies of Infinity Man and the Forever People would have covered your demand and left you with a spare stock copy.”

…and then Jer says

“Did you have high hopes for Forever People based on the bust-out sales success of OMAC? Or was it Didio’s run on Phantom Stranger that convinced you to go big?”

Har har, you cut-ups. But no, you’re probably not wrong…based on how sales of the regular Infinity Man issues have been, erring on the side of “barely ordered” would likely have worked out okay. But as I ordered the 3D cover version, I had no idea how it was going to sell…to use the examples cited by Jer, OMAC actually did reasonably well for us, though apparently not everywhere since it was one of the New 52’s early casualties. And Phantom Stranger…okay, to be honest, I didn’t make the connection between DiDio’s involvement in its early issues with his involvement with Infinity Man, since I was going more by the properties than the creative teams in my ordering strategies.

Now, with Phantom Stranger, the sales on the regular series were pretty much in the toilet. I mean, I liked it, but I also liked Frank Miller’s Spirit movie and I think we all know how that worked out. But I ended up selling about eight times as many of the Futures End 3D cover than I did of the last issue of the regular series. I mean, relatively speaking that was one of the titles I ordered the least numbers on for this Futures End hoohar, but octupling my sales is nothing to sneeze at, either.

When it comes to Infinity Man…well, I didn’t order a lot of the first issue, but I ordered based on my hope that some of the local OMAC sales would follow through to this new series. They didn’t, at least not entirely, and I ended up having to cut orders right quick. But when I ordered the Futures End tie-in way back when, I suppose my thinking was “okay, the series probably isn’t going to be a gangbuster, but people may pick it up because of the novelty cover, and what if there’s a rush on the covers again? WHAT IF?” and I ended up picking a number to order and hoping for the best.

It’s not as bad as all that…I didn’t order a lot of them, and it’s in the lower range of numbers I’ve ordered on the Futures End books. But it’s not moving quite as quickly as its 3D brethren, though I’ll see exactly how well or not well it’s been going when I go over stock numbers in the next week or so. Without having an exact count on hand, my feeling is that it sold more than the regular series has so far, but not enough to be in any danger of selling out anytime soon.

Greg says

“I’m pretty shocked because they’re selling terribly at my store here in AZ. It’s a very heavy superhero crowd, but they have plenty from last week and it looks like they’ll have plenty from this week. Can I claim DC Fatigue based on two anecdotal examples?!?!?”

…and then Corey says

“Yeah, they’re not exactly flying off the stands at the shop I work at. I think the Death of Wolverine series has stolen DC’s thunder, because people are going nuts for that instead.”

I am curious about how orders and related sales on the Futures End event are overall. If fairly moribund sales are the case generally, then the next time DC does this (if they do it again) everyone will under-order and we may have a repeat of the panicked buying from the first year. Or nobody will care. I am throwing my money down on one of those two extremes…don’t tell me I can’t make the hard choices. I do believe that these will be okay sellers in the long run, even if they don’t fly off the shelves right this very moment. They are neat looking covers, and sometimes that’s enough to get people to yank them out of the back issue bins weeks or months down the road.

Corey’s reference to Death of Wolverine reminds me that I let myself get suckered into buying enough of the regular cover in order to match the sales plateaus required for the Skottie Young and Deadpool variants (more on that sort of thing here). However, in this case, it paid off…I sold those 1/100 and 1/75 variants for pretty good money, which helped pay for all the regular covers I thought I was getting stuck with…but the regular covers are selling really well, too, so I’m not going to be stuck with as many as I thought. Or, perhaps, any at all, ultimately. If anything, I’m wishing now I ordered more of #2, which is also flying off the shelf. Of course, everybody is sort of half-mocking the gimmick of the character’s supposed “death,” and yeah, we all know he’s coming back in another big ol’ event series down the road, but that’s not getting in the way of people being excited about the “Death of Wolverine” story itself. And, you know, that’s great. It’s been a while since people have been excited about Wolverine, based on how the fourteen recent different monthly series have been selling, so it’s nice to have a reminder of the days when Wolvie could appear in a comic, and by God, that comic sold.

A quick note about DC’s 3D comics.

§ September 11th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 7 Comments

So far it looks like I’ve done…reasonably well on the ordering of this year’s batch of DC’s lenticular covers. The first week releases have not sold entirely through yet, though a few titles did sell out (and are surprisingly available for reorder, which tells me that plenty of copies were printed). And, the titles for which I do still have leftover copies, the leftovers are within reason and will likely sell through eventually, even if it’ll be out of the back issue bins. In short, I don’t feel like I was stuck with too much overstock, and I don’t feel like too many people missed out due to quick sellouts.

In even shorter, getting the numbers I actually ordered resulted in successful sales and happy customers.

Of my worries from the beginning of this post, the actual answer appears to be “everyone ordered enough, or at least there’s plenty still available to order” and thus no shortage-caused rush like last time. The novelty of the covers themselves still holds its appeal, and I do have several customers asking for one of each. Frankly, I don’t think the covers this year are quite as eye-grabbing as last year’s, as reducing the main image to a smallish box surrounded by a frame isn’t as impressive, but they don’t look bad by any means.

Plus, it didn’t seem to matter that the one-shots are nominally tied to DC’s New 52 Futures End weekly series, which is just sort of dragging along saleswise, at least in these parts. In fact, it seems like the tie-in is mostly name only…and thematically too, I guess, since the weekly and these one-shots take place five years in the future. The one-shots seem mostly standalone, at least the ones I’ve read. Swamp Thing was pretty good, but of course I’d say that, and Batgirl allowed Gail Simone her coda to her run on the series. I hear tell Grayson was pretty good as well, though I haven’t looked at that one yet.

It’s too early to say how the second week’s run of one-shots are doing, though so far, so good. They’re not “sell the second the doors open on Wednesday” so much as “will sell steadily over the next couple of weeks or so.” I expect them all to sell within my expectations…

…except, um, Infinity Man and the Forever People. Someone invent a time machine and go back and tell the Mike of four months ago to knock that order down a dozen or two.


§ September 8th, 2014 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 14 Comments

“So,” said Pal Cully to me the other day, “did you know that the Man-Thing Omnibus is now available for $40 on Amazon?”

“WHA—!?” sez I. “Why, that’s quite a bit less than the $125 retail price marked upon said book!”

And lo, shortly thereafter, this was in my swampy little hands:

And yes, as discussed previously, Marvel Two-in-One #1 is missing, despite the later issue #43 being included, and Daredevil #114, another very early Man-Thing appearance that would fit right into the chronology of stories here, is also AWOL.

Despite those omissions, which any true Man-Thing fan should have anyway, this is one good-looking volume, and, as hoped, the printing in this book does vastly improve the readability of these stories. I don’t mean the stories are suddenly better, but rather it’s physically easier to read, with the paper nice and bright and the occasional text piece, and the occasional white lettering on a black background text piece, are now far more legible.

There’s the other side of this, where, as I noted in my look at the Don Newton Batman book, actually seeing the artwork on white paper is something I’ll have to get accustomed to after reading them for decades on brown paper that’s getting browner.

Anyway, if I had a choice I’d have preferred the omnibus with the Frank Brunner cover, but at $40, I’m not complaining. And because I always have to know, here’s what’s under the dustjacket:

In addition to the stories, there are reproductions of trade paperback covers and such, as so:

…And there’s at least one table of contents illo from Monsters Unleased that sort of distractingly blacks out said table of contents:

…but, you know, whatever.

In case you’re wondering, the back-ups from the Giant-Size issues, including the Howard the Duck shorts, are not reprinted. Starring Man-Thing Only in this book, friends.

So I’m going to throw one of these things, here..yeah, it says like $100 or so, but if you click on it, you should see other offers in the $40 range. I mean, you know, if you feel like clickin’ an’ all:

Buy enough of these, maybe we’ll get that second volume collecting all the other Man-Thing stories. I mean, I just need one copy for me, Marvel doesn’t really need to print a whole lot of them.

Seriously, that is one terrible Magneto.

§ September 5th, 2014 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 4 Comments

  • Pal Andrew has a few words to say about Marvel’s New Universe, and one title in particular.
  • Bully, the Sharp-Dressed Stuffed Bull, is celebrating Paper Doll Month! I mean, you all cut your paper dolls out of your comics and dressed them up, right? …No? What are you, chicken?
  • Pal Dave looks back at merchandise for the original Alien movie, including that awesome and enormous figure of the Alien itself.
  • Jason Sandberg, of Jupiter fame (and you guys know I like the Jupiter) has some Jack Kirby-inspired paintings up on his site that you should look at, because they’re awesome. And click through to check out more of Jason’s work, too.
  • And then there was the time Eddie found the worst Magneto doll of all time (scroll to end of post). The Elektra one he also found ain’t great, but it’s a photorealistic representation of Jennifer Garner compared to that Magneto.

I never really got eight-tracks, either.

§ September 3rd, 2014 § Filed under swamp thing § 12 Comments

So what we have here is a Capacitance Electronic Disc, a thing I had to look up on Wikipedia via the Googlings since, while I remember seeing these in action at a neighbor’s house when I was but a young Mikester, I couldn’t for the life of you tell what it was called. Although, to be fair, it says “Capacitance Electronic Disc” right there on the packaging, so I guess I’m the dummy.

Anyway, it’s basically a big record with much finer grooves that you’d find on your typical a;Grumph LP, protected inside a big plastic container to keep your filthy, filthy fingers off the delicate disc within. You’d shove this contraption into a player, where the disc would emerge from its sleeve and a needle…yes, an actual needle…would play on the record and magically transform those bumps and grooves into moving images. I think the Devil is involved somehow, particularly since you’d have to flip the whole thing over to the other side at the hour mark.

Here’s what the contents of the package look like when some smart guy decides to circumvent the delicate locking mechanism that normally keeps the disc safe:

A big thanks to customer/Twitter pal Jason for donating this to my obsession collection.

C’mon, just revive Hex already.

§ September 1st, 2014 § Filed under this week's comics § 1 Comment

SPOILERS ahead, but mostly just for All Star Western:

I don’t read the regular monthly Simpsons titles, for ultimately no good reason whatsoever except perhaps “I already get too many comics and I have to draw the line somewhere.” It’s clearly good work, very representative of the show and an all-around professional package…I just never got into the habit of following the ongoing series.

On the other hand, I do pick up the minis and specials, particularly the character-focused one-shots they release every few months. That’s generally enough Simpsons funnybookin’ to keep me going…they probably appeal to my childhood enjoyment of the treasury editions, the extra-sized anniversary issues, and what have you. Basically, I’m a cheap bastard who wants more bang for his buck, though if you’re going to be one of those people that does a page count and “number of cents per page” breakdown to tell me I’m better off buying the regular-sized $2.99 issues if I’m that concerned about pinching a penny…well, off with you, then.

Besides, these specials usually come with some kind of fancypants novelty insert, like the “Don’t Blame Me, I votes for Kang”/”…Kodos” bumper stickers that accompanied the special pictured above. Okay, I’m still too anal-retentive a fanboy to want to remove those stickers, but it’s nice to know that they’re there and I can enjoy ‘em every time I open this comic. Well, until that glue dries out and the stickers come loose, but that’s a problem for whatever creditors come digging through my house after I’m gone. So, you know, in a week or two.

This isn’t a specific review about Red Lanterns, though of the Lantern Bunch (“Here’s the story of some lovely Guardians / Who were bringing up 3600 very lovely GLs”) it probably is my favorite series, which is not something I’d expected to say way back when DC was originally threatening to publish such a thing. But there it is: the characters and situations are more exciting and compelling than those in the other Green Lantern books. Not that the other GL books are bad…I still like them, but Red Lanterns kind of brings it in a way the others don’t.

Anyway, not what I wanted to mention. It’s just that the DC Universe books (at least, most of the ones I read) are sort of wrapping up storylines in order to make way for the “Futures End” one-shots with the 3D covers an’ all that are debuting this Wednesday and hopefully not bankrupting all of us retailers by contributing to insane distributor bills. I talked about trying to order these things before, and at the time it didn’t occur to me that the weekly series event-thingie the one-shots are tying into might turn out to…well, underperform, thus cutting off that entry avenue. With not a lot of interest in the event, there is the danger of ending storylines giving readers jumping-off points on titles they were sort of iffy on, or maybe just to cut reading costs and spend that money on, I don’t know, feeding the kids or something. Hopefully the novelty of the 3D covers will still entice people to continue, but that sort of thing does make me worry.

I am getting requests from customers to pull all the fancy covers for them, so the interest in there. Still wondering if we’re going to get anything like the rush from last time.

When DC, and then everybody, cut page counts down to 20 pages from 22 in their standard books, it felt like the story content were slighter. I mean, technically, it was; comics were two pages shorter. Maybe it was just psychological, but it felt like there was some kind of event horizon crossed, that the two pages significantly affected the amount of content present, far in excess of the actual storytelling loss caused by the truncation of the page count. The feeling’s lessened a bit, as creators have adjusted to the page loss and I’ve just sort of become used to it, but I occasionally read a comic, come to the end and think “what, already?”

That’s a long intro to say I didn’t have that feeling with Flash Gordon #5. In fact, this is the first standard-sized comic book I’ve read in quite a while where it seemed like things just kept going, where I kept expecting to come to the end of the comic, but nope, there was still more comic coming! After I finished reading it, I even went back and counted the actual number of story pages in the comic, convinced this was some kind of unannounced extra-sized issue.

20 pages. Including a two-page spread. Amazing.

A clever twist on what has been one of the more…macabre and great “ultimate fates” for any of DC’s characters. We all know how Hex is supposed to go out (I cover his death and adventures afterward here) and it’s nice that the last issue of All Star Western pays homage to that famous death while finding a new spin on it, one that also doesn’t necessarily reset Jonah’s life to the pre-time travel adventures status quo.

And it’s all drawn by Darwyn Cooke, so it’s very pretty looking, which is not a descriptor one usually uses for Jonah Hex, but, well, there you go. I do wonder what they’ll do with Hex after this, but now that time travel adventures for the character are once again on the table, look for his future Justice League membership. …Actually, he’d fit right into Justice League Dark, wouldn’t he?

I’m just going to remind you that a new issue of this has come out whenever it does come out. It’s pretty great.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ August 29th, 2014 § Filed under End of Civilization § 4 Comments

You! Yes, you! You must heed my warning! I have come from the far-flung future of November 2014 to warn you primitive savages of the tragic future that’s coming! Look to your current day Previews almanac, the September 2014 edition, and learn well from it as I guide you through it and point out the terrors that await you!

Also, there’s a spoiler in here for The Man of Steel film! I understand you ancient peoples still revere the moving picture and the sanctity of its secrets!

p. 126 – Injustice Gods Among Us Year Three #3:

Oh, sure, Swamp Thing’s not good enough for your precious video game, but you’ll put him in the tie-in comic. I see how it is, thinking we Swamp Thing fans are so easily swayed after your earlier refusal to pander to our needs.

‘Course, I’ll buy it anyway, because I’m a chump.

p. 150 – Superman The Man of Steel Superman by Moebius Statue:

Now the solicitation says “this newest entry in the line of statues based on the artwork from SUPERMAN #400,” and I don’t know if that means “this is our newest Superman statue, and this one is based on the illustration from Superman #400″ or “this is the latest in our series of Superman #400-inspired statues,” because I sure don’t remember any previously-statued renditions of Superman #400 pin-ups. I’d certainly remember this one:

Wouldn’t that look good, seemingly busting out of your wall in your house’s study or sitting room?

p. 159 – Angry Birds/Transformers #1:

Uh, guys, it’s okay if you don’t want to cross over things. You really don’t have to.

p. 242 – The Walking Dead Rick Grimes TV 10-Inch Action Figure:

Oh, the ad says “Rick.”

p. 259 – Ewoking Dead T-Shirt:

This may be hypocritical of me, given what I just said about the Angry Birds/Transformers comic, and I don’t know if these shirts are getting better or I’m just getting soft in my old age, but…man, I can’t help it, I think “Ewoking Dead” is kind of funny.

Don’t look at me like that.

p. 473 – Legends of Cthulhu Spawn of Cthulhu Action Figure:

These are about the same size, and close enough in appearance, to the old Star Wars action figures. That would have made my playtime a lot different as a child:

“‘The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. Some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.’

“C’MON MIKE, that’s not what Obi-Wan says about the Force!”

p. 474 – Man of Steel Superman 10-Inch Plush:

Just imagine those cutesy-wutsey puffy hands around Zod’s head, breaking his neck. Why, that would be adorable!

p. 480 – Battlestar Galactica Viper MKH Super-Deform Model Kit:

This is what Starbuck’s ship looks like after he’s had a few drafts of ambrosa and bumps the back of the launch bay during landings a few too many times.

Also, I’m picturing the base as little Flintstones-type feet that spin around in a circle before the ship dashes off, a little deformed Viper shaped puff of smoke left behind.

p. 484 – Man-Thing 1/4-Scale Statue:

This statue better be 21 inches tall, one-fourth of Man-Thing’s documented seven foot height, as indicated in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #8 (1986), or there’s going to be trouble.

Also, I will be accepting donations to help me purchase one of these for myself. Oh no, no need to thank me for allowing you to contribute.

p. 486 – Star Wars Life-Size Vintage Boba Fett Monument:

This Life-Size Boba Fett statue is the edition with the non-firing backpack cannon, after the possible choking hazard threatened by the first version. And by “choking” I mean “taking heads clean off.”

p. 491 – Marvel Deadpool Marvel Now ArtFX+ Statue:

To represent the character even more accurately, they should release four or five marginally different Deadpool statues all at the same time.

p. 502 – Doctor Who The Impossible Set:

Remember that episode where the Doctor and Carla cosplayed as Willy Wonka and Veruca Salt? That was a good one.

p. 523 – Pop! The Walking Dead Vinyl Figures:

Okay, at first glance:

…I thought this was a Charlie Brown zombie. It’s that jagged gap across the stomach that got me.

In fact, as I look at this larger scan…it has to be Charlie Brown. He even has that little tuft of hair at the top of his head. If the next set has a scraggly-haired zombie carrying remnants of a raggedy blue blanket, I’ll know I was onto something.

Marvel Previews p. 24-6 – New Avengers #26-#27, Avengers #38:

Wow, something big is happening in these two Avengers titles, and it’s only six months and approximately 15 to 20 issues away!

Marvel Previews p. 32-3 – Spider-Woman #1:

That is the worst sunburn I’ve ever seen.

The Low Content Mode continues…

§ August 28th, 2014 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, low content mode § 1 Comment

…though I should have an End of Civilization post up tomorrow. Sorry, gang, I’ve had some long days of late and my blogging muse has temporarily flown the coop, apparently. I’m not asleep, I’m just resting my eyes.

Here’s a thing about my site that you probably don’t know about. When I started, waaaay back when, the plan was to some some kind of audio programming…I’m not sure “podcasting” was even a thing in late 2003, but I had half an idea of somehow broadcasting my dulcet tones across the internettings and into your earbuds. (Hmmmm…”PODgressive Ruin,” maybe?) I even have a soundboard here donated to me by pal Dorian toward such a purpose.

Alas, that never came to pass, but “never say never” I suppose, as someday the bug may bite me and I’ll put the effort into actually speaking to you, instead of hunting and pecking at the keyboard with this pen in my mouth, please, someone send help, I’ve been tied up here for days. Anyway, I created a subdomain on this site back before I even posted my first post, and that subdomain is right here. No idea where I snapped that clip art, though I’m pretty sure the coloring of said clip art is my fault. Also, that’s your reminded that my original color scheme for the site was going to be bright green lettering on a dark background, like the clunky ol’ personal computers of my rapidly receding youth. Friends advised me “that’ll make me want to put my eyes out,” so I wisely opted not to go with those colors.

It’s also a reminder that I should never use the phrase “coming soon” because that’s almost a guarantee I’ll not get around to it. Or only get around to it grudingly.

Well, enough about that. Remember, a new End of Civilization is coming…er, soon. Yeah.

« Older Entries Newer Entries »