I try to come up with a gag or reference for each of your names, I really do.

§ January 14th, 2015 § Filed under predictions § 5 Comments

So before I get into part two of revisiting your predictions for 2014, Interstate Shogun did check in to follow up on his personal prediction from last year, so be sure to give it a read.

And again, add your 2015 comic industry predictions to the pile for me to go through next year, assuming I survive that long.


Brian blessed us with the following fortunes:

“1. DC will follow Marvel’s recent lead of stopping sales of periodical ‘floppies’ on the newsstand & in bookstores, leading to the collapse of that classic practice industrywide within a few years.”

You know, I haven’t the foggiest. I suppose I’d have heard about it if DC pulled out of newsstand distribution. I do suppose bookstore distribution of comic periodicals is probably on its way out, as you suggest, unless some drastic format change comes to make carrying these things worth everyone’s time, versus just going trade paperback/hardcover only in those stores.

“2. Marvel will continue to spread into different genres in movies & television by having as its second show on ABC a comedy: DAMAGE CONTROL, positioned as ‘blue collar S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and taking advantage of the fans’ zeitgeist over the damage done in big-budget superhero films.”

Given one of the complaints about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (does the TV show actually have all the little periods in the title? I’m too lazy to Google it up and check) is that precious few recognizable Marvel heroes pop up in the show, and all the ones you would want to see are Silver Screen Only, a Damage Control TV show might be even more frustrating. That said, I’m surprised that Damage Control hasn’t popped up in some form somewhere, as a humorous side-plot in one of Marvel’s TV shows or movies. Or maybe it has…I’m so far behind on my TV watching, you guys.

“3. DC’s move to California will lead to a demarcation of NYCC and SDCC as the de facto ‘Marvel Convention’ and ‘DC Convention’ as the two are able to pull out all the stops at the two close-to-home genre extravaganzas while the other would have to travel cross-country.”

Too soon to tell about this, I think. I will have to plan to make my Camarillo comic show the “Sterling Silver Comics Con,” however.

• • •

Andrew Leal loyally revealed

“1. IDW’s Rocky and Bullwinkle comic (HOORAY) will either a) bring joy into many hearts and surpass previous achievements in the art of comic book punnery or b) single-handedly re-ignite the Cold War, break off friendly relations with Canada, and cause certain right-wing pundits to decry a dog legally owning a small child.”

Well, I think people decried the Sherman and Peabody movie, but that’s probably not what you meant. I liked the Rocky and Bullwinkle comic, anyway!

“2. The success of BATMAN 66 will lead to SUPERMAN ’52, and the long-awaited Aunt Harriet/Professor Pepperwinkle cross-over.”

We got Wonder Woman ’77, so there’s hope yet!

“3. In the wake of DC UNIVERSE ONLINE and MARVEL HEROES, Classic Media and Sony will launch DATELINE: HARVEYVILLE. At last, you can raid Richie Rich’s vaults as Little Audrey, go PVP as either Baby Huey or Little Lotta, and see the epic carnage of the all-star battle against a rampaging Stumbo.”

Sadly, didn’t happen. But let’s be honest, would there be anything better than playing as Little Lotta, destroying everything in your path? …Well, maybe playing at Hot Stuff and shooting everyone with your flame-throwing pitchfork.

• • •

Robert in New Orleans jazzes things up with

“1. By the end of 2014, every issue Marvel Comics publishes will have a ‘#1’ on the cover somewhere.”

If not now, then soon.

“2. At the end of 2014, Doc Ock’s mind will still control Peter Parker’s body.”

Not in regular continuity, but Superior Spider-Man is running around in this Spider-Verse storyline, if I recall correctly

“3. Swamp Thing will continue to be appear in comics throughout 2014, but midway through the year his own title will be relaunched with a new ‘#1’ and a new title: Swamp Bat.”

Just barely…Swampy’s title is ending soon, but I think he’ll still be in Justice League Dark. And don’t say “Swamp Bat” so loud…DC might hear you.

• • •

William Burns turns up the heat with

“1. Without JH Williams’s involvement, Batwoman will be cancelled.”

Cancelled it is, though even with J.H. Williams, Batwoman wasn’t selling all that great, far as I could tell. I mean, I liked it, but I’m a person of refined tastes, as you know.

“2. Hoping to follow up on Kevin Keller’s success, Archie Comics will introduce a transgender character.”

It really feels like that I’ve read something along these lines, though maybe I’m misremembering. It really does say something about how far Archie has come to see this as an absolute possibility. My Googling did nothing, alas, except turn up a lot of anti-Archie blogging from folks who can’t stand the idea of anyone not like them being treated as actual human beings worthy of respect, which is a little sad. Anyway, if it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure Archie will do it soon.

“3. ‘Judge Parker: The Eduardo Barreto Years’ archival reprint is announced, to the delight of breast fans everywhere.”

Not yet it seems. I remember being disappointed to find out Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was leaving Atari Force, only to find out his replacement, Eduardo Barreto, wasn’t half-bad his own self. Quite the talented fella, that Eduardo.

• • •

Mike Baehr bears down with

“1. Amazon will make an aggressive move to try and take dominance of the digital comics market away from comiXology”

I’d say Amazon buying comiXology qualifies.

“2. More examples of monstrous behavior by individuals in the industry will come to light, followed by more half-assed insincere apologies and lack of real consequences beyond internet scolding; relatedly, the glass ceiling in editorial at Marvel & DC will remain intact”

Sadly, probably all still true, though in one case this year an actual permanent-seeming consequence did arise in response to deplorable behavior.

And as far as glass ceilings go, so long as events like this continue to garner positive response, those ceilings can’t go uncracked for long. Let’s hope, anyway.

“3. Dan Clowes and Charlie Kaufman begin co-writing a screenplay about a plagiarizing movie star”

A plagiarizing movie star? That’s too crazy…who’d ever believe it?

“Bonus 2015 prediction: Jaime Hernandez sweeps all the applicable major comics awards for the collection of The Love Bunglers (out this Spring, cough cough)”

Featured as a Best Book over at Publisher’s Weekly, so that’s something! Though frankly Jaime and Gilbert should be winning all the awards all the time.

• • •

demoncat4 pays tribute to his previous three lives with

“after forever evil dc will do a crossover where all the bad guys vanish and the heroes deal with a dc universe of no evil.”

That would have been kind of hilarious, but did not come to pass, really. The Multiversity entry The Just was kind of like that, with the superpowered sons and daughters of superheroes trying to carry on a mock-superheroic tradition in world where all adversity had been long ago been conquered by their parents.

“2 marvel will wind up bringing a new rom back to their comics.”

I bet if Marvel could somehow clear up the Rom rights, a new Rom series would be kind of cool, actually. Nothing yet, though!

“more comic industry bad behavior at cons will come to light with more top names confessing and trying to say sorry.”

Nothing specific about con behavior I can recall, but I haven’t been keeping track, either. But in general…yeah, there’s a lot of behavior out there that people need to feel apologetic for, but probably don’t, and more’s the pity.

• • •

Erik…uh, Erik, um…look, I can’t have a joke for every name:

“DC’s New 52 status quo will continue to be trashed online, will sell just fine. I will continue to read the trades at the local library and be glad I spent my money on worthwhile things, like candy and cigarettes.”

Some New 52 sells okay, some does not (hence the recent cancellation of a dozen books), and DC’s always getting trashed online regardless of what they’re doing, so What Can You Do? I have no idea how you’ve been spending your money over the last year, though, so you’ll have to tell us. (NOTE TO SELF: carry candy and cigarettes at the new shop)

• • •

Bully stuffs us all with love by predicting

“The Punisher will shoot someone.”

If by “shoot” you mean “hug” then…no, not in the slightest. If you did mean “shoot,” then, well, whoa nelly did he ever.

• • •

See you next time, with more semi-researched responses to your forecasts!

Your 2014 Predictions, Part One of Too Many.

§ January 12th, 2015 § Filed under predictions § 8 Comments

Okay, sorry for the delay in getting started on these…between car trouble, being ill, and, oh, running a store, I’ve not had a whole lot of time or energy to tackle looking back at your predictions for 2014. But now that I’m tanned (not true), rested (really not true) and ready (generally not true at any time), let’s get started!

(And in the meantime, don’t forget to add to my woes early next year by contributing your 2015 predictions, even if some of you are kind of violating the spirit of the “three predictions” limit, you wily scamps.)

• • •

Tom Cherry pits the following against me:

“Little Dot, Little Lotta, and Jackie Jokers won’t be making their big comic book comebacks in 2014 and the world will be poorer for it!”

Sadly, no Littles of the Dot or Lotta kind seemed to make an appearance, though I’m doing brisk trade in old copies of those at my shop. Now, that Jackie Jokers jerk, we’re better off without. Just look at the guy.

• • •

ExistentialMan precedes my essence with

“1) Image will surpass 10% market share for at least four months during 2014.”

Looking at Diamond’s charts for the last year…Image did break the monthly 10% market share barrier a couple of times in dollar sales, and over a half-dozen times in units moved, so there you go!

“2) Adult Mike Sterling will draw a capybara that actually looks like a capybara :P”

Oh how dare you, sir, disparaging five-year-old Mike’s expert illustration of the world’s largest rodent. However, only a couple of months ago you asked for a modern capybara drawing from my creaky, liver-spotted hands and baby, I delivered.

• • •

Adam ribs me with

“1) A comic book movie will come out that doesn’t spur interest in the comic books beyond a few people buying the graphic novel that contains the story on which the film is based.”

I would say Sin City: A Dame to Kill For but I don’t know that inspired anybody to do anything except say “okay, no more films in this style.”

“2) The comics industry will collapse, along with all other industries, when the world burns as it falls into the sun. The cries of humanity will go unheard, the throne in Heaven sits empty and naught but darkness will follow the flames that engulf the human race.”

I did my best, Adam, but alas the industry’s still here. Maybe this year!

“3) Fantagraphics will continue to not announce Nancy vol 3.”

It came in just under the wire!

• • •

Kid Kyoto challenges protocol with

“1-Price war in digital comics, collections going for as low as $1 as publishers race to cash in on their backlists and ween people away from pirates.”

I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to digital comics, because things that are different frighten me, but it seems to me there were a lot of pals on Twitter ballyhooing lots of crazy sales for lots of digital funnybooks, so some kind of pricing competition was going on it seems.

“2-SUPERMAN KILLS! In a totally edgy story line which hasn’t been done since the late 80s!”

They kind of did that in the New 52 Justice League, didn’t they? Some villain got control of Superman and flash-fried somebody with his heat vision? And didn’t that Super-Doomsday storyline result in a Doomsday-possessed Superman takin’ some folks out? I don’t know, they play pretty loose with the whole “Superman doesn’t kill” thing. I don’t know that a “SUPERMAN KILLS!” story would stick out that much.

Well, aside from that Man of Steel movie from 2013, I guess.

“3-Bat books make up 50% of the New 52, X books make up 505 of the Marvel universe. Or has this already happened?”

Not yet. We’ll see what DC replaces those dozen or so cancelled books with. And Marvel will probably focus on flooding the market with titles based on the movies they own over movies licensed to other studios.

• • •

Interstate Shogun connects me to the following questions

“1. Every issue of Sandman Overture will be delayed, causing the 6 issue series to stretch into the middle of 2015 and everyone will forget what the heck is going on. But it won’t stop DC from collecting the first 3 issues into a trade, hardback and Absolute Edition. Action figures, statues and other tchotchkes will abound as well.”

Sandman Overture is still in progress, so a most palpable hit, sit. Surprised I haven’t seen a whole lot of tie-ins so far, but with two issues to go we’ve got, oh, eight to nine months’s time to get out more of those limited edition thingies. There was a $300 Sandman chess set in the last Previews…does that count?

“2. At Marvel, by next fall at least half of the NOW! line that isn’t X/Avengers/Spidey related will fold. I mean, does anyone really think a Black Widow comic will run long term? She Hulk? I like the characters but I’ve been burned too many times with cancellations.”

Yeah, She-Hulk got canned (a good comic kinda blindsided by a fill-in artist that the folks reading the comic didn’t care for…lost a bunch of pull-list people with that), and Black Widow is still hanging in there, I think. The Ultimates relaunch didn’t do much…we still have Spider-Man, but Ultimates is outta here. And we lost at least one X-book…All-New X-Factor is done. Most surprisingly, though I guess not so much if you consider the reasons, Marvel ending Fantastic Four allegedly because they don’t have the movie rights is…well, allegedly a thing, I guess. I mean, at least the Big Two are making some minor attempts at publishing titles that aren’t part of their First Tier Characters, but yeah, it does result in a high fatality rate.

“3. On a personal collecting note, Marvel will no longer hold the lions share of my new comic collecting, falling into more of an even split between Image and Dark Horse, with 1 or 2 DC thrown in (the above mentioned Sandman and Astro City). I’ll post an update on this in a year. As much as I want to try out new stuff (although “new” is a very relative term when your dealing with legacy characters that are 50 years old and older) new books are just too expensive and publishers futz around too much with early cancellations and just plain crap storytelling. 2013 saw a big drop in my pull list compared to the previous year. I get me new books once a month now and it hasn’t made a difference.”

Having spied on Interstate Shogun for the past year, let me answer this for him…oh, okay, I’m just kidding. He can answer himself if he’d like!

• • •

My old friend Pal Cully causes problems with

“1. Joe Matt will return to comics with a book produced using only semen.”


“2. Marvel remembers that they skipped the Hulk’s 50th birthday.”


“3. Pet trees that look like Groot become popular.”

Post-Christmas streets, littered with abandoned baby Groot trees discarded by children already bored with their gifts.

• • •

LondonKdS rails me with

“One of the Big Two will kill off a well-known character, and at least one generalist news publication will report it as a culturally significant moment instead of a publicity stunt that will result in a resurrection about a year later. As a result, Mike will again have to give naive people who think they need to purchase something that will become a hallowed artifact The Talk.”

There was one death in comics that captured the imaginations and dominated sales, and that, of course, was the death of Dum Dum Dugan in Original Sin. Oh, and Wolverine apparently “died” too, but honestly, no one’s buying that for a minute. I’m sure it probably made the news here and there, but I think the general populace has now been sufficiently trained into realizing the storytelling device/gimmick these things are.

• • •

Okay, that’s going to have to be it for today. Come back tomorrow for part 2 of about 19 of “Mike Drives Away All His Readers!”

Spoilers for Miracleman #14, probably.

§ January 7th, 2015 § Filed under miraclemarvelman § 11 Comments

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (1/9/15): Newsarama just ran an article on the situation that cites me, including the extra bit of info that I didn’t mention here, that the missing text will be sent to retailers, somehow. (I talked about that on my Twitter account, but wasn’t yet clear on how the text was going to be distributed.)

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (1/8/15): Apparently there was a miscommunication somewhere, as replacements aren’t on their way, since Marvel has opted not to replace this issue with a corrected edition. Digital copies have apparently been fixed, however, and it will be corrected in the eventual hardcover/paperback collections. …Well, it was nice selling the print editions of the individual comics while it lasted.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed by Diamond that replacement copies are on the way, with the error corrected.


Well, hopefully Marvel will be going back to print on Miracleman #14 to release corrected editions, because certain word balloons on page 15 that originally looked like this in the original 1988 Eclipse comic:

…now look like this in the Marvel reprint out this week:

…though you can read the dialogue from those balloons on the original artwork pages in the comic’s backmatter:

It wasn’t just that panel; all the black word balloons on that page lost their lettering. Well, not “lost,” exactly…at first glance I thought the balloons were entirely black, but upon looking at the scans I can see the lettering is there, just miscolored to the point of illegibility.

Now, mistakes happen, I know, and I realize 1) it’s going to cost a lot, and 2) it’ll suck for everyone involved to bite the bullet on this, but I really do hope Marvel does fix this error with a new printing of the comic. After going through all this trouble to get this material back into the marketplace, it would be a shame to have something like this mar the rerelease. Maybe they can save a few cents by not polybagging the corrected version.

Everyone loves pancakes.

§ January 6th, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 2 Comments

  • I’m still gathering comic industry predictions for 2015 in the comments for yesterday’s post…get yours in while the getting’s good, or something like that.
  • Longtime ProgRuin reader/commenter Walaka dropped by my store recently and reveals all the sordid details right here!
  • Internet pal Karla has a Kickstarter for her forthcoming children’s book that’s not for children Inspector Pancakes Helps the President of France Solve the White Orchid Murders. I contributed, because I must see the finished product. Hopefully you can contribute, too.

“I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.” – Ray Bradbury

§ January 5th, 2015 § Filed under predictions, reader participation § 51 Comments

It’s once again that time at the ol’ Progressive Ruin Dot Com Comics Discussion Parlor and Prognostication Palace for you to predict what waits for us in the funnybook industry in this, the Year of Jack Our Lord 2015. Please put your predictions in the comments section for this post, whilst following these most simple of rules:

1. Don’t read the other predictions before entering your own.

2. Don’t criticize other people’s predictions.

3. Don’t predict any real person’s death.

4. Limit of three predictions per person, please!

2015 is already underway, some of you may have noticed, so get your predictions in quick before they shockingly come to pass!

Of course, this also means I’m going to start covering your predictions from last time over the next, oh, say, three or four months, so you might want to prepare a meal or three to keep your energy up as you read all 500,000 words I’m about to dump on you.

Again, please put your forecasts into my comments section for this post, and after a few days I’ll lock everything away and see how we all did next year. Thanks in advance for what always turns out to be some very enthusiastic participation from you, my swell readers.

Back to the Future #4 (1992) – art by Gil Kane

Let us ring in the new year in the traditional fashion…

§ January 1st, 2015 § Filed under happy new year § 3 Comments

…with a picture of Tom Servo reading issue #140 of Swamp Thing, from episode #1012 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (“Squirm”):

Happy Tom Servo Reading Swamp Thing, everyone.

It’s always the 1990s here on Progressive Ruin Dot Com.

§ December 31st, 2014 § Filed under collecting, death of superman § 7 Comments

So being in the comics retail industry in a location close to where Malibu Comics’s home base was located when it was active, we’ve seen a lot of the material produced by that company. And I don’t mean just the regular stuff, but promotional material, rare items, and just lots ‘n’ bundles of multiple copies of various products. I remember at one point obtaining what must have been a case of The Trouble with Girls graphic novels.

I’ve seen a pretty large number of the variant covers over the years, such as the full-cover hologram variants for Mortal Kombat and Star Trek Deep Space Nine and the like, not to mention plenty of those foil-variant Ultraverse covers. In fact, the other day I had a fellow who identified himself as a former employee of Malibu (and Marvel, after that company bought out the former) come by the shop, hand me a small pile of comics, and tell me “here, I’ve been sitting on these a while and you can have ‘em if you can use ‘em.” And yes, there were a few of the usual items in there, like those hologram covers I mentioned, and what I thought was just another foil Ultraverse variant:

…until I noticed this embossed stamp on the front cover:

…and this certificate explaining just what it was:

…and I was all set to write up a whole post about this, but just like two weeks ago this Ultraverse blog already put together a far better and more informative post about this very thing than I would have. The thing I learned from that post I found most interesting was that, despite the certificate stating “limited to 500 copies,” far fewer than that were actually created and distributed. The number given is about 30, though the picture in that blog post shows a certificate numbered 134, but who knows what kind of numbering shenanigans were going on. Perhaps earlier numbers were being reserved for employees and other special persons, since the copy in my hands is #7.

Anyway, I put it on the eBays to see who’d salute, so we’ll see how it goes.

Also recently acquired was the Platinum Edition of Adventures of Superman #500, which you can tell is totally the platinum edition of the comic because the bag surrounding it is clearly printed with the words “PLATINUM EDITION” along the bottom:

It’s kind of a drag that someone had this pinned up on a wall, apparently, as there are a couple of pinholes in the top center of the polybag…who’d buy a “hot, rare collectible” in a time where “hot, rare collectibles” were the be-all, end-all of the comics retail industry and then pin the sucker on a wall? That seems almost counter-intuitive to the investment mentality running rampant in the business then. It even had the $125(!) price tag still affixed to the comic bag it was being stored in.

I’ve come across these bagged platinum editions before, and always wondered if just the polybag itself was supposed to be the “platinum” bit (as this bag was black and silver, versus the red and white of the regular version) or if the comic inside was platinum-ized. I suppose if I really wondered that much, I could have Googled or eBay-searched it for myself before now, but I finally looked and found a few of these for sale:

This is one of those “pro-graded” slabbed copies, where they apparently removed the polybag before sealing the funnybook into its little plastic coffin. The color of this cover may be dimmed a bit, as you’re seeing it through about 1/16 inch or so of plastic, but that is definitely a “platinum” (well, silvery-whitish) version of a cover that is normally black. Plus it says “platinum” in the corner and they wouldn’t print it if it weren’t true. Another difference is that the logo on the platinum version features raised lettering while the regular version does not, a fact I just now went to check with my copy of the non-platinum version down in the No-Longer-Quite-As-Vast Mikester Comic Archives.

Speaking of polybags, I also picked up one of these:

…which is the regular cover edition Superman #82, which also had a chromium cover. However, this version of #82 polybagged with a poster was, according to my two seconds of Google research, a Walmart variant which I don’t believe I’d seen before. No UPC code on the comic cover, but said code was provided on the back of the bag itself. I don’t know what the poster itself looks like…my guess is that it’s that cover, but maybe someone can let me know.

Twenty-plus years on, I’m still talking about the Death of Superman. Let us look forward to a happy 2015 and, with any luck, even more posts about the Death of Superman. See you then, friends.

I’ve collected comics for less reason…well, okay, I haven’t.

§ December 29th, 2014 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 4 Comments

So it came time for your pal Mike’s Teen Titans collection to be given up to the store in sacrifice, but I’m still a’keepin’ a couple of them in the no-longer-so-vast Mikester Comic Archives: this special by Bob Haney and Jay Stephens, this issue of DC Super Stars that I’ve had since I was a kid, and this issue:

…the not-so-stealthy “crossover” with a superhero team that may be somewhat similar to the DNAgents. I partially retained it because it was illustrated by Nexus cocreator Steve Rude:

…but I was actually on the fence about it for a minute or so until I glanced through it and spotted this panel in the George Perez-illustrated back-up story:

I am an insanely easy mark, sometimes.

This was a hard run of comics to give up to the shop, but it helps that I recently just reread the early “prime” issues of the Wolfman/Perez run, up to about issue 50 or so, enough to realize that if I really want to keep these stories around for posterity, I’m going to want to invest in one of the recent reprint volumes. I don’t know if you’ve looked at your copies of those earliest issues lately, but time and paper stock has not been kind to the printing on those. Or maybe it’s just a decline in my own eyesight, but that would mean I’m aging and clearly that’s not possible.

My pricing of the Titans comics hasn’t quite reached this issue yet, which, if you haven’t read the “Titans Hunt” storyline, was a much-needed revitalization of the Titans franchise, and really kept you on the edge of your seat wondering what was going to happen next. It honestly did feel like “anything goes” and had an energy to it that the series hadn’t had since its earlier days. The storyline certainly made me a fan of artist Tom Grummett, who I think was probably the best artist on the series aside from Perez.

Hopefully I didn’t just talk myself into keeping those comics, too.

• • •

In other news:

  • The article in the online version of the county newspaper about my store that I linked to a few days ago finally made it to Sunday’s print edition, resulting in a few more folks discovering my shop. It also resulted in a handful of customers of mine from my previous employment realizing “oh, that’s where Mike went.”
  • My post about shipping to prisons resulted in a couple of people contributing their own stories on the topic that I think you might enjoy reading. I certainly found them interesting.
  • Special thanks to ProgRuin reader/commenter Walaka for dropping by the store over the weekend! Always happy to meet in person my online friends!

Do not write directly on your screen.

§ December 25th, 2014 § Filed under Christmas § 7 Comments

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers…thanks for sticking with me!

image from Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-24 (1973)

On the Zeroth Day of Christmas, a stuffed bull gave to me…

§ December 24th, 2014 § Filed under Christmas § 4 Comments

…this 1986 Love and Rockets comic shop store hours sign featuring illos by Jaime Hernandez:

Just arrived in the mail, courtesy a little bull stuffed with Christmas cheer! How did a little tiny bull like Bully manage to wrap this package with this hooves and get it into a mailbox all by himself? IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

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