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.

So pretty much whenever I’m short on blogging time, I’ll just run a picture of a piece of Tekno Comix promotional material…

§ August 25th, 2014 § Filed under promo § 10 Comments

…not that I have a whole lot:


Had a bunch of posters to put on the eBay, and while this one was just a little too beat up to put up for sale, I went ahead and photographed it anyway and kept the picture aside for a rainy day here on this site.

So here you go. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TEKNO COMIX! “intz intz intz intz”

Don’t really have the time or energy to write what I was going to write, so let’s examine Jughead’s crazy shirt instead.

§ August 22nd, 2014 § Filed under archie § 6 Comments

Sorry, just wasn’t up to a big post today. In fact, after looking at Jughead’s shirt, I’m getting sleepy…very sleepy….


from Archie Giant Series #18 (September 1962)

Here’s that picture of a Tekno Comix promotional flying disc you were asking for.

§ August 20th, 2014 § Filed under promo § 3 Comments


Just popped up in a collection recently, to remind us of those happier times when Mr. Hero and Isaac Asimov’s I-Bots walked the earth.

Here’s a pic from another Tekno Comix promo item I posted a while back.

I’m including the price guide’s prices mostly out of sheer perversity.

§ August 18th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 2 Comments

So last October I said that a year from then I’d probably look at the aftermarket on those special 3D covers DC released to much wailing and gnashing of teeth mostly due to their botched distribution. Okay, it hasn’t been a year yet, but, you know, close enough, and also I suspect once this year’s batch of DC’s 3D books get released I’ll have a whole new array of problems to complain about without having to worry about reflecting back on last year’s as well.

Anyway, I’m not going to go through every single 3D cover and its pricing because that’s crazy talk. My initial assertion was that the panic pricing and profiteering that resulted in books only out on the shelves for a few days getting priced at two, three, five times cover price would eventually settle down, with the 3D editions maybe going for five or ten bucks at most. Let’s pick out just a couple and do about 10 seconds of eBay research for each, starting with the one that was probably the biggest: Batman: The Dark Knight #23.4, introducing the Joker’s Daughter.

In fact, as I was Googling up the exact issue number, since I’m old and can’t remember exact details like that any more, one of the first results is a message board query asking why this particular comic was so rare, and if DC deliberately kept the print run on that low. Well, the answer is “yes,” actually, but not for the reason this person is likely thinking. Not to go into the full details again, but DC more or less set print runs based on each book’s sales history, and Dark Knight was not exactly a top-seller. It wasn’t limited in that DC was trying to create a “hot collectible” (an accusation that gets leveled at publishers quite frequently, even though they don’t directly benefit from aftermarket pricing) and what I think this particular message boarder was implying.

But, let’s look at pricing. The Joker’s Daughter issue was hard to find and in high demand (either because it was in short supply or because it introduced a Joker spinoff character, or even perhaps possibly both), and it was commanding some fairly dear prices right out of the gate. I recall seeing prices upward of $40, if not more. Now…well, my previous Googling also turned up an Amazon page for the comic, where prices start at about $37 and run all the way up to $85. This is for copies for sale, not sold, so some of those higher prices may just be wishful thinking. A look at eBay reveals copies having sold for anywhere from $10 to $30, with “pro-graded” copies sealed in those plastic containers selling for much more, with one copy selling for $66. [NM price in the most recent Overstreet Price Guide: $12]

To take another of the “hot” covers, let’s look at Detective Comics #23.2, with Harley Quinn. This was one that was generally selling in the $20 range, as I recall, though to look at eBay now, copies have gone for as little at $13, and topped out at $36 (with at least one slabbed copy going for $125). Most seem to be in the $20-ish range. [NM price in the most recent Overstreet Price Guide: $12]

At the opposite end of the scale, let’s go with the one 3D cover we were actually allocated more copies that what we were ordered: Justice League #23.1, featuring Darkseid. That goes for a whole $3 to $6, with the slabbed copies going for stupid money, as usual. Anyway Overstreet has this at $5.

One more: Batman #23.1, with the Joker (the one I wanted to order a billion of because it would sell forever but my nefarious plans were curtailed by DC’s printing problems) seems to go for about $10 to $15 on eBay…mostly closer to $10. Guide price: $5.

A quick glance at some other titles on eBay show some 3D covers, like Flash or Aquaman, selling for as little as $1, plus, you know, $5 shipping, so I guess you should probably factor that in. Plus, a general search shows that most of the other 3D covers seem to be around $1 to $5 or $6 as well. For the most part, there are plenty to be had at several mostly inexpensive price points. The expensive ones (aside from the copies in the plastic slab thingies) are the exception, not the rule.

Breezing through some of the price guide entries seems to show that, aside from the exceptions noted about, most of the 3D covers are listed at about $5 or so. That’s what we’ve been selling most of ours for over the last few months (though Joker, Joker’s Daughter and Harley do sell for a little more) and that seems to be a good price to keep the sales going.

Anyway, I guess I was mostly right back then, noting that price guides would reflect marginally higher prices on the 3D covers versus the issues around them (I mean, duh), and that I would be surprised that any of them were selling for over $10. I mean, that the Joker’s Daughter issue is still moving, in some cases, for around $30 is kind of a shock. Higher prices for the Harley and Joker issues aren’t that much of a surprise, since those characters are perennially popular.

In conclusion, sometimes hot market prices settle down to more reasonable numbers. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. And we’ll see in a few weeks if history repeats itself with DC’s next batch of 3D goodies. I’m guessing “no,” but we’ll find out soon enough.

Sluggo Saturday #124.

§ August 16th, 2014 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 7 Comments

WHO BROKE

MY HEART

from Dell Giant #45 (1961)

“…And, holy spit, his costume’s amazing!”

§ August 15th, 2014 § Filed under archie § 3 Comments

Recently acquired a boatload of ’60s and ’70s Archies, including this, which may have my favorite Jughead cover of all time:


“Most horrifying costume,” eh? Wonder what they would have made of this Jughead costume, just a mere 50+ years later:


 
 

images from Archie’s Pal Jughead #78 (September 1961) and Afterlife with Archie #1 (September 2013)

Robin Williams (1951 – 2014).

§ August 12th, 2014 § Filed under obituary § 2 Comments

“My happy thought…

I got it! I got it! I found it!”

Hook (1991) was not much liked by critics at the time, as I recall, but I sure enjoyed the heck out of it then, and still love it now. I just rewatched it a couple of weeks back, in fact. That scene, that scene, when Peter finally realizes what his happy thought is, the one that will make him fly again…it gets me, every single time.

So long, Robin. Thank you for all the happy thoughts you gave to all of us.

• • •

Site note: sorry for the radio silence, as I’ve been ill. I’ll resume regular posting shortly.

I realize that’s some real splitting of hairs when it comes to Tarot.

§ August 8th, 2014 § Filed under miraclemarvelman, retailing § 10 Comments

So reader Chris asked in response to Wednesday’s post:

“I’ve found myself doing double takes recently a couple of times in local comics shops, not so much because I think that certain items shouldn’t be sold, but because I question how they are shelved/displayed in a way that seems to draw kids’ attention. Once was on Free Comic Book Day when a copy of a ‘Hentai Hotties’ anime DVD was on display right behind the artists doing sketches for kids. Ahem. The other was when I saw the Image ‘Sex’ title shelved on a low shelf (eye-level for 6-7 year olds, probably), adjacent to all the superhero shenanigans books, with no signage or indication that you might be veering into less family-friendly waters. Just seemed to be inviting trouble, somehow, or at least some unexpected conversations for an unwitting parent.

Which makes me wonder, Mike–how *do* you display the more adult-themed titles you sell? Am I being overly cautious in my concerns?”

A while back I did briefly discuss new comics racking, but I didn’t specifically address what we did with the more explicit, very adults-only titles.

For the adult-y titles like Image’s Sex, or Marvel and DC’s adult imprints Icon and Vertigo, I keep those on the top shelf, out of the reach of the yung’uns, with tags on the shelf stating “hey, this is the 18+ section.” In the indie books section (again, see this post for a brief description of our screwy but still operable set-up), where the subject matter generally skews a little higher, the more adult-ish titles will be racked alphabetically with the rest. If the content is a bit much to where I really wouldn’t want any younger patrons to be exposed to it (like, say, Tarot) we’ll bag up the comic with an “18+” sticker on the front cover. Not so sealed that an adult-type person couldn’t pop it open and briefly browse it for a purchasing decision (ideally), but sealed enough that we’ll notice if someone’s breaking the seal. And, hopefully, sealed enough so that any concerned citizens worried about this material can see we’re making some attempt at controlling access. (‘Course, if they’re really that concerned, just having anything naughty in the shop is enough to bring out the torches and pitchfolks, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

There are some instance where the covers on the comics are just a little much, and not something I’d particularly want on display to shock the sensibilities for the overly sensitive and the youthfully impressionable. I don’t use these very often, but occasionally I’ll need to bust out the “privacy bags” that Diamond has available, that black out most of the cover while keeping the logo visible, to protect the casual customer from the hideous filth and carnality presented for all to see:


Now, for the titles that are just straight-up porn, I’ve got the secret naughty box that I keep on a counter with all those comics, sealed in the privacy bags and monitored. Not that “straight-up porn” comics are quite the deal they were back in the ’90s, when smutty funnybooks were all the rage, but there are still a few being unleashed on the market once in a while and I need a place to put them that isn’t next to Wolverine, or even Tarot.
• • •

That Caleb guy asks:

“How different is [the birth of Miraclebaby] than the image of Prince Robot’s son being born in a recent issue of SAGA (other than being a human birth, instead of a gray-skinned, blue-fluid-filled royal robot birth, of course)…?”

Well, that’s probably the main difference…I haven’t seen the Saga sequence, so I don’t know if it was as anatomically explicit as the Miracleman scene, and having that extra…layer of separation, I guess, of being in a sci-fi setting with non-humans? That might have been enough. Plus, this wasn’t out of character for Saga as far as I know, whereas Miracleman up to that point had been a slightly more violent than average superhero comic with no distributor-disturbing gynecological details. And then there’s the fact that the threat of “LOOK AT WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE READING!” news stories doesn’t loom quite as large over the industry’s consciousness now as it did back then, so folks aren’t quite as uptight over content as they used to be.

Like I said in my last post, there’s still some worry out there, otherwise Marvel wouldn’t have started bagging Miracleman months ago in preparation for this issue.

• • •

Alan writes about the seeming lack of coverage over Marvel’s rerelease of Miracleman, which does seem a bit peculiar at least from the perspective of old fans of this material (like Alan and myself). In my head, I’m thinking “hey, this is Miracleman! It’s been out of print for ages! This is where all the ‘dark ‘n’ serious’ superhero comics you’re reading now come from! YOU SHOULD BE BUYING THIS!”

Part of the problem is the botched release of this material, coming out in dribs and drabs in an overpriced package stuffed with extra material most readers don’t care about, and in some cases (cough the classic Marvelman stories cough) openly resent. Yes, the hardcover collections are nice, but their sales aren’t a patch on the single issues. That may very well have turned off any folks who were likely to have discussed this series.

There’s also the fact that this project is maybe just a little too late…Alan Moore isn’t the red-hot comics star he once was (yes, his name’s not on the current comic anyway, but everyone who cares knows he wrote these), Miracleman is a forgotten obscurity, and a lot of people who were reading comics back when it was coming out are likely no longer buying comics. It’s a lot smaller marketplace now than in the ’80s and early ’90s, it should go without saying.

I suspect that as we approach the release of new Miracleman material, especially given that it’ll be written by Neil Gaiman, who arguably still has more cachet in the current industry than Moore, we’ll see increased discussion of this project. Or maybe when we get to the John Totleben-illustrated run that wraps up Moore’s tenure, which is gorgeous and I hope for good things with its reprinting, people’s minds will be sufficiently blown to ramp up interest.

Of course, it may be as simple as no one having much more to say “oh, hey, another Miracleman reprint is out,” which is a shame. Maybe once it’s complete, assuming it will be completed, we’ll see more new discussion about its overall impact on comics. Maybe I should be discussing it more, outside of retailing concerns. I am not unaware that I’m part of the problem. Outside of some facile, jokey commentary I don’t do a whole lot of comics reviewing or essaying in regards to content. I’m generally more focused on the business side of things, when I decide to peer more closely at something in my meanderings here. For a while there I was attempting semi-regular reviews of selected weekly releases, though I’ve fallen out of the habit. I should fall back in, I think, and include Miracleman in those overviews. It really is an excellent comic, and deserving of your attention, despite those formatting barriers seemingly designed to keep you away.

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