A progress(ive ruin) report.

§ July 6th, 2017 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 3 Comments

Sorry gang…between feeling crummy over the last few days (I’m mostly over it now, thankfully) and just having a lot to do in my Real Life, I’m a bit behind on everything.

I should have the next installment of the Swamp-Thing-a-Thon up at my Patreon page this week…it looks like it’s going to be a bit longer than normal, as I’m trying a little something different in my coverage of the issue (#3, with the Patchwork Man!) so we’ll see how that goes. I mean, other than taking a long time to write.

I am hoping to having another actual post this week, or at the very least something fun for Saturday, so hopefully it’ll all work out. Next week I should be back to my regular schedule of posting long, rambling diatribes about things nobody cares about except me and maybe one or two of you oddballs out there, plus the occasional out-of-context scan from an old Archie or Harvey comic. You know, just like the old days of comics blogging, back when we were all so young and innocent and talking about that Lois Lane story “I Am Curious (Black)!” every two to three months like we were the first to discover it existed.

I’m also going to continue answering your questions at some point, before those of you who asked them die of old age. I mean, holy cow, that was in March, I’m stretching this out a bit.

I really do appreciate you all reading this site, and an additional thank you to the folks who throw a buck or so a month at me on the ol’ Patreon. I feel bad when I’m not pushing out the content like I want to (even if it isn’t at the previous 7-days-a-week schedule the younger and apparently more insane me used to be on), and I’m glad you understand that sometimes life just gets in the way. Yes, I have a life. This is shocking news to someone.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk at you again in short order.

Progressive Ruin celebrates its independence with…the End of Civilization.

§ July 4th, 2017 § Filed under End of Civilization § 14 Comments

Yes, we here at Progressive Ruin Industries are celebrating American Independence Day in the way of our forefathers…by paging through the newest edition of Diamond Previews (the July 2017 edition) and seeing what will soon be invading our shores. Pick up your own copy and follow along:

p. 116 – Wonder Woman/Conan #1:


“…And to hear the lamentations of their women!”

“EXCUSE ME, WHAT WAS THAT?”

“Er, nothing! Nothing, ma’am!”
 
 
p. 142 – Justice League of America The Detroit Era Omnibus HC:


ME, VISITING 1985 FROM THE FUTURE: “In my era, there is going to be an oversized deluxe hardcover collecting together all the Detroit League stories!”

PRIMITIVE HUMAN OF 1985: “Wha–? Nobody likes these comics! Who’s gonna spring for a big ol’ hardcover?”

ME: “Oh, and also Gypsy and Vibe are characters on a popular DC superhero television show in my time.”

PHo85: “GET OUTTA TOWN”
 
 
p. 154 – Star Wars Adventures #1:


What, a children’s version of Star Wars? What’s next, children’s versions of Spider-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy comics?
 
 
p. 212 – Divided States of Hysteria #4:


Huh, can’t seem to get that pic to load for some reason.
 
 
p. 241 – The Walking Dead Faction Logo 4″ Patches:


Ah, special patches for the different groups in The Walking Dead, like “Hilltop” for the people living in the Hilltop community, or “Kingdom” for the folks living under Ezekiel, or “Dammit I Had A Good Thing Going” for actors whose characters were killed off on the show.
 
 
p. 285 – The Hoth Face T-shirt:


Okay, I gotta admit…I know this is referencing something, but honestly have no idea what. I can’t believe I have to admit defeat to one of these “two things” shirts. I’m sure once someone tells me I’m going to go “oooooh, THAT.” …Honestly, pals, this is pretty embarrassing.
 
 
p. 340 – James Bond Casino Royale HC:


Finally, Peter Sellers, David Niven, and Woody Allen in the comic book movie adaptation of the year!
 
 
p. 343 – Fruit Ninja #1:


Hey, they should do a comic based on that popular “Pokemon Go!” mobile game.
 
 
p. 345 – Turok #2:


“Hey, look, a comic based on that ancient video game!” the person perusing the rack declares, as Mike crumbles into dust behind him.
 
 
p. 351 – Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers One-Shot:


Don’t really have any kind of joke here. Just letting you know it’s a thing. (And was there a comic for Tusk? I’d probably read that.)
 
 
p. 492 – Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food HC:


I’m going to assume “eating like Walt” involves inhaling an entire cigarette between each bite, like most mid-century adults.
 
 
p. 493 – How Comics Work SC:


If you’re talking about the industry as a whole, I think the answer to “How Comics Work” is “despite itself.”
 
 
p. 495 – The Dark Crystal The Ultimate Visual History HC:


Wouldn’t the ultimate visual history be, like, the movie?
 
 
p. 500 – Star Wars Mad Libs Deluxe Edition:


Oh, great, George Lucas went back to the Mad Libs Original Edition and added in new word types to fill in, like “adjouns” and “verjectives.”
 
 
p. 500 – Star Wars BB-8 on The Run HC:


The Pineapple Express sequel you never expected!
 
 
p. 513 – Team up Cablepool Black T-shirt:


Isn’t Cable’s glowy eye his left one? But then again, that wasn’t always consistent, I guess.
 
 
p. 515 – Swamp Thing House of Secrets #92 T-shirt:


Store uniform, house uniform, grocery shopping uniform, formal dress, meetin’ the Pope clothes…better order a few dozen of these.
 
 
p. 544 – Alien Convenant Xenomorph 7-Inch Action Figure and Neomorph 7-Inch Action Figure:


Well, this will make for an interesting variation on the yin-yang symb…


…welllll, maybe not.
 
 
p. 552 – Pop! War for the Planet of the Apes Maurice Vinyl Figure:


FUNKO HAS ACHIEVED WEAPON-GRADE CUTENESS. STAY IN YOUR HOMES. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
 
 
p. 568 – Reverse Flash The Flash TV ArtFX+ Statue:


“Hi, do you have anything that’s the exact opposite of the Maurice Planet of the Apes Funko Pop?”

“Why, as a matter of fact….”
 
 
p. 568 – DC Comics Super Sons Jonathan Kent & Krypto Two Pack ArtFX+ Statue:


Okay, how much just for the Krypto statue? You know, the character that’ll still be around three or four reboots from now.
 
 
p. 598 – DC Heroes Batman Kids Costume:


Please note that regardless of age or costume design, all Bat-children look like they’re ready and able to fight crime. Kid-crime.

And yes, yes, the pics arranged like that it looks like that’s Giant Bat-Baby, 10 feet tall, towering over his/her compatriots with a diaper full of justice.
 
 
p. 615 – Marvel Hydra Logo 24-Inch Necklace:


Sure, you’re all sick of this Hydra stuff, but picture Larry on Three’s Company tugging this just the slightest bit out from under his too-unbuttoned shirt to show to Mr. Furley, as he leans in and whispers “Hail Hyrda.” Mr. Furley gives a hugely exaggerated wink in response. Cue laugh track.
 
 
p. 629 – Golden Girls Clue Game:


“Okay, let’s get this game start–”

“Betty White did it.”

“Wait, what? We haven’t even started playing y–”

“It has to be her, she’s the only one still al–”

“HA HA okay who’s up for some Battleship?”
 
 
Marvel Previews p. 4 – Marvel Legacy #1:


Here’s hoping the legacy in question is something other than an endless stream of relaunched #1s stretching as far back and as far ahead as the eye can see. Or R&D for movies.

In which Mike just rambles on, making baseless and crazy assumptions.

§ June 30th, 2017 § Filed under publishing, supergirl § 4 Comments

Just following up on a couple of comments from my most recent post:

Andrew responds with

“I want to read those comics NOW (well maybe not the Fox and Crow, since my pocket money is finite).”

Fox and the Crow is actually pretty good, though I understand not having the scratch to throw down on everything. The particular issue being plugged in that ad is issue #95, which was the first appearance of “Stanley and His Monster.” Now, the lead stories were based on what I assume is a now-obscure series of animated shorts…at least, nobody seems to be trying to market or “reboot” the characters at the moment, so I’m pretty sure they’re mostly forgotten. But the comic lasted a good long time, with new Fox and the Crow stories illustrated by Not That Jim Davis, squeezing out endless variations on the Crow pulling some kind of scam on the Fox.

But, with the introduction of Stanley and His Monster in the mid-1960s, at a time when lighthearted monster-based entertainment was really taking a foothold, Mssrs. Fox & Crow began to lose their starring position in their own comic. Eventually, with issue #109 of the series, Fox and the Crow were discarded entirely as the title of the book changed to Stanley and His Monster. The previous stars likely seemed too old-fashioned, particularly in a comics marketplace that was focusing more on weird concepts and wacky “modern” humor, where Stanley and friend seemed to fit right in. Too little, too late, however, and the series ended with #112, though S.A.H.M. would be revived years later in a Phil Foglio mini-series and as supporting characters in a Green Arrow storyline, of all things.

Fox and the Crow, however, have mostly vanished, though it looks like they’ve made cameo appearances, or where at least mentioned in dialogue, here and there. I think technically they were licensed characters, so I don’t even know if DC has the rights to them now. I keep thinking about all the licensed books DC published over the years, and how it would be great to have a collection of, say, The Adventures of Bob Hope, despite the fact that the potential audience for such a thing ain’t exactly expanding of late. I’d love to have a Fox and the Crow collection, but given it took years of consumer demand to get even one reprint book of old Sugar & Spike comics out the door, I suspect the forgotten obscurities, especially ones that would cost extra licensing fees, will continue to languish.

But honestly, DC had two chances to get a Stanley and His Monster trade out to an audience that may have been interested by the characters’ revivals. Ah, well.

Andrew also adds

“It looks like those issues of B&B before Batman took over have been passed over for reprints.”

Well, if this series went to a volume 2, they would have reprinted this Supergirl/Wonder Woman team-up. Alas, ’twas not to be.

• • •

Wes Wescovich writes

“I think this may be the first time that Supergirl logo was used on a cover?”

I’m not 100% sure, but I think you may be right. My first instinct was that the logo showed up on one of the 80 Page Giants, and it sure did…a few months later. I don’t see the logo on previous issues of Action, where Supergirl primarily appeared, so it could very well be that the logo made its cover debut on that very issue of Brave and the Bold. If someone knows otherwise, hopefully they’ll let me know.

Once thing I noticed while looking at the Action covers on the Grand Comics Database is there’s about a three year gap between Supergirl’s introduction in #252 and her “going public” to the people of DC Comics Earth in #285. In the meantime she was “Superman’s secret weapon,” privately training and keeping the existence of Supergirl a secret. Three years probably seemed like an eternity to keep a plotline like this going in the late 1950s/early 1960s, though it’s not like this was the grand scheme planned from the get-go. I’m sure it was more like “okay, this is how Supergirl fits into the Superman family of books” at the start, and eventually “hoo boy, this ‘Supergirl’s a Secret’ thing is a drag, let’s put an end to that.” But I’m just imagining a bunch of kids who read the Supergirl stories at the start, grew out of reading comics a few months later, and went the rest of their lives thinking that Supergirl went on continuing her superheroic deeds in hiding from the general public. You know, watching the new Supergirl TV show and thinking “this is all wrong! She’s superhero-ing out in the open!”

I do wonder if anyone at the time made it all the way from Supergirl’s first appearance to her eventual introduction to the world. I’m sure someone did, even with the huge turnover readership likely had at the time. Like I said, three years was a long time in comics then, even if now it can be a not-unheard-of gap between issues in high-profile series. Or, more commonly nowadays, that’s not too far from how long it takes for some event stuff to pay off (like the whole Watchmen in the DCU thingie). Funny how we went from long-running titles with a high turnover in readership to a huge turnover in restarted/rebooted titles trying to get the attention of folks who’ve been reading comics forever. …Well, maybe not so funny.

Please do not shoot Charlie Brown.

§ June 28th, 2017 § Filed under peanuts § 4 Comments


NOTE: This is from a story in which Charlie Brown imagines that he accidentally gets trapped in a plane, which then takes off and he proceeds to get yelled at by the control tower for not knowing how to fly or land it:


In essence, he fantasizes about screwing up and being called a blockhead. Oh Charlie Brown.
 
 

from Peanuts #7 (Nov-Jan 1961)

NOTE: Official stance of this website is that girls are NOT — repeat NOT — yucky.

§ June 26th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, brat finks, dc comics, wonder woman § 9 Comments

So I took in a fairly sizable collection of comics, ranging from the 1960s to the far-flung future of circa 2005, and therein was a copy of Brave and the Bold #63 from 1966:


…which, in the decades I’ve been at this, have only actually seen in person a relative handful of times. On the Twitters, I suggested I’ve seen a copy of this comic only about once a decade, and I don’t think that’s too far off. I’ve seen lots of copies of Brave and the Bold issues around it, but not this specific one. Not sure why…just fewer copies out there in the wild, I guess, at least in our general area. I don’t know if people are just holding onto them in their collections, or maybe the actual issue just didn’t sell well at the time. I mean, maybe some (not all…some) young boys looking at the shelves trying to find something to read would pass on the comic that stars a couple of yucky ol’ girls, so is that a reason for reduced availability now? I’m not sure.

At any rate, I don’t see this issue very often, but I’ve been wanting to read the darn thing for years, so I took it home to peruse prior to putting it back out for sale. Hey, look, I gets my perks where I can. And, as a professional funnybook handler, I can flip through this periodical without any significant reduction in condition or resale value.

Okay, I’m writing this post instead of reading the comic, but I’ll get to it. I did flip through it long enough to find the thesis statement for this visual essay:


…so I’m looking forward to what is almost certainly going to be a whirlwind experience. At the very least, let’s look at that cover…I love how huge and eye-catching those logos for Supergirl and Wonder Woman are, even with their disembodied, worried-looking faces hanging out at the edges there. This must have been something else to see brand new on the rack, which that shiny red background behind the logos glaring out at you.

The issue was also filled with those quarter-to-half page house ads for DC Comics, including one for the very comic we’re looking at right here:


…and boy, did 1960s DC like the word “chicks.” And the phrasing that they’re teamed up in “the super-est romance of all time” — well, “Suffering Sappho!” I guess.

Here’s an ad for Jimmy Olsen getting up to his usual weird-ass stuff in his own comic:


Was James Bond really known for being boastful? Sardonic, maybe, but I never thought he was that much of a braggart. But then it does say Jimmy is more boastful, so I guess Bond doesn’t really have to be so much.

I don’t really have much to say about this ad except it’s for Ultra the Multi-Alien, who is, of course, awesome:


…and well-played on the “you’ll be drawn to his magnetic force!” blurb.

There’s a lot going on in this Fox and the Crow ad, ballyhooing the debut of Stanley and His Monster:


and if you want to learn more about the Brat Finks, why friends, you find yourself on probably the only comics blog in the world with a “brat finks” category you can click on and enjoy.

Pretty sure there was an episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold too.

§ June 23rd, 2017 § Filed under question time § No Comments

Back to your questions, and that good man Gunga Din asks

“Can you talk about Jonah Hex? I miss him :(“

Well, sure!

The real tragedy of the Jonah Hex movie from 2010 is that a lot of the pieces were right, or at least close-to. Josh Brolin made a good Jonah Hex, most of the supporting cast was pretty solid, the film had the right look…this could have been a good film. Alas, nothing ever really gelled here, and it’s probably just as well the movie gave up and hit the credits at the one hour, 12 minute mark because it just plain wasn’t working.

Now, I joked at the time that instead of ending the narrative at 72 minutes, they should have taken what was at best a mediocre movie and turned it into the Best Film Ever Made by tacking on another half-hour or so of Jonah Hex trapped in the post-apocalyptic future. You know, just like the comics. I mean, what, were they afraid that might end up with a bad flick?

But seriously, it’s the time travel gimmick that makes Jonah Hex stand out from other western heroes, and one that’s come into play in other media adaptations of the character. In both the Justice League animated series, and in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, we are given a Jonah Hex (or Jonah Hexes, I guess) who is an old hand at dealing with people from other times. In the latter show, Jonah and Rip Hunter are already old acquaintances when we first meet him. And in the cartoon…well, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but I believe the gag is that shortly after encountering the Justice League in disguise in the Old West, he realizes what’s going on and states “oh, you’re time travelers.” And it’s made clear he’s dealt with time travel before. In both series, it works…it’s an amusing twist on the expectation that someone from the past would be shocked/surprised by people from the future. Instead, Hex is fairly blasé about it all, and that’s pretty funny.

The actual Jonah Hex comic…okay, to be fair, I haven’t read a whole lot of the original series, but I’ve read enough, and what I read seemed like a standard-issue western. That sounds like I’m being more critical than I am…I mean “standard issue” in that there really wasn’t anything in the series that wouldn’t expect in a western. Not a comment on quality, but rather just a description. No weird monsters, no ghosts, no time travel…well, not ’til issue #92, which was the precursor to the infamous Hex series I’d linked before. Instead, the gimmick of the series was that Hex had those famous and somewhat improbable scars on his face, giving him his distinct look. And I say “improbable” because I once read in a comics mag somewhere a person opining that if an actual cowboy had had a flap of skin like that over his mouth he probably would have cut it off long ago, and that’s been stuck in my mind ever since.

Anyway, after the future Hex series, the first big revival of the character was as a run of mini-series under DC’s Vertigo label, and it was here that we started to get more expansion of the genres ol’ Jonah found himself in. Suddenly, it was a horror comic, with the “weird monsters” I’d mentioned earlier, living up to the title of the comic in which he’d debuted long ago: “Weird Western Tales.” After that, the next major revival was in the 2000s and it was (as I recall) more or less a straight (and very well done!) western, followed by the New 52 relaunch as All-Star Western, which eventually brought us back to Time-Travelin’ Jonah. Of course, Jonah ended up back in his own time, and continued on as normal, making his journey into the future just another thing he had to deal with.

I like having that particular element as a now more-or-less permanent aspect of Jonah Hex. He’s a bounty hunter in the Old West who sometimes has to deal with time travel and it’s No Big Deal. Those stories I mentioned above were from the comics he himself starred in…that doesn’t even mention similarly-themed stories with Jonah as a supporting character, like this 1978 Justice League of America comic, or that one Swamp Thing, and a DC Challenge, too, if that counts.

Oh, and there was that issue of Secret Origins that maintains the whole future Hex series was still part of Jonah’s official continuity, which makes me happy.

In conclusion, Josh Brolin’s Hex should have teamed up with Stiletta and fought Borsten over control for the Soames pills. I’m sure you all agree.

For more Jonah Hex stuff, I recommend Matching Dragoons, probably the most comprehensive Jonah Hex site on the planet. I’ve written a bit about Jonah, too, over the years, but not as much as that guy!

And now, a picture of Jughead skating, for all of your Jughead skating picture needs.

§ June 21st, 2017 § Filed under archie § 3 Comments


 
 

from Laugh #106 (January 1960)

The newest Patreon-only post is up!

§ June 20th, 2017 § Filed under self-promotion, Swamp Thing-a-Thon § No Comments

Installment #3 of the Swamp Thing-a-Thon, featuring my look at Swamp Thing #2 (1972-3) is now up…contribute a minimum of one slim dollar bill per month to my Patreon to get access to these posts months before they show up here! (Free sample of the first installment, featuring House of Secrets #92, is right here.)

And that spot is right in my skull.

§ June 19th, 2017 § Filed under buttons, miraclemarvelman § 2 Comments

So longtime readers remember how I love buttons. Hoo boy, do I love gathering pinbacks of all kinds to admire and display. Of late, my button acquisition has slowed down a bit, as I haven’t had the time to properly maintain the collection, though a few here and there still end up in my hands just as a matter of course.

I bring this up because I recently purchased a run of the British Warrior magazine, famous of course for being the initial home for the Marvelman revival and V for Vendetta, early and important works by writer Alan Moore (with artists Garry Leach and David Lloyd, respectively). Included in the batch was a copy of the Marvelman Special, which I’d previously discussed on this site at length several years ago (though honestly it feels like I just did so…time flies, and all that).

I didn’t mention it at the time, but was reminded of it again looking at this other copy of the magazine that appeared in this collection…there is a great ad for buttons (or “badges,” if you prefer) on the back cover:


…featuring several of the properties that have been appearing in Warrior. My eyes of course immediately went to the swell batch of Marvelman pins that I would love to get my greedy mitts on, down there in the bottom row. I went looking on the eBays and found nothing, though I did find this pic via Google image search, and I hope the person who posted it on this message board doesn’t mind me using part of his (or her, I don’t know!) pic here:


Those are some snazzy pins, and would look great on my blazer or my beanie. Alas, all I have is this ad to remember them by (though pal Dave suggested I make them into pogs, and I don’t know if I should thank him or hate him for even bringing that up).

I also found the Axel Pressbutton badges to be amusing, particularly since they come in “clean” and “blood-splattered” variations:


I’m going to guess that anyone who actually wore one of these was poked right in the pinback several times a day. Probably had a good bruise beneath by the time the poor sap got home.

This Bojeffries Saga pin with Ginda is amazing:

And if you haven’t thought about Zirk in a while, don’t you think it’s time you have?

Speaking of Marvelman pins, like I was just a moment ago if you remember, I was reminded of the button released by Eclipse Comics back in 1986, back when they were handling the character (under the Marvel Comics-enforced name of Miracleman). Under the thrall of Mr. Moore and of Miracleman as I was, combined with my long-existent love of pin collecting, I of course had to have this item, which I wore on my jacket and/or backpack to high school, to such admiring calls of my classmates as “who the hell is that?” and “hey, get a load of the dork!” Anyway, 31 years on, I still have the button in my possession, and though I featured a tiny little scan of it on this very site quite a while ago, I thought I’d rescan it and give you some big ol’ pics. To wit:

A little wear and tear on the button, to be sure, but still a beloved item in the collection just the same. Hopefully I can track down some of those other Marvelman pins at some point…I recently told a pal that I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of knick knack-y detritus in my home, but I have a soft spot for Marvel/Miracleman, and for pinbacks, and especially for the two combined.

Wobbling but not falling down since 1969.

§ June 16th, 2017 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot § 1 Comment

  • So longtime reader Roel has a Kickstarter going for his new graphic novel Deathface Rocker Crew that I encourage you to check out. You may recall me liking his Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy comic from a while ago, and I expect this new project will entertaining as well!
  • I don’t like the idea of a world without Mad Magazine. Okay, as Mr. Evanier says it’s probably not going away, as such, but that there’s even the rumor is a little worrying, given the state of most print magazines.
  • Not comics, but pal Andrew has a funny story about a children’s toy from our shared youth.

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