Remember when comics bloggers were all concerned about “snark?”

§ April 22nd, 2019 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 3 Comments

Hiya pals! I’m still recovering from my recent eyeball bugaboos, so please be patient as I slowly get the hamster-wheels running on the ol’ Progressive Ruin website again. In case you missed it, I did have a couple of smaller posts over the last few days, and I think that may be par for the course for a little while as my vision continues to defog. So you’re not rid of me just yet.

One thing I wanted to post about last week is the fact that the new DC solicitations include the beginning of the direct market-available reprintings of the new content from the Walmart-exclusive 100-page giants. My thought was that they were probably going to collect those stories into trade paperbacks, but nope, they’re going for periodicals, each containing two installments from the giants. $4.99 cover-priced periodicals, natch, but What Can You Do? I’m sure the trade will follow eventually.

The Superman one (cover pictured here in the post somewhere) is titled Superman: Up in The Sky, and the Batman one is Batman Universe. I particularly like the title of the Superman book, and quite frankly I’m surprised it hasn’t been used yet. Or maybe it has, I don’t know, there are lots of Superman comics. Batman Universe is a pretty good title, too. Hopefully the eventual collection of the Swamp Thing stories from the Walmart giants will be called…what? Swamp Thing: Out of the Muck? Swamp Thing: Born on the Bayou? Swamp Thing: Gotta Defuse It Before? …I bet they go wtih Roots of the Swamp Thing. Y’know, again.

The interesting thing about this…when I made a comment about this on the Twitters, about how nice it was to be able to get these stories since no local Walmarts carried these comics, well, the following happened:


THEIR EYES ARE EVERYWHERE. Though I notice they didn’t comment on my rather cynical observation from a couple of years prior. …Yeah, that’s a tad snarky. Not as snarky as this, but still.

Okay, enough of these shenangians…time to return my eyes to th evault. I’ll be back midweek. Thanks for sticking around and I’ll see — well, “see” — you then.

Just thought I’d share a picture of this CD from my collection with you all today.

§ April 20th, 2019 § Filed under undergrounds § No Comments

Purely for the comic book connection of the Freak Brothers, of course:

“DO NOT BRING YOUR EVIL HERE.”

§ April 18th, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

The good news – a teaser trailer for the upcoming Swamp Thing TV series guest-starring Blue Devil on DC Universe:

The bad news: due to some behind the scenes stuff, the series order was cut from 13 episodes down to 10:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/swamp-thing-order-cut-as-dc-universes-role-warnermedia-streaming-unclear-1202680

We interrupt this hiatus…

§ April 16th, 2019 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion § 1 Comment

…to let you know that my store sponsored this week’s episode of War Rocket Ajax. Hear pals Matt ‘n’ Chris sing the praises of Sterling Silver Comics! …It was definitely nice to hear after a couple of rough eyeball days, so that was good timing!

A slightly less brief hiatus.

§ April 15th, 2019 § Filed under sick day § 8 Comments

Well, the plan was to be back to blogging this week, with a brand new “End of Civilization” and everything, but unfortunately I had a one-two punch of vision setbacks over the weekend and things will have to be on hold here for just a little while longer. Sorry about that!

Don’t worry, it’s nothing that’s not fixable, but until I recover a little bit more, activities like this will be curtailed. I will be back to it soon, I promise…I am not going to be one of those blogs that’s all “oh, I’ haven’t had time lately, but I’ll return shortly!” and that was heir last post in 2008. I’m still around, I still have stuff to say, I just, um, can’t see very well at the moment.

Thanks for your patience, and I’ll be back in no time. Honest! No foolin’!

A brief respite.

§ April 8th, 2019 § Filed under sick day § 6 Comments

Hiya pals. I’m taking this week off from Progresive Ruining to give my post-surgery eyeballs more of a chance to rest in the evenings. I should be back the following Monday.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon.

No, really, I don’t have any more of these. Honest.

§ April 5th, 2019 § Filed under the eBay § 6 Comments


So here’s a heck of a thing…I’ve been selling a number of sports related magazines on consignment on the eBays, but the person ifor whom I am selling said items brought in something fairly unusual. Pictured above is a program for a Green Bay Packers game, dated November 5th, 1922. As the owner of the item noted in his description, it’s just three years short of being an antique.

I should say “former owner,” because that sucker is sold and way out of my hands, and there ain’t no more coming of similar vintage, so hold those phone calls and emails, friends. Now, when this item was originally purchased by the person I was selling this for, he paid about a thousand dollars for it back in the 1980s. When we listed it on eBay, we started it off with a 99-cent opening bid, with a $2,000 Buy-It-Now price. Within a day of listing it, I started getting phone calls. Calls from people offering anywhere from three to five thousand for the item. I, and the owner of the item, found this to be an unexpected development. However, given our own disinclination to end an eBay auction early like that, plus wondering what it would eventually go for given that we were getting offers like that in the first day, we just let the auction ride.

Well, it turns out someone should have jumped on that two grand Buy-It-Now right away because it ended up going for just over $5,200. Yes, that’s a little bit mindblowing. I only keep a small-ish portion of that, but still, that was something else. I have an eBay app on my phone that gives off a little noise when I get a bid, or an item is sold, or what have you, and in the last, oh, two minutes of the auction’s duration, my phone just wouldn’t shut up what with all the under-the-wire bids that program was receiving.

Anyway, it was paid for right quick (with a personal check, to avoid the PayPal fees but also required me holding the item while I waited for the payment to clear), and it was shipped off to its new happy home, leaving behind a couple of happy sellers.

…I believe I’ve noted, either here or on the Twitters, that in regards to mail order, it generally requires the same amount of time investment in preparing a $1 item or a $100 item for shipment, in terms of what I decide to list or not list. As you may not be surprised to hear, a $5000+ item takes significantly longer to prepare, simply out of sheer paranoia. This program isn’t significantly different from other items I’ve sent into the tender mercies of the postal office…I’ve shipped out lots of promotional materials, flyers and posters and other goodies of similar dimensions, and just sandwiching those between two sturdy pieces of cardboard, taping ’em down, wrapping them in the proper envelope, and that’s that. This item got wrapped inside multiple bags, sandwiched between multiple pieces of thick cardboard, wrapped in bubble wrap, and shipped in a box. With insurance. And tracking. And signature confirmation.

It arrived fine, by the way. I was reasonably certain it would show up in one piece, but one can’t help but worry with something that’s 1) irreplaceable, and 2) a tad pricy. I don’t think I exhaled loudly and patted my sweat-beaded forehead with a kerchief like an old timey sitcom character when I found out it arrived safely, but I certainly thought about it.

No real good reason to bring that all up here, aside from maybe showing you some odd item you probably haven’t seen before, even if it’s not comic book related, or giving you an idea of the kind of stuff I do as a Big Time Funnybook Shop Owner. And yes, maybe to brag just a little. On one hand, I’d love if every eBay sale was like this, but on the other hand, the stress would probably kill me, so perhaps it’s for the best.

(Here’s the auction listing, for as long as eBay will keep it up.)

THE EYEBALL MUST BE OBEYED.

§ April 3rd, 2019 § Filed under question time, retailing § 3 Comments

Going to keep this super-brief (no, really, I mean it this time) to give my peepers a rest, so let me just answer a couple of questions.

Allan wrenches out the following

“*looks at Mike’s twitter feed* Is…is that the same shirt you wore for your previous eye surgery? Do you have a lucky eye surgery shirt?”

He is of course referring to this photo, which is probably about as stoned-looking as you’ll ever see me, since the anesthesia and other assorted chemical-goodies they doped up with really threw me for a loop this time.

…Anyway, yes, that is indeed the same shirt I wore for the previous two operations. I was instructed to wear a “loose-fitting, short-sleeved shirt” and that was the loosest-fitting, shortest-sleeved shirt I had available. Also, it’s kinda oldish and worn out, not unlike its wearer, so I wouldn’t mind if, say, blood or eye-juice got squirted on it.

In response to my “new shelf at the store” post, philfromgermany imports the following question:

“The wall display look amazing. Are these mostly for trades? Do you leave the new books on the wall for a week or longer before filing them away?”

The big, long wall rack is for the periodicals (though I do have a couple books up there)…I tend to leave stuff up there for a month before filing them away, though I have enough space to keep some items up for longer if I wish. (For example, I’ve been keeping all of Doomsday Clock up there, and until just recently I had every issue of the new Uncanny X-Men series on the new comics shelf as well.) In general, the week’s new releases are on the top two rows, and the previous month’s (or so) books are on the bottom four.

The trade paperback shelves (which I was adding to with that bookshelf I just built and took that picture of) are on the opposite wall, though I have a three-leveled table near the front center of the store where I try to put all the new weekly TP and graphic novel arrivals. After that they get moved to the big bookshelf (that looks sorta like the comic racks) where they’re displayed front facing, then eventually movied to the regular bookshelves, spine out. Though some books of particular interest are kept on front-facing display (like Saga or the Star Wars books).

Matthew wonders

“Do you have a quarter/dollar/clearance section for back issues and trade paperbacks? If so, how do you decide what goes in it?”

I do! I didn’t take a picture of it, but I have a small table up near the register that holds a few long boxes of bargain comics (usually stuff acquired for cheap…or just dumped on me…in collections, or excess leftover stock, or material I just don’t think I’ll be able to get a premium back isue price for at any point in the near future). On the three-leveled table I mentioned previously, I have a section of bargain trades and graphic novels, usually items I got on clearance from one of my distributor’s regular discount sales.

OKAY ENOUGH QUESTIONS, Mike’s Eyeball needs to rest. I’ll be back Frieday…IF THE EYEBALL WILLS IT.

Eye-yi-yi!

§ April 1st, 2019 § Filed under low content mode § 8 Comments


Third time’s the charm, with any luck, and today should be my final of a series of eye surgeries…barring complications, of course! It’s just a routine procedure, so they tell me, and I should be up and around and back to work tomorrow, and with any luck I’ll return to my blogging shenanigans here on Wednesday. So, think good thoughts about my eyeball and I should see you soon…with both eyes, finally!

But seriously, buy lots and lots of comics from me.

§ March 29th, 2019 § Filed under retailing § 8 Comments

So one of my tasks at my shop last week, which I needed to get done before my next (and hopefully final) eyeball surgery next week and would have to restrict certain types of strenuous activity, was assembling and installing a new shelving unit to hold more graphic novels. Now I figured the hard part would be building the actual shelf in question, which isn’t so much “hard” as it is “time-consuming,” but still, I DOOD IT:

I believed the easy part would be moving the preexisting shelves and insterting this new one between them. Well, as it turned out, when I had the Gigantorack built for the new comics, along with another similar rack for graphic novels, the graphic novel track and the other bookshelves were all bolted to the wall by the builders. As such, it wasn’t simply a matter of just taking some books off to lighten the load and then shoving everything over, but getting them unhooked from the wall first…which took some doing since I didn’t have the appropriate or correctly-sized tools to remove the fasteners they used. (I mean, it couldn’t just take a screwdriver, that would be too simple.)

Anyway, it’s done now, with the assistance of a helpful customer (since me using any kind of tool is usually an invitation to disaster or perhaps self-maiming). I now have more space for graphic novels and trade paperbacks and thick comics or whatever you want to call them, though I’ve already made good progress abhoring that vaccuum and getting those shelves filled up via the subsequent refiddling of the stock.

This does tie into something I’ve been thinking about of late, which is the matter of space. I’ve been spending the last several months getting a lot of those boxes of old comics in the back processed and priced up, with lots more to go, requiring me to find places to put them. The three large metal shelving units I have behind my counter hadn’t had their topmost shelves utilized, so I finally threw some boxes on top there and began the giant game of Tetris of resorting and reorganizing and relabelling all those bins, both behind the counter and on the floor.

Well, by “Floor” I mean “the two wooden tables that also hold back issues, but are accessible by the customers. Now is probably a good time to put up a picture so you can see what I’m talking about:

When I first opened, I didn’t have anything on the bottom part of the tables. I hadn’t even really filled up the tops of the tables…I used half of one table to hold comic supplies. Now I’ve expanded the back issues to occupy those bottom sections…mostly “Misc. Publisher” slots rather than individual titles, which I try to keep up top. So there’s like “Misc. Image,” “Misc. Dark Horse,” etc. I do have a number of magazine boxes underneath as well which are more a mix of boxes for individual titles (like Mad or Savage Sword of Conan) along with, like, “Misc. Marvel Mags” and that sort of thing.

The part of the table on the far left of the picture is my “new arrivals” section, where recent acquisitions (either from the back room or from colections) are priced and put out, where they’ll hopefully sell before I have to film them away in their regular sections. Those get flipped through all the time, so I do more quite a few out ofthere…my back-issue oriented customers know to poke through those boxes on a pretty regular basis.

This is a very long way of me saying that “thinking about space” has been a preoccupation of mine of late. I still have room to expend in the back issue bins…I’ve got space on the shelves behind the counter still, there’s plenty of slack in the boxes on top of the tables, and I can probably fit more boxes underneath that one table if I decide to stow the comic supplies elsewhere. But once all those spaces are filled — then what?

I could move to a larger location, which I’m not anxious to do…a lot of work was put into making this store look nice, with new flooring that I don’t beleive would come easily with us. Plus, I like how close I am to local conveniences, like, say, the post office, which is a two minute walk away and facilitates the amount of mail order I do. I could knock out part of one of the back walls…the back room is divided in two

The perpaps preferable option is doing some interior remodeling…the back room is essentially divived in two, and if we knocked out part of the divider wall between the front and the back, I could use half the back room for more retail space, while still having the other half for storage. It would take some work and some definite rearranging and some new flooring (since the floor in the back is all concrete) but you know, it’s not impossible.

But this is a long ways off, I think. Or maybe not, given the amount of back issues that have been processed for sale lately. It’s not an immediate concern, at any rate, but it is something that I always have to think about. Unless you guys suddenly rush in and buy lots of stuff from me…that’ll leave me with plenty of growing room then!

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