But don’t skip Howard the Duck.

§ June 17th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 7 Comments

Okay, let’s start dipping into some of those questions you all left me…if you want to join in the fun, or “fun,” feel free to add your own ’til the comments section there shuts down automatically after how ever many weeks I set it for. Look, I can’t remember everything.

Roger Owen Green ties everything together with

“I were to watch all the MU movies in order which one(s) could I skip?”

Hoo boy. That’s a toughie. I mean, if you just want the core “state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe” flicks, you could just watch the Avengers films, since everything either leads into or ties into that. If you are just looking to skip the…well, none of them are particularly bad as such, but certainly some are less essential viewing than others, I guess. But if you’re committing to watching them all anyway, you might as well not skip the second Thor movie, right? What’s two more hours?

I mean, if you’re really pressed for time, skipping the second Thor momvie and the second Iron Man movie would probably not affect your MCU world-building too much. Also, I’d say “skip that second Avengers movie, too” but like I said, that’s kinda part of the backbone of the whole thing. Maybe fast-forward through it.

• • •

Paul Di Filippo falls out of bed with

“How can you account for the virtual extinction of Welsh Rarebit and the lack of dreams derived from the consumption thereof?”

Sir, I would blame the lack of sufficient newspaper space for the funnypages to properly contain the brilliance of Winsor McCay. Imagine this, sequeezed down to three tiny boxes right next to, I don’t know, Marvin. Do they even make Marvin any more? I mean, don’t tell me, I’m not that interested, but then again, strips do exist that can fit their weird genius into limited space. Who knows what McCay could have done?

• • •

ScienceGiant looms over me with

“Has Superman ever brought up Lori Lemaris to Aquaman, or is he all now-I’m-just-somebody-that-you-used-to-know?”

I don’t know that he’s ever specifically mentioned his mermaid friend to the King of the Seas, but I do recall that DC established fairly early on that there were two…Alantises? I don’t know that both their realms were called “Atlantis” specifically (though in the early Silver Age Lori and Aquaman each claimed to be part of the Atlantis home team. But when Marvel started breathing down DC’s neck with their own slightly more consistent shared universe, I think the official DC continuity explanation was that they were both of Atlantis origin, but there was a split of some kind into “mer-people” and “people-people what could breathe underwater.” Pretty sure Peter David’s Atlantis Chronicles covers this, if I recall correctly.

You know, I bet the Wikipedia entry covers this somewhere. Let me look.

[TEMPUS FISH-IT]

Okay, I did find this page which lists a couple of times that Lori met Aquman (and I also forgot about this Justice League of Atlantis thing) so they totally me. And there’s a reference in the Lori Lemaris Wiki entry to the character looking for other lost Atlantean cities in her first post-Crisis appearance, so there’s your textual support for that.

So unfortunately I haven’t read every Lori Lemaris appearacnce, so I don’t know if there is specifically a panel somewhere with Superman bringing her up to Aquaman and asking “so where’s YOUR fishy half?” but I suppose there’s something like that somewhere.

ª ª ª

Chris works the room blue with

“While they always shuffle around the reasons depending on the era, I always wonder why a super smart race like the Kryptonians really whiffed at the whole exploration/colonization of the stars. Has there ever been a satisfactory reason/story as to why DC’s cosmic realm is so fraught with danger, despite space mall cops in every sector?”

I think the main reason is so we don’t have a universe populated with super-Kryptonians. Keeping all down on the farm when the planet exploded establishes the main premise, that Superman is the Last Son of Krypton and we’ll never see any other Kryptonians, ever (except for Supergirl, and the Phantom Zone villains, and Krypto the Superdog…). The in-univesre excuse I seem to recall was that there was some genetic problem in them, that kept them from being able to leave the world’s orbit without dying (which somewho Kal-El was able to avoid)…that may have been in one of Elliot S! Maggin’s novels. I also assumed there was an implied xenophobia in John Byrne’s portral of Krypton in his 1966 Man of Steel mini-series. My guess is that the reasons given for the Kryptonias didn’t split their plenet tend toward “there’s something wrong with them” rather than “the universe is terrible so let’s stay home.”

Okay, had to once again look at a Wiki page (“Hello, and welcome to ‘Mike Rewrites Portions of Wikipedia for His Blog'”) and it brings up “xenophobia” and a genetic inability to leave the planet as well, so I was remembering some of that correctly.

Also, I’d bet after Brainiac showed up and stole Kandor, the Kryptonins were all “NOPE TO SPACE, THANK YOU,” and who could blame them?

• • •

ENOUGH QUESTIONS FOR NOW. More answers in…the future!

I realize the phrase “following up on my Swamp Thing post” doesn’t exactly narrow things down.

§ June 14th, 2019 § Filed under does mike ever shut up, sterling silver comics, swamp thing, undergrounds § 1 Comment

Following up on my Swamp Thing post, I should note that there are further reports about what may or may not have happened regarding the show’s cancellation. First it was “somebody messed up the tax credit,” then it was “they weren’t getting enough tax credit,” and now it’s “powers-that-be thought the show was a stinker and cut their losses.” The show’s getting plenty of good reviews now, but it’s probably too late for them to change their minds. Anyway, I have no idea what the full, real story is, but in the meantime, one of the My Little Ponies, a “community manager” at DC Universe, tries to keep things upbeat, as is the way of said ponies.

ª ª ª

More Swampy follow-up: after noting here and discussing further here that DC’s digital versions of certain Swamp Thing issues feature incomplete artwork or missing captions, BobH asked if the same problem was still in the print edtion. And yes, after getting Swamp Thing Book One TPB back in stock, I was able to check and…the color-hold image is missing from the reprint of #21, and the “and meet the sky” caption is still missing from the end of #24. Don’t worry, everyone, I’m sure they’ll have this fixed by ther time Swamp Thing Season Two shows up on DC Universe.

ª ª ª

Hey, look at this thing that showed up in a collection on Thursday:


And here’s the back cover, because why not:


I immediately recognized this as an Ods Bodkins book, featuring the work of Dan O’Neill, but quickly realized it was one I already had, albiet in the diffeof trent edition. It was, in fact the first edition, from 1969, of Hear The Sound of My Feet Walking..Drown The Sound of My Voice Talking. I discussed the book, or at least my edition of same, a couple of times on the site, including way super-early on, back when people read blogs. And I brought it up again a mere 12 years later when I decided my site needed a nice big scan of the cover.

It’s quite a bit larger than my copy (it’s about the size of one of those treasury edition comics) and there appears to be a page half covers in red ink. Not “oopsie we splashed some red ink on this page,” but literally “here, have a giant solid block of red for just that one page for some reason.” I’ll need to take a closer look and see what’s up with that…or just straight up keep the book, since I love “Ods Bodkins.” …Yes, I’m the guy.

• • •

So about the Will Eisner “Spirit of Comics Retailing” award my shop was nominated for…well, you can read the whole tragic tale here on my store’s Facebook page. If you eschew Facebook, and if so I salute you, the short version is: got the paperwork a while back, decided to hold off dealing iwth it ’til my eyes were a bit better, checked the due date, waited a bit, eyes are reasonably better, got out the paperwork again, realized I misread or misremembered the due date and now it’s too late to enter. Well, great.

On the other hand, if I tried to complete the paperwork and take the necessary photos and make the necessary video for the award application on time, I would have had to done with eyes that on a good day were barely adequate for my regular day-to-day stuff, and occasionally completely obscured leaving me with hardly any vision at all. So, let’s call this a “mixed blessing,” and should someone make the horrible mistake of nominating me again next year, hopefully my eyes will be back in business for good and I can give the award whatever attention I can manage.

And like I said in my Facebook post…my eyes are finally getting better. Both eyes. At the same time. Not “one eye’s mostly okay, the other completely blind” or anything like that. This is the first time I’ve had reasonable, though still a bit to go, vision in both eyes at the same time in over a year. Barring any more surprise sets (crossing my fingers ande my corneas) everything should be good sooner rather than later. Yes, I realize I’m jinxing it.

I can’t really call myself an “Eisner nominee” since I won’t be in the running, but it’s nice that someone thought well enough about me to throw my name into the hat. I’m not the biggest or most media-present store out there, but I am a guy who likes to sell comics, has a store full of them, and has done this for a long time. That I still get to do it is certainly an award in and of itself.

• • •

Don’t forget…I’m still taking your funnybook-related questions and post topics! I’ll probably start on them next, so be sure to tune in on your Internet Radio Box for that.

By the way, I just sold another copy of the black-bagged Superman #75, in case you’re wondering if those still move.

§ June 12th, 2019 § Filed under death of superman § 5 Comments

So the other day a fella dropped by the shop and said he had a few things destined for the local thrift store, but was willing to leave them with me instead. I said “sure, I’ll take a look,” and that’s how your pal Mike ended up with over a case of Adventures of Superman #500, the white-bagged edition, in his possession. Something like 140 copies, I believe was the count? Anyway, there they are in all their glory.

This gentleman and I spoke about that early ’90s Death of Superman era, how most stores were caught short on the initial black-bagged Superman #75, and tried to make up for it by making darn sure to order plenty of Adventures #500, the “return” (or the beginning of the return) of the Man of Steel. He said he had at one point 26 cases of the book…not sure if he’d sold most of those, or traveled the country like Johnny Superseed planting those boxes at comic shops hither and yon, but it made me feel a bit better about the one sealed case of them we still had back at the previous place of employment.

At any rate, I don’t mind having these around. I get to take a picture of them and show ’em off on the interwebs, I’ve been selling them for $1 each at the front counter (“Are those reprints?” “No, they’re the real original thing.” “WHAT.”), and if all else fails, maybe they’ll make a good Free Comic Book Day giveaway next year. But if you want one, better pop in quick…supplies are (relatively) limited!

There was also a small pile of Youngblood Strikeforce included with these, that you might be able to see there on the counter next to the box. Well, sure, I guess I’ll take those too. Can’t beat the price.

Come to think of it, have we ever seen Swamp Thing immediately start trying to tear off all the muck ‘n’ stuff post-transformation? That’s what I’d do.

§ June 10th, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, television § 3 Comments

[SPOILERS for the first two episodes of Swamp Thing (2019)]


So the big problem with watching a show that you already know is doomed from the start is, basically, investment. I mean, yes, you can just watch it and enjoy what you got, sure, but it’s difficult to divorce yourself from your assumptions of abandoned potential, watching as plot threads and character developments are introduced and you realize they’ll never get the required time necessary to play out properly.

You could think of the DC Universe’s Swamp Thing TV show, which debuted at the very end of last month, as a “mini-series,” I suppose (and it’s really only a matter of time before the cheery hosts of that service’s DC Daily news show start referring to it as such), but a mini-series would imply a planned beginning, middle, and end, and not a suddenly assembled “well, tie it up best we can” final episode when the word came down a while back that the series order was cut from 13 episodes to 10. Now that we know this is all we’re getting with news of the show’s outright cancellation (for not 100% clear reasons just yet…there seems to be some contention over the popuarly-reported financial causes for the shutdown) it makes it hard to think about what could have been.

Because what we got so far? Not too shabby, thinks I. My eye troubles over the past week were maybe a good thing, at least for blogging purposes, as I’ve now had two episodes under my belt to reflect upon, given that Swamp Thing his own self doesn’t really even show up ’til the end of the first episode. (Another nagging thought…with only ten episodes left, the slow burn on Swampy action is a little frustrating…I want as much crammed in as possible. I want a Swamp Thing/Anton Arcane throwdown, complete with all the Un-Men, by episode 4 at the latest.)

But overall, all the elemnts are there, if shuffled around a tad. Abby Arcane works for the Center of Disease Cotrol, sent back to her hometown in Louisiana to investigate a mysterious swamp-borne virus. She meets Alac Holland, a dusgraced scientist who had been working for local Powerful Man up to No Good Avery Sunderland, but remained in town investigating the weird goings-on in the swamplands after Sunderland let him go. And Matt Cable is there, now a policeman and old schoolmate of Abby’s, and Liz Tremayne, a reporter introduced in the Marty Pasko/Tom Yeates 1980s run, is there as well, and still a reporter.

Alas, no Linda Holland or Chester Williams as of yet. But we do get Dan Cassidy, a local actor who, as we all surely know, is the Blue Devil in our beloved comics. Will he become the Blue Devil in the series? That feels like a season two or three thing–oh, right. And Madame Xanadu, DC’s mysical seer-type person, is there as well, and she establishes with Sunderland’s wife that there are some supernatural shenanigans happening involvin their long-desceased daughter (whose death is tied to Abby, who was their daughter’s friend). Oh, and did I mention Matt Cable’s mother is the local sheriff, played by Jennifer Beals?

So yeah, it’s not quite as simple a set-up as in the original comics. But some of those elements are still present. It’s established that Matt had a crush on Abby, and since Abby started to have feeling for Alec before…well, more on that in a second, but that had the makings of some kind of love triangle eventually, made to play out over the years to…um, anyway.

About Alec’s transformation. As much as I was hoping to get some version of this scene, with all the retooling of the premise I guess that wasn’t going to happen. While overall I’m fine with what they’ve done, I do have to admit it does bother me a little bit that Alec’s transformation into Swamp Thing is not due to his own experiments, but rather because of some outside force dumping “growth accelerant” into the water, causing the mutations and odd behaviors of the plant life out there in the bog. I’m not sure why that troubles me, aside from losing the inherent tragedy, and irony, of Alec falling victim to his own discovery. Instead, while out in the swamp investigating the dumped chemicls, he’s shot, the boat he’s on blows up, and muck-encrusted mockery ensues.

But, you know, I can live with it, at least for the eight remaining episodes. And everything is certainly moodily lit and plenty creepy. (A shot of the body of an early victiim of the virus, suddenly bolting upright during an autopsy with roots and such jutting out of it, stiffly jerking about, is particularly jarring.) And Swamp Thing, once we finally get a ood look at him in Episode 2, definitely looks like Swamp Thing, all planty and slimy and goopy and stuff. No ill-fitting green wetsuit here. We haven’t heard him speak yet, but episode three is titled “He Speaks,” so I’m guessing we will. It’s definitely caught my interest, and I think it does a good job updating the character and situations for a modern audience, laying the groundwork for what could have been several seasons of story. But oh well.

A couple other things…Tim Russ, AKA Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager had a bit part in the pilot. Some kind of weird Star Trek synergy goin’ on over at the DC Universe, what with Marina Sirtis showing up for an episode of Titans.

Also, there’s a little blonde girl, the daughter of one of the first victims of the swamp-virus, and appears to be affected herself, who’s present in the first two episodes. I don’t know if they were implying some kind of psychic connection between her and Swamp Thing (her tearing off wires while in her hospital bed, while Swamp Thing, immediately post transofrmation, similarly tearing at the roots and muck that have become his body), but it reminds me a little of the little blonde girl “Casey” from the early issues of this series:


I’m going to presume things don’t work out quite the same way in the TV show as in the comic. However, she does eventually meet our hero, who saves her life, and there’s a bit of offscreen bonding we learn about in the second episode’s cliffhanger (she tells Abby that creature says his name is Alec). I think it’s a nice callback to an overshadowed comic book run, whether it was intentional or not.

As may come as no surprise, I’ll be in for the duration of the series, but I can already see myself thinking “C’MON PICK UP THE PACE, YOU ONLY HAVE FOUR EPISODES LEFT” or whatever. Who knows, maybe this’ll be the killer app that gets everyone to finally sign on for the DC Universe service and the powers that be will strike some kind of new deal to make more episodes. A boy can dream.

The day of the show’s debut, the aforementioned DC Daily did a Swampy-focused episode, which began with this screen:

Kudos to whoever was responsible for that reference to the greatest superhero cartoon theme song of all time:

Regular service resumes Monday.

§ June 7th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 2 Comments

Hi pals! As stated last time, I had a bit of an eyeball situation over the past week. Things were up ‘n’ down a bit, but mostly “up” now, with said situation having pretty much resolved. As such, I’ll be back in action here on the site next Monday, with some of that funnybook blogging content that you crave. So, be sure to come back for that Swamp Thing TV show review I probably should write (and yes, I know the show’s canned already…I’ll talk about that too).

Thank you for your patience, and I’ll talk to you soon.

(sigh) Another brief eyeball-related hiatus.

§ June 3rd, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 3 Comments

Had a little post-op bleeding in my right eye (AKA “the good eye”), and since my left eye (AKA “the perviously good eye”) is still recovering from its own surgery, I was left pretty much blind all of Sunday. Now, that bleediing isn’t unusual, and it’s already washing out of my eye, so my vision should be back t what currently passes for normal soon…the fact that I can see well enough to even type this is a vast improvement over yesterday…I still need to take a little time off. Should be fine by the end of the week, if things continue as they are.

Sorry for the inconvenience (and what is probably a lot of typos) and I’ll talk to you soon.

This is the first actual physical comic book I’ve read in nearly six weeks.

§ May 31st, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics, watchmen § 4 Comments

[SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #10]

So in the new issue of Doomsday Clock is how it introduces the idea that the various continuity shifts in the DC Universe are not only Superman-centric, but said shifts also affect the multiverse at large. Explicitly stated at last is the idea that Dr. Manhattan, as we’d figured, is responsible for the recent “Rebirth” continuity changes, as he tests out the nature of the DC Universe.

This idea of “the metaverse” (as it’s called) is a weird and interesting one, which reminds me to some extent of “Hypertime.” As you may recall, Hypertime was DC’s previous attempt at created an in-universe explanation for the various continuity boondoggles that crop up in comics, particularly since Crisis on Infinite Earths (itself created to streamline the DC Universe and reduce continuity issues, ironically enough). Hypertime was a thing where changes/glitches/inconsistencies occurred due to the intermingling of the various timelines of the DCU, basically a way of saying “don’t worry so much about stuff, just enjoy the story.” It was maybe too subtle a distinction, as eventually, as I recall, it eventually just became “here are parallel Earths again!” and I don’t know that the idea of Hypertime was cropped up much in recent years.

Anyway, we don’t have the full story yet as to why the DC Universe, or “Metaverse,” does this, outside of Manhattan’s own interference. Maybe Geoff Johns is going to bring Hypertime back in this. Wouldn’t put it past him. I do like how it’s centering on Superman, and I think it is, as I said, an interesting idea. It’s just a shame it’s being used in a series that’s (if you’ll pardon the expression) doomed to be a footnote in the history of the original Watchmen graphic novel, a curiosity that will be discussed mostly in terms of “…yeah, they actually did that comic.”

Don’t get me wrong…I’m enjoying it, sometimes on its own terms, sometimes as the off-model exploitation of a seminal, and ultimately standalone, work. But, like the “Before Watchmen” comics from some years back, like the HBO series that’s coming, like that big-budget movie, it’ll be regarded as some strange offshoots that surround the original, but never touch it.

I can’t believe Swamp Thing said that about Batman.

§ May 30th, 2019 § Filed under doom patrol, swamp thing, television § 3 Comments

Your reminder that I, a glutton for punishment, have asked you, people what still read the comic blogs, for questions and topics for me to type a lot about, as is the way of my people. Please feel free to pop in over there and let your query flag quiver!

In other news…okay, what I had originally written here was this enormous rambling thing about the DC Universe original streaming shows and how much they embraced or did not embrace their funnybook origins, and boy did it get out of hand. “What, Mike typed too much?” I hear you asking in disbelieving tones. But yeah, it was a mess and too long and nobody wanted to read that. Instead, let me give you my much more brief opinions on the shows thus far:

Titans – while tonally…off, and with limitations on the characters that likely stem from budgetary/suspension of disbelief reasons (no flying for Starfire/only one animal option for Beast Boy) it still remains oddly watchable. The acting is solid, the ongoing plots about Robin trying to escape Batman’s shadow, and the stuff with Raven, are interesting, and the fight sequences are very well choreographed and easy to follow, which I appreciate. Plus, I love the fact that Hawk and Dove pretty much look like they were 3D printed directly from the comic books, even if they seemed to miss the point of, you know, Dove being a pacifist. Still, it’s enough to bring me back for Season Two, where I hope they shift a little more away from “WE’RE DARK AND ADULT, NOT LIKE THAT TEEN TITANS CARTOON YOU REMEMBER” and more toward the goofy superhero stuff. I mean, they don’t have to go all the way if they want, but a little more would be nice. The end-of-season tag gives me a smidgen of hope.

Young Justice: Outsiders – perfectly fine…if you liked the previous two seasons of this show, here’s more, and it’s a fun look at the DC Universe via the perspective of the younger heroes and sidekicks. Nothing against the Bruce Timm/DC Animated Universe style, but it’s nice to have a longform take on these characters that doesn’t look like every other DC TV cartoon. Good thing DC Universe spaces out the releases of their shows, because this would have been an easy one to just watch the entire initial batch of episodes straight through.

Doom Patrol: probably the breakout star of the streaming shows so far, approaching these weird characters and weird situations, often straight out of the comics, with humor and, well, the willingness to just throw the bonkers stuff at you and tell you “here you go, deal with it.” I know initially I thought for sure they’d figure out a way to have Robotman appear in human form most of the time thanks to some, I don’t know, holographic disguise or something, but nope, there’s Robotman, pretty much all the time. And I have to say, Brendan Fraser’s voicework on the character, as well as his dialogue and general demeanor, is just spot on perfect. That’s Robotman.

The other characters in the show are nicely done as well, though I’m hoping to see more of Rita Farr using her stretchy powers properly, rather than just occasionally melting down a bit. And Cyborg fit in better than I thought he would, supplying a contrast between the other Patrol members and himself while revealing to be nearly as messed up as the rest of them.

The metatextual commentary of Mr. Nobody, the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Danny the Street and Flex MentallO, even the Beardhunter (somewhat in changed form)…this show really gave us something different and off-kilter in the superhero genre, which was desperately needed.

Forthcoming is Stargirl (about the show I know very little aside from seeing shots of the costume) and of course Swamp Thing (starting Frihay – here have a trailer). They look like they’re fiddling with the characters and set-up a bit, but I’m still willing to give it a go. What, you thought I wouldn’t? Here’s hoping it’s closer to Doom Patrol than to Titans…but let’s face it, I’d watch it regardless. I’ll report back after I get a chance to watch my own self.

Anyway, there’s my shorter take on the DCU TV shows. Aren’t you glad I kept it brief?

Yes, I’m taking questions again.

§ May 27th, 2019 § Filed under question time § 25 Comments


Don’t be like Archie and his pals! I want you to (m)ask me some questions (or suggest a topic for a post) that I will discuss right here on Progressive Ruin Dot RU Dot Gov Backslash Flashindexframe Dot HTML, Optimized for Netscape. Not at all a tactic to cover the fact that I ran out of time for my planned follow-up post regarding The Mystery of he Black and White Swamp Thing Scans on DC Universe.

Try to make it comic book related, because that’s all I know about, and please just one question per customer, as I have but one eye as yet to look at them all. So, keeping that in mind, just pop your question or suggestion into the comments and I shall do my best to give you some kind of response! (And before ou ask…I’ll get back to that Swamp Thing stuff next time.)

Thanks, pals!

Was this ever in the New Super-Man series?

§ May 24th, 2019 § Filed under Uncategorized § 4 Comments

So customer Brook told me his brother Nick was currently visiting China, and whllst there he took pictures of this statue near his hotel:


I’m sure thre’s an explanation, and I can probably Google it up, or someone will send me a link, but for the time being I’m just going to appreciate the mystery.

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