mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, January 24, 2004


It looks like the Baltimore City Paper Funny Paper online column hasn't been updated in a while...it's not the first time, though, so hopefully they'll catch up in the near future.

If you haven't seen this before, it's basically a mostly-sarcastic look at the week in the local comic strip page, complete with random panels reprinted alongside (and given new humor and meaning by their isolation from the original context...read a few, you'll see what I mean).

Oh, and they really really really hate Mother Goose and Grimm. Go back through a few columns...there's some serious anger at Mike Peters being expressed.

Friday, January 23, 2004


The discussion of Popeye during his 75th anniversary recently (go to Flat Earth for the best coverage) had me thinking about how when I was a kid, the book to check out of the Richard Bard Elementary School library was a Popeye 50th Anniversary edition hardcover, detailing the history of the character, complete with strip reprints. There was a waiting list a mile long to get that book into your hands. Now, 25 years on, how many school-age kids really know anything about Popeye? Not many, I'm guessing.

This article from the Washington Post goes over some of the modern day problems Popeye is having. (found via TV Tattle)

"I'm not into punk, gentlemen...." 

from Batman and the Outsiders #9 (1984), by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo

Thanks to pal Dorian for pointing out this sequence to me

Thursday, January 22, 2004

More Swamp Things. 

There's a downloadable PDF preview of the new Swamp Thing series at the DC Comics site. It's the same thing that's in the Vertigo Horizon freebie that shipped to stores this week, but in case you haven't been to your local shop in a while, here it is for your convenience.

In doing a Swamp Thing Google search, I found this page, a Swamp Thing message board, though with very few messages. It does have one of those mini-versions of Swamp Thing, like the mini-superhero characters you always see all over the John Byrne Message Board. (Where the heck do those mini-hero things come from, anyway? Who's responsible?) And no, I have no idea why the address for the board is "FanFiction."

And this is pretty neat...a complete chronology of the Swamp Thing universe.

Okay, I'm a big Swamp Thing fan, so sue me. He's one of my two favorite corporately-owned characters...the other being Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Yeah, I know, that makes no sense. I don't suppose I should hold my breath for the crossover.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


"Look closely and you will recoil in surprise / At web-footed fascists with mad little eyes" 

Via Journalista, a link to an MP3 of "March of the Sinister Ducks" via Neil Gaiman.

I'm downloading it now...it's kinda slow going at the moment, even on DSL. Hopefully it'll sound better than the MP3 I made from my Critters flexidisc a couple years back (the same one Dirk Deppey mentions). I'd even made an MP3 of the B-side, "Right to The Blues," which tied into Ty Templeton's Teddy Payne story in this issue.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Monday, January 19, 2004


Flat Earth has a good idea for all those Peanuts collections that will, over the next few years, become redundant, what with Fantagraphics' Complete Peanuts project -- donate 'em. FE says hospitals, but also schools, libraries, churches...whoever could use them.

Now that new Peanuts strips are a thing of the past, the number of kids who only know it as a product line and not artistic expression will only increase. Today's kids could use a little exposure to the original Peanuts strips...which, along with the collected works of William Shakespeare, tell you pretty much all you need to know about human nature.

Okay, I'll probably hang onto my set of Mattel Peanuts hardcovers...but the rest are going to charities, I think.

Flat Earth -- thanks for the darn good idea.

The Comic Book Retailer's Bill of Rights 

As a comic book retailer, you have the right to expect clear and concise solicitation information from publishers.

As a comic book retailer, you have a right to expect a monthly comic book to be published monthly, not bimonthly, weekly, daily, or whenever Marv..er, the publisher feels like it.

As a comic book retailer, you have the right not to be a daycare center.

As a comic book retailer, you have the responsibility to carry a wide range of comics and graphic novels, not just Marvels and a handful of DCs. Carry some manga, for God's sake...it won't kill you.

As a comic book retailer, you have the right not to be expected to offer a discount to a customer just because he's buying what he calls "a whole bunch of comics" (i.e. about $10 worth).

As a comic book retailer, you have the responsibility to make a good faith effort toward obtaining comics and graphic novels requested by your customers, if they're available for preorder or reorder. You also have the right not to be blamed if said comic or graphic novel is out of print or otherwise unavailable.

As a comic book retailer, you have the right not to believe a customer when he tells you that he has a copy of Action Comics #1 at home. (Just through personal experience, this would mean there are something like a hundred copies in our immediate area.)

As a comic book retailer, you have the responsibility to make your store a nice place to shop. One would think this would be obvious. Sweep, clean, stock the racks, keep Eminem off the store stereo, change those posters in the front window that are now all the same sunfaded blue color, wear clothes that aren't torn or stained.

As a comic book retailer, you have the right to be respected as a real business, given that you treat it as a real business.

(EDIT: I just realized some people may not know what I'm referring to. Here is the original Comic Book Reader's Bill of Rights...the permalink doesn't seem to be working properly, but it was posted January 10th.)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

More comic linkage for your delight and edification. 

The Charles M. Schulz Museum will be releasing Li'l Beginnings, a collection of the Peanuts precursor Li'l Folks, exclusively through the museum store and the website. (Via the Aaugh.com newsletter)

The comics connection is slight (Alex Toth did the designwork for the original cartoon), but the Sealab 2021 Captain Murphy Soundboard is a hoot. Harry Goz, you left us too soon.

Howard the Duck 

I've mentioned before that I collect fanzines...and I just acquired another one this past week. It's "Collector Issue No. 1" (I don't imagine there was a No. 2) of The Wonderful World of Marvel, from 1976. Featured in this special "Howard the Duck Issue" --

  • a three-color parody Warlock cover ("Warduck") by Steve Leialoha
  • Howard as Thor "The Thunder Duck" by Gene Day
  • a three-page interview with Howard conducted by the editor, complete with photos of the editor (Doug Fratz, apparently active in comics and SF fandom in the 60s & 70s) with drawings of Howard pasted in, making it appear as if there's a face-to-face going on
  • The Comic Reader-style reproductions of forthcoming Marvel covers along with short news items ("In September, the Marvel seventeen page comics will go up to 30 cents." Say it ain't so!)
  • and, of course, lots of ads (including a nice one for Bernie Wrightson prints)

An interesting artifact of this magazine is the discussion of the apparent scarcity of Howard the Duck #1...a whole page (with a black border, so you know it's serious) is devoted to the controversy surrounding the comic's faulty distribution and subsequent high prices. (It's even mentioned in the Howard "interview!") The article ends with "it has been speculated that if no one pays the inflated prices [...] the comic will eventually become numerous and cheap." Well, it did happen eventually...took a monstrous flop of a movie to do it, though.

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?