mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 21, 2004


Fark's latest Photoshop thread features "situation's [sic] where a superhero's powers would be a liability." High speed connections would help...dial-ups, pack a lunch while you wait for it to load.

Some Misc. 

1. Apparently I'm providing content to Retrocrush. Hey, you're welcome!

2. Finally, some Groo news!

3. The new issue of Supernatural Law, #39, has a parody of Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan...even down to the art style and eyestrain-o-vision typesetting. Fairly amusing, and worth a look for Acme Novelty Library fans. Look for the cover with the Art Adams purple gorilla!

4. Well, now that Jim Valentino is no longer publisher of Image Comics, you know what that probably means, don't you? More Shadowhawk, I bet!

4a. Actually, I wouldn't say "no" to more normalman, but I'm not holding my breath.

5. According to pal Ian, Adrienne Barbeau was on Bill O'Reilly's show, where Bill complimented her on her performance in the Swamp Thing film! Oh, this is the very definition of mixed emotions.

If you read only one comic about a kid exploding in space, make it this one. 

Green Lantern #162 (March, 1983), cover art by Keith Pollard

As memory serves, there was a slight brouhaha over this fairly grotesque cover at the time...it wouldn't get a second glance today. Well, maybe a second glance, certainly not a third. And yes, the kid does explode from decompression outside the spaceship, even though I'm about 80% certain that isn't what would really happen in real life. The cover did do its job, though...I had given up on GL several issues prior to this, but I had to buy this issue when I saw that cover. I mean, wouldn't you? Yes you would, don't lie to me.

This story took place during Green Lantern's exile from Earth in the early 80s, a series of stories by assorted hands that started okay, got dire pretty quickly, and wrapped up with a nicely drawn Alex Toth issue in #171. You can read more about the particular sequence of stories that issue comes from (in which Hal is based on a space cruiser) here.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Oh, sure, send more junk mail, we can't get enough. 

So at the store today we received an mass-mailing e-mail from some comic publishing company, asking if we wanted to host a signing with some of their creators.

However, due to some screw-up on their end, any e-mail sent to that publisher's address was immediately sent back out to all the people on the mailing list. Lots and lots of messages, most of which read "PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MAILING LIST," ended up in our (and everyone else's) mailbox.

Bad, right? And this wasn't the first time this particular publisher has had this problem...the same thing happened a few months ago.

It gets worse. Some of the retailers on the mailing list, sensing an opportunity, start sending e-mails advertising themselves, conventions, what have you, to the publisher's e-mail address on purpose, effectively spamming everyone else stuck on this godforsaken mailing list. Yes, really. Like we don't have enough spam, and like we don't have enough people on this mailing list continually sending "take me off this list" messages. We really need your advertising, too.

Now, I'm not going to name names (though I could...I've saved every message), but this really cheesed my crackers, and I hope the next time this happens (and it probably will), those would-be spammers keep their e-mails to themselves and not make a confusing situation worse.


Confidential to the person who found my site with a Google search for "Sealab 2021 slash fiction:"

Sorry, I got nothin'.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Agent JP e-mailed me about this Bernard Krigstein site, where you can read several of his early comic works, including a Wildcat story he did for DC Comics.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Lots more misc. 

1. Re: the X-Men Reloaded thing...insert snarky comment about being able to save lots of money on X-Men books here.

2. Some more thoughts about the upcoming Firestorm series...as I said before, I read the entire previous series. All 100 issues, plus the annuals. The first, say, couple dozen issues are the best, and still stand up as good comics. The last couple dozen issues, which feature a drastically different take on the character, are pretty good as well. The middle fifty issues are, well, not all that good, really. I liked them when I was younger, but looking back at them now...well, they still have some nostalgic appeal to me, but I don't want to see a new series that treads the same old ground.

3. Abadazad is just as good as I'd hoped it would be. I was buying it mainly for the rare comics illustration job by Mike Ploog, but thankfully J.M. DeMatteis seems to be on his game here. This issue is all set-up, but it's the best kind of set-up...you can't wait for the next issue.

4. Picked up Nabiel Kanan's Now & Then just on a whim...the art of the lead story (described in that link) appealed to me, but the rest of the book (old music industry gags, some other one page strips) didn't really do much for me. That first story is very nicely done, however. Take a look, sez I.

5. I have no good excuse for liking Superman/Batman, but I like it anyway. It's just a big, loud, dumb comic book and it knows it. Perfect. I'm a little tired of the shared Supes/Bats narrative voices, though.

Things we probably won't be seeing Batman do ever again, Part One 

from Batman #408 (June 1987) by Max Allan Collins, Chris Warner, and Mike DeCarlo

(thanks to pal JP)


Back in the good old days of 1983, when Atari was still top of the heap of the video game world, Marvel Comics published seven issues of their comic book-sized video game magazine Blip...actually, when I originally wrote that sentence, I said "three issues" -- a quick look in ye olde Overstreet tells me differently. I don't think I've ever seen 4 through 7! How embarrassing.

Anyway, you at least have to credit Marvel with trying something different...and by different I mean "waiting until just before the big video game crash to jump on the bandwagon instead of doing it a little sooner." The two issues I have before me, #1 and #2, are comprised mostly of articles, with very little actual comic-story content in them. The first issue has the article "Video Games of the Stars," where they speak to a bunch of people you barely remember as well as Bruce Boxleitner, who talks about having to play several video games at the Disney studios to prep for Tron. There are also hints for playing Missile Command and Centipede, the appalling "Video Jokes" section ("Q: How do you keep the Krytolians from charging in Missile Command? A: Take away their credit cards!" -- they at least admit these are bad jokes, but, really, there's no excuse), an in-depth look at Pitfall and Dig Dug, and, best of all, a six page comics story featuring Mario and Donkey Kong by Steven Grant and Bob Hall:

According to this page, this is the very first comic book appearance of Mario. I'm sure that's important to somebody.

Issue #2 had more of the same, but also included the article that provides the topmost image of this post, "Spider-Man Plays 'Spider-Man!'" Fourteen kids, two guys in bodysuits, and Stan Lee all crammed around a 13" screen TV to play an Atari game that might vaguely remind one of Spider-Man, sort of -- there's your article. In all fairness, the Spider-Man video game was kind of fun, and pretty challenging. Hey, that's all we had back then, so you kids with your Zeldas and your Grand Theft Autos keep your snickering to yourselves.

That article is followed by a six-page comic by David Kraft and John Romita, where the Green Goblin, having escaped jail, happens upon a couple kids playing that very video game from the previous pages. The Goblin has the only rational reaction to the game: "Who has created this outrage? Who has humiliated me for their own petty profit?" Anyway, Spidey fights the Goblin, Gobbie's hauled off to the hoosegow to do his nickel up the river (or, er, something like that), and, wait for it, the prison has a brand new recreation facility stocked with copies of the new Spider-Man video game! Oh, the painful irony.

As video game magazines go, Blip wasn't too bad. For a buck, it was less than half the cost of other video game mags at the time, and you got pretty much the same content -- just with lower production values. And comics!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Not Wanted. 

Just out of curiosity, why the heck should anyone buy the first printing of any issue of Wanted when they keep putting out second printings with additional material?

If you're gonna wait for the trade on any series, make it this one.


Poking through the DC solicitation info (because, you know, you haven't seen it enough on everyone else's weblogs):

  • Firestorm #1 - yeah, I know, everyone's having a conniption fit over it, but, as someone who bought every single gosh darn issue of the previous series off the stands, I don't have any problems with any of the changes. Geez, relax, people.
  • Justice League of America: Another Nail #1 - hey, cool. That first mini-series was a lot of fun. Alan Davis does some darn fine funny-bookin'.
  • DC 100 Page Super Spectacular - even though I already have the original comic, it may be worth rebuying just so I have a nice copy of that Neal Adams wraparound cover. My copy looks like it was jumped on by a moose.
  • Richard Dragon #1 - the heck? What's next, a Star Hunters revival? More Rima the Jungle Girl? (Well, actually, now that I think about it....)
  • Sea Guy #1 - in the very remote chance you haven't seen it yet, go look. This new mini from Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart is going to be brilliant. And, yes, I'm sure the usual suspects will claim it's "self-indulgent," "hard to understand," blah blah blah, so on, so forth...all the things they usually say to hide the fact that they can't appreciate imagination when they see it.
  • Swamp Thing #3 - isn't the morphogenic field (in this context, anyway) that thingie from Animal Man? Anyway, I'm glad that they're not entirely forgetting about the previous Swamp Thing series, since, you know, I'm a Swamp Thing fanboy, and messing with the character's continuity is just the sort of thing that'll mess with my Swamp Thing fanboy head.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Byrne ahoy! 

So the John Byrne Message Board is trying to anticipate criticisms of the forthcoming JLA run by Byrne and Chris Claremont by posting some of the more common complaints the anti-Byrne crowd usually comes up with. A couple they forgot, courtesy pal Dorian:

1. I can't believe that, upon encountering the vampires, Green Lantern turned to Batman and said, "friends of yours, Bats?" (Well, maybe not the "Bats" part, given how Byrne feels about that.)

2. I can't believe that, once again in a [Claremont / Byrne / Claremont & Byrne] comic, when one of the female characters turned evil, she started wearing lingerie.

In other Byrne Forum news, the new URL for that site is byrnerobotics.com. Good name! (Read more about the history of that name here.)

Oh, and by the way... 


Found via the Comics Journal message board, an online archive of John Stanley stories. Way, way cool.

More John Stanley online: Fred Hembeck has an article about, and full reprint of, a Little Lulu Hallowe'en story, and Scott Shaw! has a reprint of the creepiest comic book story you'll ever read, the infamous "Monster of Dread End" from Ghost Stories #21.


So the other day I was flipping through the latest issue of Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Corey Walker, and found myself quite enjoying it. I ended up buying the Invincible: Family Matters trade paperback, a good deal at $12.95 for four issues plus bonus material. It's a nice mostly angst-free take on the generational superhero, with a twist (noted by others) that the parents encourage the son's superheroic activities, rather than the son hiding his abilities from them, parents protecting the child, et al. There are a couple "proofreading by spellchecker" typos that I noticed, but otherwise the production values on this item are quite nice. Kurt Busiek, whose Astro City is of a kind with this series, supplies an amusing introduction. The last thing I need to be reading is yet another superhero comic, but when it's well done, and appears to have a specific point of view (rather than just filling a space on the new comics rack each month), it's hard to resist.

Now I'm not a "wait for the trade" guy...I like buying the single issues. However, every once in a while a series will slip by me and I'll pick up the trades and whatever single issues I need to catch up. I did the same thing on Planetary, James Robinson's Starman, and, way back when in those pre-phone book days, I caught up on Cerebus with the Swords of Cerebus volumes. In the case of Invincible, though, I've decided to wait for the second trade, mostly because it's due out Any Day Now.

You can read the first issue of Invincible (along with several other comics) here.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

While I have your attention... 

...hello to everyone stopping in from Journalista, Scott McCloud's website, and other fine weblogs! Thanks for visiting, and your nice comments. It's much appreciated.

Worst Comic Book Ever. 

Just out of curiosity, a Google search on the phrase "worst comic book ever" turns up the following titles:

#1 - X-Force - okay, who was surprised? It's in the context of "look what Peter Milligan managed to do with this terrible comic!"

#2 - Shanda the Panda - poor Shanda. I don't have anything against it, myself. And, believe it or not, it's a store owner pointing at the comic, calling it the worst ever in this article. I would never do that in my store...that's what weblogs are for.

#3 - Star Jam Comics #6 - oh, there's no defending this one. It's one of those X-Entertainment reviews, which are always worth reading.

The only reference I have found to the actual worst comic ever published, Shadow of the Groundhog, is here.

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