mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Friday, June 11, 2004

Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Eso es un batarang." 

No, this isn't the discussion of the Swamp Thing/Challengers of the Unknown crossover I promised (well, sort promised) a while back...but it is a digest-sized Mexican edition of that comic, published in 1983. It seems like an odd choice of a comic to reissue in foreign lands. The text of the book has been redone in Spanish with what looks like machine-lettering, though some things need no translation:

Even more odd was the back-up story, one of the Earth-2 "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" stories from Superman Family:

And this isn't just any "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" story...it's the marriage of the Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman story! I can only wonder what our neighbors to the south thought of this particular comic. I mean, the lead story has the Challs, Deadman, Swamp Thing (who is inexplicably huge on the cover), and Rip Hunter Time Master, and the back-up has parallel universe versions of familiar superheroes, now settled down with wives. By the way, the last panel of this story has Clark revealing to the new Mrs. Wayne his secret:

...a panel that makes me smirk for no real good reason.

Also included in this comic were four Christmas postcards...well, four were originally included, but alas, by the time I got my mitts on this, only two cards were left, and they both look like this:

"Soon-to-be-dead Supergirl wishes you a Merry Christmas!"

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

So, anyway....

I haven't had a chance to read all my new comics swag for the day...did get through Bone #55, the last issue of the series. It wraps things up quite nicely, I think, and interestingly it reprints a four-page Bone Christmas story from (I believe) a long ago issue of Disney Adventures, which does appear to fit into continuity between the two chapters of this issue. Neat. Now we can look forward to Jeff Smith's Shazam! mini-series...he's probably one of the few creators out there who can manage the right balance of seriousness and whimsy necessary for the original Captain Marvel.

Ever read a comic, and, not even after you've read it, but while you're reading it, you wonder just what the heck it is you're reading? I mean, nothing just really registers with you. I had that experience with Incredible Hulk #73. It might have been my fault, as I was trying to read it while I was fairly distracted...but it looks like it was a whole lot of stuff happening, to no purpose. And it's another Hulk-free issue of the Hulk again...an interesting approach to the title at first, but three years or so on (and, inexcusably, during the release of the Hulk movie) it's getting a little tired now.

And then there's this week's bull in the china shop: Identity Crisis #1. Well, I think it's a pretty compelling beginning to this series, which established a high level of dread and anticipation right from the beginning of the book. You know something horrible is going to happen, and you almost don't want to turn the page in case that horrible-something is waiting for you there. There's also a nice bit of self-aware commentary at the very beginning, noting the safety (and lack thereof) of main characters in novels (read: comics) as opposed to "real life." Plus, a throwaway reference to a character's tenure as a superhero establishes the current DC superhero universe as being around for nearly 20 years...quite a jump from the 12-year (or so) span established in some of the most recent Secret Files.

Two asides: First, as I was pulling copies of Identity Crisis for subscribers, every time I looked at the Michael Turner cover, I kept thinking of the phrase "bad art makes Superman cry." I could have sworn it was
pal Dorian who first said this to me, but he told me that he believed that I was the one who said it, though I know I didn't come up with it. I must have read it online somewhere, or maybe even a customer said it to me. At any rate, it's hardly fair, as this cover isn't that bad...it's not quite as...anatomically adventurous...as most Turner efforts, and it's a striking image.

Second, concerning a story element present at the very beginning of the book: if you're gonna pick two superheroes to do a late-night stakeout on an illicit transaction, why would you use Firehawk, who emits bright-blue glowing flames from various places on her body at all times? This is a character that doesn't exactly have a stealth mode. Ah, well...the old Firestorm fan in me was glad to see her, anyway.

I would have also like to have commented on the new Global Frequency, but, as pal Dorian has noted, our distributor saw fit not to send copies of this comic (among others) to us this week. For the last several weeks, we've been completely shorted of one title or another (usually a DC), only to get it a week later. Actually, we were completely shorted the new Y The Last Man last week, and we were just told our copies will be arriving next week. Sigh. I guess we'll just have to go to a different distribu...oh, right.

Other funnybooks this week: Street Angel #2 (love the faux-Dan Clowes back cover!), World's Best Comics Silver Age Archive Sampler (only 99 cents for three great stories, even though this is like the 10th reprint of the first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes that I have), Demo #7 (all issues available from Diamond, so you have no excuse. Larry - the AiT/Planetlar reviews will resume soon, I promise!), Love & Rockets #10 (new squarebound format! Special bonus: lists of Jaime, Gilbert, and Mario's favorite comics!), Fallen Angel #12 (good stuff...read it, you), Fables #26 (includes a preview of The Witching, which does nothing for me), and a couple more books, but I've gone on enough to no good end.

Also, I've bought my very first issue of Toyfare magazine, for the complete photo guide to the DC Direct action figures. I'm a sad old fanboy.

How to ask me for a comic book back issue:

Correct: "Do you have Kilt-Man And His Mighty Caber of Justice #1?"

Incorrect: "Well, back when I was a boy out in Kellerman County, we didn't have a whole lot to do, really. Sure, there were always chores on the farm...we didn't get an allowance as such, but occasionally we'd get a dime or two here and there from Ma if Pa wasn't looking, and we'd go over to the local general store and buy us a bag of candy, and maybe a soda pop if it was a hot day, and it usually was...Kellerman County could get pretty hot, I'll tell you that for free. Anyway, we'd buy our candy, and maybe a soda pop, and we'd go sit behind the widow Reifsnyder's barn and eat our candy and look at the ducks out on the pond. Sometimes I'd sit with my buddy Lorenz and he and I would just shoot the breeze for hours and hours. Lorenz' father was a good man...ran a garage over on Schmidt Street, and I don't think there was a day I saw him that he wasn't covered with grease from being hip-deep in some automobile or another. The one car he was always working on was Mrs. Bauer's old Ford...he kept telling her that she should just break down and buy a new car, as all the money she was pouring into her Ford could easily cover the cost of a replacement. She was stubborn, though, just like her husband. Mr. Bauer didn't take any lip service from anyone...you try to tell him anything contrary to what he already thinks, and he'll just put his foot down and refuse to budge. This one time, at the general store I was telling you about earlier, he brought a big pile of groceries up to the counter, and when the clerk was done totalling him up, Mr. Bauer insisted that the clerk overcharged him on the eggs. The clerk told him (rightly, too) that the brand of eggs Mr. Bauer was buying were no longer 25% off, like they were last week. Well, Mr. Bauer would have none of it. The clerk kept trying to explain, Mr. Bauer kept shaking his head and getting redder and redder, and finally he just pushed the groceries on the counter toward the clerk and stomped right out through the door. Most of the groceries fell to the floor -- eggs, milk, apples, even a couple comic books for the Bauer boys. To this day, I remember that one of those comic books was Kilt-Man And His Mighty Caber of Justice #1...do you have that?"

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Monday, June 07, 2004

Partway down
this discussion of Carmine Infantino suing DC for ownership of the Flash (among others), comes Dirk Deppey's mention of permanently retiring the formerly only-resting Journalista. Sad news, indeed. This weblog here owes a debt to Deppey and Journalista, as he was good enough to link to my silliness on several occasions, sending lots of traffic my way. Plus, on the last update, the one that's been up since February, he had a final link to my site, calling me "definitely one of the better new comics bloggers to emerge so far this year" -- and I still get traffic from that plug, according to my referral logs. So thanks, Dirk Deppey, and good luck with The Comics Journal.

I also owe pal Ian for mentioning my page several times on the Journal message boards early in my site's life...possibly bringing it to Deppey's attention in the first place.

Deppey mentioned that other webloggers have "picked up the slack" since Journalista went into hibernation, specifically linking to the excellent Thought Balloons. If any site is a successor to Journalista's link-logging, it's Thought Balloons. However, Near Mint Heroes is pretty mighty with the link-logging as well.

In other news:

Kate Worley, co-creator of Omaha the Cat Dancer, has lost her long battle with cancer. My condolences to her loved ones.

Pal Andy links to a nice overview of Reagan's Raiders #1. Hey, if this guy ever changes his mind, I know where to find issues #2 and #3....

Scott McCloud linked to the Caution-Man photo comic...I like the sequence of images showing the tragedy of the dropped chili-dog.

You might have seen this already, but I've been obsessed with this thing and want to share it with the four of you who didn't know about it: Random Garfield Comic Strip Generator. Check it out now before Paws, Inc. finds out.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

You remember President Reagan your way, I'll remember him mine. 

Reagan's Raiders #2 (Solson, 1986) by Rich Buckler, Monroe Arnold, & others

Dave Fiore posts the cover that I was just a nosehair away from posting myself! It's the second-most-shocking use of a then-current President in a Captain America comic, ever!

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