mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Friday, July 09, 2004

Thursday, July 08, 2004

New comics day round-up. 

  • Swamp Thing #5 - starts off with a nice John Totleben-style monster (actually Swampy's daughter Tefe), which gave me a nice nostalgic feeling.
  • The 3 Geeks Super-Sized Swimsuit Spectacular - while the whole comics/swimsuits thing is very 1990s (and pretty much played out by the Amazing Heroes specials long before Marvel and Image started doing them), don't let the title scare you off...this is classic 3 Geeks material. Fun stuff, and our regular does of the Geeks are sorely missed.
  • Liberty Meadows Sourcebook #1 - yes, yes, I know this comic was funnier back when it was called Bloom County, but I like the art, and it does amuse. Besides, a little cheesecake never hurt anyone. (Of course, this isn't exactly a little cheesecake...this is Frank Cho we're talking about.) Anyway, this is sorta the Marvel Universe for Liberty Meadows, with very, very brief descriptions of the characters involved, accompanied by a couple of typical strips featuring the character in question. Cho does provide some commentary regarding the origins of some of the featured strips, and has a section of strips that had previously been unreprinted for various reasons. Not essential, unless you're a sad old completist fanboy like me.
  • The Comics Journal #261 - haven't had a chance to read it yet, but a quick flip-through looks promising. Already Tom Spurgeon's review of a Joe Casey issue of Superman has got pal Ian going. And the mag has a great cover to boot...look for the piercing gaze of Phoebe Gloeckner.
  • Tom Strong #27 - written by Steve Aylett and illustrated by the always-welcome Shawn McManus, we get another mind-bender of a story that reassures me that Alan Moore's "retirement" hasn't much hurt the ABC line.
  • DC Comics Presents Batman #1 - the first in the Julius Schwartz tribute issues, and a lot of fun. A nice touch is the reprinting of the original inspirational cover on the inside front cover. Both of the stories are fairly clever as well, with Len Wein's story being the standout as he has fun with the editorial edict of "Batman as urban legend."
  • Mad Magazine #444 - yup, I'm still reading it, and still enjoying it...and still being surprised by ads in the magazine. Yeah, I need to get over it. (Is that Land of the Lost DVD set advertisement everywhere? Before you ask...yes, I bought it already.) Not all the humor in the magazine works for me, but heck, the Marginals alone are worth the price.
  • The Goon #7 and B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs #5 - I know that issue of The Goon, which guest-stars Hellboy, came out a couple weeks ago, but we ran out right quick and I gave up my copy to a customer because I am good and pure of heart, and I knew we had a restock coming, too. It's a fun read...we've carried Goon comics since the beginning, but I've not read one 'til this issue. I really don't need to get hooked on another comic. Argh! B.P.R.D. answers a few questions about Abe Sapien's origins, and, as is typical, raises a few new ones as well.

Also out this week: Seth's Clyde Fans Book 1 hardcover is another handsome publication from Drawn and Quarterly...Kid Firechief is a small paperback by Yikes creator Steven Weissman - attractive, a bit steep at $12.95 but worth it...Trucker Fags in Denial by Jims Goad and Blanchard is just as family-friendly and heartwarming as it sounds, and very funny as well - here's a sample that is not work-safe, so don't blame me if you get fired....

Also, John Byrne's Doom Patrol #1 has picked up a bit...we've actually sold through about 3/4 of our copies since I last wrote about it, but there are still an awful lot of people who give it a look and a pass. Hopefully the people who are picking it up will stick with it.

(this post dedicated to

I remember picking up this series and liking it at the time...a female private detective who can turn into a lightning-bolt being? And it's drawn by Dick Giordano? How can it be anything but good?

Well, in all fairness it was well drawn, though if memory serves it was printed with that Flexographic printing process that didn't do the art any favors. I haven't read it in years, so I can't comment on the story. In fact, I went to the vast Mikester Comic Archives where I thought I had my copies of this series, and apparently they were victims of the Great Comics Purge I put my collection through in '94. Alas, if only someone would have told me that 10 years later I would have been writing about that series for my weblog...to which I probably would have said, "what's a weblog?"

Jonni Thunder herself did pop up again a few times in Infinity Inc. (that cover to the right drawn by Todd McFarlane, believe it or not), and I think she was in one or two panels of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and that was pretty much it.

As Dan also mentioned in the comment I linked above, I'm surprised she hasn't come back in some form or another (Geoff Johns is a likely suspect, Dan notes, but a Vertigo series wouldn't over surprise me either).

One more thing: a few months ago pal Dorian and I decided to put up that promo poster in the store, just to see if anyone noticed. I think only one person ever did.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Another backroom find -- a Vigilante promo from '83. I wasn't much of a fan of the comic (I only read the first two issues and the Alan Moore/Jim Baikie two-parter), but I do like the design of this poster. Note the selling point of "quality printing." Oh, the days of Baxter versus Mando paper....

In other news:

The Beat notes an article over at ICV2 regarding Dark Horse Comics' plans to release the entire run of Marge's Little Lulu in that convenient black and white manga-paperback format all the kids are into. This is one of those series I've been wanting to get into collecting for ages, but have always been daunted by the large number of issues and even larger collectors-market prices attached to them. $9.95 for 200 pages of Lulu comics? I'm all for it.

Monday, July 05, 2004

1. Pal Reid covers the
MOCCA convention, complete with a gallery of sketches he acquired.

2. Dr. Radium and Comic Book Heaven mastermind Scott Saavedra has cut himself a slice of that weblog pie, to which I say "huzzah!" (And you all did catch the return of the aforementioned Dr. Radium in the Slave Labor Free Comic Book Day giveaway, didn't you?)

3. Also, noted comicsweblogosphere proponent Heidi Macdonald has herself a fun weblog as well.

Look at what we dug up from the back room...a pristine Walt Simonson Thor promotional poster, featuring Beta Ray Bill! Cool, huh?

Anyway, that darn Free Comic Book Day...in the week or so prior to the day in question,
pal Dorian, Kid Chris, and myself divided up all the FCBD comics into age-appropriate packages (more or less how Laura split them up). We had several long boxes filled with these packages...and halfway through our day, we'd given them all away. We had plenty of spares of most of these books so we slapped together more packages...plus we had tables filled with some leftovers from previous FCBDs. Altogether, we had plenty of happy customers with armloads of free books...including several people I'd never seen before, which was the very purpose of FCBD, wasn't it?

Traffic through the store was steady, without being swamped...and we had relatively few problems, aside from a kid who kept badgering whoever happened to be monitoring the FCBD tables for the "adult" bag of freebies (Dorian was about one nose-hair away from tossing him out), and there was a group of people at the end of the day that, while they seemed nice enough, had some...odd requests, but Dorian called dibs on telling you about them, so watch his space.

By the way, despite the fact that we did order it (I double-checked!), the FCBD book A Bunch of Baboons was a no-show for us. Apparently some stores got them (Joanna got her mitts on a copy which she reviews here), so I'm kind of wondering if they're going to show up in a couple weeks...and if they do, we darn well better not get charged for them.

In other news:

  • I was taking a look through my girlfriend's copy of the Amazing Spider-Man: 500 Covers hardcover book...it's a nice, if slightly overpriced, overview of Spidey's history, featuring clear color scans of all the issues, alternating between 1 to 4 images per page. Now, I can understand if the conditions on the earlier issues are a little shaky...after all, Marvel Comics of the period were printed on really awful paper. However, once you start getting into the 1970s, better-conditioned copies of the books should be a lot more common. If you're going to be putting together an archival book like this, you'd make an effort to get the nicest-looking books possible, right? Again, I'll cut them slack on the early issues...but if you get a chance, take a look at the copy of #159 (from 1976!) that they used. It's a rag, with serious tears and flaking along the edges. So no one working on this book could find a copy of this comic in at least fine? Okay, maybe there were deadline issues that I don't know about and they didn't have time to go searching for a replacement, and I'm sure the people working on this book weren't happy with the conditions of some of the comics either, but it's still a shame.

    Oh, and I did spot a minor typo: it's "Liz Allen," not "Allan." Also, in the cover credits section in the back, they indicate that the cover artist for #267 is unknown. You'd think Marvel would have records on an issue that recent...I mean, someone had to get paid for drawing that picture, right? Well, this site says it's Bob McLeod, and that looks right to me.

  • Regarding John Byrne's Doom Patrol...well, pal Tom relates his story about how, upon finding out from me that Doom Patrol #1 picks up from the recent Claremont/Byrne JLA arc, he couldn't put it back on the shelf fast enough. And, unfortunately, that's mostly been the case over the last few days...people pick it up off the shelf, briefly look inside, then put it back. That doesn't exactly bode well. And before anyone in the Byrne fan forum claims it's because I'm a bad retailer, let me counter the reasons they usually give in their retailer horror stories:

    1. I don't badmouth comics or creators in the store. In fact, I happen to be a fan of Byrne's comics.

    2. We ordered plenty of copies of Doom Patrol #1, and they're prominently displayed.

    3. We even put the promo poster for the series right there above the new comics racks.

    4. I really like the Doom Patrol (I even own all the original 60s issues), and want to see a series featuring that team do well.

    Unfortunately, that first issue just isn't grabbing people so far...perhaps, as I'd mentioned last week, it's because it feels too much like part 7 of that JLA arc, and people may have had enough of that vampire story. Not kicking off with a brand new storyline may have been a mistake, and possibly the focus on the new characters at the very beginning of the issue may have turned off those people expecting more with the original members of the team. (And yes, I know, the original members dominate the last 2/3rd of the comic.) I've seen the solicitations for future issues of this series, and they sound much more interesting to me, but if people aren't starting with issue #1, they're probably not going to jump on with #3. (Though if there's good word of mouth, it does occasionally happen...it's happening right now with She-Hulk.)

  • Found via Chris Karath's weblog: Toonzone has a list of forthcoming Justice League Unlimited episodes, which includes an adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's story from Superman Annual #11, "For The Man Who Has Everything." I'm sure everyone else knows about this already, but hey, I'm excited!

Sunday, July 04, 2004

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