mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Friday, December 03, 2004

Don't have much to say today:

1. This week's Smallville was good and creepy...and featured an unexpected return to Lex's vision of the future from an earlier season. Seeing that satisfied expression on his face as he surveys the carnage is quite chilling, and a good foreshadowing of the villain he will eventually become. The sorta-cliffhanger endings (who picked up Lionel Luthor from the prison? Will Clark tell Chloe his secret?) don't really do anything for me...I'm betting it's Dr. Swann's assistant who picked up Lionel, and I'm sure Clark won't tell Chloe anything, though the scenes just prior seem to really push the viewer into thinking that this might be it.

Anyway, I think that's it for new Smallvilles for the rest of the year...good, I can catch up on my Netflix!

2. Note to eBay bidders: make sure your current contact info is on your account (like your e-mail address and your phone number), otherwise I can't contact you, no matter how many times you use eBay's "request payment information from seller" form. Any relation between this statement of mine and any recent eBay situations at our store are purely coincidental.

3. There's a small discussion in
the comments section of my previous post regarding the quality of the recently-released Mage hardcover. While I would have preferred to have the art as originally printed, I'm sure there may have been production reasons why this wasn't possible (as I recall, the original art and film were long gone). It is a shame about the typo on the back cover, but hey, stuff happens...even DC had a typo on the back of their Superman: Godfall hardcover. I am glad that it's out in some format, and maybe they can fix some of the problems in future printings. It's a great comic, and even a flawed presentation is better than none at all.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Your new comics round-up for the week (SPOILERS ahead, maybe):

That darling of the comicsweblogosphere,
Street Angel, had a new issue this week...a little more down to earth than the previous issues, as it's just S.A. and another homeless friend spending the day together. The work on this particular issue reminded me of a slightly less frenetic Paul Pope. Each issue manages to be significantly different in tone from the previous one, and yet each issue is equally enjoyable...well done.

Superman/Batman #15 - after the interminable Supergirl storyline, it was nice to have this comic get back on track with the Big 'n' Loud stories I'd come to expect. This issue kicks off with 100% full-on geekiness...the DC Universe version of Uncle Sam wearing Green Lantern's ring. Yeah, that's right, you heard me. That's pure nerd-nirvana, my friend, in its full four color splendor.

Firestorm #8 - I believe that Jamal Igle and Rob Stull are the new regular art team, and they do a fine job...the art is clean, the characters recognizable and expressive. There's also a treat or two for the longtime Firestorm fans as well.

Fallen Angel #18 - Peter David's strength in this series is making the "bad" guys just as sympathetic as the "good" guys, which (without giving too much away) gives this issue a little more of an emotional punch. Oh, and some things that were previously inferred are now pretty much made explicit about the nature of the Fallen Angel herself and the city she lives in.

Ultimates 2 #1 - gosh dang it, forgot to take it home with me. Well, I did like the previous series, which pulled off the neat trick of keeping you interested in all the team's characters even though practically none of them are sympathetic in the slightest. Thor's the most (only?) likeable one of the bunch, and he might very well be nuts. Pal Dorian flipped through the new #1 and I believe he mentioned that something about Thor was revealed, but I guess I'll just have to wait 'til this evening to find out. Ah, well. Oh, and that big "2" on the cover had me convinced that someone was going to wave a copy of this in my face and ask me where the first issue was. This happened a lot when Ghost in The Shell 2 came out...you know, the series with the giant "2" on the front cover, and the actual issue number in small type along the spine.

Love & Rockets #12 - L&R is always the best comic of the week whenever it comes out, and this issue is no exception. Jaime and Gilbert's work is always a real treat.

Question #2 - the Question is more or less a guest-star in his own mini-series this issue, but Rick Veitch manages to give us a Lois Lane far more interesting than the Lois that's in the regular Superman books.

Swamp Thing #10 - actually, I read it last week, thanks to DC's advance peek program. Grotesque as all get out, but a hoot as well. We also get a throwaway bit of dialogue giving as much of an explanation as I expect to get regarding the change in Arcane's status quo between the end of the Millar run and this series.

Other new releases that I didn't buy:

New Avengers #1 - okay, so the variant cover thing is a little annoying (1 for every 20 copies we ordered, or something like that), and they plan on doing this for the first six issues? That's sorta pushing the patience of both fans and retailers...I expect the novelty will wear thin by the time variant #3 or #4 rolls around. As for the actual content...Marvel's given up entirely on getting kids to read this comic, it seems.

Hunter Killer #1 - so far, not too many bites, even with a 25-cent cover price. Now, Mark Waid is writing, and I generally like Mark Waid. But the Marc Silvestri art doesn't really do anything for me...it just looks to me like every other Top Cow comic ever published. I know some people really like his art, but I guess I'm just not the target audience.

Fatty Arbuckle and His Funny Friends - any time Kim Deitch draws anything, I gotta take a look. He only provides the cover, as the insides are reprints of period Fatty Arbuckle comic strips...still good stuff, and I'm probably going to break down and buy it anyway. And, by the way, Fatty Arbuckle was almost certainly innocent of...well, you know.

Mage Vol. 1 The Hero Discovered hardcover - Matt Wagner's Mage is one of my favorite comic book series...but I'm afraid this new hardcover printing is almost certainly of the most recent release of this series. You know, the one with the new lettering and the Photoshopped art effects that...um, didn't do it any favors. I realize that there were probably production reasons for this, but I still consider myself lucky that I managed to get the old Starblaze/Donning softcover reprints when I did.

The new batch of Justice League action figures came out this week...and you know, it's a shame they didn't include a separate "sad" head in the Elongated Man package so you could reenact your favorite scenes from Identity Crisis.

Basil Wolverton Reader Vol. 2 - if I weren't saving scratch for Christmas, I probably would have grabbed this as well...a big ol' softcover jam packed with crazy Wolverton comics.

I hope I'm not the only person to draw any kind of comparison between the TV show Desperate Housewives and the Eros comic Hot Moms, because I'd hate to be the first.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Pal Ian asks that comic creators look ahead, not...um, behind.

2. While only tangentially related to comics, pal Tom takes a look at Las Vegas' Star Trek Experience. I'd go, but that would require leaving the house.

3. Here's an e-mail exchange (near the bottom of the page) between Jean-Marc Lofficier and one of his "critics" regarding Lofficier's Batman: Nosferatu.

4. File under "high hopes:" about halfway down this page, readers of this website are encouraged to preorder the forthcoming Marvel comic Combat Zone from their local comic stores:

"...If we can get this comic into the top 50 (30 or 40 thousand issues) it'll get noticed, top 25 it'll get really noticed, top 10 people's jaws will drop, the best seller and they'll be utterly speachless."

However, since this is a non-superhero Marvel comic, that doesn't seem terribly likely.

5. I love Peanuts and Charles Schulz, but do we need an entire biography of Schulz in this auction's description? I'm sure it's just there to get more hits from eBay keyword searches, but still....

6. I've been meaning to link to Fearless Fred Hembeck's articles on Richard Nixon in the comics...look here, under Nov. 23th and Nov. 27th. Fantastic stuff.

7. ...And Savvy Scott Saavedra has a swell vintage funnybook ad posted on his site. "Judy and Jim Defy Savage Gorilla" - says it all, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Also found a couple cartoony Galactuses here and here (near the bottom of the page).

Monday, November 29, 2004

Okay, I was thinking a little more about the images I used

...the pics used for Amy Grant and Kate Bush are pretty clearly unauthorized usages -- Grant's camp raised a stink about it, but I don't think Bush's people did. I have no idea if the "inspiration" for the Media Starr cover was ever acknowledged by the publisher.

The Miguel Ferrer thing is (as I noted already) just me seeing a resemblence between Bradstreet's interpretation of the Punisher and the actor, and certainly not me trying to imply any images of the actor were used to create the illustration. As was pointed out to me, Bradstreet uses his own models for his work, and you can see that in action on his site.*

The Rowan Atkinson image was an homage, and very much in line with the occasionally tongue-in-cheek style of the Incredible Hulk comic Peter David was writing at the time. I don't think he was as recognized in the U.S. then as he is now ...most Americans know him as "Mr. Bean," the hip people know him as "Blackadder," and the people who know him as "Raymond Fowler" are just plain showing off. However, I do recall a letter in a later issue of Incredible Hulk identifying the homage, and the editors owning up to it.

Lassie I just threw in because we happened to have a copy of #1 at the store.

Okay, now the Whoopi Goldberg thing...this character apparently popped up in Power Pack and I know some of you out there read this series. Was the Whoopi inspiration ever acknowledged? Was it as obvious as it certainly is in this Marvel Universe illustration? And isn't this the cutest drawing of Galactus you've ever seen?**

Some other celebrities have popped up as inspirations for funnybook characters...there was "Serji-X Arrogantus," a Sergio Aragones look-a-like drawn by Howard Chaykin in early issues of Marvel's Star Wars comics.

Pal Bryan mentions that Miguel Ferrer's appearance was used for a character in one of Innovation's Lost in Space comics, but since Mr. Ferrer wrote it, I'm sure he's probably aware of it.

I seem to recall a Basil Fawlty-esque character popping up in Justice League Europe, designed after John Cleese.

Pal Mojo also points out the Sting/Constantine connection (which I've previously discussed here), and though the Sandman/Robert Smith link rings a very small, tinny bell in the recesses of what I laughingly call my brain, I can't dredge up any specific memories. Oh, if only there were some kind of, I don't know, Internet search..."engine," let's say, that could help me look up such information. Oh, okay, I'm just messin' with you...a quick look turns up this FAQ that says Morpheus wasn't based on Smith. And since it's on the internet, it must be true.

And lest I forget the most famous inspiration for a comic character's appearance...Fred MacMurray for the original Captain Marvel. There are a whole bunch more real-life inspirations for Marvel Family characters identified here.

Then there was the reverse in action, with Captain Marvel Jr. inspiring one of Elvis' costumes, but that's a whole other can of worms. Plus, there was this guy, who claimed to be the original model for Siegel and Shuster's design of Superman. Not true, of course.

Okay, that's enough of that...you all must be sick of hearing about this by now. But, if any of you can come up with any more, feel free to stick it...

...in my comments section!

* I couldn't access the site with either Netscape or Firefox, but IE and Safari pulled it up fine. It might be just my particular set-up.

** Somewhere out there is a super-deformed manga-style Galactus drawing that's even cuter, and I'm going to hate you in advance for even pointing me in its direction.

Also, just so there's no confusion (and I guess I can see how such befuddlement may arise)...Tim Bradstreet's rendition of the Punisher just reminds me of Miguel Ferrer. I don't think he's tracing images of Ferrer for his Punisher covers, and I didn't mean to imply as such. Anyone looking at
this post of mine should be able to decide for themselves what's homage, what's outright copying, and what's just a vague similarity.

That said...wouldn't Ferrer make a great live-action version of the Punisher? Sure, he's not a huge, over-muscular guy, but he's about the right age for the character, and he can play nasty S.O.B.s (e.g. Robocop and The Stand)...the Punisher is not a hero, and Ferrer could get that across quite nicely.

Oh dear, I've resorted to "dream casting" in my weblog. I apologize.

Wikinews article on the LiveJournal user who allegedly murdered her own mother makes sure to note that she's wearing a Johnny The Homicidal Maniac T-shirt in one of the accompanying photos.


(via pal Andy)

Progressive Ruin's Cavalcade of Stars! 








  • Whoopi Goldberg - from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe '89 #5 (October 1989) - entry for "Numinus" illustrated by Jon Bogdanov & Josef Rubinstein
  • Kate Bush - from Media Starr #2 (August 1989) - art by Scott Rockwell
  • Amy Grant - from Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #15 (March 1990) - art by Jackson "Butch" Guice
  • Rowan Atkinson - from Incredible Hulk #410 (October 1993) - art by Gary Frank and Cam Smith
  • Miguel Ferrer - from Punisher #4 (July 2000) - art by Timothy Bradstreet
  • Lassie from Lassie #1 (June 1950)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

This is one of the batch of retailer signs provided by Dark Horse, and featuring Paul Chadwick's Concrete, released in 1996. Turned out I still had a couple in my box o'comic promos in the store's back room. So, their appearance in American Splendor, in a scene that takes place in the early '80s, is definitely an anachronism. See, I'm not crazy, I'm not!

The comments section of this morning's post has turned up a couple other anachronistic comic appearances in films. I seem to remember some modern comics appearing in
The Winds of War TV mini-series, with logos scribbled over in pen. And my memory of Drugstore Cowboy (which I haven't seen since it was in theatres) was that several non-period comics were on a spinner rack in (where else) a drugstore. For some reason, Zell Sworddancer sticks in my mind as being one of the comics in question, though I might be confusing it with a Zell Sworddancer appearance in another film.

I'm sure you all find this supremely fascinating. Well, it's not just me. My dad does this regarding guns in films: "they didn't start manufacturing that model until two years later! Don't the people who made this film know anything?" We all have our quirks.

On a related note, not long ago, someone directing a play set in the 1950s approached us for period comic books to use as stage dressing. We were happy to provide color photocopies of a dozen or so 1950s comic covers (as well as temporary use of one of our old wire comic book spinner racks) in exchange for a little free advertising in the program books. I thought it was nice that someone actually went through the trouble of at least attempting to keep everything more-or-less authentic.

In fact, those photocopies were returned to us after the play ended its run...and I still need to hang them up in our store for decoration. Someone remind me to do that next week....

1. Finally saw American Splendor, the film based upon the life and work of
Harvey Pekar. Good film, if a little depressing (every time they cut back to a scene in Harvey's apartment, I kept thinking "for Pete's sake, open a curtain!").

As a result of my having managed a comic shop for as long as I have, every time I see a comic book store on TV or in the movies, my eyes immediately shoot for the backgrounds. What old comics do they have? What posters do they have up? Are there any anachronisms? In the scene that takes place at Joyce's comic shop, I did spot on the wall and on the counter a couple Concrete promo items that I'm pretty sure didn't exist in the time period that scene took place. (You can see one pretty clearly over Joyce's shoulder as she's saying that she hasn't had a chance to read the new American Splendor.)

It's a sickness, I know. I can't help it. I'm still bothered by the anachronistic comics in Drugstore Cowboy.

1a. A friend of mine once went to a "Scream Queens" signing at Golden Apple several years ago, and took a couple photos of the event. One photo showed a couple of the Scream Queens themselves sitting behind a glass counter. When he showed me that photo, what did my eyes automatically gravitate to? Yup, right to the comics in the case. "Say, look at that old Justice League...."

It's pathetic, really.

2. You know what I'd like to see? A Modok Pez dispenser.

3. I keep trying to come up with something to say about the recently-released The Best of The Legion Outpost, but all I can come up with is "who exactly is the target audience for this book?" Okay, there's me (a longtime Legion fan, and a collector of old fanzines), and at least one of my customers. Are there enough people like me (heaven forfend) to support a book like this?

However, if you are sort of curious about this item, let me give you at least one reason why you should pick up this book:

Seven page Hero History of the Legion of Super-Pets, individually and as a team.

...complete with what looks like commissioned sketches of said team, by Joe Staton, Karl Kesel, Ramona Fradon, Sergio Aragones (whose contribution I'd mentioned before), Joe Linsner(!), and others. The history stretches up into the late '80s, covering the Superman revamp (and its effect on Krypto), Ambush Bug's less-than-reverent treatment of the characters, and so on.

The article did point me in the direction of an issue of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen I don't believe I read (#29), in which Krypto, now an elderly dog, enters some alien Fountain of Youth and becomes young again. Thus, DC's editors were saved the trouble of having to explain a large audience of children how Krypto could still be around in Superman's time, when he had been young Kal-El's pet way back even before Krypton exploded. Alas, we don't have this issue at the store, so it eludes me for the time being. On the want list it goes!

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