mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, April 23, 2005

What the customers do not see. 

The Harvey Comics New Kids on The Block promo poster, taped to the back of one of our showcases

A storage box in our back room with extra copies of Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane

Part of a Ghostbusters cardboard movie theatre lobby display, posted on our bathroom wall

Mike working

Friday, April 22, 2005

Will Ferrell will be starring in a big-screen adaptation of my favorite show from my childhood, Land of the Lost.

The story states that the series is due out on DVD this month...in fact, it's the third season set being released this month, as the previous two seasons were released last year. Yes, I have them. They're absolutely brilliant.

(via Further Adventures)

A link to
this image was posted on FARK today, supposedly "proving" that Venom is going to be in the new Spider-Man movie. Take that with a grain of salt. A huge grain of salt. (EDIT: Image already gone...took thousands of hits from FARK, then I link it and it disappears. Rats.)

And I'm sure you all have seen the images of Brandon Routh as Superman, as well. The Superman costume seems a little...off, somehow, but I can probably live with it. You know, like they're asking me. He makes a great Clark Kent, though.

Progressive Ruin Presents...The End of Civilization 

So, the Demogoblin statue wasn't enough...a quick look through the new issue of the Diamond Previews catalog reveals more wondrous treasures....

Page 452 - I don't know if they could have managed a worse likeness of Eliza Dushku than the one on this action figure if they tried. Are we sure these aren't the Steven Tyler of Aerosmith action figures?

On page 456 of Previews, one may find a full page of Napster merchandise, all of which prominently featuring the "Napster" face logo. The Napster 15-inch Plush Bendy Body, the Napster Kitty Head Cell Phone Charm, the Napster 7-inch Beanie doll...it's all very terrifying. It doesn't say anywhere in the solicitation info if you have to keep paying a monthly fee to Napster in order to continue using these items.

Page 460 - Retailers! Stock up your close-out shelves with Serenity action figures!

Page 484 - The Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball Trading Figures Assortment. Little plastic bikini girls, which you have to buy blind, what with the "mystery box" packaging. I was going to make the obvious "going blind" joke, but you all have made it already, I'm sure.

Page 491 - Star Wars Episode III Electronic Lightsabers. Okay, I had a toy lightsaber when I was a kid. I was, what, eight years old? I have my doubts that any of these new lightsabers are going to end up in the hands of eight-year-olds, for some reason.

Page 495 - Supergirl Shield Graffiti Poster. Um, what? "This fine poster has been 'tagged' with the classic Kryptonian shield and a graffiti-style background with Supergirl's name in spray-paints." There's trying too hard, and then there's this.

Page 498 - Doctor Who: K-9 Bobble Head. Well...okay, I'll let this one slide.

Page 500 - I was going to say something about the $350 Lord of the Rings: Sword of Eowyn prop replica, but somehow I find the Lord of the Rings White Glamdring Scabbard (for $200) even more appalling. "Sword not included," it says.

Pages 501-3 feature the forthcoming onslaught of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film merchandise. You need to look at your copy of Previews to see the creepy "concept art" they have for some of these items, since the actual items themselves aren't quite ready yet. Dig the upsetting "Oompa Loompa Headknocker," with a photo of the actor's face pasted onto a much smaller body. Brrrrr. The weirdest item is probably the Wonka Plush Bar. Yes, an actual "stuffed animal" version of a Wonka chocolate bar and wrapper. That's just...I don't know where to start.

Page 504 - Metallica Tiki Bobbleheads. None of those words belong with each other.

It's not all bad, though...there is the Thanos action figure:

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Okay, now honestly...who out there is planning to buy the
Demogoblin bust? The solicitation information I linked to says it's "limited" to 3,000 pieces, but I swear the printed version of Previews said it was limited to 2,000 (I don't have the Previews here to double-check). Either way, I'm fairly certain there should be no problem getting one of these things, should you so desire.

But, really, a Demogoblin bust? Are there 2,000 (or 3,000) Demogoblin fans out there who have to have this? Or Spider-Man fans who buy all related merchandise? Or, as pal Dorian suggested to me, are there enough Marvel statue completists to support the production of pieces based on even the most minor character?

Of course, the real crime here is that we have yet to see a Howard the Duck statue.

Other new comics day stuff...pal JP, upon seeing the Sin City Yellow Bastard action figure: "Hey, this looks like a realistic version of Homer Simpson!"

Looking at the first page of the new issue of Teen Titans, I almost got sucked into an in-joke black hole: Captain Marvel, Jr. quoting Elvis Presley...a reference to said character's influence upon Elvis' wardrobe in later years...which was itself referenced by the color scheme of Mary Marvel's changed costume in the Power of Shazam series...ARRGH! And let's not even get into the whole "King Marvel" thing from Kingdom Come, where Captain Marvel Jr. is redesigned to look more like Elvis...this is like the Ouroboros of comics.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Shane from
Near Mint Heroes added quite a few Blue Beetle links in the comments section for this post...so if you're so inclined, check them out.

Anyway, I hope you all liked those links...I figured I'd do it to inform some of those people out there who are all up in arms about Beetle's fate in DC Countdown, but have never actually read anything with him in it (including DC Countdown).

Oh, relax, I'm just ribbin' ya. Mostly.

So while I was doing my searches I came across several message board discussions revolving around the possibility of a "Blue Beetle III." I imagine it's pretty likely, since there was a lot of emphasis in DC Countdown about how Ted wasn't the first Blue Beetle (and, one may infer, not the last). Either that, or we'll get Blue Beetle: Rebirth in a few years (right after Sue Dibny: Rebirth and Wesley Dodds: Rebirth).

Yes, I know the "[dead character]: Rebirth" joke is a big cliche, now, but it still makes me laugh. I'm old, and easily amused.

Speakin' o'Sue, I also saw a lot of people on message boards here and there floating the idea of Sue as the new Spectre (an idea I was pushing for last May - under May 2nd, if it doesn't load properly). I still think that would be a funny idea...Sue and her hubby, the Elongated Man, can still travel around solving crimes, but every once in a while Sue will suddenly transform into a white-skinned green-cloaked giant and...I don't know, turn the bad guys into ice sculptures and put the acetylene torch to them, or something. Heck, I'd buy it...I've spent good money on worse comics.

At any rate, it should come as no surprise that most message board people don't think that Sue becoming the Spectre would be a good idea. Ah, well...I liked the idea of Jack Black as Green Lantern*, too...I'm used to being the odd man out.

So, enough of my ranting. Let me just tell you to pay a visit to The Absorbascon, a weblog discussing DC Comics. It's named after one of DC's nuttier Silver Age thingies, so how can you go wrong?

* I swear to God, that Petition Online site is a non-stop goldmine of comedy. This is the greatest site ever.

Ted Kord Blue Beetle links:

A history of the character.

Pencilled Blue Beetle pages from an aborted weekly comic.

BB makes this list of Maxim's "25 Lamest Superheroes Ever."

BB Microheroes - Silver and Golden ages.

A thorough review of the DC Direct figure.

Customized "Blue 'n' Gold" figures, and, what the heck, have another custom BB figure.

These folks are apparently looking for duplicate BB Overpower game cards.

Marvel RPG stats and Champions RPG stats.

A cute, cartoony drawing of BB and Booster Gold.

"End the debauchery of the so-called major crossovers." - a petition to save Ted Kord.

A chronological list of BB's DC appearances.

The HeroClix figure.

He likes Blue Beetle.

And for the Golden Age Blue Beetle:

An overview of the character's publishing history.

MP3s for the original Blue Beetle radio serials.

A gallery of covers, plus some Phantom Lady covers for good measure. (Warning - pop-ups.)

A brief bio of creator Charles Nicholas.

A customized action figure - since we'll never, ever see an authorized one.

An issue of Blue Beetle is noted on this page of marijuana references in comic books.

Monday, April 18, 2005

These mini-comics (measuring about 2 3/4 inches wide by 4 1/4 inches tall) were originally packaged with the
Super Powers action figures and candy packages of the early-mid 1980s. I acquired a big pile of the comics in a collection a while back, so I was able to get my hands on these without having to accumulate a bunch of action figures at the same time. They're about 16 pages long, no more than two or three panels per page.

Some of the minis, like the ones above, feature abbreviated origins of the characters or, in the case of the Justice League, feature the formation of the team. With only 16 pages (including cover and an ad page) there's not a lot of room, but the JLA comic features an important lesson for children everywhere:

The "Yellow Tornado" doesn't really have a ring to it, does it? But why wouldn't he be an American? Wasn't he built in America? (Or doesn't the America of Earth-2 count?)

Not just the big names were featured...the comics introduced kids to some of the lesser lights of the DC Universe as well, in those pre-Justice League Unlimited days:

Villains were spotlighted as well:

Dig that karate chop Brainiac is delivering on Batman, there. Also, at first glance, it looks like Lex Luthor isn't even on the cover of his own comic...but if you squint just right:

And sure, Darkseid is a natural for a DC toy line like this, but the very idea of trying to sum up Jack Kirby's other Fourth World characters in 16-page mini-comics...well, that's a little mind-boggling:

All things considered, they didn't do a bad job, though DeSaad had to be toned down a bit, as you might imagine. That said, DeSaad has the greatest line of dialogue out of all these minis: "Eh? Your arrow -- it's short-circuiting my vibro-hoses!"

That arrow was shot by Green Arrow, which brings me to the appeal of some of these minis: the odd pairing of heroes and/or villains in the books. The later minis primarily had Fourth World villains as foils for the heroes, so you had Green Arrow fighting DeSaad, as I mentioned, or Red Tornado and Aquaman versus Mantis, of all things. The Joker mini has Batman and Aquaman teaming up, an Aquaman mini has him joining forces with the Flash against the Penguin, and one of the Hawkman minis has him teaming with Green Lantern against Lex Luthor.

Given the nature of these minis, as pack-in supplements secondary to the toys themselves, that they're entertaining at all is something of a miracle. Simplistic, sure, but fun as well. Similar mini-comics packaged with the new Justice League Unlimited toys, detailing some of the background characters that haven't yet been featured leads in the cartoon but have been made into action figures (like the Steve Ditko Starman, for example) wouldn't be a bad idea, I think.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Just got a look at our Diamond invoice for all the stuff coming in on Wednesday.

Good gravy.

Most (if not all) of the remaining Free Comic Book Day books, three different toy lines, and pretty much every comic book ever published by Marvel and DC. Okay, maybe I exaggerated slightly on that last bit, but it's still a gargantuan pile of material that'll be darkening our doorstep midweek.

Don't really have a point to make beyond that, other than trying to vent a little shock. Egads.

A few years ago, I received several e-mails and phone calls over the space of about a week from people all over the country looking for the last issue of Marvel's Masters of the Universe series. As far as I knew, and still know now, it's not a particularly rare or "hot" item, and it wasn't very expensive (no more than a couple bucks at most). But, suddenly, I started receiving a bunch of requests for this single comic all at once...literally one right after the other.

After the first couple of requests, I started asking people, "hey, why are you looking for this? Was there an article in a magazine somewhere? Did some Masters of the Universe fanclub newsletter promote this issue? What's going on?"

The only answer I got was variations on "I need it to complete my collection" -- no one owned up to being inspired otherwise to claim this particular funnybook.

Luckily, I had enough copies to fill demand, but I'm still left wondering. The most likely explanation: that all these people were clued into the comic by a single source, but didn't want to tell me for fear that I'd jack up the price...a fear that's about 98% unwarranted. Other explanations: it was a prank on us (an odd prank, since everyone actually paid for their comics); or, as odd as it may seem, just by complete coincidence, otherwise unconnected people from across this great nation all decided within a few days of each other that they needed to complete their Masters of the Universe comic book collection, and chose our store to do so.

Again, no real point to this...I was just reminded of it a couple days ago and thought I'd share.

Hey, are you on a dial-up internet connection? If so, does my page take an awful long time to load for you, or does it load reasonably quickly (considering 1) you're on dial-up, and 2) I tend to use a lot of images)? Just being Mr. Curious.

Added to the weblogroll:
Dave's Long Box, a nice collection of views and reviews of comics past. His takedown of Superman #75 is fine readin'.

I suppose as a longtime seller of funnybooks that I should say something regarding DC Comics' abrupt cancellation of the Humanoids/2000 AD line. It's quite a shame, really, as the books did have a small but growing audience at our shop, and I'm glad DC at least tried to expand their publishing line. The format and pricing of the volumes were just right, the material was solid (including some classic Alan Moore material that should always be in print and available)...it's just too bad that it didn't catch on at more stores. Okay, Judge Dredd stuff is becoming increasingly more difficult to move...unless it's that Batman/Judge Dredd trade, people just don't seem to be interested in the character anymore...but most everything else did okay for us.

At least the publisher Rebellion is picking up where DC left off, which is good news. More quality material is always welcome.

Speaking of books...Sin City, still not available for reorder from Diamond. Which, at this point, is fine, since interest is now pretty much kaput, aside from the occasional 12-year-old who tries to talk Mom into buying it for him. I'm sure there'll be plenty to be had once the big chain bookstores start returning their copies to Dark Horse in a few weeks.

So, watching last week's new episode of Smallville, something occurred to me. Lex, due to some Kryptonite-rock shenanigans, is split into two beings: one "good," and one "evil." And you know what? The evil Lex is much more interesting. Having Lex (complete with Kryptonite ring) in out-and-out conflict with the 20-something Teen of Steel is a great deal more compelling than Smallville's usual pussyfooting around: "oh, will Lex succeed in his struggle to remain a good person, or will blood will out?" Plus, if I hear one more knowing conversation between any other cast member and Clark along the lines of "it's like he has two identities, a secret self that he keeps hidden from the world," I'm gonna shoot my TV Elvis-style. Well, okay, not really, but you know what I mean.

I'm totally stealing a link out of pal Dorian's comments section, where Tom from Comics Ate My Brain points Dor in the direction of the most anally-retentive DC Universe timeline I have ever seen. It's absolutely fantastic.

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