mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 07, 2005

"The Black Widow does not take orders from anyone." 

From the news section in The Comic Reader #122 (September 1975):
"Angela Bowie, last seen dressing up as a certain Amazon princess for an audition for the role of same on television, has recently appeared in Newsweek doing the same thing for a still-sketchy series based on The Black Widow. Ms. Bowie would appear as 'an unangelic' version of Natasha in this proposed TV series. In the photo above, the guy standing behind her is actor friend Ben Carruthers, who is supposed to be dressed as Daredevil (in case you couldn't tell). She was heard to give a sample of some of the kind of dialogue that could be expected: 'You would do well to watch your tone. The Black Widow does not take orders from anyone.' We won't hold our breath waiting for this to be bought by the networks."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Fred Hembeck offers
his own selection (under May 7th) of free comics from around the internet, in honor of Free Comic Book Day...

...which is when again?

I'll be one of the people behind the counter, slingin' fistfuls of free funnybooks at the grateful customers...be sure to go to your local funnybook emporium and demand your free books!

Inspired by
Yet Another Comics Blog's Free Comic Book Month Giveaway, Rick Gebhardt is also going to give away a free comic book every day from May 7th (the date of Free Comic Book Day at your local comics shoppe) until June 7th. Who knew there were two people this crazy? Anyway, go get yourself some free comics...either from Dave or Rick, or from your local establishment. You do like free stuff, right?

Speaking of free stuff, it just so happens I have in my possession a copy of AiT/Planetlar's Couscous Express by Brian Wood and Brett Weldele, which I received from Big Larry Young as part of his entry in the mix CD exchange. I already have a copy of this fine book (reviewed by me a while back - under Monday, April 26th), so if you want to try to win this extra copy for yourself, free of charge, just send your name and shipping address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com with the words Couscous Express in the subject line. Deadline to enter is Friday, May 20th...I will pick one winner at random and announce it the following Monday.

One entry per person, current and former coworkers may not enter (sorry, Josh!), winners of my previous contest can't enter (er, sorry again, Josh), members of the ACAPCWOVCCAOE can't enter (like I said before, that wouldn't look too good for me if one of them won), and I reserve the right to reject any entry if I think you're just screwing with me. International entries welcome, so long as your country accepts our mail. I'm not responsible for any import taxes, though...item will be declared as a gift with a value of $12.95.

Um, other than that, feel free to send me your entry. No hoops to jump through...just a name and address sent to contest (at) progressiveruin.com is all you need to enter.

Don't forget:

Pal Dorian and Johanna Draper Carlson have provided comprehensive reviews of all the books that'll be available tomorrow. Lots of good stuff! Well, mostly good...but it's free, so you can't complain too much!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Okay, I realize I've been kinda slacking off on my comics weblogging duties a bit over the last week or so...real life gets in the way sometimes, you know? I'll be back in the swing of things soon.

Anyway, I have a few minutes to spare, so let me share a few goodies:

First, wanna know how to make me jealous? Find a
killer Baby Huey panel before I do, like the mighty Scott Saavedra has done. Well played, sir. (It also gives me an excuse to link back to this post of mine, with Baby Huey reenacting a scene from Watchmen.)

Now I know you've seen this discussed here and there (and there's a kind of futility to linking to anything that's already been on Boing Boing), but let me add to the chorus of voices proclaming Naked Cosmos as something you have to see. I've only seen the original videotape, and not the revamped and reedited DVD, but a source close to the production (well, okay, it was Gilbert) assures me that the DVD version is a vast improvement over the original. I can't imagine it being any better, because the original version is a real brain-breaker. I'm saying it's a brain-breaker, so you know it's gotta be strange. Dear God, at least watch the trailer.

If you're an Emusic member, Our Most Beloved by James Kochalka Superstar is now available for download.

Batman and Hulk Sumo suits. This upsets me in a way that I can't readily explain. Don't even mention the Cock Fighting suits.

I'm about halfway through Marv Wolfman's Crisis on Infinite Earths novelization (I would have normally plowed through it by now, but I just haven't had much readin' time lately)...and, well, if you haven't read the original Crisis comic book series, I'm not sure I'd bother reading this book. It's more supplementary than stand-alone. I have absolutely no idea how someone new to the material would be able to get through this, with all of its constant references to Earth 1 Lois Lane and Earth 2 Superman, and oh, here's Uncle Sam from Earth X, and Batman and Robin are fighting the Turks, and here's the Speed Force, and there's Solovar from Gorilla City...it can be rough going even for the initiated. The fact that most chapters are incredibly short sort of adds to the disjointed feel of the story.

I do appreciate Wolfman's revisiting of what may be his most successful comics venture, adding in more background details and whatnot to the original story. It's just that so far, it's not really adding up to a good novel.

This Legends of the DC Universe Crisis special works much better as a supplement to the original, I think.

And this next bit isn't a criticism of the book...I just get thrown off a bit when I read references in the Crisis novel to "cell phones" and "The Simpsons," since there's a little voice in my head that says "hey, those things didn't exist in the mid-1980s" -- which is of course when the comic series was originally published.

And that reminded me (along with pal Dorian's recent thoughts on the topic)...if we take the "20 year" modern hero timeline (as established in Identity Crisis) literally, and if the DC Universe comics being published today take place in 2005, that means the modern age of superheroes in the DCU started in the mid-80s. Weird, huh?

Speaking of revisiting, Batman: Dark Detective #1 (featuring the '70s Batman team of Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin) came out this week. You know how nice it is to read just a plain ol' Batman versus the Joker story? One that isn't tied into some huge ongoing metaplot I don't have any interest in? One that's fun and brightly colored and doesn't have Batman come across as a socially maladjusted nutcase? One I might even be able to (gasp) sell to kids?

It's very nice, indeed.

Speaking of selling comics to kids, he said overusing that transitional device, yesterday pal Dorian and I had a nice contrast:

- A schoolteacher came in looking for graphic novels for her high-school age students...she ended up buying several Hellboy graphic novels. Yes, I explained the concept of the books to her, and she thought they sounded like a lot of fun.

- Dorian helped some parents try to find comics for their kids, and apparently they turned down the Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures digests (the ones based on the cartoons, mind you) because they were "too violent."

It really makes me wonder, sometimes. (Though I do hope the teacher doesn't get any grief for supposedly "promoting Satanism" or some nonsense like that. This is in an area where one of the local elementary schools has a dragon as their mascot, but has trouble using any image of a dragon on their materials without being accused of sacrificing babies to Beelzebub, or something equally stupid.)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I am happy to report that, given my brief glance through the book, the new printing of Dark Horse Comics' Little Lulu Vol. 2: Lulu Takes A Trip (which arrived today) appears to be printed with the pages in the correct order. (Do note that the corrected editions are still marked as 1st printings.) Volume 3, My Dinner with Lulu, also arrived today, and this is the one that begins reprinting the earliest Lulu comics from Dell's Four Color series. Dark Horse wanted to start the Lulu reprint series with later comics rather than the beginning strips, to kick it off with the "good stuff" apparently (you can find the explanation
on Johanna's site). However, looking at the earlier work and comparing it to the later material, I don't really see why the publisher was so concerned. It's perhaps a little more simply drawn, but it's just as charming and funny as the work that followed. Really, they probably should have just started this series with the earliest Lulu comics, and numbered the volumes from the get-go, rather than wait for later printings.

Ah, what do I know. I just sell these things for a living, is all.

I point you to Johanna's most recent post on the subject, if you haven't seen it already.

Just so I don't come across completely as Mr. Negative-Pants, I am very happy that affordable reprints of Little Lulu are being released, regardless of any publishing quirks.

And my vote for most non-essential comic book reprint is.... Okay, normally I'd be all for reprints of the Golden Age adventures of Tuk the Caveboy. However, this comic also contains a reprint of the Wolverine story from Marvel Comics Presents #1, which is explicitly described by Marvel itself as a preview of a forthcoming trade paperback reprinting this same story...feh, sez I. More Tuk the Caveboy, less Wolvie trade paperbacks.

Odd arrival of the day...in one of our Diamond boxes was a reorder invoice from early last year for another retailer, along with a copy of the Adult Previews catalog from the same period of time. Go figure.

Still kind of short on weblogging time... 

...so here's a cover with Conan fighting Captain America:

The Comic Reader #150 (Nov 1977) - art by Larry Houston

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"Time, time, time is not on my side, no it's not." 

Time got away from me today ("come back here, time!") so I don't have much of a post. Go back and look at some of my ramblings from previous days, or...

...take advantage of this limited time offer for autographed cards from Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin (spotted via Fred Hembeck)...

...marvel at the Newsweek mention of Dave's Long Box...

...enter Yet Another Comic Blog's Free Comic Book Month giveaway...

...sign this sure-to-be-effective petition calling for "a curse on the heads of DC Comics" (who wouldn't want to be part of this crowd?)...

...or go say "Hi!" to Rob Liefeld, God bless 'im. Hi, Rob!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Three covers, overthought. 

So quite some time ago, pal Jaime pointed out what might be a logical flaw in one of the captions on the above cover:

As pal Jaime said, "'wait'll you dig Namor's new costume?' Why wait? The new costume's right there!" So there's, what, maybe a nanosecond of delay between reading the caption and thinking "oh, hey, look at the new costume!" Not much waiting involved...assuming, of course, you read that particular caption first instead of going right to the figure of Sub-Mariner.

But, as I was pondering this, I thought about how the caption was actually worded. "Wait'll you dig" -- perhaps the caption is instead implying that your digging of the new costume will not occur immediately. I mean, it is a big change, and I think we all know how some fans react to change. So, in some cases, the caption can be considered to be worded correctly...if you don't immediately like Subby's new costume, some indefinite period of waiting will have to pass before you will begin to accept it...dig it, as it were.

I was admiring this cover for its variety of humor:

1. The character-based joke: Jughead's primary impetus is to eat, and thus would of course be more interested in entering a movie theatre for the popcorn, rather than the film being shown.

2. The pun: the sign, which reads "a story of a ruthless woman who fiddled with a man's heart strings and drove him to violins!"

3. The sight gag: the ticket taker as snake charmer, playing a flute with a string of tickets undulating before her.

It's a little something for everybody!

How rich is Richie Rich? He's so rich, the sheer power of his wealth can affect the very properties of light!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hey, if could ask a favor of some of you good folk out there...should you happen to run across a particular in-house (or, perhaps, fanzine) ad for
Hex, could you let me know where you found it? It's simply an image of Jonah Hex astride a motorcycle, with accompanying text reading something like "What's happened to Jonah Hex?" It would have appeared in early '85, and it would have been only a half-page ad at most.

Anyway, it's not like an emergency or anything (can you imagine a situation where this was an emergency?), so if you happen to come across it, please drop me a line!

Given the tail-wagging-the-dog relationship between the Superman family of comics and his various media interpretations, what do you think the chances are of the addition of the "S" emblem to the belt buckle (seen
here) making its way to the printed four-color page?

I like I noted briefly before, I don't think the minor change in costume is any big whoop. No matter what they do, it's still blue tights, red trunks, and a cape...it's gonna look silly. The way the actors carry themselves in the costume is what keeps it from being laughed off the screen: the George Reeves Superman looked like he'd kick your ass if you dared to make fun of his suit, and the Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain Supermen were just so gosh-darned nice that laughing at the outfit felt like...I don't know, like you were kicking puppies or something. Brandon Routh looks like he's more in the "kick your ass" camp, but I guess we'll find out once we start seeing some actual footage.

Anyway, here's an article looking at the evolution of Superman's costume in the comics.

I mentioned in my post from earlier today that I didn't know where I saw the WayneBoring.com link first...but Shane reveals that it was he, he, who did the deed...in this very post!

At work today:

Pal Dorian: "Why can't all bands be the B-52s?"

Me: "Because some bands need to be Negativland!"

Bill Sherman watches Man-Thing, so you don't have to.

No, I didn't see the Sci-Fi Channel's exclusive premiere of the movie too terrible good to go straight to video,
Man-Thing. Oh, if only they would rerun it about 1,000 times so that I'd be sure to catch it.

That's sarcasm, see.

EDIT: Chris Karath sums it up.

Did you know that there's a WayneBoring.com? I didn't know that there was a WayneBoring.com, until I came across a link to it...um, somewhere, which I don't remember, otherwise I'd credit it, like the gentleman I am. Anyhoo, there's a brief overview of the life and career of one of the definitive early Superman artists, and even includes an old Amazing Heroes interview.

From a link completely and totally stolen from the fine and good Gotham Lounge comes this series of eBay auctions, where a friendly young woman kindly offers her comic book wares for sale. I may have to borrow her strategy to get our own eBay auctions a little more action. I wonder if my bikini still fits?

For some strange reason, I feel the urge to bid on a Grendel trade paperback.

Yet Another Comics Blog is giving away free comics for the entire month of May? Why? Because he's crazy! Go take advantage of the man and enter his drawing right now!

Via the site I incorrectly call "Where Threads Come Loose" in the sidebar (it's really "Incoming Signals" - "WTCL" is the radio drama anthology) comes a link to the official site of Jason Sandberg, whose unfortunately short-lived Jupiter comic was one of my favorites.

"I shouldn't know about Supergirl's panties, I really shouldn't. But I do. And so do you. What's that about?" - a great, career-spanning interview with Kyle Baker, over on Terrific Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter site.

Ever since Laura reminded us, I've been meaning to mention here that all-new Girl Genius pages are appearing as an online comic strip. Three pages a week, updated Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Though the actual comic book itself is gone in favor of the web-route, the trade paperback collections will continue.

So you think you've had it tough, putting up with pal Dorian for a year. I've got to work with him!

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