mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Friday, May 20, 2005

ENDS TONIGHT: I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is tonight Friday, May 20th at midnight Pacific time...please see
this post for rules and restrictions.

My pal JP loves crazy comic book stuff. The crazier the better, especially if Batman's involved somehow. And, God bless 'im, he's always sending me fantastic links that I enjoy sharing with all of you. A couple of his latest finds on the eBay:

A magazine featuring Freak Brothers/Wonder Warthog creator Gilbert Shelton, the Real Don Steele, and Adam West in full Batman regalia.

Cool as that is, it pales in comparison to this other item he found:

Adult baby plastic Batman pants.

That's right, I said


As long as we're discussing undergarments, here's a GrimJack thong. (courtesy pal The Ferrett)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

So I was going to post about the new comics that came out this week, like I usually do on Thursdays, but...forget it! After
this post yesterday, I'd rather talk about buttons!

Now, that button for the first Batman movie is from '88, and it's my recollection that there was a huge demand for this particular pin. It was given away at a monthly Los Angeles convention, and I think by the next month dealers at that same convention were selling it for $5 to $10. Also, that particular image by Bob Kane...um, evoked the art style of Todd McFarlane, to say the least.

On the right is a promo button for the always a bridesmaid, never a bride Sgt. Rock movie, back when it was going to star Arnold Schwarzenegger, but before it was going to star Bruce Willis. (I think I have those actors in the right order.) It does have a Warner Brothers copyright notice (from 1988), so I'm fairly certain this was an official product.

This pin is advertising the graphic novel A Conversation Between Two Guys in A Bar, Or A New Model of the Universe by Neal Adams, and gives me an excuse to finally link to this interesting interview with the man at the Comic Foundry (part one, part two). Anyway, has that graphic novel ever even been released? I swear Adams has been talking about it for years. Oh, and did you know Neal Adams has challenged every geologist on Earth? He certainly did.

Pins from three of my favorite indie comics series: the 1986 Miracleman pin (art by Chuck Austen, formerly Chuck Beckum), the 1983 Nexus pin (Steve Rude, natch), and an '86 Zot! pin (art by a certain Mr. McCloud).

Pins especially for retailers to wear around the store are a lot of fun, too. I like the expression on that gal's face on the Femforce pin...did they really intend for her to look embarrassed? The center pin was for Marvel's shortlived attempt at getting another Merry Marvel Marching Society or Friends of 'Ol Marvel club going...yes, I was an Official Recruitment Officer, like it says there. That third pin advertised Marvel's 99-cent line...which I thought was a pretty good idea, although (with the possible exception of Untold Tales of Spider-Man) the 99-cent books weren't really all that good. (For a laugh, at least look at the first page of Fantastic Four Unplugged #1...a splash page of the Thing's angry face, shouting "Ya freakin' crud! I'm gonna rip you a new one!" Beautiful.)

No, please don't.

I'll be putting up a real post later this morning, but I did want to remind you that, as
I've mentioned before, I have an extra copy of Couscous Express to give away, and all you gotta do is send your name and address to contest (at) progressiveruin.com to enter the random drawing. Deadline is Friday, May 20th...please see this post for rules and restrictions.

Hey, it's free. Whaddaya got to lose?

Also, my copy of this week's new issue of Plastic Man (#16) has repeated pages. I think all the story pages are there, but some of the pages are duplicated. When I go into the store today I'll check and see if all our copies are like this, but you might want to check your copy as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

So I wonder how steamed the
Discovery Channel is that the two-page ad for their Alien Planet TV show didn't show up in Marvel's comics until this week, even though the show aired last weekend? Oops. Well, I guess they can consider it an advertisement for the inevitable DVD release.

Things I did today that you (probably) didn't: sold Adventures of Kool-Aid Man comic books to Japanese-national tourists. Sometimes my days are just fantastic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Okay, I know I've been bringing up
our auctions an awful lot lately...I don't mean to turn this site into a commercial for our store. Well, not much, anyway. But I thought you might be interested to know that I just listed a bunch of undergrounds, including the two comics I featured on this site recently, as well as a couple rarities (like Jim Franklin's Armadillo #3). Even if you don't want to buy anything, maybe you'll get a kick out of some of the scans.

As long as I'm thinking about store stuff, I was reminiscing about a couple things in the distant past, lo in those pre-internet days, even in those pre-pal Dorian days...not really anything warranting a post on their own, but just a couple observations about how things used to be...

  • ...like having a huge line outside the store of people waiting to buy their copy of Superman #75, the infamous "Death of Superman." We had doubled our orders on Superman for this issue, but this was of course before all the crazy publicity that issue received. We realized right away that there was no way we'd have enough to meet demand, so we ended up having to limit the comic to one per customer (which had the end result of really profoundly angering one or two people who were insisting on buying dozens of copies). I remember one woman in particular who was pretty irate about only being able to get one copy (despite my explaining to everyone so angered that if I hadn't limited sales, they wouldn't even be buying their one), and who also had brought her two-year-old along to the store, and she was too busy complaining to keep an eye on him...so of course on top of managing a store full of customers, we had to keep Junior out of trouble as well. And when the newspaper article on the event came out the next day, whose face was in full color on the cover? Yup, that woman. Sigh.

    Also, people seemed generally concerned that Superman was going to be dead and gone forever, so I put together a display of dead Superman covers from years past to show that this was nothing new. I did have a reporter ask me how I thought DC was going to bring Superman back, and I half-jokingly said that since Superman was essentially like a big solar battery, absorbing our sun's radiation to fuel his powers, they should probably just lay him out on the beach and let him recharge. As it turned out, that's kinda what ended up happening (the recharging part, not the beach part).

  • As you may recall, Rob Liefeld's X-Force #1 was polybagged with one each of an assortment of trading cards. We ended up sorting out the comics by which card was in the package, and setting up a table with the different piles displayed, thus making it easier for people to get one of each card if they so desired. We're not proud.

  • The only thing, the only thing, I have been ashamed of selling in the store is pogs. Yes, this is coming from someone who has also sold Horny Biker Sluts. At least Horny Biker Sluts has artistic merit.

    Pogs. Feh.

  • Another time we had a huge line of people snaking around the store to buy the current hot comic was when Youngblood #1 came out. Liefeld was on, I think, The Dennis Miller Show or Arsenio or some darn thing, and that brought the people out in droves. Again, we had to limit to one per customer or three people would have bought all the copies we ordered.

    Of all the comics for people to get all worked up about....

  • When Star Trek: Voyager came out, our local newspaper once again sent out their intrepid reporters to our shop to get the dope on what the area cognoscenti had to say about (gasp) a female Starfleet captain! I was the only person at the shop at the time (er, well, still, come to think of it) who had much interest in Star Trek, but that was the day I was doing some heavy work in the back...I was unshaved, disheveled, and wearing downright ratty clothing*, and there was going to be pictures taken for the article. Despite my former coworker Rob's pleadings, I declined to be interviewed...even at my best, I have a face made for radio, so I certainly wasn't going to be pictured lookin' like this. So, yeah, I stuck poor Rob with speaking for the store on this important subject. I don't remember exactly what he said, but he tried to be fair and even-handed on the topic....especially given that I knew darn well he absolutely hated Trek.

  • Occasionally I remember a comic we used to have tons of, and now we're completely bereft of them. I've mentioned the Star Wars treasury before (the one we were selling for a quarter just to unload the stupid things), but just recently I was reminded of 1968's Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1...a one-shot that continued their stories from Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish, just prior to each character starting its own series. Now, we had a pile of these things. Couldn't give them away. They were a dime a dozen. We were stuck with these things forever...and then, eventually, we were run right out of them, without me even noticing. It's one of those comics that I always assume we have plenty of, but now they're few and far-between (and $200 in NM in Overstreet).

  • Once the store was filled with women wrestlers. In costume. As customers. Sometimes, these things happen.

* Yes, yes, I know, "how is that any different from how you usually look?" Trust me, I was not fit for public consumption.

Hey, just a reminder...I'm selling a few things for
pal Ian via our eBay auctions. Those auctions are ending today at about 3:20 Pacific time, and they include such goodies as Lynda Barry's One Hundred Demons, Alan Moore: Portrait of a Gentleman, Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Kim Deitch, several WildC.A.T.s books by Alan Moore and Joe Casey, and much much more! Get your bids in fast...help us send Ian off to beauty college!

This page may have the greatest superhero custom figures I have ever seen. I would have killed for these as a young'un. An example is pictured to the right, there.

Well, okay, the Joker/Red Hood action figure is kinda cool.

In other new DC solicitation news, let me join my fellow ACAPCWOVCCAOE* member, Sir James Ian "Boom-Boom" Brill III, in his delight at the forthcoming DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories. Complete with Brian Bolland cover. If this isn't a must-buy on your list, I'm comin' to your house to set fire to all your Rom comics.

I also like the design on this version of the cover for the Identity Crisis collection. That's mighty handsome. Yeah, I know, you all hated this series. That's still a fine cover...better than any of the ones that appeared on the actual comic.

A couple things are apparently "changing forever:"
JSA #76: "...Hawkman harbors a secret that will change the JSA's role in the DCU forever!"

Legion of Super-Heroes #9: "...Cosmic Boy is faced with a deadly decision that could change the face of his team forever."

Plus, dig the Crisis on Infinite Earths #5-vibe on this cover for Flash #225.

Flying miniature from the Supergirl movie, from the Propstore of London. They're also selling a prop Chinese newspaper from "the Christopher Reeve classic [sic] Superman III."

Pete von Sholly strikes again, this time with the spectacularly-named Sergeantstein and His Maraudin' Monsters. Von Sholly's art style is very appealling to me...big, dynamic, and colorful. There are plenty of preview pages at that link, so be sure to take a look.

Pal JP pointed out this auction for one of the original Howard Chaykin Star Wars promo posters...hoo boy, that's pricey. I also wanted to express my admiration for this particular seller's humongous list of policies and rules, which I'm sorely tempted to do for our own auctions. I thought I did a pretty good job detailing the requirements for our auctions, but there's always someone who doesn't think the rules apply to them, and/or pays us some completely random amount of money after the auction's over. It's not so bad when they pay us too much (then I can just refund the excess), but it's when they pay us a dollar over the end amount, expecting that to cover shipping and sales tax (if applicable)...well, then it's a pain in the rear.

I just have to keep reminding myself..."mail order is fun...mail order is still fun...."

* The Associated Comics And Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, California And Outlying Environs. Or, perhaps, the Annoyed, Creepy, And Peculiar Cartoon Watchers of Ventura, Connecticut, Chemnitz, and Outer Erie.

Monday, May 16, 2005

So, while talking with
pal Dorian on Saturday, I brought up the idea of the Brotherhood of Dada from Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol suddenly showing up in the current, rebooted, "everything you knew was wrong!" version of Doom Patrol, acting as if the reboot never happened. That would be consistent with the concept of the Brotherhood, wouldn't it?

Anyway, the root canal went fine, aside from taking forever. I go lie down now.

I'm going in for a root canal this morning... 

...and only the thought of the true love between a koala bear and a penguin will sustain me:

Areba Koala #1 (1977) - art by John Wozniak

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I was paging through our store copy of Wizard Magazine (hey, we do have the occasional downtime at the shop...it's not all big money transactions and gunplay)...and surely I must have imagined seeing this on the classified ads page:

The super hero power no villian, vixen or hulk can live without."

Before you say anything, yes, that's how "villain" was spelled in the ad. There was a website address, too, which I don't really want to post here but you can probably figure out on your own. Just don't confuse it with
Bettersexthroughyogurt.com, for God's sake.

So pal Dorian and I were discussing some recent comics "controversy" or another yesterday:

Me: "...And, of course, everyone's going to start bitching about it."

Dor: "'Start?'"

Me: "Oops, I meant that they're going to alter the direction of their current nonstop bitching to this new target."

So, the stoned person that Dorian mentioned...how did I know she was stoned? She kept hitting on me. I mean, honestly...surely even stoned people can do better than me.

From now on, this is how I'm going to brand images I personally scanned for use on this site:

I finished reading the Crisis on Infinite Earths novelization a few days ago, and, like I said before, it does not stand alone. You really need to have read the original Crisis comic book series to make heads or tails out of this. Part of the problem is that, when you get right down to it, Crisis isn't so much about the plot as it is about mixing up and showing off all of DC Comics' various characters from the company's long history. The comic's appeal is primarily visual...it's for the fans who want to see Changeling meet Mr. Tawky Tawny, for example, rather than read "And then the Earth-1 Changeling was surprised to meet Mr. Tawky Tawny of Earth-S." (Okay, not an actual line from the book, but you get the idea.) The huge group shots and massive fight scenes in the comic are a lot of fun to look at, given the lovely George Perez/Jerry Ordway art. But in prose form, those group shots suddenly become long lists of characters, often with notations as to which Earth they're from. The few introspective moments that flesh out the occasional character are nice (the Silver Age Flash, the center of the story, benefits most), but they're few and far between.

The book was a fun diversion, despite its problems (and occasional typos) but not exactly essential to the understanding of the orignal Crisis series. For fans only...but really, who else was going to read it?

I was one of the participants in Chris "Lefty" Brown's Mixed Bag CD exchange, and while some folks out there who were also in the exchange are doing detailed reviews of each disc, I'm not sure I'll ever get around to doing so myself. I will say that I've enjoyed all the discs I received, and that it's very illuminating to be exposed to these fine folks' musical tastes. And I'm glad to hear that most of you enjoyed at least some of the material on my disc...the next one will be a bit more...challenging, so consider yourself warned!

Tell the truth...you clicked on that bettersexthroughyogurt.com link, didn't you? Sicko.

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