mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Coop brings us
the First Church of Galactus. If you're going to worship anything, why not something that eats planets?

(via Metafilter)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Who was that masked man? 

The oft-mentioned Kid Chris, that's who!

He stopped by the store after attending a costume party. In July. I have no idea.

Progressive Ruin Once Again Brings You...The End of Civilization. 

Let us peek through the newest Diamond Previews together, my friends, and see what pleasures await us. Flip open your copy and follow along. (Here are some previous installments.)

p. 236-243 - Dear Avatar Comics: How many trees have died in service of all the variant covers you publish for every single one of your comics? All the Nightmare on Elm Street/Friday the 13th/etc. comics have multiple covers apiece. Plus, from the Lady Death collection this month, for the various series you can get the Tight Squeeze cover, the Bring It On cover, the Moonlight cover, the Abandon All Hope cover, the Royal Blue Foil cover, the Prism Foil cover...someone out there gets every variant, you can be sure.

p. 279 - The Solar, Man of the Atom Premiere Statue, for only $49.99, seems like something whose time has come and gone a few years back, during the Valiant Comics heyday. The full-page ad on page 277 states "The first Solar statue ever (and the only one this year)," though I don't know if I'd hold my breath for any more of them. I don't know...maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's a huge Solar fanbase waiting in silence out there, just hoping for the Solar merchandising onslaught to begin.

p. 390 - Class Dis-Mythed by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye...dear heavens, Myth-Adventures books are still coming out? At least Phil Foglio is doing the cover.

p. 416 - The Apprentice trading card series, plus a collector's binder. Yes, really. The basic set covers events from the TV series, as well as introducing the new players in the forthcoming shows. Inserts include cards that contain pieces of ties worn by Donald Trump on the show, as well as autograph cards. Well, okay, a Trump autograph card would be pretty cool.

p. 423 - I'm not 100% on the content guidelines for the main Previews catalog. I know the adult material is shunted off into a separate publication, but as I far as I knew the solicitation information in the main book is supposed to be kept free of naughty language. Anyway, I was just a little surprised when the description of the Mallrats trade paperback stated that the book contained "a shitload of newly designed visual content." Though I suppose anyone interested in anything involving Kevin Smith has probably heard a four-letter-word or two along the way.

p. 424 - If you're the world's biggest Green Lantern fan, you'll probably want the Green Lantern Corps: Sector 2814 t-shirt (offered again, from a previous catalog).

p. 444 - Care Bears Tie-Dyed Beanbags. "The Care Bears get groovy with this new seies of 6-inch tall tie-dyed beanbag toys!" One of the bears is named "Funshine Bear." A piece of my soul just withered away, I think.

p. 444, again - Cthulhu Miskatonic University Graduate Plush, in cap and gown. These cutesy Cthulhu toys need to stop now. One of these days, Cthulhu is going to wake down there in the sunken city of R'lyeh, rise up out of the ocean, find out that people have been making cute stuffed animal toys in its likenes, get really pissed off, and eat us all. I mean, honestly.

p. 470 - I'm tempted to mock the Transformers Decepticon Logo Wall Plaque (with hand-numbered base and certificate of authenticity) on this page, but my attention has been taken by the (offered again) solicitation for the Cyclops Visor replica for $175 bucks. For display, not wearing, and features a light-up "optic blast." Here, see for yourself. (Hey, the price is cheaper at that link...only $139.99!)

p. 480 - Another offered again item is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Slayer's Cross Necklace replica. For $24.99, you get...a silver cross necklace in a Buffy box. A plain ol' silver cross. That you presumably can buy anywhere. On the other, my favorite piece of Buffy merchandise ever is also offered again.

p. 484-6 - Lots of Japanese girl-in-skirt masturbation aids collectable PVC statues are made available, in a variety of styles and poses. Fully washable.

p. 509 - Family Guy 6-inch Beanies, which come in an assortment of a bunch of Stewies, plus several others that will never sell, ever.

p. 510 - Lord of the Rings Second Age Gondorian Limited Edition Shield - "Roughly shaped and forged, [it] has been authentically 'battle worn' with a distressed finish to exactly duplicate the original movie props." $398.99, and limited to 2,500 pieces, which should come as a surprise to no one.

p. 512 - Edward Scissorhands 13-inch Plush, complete with Keane-painting eyes. Oh, dear. Look at it. I mean, really, look at it.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


(After looking at the new issue of Previews, particularly the DC/Vertigo listings):

Me: "You know what? I think Gepetto is the Adversary in Fables."

Pal Dorian: "Nah...I think he's more of a plot point, a pawn in the Adversary's control who's building his armies and such."

Me: "I don't know...I know that's been mentioned before in the book, but I'm betting we're going to get a surprise twist reveal of Gepetto as the Adversary."

Dor: "But what possible motive would Gepetto have for driving all the Fables characters out of their homeland?"

Me: "'Bitch crazy.'"

Just on a whim, I did a search on the Google for "fables" and "adversary," and apparently my Gepetto guess isn't exactly groundbreaking. Mostly, it's been decided by the message boards that Gepetto is "too obvious," and who am I to argue with message boards?

Another thing spotted in the new Previews: the next issue of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, featuring "Squish Thing" by Swamp Thing creators Len Wein and Berni(e) Wrightson. I don't remember who else is in this issue, but every Treehouse of Horror has an impressive line-up of talent and, as I recall, this issue was no exception. But, honestly, the rest of the issue could have been blank pages and I'd still be buying it for the Wein/Wrightson story.

So as it turned out, we did have enough copies of the Angel puppet cover to go around. I even managed to get one (being a late convert to the Buffy-verse, after mainlining DVD season sets thanks to the Netflix). And, thankfully, the other cover variants are moving.

Choice comic of the week: Licensable Bear #2 by Nat Gertler and friends. He's a cute little bear that just wants to appear on marketable products! Very funny stuff.

I want to like the new Green Lantern series, since I'm a GL fan from way back, only dropping the series after the Hal/Kyle transition (not because of "I can't believe what they did to Hal," but because the book wasn't any darn good). I checked back in once in a while, but never noticed any real improvement. Now that Geoff Jones is writing GL, I have some hope, but the new series has yet to really grab me. I'm borrowing this observation from somewhere (I don't remember who made this comment first), but I do like the rebuilt ghost town of Coast City, giving Hal's new digs a unique characteristic not shared by other superhero home towns.

Maybe my somewhat indifferent response to the new series is that I've just read enough Green Lantern stories, and I really don't need to read any more. I've reached my GL saturation point!

I don't want to post the actual text of it here, but surely the very last caption in the new JLA Classified must be a knowing commentary on recent DC crossover events. Very funny, in a darkly humorous sort of way.

Also funny (found via Atrios): no longer a weblog, now an "online magazine:"

"...Traditional blog posts will be replaced with articles of varying lengths and topics. I will also be replacing the comments with article specific message boards."

* I realize that's redundant.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I can't believe I missed these particular milestones (or millstones, perhaps)...both
pal Tom and pal Corey of ACAPCWOVCCAOE fame have reached the one-year mark! Huzzah! Good tidings! Drinks all around!

And to respond to Tom's comment about my ability to post something here every single day...well, it helps if you're really, really, really obsessive. Though it can be hard to squeeze in weblog entries when you're busy touching every doorknob in the house.

I haven't done an honest-to-goodness real review on this site in a while, so I'm a wee bit out of practice. However, the fine folks at Boom! Studios were good enough to wing a copy of Zombie Tales in my direction, so I should probably say a word or two about it. Of course, pal Dorian already beat me to the punch, giving a positive review that I pretty much agree with. The real highlight is John Rogers and Andy Kuhn's "Daddy Smells Funny," a zombie story from the perspective of a four-year-old. It's creepily drawn, with a twist punchline that one might see coming, but still, the telling of the story is half the fun.

Another highlight was Andrew Cosby and Keith Giffen's "I, Zombie," where we follow a zombie trying to go through the normal routine from his living existence. Ted the Zombie's Bizarro-esque interior dialogue adds a layer of sadness to his character, as we realize that he's not quite able to understand just what it is that's happened to him.

The other stories are amusing, with Mark Waid and Carlos Magno's "If You're So Smart" being the only clinker in the bunch, with too much set-up and a "twist" ending that I just didn't buy.

However, it's a solid anthology, and if you're a zombie fan that's tired of seeing the usual Romero-retreads, this comic will give you a wide variety of new perspectives on the genre. Look for it at your better funnybook stores this Wednesday.

How not to start your workday at the comic shop: accidentally crashing the computer after filling out the monthly Diamond order form, so that you have to start over from scratch. AAAARGH!

(Okay, basically it's just copying over numbers handwritten in the order workbooklet, but still, darn annoying.)

Speaking of the shop, if there's anything you're looking for, feel free to contact me via my e-mail address (at the upper right of this page), and I'll be happy to provide some quality mail order service to you. Hey, you saw my post earlier in the week...you know I'll handle your purchases properly!

Monday, June 27, 2005

For no good reason, I was reminded of that time, so long ago, when Diamond Comics used to send sales reps to visit their various accounts...just to check in, see how things are going, do some face-to-face promoting, what have you. One Wednesday, our sales rep (a nice guy, whose name eludes me...it's been a while) pops in for a visit, and as he's chatting with me, he points to the new arrivals wall and asks, "so, what's good this week? What are you looking forward to reading the most?"

I look at the new arrivals for a moment, and I reply, "oh, probably the new issue of
The Comics Journal."

The rep pauses. "'The Comics Journal.'" He looks at me like I have a hand growing out of the middle of my forehead. "Really?"

I realized then that the rep was probably used to hearing answers of "X-Men" or whatever the big Vertigo book happened to be at the time. For someone to answer that his favorite new arrival on New Comics Day was a magazine about comics was certainly unusual. (And that the magazine in question was The Comics Journal...well, forget about it!)

I don't mean to be contrary. I really don't.

I liked the idea of Jack Black as Green Lantern, even if it ended up being just a rumor. I liked Identity Crisis as the throwaway potboiler it was. I didn't mind that Blue Beetle and Sue Dibny, two expendable (i.e. non-merchandised, and non-merchandisable) characters, were killed off to propel certain storylines. I wasn't particularly excited about the Sin City movie, as the previews did very little for me. (It turned out okay, thankfully, though some of the narration should have been cut.) Sometimes controversies sweep the comicsweblogosphere that I don't really care about, and sometimes I get all worked up about something stupid that's important only to me.

I ain't doin' it on purpose, I swear!

Ah, well, funny how these things work out, I guess. At least we can all agree on the greatness of COMPOSITE SUPERMAN.

If I'm able, I'm going to crash this San Diego Comic Con weblogging panel dressed as a pirate, and, waving my cutlass in the air and shouting "AVAST YE BLOGGER-LUBBERS!" I'm going to shove my way into the front of the room and get into a swordfight with Augie De Blieck.

Oh, like you wouldn't.

You with me, Augie?

So, say I have a pile of Minx published by DC/Vertigo, that I wish to mail to someone who bought them from me on the eBay:

Here's how I'd package them for shipping:

First, I'd wrap up the individually-bagged comics in a larger baggie of some sort, just to keep them from sliding around the envelope:

I then tape the wrapped-up bundle down to one piece of cardboard, precut to fit into a flat rate priority mail envelope:

I then place another piece of cardboard on the other side of the bundle, and slide everything into the envelope:

I address the front of the envelope clearly, and vee-ola:

I have one package ready to mail, for only $3.85 domestic shipping (or $4.00, if I round up...don't begrudge me my fifteen cents). Or less, if you're shipping something by first class or (in the case of books) media mail.

(Also, it's vitally important to use only your left hand during the packing process, in case your right hand needs to operate a digital camera or something.)

The few times I've bought comics and magazines off the eBay, more often than not I've had the item either just tossed into an envelope with no protection (no cardboard, no plastic bag...good thing it wasn't raining when the postman delivered that day), or way overpacked (a comic or two placed in a huge cardboard box, with the attendant increase in shipping costs).

I know my experience isn't unusual, since I've had several mail order customers who, upon buying something from us for the first time, feel the need to specifically request that we pack the book with cardboard, wrap it in plastic...all the things we normally do anyway.

The packing method I show here is, I think, a happy medium...reasonable shipping costs combined with enough protective packing material to guard a small order of comics.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Well, at this moment, I'm just kinda fed up with comic books, comic retailing, comic fandom, message boards, what have you. Don't worry, it's just a passing phase, and I'll be back to posting about the funnybooks again -- well, probably tonight, even -- but for now...

...you get links about my all-time favorite fish, the coelacanth:

Dinofish.com, your complete coelacanth resource.

This page relates the rediscovery (and the re-rediscovery) of this believed-extinct fish, complete with a computer-generated image of the initial sighting.

"UC Berkeley Researchers Announce Discovery of Sulawesi Coelacanths!"

If you don't have much time, this page sums it up.

An article from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme.

A printable line-drawing of the coelacanth's anatomy.

Here's a more detailed look at the fish's anatomy.

The history of the coelacanth - in stamps.


Educational slideshow about coelacanth and some of their fishy friends.

As I write this, no one has yet rated the Coelacanth Old Four Legs Premium Lager from Coelacanth Brewery.

Now that you're read all those sites, you should be ready for...the Coelacanth trivia quiz!

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