mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"I say 8 things when you pull my legs." 

Friday, November 17, 2006


"A treasure chest of happiness." 

So we bought a large collection of '70s comics, mostly humor books (Archie and Harvey and the like). It's nice to have them, as while we're pretty heavy on Archies at the moment, our Harvey selection is rather sparse. At one time we had well over three boxes of nothing but Richie Rich titles...one person came in and bought them all, and ever since you could probably count our RR stock on the fingers of both hands, and maybe a toe or two.

In this collection, though, are hundreds of Richie Rich comics, which should replenish our supply for some time to come...or, at least, until that guy who bought all the Richie Riches comes back and wipes us out again.

However, there is a downside to acquiring these Richie Riches, and that's they've gotta be processed...put in bags, price stickered, etc. And that means looking at cover after cover after cover after cover celebrating Richie's conspicuous consumption. Since I had the other employees otherwise occupied, it was up to me...and I'd only processed about 1/3 of the Richie Rich comics when I realized they were driving me insane. I was angry at the Richie Rich comics, talking back to them. "This isn't real grass...it's ast-dough turf!" Richie would say on the cover. "Oh, screw you, Rich," I would reply.

I've noted before that one of the things that irritates me about Richie Rich is the constant rubbing of his wealth in the faces of his country bumpkin friends Pee Wee and Freckles. I mean, look at how they live:

"Oh, no, you couldn't live with me," Richie must tell them. "There's just no space in my 500-room mansion...all the extra rooms are filled with money, you see. Plus, our robot maid Irona requires a multi-room suite for her privacy, my dog Dollar needs room to roam...you understand."

And why Pee Wee and Freckles put up with this particular insult:

...I have no idea. The unseen conclusion of that particular scenario should be Rich being beaten to death by the pair with one of his own bags of money.

Sure, he does nice things for them, on occasion, like helping them mooch a free ball game:

...but are you telling me the richest kid in the world can't spring for actual tickets? Okay, maybe the game was sold out, but would that stop someone of Richie's wealth and influence? A bill or two dropped in the right hands, and Richie and his entourage are through the gate. Then again, maybe Rich owns the park, and is helping his friends circumvent admission out of some risk-free "flouting societal conventions" fantasy. "Oh, this must be what it's like when the common people break the law and risk punishment!"

And, for God's sake, what the heck is up with this tricked-out pogo stick:

Richie Rich is clearly incapable of feeling embarrassment. The Casper-head horn also raises questions I don't want answered.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Guess at which point the conversation goes from "what was actually said" to "what was going on in Mike's head." 

Person on the phone: "I've lived in Ventura all my life, and I have your address here, but I'm not sure where you are. Can you give me an idea where you're at?"

Me: "Sure...we're near the corner of Seaward and Main Street."

P.O.T.P.: "Okay, where is that? What are you near?"

Me: "Um...there's a cleaners on the corner, we're right across the street from the huge bike shop, we're next door to the optometrist...."

P.O.T.P.: "I'm still not sure where you're at. Is there anything else you're near?"

Me: "We're on the other side of Seaward from Ventura High School."

P.O.T.P.: "Hmmmm, okay, I'm still not sure where you're at. I'm on Main Street now, by the Target...are you far from there?"

Me: "We're just a couple miles away. Keep driving down Main, like you're driving toward Santa Barbara, and we'll be on the right hand side of the street. If you hit the Seaward intersection, you've just passed us."

P.O.T.P.: "Well, I hope I can find you."

Me: "Well, since you said you have the address, and you're already on this street, just drive along Main, which is the main drag through town, which is a fairly straight and uncomplicated thoroughfare, which should be entirely familiar to anyone who's lived in this town for all their lives, and follow the street numbers on the buildings until you get to the ones that are close to the address you have for us. It's really not that hard. But failing that, we're at 34°, 16', 30" N by 119°, 13', 40" W."

Epilogue: I don't think this person ever made it to the store.

So this week's arrival of the conclusion of Daredevil: Father #6 got me thinking as to how long it took for this series to finally wrap up. I went to our store's cycle sheets and...well, our Daredevil cycle sheets appear to be not where they're supposed to be, at the moment, so I checked the dates over at Comiclist.com:

#1 - 4/28/04
#2 - 8/31/05
#3 - 9/21/05
#4 - 11/9/05
#5 - 12/29/05
#6 - 11/15/06

Well, it looked like issues #2-#5 almost came out on a regular schedule, anyway.

Just out of curiosity, I pulled out the arrival dates for Civil War:

#1 - 5/3/06
#2 - 6/14/06
#3 - 7/19/06
#4 - 9/20/06
#5 - 11/15/06

And just to be a jerk:

Daredevil: The Target #1 - 11/13/02. Issues #2-#4 of the series? Don't hold your breath.

I would have looked up that Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine (or whatever it's called), but the thought of it just depressed me.

And just to keep anyone from complaining that my anti-Marvel, pro-DC bias is showing, let's take a look at, say, Seven Soldiers: the last issue of the Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein series came out on April 26th...and that was it until the conclusion of the series, Seven Soldiers #1 popped up on October 25th.

The botched Wonder Woman relaunch has had only two issues so far, the first arriving on June 7th, the second on August 23rd, the third still pending, apparently.

The last issue of Superman/Batman we've seen, aside from the annual, is #29 from 8/30/06.

And then there's All-Star Batman and Robin, where the series' chronic lateness problems is its sole flaw:

#1 - 7/13/05
#2 - 9/14/05
#3 - 12/29/05
#4 - 5/17/06

Only one issue for 2006. Geez. But, you know, that's okay, because I think I got one year's worth of entertainment out of that issue.

The moral of the story? Companies, please put your comics out on time, because I, as a mere comics salesman, am the one who takes the most crap when your books are late. Thank you.

I've been mentioning over the last couple of New Comics Day posts that I'm slowly trying to cut down the reading list a bit, winnowing out the few books that I've been buying out of habit and not enjoying. I noted that I was real close to cutting Green Lantern Corps, as I was enjoying the bits with Guy Gardner and, um, not much else. However, this issue kept me around because 1) more Dave Gibbons art, 2) I'm finally beginning to get interested in the other characters, and 3) a couple elements from Alan Moore's Abin Sur story (from this annual) pop up in this issue (at least, I don't remember those elements being mentioned in this series before). So, okay, you got me, I'm stickin' around.

Now, Hellblazer...okay, had this been any other book, I probably would have dropped it, but I like the John Constantine character, and (most importantly) it's a Swamp Thing spin-off character, so "Fanboy" beats out "Rational Adult in Charge of Finances" in this case. Because, really, I'm oversimplifying things a bit, but John 'n' pals are fighting a demon that causes people to be sad, and the way to fight it is be happy and in love. And I think this story has been going on for, like, eight, nine years now. Oh come on.

For reading all that, I give you Spandexwear.com - Good Lord, that Batgirl costume is even more terrifying in real life. Egads. And this instills fear in nobody.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well, cashew

The Friendly Ghost Casper #183 (January 1976)

1. That's some fine tangibility control Casper has over his ghostly body.

2. ...And those are some tortured puns in that bottom blurb. "Without pecan," indeed.

3. Casper's expression is, I realize, borne of his response to nuts being tossed through his head, but still, that look makes it appear as if he has some nefarious plans in the works. ("Once I get all the squirrels' nuts, they'll starve, starve!")

4. Where I come from, being called a "nut basket" is fightin' words.

5. The fact that there are two different series, one named Casper the Friendly Ghost and one named The Friendly Ghost Casper, irritates me far out of proportion to its importance.

6. Is there a lot of competition for "World's Most Famous Ghost?" Um...Hamlet's dad, maybe? Or Slimer? Great, and now I'm picturing Slimer in the role of Hamlet's dad:

HAMLET: "Ghostbusters and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or slime from hell...."

Er, yeah. Never mind.*

7. If one were to accept the oft-posited theory of Casper being the spirit of the departed Richie Rich, condemned to walk the earth for his sins of avarice, can the multiple times the two characters have met be seen as a literal expression of the philosophical concept of the duality of body and spirit? Or perhaps it's Harvey Comics making explicit its support in the belief of out-of-body experiences? Or maybe, once freed of its mortal bonds, Richie's spirit, in the form of Casper, is also freed of the progression of linear time, and is able to double-back into his own timeline and team up with himself?

Or maybe Richie and Casper are simply two different entities...but what fun is that?

* On a related note (near the end of the clip)....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

File under "Sin, blogging about blogging is a" 

GAH! Really, I should have known better than to sign up for Blogger Beta. Signing up for Beta anything is usually a bad idea...just ask Beta Flight. Dead (presumably), dead, dead, villain(s)...at least, that was the status of those characters last time I checked. I'm sure someone out there will set me straight.

Er, anyway, got off topic a bit there. What I'm trying to say is if you see any weird glitches on my site, like archive links that go nowhere, or permalinks that are on the fritz, please let me know. Stupid Blogger Beta.

I'm also planning on 1) changing the background and title banner on the site again, and 2) weeding some of the dead sites out of the sidebar. If you own a site in the sidebar, and you haven't updated in, say, about six months, but you plan to start doing so again Any Day Now, drop me a line and I'll leave the link up.

A couple brief comic news snippets:

  • "Snyder Says No Sequels for Watchmen" - yeah, I wasn't exactly holding my breath for the first movie actually getting made, much less Watchmen II: Rorschach's Revenge.

  • Film studio apparently hasn't seen Ghost Rider trailer, signs Nicolas Cage to another comic book movie.

  • And I know most of you have seen it already, but...it's the Simpsons trailer! I wonder if there's any implied commentary in Homer's ultimate fate in the trailer vis-a-vis fan expectations for this film (i.e. where the cartoon's creators will find themselves stuck)? Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.

I don't have any info on this beyond what it says at the YouTube link ("this is the arabic opening of batman"), but darn if that's not a catchy theme song...if perhaps not exactly going along with the intent of the animators:

Monday, November 13, 2006

More testing. 

Blogger Beta...feh, I say, feh!

EDIT: My archive pages should work now, which means the permalinks for my posts should work now as well. My FTP directory is a mess, Blogger Beta tells me that it's getting a server error whenever I update my site, but it's updating anyway, and...ah, heck, you don't want to hear about it.

But, really, honestly...if you're using Blogger, and don't want to switch to another weblogging system...hold off on upgrading to Blogger Beta. It'll break your spirit.

On the bright side, a whole lot of people got to see my swell 404 page today.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

In which Mike is just a little mean. 

  • Heard at the store - Mom: "Hey, look at this comic, Franklin Richards...this looks funny!" Kid (takes quick flip through book): "Nah, this is just a rip-off of Calvin & Hobbes."

  • The specific increment of time between the weblog posting of a negative review of a comic and the appearance of that comic's creator (or an overly-defensive fan, or just an outright "sock puppet") in that particular post's comment section may be referred to as "a Tokyopop." (See also Chris' opening statement in his latest review.)

  • The likelihood of our ability to purchase a comic collection from someone not immersed in the hobby decreases by, say, about 50% if that person owns a price guide that he or she clearly doesn't know how to use. Our offer of anything less than the top mint price for any particular book, regardless of its condition, is an obvious attempt to rip people off, you see.

  • Is there a term for going through the blocked-bidder list in your account on the eBay, and checking the current feedback and/or status of the bidders in that list, and being very satisfied that the majority of them are no longer registered eBay members? I mean, a term aside from "being a smug jerk?"

  • Conversations I do not want to have any more: Person on phone asks for list of what came out this week. I run down the list of most of the new major arrivals. Person on phone then asks "Actually, I'm just wondering if Wolverine came out. Did it?" NOTE TO SELF: Ask if there's anything they're specifically looking for first.

  • On a related note: kid and (presumably) his mom who call every day asking about the Alex Ross Justice line of action figures, asking which ones we have, then telling us they're just looking for the Superman figure. DON'T CIRCLE AROUND THE QUESTION, JUST ASK IT.

  • The more I look at this article that I linked to the other day, the more dumb it seems to get. Okay, yay, "did you know that like pretty much every other entertainment form on the planet, there are comics for kids and comics for adults," that's a message that still needs to get out there. But...man, this article needs some editorial interference, stat!

  • No, you can't leave your wallet with us as collateral so you can borrow one of our books and go make photocopies out of it. "You lose...good day, sir!"

  • Dear creator: I like how, in the promo material you sent to us, you go out of your way to assure us that your comic, starring an HIV-positive character, doesn't address the topic of sexual identity. Of course it doesn't, otherwise your publisher, who has publicly stated that he doesn't like "the gays," wouldn't touch it. DUH.

  • I was this close to saying something really nasty about National Novel Writing Month, but too many people I actually like are doing it, so I'll just keep it to myself. It was really mean, though. I'm a bad man.

  • Something pal Dorian brought up regarding the return of Peter Parker's clone Ben Reilly - ah, so that's how they're going to get out of the "Peter's revealed his ID as Spidey" thing! (Well, you know, it's possible....)

  • Spider-Man 3 trailer - I'm seeing lessons not learned from the latter films of the '80s-'90s Batman franchise.

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