Saturday, January 27, 2007
Not exactly Mamet.
(Scene: Employee Josh is processing a number of X-Force back issues he recently pulled from the backroom stock. Mike is doing whatever it is Mike does...let's call it "supervising.")
Employee Josh: "Hey, Mike, should I remove this thing covering the hologram on this issue? Um...is it a piece of toilet paper?"
Mike: "Yeah...it was just there to protect the hologram in transit from the printer to the distributor to here."
Employee Josh: "So after this was printed, a single square of toilet paper was placed over every hologram on every copy...they didn't have a machine to do that, did they?"
Mike: "Not that I'm aware of."
Employee Josh: "So this printer had people whose only job, at least for a while, was to repeatedly tear off single squares of toilet paper and carefully place them on a comic book cover's hologram?"
Mike: "Seems that way."
Employee Josh: "Good Lord. Where was this done? Who printed this?"
Mike: "I'm pretty sure it was printed in Canada. It's yet another reason for Canadians to hate us."
Employee Josh: "Oh, man...and couldn't they have used something else? Why did it have to be toilet paper?"
Mike: "So readers could get a head start on wiping before tearing pages out of the comic for that purpose."
Employee Josh: "..."
Mike: "I'm totally blogging this."
Friday, January 26, 2007
So I like Stephen King books...what's it to ya?
Now here's some good marketing...we got a batch of the above postcards this week from IDW Publishing, promoting their Clive Barker comic book adaptations, just in time for the imminent release of Stephen King's Dark Tower comic that some of you may have heard about.
Speaking of which, I am very curious as to how well that Dark Tower comic is going to do. We ordered pretty good numbers on it...not out of control case-upon-case "Turok Dinosaur Hunter #1" numbers or anything, but hopefully sufficient amounts to meet demand. I do think our orders on the Marvel Spotlight: Dark Tower interview/preview comic due out next week may be a little low, even though I bumped them up a tad during the order adjustment period. Having seen a preview copy of Marvel Spotlight, however, it actually doesn't look too bad. If you're a King fan or a fan of adaptation co-writer Peter David, there's a lot of material of interest in this issue.
As a Stephen King fan, and having enjoyed the Dark Tower series since the original stories were first collected into that initial volume long ago, I am looking forward to the comic book version, though I can't help but feel we got a little bait-'n'-switched on "Stephen King is writing comics!" becoming "Stephen King approves this service and/or product!" Okay, this early press release didn't explicitly say he was writing the series, but when you throw around phrases like "the comic series will mark the first time Stephen King has produced original content for an ongoing comic book project," you can't help but infer it, you know? Oh, and the press release does mention series co-writer "Robin Furth, who is also contributing to the Marvel comic project."
Nevertheless, I remain interested enough in the project to at least give it a try, and while I was never a huge Jae Lee fan, his art does seem a nice match for the material.
On a related note, here's a poll on Darktower.net asking fans if they're going to buy the comic. As of this writing, 68.2% say that they'll buy every issue, while 5.5% say "Comic books suck! What was King thinking?" And only 16.2% say they'll wait for the trade.
In some non-Stephen King news, we have a replacement for the sadly-defunct Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron 3000. It's the Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron 4000, brought to us by Chris at Tales from the Long Box.
And let's all give thanks to Dave at Simply Comics for providing the old Update-A-Tron for as long as he did. Many comic webloggers benefited greatly from the traffic he provided, and was instrumental in helping us acquire the readerships we have. Thanks, Dave!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Progressive Ruin Presents...the End of Civilization, 2nd Anniversary Edition!
This post marks two years I've been digging through the monthly Diamond Previews catalog, inflicted upon comic book and specialty stores in the U.S. and abroad, finding only the tastiest treasures for you good folks to enjoy. And to think it all started with my stunned disbelief at a Buffy the Vampire Slayer replica stake.
Anyway, if you want to see previous installments, they're linked in the sidebar...and if you want to follow along with this month's entry, grab your February 2007 edition of Previews and let's get started!
p. 170 - For a second there, I thought I saw something called a Spawn 2.7" Bearbrick Collection, in which the demonically-powered Hellspawn was turned into a cute little bear, but surely I was mista...
p. 376 - Magnetic Wisdom Lois Lane's Guide to Life:
"In this fabulous guide [...] lovely Lois explains how to tell super 'heroes' from the 'zeroes,' reveals how to avoid potential courtship kryptonite, and shows how to bring out the Superman in every man!"
Most of you have read a lot of the same Superman comics I have. Is Lois Lane really someone you want relationship advice from? Is anyone in the Superman family of comics really a good source for this kind of advice? (Okay, maybe Perry...well, then again, his marriage with Alice has had troubles of its own over the y...um, why are you looking at me like that?)
p. 383 - The Big Book of Breasts HC:
You know, they probably would sell more of these if only they'd left the Witchblade logo on the cover.
p. 394 - American Idol Season 6 Trading Cards & Binder:
So not only do they make the cynical manipulation of consumer tastes and the corporately-driven generation of "hot talents" transparent to the public on a popular television show, but they also sell to this same public trading cards based on the process? As evil plans go, this one was exceptionally well-played.
p. 402 - The Flash Track Jacket: Oh, dear, this has "sarcastic nickname" written all over it, like when they call tall guys "Tiny" or fat guys "Slim:"
p. 403 - Ghost Rider "Icon 3" Foil Grey T-Shirt:
During my first pass through the catalog, I thought this was a belt buckle. Imagine my disappointment.
p. 406 - "Evil Keeps Me Young" Black T-Shirt:
If there's one shirt I never need to see again.... I swear, I know people for whom this is their only t-shirt. Or shirt, period.
p. 408 - Star Trek "Episodes" Black Long-Sleeve T-Shirt:
It's hard to tell, since the image in the catalog is too small, but I'm assuming it's a shirt listing the title of every Star Trek episode (Classic series, presumably). I suppose I could look it up online and find out for sure...but I don't want to discover that I'm wrong.
p. 427 - Star Trek The Wrath of Khan 25th Anniversary Previews Exclusive Kirk Action Figure:
I suppose calling it "Wrath of Khan Kirk 'Scotty's Nephew's Bloodstain' Variant" would have been in poor taste. (And that's a figure set we haven't seen yet: "Scotty w/Dead Nephew" two-pack, reenacting that scene where Scotty hauls his critically-injured nephew up to the bridge instead of, say, to sickbay.)
p. 442 - Star Wars Return of the Jedi Jabba the Hutt Statue:
Like it says, the "Product [is] Not Final," but whatever the final product ends up being, it damn well better have that Jawa with the fan:
p. 450 - The Cactus Friends: Polpettinia Vinyl Figure:
I don't even know what the hell this is. All I do know is that it disturbs me deeply. And that it'd probably hurt a lot if you tried to swallow it.
p. 460 - There are an awful lot of pages in this month's Previews that look just like this:
"Her gigantic eyes tell you everything you need to know about this sensitive cutie. Manaka-chan measures almost 6 inches tall in her kneeling position."
p.467 - Doctor Who Cyberman Voice Changer:
...And "Reputation Changer," presumably, if anyone catches you wearing one of these.
p. 481 - "Hmmm...oh, look, a Wonder Woman cookie jar, a Mickey Mouse bank, a Superman logo magnet...say, what's this at the bottom of the page?"
Why, it's a Traditional 3-Headed Battle Mace:
"Nothing is cooler than watching the havoc caused by three spiked balls on a chain in a Medieval movie...unless you have your very own! From Master Cutlery comes this awesome recreation of one of the coolest weapons ever!"
Okay, people having cell phones in movie theatres was bad enough, but giving them maces...on the other hand, maybe I can use this to..."discourage" cell phone use while the movie is playing.
Marvel Previews p. 30 - Fantastic Four #545:
Okay, I don't want to be "that guy," the one that complains every time there's an insignificant cosmetic change made to a favored character...but I don't like glowy face outline Galactus. It reminds me of the old Battlestar Galactica helmets.
Marvel Previews p. 42 - Marvel Adventures The Avengers #12:
"The skies of Earth are a boiling tempest. Tidal waves threaten the coasts. A large dark force draws closer. Is it Armageddon? Naw, that's love in the air, baby...Ego style!"
First, Ego is a sentient planet with a beard. I think we can all agree that's cool. But, on top of that, if I'm interpreting the solicitation info correctly...that this story involves Ego falling in love with the Earth...then that picture shows a sentient, bearded planet making googly, flirty eyes at another planet!
Between this and the recent MODOK issue, I hereby declare Marvel Adventures The Avengers...Marvel's Best Currently-Published Comic Book.
Marvel Previews p. 60 - Silent War #4:
There are so many ways I could have gone with this image, most of which were supremely filthy. Thus, I'm just going to let that pic stand on its own. Enjoy, won't you?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Finally got a quote into Previews.
So I was poking through the latest issue of Previews, preparing for the next installment of "The End of Civilization," when I decided to read the full-page "Previews Profile" on page 307 for Rick Veitch's King Hell publishing concern. And what do I spot there?
I'm a happy man. They were even good enough to correct my misspelling of "wondrous."
The book I was talking about there is this one, and the book they're advertising this time around is Shiny Beasts, containing several of Veitch's short features (including some done with Steve Bissette and Alan Moore). Good stuff, all around.
Progressive Ruin: Patriot-made, America-approved.
Due to an unfortunate slip-up on my part in yesterday's post, the phrase I'd meant to write ("stick it to Hitler") was missing the "it," which resulted in a statement opposite of what was intended. In my comments section, folks were shocked, shocked I tell you, to think that I, Mike, patriot and brewer, would dare to include such an inflammatory statement in my normally 100% all-American weblog.
I've since corrected that typo, but let me make sure that the record is set straight, as I take the bold step of reaffirming the strong anti-Hitler position of the Progressive Ruin management, which may be expressed thusly: that Hitler guy really sucks, man. Sure, other, lesser comics weblogs, weak-kneed and yellow-bellied as they are, may shy away from political and moral statements such as these, but I've made my statement, and I'm standing behind it.
Here, courtesy the folks at the Grand Comic Book Database (which recently celebrated its 100,000th indexed entry!), is the cover of my favorite "giving what-for to Adolf" comic:
And, in 1992, New England Comics (the publishers of The Tick) released this comic, reprinting a handful of war-era "anti-Hitler comics" (as the title explicitly explains) along with several text pages providing analysis and historical perspectives:
Alas, only one Hitler-hating issue of this series was released, but it remains a good companion to their much-missed Tales Too Terrible to Tell horror reprint series.
Anyway, I hope you all will join me in thumbing our noses at Adolf Jerk-ler and his good-for-nothing Ratzis. And remember what Willie the Worm says:
...And wash your dishes, too: dirty dishes = happy enemies!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In which Mike goes on too long about too many things, and clearly does not stop soon enough.
I rented the first disc of the new Saturday Night Live Season One set from Netflix, and as I was watching it, I noticed, for the very first time in all my years of SNL-watching, the Marvel Comics Planet of the Apes cameo in the opening montage:
Specifically, it appears to be issue #14, dated November 1975, which means the photo was probably shot in the late summer or very early fall.
Okay, it's nowhere near as cool as spotting Amazing Fantasy #15 in the background of a '60s crime show, but still, I can't believe I've missed that in all the reruns and such I've watched over the decades.
In other news:
Monday, January 22, 2007
Dye it blue, add a black dot to the outer circle, and you'll have a Dr. Manhattan shirt.
This may be my favorite comic book shirt...the "Gold from the Metal Men" t-shirt:
...featuring only a simple black line rendition of the alchemical symbol for Gold. And in case you thought about stealing this design:
...well, just forget about it, buster.
Speaking of the Metal Men, pal Dorian passed along the info that when the Metal Men return in Superman/Batman, they'll be accompanied by a new member of the team: Copper. When he told me this, I immediately thought of another new Metal Man, Californium, who would wear surf shorts and sunglasses, and say "Hey, Dude" a lot. Oh, and also kill lots of people because he's highly radioactive, so I suppose the character still has a few kinks to work out.
As long as we're on the topic of "bad comic book ideas generated at the shop," Dor informed me that I quit reading Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters too soon, too soon, as there is a new, updated version of the Red Bee in the book. And that inspired me to suggest a possible team-up between the new Red Bee and the new Blue Beetle, and Dor followed up with the idea that they could fight Queen Bee, Killer Moth, and Firely.
And that conversation begat this one:
Employee Josh: "Hey, maybe some of the cat-themed characters can be put together in a book. Wildcat and Catman versus Catwoman and Cheshire*...."
Dor: "No, that wouldn't work, because Wildcat and Catwoman would be too busy having sex, as would Catman and Cheshire."
Me: "It could be DC's first x-rated comic! 'Cats in Heat, coming soon from the new DC!'"
And then everyone just sort of looked at me, shook their heads sadly, and walked away.
Most of my conversations at the store end this way.
* Not strictly a cat-themed character, but work with me here....
Sunday, January 21, 2007
"My Chin Is Cold, My Gun Is Hot"
So for no real good reason, I decided it was time to reboot my beard, as it were...shaving it all off and starting again from scratch, leaving me all pink-faced and unpleasant-looking. I like to think it's "cherubic," but popular opinion appears to be that it's "unsettling."
Of course, I chose to do this while California is having a cold snap (a California cold snap being defined in the rest of the country as "t-shirt and shorts weather"), so I've been experiencing cool breezes upon my naked jaw, which I haven't felt there in quite a while. Also, I've had customers at the store pointing and whispering, saying things like "Hey, I think Mike shaved," and "Boy he looks weird without the beard...so nothing's changed, basically" and "Is he looking this way? Quick, stuff this Spawn down your pants."
Anyway, you didn't come here for "Beard Talk," you want yourselves some comic talk, so let's see what I can provide: