mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, February 03, 2007

You'd think Dino would know. 

So when my parents bought me this comic (Dino #5, August 1974) way back when, I read the story about Dino being hypnotized into believing that he was a ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex...and even the five-year-old Mikester knew that whatever Dino was imagining here, it ain't no T-Rex:

I'm no paleontologist, but that's some kind of Apatosaurus/dragon mix goin' on there, from the looks of things. (Maybe that's what a "Tyranosaurus," with only one "n" as it's spelled in that panel, looks like.) Anyway, it bugged me back then, and now, with the miracle of a scanner, a computer, and some illustration software I only just barely know how to use, I can address this vitally important issue.

So here's Dino imagining himself as Grumpy, the Tyrannosaurus Rex from the classic kid's show Land of the Lost:

...And here he is picturing himself as the British rock band T.Rex:

Ahhh...there, now I feel better.

If you were bothered by this very same story as a child...here, go to town:

Friday, February 02, 2007

Misc. funnybook talk for Friday. 

Anyway, to continue the Lockjaw discussion from yesterday (no, wait, come back, I'll be brief about it, I promise), it was pointed out in my comments section that David Hine, writer of the current Inhumans-related mini Silent War, covered the topic of "Lockjaw: man or dog?" in extensive detail. He states that Marvel's official editorial stand on the issue is "dog," even though in other recently-issued official Marvel publications and outlets (as noted in my post and in the comments) Lockjaw is explicitly described as being a mutated Inhuman, not a canine.

So, the final answer? Who the hell knows. Depends on who's writing him, I guess. I lean toward "dog," myself, though as Hine and others have pointed out, the Inhumans have a history of treating the less-fortunate mutates like crap, so they could very well have been treating one of their own like a dog. But then again, if Lockjaw is a fellow Inhuman, maybe he's just, you know, into that kind of thing, if you know what I mean. Some people pay good money to be treated like that...er, so I hear. From other people. Like Chris.

Oh, and regarding my negative comments about the Ultimate Civil War Spider-Ham comic from yesterday...we've since sold out of it, so I guess that shows me.

I had no idea: Pirate Batman and Pirate Two-Face action figures! (Thanks to Loren for pointing this out!)

Kevin Church and Benjamin Birdie have launched a new webstrip: The Rack, poking some cruel, heartless good-natured fun at funnybook emporiums and the people who work and shop there. Enjoy, won't you?

Speaking of funnybook emporiums, on Thursday we bid farewell to Employee Josh, who's moving to San Diego. I tried to get him to commute, but alas, kids these days just don't have that kind of work ethic anymore. Anyway, good luck to Josh, and a big welcome to his replacement, Employee Jeff, who still has "The Initiation" to look forward to. ("You must...READ A FULL RUN OF MARVILLE!" "NOOOOO! Why, God, why?")

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Way too much about Marvel. 

We've been ordering these British import magazines, The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection, which are small painted lead statuettes of Marvel characters accompanied by a thin, full-color magazine detailing that character's history, powers, and so on. They're actually nice little packages, $12 a pop, and the figures themselves are quite well made.

I'm bringing them up today because yesterday I mentioned "The Lockjaw Incident," a story in the '80s Thing series in which it was revealed that Lockjaw, who appeared to be a very large mutated dog with superpowers that was a pet of the Inhumans, was in fact an actual Inhuman who assumed the form of a dog when exposed as a child to the mutative mists that give the Inhumans their powers. Holy crap, was all that one sentence? Sorry about that. Anyway, as you can read in the linked article, there was some debate as to this revelation, and a later story attempted to explain it away as a prank played on the Thing by the other Inhumans.

Well, we received the Classic Marvel Figurine edition with the Thing this week, and as I was paging through the magazine, under the Lockjaw entry, they come down firmly on the "Lockjaw is a mutated Inhuman" side of the debate. The Marvel Universe entry also states he is a "a member of the Inhumans royal family, mutated by the Terrigen Mists into his canine form." I suppose this is the official Marvel stance on the matter (though I haven't checked the most recent Marvel Universe comics for his entry...maybe someone can let me know in the comments).

Okay, not only can't I believe I went on this long about Lockjaw, I can't believe I went on this long about Lockjaw again. This particular "controversy" (and I use the word "controversy" extremely lightly) is just one of the things I love about comics, I guess.

And as long as I'm blabbing about Marvel...Ghost Rider #94 is out, the long-awaited conclusion of the previous Ghost Rider series. Well, the previous, previous one. Um, the Ghost Rider series about four or five series back. You know which one. Anyhoo, that series was tanking so bad at the time that Marvel, then undergoing some slight financial issues (like trying desperately to stay in business) couldn't take the hit publishing a comic that was likely to lose money. So #94, the final issue of the series, went unreleased.

It's released now, however, and I'm sure that had nothing to do with a bomb movie on the horizon. There's a surprisingly frank editorial page inside describing in a little more detail the economic reasons why the comic had been held back, and even more surprisingly, this comic sold quite well on Wednesday. I honestly didn't think, ten years or so on, that anyone really cared that much about wrapping up that story. I guess there're still some fans of the Danny Ketch incarnation of Ghost Rider left.

Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham #1 - a revival of the old Peter Porker series featuring a funny animal version of Spider-Man. While the old comic was amusing, if not great, it's head and shoulders above this new release. The art, for the most part, is pretty good, but it's all in service of a story that's really not very funny. Okay, they got a smile out of me with their parody of The 'Nam series ("The 'Ham"), but mostly just because of that title. Otherwise it just feels like a parade of pin-ups with animal parodies of Marvel heroes, presented as being funny simply because they're funny animals in superhero drag. Not much different from the original series, I know, but at least they tried a little harder to be amusing back then. This comic didn't work for me, but maybe I'm just bitter and grumpy and I'm not in the mood for it...maybe some of you will like it better.

Oh, and as I figured, we didn't get enough of the Marvel Spotlight: Dark Tower comic. Now I'm a tad worried that we may not have enough of Dark Tower when it comes out...next week, I think? Hoo boy.

As I was looking at Marvel's site to check a thing or two about a thing or two, I saw that they still haven't fixed this banner (first noted, I think, by Kevin):

It's "WHOSE," Marvel..."WHOSE!"

And honestly, if anyone is still deciding to be on Iron Man's side at this point....

Okay, enough Marvel stuff, you want more Pirate Batman. I was going to scan more pics from that annual (Detective Comics Annual #7, 1994, if you're curious), but, hell, let Chris take the bandwidth hit. Pirate Batman...versus a shark? Can it be true? Oh, yes it can, friend, yes it can.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"He broke my hand -- an' all he did wuz stand there!!" 

from The Thing #28 (Oct. '85) by Mike Carlin, Ron Wilson & Brett Breeding

You know, all things (har har) considered, The Thing wasn't a bad little series. It gave us insight into Ben Grimm's early years and "Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger" and motorcycling Thing (okay, not so much on that cover) and wrasslin' Thing and "The Lockjaw Incident" -- not cutting edge comics, by any means, but (usually) goofy and enjoyable, with some solid Kirby-esque Ron Wilson artwork and the occasional touch of superheroic melodrama.

For a good taste of the series, I'd recommend the Puppet Master two-parter in issues 5 and 6...a nice mix of full-on superhero mayhem and psychological turmoil done up in the mighty Marvel style.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


"Comic book collector sees investment possibilities in his all-consuming hobby"

"Jake Danner has been collecting comic books on the North Coast for 16 years, and lately he's seen a 'comic book craze' sweeping through the streets of Astoria."

"...He's seeing more comics at local antique stores, grocery stores and art galleries. It's not just a local phenomenon, either. There's a new Spider Man comic book series inside the Oregonian, and the new film 'The Night Rider' is the latest example of modern movies being inspired by comic books."


"Danner said he has about 1,200 comic books, some of which go for $200 to $300 apiece. His entire collection is worth about $15,000 by his calculations. Of course, he probably couldn't cash them all in at once."


"If he ever really needs an extra $20, though, he knows where he can get it.

"'That's where most of my money gets invested,' he said. 'It's like my own personal savings account.'"

I was sick on Monday, so I took it easy most of the day, reading and watching the television. One of the things I reread was the recent "Up, Up, and Away!" Superman storyline, and noticed an ad for Batman Legos that I had overlooked the first time I plowed through the books. I tend not to pay attention to the ads as I'm reading, unless they're hideously obnoxious inserts stuck in the middle of the book, but even then I usually couldn't tell you what they were ads for. But this ad grabbed my eye, as it was done up like a "Who's Who" entry for the Lego character. Primarily I was interested in how they handled the murders of Bruce Wayne's parents and its place in Batman's origin, since I figured that was a bit too rough for an ad for kids' toys. It was addressed more directly than I expected, reading: "Orphaned as a young mini-figure due to the actions of a criminal...."

Yeah, it said "mini-figure." That particular conceit also shows up in the vital stats department: "HEIGHT: 41 mm (as Bruce Wayne) / 48 mm (as Batman)."

Well, it amused me, anyway. Hey, I'm sick, it doesn't take much right now.

You can see more of Lego Batman, if you dare, at the official site. Lego Robin looks like he could drop a few pounds, frankly. Well, okay, ounces, I guess.

Why does pal Dorian hate the "sport stacking" scene? (And why did I miss the comic in question for my latest End of Civilization post?)

You know what you need? You need a flashing LED Batman belt buckle...an animated GIF of the buckle in action is provided at the link. No need to thank me.

And now, today's Pirate Batman moment:

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Bat-juice? Bat-coffee? Bat-milk?" 

ITEM! Who could have done such a thing?

from Super Power Collection: Firestorm (1984)

ITEM! Pal Nat, proprietor of About Comics, dropped by the shop the other day to show me an advance copy of his forthcoming book Schulz's Youth. Contained therein are several single panel cartoons dating from the '50s, which feature, as it says at the link, "the teen view of dating, religion, clubs, parents, sports, and more." Looks great, and will make a welcome companion to your Peanuts collection.

ITEM! Jake at Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge has a great collection of sketches from the Phoenix Comicon, including a character drawn by George Perez that Perez himself admits he'd never drawn before! Which character could it possibly be? Well, click the link and find out your own self.

ITEM! Speaking of the Phoenix Comicon, Greg at Comics Should Be Good has a round-up, noting a tie-in interview with Swamp Thing co-creator Len Wein.

Also...and I know I noted this before...it amuses me the level of renown and/or infamy regarding my Swamp Thing fandom, given the number of mentions folks make of me in connection to the character (as Greg did in the CSBG article).

ITEM! So that weird promo image DC unleashed last week:

(click for a link to a larger image)

...I agree with pal Dorian's assessment (that it's an amalgamation of recent and future events, rather than a specific forthcoming company-wide event). But I do want to note that I'm glad to see Pirate Batman from this Detective Comics Elseworlds annual popping up. That was one of my favorite Batman comics of recent memory, primarily due to the artwork of Alcatena. I am curious as to what DC is planning on doing with Pirate Batman...hopefully something good, but you never know. We'll see.

And, okay, fine, he's called "Leatherwing," but c'mon, "Pirate Batman" just sounds cooler. You know it's true.

OBJECT! "Louis Riel to be subject of graphic novel"

"A Metis organization plans to present the controversial history of Louis Riel in a colour comic that is every bit as colourful as Riel’s personality.

"The 50-page, hard-cover graphic novel is to be published in both official languages. The proposal includes an interactive DVD, a teacher’s guide and student workbook, and an interactive, animated website."


"'This research can hardly be considered work. It’s so fascinating. To synthesize all the information into comic form will be very challenging, because the story is quite complicated.'"

...as anyone who's read Chester Brown's Louis Riel already knows. It would be interesting to see another funnybook take on Riel's life, though, just to see where they agree and where they differ.

THING! Michael Chiklis talks about his role as "The Thing" in the forthcoming second and the potential third Fantastic Four movies in this IGN interview. My favorite exchange:

"IGN: What's Ben's role in the second movie?

Chiklis: He does heroic s**t."

ITEM! So I was doing a little internet searching, and came across several links to a review of Blood and Chocolate (such as this one), which relates this exchange between two of the lead characters:

"Maybe she's impressed by what Aiden does for a living. 'I write graphic novels.' 'You mean comic books.' 'Noooo. Graphic novels.'"

Are people really uptight about this? I've never noticed in among my customers or my circle of comic-reading friends a tendency toward correcting folks who dare to call graphic novels "comic books," but I've seen or heard this sort of thing referenced in the media before. It's like the new shorthand for establishing someone is a geek..."oh, isn't it cute how he refers to his comic books as 'graphic novels,' like they're real books or something."

I don't know...I call 'em "funnybooks," because I'm a bad person.

TURKEY! Via pal JP, it's Turkish Batman:

It takes a minute or so for Batman and Robin to show up.

If you require something a little more colorful, here's a trailer of sorts for my favorite completely-unauthorized Bat-film Alyas Batman en Robin:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"Hmmm...haven't looked at Petition Online in a while..." 

"...let's see if there's anything new and intere -- WHAT TH--?!"

"Petition to Boycott Local Mexican Restaurants Until Judd Winick Is Removed As Writer of Green Arrow."

"Whereas Mr. Judd Winick is a writer of comic books, particularly one comic book titled Green Arrow.

"Whereas the sales of this comic book have dropped at a steady interval over the years that Mr. Judd Winick has been the author of said comic book, consistent in the manner of the readers staging an organized boycott.

"Whereas it is the opinion of the undersigned, that Judd Winick has not done justice to the character of Green Arrow, a nom de plume adopted by the fictional character Oliver Queen.

"Whereas it is the opinion of the undersigned, that the same injustice has been perpetuated upon the supporting cast of the Green Arrow comic book, to wit, Mia Dearden, Connor Hawke, Roy Harper and Dinah Lance and that all of the aforementioned fictional characters have been tampered with in a most unseemly manner.

"Whereas DC Comics, the publisher of the Green Arrow comic book, seem indifferent to falling sales figures and the wishes of their fans for a new writer to be assigned to the comic book in question.

"Whereas Mr. Judd Winick has always been a friend of the Mexican American citizens of, and Mexican Immigrants into, the United States of America.

"We the undersigned do solemnly swear, with our signatures here as oath, not to patronize any local, family-owned Mexican restaurants until such time as Mr. Winick is removed from his position as author of the Green Arrow comic book by the editorial staff of DC Comics or until such time as Mr. Winick freely resigns from his position as author of the Green Arrow comic book.

"It is our hope that Mr. Winick, long known to us as a man of honor, will choose to do the honorable thing and resign before allowing any financial harm to come to the Mexican American restaurants owned by the people he loves so well."

They're...they're joking, right? This is just a prank? Please tell me they're not serious.

EDIT: According to commenter Steve, this was supposed to be a "joke." Let us hope.

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