mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"These DC comic characters are long ago retired." 


"These DC comic characters are long ago retired. They were revived again in the 1980's with a more futuristic design but these are the originals from the 'good old days' DC comics!


1. A durable heavy-duty aluminium pan about 36cm x 35cm.
2. Plus Batman and Superman plastic face and shield (5 pieces total)
3. Pan takes 1 standard 2-layer cake mix
4. Baking and Decorating Instruction booklet
5. An additional retro cake leaflet
6. Fabulous collectable and practical use for the home baker or retail cake designer"

There's a newer Superman cake pan available, but it's not quite as charming as the '77 model:

Friday, April 06, 2007

Cut a rug with Galactus. 

from Derooftrouser...for full effect, fullscreen it if you dare.

Because sometimes you just need to blog about Cliff Carmichael. 

from Firestorm the Nuclear Man #4 (Sept. 1978) by Gerry Conway, Al Milgrom & Jack Abel

Me: "You know what I like about Firestorm?"

Employee Aaron: "No, what?"

Me: "Well, Ron Raymond [Firestorm's secret identity -- well, one of them] is on the school's basketball team, and he's always getting picked on by the school brain, Cliff Carmichael. It's some kind of weird parallel universe high school where the jocks get bullied by the smart guys."

Aaron: "So what parallel Earth would that be?"

Me: "I'd call it 'Earth-Remarkably-Improbable.'"

To be fair, Cliff Carmichael always was one of my favorite antagonists in comics, Asimovian sideburns and all, and that switcharoo on the expected relationship between the smart guy and the athletic guy is clever and amusing. Alas, and almost inevitably, Cliff was turned from a regular everyday jerk into a supervillain, and that was pretty much that.

In other news:
  • I've suddenly had a bunch of folks sending me this link to a kids book entitled The Swamp Thing, which has nothing to do with big green fella up there in this site's title banner, aside from the name. It seems to me I've seen this before, on one of my many internet searches for "Swamp Thing' -- I may have linked to it before, but trying to Google up occurrences of the phrase "Swamp Thing" on this site seems too much like a fool's errand to even try. But thanks to you all for the comments and e-mails...it's good to know you folks are thinking of me!

  • A follow-up to my comments yesterday about the less-than-stellar sales debut of Fallen Son: Wolverine: well, movement on this issue improved on Thursday, and we've gone from "oh, God, this is going to tank hard" to "well, maybe we can sell through what's left over of this issue once a Fallen Son one-shot comes out that people actually like, causing them to look for previous installments."

    I think the forthcoming Fallen Son: Avengers one-shot will probably have pretty good sales right out of the gate. At least at our store, people don't tend to buy every Wolverine series and/or appearance that Marvel cranks out. Contrast that with the Avengers...most of our Avengers-reading customers are more likely to pick up the attendant tie-ins and spinoffs. If they buy the Fallen Son tie-in, and realize it's part of a series, there's a chance they'll want the Wolvie one-shot and the following issues. A small chance, I know...don't crush my hopes.

  • "Bus stop Batman prompts police pursuit of Caped Crusader"

    "It's like something out of a comic book: Police cars mobilize, attempting to track down Batman. But Monday afternoon, the Hesperia Unified School District Police were taking it very seriously.

    "'A school teacher on her way home passed a bus stop and saw a bunch of kids at a bus stop, and there was a person in a Batman costume standing next to a van, playing a flute,' Chief Bob Mosley, formerly with the Los Angeles Police Department, said Thursday."


    "Those with information about the Batman incident are asked to call the Hesperia Unified School District Police...."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Some Marvel sales, JLA covers, and general griping. 

Well, perhaps it's a bit early to judge, but for its first day of sales, Fallen Son: Wolverine (the first "death of Captain America" spinoff) just kinda sat there. I hardly moved any copies. It's not as if we weren't busy...we had plenty of customers come in, and we sold tons of comics, but perhaps nobody wants to read a series of one-shots featuring characters being mopey about a hero's death that'll be undone in short order anyway.

Ah, well, at least it has nice art by Leinil Yu inside. Maybe sales'll pick up on it by the weekend. And I know I've said it before...but all those folks who rushed in to buy the Cap death issue? They're not going to come back for this. They'll be back eventually...in a few years, when it's time to sell that death issue for the thousands of dollars it almost certainly will be worth.

Also from Marvel, the "Planet Hulk" storyline wraps up with this week's issue, laying the groundwork for the forthcoming "World War Hulk" event, and giving Hulk plenty of reason to be pissed off at Earth's heroes. I'm a longtime Hulk fan, and I love the premise of WWH (heroes try to get rid of Hulk, and not only does Hulk end up gaining experience in war strategy and leadership, but he also gets plenty of reason to really be mad), and I am looking forward to the event...but still, I gotta wonder, how's Marvel going to screw this one up? They already throttled sales on later issues of "Planet Hulk" by not rushing out, for once, a trade paperback for the early issues, allowing readers to jump on and follow the story. And once WWH gets going...will it have shipping delays, like Civil War? Will it have heroes acting remarkably out of character, like Civil War? Will it sorta peter out in the end, like, oh, say, Civil War? I hope not.

Oh, and apparently WWH will involve the Sentry, a character Marvel keeps inflicting on us, even though I'm not convinced anyone actually likes him. Am I wrong? Let me know.

Here's a little something about the new issue of Justice League of America...it has two covers, which fit together to form a larger image of the team. One cover prominently features Superman and Batman, the other Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. I have them racked side by side on the shelf, and, if given the choice, people tend to take the Supes/Bats cover. Also, it may also be as folks are perusing the shelves from left to right, they hit the Supes/Bats cover first, and that's the one they grab. So, as I was pulling books for our store's comic savers, they all got the WW/GL cover to redress the balance. 'Course, that won't stop them from swapping out for the other cover, but hey, at least I tried.

Something else: I screwed up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer #2, forgetting to bump our orders up after seeing sales on #1, thus causing us to run out right away. Now, when I placed our reorder on the first issue, effectively doubling our order, a while back, I may have been a little on the optimistic side, as the initial rush of sales ended up fading away right quick. They picked up slightly recently, and I think it'll be a consistent back issue seller, at least while the series is running, so I'm not worried about having the extra stock. My reorder on #2, however, is slightly more realistic.

The other Whedon-written book this week, Runaways, will be the test on whether Whedon can sell comics to his fans that are 1) not based on one of his TV properties, and 2) not featuring Marvel superheroes that those folks would recognize from movies or TV shows. Given the large number of customers we had on Wednesday, and the number of copies of Runaways we didn't sell that day, it doesn't look good. But, again, it's just one day, and maybe once word gets around that, hey, Whedon's writing a new series, it'll move. I managed to handsell a copy or two on the basis of Whedon's name, so maybe those two factors I mentioned won't be too much of a detriment.


Geez, I'm a grump. Okay, one thing I did love this week: Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness #2 had the greatest last page ever. Well, it made me laugh, anyway.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

This is a fetish for someone. 

from Wonder Woman #62 (Nov/Dec 1953 - 1977 reprint)

I think I've seen this particular sequence featured somewhere-or-other before, but I couldn't Google it up, and, what the heck, it won't kill anyone to see it again. Maybe.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"The Panzer's disappeared!" 

I have no reason for posting these two Batman panels, aside from 1) they amused me, and 2) they're good examples of how Batman generally isn't presented anymore:

from World's Finest #250 (May 1978) by Gerry Conway, George Tuska & Vince Colletta

You know, for my money, Batman doesn't fight Panzers nearly enough nowadays.

In other news:
  • A couple folks popped up in the comments section for this post, opining that perhaps the kids drawings were in fact by an adult attempting to mimic a childlike style. I'm inclined to disagree...something about the designs, and particularly the wording of the descriptions, just speaks of their authenticity to me. I also noted in the comments that, perhaps, any similarities in the artstyles could be attributed to an adult redrawing or tracing the originals due to reproduction/printing concerns.

    I don't know, honestly...if any of you folks have better info, pass it along my way, if you could be so kind.

  • "The Ignoble Death of Captain America." BeaucoupKevin makes with the funny.

  • I was talking with a customer of mine, a longtime Transformers fan, about how I have several friends and acquaintances, all about a year or two younger than me, who were big, big fans of the original Transformers TV show. I apparently had just fallen out of the TV cartoon habit, and thus missed catching the big Transformers wave that swept away those folks. I am really ignorant when it comes to Transformer stuff, and said as such to my customer.

    He said that this makes me the perfect test audience for the Transfomers movie, since all the old fans will probably be frustrated by one aspect of the film or other...the whole "that's not what [character] looks like!" thing. I'd be going in with a fresh, open mind, unfettered by preconceived notions of what the Transformers are and/or should be.

    Then again, I would be attending this movie with my preconceived notions about director Michael Bay, who can blow things up real good, aaaaaand that's about it, really. (And just to cut you off, World's Biggest Michael Bay Fan, I'm exaggerating a tad. Relax.)

  • We've lost a little something with all the upgrading in printing processes for funnybooks. Chris Karath shows us what.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Aftermath, bad collections, and pizza. 

So of course it's on April Fool's Day that I get linked to by Boing Boing, thus giving several presumably-new readers the idea that I'm obsessed with Kevin Church. Well, I'm not, honest! He's just a pal. A sexy, sexy pal...er, anyway. I still do think there's a market for those t-shirts, though.

That was kind of a last second thing...my initial plan was to parody a certain new comic book weblog, but I wasn't sure enough of my readers would know to whom I was referring, and it may have come across as mean-spirited, which wouldn't have been my intention, so I thought I'd better pass. Next year, though, watch out.

My second idea was to do yet another parody of the "Captain America's dead!" media debacle, with "MIKE STERLING KILLED - FOUR DECADES OF NERDITY COME TO END," but I'd already gone down that road with my "death of Batman" story. Plus, the only real joke I had was that the sole clues would have been a torn piece of a Wildcat t-shirt in my left hand, and a blood-splattered Dolly Parton CD near my body.

Speaking of Wildcat-loving Dolly Parton fans, I had some fun on Saturday helping pal Dorian set up his April Fool's post. Yes, that's really my arm in that picture. Look how strong and manly it is. Also, Dor and I putting together that image with the puppy wetting the Wolverine comic drew some odd glances at the shop -- Dor trying to pose the puppy, gently pouring water onto the pages and smearing it just the right way. A couple times I had to tell customers "don't try this at home!"

"What?!?" you may be crying out. "You...you poured water on a comic book? A Wolverine comic book? Oh, the humanity!" Don't worry, oh delicate reader...let me tell you about where this comic book came from.

Well, actually, it's not so exciting. It's another typical example of someone calling the shop, excitedly telling us about his huge collection of comics from the '60s to the '90s, all in "very fine to near mint condition" and all "in the original bags." Well, surprisingly, the collection did indeed have comics from the '60s to the '90s, and unsurprisingly, they were mostly in lousy condition. There was a small stack of stuff we could use, plus several boxes of stuff that ended up getting dumped on us. Most of those comics are destined for the dollar boxes, but there was a pile of coverless and otherwise unsellable books that we ended up with as well. It was that pile that the stunt comic used for Dor's April Fool's post came from. (It was one of the piles from that collection that Dor's puppy is sitting on, as well.)

An interesting find in this collection were a handful of DC reprints produced for Pizza Hut in the late '70s, such as this one:

Here's a closer look at the Pizza Hut blurb across the top:

I can just see kids across the nation in '78, reading this comic and asking "Mommy, why is Wonder Woman tied up...again?"

Some of the filler non-Wonder Woman material in that particular issue includes a couple pages on "Unlucky Brides" and "Lucky Brides" -- wedding-related folklore, such as "If a girl is the least bit superstitious, she should not accept an engagement ring containing pearls, as it is fated to bring tears to a marriage." (This message brought to you by De Beers, apparently.)

It also includes this bit of business, which is just slightly disturbing for some reason:

Gee, thanks for the stretchy comforting hand, Elongated Man!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Hey, gang! There's a whole lot of breaking Kevin Church news, so let's just jump right in!
  • ***ITEM!*** I'm sure you've heard the news that Kevin Church is writing (well, they say "co-writing," as if Kevin Church needs the help) a new series for BOOM! Studios, Cover Girl. Well, if you go to the Official Kevin Church Forum, you can see previews of both issue #1 and #2 in this message thread. It looks fantabulous!

  • ***ITEM!*** Kevin Church's mind is like a race car, always driving at full throttle, always ahead of the pack, always with a little man with a crash helmet inside. Well, that mind has created a new piece of absolute genius: LAWYERBEAR.ORG, featuring his newest character Lawyerbear, "the leader in ursine litigation and defense!" Brilliant! And Kevin Church demonstrates his charitable nature by generously allowing his much less talented friends and miscellaneous hangers-on to provide content for the site. Don't get me wrong, their contributions are...mildly amusing, but they would be nowhere, nowhere, without the strong leadership and forward thinking of Kevin Church.

  • ***ITEM!*** Kevin Church's online comic strip The Rack is still going strong, so don't forget to check every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the updates! Also don't forget to participate in our Kevin Church Fan Club poll: "Is The Rack artist Benjamin Birdie someone Kevin Church allowed to draw his comic strip, or is 'Benjamin Birdie' simply a pseudonym for Kevin Church himself, who humbly hides the full extent of his true artistic talent to prevent lesser beings from falling into despair at being unable to match his greatness?"

  • ***ITEM!*** I wanted to officially welcome the 5,000th member of the Kevin Church Fan Club, having joined up just yesterday. M. S. Erling from downtown Canada, congratulations! Your fan club materials are winging their way through our respective post offices, even as I type this!

  • ***ITEM!*** Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to my Kevin Church fan fic -- "Kevin Church Vs. Spike Merling: Butter-Wrassling '06" -- I am currently in the process of composing a new epic fan fic titled "Kevin Church and Ike Terlin, Best Friends Forever, Battle the Invading Menace of the Moon Men Invasion from Mars." It's a real ripsnorter, and it's got even more of what you liked from my first story! More fistfights! More aliens! More hugging! More oils and perfumes! More car chases! I can only hope you'll find as much pleasure in it as I do!

  • ***ITEM!*** The May 1st deadline is approaching fast for the Annual Kevin Church Look-a-like Contest! Are you lucky enough to resemble the glorious, shining visage of Kevin Church? Then bust out your Polaroid and send us the proof, babycakes! The top three placers in last year's contest (Mick Starling, Mitch Stebbling, and Matt Lingster) are this year's judges...maybe you can be a judge for next year's event!

  • ***ITEM!*** The new Kevin Church fan club t-shirts are just about ready to roll out, so start saving your pennies, kids, because you're gonna want to be the first one on your block to have one of these beauties:

    There's still some tweaking to be done...well, just to our design, not to Kevin Church, who has already achieved perfection.

Okay, guys, that's all this time! Hopefully I'll have big news about the Kevin Church action figures and bobbleheads for the next update...but until then, as always, keep on Churchin'!

EDIT (4/2): Here's a screenshot of the site's April Fool's makeover:

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