mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Okay, so I'm a day late. 






Friday, May 25, 2007

It's an anniversary thing...you wouldn't understand. 

TV, Wikipedia, MODOB*, DOORWATCH '07, and cash money. 

  • One of the good things about still watching a past-its-peak-popularity TV show like Smallville is that I can put off watching the season cliffhanging finale for a week or two and not worry too much about anyone accidentally spoiling it for me. Because, really, everyone's talking about the ending episodes of Heroes and Lost, and, comparatively speaking, no one gives a rat's behind about the year-long running-in-place shenanigans of The Adventures of a Young Clark Kent Who Really Isn't Superboy, Honest, So We Don't Owe The Siegels Any Money. (Okay, sure, people perked up a bit when they heard about Green Arrow being on the show....)

    Well, I still care a little, but at this point, I think all the folks still watching Smallville are a little tired of the "no tights/no flights" policy. Just let the man fly, already...we've had plenty of flying from other characters, and Clark himself flew occasionally (but not as himself...rather, as "Bad Clark" -- don't ask), and the world didn't end. And he might as well be in his costume, at this point, since all he ever seems to wear is his blue t-shirt and his red jacket.

    And, about the finale itself, if I may be Mr. SPOILERpants for a moment:

    Okay, that "death" couldn't have been more of a set-up if the "victim" shouted "I'M TOTALLY FAKING MY OWN DEATH RIGHT NOW" right before it happened. I mean, honestly. And the more I think about it, the more I like the debut of "Bizarro-Clark," even if the gratuitous use of the word "bizarre" during the character's intro was forced in with a sledgehammer.

    And very, very brief SPOILER comments about the other two shows I'd mentioned: Heroes ended with more a whimper than a bang, particularly after a few snappy episodes over the last couple of weeks. This is all we get? And the bad guy, who's been such a terrifying menace throughout the season, just stands there and lets a little man with a sword charge at him from a few yards away? And does nothing to prevent himself from being impaled? I call no way.

    And Lost: nearly crippled by the misjudgment of airing six new episodes and then going on hiatus for several months so that all their viewers can decide they have better things to do with their time, this show has come a long way toward redeeming itself with, past those initital six shows, the strongest season yet. Some actual forward motion, some actual resolutions, some status quos changed, some questions answered, and some good new questions raised that tantalize rather than frustrate. It can still all go south over the promised next three years, but hopes are back up after a sour beginning to this latest season.

  • On a related note to my Smallville discussion: hopefully by the time you read this, someone will have fixed it, but as I type this, here's how part of the Jerry Siegel/Superman lawsuit article reads:

    "It is rumored because of these lawsuits, DC comics decided to kill off superboy in the comics, and very little makes mention of the name there after. It is also the reason 'legion of superheros' includes superman and not superboy."


  • So it seems that Marvel has a MODOK blog allegedly written by the Mental Organism his own self. "George Tarleton," editor of The Journal of MODOK Studies, has already shown up in the comments section to school whatever intern is writing this on some true MODOK knowledge.

    If you need more MODOK, I'd gathered several internet MODOK resources in my MODOK linkdump from January. You can wait for "MODOK" to dole 'em on out, three or four links a week...or you can get all the links from my site right now!

    Here's a MODOK link I missed the first time around: enjoy this fine "Teen MODOK" strip.

  • DOORWATCH '07 CONTINUES, as the repairman showed up with a replacement glass for the front door...only to discover they'd been sent the wrong size glass, and that they'll have to reorder the proper size...and with the weekend coming up, and Memorial Day, we're looking at maybe next Tuesday before the door is fully repaired.

    Isn't that exciting?

  • I like what Milo's been up to...looking up on a database the political cash contributions made by various folks in the comics/cartooning industry. Kevin Church, writer of Boom! Studios' Cover Girl, a big Coolidge supporter? Who knew?

* Mental Organism Designed Only for Blogging, of course.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


So I was given some of that Silly Putty-esque/slime-a-like Krazy Kryptonite Compound that was released as part of the Superman Returns merchandising onslaught, and now apparently warming shelves over at ye olde local dollar store:

Well, I do loves me some Silly Putty, or even the Silly Putty substitute that I assumed this to be, so I busted open the package here at the shop, expecting some putty fun. However, as documented here by Employee Jeff's camera phone, the Compound was either stored improperly or had not aged well, and what Employee Aaron and I discovered was pure Putty Tragedy:


Say, have I mentioned Craniu...oh, okay, I'll stop. 

  • A couple nice bits of business from the newest issue of Hellblazer, #232:

    1. The tree tattoo on Constantine's bottom finally makes a reappearance:

    As you all remember, I'm sure, from your copies of Swamp Thing #76, Swampy briefly possessed Constantine's body, and during that time he had a tree tattooed on his tuckus as a small bit of petty revenge for all the grief John had caused him over the years.

    Of course, there is some debate as to whether or not Constantine would still have the tattoo now (particularly after having his body rebuilt from scratch at one point). It was still nice to see someone remembering that little bit from a long ago issue of Swamp Thing, though.

    And yes, that pic is indeed an extreme close-up of Constantine's right buttcheek. That's right, there's a picture of a butt, on your computer screen, RIGHT NOW. If you're at work, you are so fired.

    2. The intended pronunciation of "Constantine," as opposed to the pronunciation in that Keanu Reeves movie, is reemphasized:

    It's been brought up once before, but it's nice to have it in the actual Hellblazer book.

  • So we got in a case of the Simpsons Duff Energy Drink, one can of which looks something like this:

    Employee Aaron sampled a can, which resulted in this exchange:

    Aaron: "This looks better than it tastes."

    Me: "That's what people usually say about me."

    Anyway, we though we'd try it out at the shop for...well, no real good reason whatsoever. But, hey, as it turned out, it proved to be not a bad seller. A few up by the register made for good impulse buying. I haven't tried it myself (I prefer to pickle my insides with an endless progression of diet soda), and it's too bad former employee Josh isn't around, since his blood is about 90% energy drink and would probably buy out our entire supply of Duff in a heartbeat. A really, really fast heartbeat.

  • What I have to look forward to:

    For the last year, every new comics day, a phone call from the same person: "Is All Star Batman #5 out yet?"

    This week, the person calls again: "Is All Star Batman #6 out yet?"

    Oh dear heavens.

  • For those of you still keeping up with DOORWATCH '07, we now have a big piece of wood in the place of the glass in our front entrance. Hopefully sometime today the replacement glass will be in, as most of conversations on Wednesday went like this:

    1. Yeah, someone just busted the glass in our door.

    2. No, nothing's missing...it was just vandalism, not thievery.

    Repeat several hundred times.

    Can't blame folks for asking, but it did wear thin after a while. Ah, well, I'll live.

Read more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mike Sterling's Progressive Cranius! 

So in the wake of the news of a new Un-Men series coming soon from DC Comics/Vertigo, the entire comics internet has gone CRANIUS CRAZY!

Arguably the most memorable of Arcane's army of Un-Men, Cranius made his first appearance in Swamp Thing #2 (Dec-Jan '72-'73), returned in Swamp Thing #10 (May-June '74), and that, as far as I know, was it until his reappearance in the '80s (a reprint of #10 in Saga of the Swamp Thing #18, a flashback shot in Saga #19).

Not very many appearances to be sure, but his impending return in Un-Men #1:

...has internet comicdom abuzz! Cranius Reporter covers your latest Cranius news, When Cranius Attacks focuses on the ongoing Cranius statue controversy, BeaucoupCranius and Invincible Super-Cranius make with the wacky Cranius humor, Lady, That's My Cranius also cracks wise about Cranius, Mag 'n' H at Cranius Treadmill give us some historial overviews of Cranius' funnybook appearances, pal Dorian at PostmodernCranius turned up some beefcake shots Cranius took during his lean years, pal Tom reviews Cranius' various TV appearances over at You Know What Cranius Likes while Siskoid's Blog of Cranius-ery has his roles on Star Trek covered, Chris Butcher at Cranius212 demonstrates Cranius' impact on comics retailing, Cranius "Brainy" Brown has his top ten favorite Cranius moments, Cranius Worth Reading has somehow managed to turn up a female-friendly Cranius manga (who knew?), Noetic Concranius has several Cranius reviews and images, Mark Evanier's News from Cranius retells that old story about Cranius' drunken appearance on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, Bully at Cranius Oughta Be Fun discovers that Cranius...well, isn't that much fun, Craniusalien finds a rare Steve Ditko drawing of Cranius, and Cranius Hates Your Blog thinks my Cranius joke has gone on way too long.

EDIT: And the Craniosity just keeps on keepin' on! Be sure to visit Blog Cranius, Pal, Blockade Cranius, chief Craniac Milo at The Unofficial John Westmoreland Memorial Cranius Webring, The Roar of Cranius, and, lest we forget, When Will The Cranius Stop. All vital Cranius resources, so visit early, visit often!

So, CRANIUS! He's a leader of men:

Well, Un-Men, anyway.

And he looks good sittin' on top of a pole:

He's Cranius!




Don't be fooled by cheap imitations:

There's only one Cranius!

CRANIUS! I have, won't you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A brief announcement. 

Hey, you remember former employee Kid Chris, don't you? Sure you do.

Well, word on the street is that he and his comic-readin' pal Dafna have themselves one of those newfangled "podcasts" that are all the rage now. Go visit The Bispectacult and give them a listen.

(...Okay, Chris, I plugged your podcast. Where's my money?)

So, sometime this morning... 

...someone decided to smash the glass in our store's front door.

Apparently someone doesn't want me spreading the truth about The Adventures of Patoruzu. THEY CAN'T SCARE ME INTO SILENCE.

Actually, whoever did this also hit a shop down the block, so it appears to be just random vandalism and not, say, attempted burglary or an act of revenge by someone I once told to not sit on the floor and read an entire run of Gold Digger for free.

I wish I'd brought the camera with me...the glass is entirely shattered, with a big gaping hole in the center, and even as I type this little bits and pieces keep dropping off around the edges of the hole. And of course people are looking through the hole and asking "Hey, you open?"

Sigh. That glass door company we called better get here soon.

Nobody cares but me. 

In linking to my Spunky the Monkey post from yesterday, Dirk Deppey does the leg work I didn't and points out that the 1946 date of Adventures of Patoruzu reprint doesn't match up with the 1950 date for the story's appearance in Animal Crackers. In fact, reading the contents of Animal Crackers #31 on Comics.org reveals that this entire issue comprises the Adventures of Patoruzu reprint comic that I own.

My best guess as to what happened:

1. An article on this site mentions that, in the mid-1940s, there was an effort to introduce Patoruzu, an Argentinian comic character, into foreign markets, including English-speaking countries like the U.S.

2. As part of this U.S. push, an English Patoruzu comic was put into production, and covers (dated "Winter 1946") were printed.

3. Since, as far as I've been able to determine, no U.S. version of Adventures of Patoruzu actually containing Patoruzu stories was published, the covers remained unused and were stored away.

4. A few years later, sometime after 1950, for whatever reason a comic publisher ended up with both the unused covers and a whole bunch of coverless Animal Crackers #31s, paired 'em up and unleashed them upon unsuspecting newsstands.

Now, the Green Publishing Company is credited by Overstreet with publishing that Adventures of Patoruzu comic, even though there's no indication in the comic itself. Green Publishing also produced the initial two issues of Animal Crackers in 1946. The next issue of Animal Crackers was the #31 in question, published by Fox Features, in 1950. (There were at least two more issues, a #9 in 1959 published by Norlen (also in my collection), and another unnumbered issue with no noted publisher from the 1950s.)

This site indicates that Green Publishing often republished material from other companies, and since Fox Features was gone by the early to mid-1950s, and Green was around at least 'til the late 1950s (as per this article about Cosmo Cat), it looks like it was indeed Green what did the deed, pairing the unused covers with a bunch of leftover coverless copies of Animal Crackers #31 that they obtained from Fox.

At least, that's my best guess. If anyone else knows a little bit more and would care to smooth out the edges of my crackpot theory, please do.

You can also read more about Fox Features courtesy Toonopedia.

In other news:

  • Speaking of Dirk, he turns up what must be the single worst (or, perhaps, best) permutation of the whole Mary Jane statue boondoggle...a streaming video MSNBC interview with the "winner" of that Who Wants to Be A Superhero "reality" show. Oh God my eyes. (Two bucks says that a minute into that interview, that newscaster was thinking "what the hell has my career come to?")

  • WORST AIN'T IT COOL NEWS HEADLINE EVER...well, maybe not "worst ever," but you ain't gonna thank me.

  • Since the promo site is down, I'll link to the Newsarama article so you can see the revealed pic of Heath Ledger as the Joker from the forthcoming Batman flick. Hey, looks pretty neat, I think. And, as pal Dorian noted to me over the weekend, I hope all those folks who plugged their e-mails into the promo site in order to reveal the image (one pixel at a time, for every e-mail entered) enjoy their spam.

  • The new DC solicits are up, and all you need to know is:

    ...Swamp Thing spin-off The Un-Men is finally coming out! Woo! And there's Cranius right there on the cover...fantastic.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Spunky the Monkey in "Buried Treasure" (circa 1940s) 

Sure, I've mentioned Spunky the Monkey before, but aside from a few tantalizing panels, I haven't really given you full Spunky exposure. So, here's a story from an issue of Animal Crackers, as reprinted in 1946's The Adventures of Patoruzu (discussed previously).

Enjoy, won't you?




Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday don'ts. 

WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR: We had a female customer of ours spot All Star Batman and Robin #5 on the rack, exclaim "Ooh! Finally!" and then ponder for a few moments over which of the two covers to buy.

Her options:

Her final decision:

Just thought that was worth mentioning.

WHAT YOU PROBABLY DON'T CARE ABOUT: I was processing part of a collection today, and was tickled by this tiny, tiny banner across the bottom of Strange Tales #137:

There's just something goofy and appealing about that image of those two fellas mentally squaring off. Plus, the pic has "repurposing" written all over it.

WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE: Every once in a great while, a small flying insect will flitter just a tad too close to one of the machines what makes your funnybook polybags...


A poor little bug, frozen forever in time, locked within the face of a polypropylene bag as it protects a copy of Child's Play 2: The Official Movie Adaptation from the ravages of man and nature.

Anyway, I was sorta grossed out by it when I pulled that bag out of the package, so I thought I'd scan 'n' share it with all of you.

No need to thank me.

(EDIT: To clarify...I'm only kidding about using the fly-bag. I disposed of it properly and safely...in an envelope I just mailed to Chris.)

There can never be any such thing as "Too Much Nancy." 

1. Did a little remodeling around the place. Hit "refresh" on your browser-thingie if you can't see the changes.

2. My Fallen Son cover mock-up from yesterday almost featured, instead, that Mary Jane statue. Just on the off-chance that, you know, you haven't seen it yet.

3. Speaking of Fallen Son...we didn't get in a whole lot of that third variant cover of the Captain America installment, the one with the blank image and the stiff cover, because, really, c'mon now. But damned if it didn't fly out the door. I can only assume folks are drawing their own "sad superhero" covers, because when you get right down to it, they probably can't be any worse than Tur...okay, that's enough flogging of that horse.

4. So I was worrying a while back that sales for Dark Tower had suddenly dropped off...well, we had a minor flurry of folks grabbing the fourth issue and asking for back numbers. Phew, good...this could have gone one of two ways: 1) the Stephen King fans burn out on the monthly drive to the funnybook emporium to get each succeeding issue, decide just #1 is enough, pass on the rest; or 2) just pop by every few months and catch up on Dark Tower issues as necessary. Mostly it appears to be the latter...though there is still some significant drop-off fron the first issue. Unless, of course, there are yet more fans waiting even longer to get their King comics.

5. For those of you still hold out that hope that there may be another watchable Marvel animated movie someday, please enjoy the Doctor Strange site complete with trailer and a countdown 'til destruction release. That first Ultimate Avengers movie was passable, the second a snoozefest, and that Iron Man cartoon...oy. So following that progression, I think I'll be giving the Doctor Strange flick a pass.

6. For no good reason...Batman versus Lion-O, video-game style:

It's five minutes or so long. I don't expect you to watch it all. But I do so enjoy the game's background soundbites of "THUNDERCATS...HO!!!"

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?