mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, June 02, 2007

My Friday evening was pretty full... 

...so all I have for today is a pic I scanned out of Superman #173 (November 1964) simply because it amused me. Here are Luthor and Brainiac going nose-to-nose:

BONUS: It's actually Superman and Batman disguised as Luthor and Brainiac, because apparently they don't have anything better to do than mess with Jimmy Olsen. Oh, I suppose there aren't any robberies or plane crashes or anything that they could be handling at the moment.

(Yeah, I know, "obvious observation, ahoy." Hey, I've had a long day, cut me some slack.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Progressive Ruin Presents...The End of Civilization. 

Another month, another catalog full of funnybook delight, another one of these End of Civilization things. Whip out your copy of Diamond Previews June '07, and follow along as I look at a handful of choice items contained therein. (As always, links to previous Ends in the sidebar, somewhere beneath my lovably clickable Google ad):

p. 158 - Stray Toasters TP:

For those of you who didn't understand the first couple of times this was released and rereleased, here's your chance to not get it again. I think it's getting to be about time for my own once-a-decade rereading attempt.

Sure is purty, though.

p. 191 - Marvel Commemorative Captain America Head Bust:

That's some chutzpah, putting an actual "death" date on the base of the bust:

C'mon, honestly. Is Marvel going to issue replacement plaques once Cap is back among the living?

p. 191 - Marvel Milestones X-Babies Unleashed Part 1:

There are two sets of these statues, but this one is by far the creepier. Look at those dark, soulless eyes, those grinning, evil faces.

Here, have a better look at Magneto:

You'll be seeing him again...IN YOUR UNQUIET DREAMS.

p. 423 - Punisher "Bling Symbol" Black T-shirt:

Dear Marvel: please never use the terms "Punisher" and "bling" in this proximity ever again. Love, Mike.

p. 424 - Cup O' Momocheet: "Ladies Peach" T-shirt:


p. 430 - Transformers: Optimash Prime Potato Head:

This is your "cognitive dissonance moment of the day."

And "Optimash Prime?" Oh good gravy.

p. 440 - Chucky & Tiffany Cushions:

"The murderous movie dolls with little regard for pain and suffering can now be yours on this collectible couch cushion!"

Let's consider that for a moment. I'll even blow up the font for you.


Okay, let us move on.

p. 448 - Star Wars R2-D2 Trash Can:

It's one hundred twenty-five bones, which is a bit much to throw down. But darn if that isn't something I want to have in my home. But for that much, I'd want the R2 trash can to actually follow me around, ready to accept my trash at any moment. (But then again, that is what Employee Aaron is for....)

p. 473 - Schoolgirl Witchblade with Ponytail Statue:

This is a marginally different paint job and head sculpt of the first Schoolgirl Witchblade statue (originally featured in this previous End of Civilization post). Now that's micromanaging your fetish.

p. 519 - Jaws Seven Tooth Display:

"...This Jaws collectible feature a brass plate that reads: 'Resin teeth cast from original mold created for "Bruce" the mechanical shark.'"

For $399. I don't have a joke here, really. What's to add to charging four bills for replicas of fake shark teeth?

p. 519 - Jaws Shark on Brass Rod:

"This 14" from head to tail Jaws figure comes with a brass plate that reads: We are working on it!"

Okay, it's been a loooong time since I've seen Jaws. Is "We are working on it!" an actual line from the movie? Or is it, as I suspect, "dummy text" accidentally left in the solicitation info, which was meant to be replaced by whatever the actual plate text was going to be? Or could it be a reference to the fact that the mechanical shark used on the film had nothing but problems, and was continually being fiddled with and adjusted to get it to perform?

Honestly, I have no idea. Somebody set me straight.

p. 521 - The Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch Celebriduck:

For those of you who prefer your Oz collectibles to be ABSOLUTELY F**KING NIGHTMARE-INCUDING. What's going on here? This is like the special "nightmare fuel" edition of Previews, what with those X-Babies and the Chucky pillows...is there something in the water? Is it a full moon?

Marvel Previews p. 58 - Series Title to Be Announced:

Well, I guess Marvel's looking for other title options since using "The Champions" may be a problem.

Pal Dorian thinks they'll go with "West Coast Avengers." I'm pushing for "X-Vengers." I mean, what the hell. Or how 'bout "The Company-Wide Crossover Squad." They could probably title all their team books with that last name.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

This was Employee Jeff's idea. 

"Hey, guys, there's no need to fight! Both sides are right...the Earth is hollow
and it's expanding!"

(Some context if you need it.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sometimes, you just need a good Rob Liefeld panel to cleanse the palate. 

from X-Force #6 (Jan 1992)

God bless you, Rob Liefeld.
  • If you're keeping up with DOORWATCH '07...we finally got replacement glass in our door. One week later. "Fast service," my fanny.

  • Say, maybe you've heard that Marvel's publishing hentai now. Okay, that's exaggerating the point a bit, but not by much. Regardless, this is going to be one of those covers I'll be embarrassed about having on the new funnybook rack. One thing I've noticed over the years...the more embarrassing the comic, the more likely Junior's gonna race right to it, grab it off the shelf, and wave it at his mom shouting "I WANT THIS ONE!"

    Here's another cover I was completely thrilled about racking. "Ladies and gentlemen...Wonder Woman's taint. Please, enjoy."

  • If I can wave my double-standard in your face for just a moment...I had Eric Powell's delicious Goon spin-off Satan's Sodomy Baby on the rack (sealed in the bags they came in, natch, with the only visible title being "Satan's $#!!@ Baby"). The employees, a couple friends...they asked me, "Mike, are you sure you want this on the rack?" And I sez to them, I sez: "Yeah, sure, what the heck...it's in a bag, isn't it?"

    Okay, if I had any complaints or problems with young'uns trying to sneak off with the book, I would have done something else with it. But 1) no problems were to be had...most people who saw the cover were amused by the extensive warning, and 2) the point soon became moot anyway, since we ended up selling out of them pretty quickly. Which proves, once and for all, comic fans love Satan. Or sodomy. Or...well, I've probably tripped the net nanny filters by now, I'm sure.

    As it turned out, there was some reported panic pricing on this book that we were hearing from some of our customers. One store allegedly had the book marked at fifty bucks, but with a "half-off" sale price of only twenty-five. This would be on the day the comic came out...a week later for west coast Diamond customers than for the rest of the country, so said store probably noticed the pricing trends over that week and exploited their customer base accordingly, once they had their mitts on the funnybook in question.

    That had me wondering if our customers were buying the book for "investment" purposes, but I didn't notice any multiple-copy purchases or any other behavior that would indicate folks were looking to make a few easy bucks. Not that I, Mr. "Google Sidebar Ad," have any room to judge.

    I did check the eBay once I heard about the crazy-pricing...well, this wag has an opening bid on his copy of $6.66, har har, and the highest realized price for a single copy, so far, is $23.86. There were a few $10 and $20 concluded auctions last Wednesday, but a look at current auctions shows the craze has died down, somewhat...lots of low opening bids, few takers.

    Okay, and that's enough about that.

  • Funnybook publisher pal Nat gets some newspaper coverage. Something about "election scandals" and "WMDs" and a "barfight with Lindsey Lohan" and...oh, okay, not really. They talk about Charles Schulz, Licensable Bear™, and 24 Hour Comics...but sadly, no mention of one of Nat's favorites, and mine, his Quantum Creep parody comic. Next time, Nat, next time.

  • Supergirl gets new artist, some reasonable clothing, and human anatomy.

  • Received a toy and statue catalog at the shop on Tuesday...along with a few pages of Japanese girly figurines that make that Mary Jane statue look like Ms. Petticoat DeMure, there was this...this...


    It's...I'm...I don't know how to react to this. It is both terrifying and wonderful.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blogging about blogging is a sin. 

I'm a little under the weather, so forgive me if I keep this update a bit on the short side. But, hey, you'll be getting another End of Civilization post at the end of the week, and that's more than enough content for anybody, right?

Anyway, I've made a couple changes around here:

1. Added a few new sites to the sidebar...just look for the garish red color for the new linkage.

2. Because I don't have enough internet communication thingies at my disposal, I've added yet another one: yes, I now have a Twitter account. I held off because the user name I wanted was taken (damn you, Seximus Prime!), but after seeing the little Twitter sidebar box implemented on Kevin's and Bully's sites, I decided I had to have one. So, there you go, a way for me to put up pithy (or pissy, for that matter) notes that I don't feel like devoting a whole post to.

3. I also had to widen the template of the site slightly to accommodate the Twitter box, so if you're browsing the Web at 800X600 resolution, the site's going to be a tad wider than that. I could have adjusted the Twitter box itself, but that fouls up the font size inside, and my eyesight's strained enough.

4. And lastly, I signed up for Google's AdSense program. Yes, I have an ad on the site. I've sold out to The Man. It's in the sidebar, below my links, above my archives, and hopefully it'll be nonintrusive. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get an extra dollar or two out of it. You'd think just selling comic books would be enough to keep me livin' high on the hog, but oddly enough, it hasn't quite worked out that way. But now with my webpage ad, surely I'll rake in enough to dough to finally be able to crush my enemies, drive them before me and hear the lamentations of their women.

So, anyway, all these changes aren't set in stone (including the new weblog links, so those new guys better toe the line, mister!), and if the Twitter box turns out to be a problem (already I'm noticing some slight updating issues), and if you all really hate the idea of having an ad on the site, I'll reconsider.

Boy, wasn't that all just terribly exciting?

Here, have a YouTube post...assuming it's not pulled Any Second Now, this should be a clip of a Saturday Night Live screen test with Gilda Radner. I'd just finished watching the season one SNL DVD set, via the Netflix, and man, Gilda was just absolutely beautiful and funny:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dennis the Menace Goes to The Free-Roaming Animal Zoo. 

Mr. Mitchell's cunning plan to rid himself of his troublesome son goes awry
when the tiger turns its attention to him.

So long, Charles.

(CNR image from this site)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Trees, Bob, and Gambit's moist parts. 

So last week an old customer of ours, who hadn't visited the store in a while, dropped off his collection of X-Men-related comics, dating from about '95 to 2000. He wasn't looking to sell them...he just asked "hey, you want my old comics? I'll just give them to you," and for whatever reason, certainly not because we were in any dire need of yet more comics, I said "sure."

And there I was, with huge piles of X-books on the counter before me, the Generation Xs and the Mutant Xs and the Uncanny X-Mens, sorting out issues we could actually use, and dividing the rest between a pile destined for the store's bargain bin, and a pile that I can blow out on the eBay. As I gazed upon this four-color mountain, one thought briefly occurred to me: "Man, I think I would have liked all these comics better as the trees their paper came from."

And I think that brought me to a new way of reviewing comics.

To wit:

X-Force #5 (1991): Deadpool delivers a couple villains to a mysterious third party; the Blob and the Toad recruit Sauron for their new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants; Cable, Boom Boom, Domino, and Cannonball argue about something-or-other; Warpath runs around in the forest, communing with nature and such because he's a Native American, you know; Feral flirts with Shatterstar in the Danger Room; and some other stuff happens, but I can't deal with this comic any longer.

Spruce: Provides shade; wood can be used for a variety of construction purposes; leaves and oils can be used to make spruce beer; one of the major components of paper manufacture; often used as Christmas trees. (source)


So there you go. It'll catch on like gangbusters, I'm sure. At the very least, we have a new "in" code phrase at the shop now ("Hey, Mike, how's this comic?" "WINNER = TREE." "Huh?").

In other news:

I was flipping through the Overstreet Price Guide and just happened to glance at one of the entries for Detective Comics. For #328, it reads "Death of Alfred; Bob Kane biog, 2 pgs." Now, with Overstreet's tiny, tiny print and my aging eyes, I thought for a millisecond there that it read "Bob Kane blog," and goodness knows what that would have been like. "Dear Blog: Took credit for someone else's ghost work again today." 'Course, the blog probably would have had a ghost writer, too.

Now, a conversation I wish I didn't have:

Employee Aaron: "Hey, here's a picture of Gambit holding a playing card in his mouth. So can he charge the card with energy via his mouth and kinda spit it out at someone?"

Me: "So you're asking me if, say, Gambit's mouth and/or tongue can funnel energy into something that he can throw at someone else?"

Aaron: "Yes. Can he like, supercharge just his spit, make his spit explos...."

Me: "No. Stop. I'm not thinking any more about Gambit's mouth."

Aaron: "But if he...."

Me: "NO."


This is what happens when there's no one in the store. It's sad, really.

Even sadder: it turns out, that given this citation in the Wikipedia article:

"His other tricks have included charging a wad of chewing gum when he was otherwise entirely tied up....

...yes, assuming the wad was in his mouth, Gambit can charge things orally. Good God, what am I writing?

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