mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Who said what now? 

From this interview with DC Comics' Dan Didio:

"DD: There's something key that's going on in that Superman/Wonder Woman image and I can't give away the story beat there. Superman's crying, and it's for a good reason, and looking for comfort from Wonder Woman. The position they're in, how they're seated…it all gives away bits of the clues as to the pain that Superman is feeling.

"NRAMA: There have been those who've said it's reminiscent of Michelangelo's Pieta, which is Mary cradling the body of Jesus…a parent mourning over a lost child…"

Michelangelo's Pietà:

(image from Wikipedia)

Not Michelangelo's Pietà:

I hear something is like the Pietà, I think of a very specific pose...the body of the recently deceased draped across the lap, and cradled in the arms, of the mourner. Not two people positioned differently, sitting next to each other, both living, both in mourning, one resting his head upon the other. That's two very different effects upon the viewer: in the first, we're watching a mother mourn for a lost son. In the second, we're watching two people mourn together, for unknown reasons, with one providing comfort to the other.

And, yes, I know the "interviewer" said "reminiscent," not "looks exactly like." But I don't find, either in appearance or context, that it reminds me of the Pietà at all. Well, maybe the way Wonder Woman and Supes' capes drape beneath them, that sorta looks like the statue. Of course, I may be overly nitpicking a statement that's only there to provide a hint to future shocking DC events (why is Superman crying? Is it related to some kind of "parent/child" relationship in his life, you know, like the Pietà? Is Pa Kent gonna bite it?).

Now, the image on this cover...there, maybe you've got a supportable "reminiscent of the "Pietà" argument.

"Shazzam reminds me of Kazzam which was a terrible movie so i dont like it." 

"Best and Worst comic book names"

"Ok i dont think this has been done before... But who has the coolest comic book name.

"Im talking about the most fitting and sharpest for a real person who had super powers."

"Matter Eating Lad has to be one of the worst names ever."

"Mr. Sinister would be better if it was just Sinister without the Mr. IMO. still like it though."

"Shazzam reminds me of Kazzam which was a terrible movie so i dont like it."

"Wonder Girl, or any name with girl or boy, in my opinion, smokes pole."

"I def like Thanos... its evil, but at the same time godlike sort of greek/latin."

"Sentry, the Golden Guardian of Good", in my opinion, blows everything out of the water.
Greatest name ever!"

"Sentries name only sucks because it's (basically) Silver-age."


"what about Galactus?
that name sucks"

And, well, you can't really argue with this:

"But, the worst one is quite clearly:

Thor Girl"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Kicking against the pricks. 

BeaucoupKevin gets all Sherlock on us, discovers his longtime internet nemesis "Steve Ebbling" is in fact Gary Esposito. A woefully unacceptable "apology" and a final confirmation of Gary's "Steve Ebbling" double-life from Tom Spurgeon follows.

What kind of a jerk spends two years persistently harassing some guy he's never met over the internet, even continuing to send angry and insulting comments long after Kevin began filtering out his messages so that they'd never see the light of day, and then tries to pass it off in a half-assed apology as "Hey, all in fun, right, pal?"

Dear God, that's depressing.

Turns out some of our copies of this week's X-Men #200 had missing and/or repeated pages, which was discovered by one of our customers who had bought one each of the 50/50 covers only to find both were misprinted.

I immediately set Employee Aaron on the task to pore through our remaining stock of this book, and seek out other error copies. As it turned out, he only found two more, but that doesn't account for the huge number of X-Men #200 we'd already sold on Wednesday. No one else has reported misprinted copies, so maybe we got lucky...or maybe our customers haven't read their copies yet. Or maybe they just assumed the misprint was, in fact, some kind of avant-garde storytelling technique. (I once had someone try to use that explanation on me in regards to the misordered pages in Batman: The Cult #4.)

Aside from finding the error copies, we had another result of Employee Aaron going through these books: he's now read X-Men #200 about a hundred times. A hundred times! You may think you're an X-Men fan, but I bet you haven't read this latest issue one hundred times in the one day the book has been out. Well, Aaron has, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, buddy.

It's not quite the 10,000 comics in a row that caused the Flaming Carrot to crack and begin his life of super-heroism, but it's a start.

How not to sell me comics:

Hold the cardboard box that contains your comics tightly in your arms, as you gingerly pull each individual comic out of the box and hand it to me. Ma'am, your beat-to-crap Web of Spider-Man ain't no treasure...just hand me the box and let me give you the bad news fast.

Let's lighten the mood a little with a LOLcats RSS feed for my site. I know the LOLcats craze is in its fourteenth minute of fame, but, hey, everyone likes cute animals -- even you, Mr. Cranky Cynicalpants -- and I just gotta see what turns up with the title of this very post.

This one's pretty good, too:

Ooh, and this one:

Yes, I'm posting LOLcats on my site. I need this to be happy. THE DRUGS NO LONGER WORK.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Relentless Self Promotion: The Rack 

I wrote today's installment. Click, enjoy.

Progressive Ruin Presents...the End of Civilization. 

What? Not this again? Yes, I'm afraid so...you may be sick of it, but not me, brother, because I take each new issue of Diamond Previews as a challenge, to wrestle to the ground each and every month finding only the best and classiest items for your perusal, and saying completely unjustified and unfair things about them. This month: July 2007. Past months: in the sidebar somewhere. So follow along, if your heart can handle it!

p. 59 - Hellboy 8" Qee and Tara McPherson Variant:

Don't get me wrong; it looks neat an' all, but I just keep picturing what Hellboy's reaction would be to looking like that variant. "What's that on my stomach...'HUG LIFE?' Oh, I need to punch somebody, NOW."

p. 136 - Uni-Formz: Batman (Modern):

The "super-deformed" Bat-figure is kinda neat, I suppose, but when they get around to the promised Superman figure, I'm going to be hard-pressed to not be reminded of this cover from Superman Family #181:

p. 146- The Mice Templar #1:

Okay, I know it was coincidental, I know David Peterson's got no beef with the fellas who do this comic, I know it looks like a different take on the same subject...but I also know all I'm going to hear from the customers when it comes out is "Wow, these guys are totally ripping off Mouse Guard!" I see a lot of 'splaining in my future.

p. 201 - Alex Ross Thor Mini-Head Bust:

Chubby-faced Thor wants you to take him home and squeeze his fat little cheeks! Oh yes he does!

p. 236 - Betty & Veronica: Boy Trouble Volume 1 TP:

Calling this "Volume 1" may be a bit optimistic, since it seems as if this "new look" Archie went over like a fart in church.

p. 248 - Mark Millar's The Unfunnies #3 & #4:

Wha-huh? You mean...you mean this series may actually be completed? It's been, what, three years at least since issue #2 came out? (According to the solicitation info, these issues were rescheduled from the Dec. '03 and Jan. '04 catalogues.)

Well, good on Millar for finally coming through with them, I suppose.

p. 315 - Star Trek Alien Spotlight: Gorn:

Dear IDW Publishing:

So, it appears you have found a way to get me to buy one of your Star Trek comics. Well played, IDW, well played.

Love, Mike

p. 334 - Nexus' Greatest Hits One-shot:

Wait just a gosh-darn second...isn't this the comic we were giving away on Free Comic Book Day? And now you want us to charge folks $1.99 for it? I think I'll continue giving away the leftover copies instead, like I have been.

p. 404 - 101 Ways to Flip the Bird SC:

"In 101 Ways to Flip the Bird, Jason and Rick Joseph, bird-watchers extraordinaire, provide a brief description of each variation, a detailed drawing of how to execute it, and suggestions on when to employ it."

I hadn't realized there was an art to this. And "when to employ it" -- friend, when the time is right to give someone the finger, you'll know.

Plus, everything you need to know about bird-flipping style you can learn from this photo of Stan the Man:

p. 408 - Star Wars Holocron: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy:

Oh, man, how does this not look absolutely brilliant? That's a giant pop-up Vader head, there, flanked by pop-up full-figure Vader and Luke.

No joke, here, really...I just can't help but look at that pop-up Vader head. It is both frightening and compelling.

p. 408 - The Unofficial Star Wars Trivia and Quiz Book:

Was this the easiest book in the world to put together, or what? If there's one thing there's not a short supply of, it's Star Wars trivia. Name of the critter in the Death Star trash compactor? The dianoga. There you go, one question down.

p. 429 - Zombie: "Inside" black t-shirt:

Two trends -- zombies and "Intel Inside" parodies -- well past their sell-by date, mixed together in one completely out of style shirt!

p. 435 - Transformers: The Movie Icon Cushions:

Okay, I'm about 100% indifferent to the Transformers...couldn't care less about 'em, don't care about the cartoon, don't care what the forthcoming movie did or did not get right re: the characters...but these pillows are actually kinda, sorta neat. But I won't get them, because I'm not about to spend the next few years (or however long the pillows last) of my life explaining "No, I'm not a Transformers fan. I just liked how the pillows looked."

p. 440 - The Clash Icon Collection Action Figures:

Something about action figures based on the Clash is creating a bit of cognitive dissonance with me.

p. 440 - Freddie Mercury 18-inch Action Figure with Sound:

On the other hand, a Freddie Mercury action figure just seems about right. And AWESOME.

p. 442 - Peeping Cthulhu Plush:

Only noting it here because, during my first pass through the catalogue, I thought the item was called "Peeing Cthulhu Plush," like it was a water-filled squeeze toy or something. HOURS of fun!

p. 455, 458 - Star Wars Chubby Series 1 Figures:

Okay, one...I snickered at the name, because I'm twelve years old, I guess. And two...Star Wars Russian nesting dolls? That's just...I thought Star Wars Transformers were weird. Well, I guess I had no idea what "weird" was. Look at those doe-eyed Wookies. And I kind of like the heavily-implied symbolism of the Vader figures, where at his core is just a scared and lonely little boy. But it's STILL WEIRD.

p. 460 - Star Wars Darth Vader Jumbo Chubby Figure:

"Jumbo Chubby!" (insert immature laughter here)

p. 470 - Beowulf: The Crown of Beowulf/Golden Dragon Horn Prop Replicas:

I know nothing about this forthcoming Beowulf movie, except 1) Neil Gaiman is involved, and 2) there's all kind of merchandise for it being advertised already. And it's pricey - $150 for the wearable crown that your kids are going to break while playing with it, and $200 for the golden dragon bong horn (and $225 for the sword, also in this catalogue, but not pictured here because, well, you know what a sword looks like).

p. 480 - Star Wars Tusken Raider mini-bust:

Okay, show of hands...who isn't at least vaguely familiar with what the Star Wars Sandpeople look like?

I realize that there's a real world reason for this, that designs aren't finalized on the statues and whatnot, and that's what they're actually hiding, but I still can't help and look at stuff like this and think, even for a moment, "I know what a Tusken Raider looks like, who are they fooling?"

p. 505 - Doctor Who Tardis Talking Ice Bucket:

"The Doctor thinks you're drinking too much. Put the bottle back in the Tardis, please. No, no...leave the bottle open. Thank you."

p. 505 - Doctor Who Dalek Webcam:

Basically we're at the point where we can hollow out just about anything, squeeze some USB ports or a webcam into its body, and vee-ola, Instant Computer Peripheral Novelty Item. Hmmm...maybe we've found a new use for those already out-of-date Civil War busts.

p. 522 - Super Smurfs Figurines:

Rock on, Paul Shaffer Smurf!

p. 524 - Disney Traditions Figures: Minnie with Pumpkin:

Whoa...Minnie, dressed as a witch, accompanied by her evil cat familiar, sitting atop a pumpkin inscribed with pagan-esque symbols? Wait until I notify the bishop about this!

p. 526 - Chief Robot:

(Cheap joke in 3...2....)

"Don't call me 'Chief Robot,' Robot Olsen!"

What he's chief of exactly is unclear, but he's certainly better off than this next fellow....

p. 526 - Robot with Wheels:

...this poor bastard doesn't even have arms. Of what practical use is this robot? Maybe you can use him to wind up the garden hose on the axle attaching the wheel to his body. Or paint a spiral pattern on the wheel, and use him in your stage hypnosis act.

p. 530 - Assorted Hasbro games:

I'm not familiar enough with game sales to make assumptions, but I'm going to anyway...are sales on the plain ol' original versions of the games so low that "novelty" versions are required to bolster sales? Or are sales just fine, and the money the novelty versions bring in just a little extra gravy? I imagine there are collectors who buy every variant of each of these board games, too.

I've joked before about how we'll all eventually have our own personal versions of Monopoly, but there are other movies I'd like to see licensed like this. Like Wicker Man Clue, for example ("Hmmm...we can't seem to find the body...."), or The Game of Life - Santa Sangre Edition ("Arms hacked off...go back three spaces"), or Requiem for a Dream Monopoly ("Get TV your son sold for drug money out of hock - pay $100"*).

p. 548 - I Am The Amazing Spider-Man Personlized (sic) DVD:

"From one photo, you will be transformed into the webslinger himself, fighting crime spidey-style! This 26-minute, action-packed cartoon adventure DVD includes bonus features such as a photo personalized music video featuring the 1960s theme song, as well as an educational tutorial on spiders in a segment titled 'Learning with J. Jonah Jameson.'"


"Learning with J. Jonah Jameson."

"Let the cranky, Hitler-mustachioed Jameson yell at you and call you names as you get minor bits of spider trivia wrong, wrong, WRONG!"

p. 550 - Snot Rocket and Super Detective DVD:

Dear Japan:

The hell?

Love, Mike

Marvel p. 28 - Fantastic Four #550:

How can someone manage to make a stretchy guy's anatomy look wrong? Oh, and please, enjoy the Invisible Woman's butt. Thank you.

* I had a much, much worse Requiem for a Dream joke. Maybe I'll reveal it in the comments section, if you're good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Spotted in Previews:

THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN HC - "...This deluxe, two-volume, slipcased special edition includes every single work of Don Martin published in Mad Magazine (1957 to 1987), including original sketches and notes...."

And it's the first of a series spotlighting Mad artists. Which can mean only one thing: "THE COMPLETE DON EDWING" must happen SOON.

(Sound effect in the subject line via)

"Fenimore Freakness?" 

from Coo Coo Comics #2 (December 1942)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

If you ever find yourself shouting "EEEEAAA! Doll Man!" then you've probably made some poor choices in life. 

from Doll Man #46 (June 1953)

So anyway, I realize I've been a bit image-heavy the last few days, but I've been, once again, under the weather, and not up to my usual two-fisted blogging standards. On top of that, some of the online controversies and verbal sniping and those one or two chuckleheads who insist on being wrong about everything and never ever ever seem to go away...well, all that really harshes my mellow, man.

I'd considered entering "LOW CONTENT MODE" again and taking the week off, but that feels like running away. And, as you all should know by now, I ain't no quitter, baby! I'm a fighter! And I fight with comic book panels!

For example, here's another one from that Ibis story in Whiz #88, with the cutest little Cerberus you're likely to see:

...And here's a follow-up on that Peanuts story from Tip Top #221. The plot involves Charlie Brown inventing a robot which he immediately uses to terrorize his friends, and eventually those friends catch up to him in a sequence of off-model terror:

It's all a dream, so, sure, Charlie Brown gets off the hook, but what about the poor reader? How's s/he supposed to process this nightmarish image of Schroeder?

Take that to your dreams tonight.

And this next item isn't a panel, but rather an old item we've unearthed in the store's treacherous and cavernous back rooms: an Bill Sienkiewicz-painted "new universe" retail poster:

That brings back some fond, nostalgic memories, doesn't it? C'mon, you can admit it: you were the guy that liked Kickers, Inc., weren't you? Go ahead, say it...we won't laugh. Honest.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Licensable Bear™ Vs. The X-Men. 

Learn more about Licensable Bear™ at Licensablebear™.com.

"Scratch gravel, White Wind!" 

from Whiz #88 (August 1947)

WHAT MUST NOT BE: Linus Versus the Pooping Robot. 

from Tip Top Comics #221 (May-June 1960)

Yes, I realize it's probably no good. 

So, whenever I actually was able to make time to try to catch the Swamp Thing live action TV series, for some reason it was usually the same episode...the one that started off with a little person running for his life through the swamp, being pursued by...well, some creature or madman or something, I forget. And my other brief remembrances of the show generally involve the scenes with the title character, only you'd just see his head behind a bunch of shrubbery or a wall or what have you, probably so they wouldn't blow the episode's budget by putting Dick Durock into the entire Swamp Thing get-up just for that shot.

Anyway, I keep thinking that, hey, maybe it'd be nice for this show to make it onto that DVD format that's all the rage, in complete season sets, so I can finally be convinced that, yes, there are episodes of the series that don't involve little people being chased through a swamp. Though wouldn't that be something if that's what they were all about? "Swamp Thing - Defender of Little People!" It'd still be on the air today, I bet.

Rich, evil mastermind behind the Roots of the Swamp Thing website, is encouraging people to vote for its DVD release over at TV Shows on DVD. Apparently you have to be a member of that site to vote, but if any of you out there are members...well, Mike needs more TV to watch, apparently, so vote early, vote often. Hell, they put Firefly on DVD, why not this?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

And now...a moment of ABSOLUTE HORROR. 

So a couple weeks ago, pal Dorian sent me this Raccoon Kids image from one of DC's old funny animal comics for use as one of my sidebar pics:

And, just now, as I was prepping the image, I realized something.

"Why is the anthropomorphic raccoon child wearing a coonskin cap?"

That's a bit like Ms. Piggy in a commercial for a bacon breakfast platter, or Cicero Pig cooking a hot dog, I think.

Maybe there were a couple other Raccoon Kids that met...untimely demises prior to the commencement of this series?

(Yes, yes, it could be fake coonskin. Still creepy. Or maybe it's lemurskin.)

Don't screw with Ibis the Invincible. 

from Whiz #88 (August 1947)

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