mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The cruel, cruel incarceration of the Ten-Eyed Man. 

from Man-Bat #2 (Feb-Mar 1976) by Martin Pasko, Pablo Marcos & R. Villamonte

Friday, July 13, 2007

"This is not war...this is pest control!" 

I don't have much of a post at the moment, as I was busy catching up on the Doctor Who DVDs. And is there a better scene in season two than the Cybermen and the Daleks totally ranking on each other?

I submit, sir, that there is not.

Yes, I realize I'm, like, a year behind everyone else on the show. Don't rub it in.

My completely mean-spirited and unfair exchange with Employee Jeff, as he was preparing to move some of our infrequently-accessed comic stock in the stockroom to somewhere out of the way, to make room for more in-demand material:

Employee Jeff: "Hey, is it okay if I move the Gambit comics to the top shelves? I need the space for these other X-books."

Me: "Yeah, go ahead. No one cares about Gambit."

Jeff: "Oooooh...don't let the Gambit fans hear you say that!"

Me: "No worries...Gambit fans are weak and ungainly, and pose no threat."

And then we laughed and laughed at Gambit and his fans, for we are cruel and heartless. And then I wept openly, for I realized this is all I have.

And now, for no good reason...Swamp Thing in a biplane:

from Saga of the Swamp Thing #8 (Dec. 1982) by Marty Pasko & Tom Yeates

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Comics, not comics, and Half-Minute Mikester #1. 

So a few folks were intrigued by the Steve Ditko Man-Bat comic advertised in that post of mine from yesterday. The most interesting thing about that very short-lived series (aside from an appearance of the Ten-Eyed Man, as my commenters noted) is that the first issue features a rare, if not solitary, example of Ditko drawing Batman.

I don't own any of the Man-Bat funnybooks myself, and I was in kind of a rush to get out of the store last night (had to go buy drywall screw anchors -- it was vital) so I forgot to grab a copy of #1 from the store stock for some choice scanning.

Luckily this fine fellow also found Man-Bat worthy of examination, and presents a couple pages from that issue. The above image was taken from one of those scans...makes me wish Ditko had drawn more Batman in his career. What an interesting presentation for the character.

Nothing to do with comics, but as a longtime Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fan I wanted to point out this new DVD release of The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark. The premise of this DVD series is that Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, and Mike Nelson (who played "Tom Servo," "Crow T. Robot," and "Mike Nelson" on MST3K) have been hired by an eccentric billionaire to provide commentary tracks for films that otherwise lack them...and, of course, the films are appallingly awful, giving the three guys plenty of opportunity to crack wise and/or groan in horror.

And, having watched it, I can tell you...when the movie is playing, and Kevin, Bill, and Mike are in full swing, it's like MST3K (Sci-Fi Channel era, anyway) is alive again. There's no visible silhouette of seats and the three guys watching the movie, but in an odd way that evokes the MST feeling a little more by not constantly presenting three guys instead of one guy and two robot puppets. The jokes are just as funny, if a little racier at times, and the sketches...well, there is a half-time "lunch break" where the guys leave the theatre and have a lunchtime meeting, and some bookending material, and if you didn't like the out-of-the-theatre shenanigans from MST3K, you probably won't like the sketches here either. I thought they were amusing, though it was a little disconcerting hearing Crow's voice come out of Bill Corbett's body. I can't really match the two up, for some reason.

Also, at the end of the presentation there's a 2005 copyright date, and if that's not a mistake, then this particular Film Crew installment has sat on a shelf somewhere for a couple years. Huh.

But overall, a lot of fun, and a welcome return (of sorts) to the format of one of my favorite and much missed TV shows. If you buy the Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark DVD through this link, I think pal Dorian will get a little scratch from it, if I've got it set up right. I should set up an Amazon link for myself, someday, but in the meantime let Dor reap the benefits of my laziness.

Plus, my DVD came with a Film Crew patch:

Hey, neat!

(For the sake of completeness, I should note Rifftrax, where you can buy inexpensive and hilarious downloadable commentary tracks by Mike Nelson for big-budget Hollywood films and TV shows. Mike is often accompanied by the aforementioned Kevin, and Bill's been known to put in an appearance or two. As has noted MSTie Neil Patrick Harris.)

(Sorry, went on a bit about this. Hey, we're all fanboys about something.)

Because no one stopped me...Half-Minute Mikester #1:

Okay, a few things:

1. This is what I'm talking about, re: Justice Society.

2. That's my laundry room, not the bathroom, wiseguy. But, that said, I think I know where the next Half-Minute Mikester is being shot.

3. Yeah, there's a wee bit of an echo.

4. I sound a little tired and monotone-ish...I guess installing those drywall screw anchors took a lot out of me.

5. God, I missed Nexus.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Conway's Corner." 

DC Comics house ad from Swamp Thing #18 (Sept. 1975)

"I think I'll make a microscope!" 

Ad from Swamp Thing #18 (Sept. 1975)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A poster posting. 

One of my usual tasks at the store is digging through some of the strata in the back room, looking for some goodies to unload on the eBay. Over the last few weeks I've been focusing on putting up some of the old posters we have in storage...posters that have long since gone past their "sell by" date, and had to be moved out of the way to make room for the new posters coming in. Not a big deal, but with a store that's now in its 27th year of business, even a handful of leftover posters a month will eventually grow into a menacing pile.

We've tried to get rid of what we could here, via sales and "free poster with $20 purchase" and "for the love of God, take this 'Sword of Azrael' poster...I'll pay you." But, eventually, we're still left with the seeds and stems that we can't unload locally. Thus...to The Internets!

My posters, let me show you some of them before they go up on the eBay:

Remember that brief period in the '90s, when Image and Wildstorm and whatever company Rob Liefeld was running that month would get attractive women (including, I believe, Liefeld's wife) to dress up like their super-characters and pose for covers and posters? Those models should probably consider themselves lucky that Image etc. stopped that behavior before moving into this market. (Link may not be safe for work.)

Electric Superman is now a nearly forgotten footnote in the character's history, so the window to sell this poster is long closed. But it TOTALLY GLOWS IN THE DARK, MAN. (Also, the Electric Superman story started almost exactly 10 years ago. I didn't need to realize that.)

This poster, illustrated by Christopher Moeller, actually isn't too bad, and probably could still sell. May have just suffered from an overflow of competing Wolverine/X-Men posters.

Oh, Lordy.

Sometimes I look back on that time of battlin', two-fisted nuns with swords in comics, and I wonder just what the heck was in the water.

This poster is comprised of about 99.8% Badass. The other 0.2% is the baggage that is the Shaquille O'Neal Steel movie.

Let's see...dead, dead, dead...is he a villain now? Anyway, this poster is from 1986, plugging the fact that DC just acquired the old Charlton heroes.

This Matt Wagner poster was actually a popular one for a while...just sold as many as we were going to sell, I guess, and had a couple left over. I would liked to have seen a Thing vs. Hulk comic drawn by Wagner. The signs and hydrants flying by in the background amuse, too.

Now that the character is (or was, who knows) apparently a resident of Crazytown, I don't hear a whole lot of "I'm a big Scarlet Witch fan...do you have any related merchandise?" from the customers anymore. Not that I did in the first place. Nice drawing by P. Craig Russell on this 20-year-old poster, though.

I'm ashamed to admit how many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze posters we had left over. But their day will come again soon...oh yes.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Popsicle Pete, filing Supergirl, Mike's descent into madness, Korg, and the half-baked debut of Half-Minute Mikester. 

from Bob Steele Western #5 (August 1951)

Okay, two things:

1. Alternate dialogue for Tim in that last panel: "Where the hell were you when we were under the gun, fancy pants?"

2. I'm guessing Popsicle Pete got beat up a lot on the ranch, there, cool refreshing treats or no cool refreshing treats.

Since the topic came up on Sunday at our shop...where are your stores filing back issues of Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes? I'm just keeping them with the Legion comics, since 1) it's a continuation of the Legion series, and 2) I doubt it's going to be Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes forever, and the title will eventually revert back. Unless, of course, the book dies again, leading the Legion into its 129th reboot.

I was just wondering, since a longtime customer of ours was giving us some goodnatured harassment over keeping S&LSH with LSH. I mean, it made perfect sense to me at the time...but perhaps he has a point, that people looking with comics featuring Supergirl are going to go the S section and not the L section.

Then again, I'm doing S&LSH a favor by storing it away from the current Supergirl series. Reaction is generally favorable to S&LSH, from fans and from young girls just looking for comics with Supergirl in them, while the regular Supergirl series continues to be an affront to anyone with working eyes. I wouldn't want a kid interested in Supergirl accidentally getting his/her hands on a copy of the regular series, and being turned off the character for good.

from All-Star Superman #7 (June 2007)

Example #1881 of my continuing descent into insanity:

On Sunday, I found myself singing this, to the tune of "Tomorrow" from Annie, much to Employee Jeff's chagrin:

I love ya
You're only a page a-way!"

Good Lord, do I need a day off.

from Korg: 70,000 B.C. #1 (May 1975)

This was the title header from one of those allegedly-educational, and totally unread, text pages in the Korg comic book. Just showing it here because it amused me.

However, it does remind me...I don't know that I've ever seen an issue of Korg: 70,000 B.C. past issue #1. Copies of #1, we've got plenty of. We have at least a half-dozen graded 'n' priced and out for sale in the front of the store, and I'm reasonably certain we have even more copies located in the perilous reaches of our back room. There are at least nine issues, but the only one we ever see is that first issue. When that Korg: 70,000 B.C. big-budget Hollywood movie comes out, directed by Michael Bay and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, we'll be sittin' pretty.

Okay...I'd been intending on doing something like this for a while, but it took Dave posting this terrifying video to finally get me to at least test it out. The result: installment #0 of Half-Minute Mikester.

Why only half a minute? Because I don't have a proper video camera, and that's the video-record limit of the digital camera I used to make this.

Please keep in mind this was only a test...only barely planned out, shot on the floor of the upstairs loft (please, enjoy my carpet), not terribly well lit, and this was the very first time I used iMovie on my Mac for anything, ever. But hey, at least you ladies (and about 10% of you men) can enjoy the sexy excitement of my voice, so it's not a total loss. I wasn't even planning to put this video on my site...but, you know, what the heck. I made it, I might as well show it to you, my close, personal friends what read this weblog:

So there you go. Future installments, if there are any, will actually involve forethought (and, perhaps, a table or a counter of some sort) so hopefully there will be some improvement.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

"Sometimes I read some very good books, like the new 'Justice League of America' series and 'Ultimate Spider-Man.'" 

Hey, couldn't hurt: "An Open Letter to Michael Bay: Please Direct Man of Steel"

"Michael, you and I both know Bryan is a better director than you, hell, I'd even say much better. [...] But you are at the top of your game, doing the best work of your career. And you absolutely are the best at what you do. And what it is that you do so well was sorely missing from Superman Returns. The cinematography was great but no one shoots red, white, and blue like Bay. Supes lacked humour and the all important wow factor. Things you bring to the table in spades."

I was hoping something would come along to encourage more "real-life" superheroes: "Holy batcapes! The age of the superhero suit is upon us"

"Its rock-hard surface can take a full- on assault from a baseball bat, yet remains flexible enough to allow you to kick, leap and roll with perfect ease. Crafted from cutting-edge science, its unique molecular structure means that while providing armoured protection against crude concrete and even barbed wire, it remains light enough to allow you to run at high speed.

"It sounds like the stuff of Batman comics - but the superhero suit is here."

"Other superhero attire?" Oh, if only they'd explained what exactly that entailed: "Lucky 7s? These newlyweds hope so"

"'Jeremy's a Superman fan, so we went with a Superman theme,' 32-year-old Kamryn Schill said of her husband, Jeremy Schill, 33."


"After 12 years of marriage, Kamryn renewed her pledge to her 'superman,' who serves at Great Lakes Naval Station. Members of the extended family wore capes and other superhero attire."

Um, they may have a point, though "stop watching movies" would say the same thing: "ON SPEC's Top Ten No-No's"

"We would like to present our own Top (More Than) Ten List of ways we editors can guess if the manuscript we're reading is a turkey. Bear in mind that for every rule, there is an exception."


"9. Characters are cliches, and sound like they have been picked from 'characters R us'. 'The Landlord', 'The Soldier', 'The Salesman', 'The Wizard', 'The Princess' etc.

"WHAT WE'D LIKE TO SAY: Stop reading comic books, or start writing for them, not us."

"Top five worst comic books ever written"

"I have read many comic books in my life. Sometimes I read some very good books, like the new 'Justice League of America' series and 'Ultimate Spider-Man'. But for every good story, there are multiple bad stories. This is the list of the worst stories that I have read.

[List isn't too bad, but accidentally includes Dark Knight Strikes Again, which, as I'm sure you all already know, is absolutely brilliant, and I'm certain no one out there would ever say otherwise.]

In the "we should be so lucky" department: "What's next for hungry young bookworms?"

"When 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' is released on July 21, it will mark the end of a remarkable run for writer J.K. Rowling."


"Rowling's determination to end the series will leave a vacuum. Another book, another series, undoubtedly will become the next must-read among the children's set."


"So it stands to reason that the next big thing 'will be entirely different,' says Lisa Dennis, the coordinator of the children's collection for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh."


"'I think we're going to swing to some other sort of next big thing,' Dennis says. 'My only guess is that it will be something different and unexpected. If I had to guess, it might be something like a graphic novel.'"

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