mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, September 01, 2007

"Ye can be sure that Paddy O'Day is about when there's a bit of buzz in town!" 

Here, have a little old fashioned nightmare fuel, courtesy Joe Simon 'n' Jack Kirby:

reprinted in Black Magic #3 (Apr-May 1974)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Just random links, thoughts, and observations. 

  • Finally, we had some Minimates come in this week that sold...the Marvel Zombies Minimates flew out the door. Usually these minifigs are slow movers, so it came as quite the surprise.

    I expect this twofer coming from the DC Minimates line to do well, too:

  • A few weeks ago was one of the heaviest ship weeks we'd ever had, when it came to Marvel and DC books. Thirty-something Marvels, and not quite as many but still too many DCs, on top of everything else we got in that week...it was so much stuff, I was surprised that Marvel 'n' DC still had anything else aside from the books that week to put out for the rest of the month.

    And, as it turned out, the last couple of weeks have been relatively light, with this week featuring only about a dozen DCs and even fewer new Marvels.

    I'm dreading another monster week any time now.

  • Why does BeaucoupKevin hate the comics internet?

    Oh, right...FOR GOOD REASON.

  • There's a legal brouhaha going on over ownership of the Valiant properties, so Diamond passed on distributing the Harbinger hardcover, which had been due for release this week.

    So the publisher went directly to the retailers and said, "hey, buy the book directly from us!" And they took the PayPal, and I had some money in the PayPal account, so, lo, I did order some Harbinger hardcovers because I had a number of customers looking forward to this and who am I to disappoint them?

    Hopefully the problems will be worked out, and this book sells well, and it'll lead into more reissues of classic Valiant material. Wouldn't a hardcover of Barry Windsor-Smith's Archer & Armstrong be a nice item to have around? I also wouldn't say no to a reprinting of X-O Manowar, which was a favorite of mine.

  • Customer Jed (looking through the last Omega Flight: "Hey, here's a picture of Sasquatch crying."

    Me: "Oh, it's Sadsquatch!"

    I probably shouldn't talk to the customers, sometimes.

  • Oh, now this is just in poor taste:

    "Which DC hero would have been best to get the coal miners out?"

    Yes, someone brings up Cave Carson. But, mostly, people just kinda go "oh man," as they should.

    In response to the complaints that this is too soon, too soon, a couple folks start discussing what superheroes could have done during the Katrina disaster.

    I'm not pulling direct quotes from any of this. Go look yourself.

  • Speaking of poor taste, we ordered a copy of the Girls & Corpses magazine for the shop. Now, personally, I'd just read it for the articles, but for those of you so inclined, it does indeed contain plenty of photos of, um, girls with, er, corpses. Not real corpses, mind you -- that'd be weird -- but dummy, mocked-up zombie movie-type bodies.

    And, believe it or not, there's a Girls 'n' Corpses on Trampolines pictorial. I'm not sure what to think about that. I'm not sure I should be thinking about it.

    There's a website that's Not Safe for Work or Anywhere Else, for That Matter. And yes, I realize it's supposed to be funny. But, man, try explaining this to someone not in on the joke.

  • How did we sell out of Green Lantern Corps #15 so quickly? And it's already going to a second printing, apparently. I've really been enjoying this "Sinestro Corps" storyline, so it's nice to see it's doing well.

  • YOU: Want to see lots of pictures of homemade Batman car conversions.

    BATFATTY: Meets your need.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Progressive Ruin Presents...the End of Civilization! (Includes one (1) bad word.) 

The Man tried to keep it from you...but there ain't no stoppin' the End of Civilization! If you have a copy of Diamond Previews, September 2007 edition, then pull it out and follow along! (Previous installments down there in the sidebar, somewhere.)

p. 166 - McFarlane's Monsters Series 5 Twisted X-Mas:

Presenting the Mrs. Claus figure...the one figure from this set that'll sell right away, while Jack Frost and Santa himself will float around the store shelves a bit, reminding you of Christmas 2007 long after the date has passed.

p. 189 - Premiere Collection Swimsuit Psylocke Statue:

Wow, this will go great with that Wolverine Swimsuit Statue that I'm sure Marvel will be putting out Any Day Now.

p. 198-9 - Wizard #194:

Let's see...the movie is still at least two or three years away, at best, so I suspect Mostly Speculation Ahoy. Here, I'll give it a shot, myself:

"Will Sam Raimi Direct?"

Maybe...apparently he was asked at the 2007 San Diego Con about it, and he says he might, if he likes the script. However, they're still short a scriptwriter for the fourth film.

"Does Tobey Maguire Return?"

If the studio dishes out the cash, sure. If not, no.

"Who Will Be The Villains?"

Well, there's that whole no scriptwriter thing, but of course the moneymen may want certain villains used that'll make good toys, t-shirts, etc. But I'm guessing we're probably not getting Dr. Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, Sandman, or "Hobgoblin" (or whoever Harry was supposed to be). We're probably not getting Frogman or the White Rabbit, either. Unfortunately.

p. 219 - Rex Libris #3 t-shirt:

I used to work in a library. I would have totally worn this shirt.

p. 339 - Nexus: The Origin:

I know Kevin railed against this sort of thing not long ago, but I do so love the Nexus, and I hate to see it happen here.

p. 424 - Metal Men: Gold & Tin Metallix t-shirts:

It's an improvement on the original Metal Men shirt designs, I guess...it's now no longer just a circle on a t-shirt, but a metallicized circle on a shirt.

But still...c'mon.

p. 438 - Spider-Man Ultimate Web Blaster:

What I wouldn't give to see Spider-Man actually use one of these in the comics. Or even better, in one of the movies. With long, lingering close-ups, focusing on the manufacturer's brand name emblazoned into the side, and maybe a brief snippet of dialogue where Spidey says something like "Wow, this Ultimate Web Blaster sure is handy! If only all kids across America, and lands abroad, could go to their local toy store and pick up this item for themselves! Then they could be just like me and fight crime!"

Um...I'm not sure where that came from. My apologies.

p. 440 - Back to the Future '50s Marty & Prom George McFly Previews Exclusive Minimates Two-Pack:

Friends, countrymen...you do know what this means, don't you?


Okay, it's just a Minimate, but it's close enough! (Until the River's Edge set comes out.)

Related: these folks aren't too pleased with the Glover figure from Beowulf.

p. 443 - Star Trek The Next Generation action figures:

Oh, goodness me...Miles came out okay, more or less, but Beverly has had some kind of horrible jaw displacement, and Nurse Ogawa's been smacked with the goofy stick.

Ro Laren didn't fare much better:

p. 458 - Upper Deck Authenticated Spider-Woman 1/1 Scale Bust:

Somewhere, Brian Michael Bendis is pleased. Very pleased.

p. 462 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Dulac Cross Replica:

It's not really an End of Civilization without a Buffy prop. At least this one is useful, as it comes with a hidden knife you can use on anyone who makes fun of you for dropping nearly two hundred bones on this thing. Harsh? Maybe, but it's a rough 'n' tumble life, being a Buff-head, or a Brownpants, or whatever it is you people call yourselves.

p. 462-3 - Elektra Movie Armband 1/1 Scale Replica (among others):

These items (four in all) are rescheduled from the April '05 Previews. Why'd they even bother? More people read my grocery lists than ever saw this movie...nobody wants any of this junk.

One of the items is "limited to 2,500 pieces worldwide." Now that's optimism.

p. 484 - SIF Ex Ikki Tousen Sonsaku Hakufu Fighting PVC Fig:

"CROTCH ATTACK NOW! All the bad guys will fall before the pudendum power blow!"

From the item description:

"Talk about fan service, Sonsaku even comes with a removable dress."


p. 505 - Labyrinth Golbin [sic] King Jereth's Necklace Replica:

"...The Goblin King's amulent compliments [sic] any wardrobe. Although boots, breeches, and riding crops may fall out of style, you can always feel free to 'Chilly Down' with Jareth's amulet at all the goblin masquerades you're invited to this holiday season."

I really want to make fun of this, but the reference to Bowie's "Chilly Down" song warms my shriveled, blackened heart. But, really, I must take issue...riding crops? Out of style? Bite your tongue, sir!

p. 537 - The Smurfs Season 1 Complete DVD Box Set:

I'm adding this to my Netflix queue.

Shut up.

p. 537 - Star Trek The Next Generation 20th Anniversary Complete Series DVD Set:

Wait...Next Generation has been around for twenty years?


Marvel Previews p. 32 - Iron Man & Power Pack #1:

Lessee...at the series' end, Jack will be dead, Julie will be on the run from the law, Alex will be missing, but that's okay, 'cause Tony Stark's made some kind of Alex clone/robot thing to have at his beck and call, and Katie goes to Canada to join Omega Flight.

Hey, kids...kids! Stay away from that bad, bad man! He's a big jerk!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to tell if you are in a bad relationship. 

from Adventure Comics #419 (May 1972)
by John Albano, Tony DeZuniga & Bob Oksner

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some Tuesday links. 

  • Dafna and former employee Kid Chris have finally posted the sixth installment of their Bispectacult podcast...one full hour of funnybook talk with a healthy dollop of swearing.

    Alas, it's not their interview with me that I recorded a few weeks ago...I believe Kid Chris is still trying to beat it into coherence before unleashing my word salad upon the interweb, but that should be up soon. Maybe.

  • It's not due out for a couple weeks yet, but you can see the cover and first four pages of the Groo 25th Anniversary Special right here.

  • Thanks to whomever it was what ordered the Heroes DVD set through my Amazon link. Every little bit helps, friends, and that reminds me that I should probably put one of those Amazon ads here:

    I caught one episode of the show, about two or three installments in...then at about the halfway point, I finally got into the habit of watching it every week. Fun viewing, if not very deep, and there's an odd sort of amusement for an old funnybook fan like me seeing some of the old superhero tropes paraded on screen, and knowing that while a lot of it is old hat for me, someone who's read comics for 30+ years, this is certainly all new to the majority of the viewing audience.

    'Course, the cast really makes the show...I mean, is there anyone who watches Heroes who doesn't love Masi Oka as Hiro? And the absolutely perfect casting of George Takei as his father? And while the season finale was, well, not quite as climatic as we'd been hoping for, the story over the full season held together nicely and made for good, episodic adventure. Though the makers of the Watchmen flick may be a bit miffed at the show cribbing that book's climax for one of its major plot elements.

    So...um, a lot of you are going to be buying this thing anyway. Why not buy it through that handy link up there and show Mike a little love? Just one click...your mouse pointer, it's so close, so close, just inches away....

  • John at This Is Pop Culture wants you to learn about Hawaii.

  • It's been linked all over the place, but I'll link it here, too, I guess, since I finally read it...an L.A. Times article (headlined "Holy plastic slab!" of course - the Batman TV show is forty years old now, right?) about the Certified Guaranty Co. and its "comic slabbing" service.

    I forget where I saw it, but someone made the point that anyone spending tens of thousands of dollars on a comic is probably not going to read it anyway, so sealing those up in plastic doodads isn't doing much harm. It's the new books that, once sealed up, go for stupid money on the eBay that worry me. One of the reasons for the last big comics market crash was the sudden realization of collectors/speculators that they'll never recover the cash spent on acquiring their alleged "collector's items." I wonder if we're heading in that direction again.

  • So long as I'm linking to online newspaper stories...here's a good editorial on the legacy of Jack Kirby, whose contributions to the comics world are being remembered today, despite Marvel's best efforts to "disappear" him during the '80s.

  • No link to the auction itself, alas, but the Oxnard Police Department had one of those Silver Surfer statue/movie theatre lobby displays in one of their police auctions...we tried to get it, but were outbid, I'm afraid. Just as well...we're beginning to get cramped for space as it is. But maybe we could have put him behind the counter, or (I think this was Employee Aaron's idea) have him up front, holding this weeks' New Comic Pick of the Week in his hand.

  • Bitter Andrew looks at Crazy Magazine's hamfisted parody of Dave Berg's "The Lighter Side of..." from Mad.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mikester's Romance Monday #3: The Single Greatest Page to Ever Have Appeared in a Romance Comic - from Love Diary #81 (Dec. 1972). 

illustrated by Art Cappello

Mikester's Romance Monday #2: Charlton House Ad (Dec. 1982). 


My favorite logo of the bunch is probably this one:

There's always time for swinging, baby!

Mikester's Romance Monday #1: How to Keep Your Lady in Line - from For Lovers Only #70 (March 1973). 

illustrated by Charles Nicholas

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In which Mike once again ignores anything going on right now in favor of comics marketing events from 15 years ago. 

For some reason, I found myself flipping through a copy of the Overstreet Price Guide from 1992, and in my continuing backwards-looking efforts to drag my website into irrelevancy, I wanted to point out a couple things from its 1991 market report.

When the original X-Force #1 was released, each issue was factory sealed in a polybag with one of five different trading cards. Most folks nowadays, look back at X-Force with the feeling of "I can't believe I fell for that," but this is what Overstreet had to say at the time:

"Devilishly clever! One comic - but five cards. Many collectors bought a complete set of five bags which went unopened, and one extra one to open and read. Result - 3.6 million copies sold and a second printing minus the cards four months later. A huge success for the publisher, distributor, retailer and collector as the prices for unopened bags rose in the secondary market. This was a high water mark for Marvel, and the comic collecting universe in general and followed other highly creative, refreshingly innovative and precisely executed product enhancements to get all the sales possible out of a targeted product."

It's hard to believe now that anyone was ever that excited about X-Force #1. And thought it was a good thing, and not one of the indicators of the general instability and lack of healthy purchasing decisions in the comics marketplace. "Hindsight is 20/20" and all that, of course.

The report goes on to mention the multi-covered X-Men #1 (which outstripped X-Force in order numbers, but left many retailers stuck with copies), other successful gimmick covers (like Silver Surfer #50 with the foil Surfer) and some unsuccessful ones (like Daredevil #300, whose "spot-varnish" cover barely counts as a gimmick, compared to its flashier foil/chromium/die cut cousins).

It also mentions DC's primary effort in the "product enhancement" arena, Robin II (declared a success, despite delays and production issues), as well as noting the good sales on Batman/Judge Dredd and the Batman & Dracula: Red Rain graphic novel.

Overstreet additionally notes the badly-bungled War of the Gods crossover series (where the multiple "chapters" of the story came out in the wrong order, making the event nearly unreadable), and has a frank evaluation of DC's efforts with another little title of theirs:

"A Sandman push with T-Shirts, statues, trade paperbacks, a glow in the dark cover and other promotional gimmicks did little to produce long term additional interest in the title."

Yeah, that Sandman book is never going to go anywhere. Surely people won't be buying "trade paperbacks" of this series in real, major bookstores for years after the series has ended. But, man, that X-Force gimmick kicked ass!

YES, I'M BEING ENTIRELY UNFAIR. I just thought it was funny, is all.

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