mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, November 10, 2007


from Swamp Thing #21 (Feb/Mar 1976) by David Michelinie & Nestor Redondo

Friday, November 09, 2007

How to improve the live-action Justice League movie, in six words. 

"...And Ashton Kutcher as 'Snapper Carr!'"

"The Widow of Death" (Underworld #3, June/July 1948) 

1 - 2

3 - 4

5 - 6

7 - 8

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I occasionally go on the odd tangent. 

So Chris Sims of the Invincible Super-Blog has discovered that this gentleman has been, ahem, borrowing his content (and other folks' content, too, but mostly his) and reposting it. Sims has the gory details, including the extremes to which this blogger has gone to in order to pirate someone else's work.

By the way, if you're gonna look, look quick, since thieves, like cockroaches, tend to scatter when the light is turned upon them.

Thankfully, I haven't had to deal too much with this sort of thing. There are the spam-blogs, of course, which skim content from sites for text to use to attract search engine results (or whatever...I'm not entirely sure how that works). Those blogs seem to like my "End of Civilization" posts. And there was that one guy on LiveJournal who liked copying other people's work word-for-word without attribution (resulting in this note from me). And then there are the chumps on Myspace who try to hotlink my images for their backgrounds, which isn't exactly the same thing, but that still cheeses my cracker something fierce.

Anyway, once again, take a gander at Sims' examination of one of the most blatant examples of plagiarism I've seen. Unbelievable.

Sent to me by reader Rob H. is this link to a Swamp Thing custom action figure done in the animated Justice League Unlimited style.

Reminds me a bit of how Swamp Thing was allegedly going to be part of the fourth wave of Super Powers action figures (though a later discovery of in-house Kenner material has since debunked that).

Now I'm picturing how Swamp Thing would have looked like in the Jack Kirby style, and that way lies madness.

A commenter revealed that he was able to find on the eBay that "How to Get Along with Girls" book featured in the advertisement I posted yesterday.

I'm assuming it's this listing, offering multiple copies of a reprint edition for sale. It says "Newly Updated," so I don't know if they're just referring to its reprint statue, or if there are new chapters on "restraining orders" and "mace."

So anyway, if any of you out there need to learn how to get along with girls...well, there you go. In fact, let me offer some of you guys my own advice:

1. Be kind.

2. Be attentive.

3. Her eyes are up there, mister.

4. The resolution to every argument is you saying "I'm sorry I was wrong, honey," and the sooner you accept that, the happier you'll be.

5. Wash occasionally. Use soap.

And there you have it. No need to thank me.

Suddenly...AXE TO THE HEAD:

That guy didn't learn How to Get Along with Girls.

I'll be putting up scans of this full story over the weekend. Because, really, it's a pre-Code tour de force of axe murders and arson. Just in time for Christmas!

I'll soon be resuming the cycling of the contributed logo banners in short order -- I've been waiting for Blogger's publishing problems to be resolved before starting it up again. While you wait, though...feel free to send your own in!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mike's New Comics Day Lunchtime Update 3004. 

1. Today's sales: everybody wants the Heroes hardcover. Nobody wants the Dark Tower hardcover.

2. If you ever thought I was kinda sketchy...well, here's proof.

3. We were shorted several items in our Diamond shipment this week, including the new non-Gerber Howard the Duck. I don't think I'll miss it.

4. "Mike, you're not serious about playing Arlo Guthrie's album Alice's Restaurant at the shop every day 'til Thanksgiving?" "Yes...yes, I am."

5. And this week's winner of the "Whoops, Forgot to Put A Price on The Cover" is Witchblade #111! Take a bow, Witchblade #111! Whoa, don't bend over too far, you'll pop out.


6. Why do we have an "Essence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer" statue? Where did it come from? Why is it here? What shadowy motivations drove us to order it? Is it actually a special order for a customer or (gulp) did our finger slip when entering the orders?

7. Hey, Diamond, where did our case of McFarlane Dragons (AKA "the McFarlane figures that still sell") go?

7a. Speaking of McFarlane figures, I imagine that all the pieces from the Twisted X-Mas set that had the misfortune of not being the "Mrs. Claus" figure will be available at extremely reduced prices very shortly.

8. Best comic this week: Groo: Hell on Earth #1. Instead of buying one of each cover of Astonishing X-Men, just buy one ASM and buy a Groo, too. God will smile upon you for doing so.

"Don't be a Faux pas!" 

(please note the quotation mark usage)

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ad from Public Enemies #2 (May-June 1948)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More about Warner Brothers comics. 

So you may have noticed some quirky behavior on my site over the last day or so. Well, Blogger has had some kind of odd glitch where I'd publish a new post, it'll be on this site for a while, and somehow Blogger will, unbeknownst to me, somehow yank that post back off the site when I'm not looking. And I know the post was up for at least a small amount of time, because user comments will accrue before the post goes AWOL.

This happened with both my Monday posts, so I'm taking some measures to prevent this kind of behavior from happening again. But if it does happen...well, hopefully this post will have been up long enough for folks to read the explanation.

Anyway, in response to my occasionally-there Monday post about Warner Brothers comics, the late Tim O'Neil makes the good point that one of the reasons there's so little collectors' aftermarket on the Warner Bros. books is the lack of notable name talent generating memorable runs on the titles. Like I said in my reply to him, I had considered that in my early draft of that post, that there was no "Good Rabbit Artist" attracting the fans like Carl Barks as Disney's "Good Duck Artist." I left that comment out because 1) I wasn't sure there wasn't, and 2) I wanted to go to bed sometime before 2 AM, so I didn't feel like doing the research.

But now, here I am, paging through my Overstreet Price Guide, trying to see if any artists are noted in the various Warner Bros. titles. I see Pogo creator Walt Kelly credited on some early Looney Tunes, but not on any of the "biggie" characters. And Carl Barks drew one of the Four Color Porky Pig comics. And that's pretty much it. That'll attract the Kelly and Barks collectors, but that's not the kind of long artist/character association that created the amazing legacy of, say, Barks on the Disney duck books.

So basically these comics have to sell on the virtue of 1) the characters, and 2) the fact that they're old comics. And like I said, the characters they want are the Tasmanian Devil and Marvin the Martian, not any of the bigger characters like Daffy Duck, etc.

I never thought the comics themselves were all that bad...sure, the characters' visuals were occasionally off-model, but the stories themselves were amusing if slight, with the occasional Barksian adventurous aside. Not great, but passable, disposable entertainment...not the kind of thing that attracts a rabid following.

But where else but the comics would you learn of the evil treachery of Cicero Pig? Where, I ask you?

When I was going through that large Dell/Gold Key collection over the weekend, something came to mind about the characters I was looking at. Do kids today know who any of these characters are? I'm not talking about now-obscurities like "Snooper and Blabber Detectives" -- I'm talking about characters that, when I was a kid, were nearly unavoidable. For example, Woody Woodpecker...is Woody still being rerun anywhere? Rerun enough, and in a good time slot, that kids might have a chance of discovering him?

How about Popeye? Or Felix the Cat?

I don't mean this to come across as "old guy complaining about how kids don't appreciate the classics." Because, really, for one, I don't like Woody Woodpecker. And two, it's just the way things go. Cartoons like Heckle 'n' Jeckle and Beany & Cecil were slowly being phased out when I was a kid, so if stuff like Woody and Felix are falling into the next generation's memory hole, it's not without precedent. But they seemed so ubiquitous when I was young, it's sad to think they're forgotten relics now.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Where Legends Live." 



Some tasty comics. 

At last, at last...I finally got a copy of this:

Now, I'm not much of a Looney Tunes collector, but isn't that a great cover? The dark-humored "Tasty Friends" gag gets me every time. Sure, it's not in great condition...you can see the insect damage at the corners and along the edges, but given that this is the first copy of this book I've seen come through the shop, I'm not going to be picky.

Inside, it's cover to cover mayhem, with the Tasmanian Devil destroying everything in sight and trying (and never succeeding...wouldn't that have been a comic!) to eat his fellow Warner Brothers cartoon characters.

This was from the period where Gold Key was experimenting with the borderless panels, like so:

Like I said, I'm not a collector of the Warner Brothers comics. Not that I have anything against them...the few I've read I've enjoyed, but you can't collect everything, you know. And if I were so inclined, it would be quite easy for me to put together a sizable lump of WB comics for myself from the store stock. They turn up quite often in collections, but there is almost no demand for them among our clientele.

Demand for the Warner Brothers comics, at least for us, generally breaks down into two groups:

1. That one international customer who orders a handful of inexpensive funny animal books every few months or so.

2. People who need pictures of the Tasmanian Devil and/or Marvin the Martian for tattoos.

And no, I didn't buy this comic for a tattoo...if I were to get a tattoo, it'd be of the top image on this page.

Anyway, it looks like the Warner Brothers books have been overshadowed by their Disney cousins as far as demand and collectibility goes. We have boxes of Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig and Daffy Duck back issues, most of them in average condition for only a few bucks each, but they're rarely perused. We don't turn 'em down when they come in...they're still old comics, after all, but it's not worth paying very much for them given the slow turnaround.

We acquired this, and many other Dell/Gold Key and Dennis the Menace comics from the early '60s in a sizable collection that turned up at the store on Saturday. Most of them were in similar condition to the Tasmanian Devil comic, every Dell Giant had pencil on the puzzle pages, and a few comics just fell apart in my hands. Two comics were taped together into one larger book.

But there was plenty of good stuff in reasonable condition to be had, too...the first six or seven Jetsons comics, a Gold Key Jonny Quest #1, lots of Four Colors, and lots more.

Also included in this collection was a box full of Peanuts paperbacks...some dating from the late '50s, early '60s, as well as a few of the '70s Peanuts Parade books, most of which are in nice condition.

There were also two boxes of Mad Magazine, running from the late '60s into the '80s. Mads are kind of a hard sell, given their enormous print runs from the time period these issues range. There ain't no shortage of them, making this a buyer's market. But some of these are absolutely gorgeous...they weren't just read once and put away. They almost look as if they were unread...our copy of this issue, with its nearly all-white cover, is almost blindingly clean and shiny. Several special issues are included, all with inserts intact, with the usual exception of this issue not having the Zeppelin. Man, every time we see this issue, it never has the Zeppelin. It was just too cool for kids to resist tearing it out and assembling it, I guess.

So that's how we spent our weekend...processing a bunch of old funnybooks. There are worse ways to spend one's time, I suppose.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"OUTER SPACE DESIGNS are embossed on the sides to add to the fun." 

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ad from Nancy #173 (December 1959)

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