mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I hope you like Fastphoto systems, because you're about to hear a lot about them. 

It's high tech versus the criminal mind in Mr. District Attorney #40 (July/August 1954), and Mr. D.A. faces arsonists and murders and the skepticism of the people holding the purse strings...

...in a story they had to call:

Following a suspicious fire, Mr. District Attorney and his associate Harrington investigate a suspect, sending a photo and his fingerprints to Washington via air mail to check with the FBI's criminal records. However, the suspect posts bail and leaves Mr. D.A.'s custody.

The next day, a reply is received from Washington, but:

At the demonstration, Mr. D.A. runs the Fastphoto system past the mayor:

...who isn't having any of that newfangled technology, no sir:

Shortly thereafter, a suspect in a robbery is brought in, and Mr. D.A. feels he looks familiar...in fact, that he might be wanted for murder. Again, he has photos and fingerprints air-mailed to Washington, and again, the suspect is unable to be held overnight until a reply is received.

However, Mr. D.A. has a plan...mooching off of someone else's Fastphoto system:

Harrington's crap car conks out on him, but after having two gals on horseback tow his car to town (no, really...ropes are tied from the horses to the bumper), he makes it to the Hawthorne police station:

Lieutenant Condescending and Captain Explainypants let Harrington in on the magical workings of the mysterious electronic box:

And exactly nine minutes, 34 sec...oh, wait, it says that in the caption:

And just as the suspect was about to be set free, due to lack of sufficient evidence and whatnot, Harrington phones Mr. D.A.'s office to let him know they got the goods on this nogoodnik.

Harrington's all ready to spend that reward money:

...And, again, the mayor cheaps out on Mr. D.A.:

But Harrington comes through in the end:

...most likely because Harrington wants to sit on the Fastphoto machine and send pics of his butt to those condescending bastards over in Hawthorne City. You totally know he's going to.

And, hey, they never did catch that arsonist.

For more Mr. District Attorney, pal Dorian posted a couple choice covers, with commentary, quite a while back.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"...A former Marvel comic book (yes, comic book) artist." 

I've dipped into the Comic Cavalcade #59 (Oct/Nov 1953) ads thing before, but here are a couple other ads of note from that publication:

I only wish DC had taken that "Superman's newest animal friend" blurb literally. "Okay, I'll take Lex Luthor...Peter Panda, it's up to you to stop Brainiac!" "Whatever you say, Big Blue!"

And here's another ad of sorts, featuring a listing of DC's line-up at the time:

Dig that variety of books...lots of licensing/media tie-ins, funny animal books, adventure books and war books. And, oh yeah, a few of those quaint superhero books too...that last handful of survivors from the superhero fad's boom and bust in the 1940s.

In other news:
  • Say, you may be starting to do some Christmas shopping just about now. (And if you've already finished...don't take it personally, but I hate you.) If, perchance, you're gonna do some shopping via the Amazon.com, please feel free to use that Amazon search box in my sidebar. Everything you buy through there, I get a tiny piece of the action...and believe you me, every bit helps.

  • Speaking of "Black Friday," I'm curious as to how we're going to do at the shop today. It used to be that shoppers would hit the malls and department stores first, then work their way out to the small mom 'n' pop shops later in the afternoon. However, the last couple of Thanksgiving weekends, the initial rush seemed to stay at the malls and department stores all day, leaving their small store shopping 'til later in December. Even our special sales and promotions on Black Friday didn't seem to pull folks in. 'Course, that may be just our particular situation...we're not exactly located in the middle of a high-traffic major commercial center, after all.

    Ah, well...such is the way of small business. We do have more gift-y type shops immediately surrounding us now that we didn't have before, so hopefully the Christmas crowds will have more reason to make it out in our direction.

  • "[Atlanta] Hawks undergo extreme uniform makeover"

    "One of the individuals responsible for the design is Matty Ryan, a former Marvel comic book (yes, comic book) artist. 'Red and blue is a very strong color scheme,' Ryan says. 'A lot of comic book characters are red and blue -- Spider-Man, Superman. They're two of your primary colors, and they're also very strong colors. Red is associated with fire and intensity, and blue has a calming effect, so they play off each other.'"

  • Bispectacult has finally uploaded a new comics podcast for your enjoyment. Our former employee Kid Chris appears to have found gainful employment, and thus was unavailable to accompany Dafna in this installment, but new guy Dave makes a capable replacement. Why, I've forgotten about Kid Chris already.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Stupid things happen t'stupid people!!" 

Okay, usually I just let the crazy panels stand on their own, but you folks demanded some context, and context you shall get! So, here we go, straight from Li'L Abner #95 (Sept. 1954):

Li'l Abner's favorite newspaper comic strip detective, the redoubtable Fearless Fosdick, discovers that a can of a popular brand of beans has been poisoned:

Fosdick has his own, unique, take on the problem:

And he quickly begins his citywide reign of protection:

'Course, mistakes are made:

Eventually, to curtail Fosdick's protective efforts, the police chief arranges to have Fosdick's gun stolen. Undeterred, Fosdick finds alternative means of protecting the public:

...the result of which, you can now see, was presented in those panels I posted yesterday morning.

Anyway, eventually, Fosdick accidentally "protects" a fellow law enforcer, and finds himself arrested and facing capital punishment ("This was the fastest trial in the history of the state!! - Twenty-five minutes after Fosdick was captured, he was sentenced to death!!" shouts a newscaster). He receives beans for his last meal, and of course:

But don't worry...everything will be back to normal for the next strip:

Li'l Abner, who'd been breathlessly following Fosdick throughout this adventure, is relieved:

Also, during the course of this story, Daisy Mae dropped this bit of wisdom:

Oh, not nearly enough, Daisy Mae...not nearly enough.

In other news:
  • Be sure to refresh your browser to see the swell Thanksgiving logo banner donated by one of this site's readers. Appetizing, no? (EDIT: I just left the banner up for the day, but you can still see it here.)

  • Via Laura is this homebrewed Dr. Who comic strip The Ten Doctors, already at 60-something pages. I'm not a big fanfic guy, usually...however, I'm a few pages into this strip and it's managed to keep my attention so far. The light cartoony style and the caricatures of the various Doctors are quite appealing.

  • A trio of stories I just Googled up, here: rumored bonus material for the eventual Watchmen movie DVD; a Variety article on screenwriters doing comic book work during the strike (seeing "comicbook" as one word annoys me...am I alone in this?); and an interview with Steve Purcell about his comic book characters/video game stars Sam and Max, Freelance Police. I love that little rabbity-thing Sam...I mean, Max.

  • I hope everyone out there has a happy Thanksgiving, where applicable. Everyone else...have a nice Thursday, regardless.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mike's New Comics Day Lunchtime Update 3006. 

1. Okay, I'll explain the context of those panels from this morning.


2. That World War III trade paperback seems awfully flimsy for $17.99. I've had grocery lists thicker than this. And while I'm sure DC has economic reasons for that price point, I've already had people griping that "it's reprinting four $2.50 comics...they're charging us eight bucks for a cover." Plus, the comic already has a bad rep among the fans, so it's a hard sell to begin with.

EDIT: Occurred to me on the drive home that the book also includes one of the 52 issues...so it's $12.50 worth of comics in your $17.99 book, which is slightly better. However, the book's so painfully thin it still looks like you're getting rooked.

3. So our discussion this morning about Captain America: The Chosen had us wondering if it's "in continuity" or on one of Marvel's apparently vast numbers of parallel Earths. That somehow brought us to wondering about what Marvel's Earth 911 would be like, and at that point we went into directions better left unsaid.

4. I haven't had a chance to look in the new issue of Wizard yet, but judging from the employees' derisive laughter and mockery, it sounds like yet another stellar achievement in comics journalism.

5. Best news of the day: the next hardcover edition of Marvel Zombies will feature a cover based on this issue.

6. Today's special guest appearance at the shop: pal Ian. I sold him Composite Superman comics and Mad Magazines. He left happy. My job here is done.

7. Boy, my Lunchtime Updates seem to be getting later and later each time. They're turning into Supper Updates.

A public service announcement, from Li'l Abner #95 (Sept. 1954). 



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Of Brills and Combo Men. 

The top of Combo Man's head is super-strong:

Combos Snacks/Marvel Comics promo card (1996)

To be fair, that's where you'd probably want super-strength, to protect the ol' gray matter.

But the poor bastard's knees are constantly on fire, and that can't be fun.

Pal Ian deals out some choice screencaps from last Sunday's Simpsons episode, which featured guest-appearances from Alan Moore, Dan Clowes, and Art Spiegleman.

And as long as you're visiting pal Ian's site, also check out the Scott Pilgrim sketch he somehow managed to get from Kevin O'Neill. YOU'RE CROSSING THE STREAMS, IAN.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Please enjoy a brief sample of why Herbie comics are better than any other comics you will ever read, ever:

from Forbidden Worlds #114 (Sept. 1963) by Richard Hughes & Ogden Whitney

Herbie pulls it out and slaps JFK in the face with it, makes Jackie sigh like a schoolgirl, and flies off on a giant freakin' bird.

I'd like to see Wolverine pull any of that off.


Well, not really commands, as such, but I like Nat, and want to encourage his particular brand of behavior.

Behavior that brings us stuff like this. BEHOLD:

Many Happy Returns features, as the title might suggest, the return of '80s indie classics Crossfire by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle, and Journey by William Messner-Loebs, in all-new eight-page stories. And there are new Licensable Bear™ strips as well, along with a yet-to-be-announced fourth feature. You can read more about at About Comics' site.

Speaking of Licensable Bear™, there's a new short instructional video from Mr. Bear™ that'll only take about 45 seconds out of your life. Go ahead, watch...what, will it kill you?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Someone allegedly quotes me (at the end of the article) (EDIT: link removed) in which I supposedly claimed it wasn't worth my time to order Will Eisner's The Plot for the two or three copies we might sell.

Seeing as how our shop regularly orders and stocks some items in quantities of one by creators not nearly as well known as Mr. Eisner, I have a hard time picturing myself saying such a thing. In fact, I'm reasonably certain I didn't...particularly since we have carried The Plot. And if we don't have it on the shelf at this very second, it's only one reorder from Diamond away.

So, I left a comment there and am now awaiting an explanation.

EDIT: The blog entry in question has been made private, and I've received no reply, so I'm guessing no explanation is forthcoming. Wait, let me try to build up some surprise.

In which Mike points out something you already knew about. 

IN-JOKE AHOY: A short sequence in which a kinda/sorta caricature of DC Comics' then-publisher Jenette Kahn approaches Spidey about appearing in a special comic...the comic itself a take-off on DC's Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali:

The lateness of Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali's release is also addressed:

from Amazing Spider-Man #186 (Nov 1978)
by Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard & Mike Esposito

The old lady's dialogue in that last panel is a little funny as well, but too bad it turns out she's Spidey-villain the Chameleon in disguise. It does lead to an amusing/appalling sequence where Spidey realizes it's the Chameleon and turns his lights out, but the admiring crowd around him only sees him clocking an old lady.

Ah, what the heck, here it is:

By the way, in searching for a good link for Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali, I discovered (unsurprisingly) that I'm not the first online to note this particular slam of Marvel's on DC. Ah, well...I just spent the time to scan the images and put together the post, so you're getting it anyway. And besides, it gives me a chance to link again to one of my favorite comic book sites, Treasury Comics, so go, visit...tell them Mike sent you.

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