mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This is my Saturday post. 

I got a late start on my "End of Civilization" post from yesterday, so I was pretty tired while I was working on it and forgot to mention this wonderful, wonderful item:

p. 420 - Cthulhu Gloves:

It sorta looks like random pieces of leftover bits of fabric sewn together, doesn't it?

Speaking of that post, my gag about the Revoltech Danboard Action Figure was kinda lost...I was trying to imply that the figure looked unfinished, like they didn't bother sculpting the arms, torso, and legs, and just put a finished head on a clunky, unfinished body. Sorry, guess I wasn't clear...don't post when you're sleepy, kids!

And some of you folks seem really excited about this. So what do I know?

In other news:

  • That Albedo #2 that we had up for auction, which I mentioned the other day? It ended Friday afternoon at $565.00! Holy crow. If only I had another couple dozen in the back room...I'd be set.

  • I added the link to my original post on the subject, but in case you missed it: Dwayne goes through the first couple issues of the Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters mini-series and examines some blatant photocopying. And believe me, there're more examples than just the ones Dwayne points out.

  • Can we maybe stop using the term "underwear perverts" to refer to superheroes? It was kinda cute the first couple of times, but now it's just kinda pretentious and annoying. Yes, you're a cooler nerd than superhero fans, we get that you don't like that Marvel and DC jointly own the word "superhero" -- fine.

    This from the guy that continually uses the word "funnybook" to annoy people, I know.

  • Here's the new short-lived cover redesign for the forthcoming quarterly Fantastic Four run by Millar and Hitch.

    Okay, that's kinda dickish of me. But I don't care what they say, about how much they're working ahead, etc. etc. -- I'll believe this will come out on a monthly basis when I see it. My customers certainly don't believe it...a lot of them read Millar and Hitch's Ultimates, and they remember how long it took for that series to get cranked out.

    Don't get me wrong...I like that redesign, the preview pages look great, and I think this comic will sell just fine. But if they're going to attempt to keep a monthly schedule (less of an apparent concern for the Big Two in recent years), I expect fill-ins. Or six monthly issues, then a gap or fill-in, or something.

  • I'm getting a connect error at the moment (probably from all the people simultaneously trying to download MY exciting interview), but there's already a new installment of the latest Bispectacult podcast. Take one Dafna, one Dave, and add a dash of Kid Chris, and there you go.

    Er, if the site's back up by the time you read this.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Got about an hour to spare? 

If not, then download and listen later...it's Part One of the long-awaited Bispectucult podcast featuring yours truly, where I am given the third degree by Dafna and Kid Chris. We talk about comics, weblogging, and and other stuff you have to know. Someone's fiddling with the microphone through part of it, but I'm reasonably certain it wasn't me. WARNING: Patrick Swayze's magnum opus Road House is briefly discussed.

Also, I may be responsible for the audio gold that opens the podcast.

Progressive Ruin Presents...The End of Civilization. 

Yes, it's that time of the month yet again, where through long hours of hard work and personal sacrifice (and by "sacrifice" I mean "I'm doing this instead of reading my newly acquired copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier"), I once again present...the End of Civilization: Special "Naked Girl PVC Figures from Japan-Free" Edition. If you have a copy of the December 2007 Diamond Previews, why not follow along? (Links to earlier installments may be found in the sidebar.)

p. 276 - Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore Limted Edition Lithograph:

For some reason, I was just struck by the sheer randomness of this item. I mean, were you expecting to see this? I wasn't.

p. 358 - Honey and Clover Volume 1 TP:

It seems to me that there's some kind of...I don't know, event horizon, or saturation point, or critical mass, or something, where the caricaturing of young ladies in manga crosses the line from "cutesy" to "life-threatening." You know, like the eyes are too big and watery, a Keene painting X 1000, a tiny mouth, a GIANT head...all exaggerated body elements pushed to their ultimate extremes, forming a horrible black hole of cuteness, sucking in all light and energy and matter for light years around.

Honey and Clover doesn't quite reach that point, but we should take its warning seriously.

p. 363 - Great Figures in History: Mother Teresa & Nelson Mandela GNs:

I'm not ready for the adventures of Superdeformed Pokemon Teresa. Though I am curious if Nelson ever finds all the Dragonballs.

p. 379 - The Shatner Show:

Sometimes there are things that happen that make you wonder about the world around you, and whether you really, truly understand what's going on, what dwells within the minds of your fellow humans. One of those things is an art collection devoted to illustrations of that man among men, William Shatner.

p. 385 - The Golden Compass Movie Storybook:

"...And then the heroes killed God, and everyone lived happily ever after. The end."

p. 402 - Rolling Stones Premium Trading Cards:

I know this is a new card set, and not just a warehouse find of Rolling Stones cards from the 1970s...but they certainly look like a '70s artifact, don't they? That's probably a problem inherent in any Stones merchandise. Also, I wonder if there are chase cards in the set...you know, prop cards with pieces of Keith Richards, that sort of thing.

p. 409 - Superman "Real Heroes Never Die" Black T-shirt:

From the "Trying Too Hard" clothing collection, comes this fine piece of pandering....

p. 409 - Batman Laser Cut Logo Necklace:

Apparently "imported from Italy," which is how they get away with charging you nearly 95 bones for it. For 95 bucks that thing had damn well actually summon Batman.

p. 417 - Tonner DC Stars Batman & The Joker Collector Dolls:

Okay, I can kind of handle "1990s Nondescript Sitcom Actor" Bruce Wayne, but I'm afraid that Liberace Joker is far, far too terrifying:

p. 424 - Star Trek Retro Cloth Scotty Figure:

What the hell is Scotty doing? "Och, Capt'n, I've got descriptive text crawlin' up me pants! My disco moves canna stop 'em!"

p. 425 - Star Trek Wrath of Khan "Death of Spock" Spock Figure:

You know, if you coat your Spock figure with radiation burns, you've pretty much limited your play options. "Oh, no, Spock died...again." "Oh, no, Spock has been terribly burned." "Oh, no, Spock has been terribly burned...and he died." Though some imaginative kids could work around it, I'm sure...not that many of these will end up in the hands of kids, of course.

p. 438 - Spider-Man Six Arm Mini-Bust:

At last, a commemorative statue of the storyline that's notable for being the former Worst Spider-Man Story until "The Clone Saga" came along. (At least, people used to think Six-Arm Spidey was the worst, way back when...do people look more kindly upon it now, particuarly since it likely compares favorably to a lot of the nonsense published recently?)

p. 440 - Back to the Future Flux Capacitor Replica:

$275 seems like a lot for a box with some lights inside that happens to look like something you saw in a movie, once.

p. 444 - Lord of the Rings Animated Twilight Ringwraith Maquette:

So we've cycled through figures and statues of the characters as they appeared in the movies, now we have to make merchandise based on some nonexistent "animated" versions of the same films. "How to tell when a franchise line is reaching the end of its licensing cycle."

p. 476 - Revoltech Danboard Action Figure:

Oh, c'mon, jointed plastic boxes...? You people just aren't even trying.

p. 495 - Star Trek "D.J. Spock" Ringer T-Shirt:

It's cute seeing companies still trying to make Star Trek "cool." Not working, sorry.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mike's New Comics Day Lunchtime Update 3007. 

1. So what's up with the art in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #3? There seem to be a quite a few photocopied (or Photoshopped) faces and bodies used repeatedly throughout the issue, particularly with Uncle Sam late in the book. I know it's a time-saving device and all, but it's just obvious to the point of distraction this time around.

I'd make some scans, but our store scanner is dead slow and I don't want this to be a Dinner Update.

EDIT: Dwayne's got all the evidence you need.

2. All Star Batman and Robin #8 is a thing of beauty, and woe betide you if you think otherwise. I love you, All Star Batman and Robin.

3. I looked at the character descriptions on the package backs of the new Shazam! action figure set, and this is what they say about Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and Billy Batson:

"A quiet newsboy by profession, BILLY BATSON was chosen by the wizard SHAZAM! to take on the alter-ego of Captain and protect the world. He's even more effective when similarly powered HOPPY THE MARVEL BUNNY is by his side."

I love the fact that this is all the explanation for Hoppy that they give you. Okay, chances are most people buying this will be in their 40s or older and know who Hoppy is, but there's a possibility someone somewhere is going to be totally baffled by a rabbit in a superhero costume.

This is all somehow Roy Thomas' fault.

4. Eros Comix's Blowjob has had 22 issues? Good gravy. Er, so to speak.

5. Employee Aaron: "This comic is very quality!"

Me: "This comic is full of quality!"

Employee Aaron: "This comic couldn't be more quality!"

Me: "Quality? This comic is soaking in it!"

Employee Aaron: "This comic is oozing quality from every pore!"

Me: "This comic is suffering from quality leakage!"

Employee Aaron: "Er...."

Me: "Too far?"

Employee Aaron: "Quite."

6. Well, Sensational Spider-Man #41 is out, and it looks like we were all right about what's gonna happen to Peter, Mary, and Aunt May (and as I first alluded to way back when). 'Course, there's one more issue left in this story, which should come out sometime before Christmas '08, so there could be a last minute twist -- we'll see.

But it's a moot point, since, according to the last installment, the only comic you should buy was part two, so you'll never read the rest of the story anyway.

Oh, and a quick glimpse through Death of the New Gods #3 would seem to indicate that my theory about what's really going on is on the right track. I haven't actually read the issue yet, but I'm going to interpret the info I gleaned from my quick scan as supporting my argument. It's my weblog, so there.


So yesterday was not New Comics Day, as I'm sure most of you knew, or at least discovered when you popped in to your local Comick Shoppe Emporium and Painless Dentiste and discovered the mockery of empty shelves and the derisive laughter of store employees, pointing and laughing and drinking deep your tears. At least, that's what happened at our store. Maybe things were different where you're at.

Anyway, no new comics calls for drastic measures, so up went the "graphic novels 25% off - today only" signs, and our new comics-less Wednesday was indeed saved. Sold lots of books...not enough manga, alas, since we could stand some thinning of the herds there, but money is money and by golly, we'll take it. Sold an expensive slipcased volume or two, got rid of some Batman books, gave a few customers that additional incentive to try out a series they'd been meaning to get around to...all in all, a good day at the shop.

Unfortunately, I also found out that, while we are getting our reorders of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier in this week's shipment, that's gonna be it for the time being. DC's now taking orders for a second printing, which will be released just in time to not be in time for Christmas...well, this year's Christmas, anyway, as they'll be out 'round 'bout Dec. 28th. Save your gift certificates for that, kids.

And I'm getting my copy, this time. Pal Dorian keeps mocking me with his copy.

Lessee...what else happened on New Comics-less Wednesday? I got asked if I knew how much the action figures were going to be for the next Hellboy movie ("Um, that's not coming out 'til next year sometime." "Yeah, but how much will the figures cost?" "Well, fifteen bucks or so, maybe? I don't know." "Okay, thanks!"), found out the reason I hadn't seen one of my longtime customers lately is because he's been acting on sitcoms and getting parts in feature films, found a copy of one of those Megaforce comic book ads for a customer ("DEEDS NOT WORDS," man), and, for reasons too silly and convoluted to go into, I drew, on an old backing board with a felt tip pen, a stick figure Dracula. "Stickula," if you will. I don't have the original...the gal from the game store next door saw it and asked if she could have it, and since I'm a soft touch, I said, "five bucks and it's yours." But, here's a detailed reconstruction of said image:

Those little squiggly lines at the sides are supposed to be his menacing cloak, you see. Have I mentioned lately that I'm 38 years old? Yes, I certainly am.

So, anyway, in other news:

  • Okay, let's be clear on this. I'm not going to make a habit out of featuring auctions on the eBay that you folks are running and decide to e-mail to me. It better be something pretty darn cool, or unusual, or just plain goofy for me to give you some good ol' fashioned Progressive Ruin plugging. I mean, if I'm going to plug a running auction, I'm going to plug our own. For example, right now we have Albedo #2 up on the eBay in an auction that ends tomorrow. As I write this, it's up to $350. Holy crow. 'Course, the comic is as rare as an on-time comic book written by a big name TV writer, so the price shouldn't come as that much of a surprise, but still, yowza, you know?

    Er, back to the topic. Anyway, Reader Rick wrote in to tell me he had something on the eBay that I'd find of interest, since I seem to have an affinity for goofy eBay comic book stuff. And, goodness me, Reader Rick was right, for what he presented to me was nothing less than the X-Men Mutant Gear Survival Kit:

    You can look at the auction itself for more detailed pictures. This item isn't that old, but I'd never seen it or heard of it 'til now. I was describing it to Employee Aaron and he says he thinks he had one.

    But check it out...it comes with two bars of Wolverine soap, Wolverine lip balm, Cyclops band-aids, and a little blue plastic carrying box with some X-Men decals affixed to its exterior. It's probably be too much to hope that the shape of Wolverine was carved into the soap. The band-aids at least, from the look of the packaging, have X-Men images on them.

    The real puzzler is the Wolvie lip balm. "Wolverine doesn't suffer from chapped lips...thanks to his special X-Men brand LIP BALM. Oh, and his healing factor."

    I am kind of curious as to what the original retail price for this item was, because I'm betting it was way above the six or seven bucks any of this stuff would have cost, total, had you purchased them seperately and without a bunch of X-Men labels on them.

    But, still, kind of cool. And silly. And thanks to Reader Rick for being brave enough to send in this link to me.

    By the way, Reader Rick has the greatest eBay user name ever. Go check it out.

    And to all you sellers on the eBay out there, looking for some free publicity for your auction...before you click that "send this e-mail to Mike at ProgRuin" button that all computers now have installed at the factory, ask yourself one question. "Is my auction cooler/weirder/sillier than the Mutant Gear Survival Kit?" Because if it's not, then friend, spare that e-mail.

  • Speaking of selling things...I just wanted to express my appreciation for you folks who bought goodies on Amazon through my little search box in the sidebar, there. The little bit of scratch I'm earning through that does help, and I thank you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I don't want to hear anyone complain about my customer service ever again... 

...because as cranky and as annoyed as I may get at times:

from The Durango Kid #30 (July/Aug 1954)

...at least I don't shoot the customers.

Well, not yet, anyway.

I do look like that, however. Though my hat's taller.

Can't tell you why I love this panel from this old Moby Dick adaptation... 

...I just do:

from Feature Presentations #6 (June 1950)

"The sharks! AGGGHHH!!!" That just says it all, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Presenting SPACE WOLVERINE... 

...with his SPACE AXE.

Mankind Under the Leash by Thomas M. Disch/Planet of Exile by Ursula K. LeGuin
Ace Double Novel (1966) - illustration by Kelly Freas

In which Mike becomes part of the Hollywood promotional machine. 

Found via Bispectacult, some set photos from the forthcoming Watchmen movie.

Yeah, yeah, Rorschach's in one of the pics, but I like this image the best:

Oh, man, I want that Tales from the Black Freighter prop comic, and the poster, too. Think there'll be a Black Freighter comic released by DC to tie into the film? This fella has done half the work toward such a thing already. (Actually, I know the answer's "no, DC's not going to," but let a boy have his dreams.)

Anyway, these sets look nice, but I'm still a'feared of everything falling apart at the plot level. But then, I'm all old and cynical and stuff.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Scattershot Sterling Strikes Again. 

I think "Plastic Man in Disguise" is a good paint scheme for a room:

Okay, I know it's not an exact match, but I swear, that's the first thing I thought when I saw that.

(from this episode of Deserving Design with Vern Yip)

Alas, it was not a Black Friday weekend for us, as once again in our area all the shoppers went to the malls and the big box stores, and there no love for the small businesses. Luckily we had a good eBay week to make up for it, but really, bleah.

Going by the past couple of years, once we actually get into December things will improve, but for Black Friday, it's mostly a case of all of our clientele risking life and limb at the shopping centers, or, even more likely, wisely staying home and saving themselves the headache.

Why you shouldn't work for Mike, One:

Employee (and film student) Jeff: "I ordered my $3000 camera through Amazon."

Me: "You did? Did you use the Amazon.com link on my site?"

Employee Jeff: "Er...no."

Me: "What!? Why not?"

Employee Jeff: "Um...I forgot?"

Me: "You dick!"

I actually came across this in a comic the other day and thought "hey, that'd go nice with my Fearless Fosdick post," but I see Booksteve beat me to it: a Fearless Fosdick ad for Wildroot Cream Oil.

Dear DC Comics:

You know, you got people all excited about your Green Lantern "Sinestro Corps" series, even folks who normally won't have anything to do with any comic book that doesn't have an "X" in the title. People are really interested in what's going to happen next. The one-shot tie-ins are selling well. The second and third printings are selling well. I even had someone ask "hey, is that comic where Ion fights Superman Prime out yet?" Yes, someone actually asked for an Ion comic. Yeah, I know it's a different Ion, but still, that's like a Christmas miracle a month early.

So please, for the love of God, get Green Lantern #25 out sometime soon. I have people asking me for this every day. They've been asking me for the last few weeks...it's only about three weeks late, sure, but it'd sure be nice to have it on our shelves soon.

I mean, c'mon, delaying a crossover event thing like this...who do you think you are? Marvel?

Love, Mike

In the "reordering out of spite" department...we'd apparently sold out of Will Eisner's The Plot, so I put in a reorder for it through Diamond's online system yesterday. Should have it in again soon.

Gee, why would I do that if it wasn't worth my time? Oh, wait, it is.

Yeah, I know..."Bitter, party of one."

Just thinking: take, for example, Shazam! #1 from the early '70s. That was a much anticipated comic, which attracted "investors" who bought multiple copies. As these things usually go, the prices on Shazam! didn't go anywhere, so for decades afterward they occupied quarter bins.

Eventually, it turned out that, after the majority of Shazam! comics had spent years being used and abused in said bins, that there weren't a whole lot of mint copies left. And, suddenly, coupled with general interest from collectors in the '70s market, the few mint (or near mint) Shazam! #1s still around finally acquired some value.

Now, I was thinking about the collections we tend to see nowadays. Lots of folks coming by with big bags of funnybooks that "are really old" and "had been sitting in the garage/closet/car trunk" for a while, which invariably turn out to be landfill funnies from the late '80s/early '90s. And, invariably, are never in anything approaching mint condition.

That got me to thinking...maybe what happened to Shazam #1 will also happen to '90s books! Perhaps enough copies of Shaman's Tears #1 will end up being destroyed and worn that unslabbed mint copies will become rare and expensive!

Alas, the print runs on '90s books were so high that, even assuming only 10% remained mint, that'd still likely leave more than enough for any potential collectors desperate to fill their Brigade collections. Ah, well.

I'll see my unslabbed Shadowhawk II #1 at $75 bucks someday...someday.

Why you shouldn't work for Mike, Two:

Carla (visiting our shop last week): "Hey, aren't you employee Aaron?"

Employee Aaron: "Yes I am!"

Carla: "Wow, you're a lot smarter than I expected."

Employee Aaron: "Thanks!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

There's a fine line between "prank" and "murder." 

I mean, honestly, look at the size of that firecracker. They'll be picking bits of Porky out of the landscape for ages.

And I know I've discussed this before, but I really don't get the weird nudity taboos at work in the Looney Tuniverse:

Does Porky's lower half hold any mysteries at this point? Well, okay, maybe, but keep them to yourself, fella.

Speaking of which...say, where does Bugs plan on putting that finger?

That bandage must be from where he missed the first time.

And there you go...a little funny animal anal probing humor to brighten your Sunday. No need to thank me.

Images mooched from the Grand Comic Book Database, your one-stop shop for vital info about your favorite funnybooks, and an important resource for those folks who, perhaps, may have forgotten to scan a comic or two they recently got in their stores for use on their weblogs.

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

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