mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Finally got around to watching the Justice League: New Frontier DVD. 

I don't know...the Blackhawks' "HAWK-AAAA!!!" battle cry just sorta sounds silly to me, once you hear it in action, as opposed to just reading it on the page:


Or, as the subtitles have it:

"Hawk! Ah!"

Also, Larry "Negative Man" Trainor cameo!


I haven't watched the "History of the Justice League" documentary yet, but I did watch the preview for the forthcoming Batman: Gotham Knight animated feature. Amusing that long-neglected Batman co-creator Bill Finger gets mentioned in this short, and the other guy, the one that usually gets all the credit, doesn't get mentioned once.

The family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel was awarded ownership of the copyright to the Superman material in Action Comics #1. Read that post and the associated FAQ for more info.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Unsurprisingly, I don't really have a point to all this. 

So I've had a box of old Dynamic Forces comics that have sort of...accumulated over the years, which I've been going through, scanning, and slapping up on the eBay store. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, which will be about 0.0001% of you, I realize, comics from Dynamic Forces are usually variant covers or signed editions or both, sealed inside a comic bag with a foil Dynamic Forces sticker, and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. The certificates generally indicate the print run (or number of signed editions) of the comics in question, and in the case of the above comic, there were apparently 10,000 of the variant covers printed.

Lionheart, published by Awesome Comics, was released in late '99. I only barely remember it myself, but according to the Grand Comic Book Database, there were only a couple of issues. I wonder what the print run of the regular Lionheart #1 was? It was the late '90s, the market was still feeling the effects of the huge crash from earlier in the decade, so I don't think print runs on most indie books were too terribly large. I don't believe there were more of the "variant" edition than of the regular edition in this case, but I'm guessing there wasn't as much of a difference in print runs as one might expect. At any rate, a "limited edition" of 10,000 copies at the time, particularly for this title, pretty much meant that anyone who wanted one of them probably was able to get one.

And that had me thinking just how "rare" and "limited" the Wizard World variant of Hulk #1 was, since when we picked up our badges at the admissions table, there were enormous stacks of the books sitting on the counters, and I could see WW employees hauling out more stacks to restock. I suppose a number of them were damaged or tossed, but most were almost certainly carefully handled and saved for their "collectiblity." They'll probably be common around here, but will likely be in more demand in areas outside the radius of a tactical Wizard World strike. (Much in the same way that, many years ago, Carla's place of employment, north of us, had a signing or two with the creative team responsible for Marvel's Beavis & Butthead comic...and for quite a while after that, it seemed like every collection we took a look at had an autographed B&B book.)

Anyway, here's another comic from our box o' unloved Dynamic Forces books:

Yes, the "European Sketch" edition. This variant amuses me for no reason I can easily explain.

And we actually managed to sell one of these right away:

Remember when that comic was kinda/sorta a big deal? When was the last time you even thought about the Wu-Tang comic book? I mean, unless you're Sims, who's probably thought about it three or four times this morning.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Progressive Ruin presents...the End of Civilization. 

Say goodbye to civilization, as the end edges closer, ever closer, with each month that passes. So let's look at pictures and make fun of things! Oh, and take bets on which entry is gonna stick in someone's craw this time. Remember, it's all in fun, folks. Whip out your copy of Diamond Previews, April 2008 edition, and follow along! (As always, previous installments are in the sidebar, somewhere.)

p. 98 - Showcase Presents The House of Secrets Vol. 1 TP:

Here comes copy #11 of the first Swamp Thing story for my collection.

p. 303 - The Transformers Spotlight: Wheelie:

Not sure what that CD image is about -- I'm assuming it's from a variant cover or something, and not an actual CD, which is a shame. Who wouldn't want to hear a rapping Transformer? Don't you lie to me, I know you do. (The sticker says that the CD includes the smash hit "Decepticon's Paradise (Soundwave Remix)".)

p. 400 - Comic Books: How the Industry Works SC:

Short version on how the industry works: only just barely.

p. 404 - Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy SC:

Now it seems like every time there's a TV show with a bit of a cult following, one of those "The Philosophy of..." books pops up, tying characters and events from the series to the Big Questions, or even the Little Questions, of life. Given that there tends to be overlap of events/character types among all these different series, I wonder if there's some formula somewhere where you can simply swap out names in the same basic essays. "(Spock/Data/The Doctor/Number Six/T'Ealc/Mork) represents our own occasional confusion and inability to understand the behavior of those around us, as well as symbolizing our desires to work in concert with society....")

p. 404 - The Encyclopedia Shatnerica:

I used to say that all you ever needed to know about human nature, you could find in the complete works of Shakespeare and the complete collection of the Peanuts comic strip.

I was wrong.

p. 415 - Alien 16-Month 2009 Wall Calendar:

First, holy crap, 2009 already? Second, there's something comfortably nostalgic about a freakin' Alien calendar. It's like I'm ten years old again, seeing that in the catalog.

p. 416 - Chuck Norris Facts 16-Month Wall Calendar:

Has the added use of being able to mark off the days since the "Chuck Norris Facts" fad was officially, completely, totally over.

p. 443 - Comics Code Authority T-Shirts:

Celebrate the caving of an industry, as it subjected itself to self-censorship to avoid government intervention while simultaneously targeting the best publisher it had.

By the way, I'm totally a hypocrite, because I'm so buying one of these.

p. 443 - Madman Playset:

"Graphitti Designs has gone totally bonkers and are offering for the first time-ever, the Madman: Two Trilogies Ltd. Edition Hardcover Book (signed by creator Mike Allred) together with one of our 8" ultra-cool Madman Action Figure, to create the Madman Playset."

Hmm. Some playset. "Wheee! I'm Madman! And I'm fighting a, um, a giant...book." "Wheee! Madman's running through the city, and looming in the background is, is...a giant book."

p. 445 - Ninja Straw Hat:

Good for wearing at anime conventions...aaaaaand that's pretty much it.

p. 445 - Japanese Keyboard Grey T-Shirt:

Attention any female ladies of the girl persuasion: I suspect wearing this t-shirt around horny fanboys is going to lead to lots of allegedly "funny" attempted interactions with your breasticalogical region. "Ha ha, I'm going to hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE on y..." he might manage to say, before you plant a boot in his please-don't-hit-with-a-boot region.

p. 458 - Batman Dark Knight Batpod:

It's heartening to see that cutting edge 1970s Evel Knievel stuntcycle toy handcranking power is being reintroduced to a new generation.

p. 460 - Cult Classics Series 7: "The Exorcist" Regan Action Figure:

The image reads "NOT FINAL," as you probably see there, but I'm not sure what more needs to be done since that pic looks...remarkably disturbing. Maybe it can be motorized. And have sound chips. And ooze blood. And have needles that randomly jab out of the base.

p. 476 - A.I.M. Agent Mini-Bust Twin Pack:

I'm imagining a guy, constantly put upon at work, who comes home to his two A.I.M. Agent busts and takes out his daily frustrations by yelling at his "henchmen." And then he makes fun of them because they have no peripheral vision.

p. 480 - Battlestar Galactica Battle Damaged Galactica Statue:

"You wanted to see me, boss?"

"Yes, please, step into my office, Sapstein. Now, our Battlestar Galactica statue sales seem to have dried up, and we still have a large stock of them left. Any ideas what we can do to spur sales?"

"Hmmm...I have an idea." (grabs a BG statue, smacks it against edge of the desk) "There...now it's a battle-damaged Galactica! A totally different statue from the plain ol' non-battle-damaged Galactica statue!"

"Brilliant, Sapstein! Put yourself down for a raise!"

p. 502 - Air Gear Sif Ex Ringo "Hentai Version" PVC figure:

Since there was some question as to whether we knew what some people might do to one of these statues...believe you me, I'm fully aware that, at some point, there will be a buyer of this figurine who's gonna touch it all over with his Little Tetsuo.

p. 508 - Neon Genesis Evangelion Israfel Angel Soft Vinyl Figures:

"Hey, Bob?"


"Leave the hanger in your shirt again?"

"Yup. You too?"

"Sure seems that way."

p. 508 - Neon Genesis Evangelion Eva Unit-01 Soft Vinyl Figure:

Somehow I feel this ad misses the pont of "advertising your product."

p. 515 - Star Wars "Vader Was Framed" Poster:

No, I'm pretty sure Vader was Space Hitler. And he killed younglings. Younglings! You're just gonna hang this on your wall and pretend none of that happened?

p. 522 - Iron Man Head Pewter Keyring:

The solicitation reads "concept art shown," so hopefully the final product will actually look something like Iron Man's head.

p. 527 - Serenity Mal Reynolds Stunt Pistol Replica:

It's the sci-fi version of the Buffy stake replica in its almost painful pointlessness.

p. 527 - Mana Energy Potion:

Energy drinks, in fantasy gaming-style potion bottles. Not that the gamers I know need the additional encouragement to drink energy drinks. Maybe if they sold, I don't know, milk in these things. Or Scope.


p. 528 - Elvis Talking Giant Pez:

"No mere PEZ dispensers, these giant Elvis PEZ dispensers capture the King of Rock'n'Roll with his 70's style, complete with voice clips! The regular edition features 30 seconds of sound clips from the Elvis Collection, while the Limited Edition has 2 full minutes of song clips - including 'The Wonder of You,' 'An American Trilogy,' and more...."

That's it. It's official. Science has gone too far, too far. There can be no greater indicator of the End of Civilization than th....

p. 529 - Simpsons Homer Talking BBQ Fork:

...Whoops, spoke too soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Get lots of attention from everyone." 

Cracker Jack ad, 1955

Let's extrapolate! 

So a while back, someone got the idea to strip Garfield comic strips of Garfield's word balloons, and without that counterbalance, or interaction, Garfield's owner Jon was made to appear (well, more so than usual) as a pathetic and bitter old crank who constantly rants at his pet cat.

And then someone took it a step further, and removed Garfield entirely, making Jon even more depressingly pathetic.

Well, I'm going to take the next obvious step, and remove not just Garfield and his thought balloons, but Jon, Odie, the rest of the supporting cast, the backgrounds, the copyright notices, Jim Davis' pasted-in signature, the whole shebang.




Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'll stop talking about the Italian hypnotist-supervillain soon, I promise. 

So, from yesterday's post, I did want to mention that I was going to note our Italian hypnotist-supervillain friend bore some slight resemblance to long-time DC nogoodnik Vandal Savage:

I didn't bring it up, for whatever reason, but fortunately commenter Corey was first out the gate and noted it immediately.

Because, really, if there were going to be an Italian hypnotist-supervillian, wouldn't he have to look like that?

Also, a few of you had some pretty good supervillain names for this guy, but I'm particularly struck by Dumma's suggestion of "Mesmerollini."

Okay, I know I'm going on about this perhaps a little too much, but c'mon...whadda story! If it turns out to be a hoax, I'm going to be terribly disappointed.

In other news:
  • Why is pal Dorian my pal? Because of stuff like this. And you should see the ones he didn't post!

  • Special "Links Stolen from the Mighty Tom Spurgeon" Section:

    First, DC has announced that some tasty hardcovers are headed our way. Noted in the article are deluxe hardcover editions of Camelot 3000 and the original classic Captain Marvel story The Monster Society of Evil, which folks seem to be pretty excited about. I'm interested in the Absolute Edition of Ronin, Frank Miller's sci-fi/horror mini-series from the mid-'80s. Not that it needs better reproduction or anything...the paper it was originally printed on could probably withstand a nuclear attack, but "Absolute Edition" means BIGGER PAGES, and it'll probably look stunning. Plus, I'm sorta curious about any kind of bonus material that could be provided.

    Also noted in the article is that one of the criteria for putting something into an Absolute edition is whether it could be used to promote other material being published by DC. Interesting, and I suppose it makes sense considering the likely expense in producing these things.

    Second link "borrowed" from Mr. Spurgeon: crazy huge Carl Barks reprints, at about $100 a pop for about 900 pages of comics per volume...ten volumes in all. These look like real bullet-stoppers, and will likely cut off all circulation in your legs if you try to read 'em while sitting on the couch. Tempting (the comics, not the lack of circulation), but I already collected all the Gladstone/Gemstone "Carl Barks in Color" volumes, and I'm not ready to do that again, better paper/coloring or not. They do look pretty nice, though.

  • Jonah Hex and G.I. Joe's Snake Eyes...separated at birth?

  • Remember when I used to put some kind of "tag" or "watermark" or whatever on my images? I don't do that anymore, mostly because I'm lazy, but it does help me notice when one of my old scans has gone walkabout, like in this Fark thread about a Salon review of The Ten Cent Plague. (It's a Supergirl panel, just a few comments in.) It was an amusing surprise (and kudos on the fella for not trying to hotlink it...I don't wanna pay for Fark traffic!).

  • I promise never to say "gone walkabout" ever again.

  • I better note it here, because I keep getting e-mails about it...if you want to watch the live-action Swamp Thing TV show online, well, your prayers are answered. And if you want to buy it (the first two seasons, anyway), well...hint hint:

  • I'm one of the seven intellectuals in America! At least, according to this Zippy the Pinhead strip where he and Claude debate the merits of Nancy and Sluggo. (Thanks for Cole for the tip!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Family fun for everyone!!!" 

I was going to use this image from The Brady Bunch #1 (Feb. 1969) as my sidebar icon for the week, but the text would have been too small. But I love the out-of-context-ness of it, so I'm sharing it with you anyway:

In case you couldn't tell, I acquired a copy of The Brady Bunch #1 over the weekend. I now have half the full two-issue run! And, as some acquaintances of mine know but some of you may not, if there's one thing I love nearly as much as comic books, it's The Brady Bunch, so I'm absolutely ecstatic that I got my mitts on this fine publication:

Likenesses in the stories tend to be...shaky, but acceptable. You can usually tell who's who, with the exception of Alice. It took me a minute to realize this was supposed to be Alice, and not some crazed rogue housekeeper who sneaked into the Brady household when Tiger wasn't performing his guard dog duties properly:

Given that the comic was released very early in the television show's history, I suspect that we're lucky any of the likenesses come anywhere close.

I imagine I'll be pulling pics from this comic over the next few months, so you probably haven't seen the last of it here. And with any luck, I'll track down the second issue as well.

By the way, when I showed the comic to pal Dorian over the weekend. his immediate response to the cover was "who's the old lady playing Cindy?"

Yeah, that particular pic wasn't the most flattering one they could have used, was it?

For those of you keeping track, I've decided to start reading my third manga series. I'm not a big manga guy, by any means -- that'd be the aforementioned pal Dorian, who's remains our manga consultant for the shop -- but I don't have anything against it, and I'm perfectly happy to stock it and sell it. Rarely does anything reach out and grab me as something I gotta read, however.

The first was Gyo, with its nightmarish images of fish with legs scuttling out of the ocean and creeping the crap out of everyone on land. Once the story starts trying to explain things it becomes a little less interesting, but still, scary images abound and remains a suspenseful read.

The second was Parasyte, which I've written about here, and I'm awaiting volume 3, which should be out in May. Oh, and volumes 1 and 2 are currently unavailable from Diamond.

Now, the third one I've just started is Death Note, which I know pal Dorian read and enjoyed, and it seems bleak and horrific enough to keep my interest. Don't worry, I promise not to end up like this guy. While the premise is creepy enough (a student discovers a notebook which, if he writes a person's name in it, that person will die), I'm enjoying the battle of wits between the story's "hero" Light and the mysterious super-detective "L." It's twelve volumes (plus a 13th "appendix"), and they're all relatively inexpensive, and they're usually available from Diamond.

Hmmm...I think I'm beginning to see a pattern in the type of manga I like. No Ranma 1/2 in my future, it appears.

Next on the list will probably be The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, once I wrap up Death Note. Unless, of course, some of you folks have some suggestions. And I know you do!

Just saw this video news story (warning: autoplays) on the Yahoo! about a guy in Italy who hypnotized a clerk into giving over money from her register.

C'mon, look at the guy:

How is this guy not a supervillain? He's got the super power, he's got the look...all he needs is a snazzy name (something sufficiently Italian, because, you know, the whole Italy thing), and he's all set.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Is it the end of the world?" 

from The Brady Bunch #1 (Feb. 1969)

Didn't have time to find an appropriate Easter-related image for today, so here's some Sunday morning Brady bedroom frolicking for your edutainment.

Happy Easter, where applicable.

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