mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Jimmy Olsen story "The Human Porcupine" was apparently fraught with errors. 

Dig the politically incorrect editorial reply:

BONUS: What DC Editorial recommends as proper Jimmy Olsen Fan Club attire:

from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #67 (March 1962)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Progressive Ruin presents...the End of Civilization. 

Bizarro-Mike loves all these items from new Previews! Previews am not June 2008 edition! Bizarro-Mike not want you to follow along, and 'specially not want you to find links to earlier installments in sidebar!

Bizarro-Mike not start looking at items now! You not look also!

p. 133 - The Joker Poker Set:

"This unique collectors' item includes a deck of 54 prop replica Joker cards (as seen in The Dark Knight film!) and a standard 'playable' 4-suit, 54 card deck defaced by The Joker."

I like how "playable" is in quotes, as they know you'll try to use this set for a poker game, and the people you're playing with will put up with it once, at most, maybe.

p. 263 - Hack/Slash #15:

Just noting this ad as part of this site's ongoing Jeffrey Combs-watch. "Not just a cheap knockoff, this is the real Reanimator as created by H.P. Lovecraft and envisioned by filmmaker Brian Yuzna!" says the ad copy. Are there other Re-Animator knockoffs around that have been causing problems?

p. 286 - High School Musical Volume 1 GN:

Because nothing works better in comic book form than a story that depends heavily on musical numbers (Neil the Horse aside).

p. 410 - The DC Vault A Museum-in-a-Book Spiral HC:

Oh, good...the Marvel Vault book was getting lonely on the remainder tables.

p. 418 - Dilbert 2.0 20 Years of Dilbert:

"Also included is a piracy-protected disc that contains every Dilbert comic strip to date...."

By "piracy-protected," they mean "protected at least until the many man-hours and tons of money poured into the DRM protection scheme is handily undone by a quickie bit of programming by a bored 15-year-old computer geek in Ohio...assuming whatever 'protection' they're using isn't already obsolete by the time this comes out."

Whoops, sorry, turned into Boing Boing for a moment.

p. 419 - Whack-A-Zombie Kit:

This isn't so much about the item, which...well, just what we need, more zombie stuff. But I wanted to note the Previews "Zombie-Riffic!" slug that's accompanying this solicit. Is that new? Have I missed that in past catalogs? Do zombie-related items really need the extra attention?

p. 441 - Rasl T-Shirt:

Demonstrate your immense love of the one whole issue that's come out so far by sporting this shirt!

p. 442 - Iron Man Belt Buckle:

For some, big clutching hands displayed right above the crotch would be a turn-off. For others, a selling point. Which are you?

Additional theoretical selling point: if the repulsor emitters on Iron Man's palms glowed. Or blinked.

p. 443 - Otaku Collegiate Navy T-Shirt & Hoodie:

Now, there was a time when being called an "otaku" was something you didn't want to happen to you, right? I didn't just imagine that?

p. 454 - Lego Indiana Jones "River Chase" Set:

Huh...I was wondering how they were going to repurpose all those "Crocodile Hunter" playsets.

p. 464 - Rocky 3 Minimates Box Set:

How can you not love Minimate Hulk Hogan? "Thunderlips," man..."Thunderlips."

p. 479 - Indiana Jones Artifact Desk Accessories:

Featuring the Ark of the Covenant Card Holder, the Fertility Statue Pencil Cup...

...and the Holy Grail Paperclip Cup. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what Jesus used it for, too.

p. 481 - Star Wars Spirit of Obi-Wan Bobblehead:

Okay, this is only really amusing just because you know Sir Alec Guinness would have been royally pissed off by this. It wouldn't have stopped him from cashing the checks, of course.

p. 497 - Shining Wind 1/8th Scale Statue Series Blanc Neige - Wind Edition & Elwyn:

The solicitation text makes sure to note the costuming and props for these figures, but thankfully the inset images zoom in good 'n' close on the important selling points.

p. 528 - Marvel Metamorphs:

WHAT MUST NOT BE SEEN - Hulk vomits out the remnants of his victims:

Wolverine pushes the limits of his healing power:

"...[Gives] kids a whole new perspective on their favorite heroes!"

I'll say.

p. 537 - Pooh & Friends Halloween Figurines:

I knew Disney's animated remake of Silence of the Lambs would come to no good end.

Marvel Previews p. 61 - Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe:

Well, good, we're always getting requests for this comic. I'm glad Marvel brings it back into print on occasion. Hmmm....what's it say in the description, there...?

"SKRULL VARIANT?" For a reprint of a comic from 13 years ago? That has nothing to do with Skrulls?

...Oh, wait, it says "Skull variant." Never mind.

Then again...there are letters missing from "pencils" and "available," so that "skull" could be missing an "R," too.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey Korman (1927 - 2008). 


...what's the point of soliciting retailer orders for multiple covers of Wizard if they're going to all get covered up by the same video game ad in the mag's protective baggie?

Yes, this is really what I'm posting about today. 



For some reason, I found myself oddly amused and compelled by Chuck "Bouncing Boy" Taine's moustache, first appearing late in Vol. 3 of Legion of Super-Heroes.

I was unsure about it at first, but ultimately I think it gives Chuck a little more character, just a touch more realism. It makes him look more like a plain 'ol guy, you know...comfortable with himself and not at all imposed by all the perfect physiques in the skin-tight outfits runnin' around him.

I was certain there was a shot of him using his bouncing powers with moustache, but I can't find it at the moment. That's okay, because I'm sure it can't match how I'm picturing in my mind - a thin strip of hair, stretched across his surface like a furry equator.

Keep rockin' that 'stache, Chuck.

images from Legion of Super-Heroes #51 (Oct. 1988) & #54 (Winter 1988)
by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen & Mike DeCarlo

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This raises more questions than it answers. 

from Spooky #137 (July 1973)

A ghost...from another planet...that travels in a flying saucer through space...to challenge other ghosts to, well, "ghost-offs."

That, my friends, is "high concept."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"You cannot overcome my laser-proof breasts!" 

from Legion of Super-Heroes #9 (July 1990) by T. & M. Bierbaum, Keith Giffen, Paris Cullins & Bob Lewis

This is Laurel Gand, the Supergirl-replacement/continuity implant that popped up in the Legion's "soft" reboot (a magical reconstruction of the universe's history -- don't ask) that followed the previous soft reboot (the "five year gap" that 1) pushed the Legion from 1000 years in the future to 1005 years in the future, and 2) made everything darker and grittier).

That particular image was from the flashback issue explaining just who this new Laurel Gand person was. I sorta liked that costume, reflecting the color scheme and design of her ancestor/teammate Lar Gand (AKA Mon-El), as well as the costume of the no-longer-in-that-particular-continuity-for-the-time-being Supergirl. Laurel Gand's regular costume also reflected the original Supergirl's, sort of, in that she wore a headband...but she also had some serious butt-floss shorts, which did not reflect Supergirl (at least not until Michael Turner got his hands on her).

She also took on Supergirl's romance with Brainiac 5:

That's from one of the many text pages from early in the post five-year-gap issues, usually explaining what the readers missed in said five years. In this case, this "Legion Confidential" report (for in-story fans of the Legion -- a nice touch of realism, I always thought) adds further continuity-plug support for this new character.

Well, I wasn't expecting to churn out a couple paragraphs about Laurel Gand today. See what reading tons of Legion comics can do to you?

Another thing I've been meaning to address is the multiple reboots of the series. We know the big reboots, where Legion continuity was started from scratch (Zero Hour, the recent reboot with the Mark Waid series), and there were, as I mentioned, soft reboots ...attempts at revitalizing/reworking the series without ignoring what came before (the five year gap, Legion Lost, etc.). The Legion Omnicom has a good overview of all these shenanigans. It all feels like a desperate flailing-about -- repeated attempts at trying to find a take on the Legion that'll click with a larger fan audience than the die-hard Legion fans who'll read anything with the Legion logo on it. The Teen Titans franchise sort of went through this after the New Teen Titans series ended, but sales are reasonably strong for the new Teen Titans book(s) now.

The most recent Legion series reboot started strongly enough, but now sales seem to be back down to what pretty much every other Legion series has sold over the last ten or fifteen years. (Judging by our store's sales, anyway...I haven't checked actual sales figures -- or what passes for 'em -- but I expect they'll at least in part reflect my observations.) DC's been trying to build interest and curiosity (and, apparently, some measure of frustration) in the team, by having at least two or three distinct, and mutually-exclusive, versions of the Legion running around in current titles...leading into a tie-in to the imminent Final Crisis crossover. Whether that'll revive interest in the Legion again remains to be seen...I'm thinking likely not, though there ain't nothing wrong with publishing a George Perez-drawn Legion comic in the attempt.

Lemme ask you guys...I've been a die-hard Legion fan for nearly 30 years now. I've stuck through the reboots and continuity brouhahas all this time because I happen to like the concept of the team, and the interactions among this particular group of characters, and all the goofiness that comes with it. How many of you have been reading Legion for an extended period of time? How many of you were Legion fans, but had enough of the various tinkerings with the formula and dropped the book? How many of you came on with one of the various reboots, attracted by the fresh starts they offered? Please let me know in the comments.

And please forgive my "laser-proof breasts" joke. But, honestly, look at that panel! How else am I supposed to take that? (EDIT: And I'm apparently not the first to point out this panel for a little good-natured mockery, which surprises me not in the slightest.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Just in case you were wondering. 

from Legion of Super-Heroes #59 (April 1989)

This cover has gone from "mildly amusing" to "remarkably depressing." 

Not that it was a real kneeslapper to begin with, but still:


Anyway, in other news:
  • Congratulations to pal Ian for his new editorial position at BOOM! Studios. At last! I shall use my nefarious influence over his weak will and DESTROY THE COMICS INDUSTRY from the inside! HA HA HA!

    Okay, actually I'll just keep nagging him about a Warhammer Vs. Cthulhu comic book every time I see him. That's nefarious enough.

    Good luck, Ian! I know you'll do a great job!

  • So Rick Veitch does this thing on his site where he uses those online sign graphic generators to post quotes about his work. Well, guess who made it onto one?

  • Bully, the cute little stuffed bull, has had his his third anniversary of cute little bull blogging. Wow, he's been blogging since he was three and a half years old! Amazing!

  • So a few days ago I mentioned Brainiac 5's conversion of Computo from "dangerous murderous machine" to "swell personal assistant." I've been rereading some of my Legion of Super-Heroes comics lately, as you may have gathered, and I completely forgot about this:

    Brainy had just resigned from the Legion, but not before "upgrading" the new, friendly 'n' helpful Computo into a new biomechanical body that, oh, just by pure coincidence, looks like a really tiny version of that old Legion villain Validus. A nice touch in the series is that everyone else on the team is totally creeped out by this damned thing. Particularly Saturn Girl, who had just reclaimed one of her sons from, well, having been Validus. (Don't make me explain that...here's the wiki.)

  • I paged Dr. Polite Scott, and lo, there he is, discussing that issue of Booster Gold. Hi, Scott!

  • Coming to your local funnybook store this week: the Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus! Fred Hembeck has lots of pictures of this massive tome, and I can't wait to have a copy of my very own. That's 900+ pages of pure, unadulterated Fred, and every home should have one.

images from Richie Rich Inventions #5 (1978); Legion of Super-Heroes #51 (Oct. 1988) by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen & Mike DeCarlo

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Get the point?" 

Me (sorting out some comics from a purchased collection): "Huh...what's up with this turtle on the left?"

Employee Aaron: "Oh, that's Slash. He's like an evil Mutant Turtle."

Me: "Oh, c'mon. His name is not 'Slash.'"

Aaron: "I'm not joking...it really is."

Me: "Well, let me look, then...."

Me: "Oh, well...what do you know."

And I'm assuming Slash is not shouting his name, but rather letting the sound effect of his claws whipping through the air provide his introduction. I wonder how many people he's done this to over the years think his name is something like "WHIIISH" -- that's not nearly as menacing.

By the way, there's all kinds of weird-ass stuff going on in the Archie Turtles series. When the giant floating cow-head that the Turtles occasionally ride around in is one of the least bizarre things, you know you've got one peculiar comic. I never paid much attention to this book in the past, figuring it was just a watered-down version of the original Turtles. But, having looked through a number of them, and having some of the old plots described to me by former Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures reader Employee Aaron...well, I may need to reconsider my earlier dismissal.

images from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #24 (Sept. 1991) by Garret Ho, Jim Lawson, Brian Thomas & Rod Ollerenshaw

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