mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Things I had blissfully forgotten. 

That the Pop-O-Matic plastic bubble/dice-rolling contraption had been anthropomorphized into a mascot named Pop'ee:



ad from The Demon #16 (Jan 1974)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Pal Sean gave me the finest gift one man can give to another man. 

And that gift is a Swamp Thing cardboard facemask:

This was a promotional item available at Shout Factory's San Diego Con table, in support of their DVD releases for the Swamp Thing TV show. I was actually stunned by this gift from Sean. Oh, yes, he got a hug. A warm, manly hug.

Now that I've got my archival image of the mask with the eyes still intact, I can pop those eyes out and start wearing the mask at work. Every day. From opening to closing. When I'm taking deposits to the bank. IT AIN'T COMIN' OFF.

Also, I finally got photographic proof of Employee Aaron joining Goon creator Eric Powell onstage during his panel, which I've mentioned once or twice.

Here's the boy being amused by one of Mr. Powell's witty comments:

...And here's the boy looking straight at the camera as if to say, "Yeah, that's right, I'm up here next to one of my favorite comic book creators. Whaddaya think of that, tough guy?"

And you'd think that would be enough for Employee Aaron, wouldn't you? But no, Aaron's hanging with famous people continues. Here he is with America's most beloved comic book readin' bovine, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull:

Speaking of Bully, you can read all about his San Diego adventures, and see all his great photos, starting from this convenient convention coverage index. Highly recommended! Has more Jane-Wiedlin-holding-a-stuffed-bull content than any other SDCC report!

In other news:
  • A reminder that pal Dorian is continuing with Beach Party Week, and that second link will bring up all the associated posts. Guaranteed to give you a new appreciation of this particular film genre.

  • Bitterandrew takes on one of Spider-Man's most famous and beloved stories.

  • A little more detail about my two Twitter posts: we ordered an enormous amount of Watchmen paperbacks from our distributor about a week and a half ago. At the time, the books were still in stock at the distributor, our reorder was confirmed, and the order was processed.

    However, when we received our shipment on Wednesday, it became obvious that we received someone else's reorder, and that about 90% of the reorders that we'd placed, including the Watchmen books, ended up being shipped to parts unknown. And given that Watchmen has since run out of stock at the distributor level, there are no replacements to be had until the reprints come through.

    So, I've spent the last couple of days explaining to everyone we told that we'd have Watchmen back in stock on Wednesday that, ha ha, there was a distributor screw-up and we didn't get 'em and I don't know when we'll get replacements and I'm sure that's not making us look like jackasses at all.

    And I still have a weekend of this to look forward to.

    I know mistakes happen, but this just had to happen when our demand for Watchmen is higher than it's been in years...and this is a book that's never been in low demand.

    If you happen to come by the store and wonder why I have more gray hair than ever, this is one of the reasons why.

  • Okay, so I don't wrap up on a bummer, let's continue our Employee Aaron content, with this, the Be Kind, Rewind-style "Sweding" of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, starring Aaron and his sister:

    I don't get you kids, sometimes.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Progressive Ruin presents...the End of Civilization. 

Hey, as long as you're not sick of 'em, I'll keep doing 'em! It's time once again to plow through the new Diamond Previews catalog and see what crimes against God and nature exist within...whip out your copy of the August 2008 volume and follow along, if you've got the guts. (Previous installments are, as always, linked in the sidebar.)

p. 121 - Watchmen Movie Rorschach Grappling Gun and Mask Prop Replica Set:

DC Direct's Watchmen merch-a-gasm continues, with this troubling set. Now, the gun is "permanently attached to a display base," to keep people from, I don't know, waving it around at the frozen yogurt shop or something. But the mask...the mask is removable and, presumably, wearable, and, hopefully, not leading to any news stories similar to this one.

p. 201 - Archie Americana Volume 9 The Best of the '90s TP:

They had enough to fill a book? Well, maybe it has those last few stories by Dan DeCarlo before he got the shaft and the boot.

p. 250 - Zen Intergalactic Ninja #0 99c Special:

"Zen returns completely re-imagined by superstar writer Joe Casey!" exclaims the ad copy, and re-imagined he certainly is, as the last time I checked, Zen was given a nose and a mouth! Surely Mr. Casey didn't strip our favorite space-ninja of his facial orifices?

p. 303 - Presidential Material Barack Obama & John McCain:

I wonder if some other company will publish a Presidential Material: Ralph Nader comic to steal sales away from these titles?

(Hate mail in 3...2...)

p. p388 - Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan:

As someone who's seen some vintage Japanese Batman stuff, usually courtesy my currently-dormant pal JP...I am reasonably certain this book will be filled with some weird-ass crap. You think you know bizarre Batman? Gird your loins, chum.

p. 423 - Doctor Doom Doomie t-shirt:

Just having a hard time picturing someone refer to Doom as "Doomie." You know, to his face. Well, aside from the Thing...and maybe Spider-Man.

Yes, I know none of these people are real.

p. 426 - I've Never Had... Double-Sided Black T-Shirts:

Shirts with suggestive fronts, and drink recipes on the back. I designed my own shirt front, but may have missed the point slightly:

p. 426 - Star Wars Slippers:

Perhaps not as bizarre as these, but still...AAAAAAH! It'd be like having little green Mel Tormé heads on your tootsies.

p. 437 - Barbie Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Doll:

I'm not sure what I can add to that picture. It's Barbie...with black birds swarming her, threatening to peck out her perfect eyes and rip out her hair for their nests. This is both hysterical and absolutely terrifying and will never, ever know the touch of a child.

p. 438 - Godzilla Godzooky Plush:

Okay, for all you people who gave me grief over identifying a character as Godzooky who wasn't Godzooky in the original version of this post: here you go. I now know the difference between the two characters. I am enlightened.

p. 442 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Angel 1/1 Scale Puppet Replica:

Oh for God's sake, it's yet another permutation of the Angel Puppet, only this time "life"-sized and with a removable nose and working mouth and poseable arms and I have no idea if the previous puppets had any of these features but, geez, let's give it a rest already.

If a "life"-sized Spike Puppet follows, I totally quit.

p. 464 - Jean Grey Black Queen Statue:

"So, Bob..."


"What's...um, what's with the statue of the dominatrix on your mantel?"

"That's not a dominatrix...that's Jean Grey!"

"'Jean Grey.'"

"Yeah, you know, from the X-Men!"

"I don't remember her like that from the movie."

"Well, no, this was from the comics. See, she was brainwashed into joining the Hellfire Club..."

"The 'Hellfire Club.'"

"Yeah, they're like a group of villains, and they sorta made her join."

"So the Hell Club made Jean Grey evil and she turned into a dominatrix."

"Hellfire Club, and no, she's not a domi...look, here are the comics. Just read these and it'll explain everything."

"Uh, who's the dominatrix in the white outfit?"

"That's Emma Frost...she's from the Hellfire Club."

"So she's another evil woman in, what, lingerie?"


"I'm learning an awful lot about you, Bob."

"Me? I didn't write these comics!"

p. 466 - Adam West busts:

Normally I'd make fun of statues and busts based on a television superhero's alter ego's likeness rather than the superhero him/herself...but, c'mon, it's freakin' ADAM WEST. He's practically a superhero just on his own.

I like that you get your choice of jackets. Blue or checkered, sir?

p.470 - Rambo 1/6 Scale Figure:

I'm not sure I'm badass enough to own a likeness of Stallone that's 1/6th as big as he is. I'd be afraid to have it in the house.

p. 490 - SMC-Ikki Tousen Kan-U Unchou PVC Figure:

Yet another in a long line of "CROTCH ATTACK - GO!" plastic, easily washable Japanese statues, which I normally wouldn't bring up yet again. But, really, the more you look at that, the more you gotta wonder: "What kind of defense and/or attack posture is that, exactly?" Unless, you know, she's distracting you while her partner clocks you over the head from behind.

p. 503 - Barack Obama Talking Bobblehead:

I assure you, this following joke is strictly nonpartisan. I'd use a McCain or Nader or Sharpton or McKinley or whoever bobblehead as a springboard for the same gag.

Disclaimer aside, bad joke COMING THRU:

"A Talking Bobblehead toy of a politician? What's the difference from the real thing? AMIRIGHT?"


Well, that was a lot of set-up for nothing. Sorry about that.

p. 503 - The Exorcist Regan Head Knocker:

"...Complete with bobble head and bobble bed action."

I'm pretty sure Regan's head did more than just bobble in this movie. And I never want to see the phrase "bobble bed" ever again.

But it could have been worse. There could have been a bobble toy based around that scene with the crucif...oh, I'm not even going to finish that thought.

p. 507 - Smallville Kara's Kryptonian Bracelet:

Let's flash-forward to a Previews catalog a few years from now:

"These Wonder Woman Magical Bracelet replicas are directly modeled on the props from the new hit Hollywood movie, and not at all those old Smallville bracelets with the S-logo buffed out and a Wonder Woman logo etched in!"

p. 507 - Smallville Veritas Key:

"Commemorate with this key prop replica that whole 'Veritas' thing, one of the most shoehorned-in plot developments in Smallville's broadcasting history. And given this is Smallville we're talking about, that's sayin' something."

p. 511 - The Nightmare Before Christmas Oogie Boogie Head Plush:

I wonder if once a year they dip into the unsold stock of Harry Potter Sorting Hat plushes, dye the material and make some other minor cosmetic changes, and vee-ola, Oogie Boogie.

Well, no, I suppose not.

p. 517 - Star Trek The Original Series 11-inch Nutcrackers:

Hey, Lena and JK! Does this count as another medium William Shatner has conquered? I dare say...yes, yes it is.

Also, I think we can assume Kirk has cracked some nuts in his day. That smarmy Chekov bastard needed a good nutcrackin', quite frankly.

p. 517 - Star Wars Fabric Maches:

I was going to say something about "undermining the integrity of the characters," but I don't think there's anything the merchandise can do that Episodes I-III hadn't already.

p. 526 - Clue Harry Potter Edition:

"Was it Draco Malfoy with a Sleeping Draught in the Owlery?"

I'd normally prefer to not end on something with solicitation text that makes me want to punch somebody, but, alas, I must go where Previews takes me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In which Mike is briefly cheered by the thought of a dead dog. 

So here are a couple of covers I assembled for our local small-press comics anthology digest Wood-Eye, from back in my mini-comics days:

That first one is Wood-Eye #11 from July 1997, and if you're familiar with pulp magazines or Golden Age comics, you've seen this terrible, terrible ad I used to create this cover. As I recall, we had a collection of old, beat-up comics and pulps come in, and just running around loose in the box was a torn-off back cover for a pulp magazine featuring this ad. I couldn't match it up with any of the pulps in the box, so I ended up just keeping it.

Now, had it been ten years later, I would have scanned the thing and threw it up on the site, here (though I know, without even checking, that ad is somewhere on the internet). But, hey, we were in the midst of our mini-comics-producing mania, and I thought "hmmm, bet I could make a good Wood-Eye cover out of that." Well, some would say I lost that bet, but that cover still amuses me. And by "amuses," I mean "depresses me immensely when I look in that poor dog's eye, as it pleads with me to give it a home," and then I remember the dog they used for that ad has been dead for decades, and that makes me feel a little better...until I realize what I just thought and fall into depression again.

Okay, moving on....

That's my pop! Wood-Eye #12, the last in the series, came out in July 1998...wow, a year between issues...I'm almost Frank Miller-esque in my timeliness. Still a better record than Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine, however. Anyway, for that cover I used a photo of my dad from his teenage years, taken from a 1961 newspaper clipping. I think it was from a model-making competition or club my dad participated in at a local sporting goods store, and not from a police report, so I better not see any cracks like that in my comments section.

So, yeah, ten years since the last issue of Wood-Eye. That's a very oddly specific way of making one feel old. I occasionally think about doing another issue, but...well, we'll see. As a publisher, I make a good comic shop manager, but doing the comic was fun, if a bit of a time sink and not exactly a money-maker. But there is an undeniable bit of satisfaction in having the final printed product in your hands, even on this exceedingly low level of the publishing scale.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The heartfelt suffering of Sensitive Batman. 

"BOO, Batman!"

"Gosh, Bruce, did you hear that?"

"Nothing has ever cut me so deeply to the quick -- no blow ever struck by any arch-villain -- has ever hurt me so acutely..."

"...As that little boy's 'boo.'"

BONUS: Costume idea for next Halloween:

Monday, July 28, 2008

This first bit requires very specific Watchmen knowledge. 

Former employee Kid Chris and I discuss the Watchmen video game...specifically, the racing game I was hoping for:

Kid Chris: "...So the special ability of Dr. Manhattan's car would be teleportation, right?"

Me: "Yeah...and Rorschach's car would...I don't know, have a flamethrower or something."

Kid Chris: "Or a grappling gun!"

Me: "Sure! And the Comedian's car would have guns mounted on the hood...."

Kid Chris: "Would having Captain Metropolis in a driving game be in bad taste?"

Me: "Has that ever stopped us before?"

In other news:
  • Pal Dorian has begun Beach Party Week, which hasn't a whole lot to do with comics, but a whole lot to do with...well, beach parties.

  • San Diego Comic Con 2008 may be over, but the pain lingers on. There's some good coverage at Newsarama and Comic Book Resources, cataloging what happened at which panel if that's the sort of thing you're into.

    But for a more personal view, you can check out Bully's reports and photos, which I've been plugging lately, or you can dig Kevin Church's reports and photos. And, eventually, I'll snag some of Employee Aaron's photos from the event to display here.

    And Mighty Tom Spurgeon has your list of nominees and winners from this year's Eisner Awards. That Justice League of America story with Vixen was the best single issue story of the year? Really? And I was shut out of the "Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism" award again...someday, Newsarama, someday...!

  • Had another purchase order from one of our local libraries for several hundred dollars' worth of comic books for their children's section. There was a little more leeway in regards to content, with more "teen"-rated superheroes being requested along with the usual mix of younger-skewing books. Iron Man, in particular, was being demanded by the patrons, so who am I to disappoint?

    Interestingly, just like last time I did this for the library, Archie Comics were singled out as books they didn't want. None of their patrons want to read them, even for free, apparently.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Other people having fun. 

So do you ever find yourself flipping channels, and you happen upon a movie you happen to like, and even though you have no intention of watching it, even though you've got other stuff you need to be doing, and even though you may even have a copy of it on DVD...you end up sitting there and watching it anyway, with commercials and pan 'n' scan an' all.

Watchmen is kind of like that. (Well, except for the "having on DVD" part, at least for now.) I pulled out my copy of Absolute Watchmen just to check something and ended up reading half the book. And now I don't even remember what it was I wanted to check in the first place. Oh brother.

Speaking of Watchmen, Employee Aaron text-messaged me from the San Diego Comic Con to tell me:

"Late scoop! San Diego sold out of the Watchmen!"

...so apparently everyone ran out of the trades down there, too. Or, at least, they're getting scarce. I wonder what kind of crazy panic-pricing is going on for the single issues down there. Anyone got any reports on that?

A few other text messages from Employee Aaron:

"Alright! Just met Ryan Claytor then Edgar Wright followed by Wil Wheaton"

"There is a guy dressed as the Spirit...mask, hat, tie, gloves...Watchmen t-shirt. WTF?"

"Already want to strangle fan behind me. He just called Doc Manhattan 'Mr. Universe.' This is going to be tough."

Also, following up on yesterday...here's a report on just what the hell was going on at the Eric Powell panel, where Aaron got to join Mr. Powell onstage.

In other news:

Don't forget to keep up with Bully the Little Stuffed Bull's San Diego reports! It's the cutest con report you'll read this year! BONUS: At long last, Bully meets his favorite member of the Go-Go's!

You can see the full photo stream here.

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!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?