mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A tale of tragedy and woe. 

Another bizarrely disturbing strip by me, from the print edition of Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin, 1998:


1. I drew the first page, set it aside for a couple of years, then drew the second page so that I could have the finished story in my Progressive Ruin comics digest.

2. I found that math equation on the internet somewhere. I guess that's sufficiently complex for the purposes of the strip.

3. I don't know what the ultimate purpose of this strip is, beyond "sometimes people suck." Or maybe "animals that can do higher math always get the shaft." Something like that. Make up your own moral.

4. That poor snake. I remember drawing that deathgrip Tommy has the snake in, in that second panel, and thinking "this is both funny and remarkably pathetic." Also, Tommy's a little tall in that second panel. Maybe he's standing on a crate or a bale of hay or something. He is at a fair.

5. My friends worry about me, sometimes.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Yes, this is where those "Things Not to Say..." posts in the sidebar came from. 

Straight outta 1996, it's a mini-comic by me! Please pardon the lettering:


1. Isn't that a nice paper color? "Salmon" brings out the art, don't you think?

2. Yes, the name of our mini-comics publishing concern was "Full Frontal Harvey," named after an overheard comment by some MTV host or 'nother about Harvey Keitel's performance in Bad Lieutenant.

3. I have heard every one of these.

4. The "I'm very disappointed" lady was looking for an issue of Stray Toasters we didn't happen to have at the time, and I can still hear the particular tone of voice she used when she said that, and it still grates. ARGH.

5. Seriously, I don't know what's up with what I was putting on the shirts. Except for the "Democracy" t-shirt, which was the name of pal Cully's punk band.

6. My favorite panel in this comic is the "do you sell comics" one...I swear to God, that's where the kid was standing when he asked me that. Also: Swamp Thing cameo!

7. None of the people in these drawings are meant to look like any specific customer...except the "I'm very disappointed" lady, who looked pretty much just like that. GAH, that was annoying.

8. The "how much is this comic" panel shared the page with the copyright information, and where to mail your buck and a half for the latest issue of Wood-Eye...and featured my worst lettering ever, so I'm sparing you the horror.

EDIT: 9. Here are my old Progressive Ruin posts that were based on this mini-comic, so you don't have to search in the sidebar for them: one, two, three.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Don't worry, it's not another linkblogging post. 

While breaking down the comic shipment Wednesday morning, prior to opening:

New Employee Tim: "Another Wolverine one-shot? This makes me want to punch Marvel."

Employee Aaron: "How long have you worked here, and you already want to punch Marvel?"

Me: "Yeah, seriously...what took you so long?"

Also, we finally received an order of Watchmen trade paperbacks...not the order Diamond lost on us last week, but a second order I placed a few days after that initial doomed order, prior to DC runnin' out of copies.

Guess what trade paperback we didn't sell a single copy of on Wednesday? After weeks of people coming in and demanding it?

I think we'll sell through on them by the weekend, but still, just a little annoying.

At least, I'm assuming we didn't sell any Wednesday, as I was still feeling under the weather and left the shop early. I decided that morning that after I pulled the comic savers, did the mail order, did some reordering, and took care of some other business I had to take care of at the shop, I was going to leave early and let Employees Tim and Aaron handle the rest of the day.

I managed to leave 45 minutes before closing. Ah, well.

Other new comic day notes:
  • Okay, it's not a new comic, but we reordered the All Star Batman and Robin hardcover a few weeks ago, and in the shipment it was originally supposed to arrive in, it didn't. We called it in as a shortage, and replacements were on the invoice as coming in this week...and they didn't arrive again. It's some kind of cosmic irony that the comic store managed by the one man on the planet who unashamedly loves All Star Batman can't get the hardcover back in stock. DARN YOU, WHOEVER'S IN CHARGE OF COSMIC IRONY!

  • Other reorder frustration: the Walking Dead volume 1 softcover has been unavailable from Diamond for about three months now, more or less. Kinda makes it hard to sell volumes 2 through 8 to new readers who might be interested in it. Yes, there is a hardcover that includes the comics from volumes 1 and 2, but a $9.95 paperback is easier to sell to someone just trying it out, as opposed to a thirty buck hardcover. Here's hoping it's back in print soon.

  • Army @ Love: The Art of War #1 - the "second season" of Rick Veitch's war satire looks as if it might quite possibly be even weirder than the initial series. And it has what may be the greatest expository reintroduction to a returning series' characters and premise yet. Also, our store sold out right away, so a-reorderin' I will go.

  • Seeing Crossed #0 on the invoice listed as "#0 (of 9)" makes me want to hit somebody. Not unique to Crossed, I know, but still, it just sticks in my craw. It's more hyperviolent zombie-esque shenanigans, from the looks of things, but, hey, this #0 is only a buck, it's by Garth Ennis, and...Good Lord, does Jacen Burrows draw everything for Avatar? Does he ever sleep?

  • While I adore Final Crisis, the "director's cut" version of #1 is...well, if you want to see the black and white linework for the entire issue, then you may get more out of the first part of the book. The interview and script make for interesting reading, but, like I said about the Final Crisis sketchbook, this sort of material may be better off being released after the project is over, when the comic can be discussed without playing coy with spoilers.

    As for Final Crisis #3...man, so densely-packed, so full of good stuff. It's nuts, and I love it.

  • Thanks to Employee Aaron, I now think of Echo as "the comic about the girl with super-boobs." Unfair? Yeah, probably. But hey, at least there's no poetry like in the guy's previous comic. Yet.

  • More Disney comics, finally. Wish they didn't put out their two regular "monthly" comics ($7.99 each) and a Vacation Special ($9.95!) all out in the same week...but at least they're out, and beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.

    I know it wasn't as long as a break between issues as Gemstone's publishing unpleasantness from last year, but it still had some of our Disney customers getting a little testy.

  • Did you read that FX comic from IDW (last issue on sale now)? If so...why? I'm honestly not being snarky, here...what was it about FX that made you keep reading it? Is it just fans of that particular artist supporting the book?

  • Jonah Hex #34 - I liked the story, about Jonah's difficulty in leaving his old life behind...but depending on who's drawing Jonah's scarred face, I have a very hard time believing that Hex doesn't just cut that damned tiny flap of skin off his mouth. It's such a piddling little strand in this issue...it gets to be distracting how nonsensical it is that it'd still be there.

    So, "minor nitpick of the month?" Maybe so. I remember seeing someone out there suggest that elements of Two-Face's scarring from the Dark Knight movie would be a better way of portraying Hex's injury.

  • Hulk #5 - I shouldn't like this comic as much as I do. It's big, loud, and stupid, and takes like two minutes to read...but it's an enjoyable two minutes, with great art by Ed McGuinness. I think the Thor purists are going to cringe at this issue, though.

  • Showcase Presents House of Secrets Vol. 1 - Contains a reprint of the first Swamp Thing story, and another 500-something pages of less important stuff. Oh, okay, it has the Sergio Aragones gag pages, too.

Nothing to do with comics, but everything to do with fans of the Mystery Science Theatre 3000: the third Cinematic Titanic film, The Wasp Woman, should be available for download as you read this, and the DVD release should be available by Monday.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More linkblogging... 

...since I still feel bleah and I'd rather let everybody else do the work for me.
  • I know he's been advertising in the sidebar recently, because he's a kind and generous man, but I wanted to draw extra attention to Scott Saavedra's updated-weekly webstrip Java Town. Mr. Saavedra is a swell cartoonist, and as a fan of his work for, lessee, 22 years now, I want to give him whatever support I can.

  • I haven't pointed out this site since, well, I probably first added it to the sidebar, but Size Matters reviews mini-comics, which I love and haven't bought enough of lately. It pleases me to know that people are still doing minis and not, say, going straight for the webcomic thing.

  • Apparently the recent release of the Hembeck Omnibus has inspired yet another go around of "100 Things I Love About Comics," based on Fred's strips on that topic. Well, folks are just doing fifty things this time around, which, you know, fair enough.

    I almost had a "100 Things" Valentine's Day tradition going, inspired by Hembeck and Alan David Doane, doing my list of 100 in 2005 along with a bunch of other people, following up in 2006 and 2007, but I blew it this year when, um, I forgot until it was too late. Ah, well. Maybe I'll try again in 2009.

    Of course, we all must bow to Tom Spurgeon's list of a thousand things, which he did because he's Tom Freakin' Spurgeon and he shows us How Things Are Done just as a matter of course.

  • Article on comics in classrooms vis-à-vis the San Diego Con titled with "POW! ZOWIE! Teachers discover the comic book." At least they had the good taste to illustrate the article with an America's Best Comics cover from the '40s.

    Also, just to note: the article mentions that fifteen years ago many professors would have mocked the idea of studying comics in the classroom. Well, not the late Professor Frank McConnell, whom I had as a professor at UCSB about 18 years ago, and was assigned in his courses The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. My memories of those classes was one of the earliest posts on this site.

  • "The Top Five Environmentally Friendly Characters in Comics" - you know, really, with friends like Poison Ivy.... Also, guess who's number one the list. G'WAN, GUESS.

    There's a totally unnecessary slam on Captain Planet at the end of the article, too. That's hard cheese, old bean.

  • Speaking of Swamp Thing, Showcase Presents House of Secrets volume 1 is out this week, and in response to your massive amount of inquiries (well, okay, one), I will be buying this to obtain the eleventh version of House of Secrets #92, the first appearance of Swamp Thing.

    It's a sickness.

  • And more speaking of Swamp Thing: this columnist is tired of comic book movies, and I suppose I really can't blame him. However, he refers to the first Swamp Thing movie as "terrible," which is bad enough (the movie's merely misunderstood), and, even more surprisingly, he refers to the sequel Return of the Swamp Thing as "forgettable." Man, take it from me...if you've seen Return of the Swamp Thing, I'm sure you could come up with many words to describe it, but "forgettable" wouldn't be one of them. I mean C'MON.

  • Apparently my re-linking of Harry Knowles' entirely appalling Blade II review, even if just in my Twitter thingie, has caused terror and despair, fear and anguish, mothers to disown children, brother to turn on brother, etc. So, I promise not to link to it any more. Honest. You'll never have to think about that review ever again. No need to thank me.

  • And now, by popular demand...Alan Moore's favorite superhero:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mike's sick day linking. 

I've been under the weather for the last couple of days, and I'm still running a fever, so I'm going to continue my Low Content Mode for today, if you all don't mind. Also, some advice: if you're feeling sick on your day off from work, don't decide that you're going to rearrange the garage and build some shelving anyway. You'll regret it.

So, here's some linkage to material generated by other people:

Hmm. That was just as much work as a real post. Some "Low Content Mode."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sometimes you just need to look at some Werewolf By Night panels by Mike Ploog. 

Like this one:

Or this one:

Or this sequence of three panels:

PLOOG. I have, won't you?

from Werewolf By Night #1 (Sept. 1972) by Gerry Conway & Mike Ploog
-- thanks, pal Cully!

Thuvia, Dedicated Follower of Fashion. 

Thuvia, Maid of Mars in 1963:

art by Roy Krenkel, Jr.

Thuvia, Maid of Mars in 1979:

art by Michael Whelan

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How do you follow up The Greatest Comic Book News of All Time

Like this:

"Join Herbie as he takes on goofy cavemen, joins George Washington's army, gets the better of pop-culture figures like Gregory Peck and the Queen of England, and dons the unassuming costume of the Fat Fury for the very first time!"

Surely you don't need more incentive to buy Herbie Archives Volume 2 than that? Reprints issues 6 through 14, due at the end of the year. It's in this month's Previews, so start nagging your retailer now.

  • As long as I'm kissing Dark Horse Comics' butt, let me mention that I greatly enjoyed the Wondermark webcomic collection Beards of Our Forefathers, and can't wait for the Achewood collection The Great Outdoor Fight. Dark Horse sure is putting out some handsome-looking books for these strips.

    Can we look forward to a nice hardcover collection of this strip? Can a boy dare dream?

  • In response to the folks who left comments on this post about our old mini-comics publication Wood-Eye, specifically asking for a web and/or PDF release...well, I'm all for it, I suppose, but I'd want to get permission from the other contributors first. I can only get a hold of about half of them now, which could cause a problem. And a couple of our contributors have since passed on...well, one has, for sure, and I'm pretty sure the other has as well (it's been years since I've seen him, and he was well into his 80s even at the time).

    I suppose with the people I can contact, and assuming they're okay with it, I can put together a "Best of Wood-Eye" thing for online distribution. Let me look into it. No promises.

  • So both Roger Ebert (who liked the film) and this gentleman (who didn't - URL maybe NSFW) seemed to miss the fact that the Joker tells conflicting stories about his past, specifically about how he acquired his scars, throughout The Dark Knight. Ebert at least uses the word "claims" when he first brings up the Joker's alleged childhood trauma, but takes said claim at face value when comparing Batman's and Joker's backgrounds later in the review.

    You don't have to say anything...I know this is overly nitpicky, and doesn't have much to do with the whole of either man's opinions. It just has me wondering if that particular "multiple-choice origins" shtick with the Joker really didn't translate that well for the general audience. I mean, we all know it...if you're reading a comic book weblog, then you likely have a nerdly background in funnybooks, and have read (or at least are aware of) The Killing Joke, which was the source for this particular characteristic of the Joker. When we encounter it in the movie, it's familiar to us...we get it. Maybe this isn't so for the uninitiated, though I thought the filmmakers did a good job establishing that, just maybe, the Joker isn't the most reliable source for information about himself.

    Or maybe Heath Ledger's performance where he gives his first explanation is so edgy and powerful that it sticks in the memory much easier than the other presented stories. Well, sure, let's go with that.

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