mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Panic a party." 

Advertisements what amused me, from Famous Funnies #126 (January 1945):

You may think a "Human Jeep" sounds terrifying. You, my friend, have no idea. (WARNING: Sound at link. Also, pure evil.)

Now, this next ad...

...I'm only singling out because I wanted to get a closer look here at the acid trip that cat is checking out:

Ah, the Dr. Albert Hofmann-brand telescopes are favorites of boys and girls everywhere!

"NOTE: May not be actual 'craze.' 'Sensation' may vary from household to household."

"Panic a party!" "A riot of fun!" "An upheaval of mirth!" "A catastrophic cacophony of confusion!" "An orgasmic outbreak of ado!"

I mean, seriously, look at how much fun this guy's having:

"I, Chasley L. Wilcoxian of St. Albans, VT, find this board game to be sufficiently distracting. It has been useful in panicking many a party in my average American household."

Friday, August 22, 2008

In which I go on too long about newsletters to no good end; also, assorted topics to educate and amaze. 

An excerpt from a comic store newsletter from a more innocent time...well, from early 1984:

Okay, "innocent" considering a couple of the items involve characters dying or getting crippled, that is. Ah, the cheerful naiveté of a world that did not yet know the terrifying presence of the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini-series.

I should note that I was looking forward to that Superboy/Supergirl combo comic, but a little something called Crisis on Infinite Earths seemed to put the kibosh on those plans.

I really enjoyed receiving these newsletters from this (now long-defunct) shop...it's not that I didn't have other sources for funnybook news in those days, but I liked the personal, local, not-quite-so-polished feel of these homemade mailings. It was something I tried to emulate in our own store's brief flirtation with mailed newsletters, a number of years ago.

Come to think of it...I don't even know if I have copies of our own store's newsletters. I'm sure I must, but I just don't know where they're stashed at the moment. I have moved a couple of times in the interim, so I'm sure they're just sitting in a box somewhere that I haven't yet got around to unpacking.

Anyway, our newsletters were four pages long, with the fourth page being the outside of the mailing when it was folded for distribution. On the side not used for address information, we would usually put a store coupon.

The first installment was put together by former coworker Moondance and myself, and I did the following issues pretty much on my own, and I was usually pretty good for one or two horribly-obvious-but-always-missed-during-proofreading typos per issue. I'm still good for a typo or three per blog post, so the tradition continues.

As for actual content...we would have a long-ish article on the first page, covering whatever store-related topic I felt like gabbing about. One article explained why we weren't able to give you the answer you wanted when you asked "how much will my comics be worth in the future?" (The headline of that one read "HOW MUCH WILL BE THIS BE WORTH," so yay for Typo Mike!) Another issue ballyhooed the debut of our swanky new website...not yet even at our own domain name, but as a subdomain of our internet provider (i.e. "thisispis3yearsawayfromvanishingovernight.net/~comicsvideodeli").

The interior articles were comic news tidbits (like the excerpt of that other store's newsletter, above), a Recommended Reading feature (yes, I recommended things other than Swamp Thing), a Q&A section with questions from our customers (I remember one submitted question was from "Rob Halford" -- pretty sure it wasn't the same one), and there was usually another article in each issue that would round things out, but darn if I can remember what they were now. You'd think for the amount of time I'd put into these things, they'd stick in my mind a little better. Ah, well. Should I ever turn up a copy of our newsletter, I'll scan 'n' post some highlights, if there are any.


Well, that was more than I was planning on writing on that topic. Thanks for slogging through it, if you did.

In other news:
  • Inspired, at least in part, by John's recent essay, as well as many other reported incidents, Girl-Wonder.org has announced the formation of the Convention Anti-Harassment Project. Of note: this entry in the FAQ.

  • I noticed that we had two or three copies of the new Vertigo title Air with duplicated pages. You might want to check your copy (if you bought one) or your racked copies (if you're a store) in case this was a widespread problem.

  • Bitterandrew - master of the sarcastic take-down.

  • Pal Dorian told me about this a few days ago, and I thought he was kidding.

    In the "things I never expected to see on DVD" department, here is...

    Honestly, I'm speechless. But I don't need to talk to post one of these:

    If you need more info about this show...and how could you not...here's a fan site.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Okay, one more thing. 

I promise to drop the Herbie thing after today...for a little while, anyway. 

At last...at long last....

...Herbie Archives volume one is here.

The artwork is taken directly from the original comics, so you get the original coloring and the defects that sorta went along with it. But, Dark Horse did a good job given the printing quality of the source material, and it's all perfectly clean and readable. The panel above was scanned directly from my copy of the book...pardon the minor moiré pattern, that's my fault and doesn't appear in the actual printed copy.

Also included are the several period house ads for Herbie, most of which were gag strips in their own right. The non-Herbie strips by the same creative team that rounded out some of the comics (like "Nellie No-Date") do not appear, unfortunately.

However, I'm not going to complain too loudly, as I've been waiting for some form of quality reissuing of the original Herbie comics for years, as searching for the individual issues is 1) hard, as they're not terribly common, and 2) expensive when you find 'em. Even as I was writing this, I just kinda looked over at the copy of the book sitting on the desk next to me, and I still can't believe it's actually here.

Anyway, I imagine you have probably guessed by now that I'm excited about this release, so let me move on to other stuff that came out this week.



Well, I'm sure something else came out this week.

In other news:
  • I haven't had a chance to watch this Kirkman video yet...does he mention when we can expect the softcover volume one of his Walking Dead series to be available through Diamond again? It's been months since I was last able to order it, and I'd like to be able to turn new people onto the comic when they ask about it.

    (Yes, I know there's a $30 hardcover containing this material that's currently available. That's a bit less of an "impulse buy" than the $10 softcover volume one.)

  • Moments when I feel guilty at the shop, from Wednesday:

    Customer: "Do you have any Ernie Bushmiller Nancy stuff?"

    Me: "Uh...you may be competing with me for those comics."

  • Polite Scott takes on that classic bit of comic book shorthand representing doctors...the head mirror.

  • COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I have auctions on the eBay ending tonight. If there's anything there you'd like, and you want to help a pal out, please feel free to bid. All items personally touched by me...guaranteed!

  • Oh, okay, I have things to say about a new release or two.

    First, Marvel wasted no time getting that new post-Garth Ennis issue of Punisher on the stands. I am curious about what sort of a sales hit this series is going to take...not that this new issue looks bad or anything. In fact, it looks pretty interesting (haven't had a chance to read it yet), but I have several folks in the store's comic saver service who only want Punisher if it's written by Ennis. I'm sure they're not the only ones.

    Also, I have to thank, I believe, Sims for recommending Marvel's True Believers to me. It's the return of former Superman writer Cary "Mr. Surprise" Bates to comics (aside from that DC Comics Presents Julie Schwartz tribute book), and it's...surprisingly perverse and bit of a hoot. Who knew Mr. Bates had it in him?

    Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1 has about a zillion characters on every page, with about as many panels, drawn in that way only George Perez can. And we haven't even really introduced at least two of the three titular Legions into the story yet. It's fun, if a bit cramped, so far. The more you know about the Legion, the more you'll get out this series, I think.

    Trinity #12 - now, I'm not saying that it's been bad...it's been perfectly serviceable, and generally entertaining, superhero nonsense. However, with the introduction of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, things seem to have a little more spark and direction than before. If you were iffy on the series previously, you might want to check out the last issue or two.

    Not a new release: Helen Killer #2 - okay, you don't need to remind me to mail order this issue from the publisher anymore. My copy arrived on Wednesday, so at last I can finally finish reading the series.

    Hope it's good!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things that I have found inside other things. 

Inside this issue of The Comic Reader #45 (Jan. 1966):

...I found this letter from the then-new editor, hoping to pick up a new subscriber:

Inside this issue of The Barks Collector #34 (Summer 1986):

...I found this note to retailers, detailing wholesale costs and information:

Mixed in with a pile of AMRA: Swordplay & Sorcery fanzines, of which this copy of issue #70 from 1982 is a sample:

...I found this rejection postcard:

This person just got told he wasn't good enough to be an amateur. Dude, harsh.

(Okay, I know there are plenty of potential reasons why this person was rejected, and this particular 'zine was pretty polished. But honestly, that's the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the card, and I thought it was funny. Just a joke, son.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Miscellaneous Tuesday. 


Herbie Archive Volume 1 is due out in your better funnybook stores this week! (At least, it's on our invoice, so chances are reasonably good that they'll show up with our shipment.)

HERBIE. Better than anything you're already reading.

The new DC solicits are up, and it looks like DC's found a way to get another Sandman comic on the stands with Neil Gaiman attached...in this case, a comic book adaptation of Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters illustrated novel. Well, it's being adapted by P. Craig Russell, so it's gonna be absolutely gorgeous and I'm gonna end up buying anyway. I'm a sucker. By the way, Dream Hunters came out ten years ago, apparently. How old does that make you feel?

Speaking of Sandman, his big sister Death makes an appearance in Madame Xanadu #6 (fresh from her appearances in Captain Atom and Legion of Super-Heroes! -- okay, I'll stop).

From the solicit for Super Friends #9:

"Happy Birthday, Superman! The Super Friends get together for a party celebrating DC’s first and greatest hero! But Lex Luthor wants to wish Superman a very un-happy day!"

This sounds cute. Almost too cute. This series is like a super-dense concentration of cute, practically a black hole of cute, its immense cuteness gravity dragging in...okay, I have no idea where I'm going with this. But I'm totally picturing Lex sneaking around the party, putting a frog in the punchbowl, hiding Superman's presents in, I don't know, the lead-lined trash bins, calling the police to complain about the party's noise levels, etc.

I see Kevin Smith has a Batman mini (Cacophony) starting...I recall reading somewhere that Smith has all the scripts turned in (or nearly so). Let us hope. We don't want another overly delayed Spider-Man/Black Cat, or an outright truncated Daredevil: The Target.

The DC Classics Library: Superman "Kryptonite Nevermore!" hardcover features classic Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson art on a classic Superman story, and I bet it'll look great. Another Superman book due out is the Past and Future trade paperback, featuring time travel stories (including the story from Action Comics #300, which has one of my favorite covers). I really like these themed collections from DC...if we can't have themed Eighty Page Giants any more, I guess these'll have to do.

As long as I'm linking to Comic Book Resources, here's their story about Fox trying to prevent Warner Brothers' Watchmen movie, claiming exclusive rights. Well, this should be interesting. At last, there's still a chance that Watchmen will be adapted in the only format that makes sense for the complexity and density of the story: as a weekly cartoon sitcom, sandwiched between Simpsons and King of the Hill. "Don't have a dead dog, man!" will read my wacky Rorschach t-shirt.

Well, here we go again. Kevin points out some problems with another comics marketing e-mail, and I can't wait to see how folks try to say the problem is actually a good thing this time. (Assuming they can address the actual point and not argue non-sequiturs again.)

Well, good luck, Kevin. You're a braver, and more patient, man than I.

Speaking of Kevin, he was recently interviewed and totally pinned the blame for his comics blogging on me. So, all you Kevin-haters out there? It's my fault, AND I'M PROUD. So bring it on, chumps.

Okay, I was dumb and left out the link to Caleb's Millennium post in my entry yesterday, until I was finally able to fix my mistake later that morning. So, here's that link again for anyone who missed it. (Sorry, Caleb!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday. 

Attention Kevin Church:

Drunk Galactus and I wish you a Happy Birthday!

(Okay, I know Galactus was only pretending to be drunk in this particular story...just go with me here.)

Have a safe and sobe...um, have a safe and happy birthday, Kevin!

In other news:
  • Caleb, as part of his ongoing and, perhaps, near-masochistic examinations of DC's Millennium series gets around to that issue with the splash page I posted a couple of days ago. He not only gives you a little more context regarding that situation, but writes humorously about comic as a whole, with links to previous issues' discussions. Good stuff, go read.

  • I've received this by the electronic mail any number of times over the last few days, so I must pass it along here: apparently Mattel will answer fan questions about their toy lines on occasion, and this recent exchange about Mattel's DC Comics license just popped up.

    "2. Is Swamp Thing included in the license Mattel has?

    Answer: Yes he is."

    Fantastic. It's been too long since the last Swamp Thing action figure. I was getting itchy. No word on any new Swamp Thing chalk, however.

  • So I was reading the new issue of Green Lantern Corps, and in the background of one of the panels showing the GL Memorial, I spotted this:

    ...And I immediately thought, "oh, hey, it's that guy," from the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps mini from the very early '80s:

    You know, that guy who was a pawn of the Bad Guy and got his chance to fight for the cause of Good? Yeah, that guy. I liked him. Glad to see he's not been forgotten.

  • A BRIEF COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm listing a few things on my personal eBay account again, after a long hiatus...if there's anything there you'd like, please feel free to bid. Every little bit helps!

images from Hercules #4 (Dec. 1982) by Bob Layton; Green Lantern Corps #27 (Oct. 2008) by Peter Tomasi, Luke Ross & Fabio Laguna; and Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #3 (July 1981) by Mike W. Barr, Len Wein, Joe Staton and Frank McLaughlin

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"It's all here, ready! Fresh as harvest day!" 

So I was looking through a copy of Logan's Run #7 (July 1977), and noticed this "next issue" blurb on the last page:

...which promises the revelation of a thing or two, plus a tease of a character's return that apparently we should be excited about.

Well, this was the last issue of the series, and while I could care less about what's "beyond Cathedral," or what "Mind-Sin" is, I am left wondering about who the returning character would have been.

'Course, the only one I think we'd all would have liked to see again is Box:



Or maybe it would have been Peter Ustinov's character. The world will never know! (Or maybe it can be Googled up somewhere.) (And I'm not sure if either of those characters popped up in Marvel's other "new adventures" issues...um, I forgot to check.)

Speaking of the Googling, I found this page, which has scans of some of the Marvel-produced Logan's Run strips that ran in a British magazine. The page also discusses the other comic book adaptations of the film, and the books which inspired it...this review of the later Malibu Graphics comics made me laugh:

"These 'new' Logan's Run comics are not to [sic] bad if you can overlook the fact that everyone looks like a Nazi elf."

Wow. You know, I'm betting someone, somewhere is awfully, disturbingly, excited about the idea of a Nazi elf comic.

So anyway, getting back to the first topic, there...anyone else have any particular favorite "next issue" blurbs in the last issues of series that were never followed up on? I've pointed out this one before, from the last issue of the original Swamp Thing series:

While Swampy ended up fighting some of Hawkman's fellow Thanagarians a decade or so later, this "in the skies of Portland" battle with the Hawkman was a no-show. Ah, well.

If you can think of other similar examples, let me know in the comments.

And just a reminder: comments are still being moderated, and probably will be for a couple more days at least. I'll get them approved as often as I'm able. Thank you for understanding, and I'm sorry moderation even turned out to be necessary.

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