mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bring It On: In It to Slug It

from Comics on Parade #62 (Sept. 1948) -
with apologies to Chris Sims

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Yours for old Shazam...." 

Pictured above is a Mary Marvel Fan Club card from 1946, acquired in that collection I've been scanning 'n' photographing from all week. It came in an envelope along with a merchandise sheet and a "welcome to the club" letter ostensibly from Mary herself, plugging the merchandise, reminding folks of the paper drive, and giving fashion tips:


Speaking of Mary, here's a column by Customer Jim reminiscing about the Mary Marvel of old, and lamenting her treatment of late.

In other news:
  • More news from the Beanworld: Larry Marder has posted the solicitation information for two Beanworld projects: the first Beanworld hardcover, reprinting issues #1 through #9, and the all-new, all-color Beanworld Holiday Special! Go see Larry for more info and art samples!

  • Speaking of solicits, from DC's listings for December:

    Written by Alan Moore
    Art by Stephen Bissette, Dan Day and John Totleben
    Cover by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben
    Writer Alan Moore's seminal horror series is now published in hardcover for the very first time -- including the never-before-reprinted SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20, in which Moore wraps up the previous storyline and sets the stage for the groundbreaking tales that were to come. Collecting SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20-27, this first volume features the stories that put Moore on the comics map in the 1980s thanks to his unique narrative style and deconstructive storytelling. Created by a freak accident, Swamp Thing believed he was once scientist Alec Holland -- but when he discovers his true nature, it shatters his universe and sends him on a path of discovery and adventure.

    "Featuring the art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, this groundbreaking work features mind-blowing, genre-defying stories starring the rich, complex character that Neil Gaiman called 'The No. 1 New Classic Monster' in Entertainment Weekly."

    At long, long last, we're getting a reprint of Alan Moore's first Swamp Thing issue, left out of previous reprintings due to its being more of a wrapping up of storylines from Marty Pasko's run than a beginning for Moore's own story. (And hopefully the new hardcover will restore the missing caption from the last page of Saga of the Swamp Thing #24, which isn't in the most recent softcover edition.)

    Tom Bondurant, in his own DC solicits examination, wonders if I know why there haven't been any Showcase Presents reprintings of the entire first Swamp Thing series (including the never reprinted in their entirety, at least in the U.S., post-Wrightson #11-#24) and the pre-Moore Saga of the Swamp Thing by Pasko, Tom Yeates, and the first ST work by Bissette and Totleben. I don't know, aside maybe from royalties issues, or maybe a feeling that non-Wrightson, non-Moore/Veitch ST sales wouldn't justify reprinting. I really have no idea.

    The black and white Showcase books would be an okay solution...as Tom says, the first series would fit in one volume, and a second volume could cover all the pre-Moore stuff (though instead of including the early Moore issues to fill the rest of the book, I'd go after the Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents stories...and maybe somewhere there'd be room for Swampy's star turn in those Challengers of the Unknown comics).

    That initial 13-issue story in Saga of the Swamp Thing by Pasko and Yeates, et al, ain't too bad. (And 14-19 are pretty good too, actually...I'll write more about those some other time.) It's a bit overwritten, captions and word balloons overwhelming the art at times to the detriment of the story, but it still holds together as a fine example of modern horror. It's been mostly lost in the large shadow cast by Moore's run, but still deserves some attention. And hell, it's cheap...even if it's never collected, you can pick up those issues for a couple of bucks each, by and large.

    But if any of that early Swamp Thing can be reprinted, especially in color, I'd like to see those Nestor Redondo issues from the original '70s series on nice paper, finally. His style was quite a bit different from Wrightson's -- a little more polished and slick, maybe -- but still quite beautiful and moody and, again, hidden in the shadow of a more famous and highly-regarded run in the same series.

    And I'd like a cheap, full-color reprinting of Sugar & Spike...you know, so long as I'm wishing for things I'm not going to get.

  • Via the mighty Neilalien: the Sound Effect Generator. "pwoik coo pwoik coo croaaak-croaaak tsssss-tsssss blug-blug"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thanks, reader Pmack! 

Cute as a.... 

So I've been going through the box o'buttons from this recently received collection, and there aren't a whole lot of comic-related buttons...mostly they're music or sports or TV/movies, what have you. But there are a few, and I thought I'd lay a handful of 'em on you today.

I swear this button reminds me of a dial on a rotary phone...what a cool-looking phone that would have been, huh?

Yeah, yeah, I know, "what's a rotary phone?" Get out of here, kid, you bother me.

Whoops, the button's a little lop-sided in this scan...just tilt your head a bit:

Just a manufacturer's mark on that button, no copyright info.

Presumably this button means that they saw Superman art at the museum, and not just some guy wandering the halls in a Superman costume:

...but it was the Bicentennial year, and people were doing all kinds of crazy things, so who knows? A quick Googling turned up no historical info on the event, but I'm assuming it was a show of original comic art.

Direct from 1966:

I really really really want to replace that Iron Man image with the picture from this cover. You don't even need to click the link...you know which cover it is, since I link to it every opportunity I get.

Not comic-related, but amusing enough to share:

I say, that's hard cheese. Who doesn't like "Louie Louie" ("said Mike, moments before his comments section filled with people decrying the song's existence")?

In other news:
  • Internet pal Andrew, that smart feller what's responsible for one of the smartest and best-written comics blogs in existence, has just opened the doors on his new site Pronounced Woo-Bin. It's a celebration of things Bostonian...specifically, that fabulous accent that Andrew himself demonstrates in his own voice with choice audio clips. Seriously, it's fantastic.

  • Say, you remember that Ian Brill chap, don't you? Tall guy, glasses, wavy black hair, pegleg, eyepatch? He has a story in Zombie Tales #5, illustrated by Jason Ho. It's out this week, so ask your retailer for "that comic with Ian Brill in it...no, not those Warhammer ones, the ones with the shambling dead," and he'll go "Oh, why yes, of course, that zombie comic with the story by young Master Brill," and he'll pass a copy right over to you, surely.

    Ian speaks a little about this comic right here.

  • Pal Nat has unleashed upon an unsuspecting world The Licensable Bear™ Big Book of Officially Licensed Fun!, reprinting Licensable Bear™ strips and appearances and columns and merchandise images and oh, so much more. Ask for it at your local funnybook emporium.

    If that's not enough Licensable Bear™ for you, have a new informative video from our beshirted ursine consumer expert!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The universe reveals its beauty in unexpected ways. 



And now, some tiny ads blown up good 'n' big. 

Well, I haven't yet found the ad for the Marvel coins that feature the silver and gold versions, but I did happen upon the ad for the Star Trek coin I featured the end of this post:

That's twice the price of the Marvel coins. Trek don't come cheap. (Though the sculpt on the Trek coins was a tad more elaborate, admittedly.)

On the same page was this terrifying ad:

"Eat, laugh, talk, receive scorn when you say it's supposed to be a 'Planet of the Apes' mask." I'm sure we all remember the swollen red lips the apes had. Well, okay, maybe in the remake:

Also, never forget:


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Within each of us, oftimes, there dwells a mighty raging fury." 

So I'm sure some of you remember seeing this ad, which ran in mid-1970s Marvel comics:

I've seen it plenty of times myself, but it wasn't until this past weekend, with the arrival of that large collection of miscellaneous collectibles, that I've seen the actual coins themselves. They measure about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and they look a little something...like this:

The coins' backs:

I don't know why the progression of Banner-to-Hulk on the back of that Hulk coin makes me laugh, but it just does. Also, I should note that the serial numbering mentioned in the ad are etched on the coins' edges.

You could buy the coins just on their own for $2.50 each (with a generous discount if you buy in quantity), or you could buy a variety of accessories:

There were several coins in this collection we acquired, but alas, no belt buckle or bolo tie were to be found. However, we did have several in the convenient "neck chain" setting, such as this Conan coin:

And we had a set of three silver variations of the coins in the lucite holders...interesting that the lucite holders cost nearly as much as the coins themselves. Here's the Hulk one:

I don't have information on the silver versions of these coins, as they're not noted in the ad I've found, and I haven't gotten around to tracking down any follow-up ads yet. I'm reasonably certain I remember seeing the silver coins (and gold versions, too!) advertised, so if any of you happen to remember what those other coin types cost originally, feel free to drop that info in the comments.

Also, there were a couple of these in the collection as well:

Dude...so close to just keeping this for myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm not ready to start dealing in collectible swimwear. 

[SETTING: Saturday at the comic shop. Mike is sorting through some recently received boxes filled with magazines and very miscellaneous collectibles. Pal Dorian arrives on the scene....]

Me: "Hey, Dor, look what was in this collection of stuff we just got...Avengers kid's swimtrunks!"

Dorian: "Um...."

Me: "Don't worry, they appear to be brand new and unworn. So, whaddya think? Are they me?" (jokingly holds swimtrunks at about waist level, like he's sizing them for himself)

Dor: (pulls out camera)

Me: "Oh no, no, no, no, no."

Dor: "What? I just want to take a picture of you holdi...."

Me: "NO."

Dor: "C'mon, not even just for our friends?"

Me: "NO."

Dor: "Really?"

Me: "NO. You know what those guys would do."

Dor: "Are you sure?"

Me: "I don't think I need a picture of me, a man nearly 40 years old, posing with a pair of boy's swimtrunks floating around the internet."

New Employee Tim: "Hey, I'm only 15, I'll hold 'em for a picture!"

Dor & Me: "NO!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things That Are Rad. 



From this eBay auction - click the link to see the full image.

Why, I do believe I have my Halloween costume now.

In case you haven't read enough about this lately. 

Verbatim asked:

"So how many of the 'C'mon, I know you have some of those All-Star Batman #10s in the back. How much are you asking?' phone calls have you gotten?"

Not nearly as many as I was expecting, given the fact that it's apparently made it into real world news sources, in print and on TV. Normally that means "crazed rush by folks who haven't been in a comic shop since the last news report about comics," but I didn't really see it this time. Maybe awareness of the situation hasn't yet reached that critical mass required to trigger the sales rush, or everyone skipped the middleman and went straight to the eBay, where there's approximately one gazillion copies up for auction. Or no one felt like calling us this weekend. (sniff) Nobody loves us....

We did have a handful of inquiries, mostly from regulars, and we did have a couple of folks who were driven into the shop by the news reports. One of them mentioned to me another prize of his collection, his copy of Adventures of Superman #596 featuring an allegedly prophetic scene of destruction involving buildings similar to the World Trade Center.

But no, we received no copies of All Star Batman #10: Frank Miller Unfettered. Figures...here I am, one of the few people on the internet bold enough to have declared my love for this series almost since the beginning, and took the attendant scorn and abuse from the unbelievers...and I didn't get a copy. The fates mock me openly. I'll have to be satisfied with these ginormous scans (click 'em for expanded hilarity)...at least until the eBay prices dip down to about the five buck level in a few months, and I'll snap up a copy or three then. Er, I need the extra copies for friends. Yeah.

On a related note, I did a completed-auctions check on the eBay for Wolverine #131, with the typo/offensive slur...found one that sold for $2.99, another for $5.50. Okay, that comic is ten years old now...maybe I'll have to wait a little longer than a few months for ASBAR #10 to drop in price, but it will eventually, I'm sure.

Received the first of a few boxes of a massive collection of miscellaneous funnybook and rock 'n' roll collectibles and magazines...which included multiple bags of pinback buttons. I loves me the pinback buttons, as some of you may remember from a few years ago when I scanned multiple samples from my button collection and posted about them for, oh, months on end. Well, brace yourselves, because I'll probably be doing it again.

Here's a sample:

I know it's a promo for a fast food joint/restaurant, but I'd prefer to think it's either the worst piece of character-based Achewood merchandise...or the best.

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