mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 18, 2008

We may have received some Spanish-language comics in a collection recently. 

House ad from Los Vengadores #26 (1981), published in Mexico:


And now, for no good reason...from the same comic, Captain America and Quicksilver versus Attuma:

I like how most (but not all, I know) of the dialogue on this page looks like declarative expressions, ending in periods instead of the typical exclamation points. "Cap, Attuma is attacking! We have to stop him!" "Whoa there, Quicksilver baby. Don't get so uptight, man."

And now, suddenly, for even less reason...Spanish Rorschach from an edition of Watchmen #1 published in Spain:

I may have said this bit of dialogue about a hundred or so times to Employee Aaron on Friday. I don't know why either.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I swear to you, this almost sealed the deal. 

So I came home one evening to find this flyer stuck in my front gate:

Dude. If you're gonna try to sell someone on new TV service, there is no better way than with the mighty power of El Santo. Guaranteed.

If I watched enough television to make it worthwhile (not that I'm a TV hater...I just don't seem to have the time any more), I may have gone for it.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Pass me the grafting serum...." 

In the story titled "The Man Who Meddled," scientist Paul Hartwick was experimenting with the acceleration of life cycles in mice, making them live out a typical two-year life span over the course of minutes. Of course, there's an accident, as the devices used in this experiment blow up in Paul's face...but Paul appears to recover fully and that's that.

Some months later, Paul and his wife have a child, and to all appearances that child appears perfectly healthly:

...But shortly, it's discovered that all is not well in the Hartwick household:

Before long:

And the end result is that the baby dies, and Hartwick himself suddenly ages to near death over the course of one panel, but that's bit of a downer. Let's look instead at Balding Pipe Baby, because that's absolutely 100% fantastic:

So he just kicks it in the crib, occasionally climbing out to raid Pop's smoke stash and grab the paper? Or does he just cry out: "Mommy? Can I have a pipe and the sports section, please? That's a dear...thanks!"

In other news, Man Has Arms Replaced with Those of A Gorilla. Check it out, in a story that could only be called "Killer's Arms." Well, maybe not only that, but whatever:

John, Anne, and Anne's father Professor Morton fly off to Africa to capture a gorilla and use one of its arms to replace Morton's missing arm, using the professor's experimental grafting technique. However, one night at their camp, a gorilla finds them...and John gets the worst of it:

Morton shoots and kills the gorilla, but he and Anne come across a horrifying scene:

Well, luckily for Morton he just happens to have a gorilla arm-donor dead and ready for the transplantation procedure. He begins the operation with maybe one of the greatest comic panels ever:

John wakes the morning after the surgery, probably with totally flyblown wounds at the edges of the graft since nobody bothered with any kind of bandaging:

...well, unless the grafting serum includes some kind of bug repellent. The serum could just be That Amazing.

John is understandably shocked:

Ah, the old "transplanted body parts have the personalities of their former owners" trick. If you insist, story, if you insist:

Anne's bedside manner could use a little work, too, attacking gorilla arms or no.

John's on the move...note the grafting serum bottle:

"I couldn't control my transplanted gorilla arms when they were killing my annoying girlfriend and her wet-blanket father, Your Honor...honest!"

So, back to the serum bottle: apparently by spilling on John's head, it continues the process of allowing the body to accept the grafted gorilla arms apparently by changing him into an actual gorilla. Well, sorta:

I'm beginning to suspect that comic books are not my best source for accurate medical information.

stories from coverless copies of mid-'50s Marvel Tales and Suspense Stories

Wednesday, October 15, 2008





I bet you're right, Rex. I bet you're right.

images from Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #27 (May/June 1956)
by Robert Kanigher, Gil Kane & Bernard Sachs

Adventures in Improbable Physics with Rex the Wonder Dog. 

from Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #27 (May/June 1956)
by John Broome, Gil Kane & Bernard Sachs

I mean, that seems like an awfully long distance for Rex to be thrown, especially after being yanked out of quicksand.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There's only one thing I can say, and that thing is... 

from Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #12 (Nov/Dec 1953)
by Robert Kanigher, Gil Kane & Sy Barry

Oh, dear. 

ad from Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #12 (Nov/Dec 1953)

The rare Beaked Chimpanzee of West Africa. 

I'm not denying the fun to be had in these short "Detective Chimp" stories, and I realize that Infantino himself said these were among his favorite comics work...but, seriously, that chimpanzee caricature crosses the line from "cartoony exaggeration" to "horrific freak of nature."

from Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #18 (Nov/Dec 1954)
by John Broome & Carmine Infantino

Monday, October 13, 2008

The graphic nature of this post may not be suitable for all readers.* 

So I was going through some comics, as, you know, I tend to find myself doing more often than not, and I happened upon one of these:

That's an issue of Secret Weapons #11 (Aug 1994), which came sealed inside a manila envelope to prevent spoiling the surprise on the cover. Presumably it's the reveal of new team members, though looking at the actual cover, I'm at a loss as to what characters those might be. In fact, I'm not sure why they went with the envelope at all, since I'm assuming that it was no surprise at the time that the team was getting new members, and the way the cover was designed, enough of the characters were obscured to perhaps spark some interest in who they were.

Well, okay, I do know why they went with the manila envelope...it's a cover gimmick that made the book stand out on the stands, and this particular gimmick is one that stands out from the usual foil/die-cut/hologram covers you'd generally get.

Not that it helped, much...as I recall, it didn't really fly off the shelves. In fact, I'm not sure it sold more than your typical issue of Secret Weapons usually did.

But it did remind me of another time Valiant Comics did the "obscuring the cover" trick, this time with Eternal Warrior #35 (Jul 1995), which had this warning sleeve over the regular cover:

Of course, what was actually on the cover was not nearly as bad as the warning made it sound:

...though I suppose the image of a severed arm may be seen as shocking and horrible to all those people who didn't already see a bloodied severed arm in, oh, say, the original Star Wars movie:

...in other words, "virtually nobody."** Again, it was much ado about nothing -- just a gimmick to get someone to pick it up and look to see what the "graphic nature of this cover" actually entailed. (And it's interesting to note that the warning wrapper doesn't have "Eternal Warrior" anywhere on it.) But at this point in time, during the post-crash lull of the comics industry, anything that would get a potential customer to pick your book up off of a comic rack, thus bringing it one step closer to an actual purchase, was fair game. Most people, upon seeing what was actually on the cover, just sorta went "yeah, whatever," and put it back...but I'm sure at least one or two people who picked up the comic to give it a little look-see kept it in their buy pile.

And of course, this too reminded me of other comics that have had the wraparound protective covering, but in these cases with a little more reason than Eternal Warrior had. Like this series from Slave Labor:

...an adult comic where most of the early issues came with a "plain brown wrapper," a second cover that replaced (or partially censored) the image on the real cover. I thought this wasn't a bad gimmick, with the "plain brown wrapper" element giving it sort of a self-aware bit of humor to the porn proceedings within. Not that the very title itself isn't self-aware humor all by itself...er, so to speak.

There were other adult comics with double covers, like Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss (though those tended to be cover-covering inserts in the polybags, rather than true double covers), and this infamous example:

If you want to see what was actually under that wrapper, I suggest you hie yourself hither to UGcomix.info and look it up, since it's...pretty out there, and maybe a bit much for my more-or-less general audiences (well, maybe 13+) site. But trust me, it's filthy, and NSFW if you do plan on looking for it. And it was apparently popular, too, since we have in our possession both a first printing (pictured above) and a fifth printing with a $2 cover price.

By the way, the UGcomix site itself may have a NSFW ad or two on the front page...but it's really a great resource for underground comix information. You may even see a scan or two that I contributed over there.

* Shameless, I know.

** Okay, I'm sure someone out there is probably totally disgusted by seeing severed arms, and...okay, I don't mean to disregard your opinion. But, in general, by normal standards in action/adventure entertainment, this particular image is not one that most people are going to have an issue with. I think. ...I'm going to get e-mails from "People Against Severed Arms in Movies and Comics," aren't I?

Sunday, October 12, 2008



For some reason I have a thing for Galactus toys. Don't have them all (though I set aside one of the above at the shop for future purchase). Some of you may remember Superhero Squad Galactus, which I purchased last year when I was allegedly seeking Christmas presents for other people...and in the process irritating pal Dorian because he'd bought me the same Galactus for my Christmas gift. Whoops!

I also have the 1995 Galactus figure tying into the then-current Fantastic Four cartoon, which lights up and makes noise (but doesn't say anything like "I HUNGER," alas). You can read more about it here. And for whatever reason, I passed on a Galactus figure that was offered in the Silver Surfer TV cartoon line...it was the same size as the other figures, but with a tiny Surfer figure is a clear plastic ball accompanying the big G. And I was quite disappointed when the Mini-Mate version of Galactus ended up being a big statue, rather than just, say, a regular Mini-Mate that was twice-up or so from a typically-sized figure in that line.

And there are others (like a "Cosmic Powered Galactus" from 1998, that I can find listed here and there, but no decent sized pics). And this doesn't count the statues, the busts, the one big figure you had to assemble from pieces spread out over several Marvel Legends figures, and the Heroclix figure/play accessory.

So, in conclusion, I'm not a total sucker for Galactus merchadise...but I'll certainly give it all a look when it comes out.

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