mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh God, not Batman and Robin again. 

Like the other three posts weren't enough, I know. But I was checking our Batman backstock when I happened across the comic book adaptation of Batman and Robin, and I decided to peek inside.

This is the first page of the adaptation (by Denny O'Neil, Rodolfo Damaggio and Bill Sienkiewicz):

Yes, the comic actually starts with us watching the crew filming Batman and Robin, and with the actors playing "Batman" and "Robin" on the set in front of a greenscreen (or bluescreen, whatever). Then, with the second panel, we're immersed in the story, and that moment of kinda/sorta fourth wall breaking is not referenced again...until the last panel of the story, where instead of having "THE END" there's a little caption reading "THAT'S A WRAP!"

So...metacommentary on the film's (possibly) intentional artificiality? A reminder to Bat-fans that, not to worry, this isn't their "real" Batman, only a movie version? Maybe O'Neil just messing around? YOU DECIDE.

Whatever the reason...it's still a little strange.

Friday, October 24, 2008

There's this one thing that frustrates me for, really, no good reason. 

So, many years ago, even before my entry into the high-finance world of comics retailing, I was trying to put together a run of the '85 indie mini-series MacKenzie Queen by Bernie Mireault. I found the first four easily enough, but the fifth one took some searching. Like, a lot of searching. More searching than I should have expected, given that I began looking for these issues just a couple of years after they were originally released. But then again, this was in the midst of the black and white glut and bust, so it probably shouldn't surprise me that an obscure b&w title from an even more obscure publisher would have slipped through the cracks.

But, eventually, after about five or six years of scouring quarter bins, and looking through collections (for by this time, I was in the funnybook-sellin' business), I finally found a copy of MacKenzie Queen #5 in the quarter box at a (now defunct) store in Santa Barbara. And because I was a "fellow professional" (i.e. worked at another shop about 45 minutes south), the guy at the shop gave me a discount, so I got issue 5 for even less than twenty-five cents. Seems almost anticlimactic, now that I think about it. (And I should note, I was buying some other things at the same time, and I didn't ask for the discount...he knew me from our intershop dealings, and just offered it to me. Honest. As cheap as I may be, even I wouldn't ask for a break on a quarter comic! Really. Would I lie?)

Now here's the thing that frustrates me.

I'm sure a lot of you comic buyers out there have had that one comic you've been seeking for ages, and once you find it, suddenly...you can't stop finding more copies of it. It just seems like it's everywhere. I mean, it's not just me, is it?

There was an issue of Zot! that was like this for me...I couldn't find #5 (again, a fifth issue...what's up with that?), looked for a year or two, and finally found it. And then, of course, every time I turn around I find more copies of the damned thing. But for whatever reason, that wasn't nearly as frustrating as the whole MacKenzie Queen thing. And yes...once I found MacKenzie Queen #5, I started seeing more of them. And every time I would see one, it would remind me about how long I've looked for that issue.

Even just this past Thursday afternoon, I was going through a long box of books we acquired from a closed comic shop a few months back...just one of those low priority jobs that I get around to whenever I'm tired of dealing with restocking or mail order or beating the employees. And, of course, here's what I find in the box:

And here's what I thought when I saw these books:

"Well, shit."

And let me note that no other issues from this series were in the box. Just #5. The comic collecting gods are mocking me.

Told you this is a point of frustration that has no real good reason. Any reasonable human would have been over this by now.

By the way, I've been looking for an issue of Yummy Fur (#9) for, like, twenty years now. I know as soon as I find that, I'll suddenly be hip-deep in issue #9s, because the universe is laughing at me.

On a related note, because this post isn't long enough yet, I was double-checking some dates over on the essential Grand Comics Database, and noticed that the entry for MacKenzie Queen #1 has a note that reads "may be reprinted in trade paperback."

Well, I can verify, for the one or two fellas from the GCD who are kind enough to read my site, that the MacKenzie Queen trade paperback does exist. I bought back when I expected I'd never find the #5...even though I did have the story already, I still bought that #5 when I found it, because, well, you know how comic fans are.

Here's a scan of the cover, direct from my bookshelf and onto your computer screen:

Published by Caliber Press in 1990. Still in black and white. Paper smells kind of funny, like most Caliber Press books. If you GCD guys need a larger pic, just let me know where to send it.

In other news...well, it's not a lot of news, but these items have been brought to my attention, and they must be revealed to the public!

From the comments, commentator Michael points out this collection of graffiti photos that has an image of interest to Swamp Thing fans about nine pics down. Of all the things (har) I never expected to see spray-painted on a wall....

And Johnny Bacardi was kind enough to direct me to a Presidential/Vice Presidential pairing that I can get behind. I'd of course would want the VP candidate in the President slot, and vice versa, but I could live with the ticket as it stands.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Sex sex sex!" 

Hey, gang...I know I've been a little quiet over the last few days. I've been working on some other projects and otherwise being distracted by responsibilities that aren't "generate lots of new content for the site" -- so you've been getting a few more scans than usual. Sorry about that.

Anyway, here's some linky-linky I've been meaning to do:
  • Anniversary Time! Both Aquaqueen Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag and comics review master 'n' man about town Johnny Bacardi celebrate their six year blogging anniversaries this week, so huzzah! to them both.

    And I'm a jerk because I'd meant to say something about it at the time, and I tried to leave a comment there but experienced some kind of glitch...but hey, it's only a week and a half late! A big congrats to The Comic Treadmill for its five year anniversary! Mag and H, who run the show over there, have always been swell internet chums to me and very supportive of my site, and I'm sure glad they're still plugging away, showing us all how fun comics can be. Thanks, guys!

  • You may think you're prepared...but nothing can prepare you for Boxcar Dragon: Hobo Ninja! That's direct from the fevered brow of Chris Sims, so gird any loins you may have in an appropriate fashion.

  • I do love the Halloween, but this has been one of those months for me and haven't really worked up my All Hallow's Eve cheer this time around. But, thankfully, some folks are picking up the slack, like the mighty Bitter Andrew: Armagideon Time has been featuring some chilling comics and some spooky sounds to get you into some midnight moods, so go check it out.

  • And I'm linking Stuff Geeks Love, because it evokes cruel, heartless laughter from me. Hey, he just posted about sex! You guys like sex, right? Then go check it out. Sex sex sex!

  • There's a new Watchmen trailer out, which has a handful of shots that aren't recycled from the previous trailer. This is from some awards show, so you get some "applause sign" cheering at the beginning and end.

    If for some reason that video is taken down, then you can watch this video instead, featuring the intro to a '70s kid show I watched as a young Mikester:

    That probably explains a few things about me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Man reacts poorly to bad joke, seriously injured in fall; Smythe of Scotlandyard arrested" 

from Ellery Queen #2 (Summer 1952)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"That's where gutter gangs wind up! In the gutter!" 

1. There's a lot of set-up prior to those three panels, but really, that's all you need to know.

2. Ah, the ol' "convenient plank left on a rooftop for a quick getaway to another rooftop" trick. There's no way that can possibly go wro -- EEEAAAA

3. "Jo-Jo?"

4. At least there's a moral at the end of this story, delivered by Lt. Straighttalk: SHAPE UP AND FLY RIGHT, YOU DAMN PUNK KIDS, OR BE A MANGLED BLOODY BODY IN THE GUTTER.

5. This is another scan from a coverless comic we received recently. Sure did get a lot of these. Also, since somebody asked...the scan from yesterday came from the same coverless issue of Suspense Stories I'd pulled some images from just a few days ago.

6. Yes, it's another crime comic scan. I've been having a busy week...I'm not quite at "Low Content Mode" this week, but it's pretty darn close. Thank you for your patience...and your readership!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Suddenly...a MONTAGE of CRIME. 

Yes, the birds were involved in the crimes, but they were just innocent patsies.

This guy is my favorite:

...the utter despair he's expressing at being a hapless victim of armed robbery just emanates from the page. Give that guy a Best Supporting Actor comic book Oscar.

The perspective on the arm looks a little funky to me. I just tried holding my arm in a position similar to that one, and...well, I think I'm close. It's a little uncomfortable. And how many of you reading this just tried it yourself, right now?

I'm trying to duplicate odd-looking poses in comic books. So it's come to this. Thank God I'm not doing this with an early '90s X-Men book...my spine would be broken.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Abner Scanlon was a gigolo!" 

Now that's how you kick off a story:

This is from a Johnny Craig-illustrated story in Vault of Horror #19 (Jun/Jul '51), though this particular scan came from one of those double-sized EC reprints published by Gladstone/Russ Cochran in '90 or '91, and darned if I can remember which one now. I just happened to come across this panel as I was listing some of those reprints on the eBay (ahem) and I remember thinking at that moment "wow, you never saw a set-up like that in a Superman comic!" (Or maybe you did...there are a whole bunch of Superman stories from the '40s that I haven't read.)

Anyway, I like that panel, crummy reproduction and all. And that's pretty much the beginning and end of my insight, there.

Speaking of gigolos: Chris Sims of the Invincible Super-Blog, a comics site of some renown, has recently announced the launch of his own comics imprint Action Age, which is quite possibly more awesome than we mere mortals deserve. Read about it at his weblog, then gift your eyes with the Action Age site itself. Tell 'em Mike sent you!

Aside from the slabbed 'n' graded versions, the inadequately censored version of All Star Batman #10 doesn't seem to be having quite the panicked eBay sales rush it was a few weeks ago. I'm that much closer to having my own copy!

And then there's this auction with that Obama issue of the New Yorker being sold in a lot with the ASB #10. ...Sure, why not?

And this is just a link to Neilalien, because all comics bloggers must pay homage to Neilalien for paving the way. ALL HAIL NEILALIEN.

(original here)

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