mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And now... 

...a few words from Turok #115 (May 1978):

Thank you.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm really not trying to pick on that guy, honest. 

Once again it was time for me to assemble a package for that mail-order customer of mine who gets his books about every two months...and once again, this helps me notice the shipping delays in a handful of books from Marvel and DC.

Well, not that I wasn't already aware...after all, a few weeks ago I went over the publishing schedule of Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four and found out that, as everyone on the planet expected, it was experiencing publication delays. And in the two months' worth of funnybooks I'm about to ship to this customer, there was only one issue of FF, #560, released 9/24. That's about five weeks after the previous issue, and we're at about a month and half between 560 and the yet-to-be-released 561 -- not that big of a deal, and mostly in line with the delays experienced by previous issues. Still a bit frustrating having to explain/apologize for its lateness to our customers.

Another Millar title, Wolverine, is experiencing even more extreme delays, as the last issue out was #68, released 8/27. Granted, it's hard to notice that any Wolverine title hasn't been shipping, since it seems like there are two or three new comics with the word "Wolverine" in the title every week. However, this one does stand out, since it's currently in the midst of the popular "Old Man Logan" storyline, and our customers have been constantly requesting the new installment. So, good: customers interested in a Wolverine story; bad: over two months since the last issue came out.

As much as we've been asked for Wolverine, we've had a lot more people asking us about the release of Batman #681, the last part of the R.I.P. storyline. Our customers are really interested is seeing how it works out, and it's really not all that late just yet. Well, okay, if the Batman series had been, on the whole, on time over the last year or so, the R.I.P. story would be done by now. But relatively speaking, the next issue of Batman is only about a week overdue. But that's enough to cause the influx of requests for it, it seems. Actually, customers started asking only about three weeks after the last ish...couldn't wait the full month, I guess.

In other news:
  • Former employee Kid Chris has thrown himself back into blogging, the sucker, and has been updating Bispectacult over the last few days. Of note: his Comics on Craigslist post, good for Big Laffs.

  • Pal Dorian looks at Previews, finds it lacking. Also finds statues of women scratching themselves. (How'd I miss that for the End of Civilization? How?)

  • I plan on going back and addressing your responses to my question about watching Smallville. It'll probably happen on Sunday, so if you have more things to say, just throw 'em into the comments section before then.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Links and a question. 

A few items of note:
  • Pal Nat's running a contest to find out what you...yes, you...would do with a blank comic book. Prizes aplenty to be given away! And it just so happens that Nat'll be offering five-packs of completely absotively, posolutely blank funnybooks for your nefarious use in the December Previews catalog, so you can eventually put all that brainstorming over the contest to work. More details at the link.

  • On a slightly related note...well, totally related, since I'm stealing this link from Nat...the entire archives of Peanuts comic strips is now online. Look, here's the first one. Here's one with adults in it. Here's the last one.

    Now if someone would do that with Bloom County, that'd be great.

    And it ain't all the Drabble strips, but eight years' worth is a good start. Who doesn't love Drabble?

  • Was talking to Customer Jamie at the shop yesterday, and found out he's been putting some of his art on that deviantART site that all the kids are into. Told him I'd link him up, so here you go. Hey, Employee Aaron, look in the gallery for his Hellboy pic!

  • And I learned via his Twitter thingie that TeamSmithy has put up his own terrifying interpretation of House of Secrets #92 (first appearance of...well, surely you must know by now) on his own deviantART page. It disturbs the senses, it does.

  • Stuff Geeks Love continues its march, covering boycotts, zombies, and hot food. Amusing, incisive reading.

  • Just out of curiosity, how many of you out there are still watching Smallville? I feel like I'm committed, at this point, to watching 'til the end just to see how it works out. And, frankly, watching how far off-model they're getting on the character, because seriously, without some serious Jor-El ex machina throwing a Kryptonian whammy on the people of Earth, there's not a person on the show who wouldn't be able to look at Clark once he puts on the tights and not say "Oh, hey Clark, nice cape."

    My previous explanation is that, since Smallville is apparently the "Head Injury Capitol of the World," everyone in town who could put two and two together about Clark and Supes have suffered enough memory loss that they wouldn't remember what Clark looked like. Now that he's in Metropolis, working as a reporter for a major newspaper after his apparent half-semester of college, I'm guessing enough people without brain damage have seen him, so maybe that excuse wouldn't fly any more. Who knows.

    However, I have been enjoying this season well enough...so long as they're giving Clark superhero-y things to do, and not doing the usual "everyone look weepy-eyed at each other and feed the 'shippers" shtick.

    So...Smallville. Still watching it?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Wherever bearded men in fezzes brandish daggers on riverbanks, Uncle Sam will be there to stop them!" 

from National Comics #44 (Oct. 1944)

Just a little patriotic panelology for this post-Election Day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Maybe you can't vote for Swamp Thing, but get out there and vote anyway. 

from Swamp Thing #113 (Nov. 1991)
by Nancy Collins, Tom Yeates & Shepherd Hendrix

I'm going to guess that Swamp Thing kickin' it on the couch watching TV with Abby and their kid and their hippie friend is probably not what Wein and Wrightson imagined when they first created this character. But it's great anyway.

Anyway, you Americans reading this, if you haven't done so already, get out there and vote!

And remember: Papoon for President! He's Not Insane!

Monday, November 03, 2008

This is the only issue of Cable that I have in my collection. 

Cable #34 (August 1996) by Jeph Loeb & Ian Churchill

Bought only because it was crossing over with an issue of Incredible Hulk, which I'd been reading since 1983. Not because I had any particular interest in the X-Men "Onslaught" storyline. Not because I had any particular need to see Hulk fight Cable. But just because "hmmmm...issue #444 of Hulk is going to feature the second half of the story, so I guess I'd better buy Cable #34 to get the first half."

And that's how crossovers like this are supposed to work. Get the fan who only reads this title to try out that title, and maybe enough a small portion of those who did buy that title will like what they read, and keep buying it.

As you may have surmised from the title of this post, I didn't keep buying Cable, though the comic was okay enough, I guess. It promised Cable fighting the Hulk, and it delivered Cable fighting the Hulk. In fact, it delivered more than that, since the X-Men's Storm popped up, too. And it did have the nice touch of Cable fighting some of the different incarnations of the Hulk ("The Professor," Gray Hulk, Savage Hulk) which was fun. There were also a couple of pages setting up a fight with X-Men villain Apocalypse in a future Cable issue, which didn't have anything to do with the Hulk and Cable beating the tar out of each other, so, eh, didn't care.

But the "first half of the story" I bought this for was, essentially, Hulk going after Cable on the behalf of this Onslaught cat. I think I probably could have gone into the Hulk half of this story cold, and understood that the first half of the story involved a fight of some kind. Frankly, you can go into most superhero comics cold and assume a fight lead into whatever it is you're reading.

Anyway, I don't tend to do that sort of thing -- buying an issue of a comic I don't normally read for a crossover -- any more. I barely even did it then, in the mid '90s. In fact, if it was any character other than the Hulk, I may have passed. If I miss a chapter of a story along the way...well, heck, I've read enough comics, I can probably fill in the blanks for myself. ("Hmmm...bet they fought in that chapter I missed.")

There are one-off crossovers that I'd meant to buy but never got around to picking up. Like that one issue of Micronauts that follows up on a story in Fantastic Four. And I'm not saying I'd never follow a character into another title for a crossover story...I'd follow Swamp Thing to just about any comic, not that it's, you know, been much of a problem lately. (And yes, I know about his appearances in that new Ambush Bug mini.)

So, in conclusion: Cable #34 - completely unnecessary to following the ongoing Hulk storylines of the time, but it was a fun all-fight issue and sometimes that's enough. Didn't need it, but I'm glad I own it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

In which Mike gets the response he least expected; plus other entertainments. 

So yesterday I decided to e-mail someone at eBay anyway about the whole canceled auction thing I talked about in my last post. I didn't anything to come of it, other than alleviating my need to say something to somebody there, even though I figured I'd get a canned response. Or, like the last time this happened to me, I'd just get the ol' "too bad so sad" from whoever was in the office answering e-mails that day.

I e-mailed them, asking that since my Honk! auctions were canned for allegedly being "too mature" for the regular listings, if I could look forward to those other Honk! auctions from other sellers being pulled as well. And the response I got was...oops, sorry, we shouldn't have canceled your auctions...that was our mistake, so we're reinstating them.

Whoa. EBay totally admitted that they fouled up, and corrected the error. That was the absolute last response I expected. Now, it could be I just caught someone in the office on a good day, or the person answering actually read what I was saying and looked at the auctions in question instead of just cutting 'n' pasting from eBay's policies, so I'm not expecting this to be the standard outcome when a similar situation occurs again. But it's nice to know that it's not entirely hopeless when it comes to getting someone there to reconsider a bad decision.

'Course, I already sold the mags outside of eBay, but it's the thought that counts. And I sold them to a regular reader, which is even better. Thanks to him, and again thanks to you folks for putting up with the commercial break.

Pal Scott mentioned in yesterday's comments the follow-up magazine to Honk!, called Centrifugal Bumblepuppy, another comics anthology. He didn't much care for it, and according to my records, I only have a couple of issues in the vast Mikester Comic Archives, so I guess I didn't either. Which is odd, because looking at my collection I seem to have quite a few late '80s/early '90s magazine-sized comics anthologies from a variety of publishers. There was Buzzard from Cat-Head Comics, or the Drawn & Quarterly series, or Tundra's Hyena. All good stuff...well, mostly good, all missed. That sure was a different time in the marketplace.

Employee Aaron went with friends to West Hollywood last night to celebrate Halloween, and aside from seeing men that Aaron quickly realized weren't supposed to be dressed as Wildcat, he spotted one "Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle" costume and one person in a full-on Captain America outfit. To the latter Aaron said "I'm sorry for your loss," but "Cap" didn't get it or even hear it, apparently. Ah, well.

And Joker Costume Count: well, 6 or 7 or so, as Aaron reports not seeing anyone in the costume until later in the evening, when he saw a bunch of Jokers running around in a group, all in the Dark Knight nurse costume. Disturbing.

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