mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"My promo item SCREAMS." 

So we received a small selection of promo stuff for the forthcoming Spirit film adaptation. Neatest of the items was this, a glow-in-the-dark shoe sticker:

Too bad we didn't get a whole bunch of these, with both left and right shoes, so we could make a trail of them across the window or something.

We also received a few temporary tattoos:

The instructions on the backing for this tattoo say that, after wetting it and holding it against your skin, you must "wait 30 seconds (don't hurry)." before peeling off the paper backing. "No, I can't wait a whole thirty seconds! The tattoo of womanly lips around the Spirit logo must be placed on my bicep IMMEDIATELY."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't really have a title for this post, sorry. 

So Employee Aaron has been picking a pack here and there of the new Marvel Masterpieces cards, and these two were in the pack he opened yesterday:

I have to admit, that made me laugh. Also, it once again reminded me how ungainly that helmet of Mysterio's looks. Seems like more trouble than it's worth, frankly.


Felt my nerd cred was slipping, so I had to point that I was listening to an album by a Star Trek: The Next Generation cast member.

Also, it seems it's a rare-ish item, since copies of this CD tend to go for a pretty penny on the eBay. It's not bad...Spiner croons pleasantly enough, and four fellow Trek veterans provide back up on one song (Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, and Patrick Stewart). This group of Trekkers is referred to in the liner notes by the group name "The Sunspots," but surely "The Away Team" would have been better? If only they'd asked me about this when they were assembling the album 17 years ago.

Anyway, if you have a copy of this, you're a nerd. You know, like me. Just saying.

(By the way, as I was writing this the Spiner album finished and the iTunes moved to the next album: "Peace Through Vandalism" by the Vandals. There's some musical whiplash for you.)

Speaking of Star Trek, we've lost Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and featured performer, guest star, or computer voice in just about every produced incarnation of the show. That includes the forthcoming Star Trek reboot/remake/relaunch, for which she'd just completed voiceover work earlier this month.

So long, Majel.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A most peculiar new comic book release. 


Okay, it seems to do a good job reintroducing the basic Beanworld concepts to new readers, and, well, reminding older readers about where things were left standing at the end of the original Tales of the Beanworld series. (I'd forgotten that one character was hep to another character's long-standing secret, for example.) I imagine, even as clearly told as this self-contained story is, some elements may be a tad baffling to newcomers, but hopefully it's a bafflement of the "wow, this is very strange but compelling and I want to see more" variety and not the "what th--? Beans? I'm going to buy one of the seven monthly Wolverine titles instead" type. At any rate, there's nothing quite like it, and am very happy to see it back.

There's a brief preview on Dark Horse's site, and of course you can always pop in on Beanworld creator Larry Marder's weblog and give him a howdy-do. Plus, Mr. Marder just announced a fan-run Beanworld Wiki, so you can Read More About It if you'd like.

In conclusion: Beanworld - I have, won't you?

In other news:
  • The new issue of Ex Machina is pretty swell, too. Yeah, it's the old trope of "creators of the book writing themselves into the story," but trust me, it's worth the payoff. Artist of America's finest comic shop webcomic The Rack, Benjamin Birdie, has some words to say about it in his glowing review.

  • SPOILER for one of the three Avengers comics that came out this week, I forget which one...probably not Marvel Adventures: Avengers:

    So Hank Pym asks someone, this blond gal, whoever she might be, I don't care, to explain to him what he's missed since he was off fighting Skrulls or whatever, and what follows are several full-page (mostly) wordless splashes representing whatshername's descriptions of the last few crossover events, like "House of M" and "Planet Hulk" and such. In the middle of this progression of pages is a full-page ad for the forthcoming "Spider-Man: Character Assassination" story arc and in context it looks all the world like Hank Pym is being told "oh, and then Spider-Man's continuity was pretty soundly borked by editorial fiat in this awful story, even though pretty much everyone thought it was a bad idea except the guy in charge."

    Or maybe I'm reading too much into it, and should just let it go. But it amused me, which is more of an impact than I usually get from the Avengers books.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let's all go to the movies, let's all go to the movies. 

  • At long last, the DVD release we've been waiting for:


    Not quite the special edition George Lucas was talking about here (zipped MP3, under 3/11/04), but it's not a bare-bones edition either. According to this article, it looks like it'll actually feature new material, covering the special effects and music, as well as looking back at the film's release. It will also include the "news featurette" that I've talked about before, long ago, in which Howard is treated and talked about as if he were a real person making a film of his life...at least, I think that's what the "news featurette" is. Or maybe it's the teaser trailer. I have no idea.

    Alas, one of my wishes for a DVD release was commentary by Howard's creator Steve Gerber, but perhaps it's just as well. It probably would have been ninety minutes of Mr. Gerber just sort of sighing heavily at regular intervals.

    There doesn't appear to be any commentary track at all, it seems, but I'm guessing these guys will pick up the slack.

    It's due March 10th, just in time for my birthday, he hinted, and if you can't wait to place your order...here you go:

    Anyway, be sure to read this article for more info...in particular, the shocking art alteration they're making to the DVD cover! Shocking, I tell you. Start your surely-effective internet petitions now!

  • So you may have heard about that Watchmen movie that's coming out, maybe, barring legal hoohar. And you may have heard that they're doing a tie-in video game. Well, Internet pal Dave has the first and last word on the subject, I think.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In which I slip the chains and make it to a store aside from our shop. 

So one of the side effects of the Christmas season is that it actually gets me into toy stores looking for presents. I haven't been in a toy store since...well, probably since last Christmas when I was busy buying myself something that pal Dorian was planning on buying me.

One of the things I saw that was new to me, but probably old hat to a bunch of you, I'm sure, is the Hot Wheels Mystery Car:

(Image totally stolen from an auction on the eBay, by the way.) I know this isn't a new idea, particularly in the comic market where we've had several permutations of the "mystery item in the box" products. In this case, if it's not clear from the image, a car is sealed in a solid black plastic bubble, and you have a chance of getting one of a series of twenty-four cars. Of course, in the stores I saw these in, the cars were racked out of sight of any consistent observation by employees and therefore most of the packages were cracked open, which shows just how much those customer bases love a mystery.

Something else I saw while I was out and about was the Malcolm McDowell "Linderman" figure from Heroes:

Just thought it was notable because, dude, MALCOLM MCDOWELL ACTION FIGURE. Comes with an alternate head, apparently, which I didn't realize until I was, ahem, borrowing this image from the Toys R Us site:

I think (SPOILER, if you care) this is supposed to represent Linderman during his death scene. That...that's kinda weird.

We've had McDowell action figures before, such as this one: Dr. Soran from Star Trek: Generations:

Not much on the likeness front, but the face comes pretty close in the "disturbing" category to the Linderman death mask:

"Why, Captain Picard! You surprise me!"

I also spotted in Toys R Us one lonely "Comics Collector Pack" holding two comics. It grabbed my attention because it contained a copy of Marvel's Weird Wonder Tales #22 from 1973...flipping it over revealed the other book in the pack as Warlock and the Infinity Watch #13. Didn't spot a price. Wonder which store's closeout stock supplied these things?

A couple of links of note:

Reader Monty, triggered by discussion of movie novelizations in recent months on this site, has refocused his movie weblog upon those very books. First out the gate: the Grease novelization. It's as terrifying as you may imagine.

And I've been meaning to link to this for a while, but former employee Josh #2 has started a blog of his own, so go visit the boy and make him feel loved.


It was pal Dorian what made me do it, Your Honor.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hello to my three remaining readers! 

  • Employee Tim noted something to me yesterday as he was working on the cycle sheets: Kevin Smith's Batman: Cacophony #2 hasn't come out yet. The first issue was released November 12th, and if it's supposed to be monthly, issue #2 would have been out last Wednesday. And since it's not going to be out this coming Wednesday, that means it's a minimum of six weeks between these two issues.

    Not a big deal, especially nowadays where a delay of a week or two is fairly common on monthlies, but something to keep an eye on considering the assurances made ahead of time for this series. ('Course, I think the assurances made have been more along the lines of "all the scripts are in" and "it won't take years to complete, honest" rather than "this series won't be late at all.")

  • So that reprint of Watchmen #1 came out last week, and whenever we get a comic in with a promotional price point (like Watchmen's $1.50) I like to put a tag on the shelf to advertise it.

    Here's the tag I put up...you can blame Employee Aaron for giving me the idea for the Watchmen-related details I added:

    We find our fun where we can.

    Now, I did make an effort to let people know that there was only going to be the #1, but I am curious to see if, a month or so from now, we start getting inquiries for the second issue.

    It does make me wonder, if DC went ahead and just rereleased the entire series, how it would sell. We ordered modestly on the first issue, figuring we might move a handful of copies off the shelf and then have them around as "samplers" for people who don't want to drop twenty bucks for the softcover. But we sold through all our copies over the weekend, and that has me thinking that maybe there are enough comic fans out there who don't tend to buy trade paperbacks to make a full comic book format reprinting of the Watchmen series worthwhile. I know it's hard to imagine, given the general direction of the comics market from periodicals toward collections, but there are still comic fans who resist buying any squarebound reprint books. And, equally hard to believe I'm sure, there are still comic fans who haven't read Watchmen. A full twelve issue reprint series could be a good way to grab at least some of those holdouts.

    Hey, with a movie coming out, you might as well hit every market level while you can. I'm hoping...praying...for a prose novelization of the Watchmen movie knocked out by Hacky McHackerton. You just know that would be fantastic.

  • I was poking through a copy of Harvey Hits #1 (1986) and noticed this story with Richie Rich and Little Audrey, ripped from today's headlines 22 years ahead of time:

    Basically, they're strapped into this menacing-looking chair and they're "thought-projected" into a TV show they can watch:

    But there is one hideous, horrible aspect to these shows they're generating:


    Seriously, this is terrifying, watching those big ol' noggins threaten to snap their spindly little bodies like balsa wood.

    But this does bring up the idea of body-image in the Harvey-verse. Are the characters aware of the freakishly-large craniums they have? Does this awareness translate to an exaggerated self-image that, as seemingly evidenced by the thought-projection seen above, results in a belief in a body-versus-head size ratio far greater than actuality?

    Surely this serious topic requires further investigation.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


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