mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #4. 



from Nancy and Sluggo #133 (June 1956)


Friday, May 29, 2009

Progressive Ruin presents...the End of Civilization. 

It's again time to peek through the new Diamond Previews catalog and look for unique items of wonderment and magic...follow along in the June 2009 edition, if you'd like. And, as always, previous entries are linked in the sidebar.

p. 124-5 - Blammoids:

What th--?

No, seriously, what the hell are these things?


p. 130 - Supergirl Mini Neon Sign:

Oh, sure, it looks just like Superman's regular emblem, only this one's pink, the color most associated with his cousin Superg...hmm? What's that? Oh. Okay, lemme start again. It may look just like Superman's regular emblem, but this one is colored pink because Supergirl is a big ol' girl and that's the color girls get. So there.

p. 191 - Archie #600:

So you see, this story where Archie proposes to Veronica takes place in the near future, post-college, an era that the regular running-in-place Archie books will never, ever reach. If this does get any kind of real world media coverage, the kind that brings out the magpies, I am going to be explaining repeatedly why this doesn't mean Archie is actually married (assuming a marriage does happen in this story) from here on out.

p. 328 - Wolverine "Mutant Love" Blue T-shirt / Spider-Man "Love" White T-shirt:

So the plain vanilla "Love" shirt is for you staid, boring folks...but if you're ever looking for a little something...weirder, a little kinkier...well, brother, have we got the "Mutant Love" shirt for you.

Okay, I have no idea what I'm even going on about.

p. 340 - Barbie Harley Davidson Doll:

There now exists official Barbie-sized "pink faux leather chaps." No longer do I have to make my own!

p. 340 - Barbie Halloween Treat Doll:

Combine this with a complete set of Harry Potter books for an all-purpose witchery-themed gift package. Satan will be pleased!

p. 346 - Living Dead Dolls Pencil Topper:

In case you were concerned that your kid wasn't presenting enough reasons to worry to school officials, these should probably do the trick.

p. 356 - Friday the 13th Jason Voorhees Ring:

I know people for whom this would be a perfectly acceptable wedding ring.

p. 358 - Bi-Beast Mini-Bust:

Only noted here because at work I kept referring to this as the "Bi-Beast Bi-Bust," which I thought was funny, anyway.

p. 364 - Star Wars Oola Mini-Bust:

Terrible, terrible things are going to be happening to these busts once they get into the fans' hands. Unspeakable things. Wet things.

p. 382 - Star Wars Slave Leia Secret Wishes Costume:

Seems to me that most people's "secret wishes" regarding this costume really aren't all that secret. Including, I think, the secret wishes of the person wearing the costume. ("My eyes are up here, fanboy.")

p. 382 - Star Wars Jabba the Hutt Supreme Edition Costume:

Comes with "a battery-operated fan to keep you cool," according to the solicitation text. And believe you me, that's the only way you're going to be cool if you're wearing this costume.

p. 385 - Resident Evil Outbreak Mints:

"...Filled with .6 ounces of mints that will keep zombie breath at bay."

I don't even know what to say to that.

Marvel Previews p. 18 - Punisher Noir #1:

If it's one thing the Punisher franchise needed, it's to be made darker and grittier.

Marvel Previes p. 24 - Amazing Spider-Man #602:

In this issue, Mary Jane has been replaced with a giant plastic doll (as seen above). Will Peter notice?

Marvel Previews p. 83 - Marvel Masterworks Deathlok Vol. 1 HC:

Now, the easy joke at this point is "well, I guess Marvel has run out of other titles to give the Masterworks treatment." I don't want to do that, but...I don't know...Deathlok? As a Masterworks? Really?

p.113 - Marvel Bromance TPB :

"Marvel's greatest buddies take the spotlight in this one-of-a-kind collection, and it's male bonding like you've never seen - as Cable and Deadpool swap stories, Wonder Man and the Beast share a plane ride...."

I believe it was pal Dorian who observed that once Marvel got their hands on this particular term "bromance," that means it's likely near the end of its life cycle. We can only hope.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Swee'Pea does seem awfully excited about nuclear power plant jobs. 

And now...three things I never expected Swee'Pea to say:

Though, to be fair, that's not really anything I've ever expected Popeye to say, either.

Also, in Popeye's town careers are stenciled onto the back of your work clothes, and apparently folks of Asian descent are a bright yellow.

And it should be noted that to stare head-on into Popeye's face

is to stare directly into your nightmares.

images from Popeye and Environmental Careers (1973)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And now...motorcycles. 

from Hell-Rider #1 (August 1971) by Gary Friedrich, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In which I finally talk about some comics you might see on a modern day new arrivals rack. 

  • The first new Aliens comic in a while is coming from Dark Horse this week, and I'm wondering if it's been off the shelves long enough to make the heart grow fonder, or for people to simply not care about Aliens comics anymore. My feeling is more the former, if only judging by the positive reaction from several people to the Free Comic Book Day Aliens/Predator flipbook.

  • DC Library: Roots of the Swamp Thing hardcover - reprints the first thirteen issues of the original Swamp Thing series, plus the initial installment from House of Secrets #92. This would be the twelfth version of the story from #92 that I would own. Also, I believe this is the first time we've had a reprint of issues #11-#13, which are post-Bernie Wrightson's run, but are the last three issues of co-creator Len Wein's original run on the title. Those last three issues feature some great Nestor Redondo art, and I hope someday we'll get a good reprinting of the rest of the issues in this series. Not holding my breath, really.

  • Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink #1 - The only one of these Final Crisis follow-ups I've really liked so far is Run, though I have to admit that I didn't much of a chance to do more than glance through Dance which I'm being told is a good'un too. They've all been selling reasonably well at the shop so far.

  • Glamourpuss #7 - I'm still getting this, I'm still reading it, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it...but it's still keeping my interest, so there you go.

  • Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #6 - Wow, it seemed like this series was red hot for a while there, and now we can barely move any copies. Is everyone just waiting for the eventual trade collection, or was that early heightened interest in the series just being driven by its then-skyrocketing, and much hyped by the collector's market, back issue prices?

  • Ah, at last...the 2nd print of Muppet Show #1 is out this week, so I can finally get my own copy. (I gave up my copy of the first print to a customer, because I'm all selfless and sacrificing like that.) If you didn't get a chance to see this comic the first time around, give it a peek this time...cartoonist Roger Langridge created a spot-on recreation of the Muppet experience in comics form, and well worth your attention.

    Also, Muppet Robin Hood #1 is coming out this week as well. Looking forward to this one, too.

    Yeah, so I like the Muppets. What of it?

  • Stephen King's The Stand: American Nightmares #3 - Okay, so we've had one five-issue mini-series already, and we're three issues in on this series, and we're up to, what, page 12 of the novel? I don't think I'm going to live long enough to see this thing completed.

    Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit...but not much.

  • Trinity #52 wraps up DC's third weekly series, with the next weekly series appearing to be the 12-issue Wednesday Comics. Overall, I've...liked the Trinity series, but it's felt a bit like a quart of story poured into a 20 gallon barrel. I'd read an issue and feel like I'd just read the same story the previous week. Or two. Perhaps a reread is in order once the series is done, just to see if perhaps it holds up a bit more, but I've been meaning to reread the previous weeklies, 52 and Countdown, for a while now and I've never got around to those. Maybe someday.

  • Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #6 wraps up this way over-delayed mini-series, over three years after it began. I forget who pointed out that in that time, an animated Hulk Vs. Wolverine movie was produced and released, but...yeah, that.

    Anyway, a three year delay between issues of a mini-series is just plain stupid, and inexcusable. But at least the series finished (cough Daredevil: The Target cough). I'm still probably going to continue celebrating "Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk Day" just out of spite.

Monday, May 25, 2009

C'mon, I'm just trying to make a living, here. 

A brief exchange on the Twitter yesterday, starring pal Dorian, Kevin Church, Mark Hale, Chris Sims, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, and yours truly:

mikesterling Totally caught a guy switching back issue bags on us. Threw the son of a bitch out. FEAR MY WRATH.

beaucoupkevin Got kicked out of @mikesterling's shop because I was switching bags on his overpriced Valiant issues. Dick.

mikesterling @BeaucoupKevin: I'll have you know those issues of Archer & Armstrong are RARE AND HOT.

chaosmonkey @mikesterling: You just wait until Barry Windsor Smith dies! Then you'll eat your words!

dorianwright I wonder if @mikesterling found those fake ARCHER & ARMSTRONG issues I snuck into inventory?

theisb I hope Kevin gets here with those ARCHER & ARMSTRONG back issues soon. What's taking him so long?

bullytheLSB: When will @theisb ship me those ARCHER & ARMSTRONG issues I ordered from him?!?

Oh, those cards. Mark gets bonus cool points for referring to this.

So anyway, yeah, we caught some guy just blatantly opening up bagged back issues and swapping the bags around, trying to turn, for example, that $4.00 back issue comic from the '70s into a 1989 $1.00 comic. (Most of our back issues are marked with year and grade information on the tags, you see.) Once I determined he was doing this deliberately, and not accidentally, I politely invited him to get the hell out...and since everyone at the shop knows who the guy is, that made it a lot easier to let the employees know that he's totally banned. You know, as in "hey, [CUSTOMER'S NAME] isn't allowed back in the shop," rather than "so, that one guy, you know, with the hair...no, not him, that other guy, who bought that one comic...."

It's a drag, to be sure. I mean, kicking out someone who needs kicking out is fine. He had it coming, so I don't feel bad about that. But it's the fact that someone was trying to steal from us...a customer that we knew by name...that's depressing. Especially over something so trivial as only three or four dollars. It's not as if any of us are getting rich doing this, and with the economy the way it is, small business is already a struggle without someone trying to nibble away what little profit we're making.

99% of our customers are great. I love our customers. I've watched many of them grow up, get married, have kids...I've good relationships with most of them. They share good news with me, I'm a sounding board for their plans or ideas, I'm a sympathetic ear when they're down, and sometimes I even sell them comics.

So what I'm saying is that our relationship with our customers is, I like to think, a strong and friendly one. And when someone comes in and takes advantage, undermining that relationship by attempting to steal from us...that feels like a betrayal.

I'm taking this too personally, I realize. But it's hard not to. Part of the problem is thinking of this person as a customer, since he clearly wasn't.

Anyway, that all sounds like I'm taking this a lot harder than I really am. I've done the retail thing for a long time...dealing with shoplifters and other thieves is just part of the job, unfortunately. I try not to let these rare incidents get me down, and remain grateful for the vast majority of my customers who are good, decent people.

...And the customers of mine who also read this site are going to give me all kinds of crap about this post, I just know it. ("So, you looooooove me, Mike?" "No, you're in that 1% I don't like.")

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In which Dr. Doom, perhaps, goes a bit too far with his plans. 

Wow...aim high, pal. But I'm sorry, Vic ol' buddy, but one man has already set the standard for masculine beauty, and THIS IS THAT MAN.

I do like the detail on wall decorations, here...I suppose once Doom starts going face-commando maybe he'd want all the masked representations of himself changed accordingly. I could totally see Doom making his put-upon servants bust out the ladders and the hammers and the chisels to recarve all of these:

As a special Progressive Ruin flashback, here's an officially licensed product that features a representation of Doom's skyclad face, both with nose and without. And here's what Jack Kirby his own self thought Doom looked like under the mask.


Anyway, as an apology for inflicting the always-inappropriate term "face-commando" on you, please enjoy this bonus Dr. Doom panel, with a great pose:

'Course, he was interrupted while playing the piano, but still...DRAMATIC DOOM IS GO.

images from Fantastic Four #85 (April 1969) & #87 (June 1969) by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott

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