mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #13. 



from Nancy #161 (December 1958)


Friday, July 31, 2009


"Identities of nearby non-Wednesday Comics-reading bystanders obscured to save them embarrassment." Also, you can barely see it, but Employee Aaron is wearing one snappy sweater.

Here's another pic that I'd posted to the Twitter the other day, when it turned out that, at one point during work hours, I was the only person in the shop not wearing an Aquaman hat. Here are the boys, employees Kid Chris and Aaron, mocking my Aquaman-hatlessness:

In other news:
  • Pal Dorian presents a couple more Wildcat sketches he obtained from the San Diego convention: Phil Bond and Art Baltazar.

  • As promised last week, the first chapter of Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N. is up for your free reading! Yes, I said free reading! Go read, enjoy.

  • Pal Scott's been posting pages from his uncompleted comic Heartache Saloon. I always did like his art style.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Progressive Ruin presents...the End of Civilization. 

Oh, good gravy, it's that time again, when I poke through the latest issue of Diamond Previews and see what wonders await within. There's a lot of good stuff in this issue, in fact (Complete Bloom County? What manner of sorcery is this?), but that can wait for another time. Until then, crack open your August 2009 Previews catalog and follow along with me as I take a gander at the goofy stuff. (And check out previous installments, linked in the sidebar somewhere.)

p. 128 - Catwoman (Classic) 1:6 Scale Deluxe Collector Figure:

For some reason it looks like it's based on a Jim Balent design to me...not quite sure why, can't exactly put my finger on it....

p. 171 - Witchblade #131:

So I guess it's a big secret who the new Witchblade is going to be. There are so many well-rounded characters to choose from....

(Yes, that was two breast jokes in a row. I'm not proud.)

p. 201 - Archie #602:

This is part 3 of the "Future Archie Marries Future Veronica" story arc, and included in the solicitation is the absolutely last thing I've ever wanted to read in a description of an Archie story:

"Can Archie get through Lamaze class without causing a commotion? Can he make it through the actual birth without full-scale panic?"

Those two lines have upset the natural order of the world. Brother turns upon brother. Fire rains from the sky.

p. 217 - Tribute: Michael Jackson, King of Pop:

I was wondering who'd be first out the gate with a Michael Jackson tribute comic. Sorry Antarctic, IDW, looks like Bluewater beat you out. (I'm wondering if anyone will reprint that Captain Eo comic...dude, Tom Yeates art!)

p. 217 - Vincent Price Presents Special: The Tingler #2:

No idea how I missed #1 last time. Anyway, I wonder if there's a way to randomly include electric buzzers to deliver a mild shock in copies of this comic? "Huh, that's funny...this copy of The Tingler #2 has a giant bump and a bunch of wires under this endpaper glued into the inside back cover...I wonder whOW DAMMIT"

p. 254 - Stephen King & Peter Straub's The Talisman #0:

Okay, I realize the pic is only symbolic, representing a full novel and not an actual image of the final printed comic, but it's still amusing to see this:

...with this description:

Wow, those are some thick pages, apparently.

p. 327 - Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters SC:

Ah, from the "Hoping Lightning Strikes Twice" publishing library. When Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out, we were making up our own "...and Zombies" books at the shop. Like A Tale of Two Cities, and Zombies. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...and there were zombies." It's fun, try it at home.

p. 348 - Zombie "Evolution" Black Glow-in-the-Dark Shirt:

I am terribly offended by the inclusion of such secular teachings in this issue of Previews. I must insist in the interest of academic freedom that the presentation of intelligent zombie design also be included.

p.349 - Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor's Coat and Serenity: Malcolm Reynold's Browncoat:

I don't really have a joke here...just a story pal Dorian and Employee Aaron related to me from their San Diego Comic Con experience, which I was reminded of when seeing the Who jacket solicited right next to the Firefly movie jacket.

Anyway, Dor and Aaron (and Employee Timmy and pal Dana, who'd get mad if I don't mention them, too) attended Sunday's Doctor Who panel, which included the show's star David Tennant. When the panel started taking questions from the audience, the first question to Mr. Tennant was the following (paraphrased):

"Was your decision to wear the trenchcoat as the Doctor meant to be a tribute to the Firefly tv show?"

According to Aaron, Mr. Tennant did briefly pull the "are you kidding me?" face, but answered very diplomatically, stating that he simply told the producers he had wanted to wear a long coat as part of the costume, and that was that.

Not sure what that teaches us, other than some folks just gotta find connections between everything.

By the way, the Doctor's jacket is $300, and the Serenity jacket is $350. In case you want to save up.

p. 356 - Star Trek Kirk vs Gorn AF Two-Pack:

You know, when I was a kid, I had the Mego Star Trek figures, and the Gorn I owned looked nothing like the television show's Gorn. You kids today, you've got it easy.

But then again, I don't remember ever really being bothered that my toy Gorn looked different from TV Gorn. I guess I was able to manage.

p. 370 - Mr. Potato Head KISS Collector Set:

For some reason I'm now picturing the actual members of KISS applying their make-up via plastic pieces on posts jammed into holes in their faces. That's just how tough they are, maaaaan.

p. 406 - The Big Lebowski: The Dude Wig & Goatee Set:

With minor alteration, will also round out your Charles Manson costume for this Halloween.

p. 410 - Obama Change Bust Bank:

Now, they tell me this bank was manufactured in America, but until we see the long-form factory manifests, how can any of us be sure? Just what are you hiding, Mr. Obama Change Bust Bank?

p. 411 - A Charlie Brown Christmas Nativity Set:

Until today I've never thought of Woodstock as a Christ figure. Would that make Snoopy God? How does Charlie Brown fit into this? ...Clearly Lucy is the Devil. Or maybe the Cat Next Door.

p. 423 - Munchkin Halloween Chibithulhu Plush:

Aren't they running out of holidays for these cutesy themed Cthulhu dolls? Have they done Arbor Day yet? National Secretary's Day? Hanukkah?

Marvel Previews p. 51 - Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution:

So the cover is too shocking to show in the catalog from which we need to make our orders, but apparently we're expected to display on the rack once we get them. Okay.

Next time, just tell us the cover art wasn't ready at press time.

p. 101 - The Thing: Project Pegasus Premiere HC:

A long time ago, one of Marvel's earliest trade paperbacks was a collection of these same Marvel Two-in-One issues for...I don't know, $6.95 or something. And as I recall, there was a lot of grief in the fan press at the time about Marvel unloading unnecessary and expensive reprint collections into the marketplace, some of it specifically in reaction to that original Project Pegasus book. Wonder what those people would have said if you told them that, someday, that very book would be a $25 hardcover.

Probably the same thing they would have said if you told them about $3.99 monthly comics.

A tip o'the toupee to Chris Sims for some production assistance. Hint: it was a breast joke.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seriously, if you say you liked this character, God will get you for fibbing. 

  • Andrew brings us the latest installment of Nobody's Favorites, this time featuring that one character from Teen Titans everyone hated, and if you say you liked him, you're a damned dirty liar.

  • Been meaning to link to this for a while, but it's worth checking out: the official sites for The Variants, a web-based comedy video series based at a comic book store. Site currently features several short promo videos. Close, Personal Internet Pals are involved, so I may be a bit biased is saying that this looks like it'll be pretty good.

  • Here's a new comics blogger on the scene, and he has his own commentary on the recent Marvelman publishing news. I'm looking forward to more posts from him.

  • Pal Dorian has posted the first of presumably several Wildcat sketches that he got at the San Diego convention. First up: Aaron Williams!

  • So Kevin Church (or as some prefer to call him, "Beaucoupkevin") recently posted on his Twitter thingie about some retailer's inability to sell DC's Sunday funnies-esque Wednesday Comics. I responded to his with my in-store strategy as to how to sell Wednesday Comics, which I'll repeat here in somewhat-expanded, no longer limited to 140 characters form:

    Me (opens up Wednesday Comics, shows it to customer): "Hey, have you seen this?"

    Customer: "Wow, that's pretty neat!" (buys Wednesday Comics)

    And that's really all it took in a lot of cases. And no, I'm not doing this hardsell on every single person who walks in the store...I am trying to show it to regulars who do like their superhero books, but may have passed Wednesday Comics by on the shelf.

    What I'm trying to say is that it shouldn't be hard to sell. For the sheer novelty of the format alone, you can probably move a few copies...and it doesn't hurt that the actual comics are generally pretty good.

  • Speaking of selling funnybooks, I did watch the "Blackest Night" interview/trailer extra feature thingie on the Green Lantern: First Flight DVD, and it does an awful job on trying to sell people on the series. Now, I've been reading comics for 35+ years, I'm a Green Lantern fan, and I'm one of the few people online who willingly admits that he liked Blackest Night, and I had a hard time following just what they were trying to tell me about this series. And having a bunch of extreme close-ups of comic panels flash by on-screen, leaving little impression beyond vague figures and colors, didn't help.

    Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit, but not by much, I don't think. It's definitely preaching to the converted, which is shame as it ain't just the converted who'll be watching this disc. On the other hand, who else would a series like Blackest Night be intended for?

    The actual Green Lantern cartoon itself wasn't bad, though. I'll try to post a slightly more extended review of it later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hey, remember when Miracleman #8 finally came out and it was just 1950s Marvelman reprints and we were all totally annoyed? 

Just thinking about that for some reason.

So, anyway, some bits of business from San Diego:
  • As you've probably heard, Marvel Comics has acquired the publishing rights to Marvelman, which is kind of a big deal considering the convoluted ownership history of the character. Steve Bissette has a great run-down of just how much of a mess that history is. As Steve says, and as Alan Doane noted in that post of his I linked yesterday, this deal may not necessarily guarantee the release of what everyone actually wants: the Marvelman revival material from the '80s (released as Miracleman by Eclipse Comics). Mark Buckingham, the series' last artist, seems pretty upbeat about it, so we'll see. I'm presuming Marvel didn't go through the trouble just to have more 1950s material to put into expensive hardcover editions. Now wouldn't that be a bit of ironic repeating of history? It would be like what happened with Miracleman #8 (where we waited what seemed like forever for the next chapter of the story, and got reprints instead), writ large.

    Anyway, what I wanted to mention was some of the online reaction to the news, a lot of which was along the lines of "so what?" "Who cares?" Or my favorite, "Yawn." I don't know, I think the possibility of the return to print of early comics work by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman is kind of a big deal. Particularly a work as influential and as highly-regarded as Marvelman (which, I swear to God, I still keep calling Miracleman when I talk about this news at the shop, and keep wanting to type that name here as well). And, as Mr. Bissette mentioned, that John Totleben's artistic tour-de-force that accompanied Moore's final storyline is out of print is a damned shame.

    Should also note that Marvel wasted no time, in that they're already selling the "MM" t-shirts in their online store, and soliciting orders for a Joe Quesada-drawn poster.

  • DC Comics has apparently nailed down the publishing rights to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, which had its own ownership rights issues throughout the '80s, when it seemed like a half-dozen different companies all tried to claim the property. Kind of curious how the current audience will respond to these characters. Marvelman, at least the '80s version, features Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, which would help sell those comics to a modern audience. The appeal of the original T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is that they were of outstanding quality, with work by many an amazing artist (Wally Wood, Russ Heath, Steve Ditko, many more). And it didn't hurt that there weren't too many ofthem, so they were relatively easy to collect. For most fans today (unless they're old enough to have nostalgia for the originals, or they've picked up on the characters via back issue collecting, or they encountered them during the various '80s revivals), introducing these characters outside of the context of those original comics would just mean "hey, look, more guys in costumes."

    I suspect DC already realizes that (given that they plan to reintroduce the characters in other DC Universe books) but I'm still curious how it'll play out.

  • The biggest news from the convention, however, is Fantagraphics announcing the Complete Bushmiller NANCY reprint project. Judging by the number of people who've left comments about it on my site, e-mailed me, or even linked to me in their own announcements about the project, folks are assuming that I would be happy about this turn of events.

    My response was pretty much exactly like that, only I was wearing a shorter skirt.

  • A couple more collections of Flickr pics from San Diego: Kevin Church brings the black and white, and pal Dana is cosplay ahoy! in her photos: here she is totally ready to exterminate you.

  • So enough about the San Diego convention...it's now all about Bully Con 2009!

In more commercial news, that new Green Lantern: First Flight animated DVD is out today, and if you plan on buying it, how 'bout using one of these links:

Green Lantern: First Flight (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Green Lantern: First Flight (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]

Green Lantern: First Flight (Single-Disc Edition)

...and help a pal out? I'll get a smidgen of coinage from each purchase via those links, and every little bit helps. Thanks! (I should be viewing a copy soon, so hopefully I'll have some kind of review up eventually.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Don't you fools know when to gif up?" 

from The Original Shield #4 (Oct. 1984) by Martin Greim & Dick Ayers

Now, with a set-up like that, I should be filling this post with animated gifs, but alas, it's been a long day, I've had no time to work on the stuff I was planning, and so all I've got is a couple of links. Sorry, pals, but it's been a rough weekend.

Okay, let's hope for some actual real content from me tomorrow. See you then, pals.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

This is a fetish for someone. 

from Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #121 by Cary Bates, Werner Roth, Vince Colletta & Murphy Anderson

Yet another panel recently spotted 'n' scanned here at Progressive Ruin Industries. I'd like to think this establishes Superman most certainly is not a dick, helping old folks across a chasm like that. Sure, he feels the need to point out his "super spinal column," but one would hope that's out of a need to reassure the citizens, and not some odd form of self-aggrandizement.

Yes, that was a late reference to the whole "Superman is a dick" thing. This post brought to you by the year 2005.


Anyway, I do have a few things to say about announcements/events at the San Diego Comic Con, but hopefully that'll be on Monday. Because I'm sure you won't see enough online commentary on the topic between now and then.

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