mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #17. 



from Nancy #158 (September 1958)


Friday, August 28, 2009

Today is the 92nd birthday of Jack Kirby. 

front and back covers of The Comic Reader #100 (Aug-Sept 1973)

I thought about looking for a sample video of Wolverine and Kitty, but you can go look yourself. 

So last night on the Twitter, the topic of Nena's hit song "99 Luftballons" came up, in the context of its usage in the Watchmen movie. I noted that any mention of "99 Luftballoons" (or the English version, "99 Red Balloons") would remind me of a parody of the song by Tim Cavanaugh, entitled "99 Dead Baboons," which used to pop up a lot on the Dr. Demento radio show in the '80s.

Anyway, I went Googling about for some info on the parody, and found a Youtube video for the song. Not an official video, but rather a fan-made video where someone accompanied a playback of the song with a bunch of anime imagery:

Now, I'm familiar with the idea of fan-made music videos on the YouTube, where someone would, say, pull out-of-context stills or clips from the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, string 'em together into a slide show where it sort of implies that Wolverine is banging the gong slowly with Kitty Pryde, and then have it accompanied by "All Out of Love" by Air Supply.

I may be exaggerating slightly (very slightly), but in that theoretical case with Wolverine and Kitty, I can at least see the motivation of the person who made the video. But the parody song with the (seemingly) random anime pics? Just don't get it. Unless the person was just being deliberately obtuse, but who knows?

I did look briefly into the YouTube comments for any info...yes, yes, I know, someone saying they're going to look at YouTube comments is like watching a secondary character in a slasher film decide to wander off into a darkened hallway. You can't help but think "no, you idiot, don't do it!" And you'd be right...all looking at the comments did is make me fervently hope the Swine Flu will wipe out humanity.

So, anyway, there you go: "99 Dead Baboons," with bonus anime. I find you people of Earth to be most peculiar.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Progressive Ruin presents...the End of Civilization. 

Hey, look, it's a new issue of Diamond Previews...the September 2009 edition, in fact! Come along with me as I point out some items of note. If you'd like, you can find links to previous installments in the sidebar somewhere.

Well, let's see what's being unleashed upon us this time around:

p. 130 - Women of the DC Universe Series 3 Batgirl Bust:

"...This rendering of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, as the heroine dances the Watusi."

The Watusi. The Watusi. You cultureless heathens, surely you must recognize the beauty of the Batusi:

p. 136 - Image United #1 [of 6]:

"You can't miss this historic event as the original Image Founders draw all the characters they made history with. Each page is an amazing jam piece...."

I read that, and all I can think, however unfairly, is "latest...comic...ever."

Also, somewhere Jim Lee is thinking "I didn't want to go to their lousy party anyway."

p. 190 - Sherlock Ninja:

This month's installment of End of Civilization contains three images that will unbalance your mind, make you question the nature of existence, and undermine any belief you may have in a loving almighty being. This is the first.

That said, given my love for peculiar permutations of Sherlock Holmes, I'll probably give this a look. I mean, how could I not?

p. 196 - Archie & Friends #137:

"Archie Babies." Really. (This is the second of the three disturbing images.)

Also, to build upon Employee Timmy's idea, surely someday we shall see X-Babies Vs. Muppet Babies Vs. Archie Babies.

p. 348 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fugitoid Collector Figure:

Seriously, Fugitoid. Coming shortly after the debut of the Turtles themselves, this comic appears to have been ordered in large numbers by many stores at the time, perhaps in the expectation of another TMNT-like success story.

Well, um, didn't quite turn out that way, though the character popped up in cartoons and another comic or two. But this original Fugitoid mag is one of those things that turns up in collections all the time. Seems like anyone buying comics in the mid '80s picked up a copy (or three) of this. Hell, I have one. Even if you weren't buying comics at the time, you probably have one in your collection. You might not even know it. I'm pretty sure they just spontaneously generate in one of your boxes once you acquire a certain number of comics.

In conclusion: a new Fugitoid figure. Huh. Neat.

p. 348 - Smurfs Urban Vinyl Figures:

Okay, at 6 inches tall they're not quite the required "three apples high" to be "life-sized," but, you know, they're close. You can buy a bunch of these and set up your very own Smurf village in your living room. Then you can put on your Gargamel costume and pretend to chase the Smurfs around and...um, perhaps I've said too much.

p. 348 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Original Party Van:

Okay, that does look pretty rad ("rad" being the preferred term when describing something sufficiently gnarly from the 1980s), but you know what makes this a totally awesome party van?


p. 360 - Star Wars Mustafar Volcano Lab:

Surely one could have believed that the time-honored messy volcano "science project," as seen in many a sitcom, could evade the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut, but no.

p. 364 - Aliens 1/1-Scale Lifesize Chestburster Bust:

At last, a little decor for the dinner table. All I need is a prone and gutted 1/1-Scale Lifesize John Hurt Statue for this to rest in, and I'll be set.

p. 383 - Taki Corporation Collection: Ikki Tousen Nurse Uniformed Figures:

It appears the ceilings are mighty low in this hospital.

p. 385 - Spongebob Squarepants 400 Percent Be@rbrick:

This is the third of the three disturbing images. You'll be seeing him again...in your dreams.

p. 385 - Star Trek The Original Series The Communicator VOIP Internet Phone:

In case you didn't feel quite nerdy enough chatting with friends over the internet. Anyway, we're one step closer to having an actual, honest-to-Roddenberry Star Trek cell phone that looks like the original communicators. (I know some Trek-themed cell phones have been released...but I can't find any that look like those in the above picture. Am I missing them?)

Marvel Previews p. 3 - Marvelman by Joe Quesada Poster:

"Hi, kids! Miracl...er, Marvelman here. You'll be seeing and hearing a lot about me in the months to come, while me 'n' the gang at the House of Ideas get a few more problems straightened out. In the meantime, enjoy my poster...put me up next to that Spawn/Miracleman poster you own, next to your display of the Miracleman action figures and statues. I'll look great there! And, someday, you'll have comics to put with your collection, too! Oh, boy, I can't wait to team up with Wolverine, or join the New Avengers!

"Anyway, buy my poster, and I'll see you soon. Thanks, pals! --MM"

p. 62 - Deadpool Team-Up #899:

Oh, good, a third ongoing Deadpool series. Hey, if we cut that goose open, we'll get at those golden eggs even faster!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Okay, I finally finishing watching the Watchmen DVD. 

While there were several things in the Watchmen that were changed from the comic, most didn't bother me a whole lot. Particularly in the first half of the film, where most of the changes were done to streamline the story to keep the narrative under the three hour mark. And that's fine.

But a couple of things did bug me quite a bit, like altering Rorschach's final speech to the psychologist (a gutwrenching piece in the original), or Dr. Manhattan's speech to Laurie about changing his mind about humanity (close to the original, but somehow simplified, "dumbed-down," and less convincing), but the one omission that bothers me the most? Leaving out the final confrontation between Adrian and Manhattan:

The filmmakers at least recognized that the "nothing ever ends" line should be in the film, but as I complained last time, giving the line to another character to relate as something Manhattan "might say" sure undermines its impact.

Anyway, that was the one thing that really bothered me the most. Yes, more than changing the actual climax of the film, which I've already gone on about in that old review of mine. Sometimes the new ending bothers me, sometimes I get what they were trying to do...I have mixed feelings about it. But, eh, I'll deal.

Also, not enough Seymour.

So, did any of you folks rewatch the Watchmen movie in its DVD release? Did you alter your opinions on the film at all?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If I ever use "L@@K" non-mockingly, you have my permission to shoot me. 

So there are new comics coming tomorrow:
  • Batman and Robin #3 and #2 second printing - Well, that second printing of #2 is here just in time, since I just put our last copies of the first print into the back issue bins. "$15 RARE HOT 1ST PRINT L@@K." Okay, I didn't really do that. But this series is currently our top-selling title that isn't Blackest Night, which is nice, since it is a good, solid Bat-title. I am curious if we'll see a slight dip in sales with the non-Frank Quitely-illustrated arc coming up. Not that Grant Morrison's writing alone doesn't sell the book, but the two-headed Morrison/Quitely comic-creating monster really has our customers' interest up in this title.

  • Batman: The Widening Gyre #1 - Well, Kevin Smith's last Batman 3-issue mini-series was more or less on time, so DC's tempting fate by giving him a 6-issue series. The debut issue of that first series sold well, though sales dipped a bit in the second and third...but, oddly enough, it's been a strong back issue mover. Let's see how this one does.

  • Barack the Barbarian #2 - Hell, the customers liked the first one. Seems like the more bizarre the Obama comics become, the more folks seem to like 'em.

  • Cerebus Archive #3 - Looks like I'm the only person at this shop still reading this. Hey, I think it's neat.

  • Citizen Rex #2 - This series by Mario and Gilbert Hernandez seemed to slip underneath the radar of many a Love & Rockets man, as we're still pointing it out to folks who hadn't heard about it. It's peculiar and fun, featuring robots and bloggers, and I'm at least one of those things so of course I love it.

  • Darkness/Pitt #1 - Every time I'm reminded of Pitt, I remember back in the '90s when we got a case or two filled with Pitt #1s and we sold every last darn copy of it. Those were the days. And then I look at our relatively minuscule orders on this crossover book and I think "wow, I hope we can sell all these."

    On the other hand, if one were to somehow cajole Dale Keown into doing a regular Pitt series again, I imagine it would do reasonably well.

  • Fantastic Four #570 - First issue with the new creative team (Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham), which means it's time for me to evaluate again whether I'm going to read the FF or not, like I do every time the creative team changes. Actually, it looks good, so I think I'll probably stay on.

  • Flash: Rebirth #4 - Boy, our customers really noticed how late this book was. Lots of demand for it, at least in our area. (And about that panel I reproduced yesterday from issue #3 - I've thought the art on the series so far has been okay, but man, didn't anyone look at that Superman drawing and think "that looks a little odd; maybe it should be redrawn." It was actually enough to kick me out of the story a bit.)

  • Halo: Helljumper #2 - Notice customers are a little gunshy about picking up this series, given the incredible delays on the previous mini.

  • Hulk #14 and Incredible Hulk #601, not to mention Son of Hulk #14 - Oh, no, we couldn't space these out over different weeks, we HAD to have them all come out at the same time, and during a week where Marvel's already putting out an assload of other titles. That's fantastic.

  • Last Days of Animal Man #4 - This has been a fun little series so far. Still not enough Green Lantern Whale in it for my tastes, however.

  • Muppet Show TP and Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson #2 - If you haven't read these yet (well, okay, I'll let you slide on Peg Leg #2 since it's not out yet), I'm asking you...I'm begging you to check them out. Roger Landridge's Muppet Show is about as close to perfect as comics get.

  • Previews #252 September 2009 - Well, shit.

  • Riftwar #3 - Nobody at our shop buys this. Nobody. Even the guys who get EVERYTHING didn't buy it. Nothing against the title...I'm sure it's a perfectly fine comic, but it's just not fitting the needs of any customers I have.

  • Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen Special #2 -

    "Jimmy Olsen has put all the pieces together regarding the mysterious Project 7734, and it's worse than he imagined. With The Man of Steel temporarily out of the picture, though, it's all up to Superman's Pal to take action. Thankfully he has the help of Mon-El and Steel's niece Natasha Irons - but will they be enough to defeat Codename: Assassin?"

    Sirs, I am not seeing any Giant Turtle Jimmy, Jimmy Olsen Fan Club, Jimmy crossdressing, Jimmy fighting Nazis, or any other Jimmy-appropriate shenanigans. There'd better be some inside.

Speaking of Jimmy Olsen, Nazis, and crossdressing, noted Jimmy-ologist Chris Sims and his partner in pod-crime Eugene have built from spit, spare parts, baling wire, and good ol' fashioned American know-how a brand new episode of War Rocket Ajax, with special guest, writer Caitlin Kittredge. Great fun as always, and be sure to check out that great drawing advertising the episode in question at that link.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In which Mike goes on about Watchmen...again. Plus, bonus features. 

Watching the Watchmen film via Netflixxed DVD...turns out Netflix doesn't have the half-hour longer "director's cut" edition, so if I want to watch it, looks like I'll have to buy it. Or wait for the Ultimate Edition that will have the all the stuff from the director's cut, plus the Tales from the Black Freighter cartoon interwoven into the film, instead of having it in the standalone "what the hell does this have to do with Watchmen?" edition.

Anyway, here's my original review, and if you folks follow my Twitter feed, you've seen a few of my reactions to the rewatching.

On the plus side: the whole sequence with Dr. Manhattan's origin translates well, and I quite like the musical score for this portion of the film. And I still enjoy the portrayal of Rorschach.

On the...well, maybe not so much "negative" as it is "curious" - Manhattan dropping the "I can't see the future because there's probably going to be a nuclear war" problem into the narrative at the beginning of the film doesn't feel right to me. I realize that they're trying to emphasize the imminent danger of war looming over the world, but I'm pretty sure they'd established this fairly well even without moving this line forward in the story.

Also, giving Dr. Manhattan "psychic vision touch" to help trigger Laurie's flashbacks seems a bit unnecessary. And that they never really justified why exactly Manhattan was toolin' around in the altogether. Yeah, okay, we know that he wears progressively less clothing the more inhuman he becomes, but does that come across to anyone not familiar with the book? It doesn't seem like there's enough in-film material to establish that.

At one point on my Twitter, I say "The Watchmen movie is like watching a comic book version of the original story," which seemed to strike a nerve with a few folks. Well, okay, with two people. But I think I was struck about how unsubtle and, frankly, dumbed-down this version of Watchmen is. That might just be an artifact of the director's translation of the comic to film, where most things that seemed thoughtful and witty on the page just became sort of garish and foolish once you have real people in costumes acting it out on screen. And the decision to ramp up the sex and violence to make it seem more "mature," I guess, just comes across like the "comics aren't just for kids anymore" mantra of desperation that it is.

To reemphasize, I don't hate the film. Again, to quote my Twitter, "I do like the WATCHMEN movie as an interesting but failed experiment in adaptation," and I stand by that. I liked it more than I didn't like it, and as I said in my previous review, it's a fitting companion, but certainly no replacement, for the original story.

I'm only halfway through the rewatching, so my opinion may yet change...the film's real problems seem to set in during the second half of the film, as I recall, so I may have a few more annoyances to pass along here. Consider yourself warned.

So remember that time when extradimensional demonic entity Trigon seduced the woman who would eventually become Raven's mom by taking the form of Danny Elfman?

Not Blog X, which I've mentioned several times before for its ongoing and compelling examinations of '90s X-Men comics, has since moved on to another kind of mutant: that being the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

And not just any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...the Archie Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I've written briefly before about the peculiarity of the Archie TMNT series, so I'm looking forward to Not Blog X's new direction.

Running faster than the speed of light flattens Superman's head:

One of my favorite webcomics is With Gusto, who has fun with old advertising images and clip art:

Go check it out...tell him I said "hey."

images from Tales of the New Teen Titans #2 (July 1982) by Marv Wolfman, George Perez & Pablo Marcos, and Flash: Rebirth #3 (Aug 2009) by Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And now...the X-Men's Colossus versus Pornography. 


Colossus knows our American pies are tainted by the rotten berries of...PORNOGRAPHY.

images from Marvel Comics Presents #10 (Jan 1989) by Ann Nocenti, Rick Leonardi & P. Craig Russell

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?