mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #28. 



from Tip Top #221 (May-July 1960)


Friday, November 13, 2009

A quick Friday update. 

  • General consensus about that ad from yesterday is that it's Mort Drucker, which is someone I'd actually briefly considered until I discarded that thought for no real good reason. One person had my back on my Angelo Torres guess, thankfully, so it wasn't just me!

    One person mentioned what an Al Jaffee tampon ad might be like, showing cross sections and such, but of course it would have to be a Fold-in: a full-page drawing of a bunch of people at a party or whatever, and then you fold it in and the details at the sides of the drawing suddenly form into a big pic of a tampon.

    ...Aaaand that's enough tampon talk. For now.

  • Chris Sims and Eugene Ahn posted a new episode of the War Rocket Ajax podcast earlier this week, where they interview the folks behind the Twisted Toyfare Theatre strips in Toyfare magazine! Also, they want letters to be read on a future episode, so get crackin'. "Dear War Rocket Ajax, I never thought this would happen to me, but...."

  • Close personal internet friends have created Mangaviews, a hub for manga reviews. Manga isn't really my thing, but this looks like a nicely designed site, and perhaps some of you folks will find something of use therein.

  • REMINDER: I'm still a contributing Bureau Chief over at Fake AP Stylebook, if you want to pop on by for a few grammar laughs. It's really taking off, and we're having a blast doing it. Here's a nice article on its creation and the folks involved, including lots of fairly well-regarded comic bloggers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is the most I have ever written about tampons. 

So there I was, going through my collection of early-to-mid-1970s teen celebrity magazines, like I like to do, when I came across something interesting and perhaps funnybook-related in the December 1973 issue of 16 Magazine.

One of the things teen mags of the time (and maybe still do, I have no idea) would feature in their mags is fictional and sometimes serialized stories of teen celebrities having adventures and/or romantic interludes or what have you. I think one mag I've come across involved the DeFranco Family investigating a murder mystery, of all things. So, yeah, it was basically celebrity fan fiction.

In this issue of 16 Magazine is chapter 13 of Cindi, starring a young reader-identification heroine in this ongoing serial who engages in numerous activities of the dangerous and/or romantic sort with, in this case, Donny Osmond. A brief passage, if you'd like:

"In spite of the total darkness, Donny seemed to know in which direction to swim. Cindi held onto Donny from behind, with one hand under his arm and the other across his bare shoulders. As he propelled them forward through the murky depths, Cindi could feel the movement of Donny's muscles working under his skin, and his soft, thick hair brushing her face. With her left leg alongside his right, Cindi was able to pick up and imitate the rhythm of Donny's kicking, so that the two of them, intertwined and struggling forward, became as one."

That doesn't really have anything to do what I wanted to talk about, but come on, that's some powerful writing right there.

Anyway, here's the image that accompanied the story:

Yes, that's supposed to be Donny Osmond. Dreamy, wonderful Donny Osmond. That looked an awful lot like the work of veteran comics illustrator Ernie Colon to me, but there are no art credits anywhere in this mag. Colon was active at this time, and he apparently did a (very nicely drawn!) strip for a 16 Magazine spin-off, as seen at the Stupid Comics page. So I suppose it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Speaking of IDing artists, I spotted this tampon ad in another celebrity teen mag from the same (ahem) period, and at first glance, it looks a bit like the work of Mad Magazine stalwart Angelo Torres:

I'm not 100% certain, and Googling "angelo torres tampon ad" didn't result in anything other than some confused folks looking at their referral stats in the next day or so. It seems fellow Madman Jack Davis did an ad for the same tampon brand, which totally didn't look like how I pictured a Jack Davis-drawn tampon ad would. But if Davis did one, perhaps other Mad artists did as well. But on second glance, maybe this is Davis in the ad, too. The more I keep trying to ID it, the more I keep second-guessing myself. Maybe someone out there who is a connoisseur of Mad artists, of old tampon ads, or maybe even of both, can clear things up.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A little Bogdanove appreciation. 

Now, about that poster from yesterday...that image was taken from the cover of Superman: The Man of Steel #49 (Oct. 1995), and, as Tom and others noted in the comments, the pic certainly evokes a Batman feel. The story inside isn't particularly moody or Batman-ish, as it involves Superman fighting leftover Byrne villain Skyhook. But then, Skyhook's shtick is turning kids into bat-people, so maybe that's the connection there, tenuous as it is.

But again, like I said in the comments, it's not as if I don't like Jon Bogdanove. I do. I think he did a swell job during his run on Man of Steel...very loose and cartoony and fun. I realize it's not to everyone's taste, but hey, we don't all have to like the same things. I didn't even mind the image from that poster as a one-off cover, out of the half-dozen or so Superman covers DC published that month, just for a little variety. But as the image for a store to hang on the wall to advertise the Superman books? They couldn't find anything a little more...Superman-ish?

But then again, this was the mid '90s, near the beginning of the comics market crash, and folks were casting about for anything that worked. "You all like dark 'n' gritty? Here's dark 'n' gritty Superman for you."

In fairness, here's a promo poster I did like, a double-sider Bogdanove drew tying into DC's Zero Hour event. One side is likely familiar, as it was the cover for Man of Steel #37, with Superman facing off against a number of different Batmen in the styles of the character's many artists:

And the other side of the poster featured an image that, as far as I can recall, only appeared here (but may have been in a house ad, too...I don't remember), and reversed the situation:

Always thought these were pretty neat, but I wish the Supermen were more posed looking inward at Batman, like the Superman/multiple Batmen poster. Though perhaps it may have been harder to tell what style was being mimicked without seeing Superman head-on.

Anyway, here's another nice Batman-esque pic of Superman from Bogdanove:

I might have liked that image better as a promo poster for the Superman line of books.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This was a promotional poster given to retailers to help advertise Superman comics. 



1995 promotional poster - art by Jon Bogdanove & Dennis Janke

Monday, November 09, 2009


Still going through my disc-by-disc viewing of Batman: The Animated Series...just finished watching the initial Ra's al Ghul two-parter written by the villain's co-creator Denny O'Neil. It was quite the globe-trotting adventure, tightly plotted and very exciting, and, yes, it ends with shirtless Batman and an equally shirtless Ra's battling it out in a manly-man swordfight while the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Now that's a Batman story.

Especially nice is the vocal work of David Warner as Ra's. The way he intones the word "Detective" (being Ra's...Ra's's?...preferred name for Batman) contains so much. It sounds like an offering of respect for Batman, while at the same time sounding like a challenge. So nicely done.

At the same time, I'm still slowly going through the Ruby Spears Superman cartoons...it certainly says something about the quality of the cartoons, I think, that I put aside the Superman disc to watch through most of the Batman disc once it showed up in the mail. Now that I've watched a few more episodes, my opinion of the series is a little higher...the animation is passable, though the storytelling is still on the level of "ah, it's just for kids...this is good enough." And the situations are occasionally so out there that they're almost surreal, like this one episode where Luthor buys the Great Wall of China. Well, sure, why not...wait what?

Yes, he put the LexCorp logo on the Great Wall of...well, the Great Wall of Lex, I guess. Oh, and also in this episode, Lois and Clark are in China to get the exclusive story on Lex's deal, and at one point Clark is late to meet up with Lois because he's off buying Disco Mozart tapes. "Disco Mozart tapes," is what I said. I'm hoping this is part of Superman's bizarre self-loathing secret identity protection scheme in that by buying disco music in 1988, he thus reinforces Clark's apparent lack of coolness and with-it-ness. Or maybe Supes really does just like classical music done to a disco beat. Who can tell with extraterrestrials?

Anyway, I think I came into this series with decades-old high hopes, ever since reading about the involvement of Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane in that long-ago issue of Comics Scene. And hey, Jim Woodring worked on the series as a storyboarder/design supervisor. Yes, that Jim Woodring. And there are several other names I recognize from the world of comics as well (like Rick Hoberg and Adrian Gonzales).

One thing I haven't mentioned is that each episode ends with a short second feature, presenting the adventures of young Clark Kent back in Smallville. These have been pretty good, covering Clark's adoption, going shopping with Ma, being babysat (long before this story), and so on. That shopping episode does effectively demonstrate that trying to raise a super-powered baby would be an enormous pain in the ass, so at least these cartoons have an educational element to them.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

At long last, I have a post with "Gorilla Aliens" in the title. 

So I was going through some of my boxes the other night and came across a couple of these pack-in comics Dark Horse produced for the early 1990s Aliens action figure series. They're 16 page mini-comics, measuring about 4 1/2 by 4 inches, centered around whatever character/critter figure with which the comic was distributed.

Unfortunately, I don't have them all...I only bought figures of the actual Aliens, and thus, alas, I do not have the full Space Marines Versus Aliens story serialized in the mini-comics. But, by God, at least I do have the Gorilla Alien: Jungle Attack comic:

That's a swell Mark Nelson cover you're seeing there...Nelson being the fellow who drew Dark Horse's original six-issue Aliens mini-series way back when.

Art chores inside this particular installment were by a pre-Starman, way pre-Ex Machina Tony Harris. This is a nice shot, showing the Gorilla Aliens on the move:

And here's a Gorilla Alien gettin' Blown Up Real Good:

Some of the other minis had some interesting creators involved, like Dave Johnson drawing the Ripley installment, which kind of makes me wish I'd gone ahead and picked up the rest of the figures in the line. Especially since I remember seeing them on clearance racks for $2.99 a pop for a couple of years after their initial release. Ah, well...can't buy and store everything.

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