mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #32. 



from Bums, Beatniks and Hippies (1991)


Friday, December 11, 2009

And then there was that time my website was down for nearly two days. 




...Well, shit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who else indeed? 

house ad from Werewolf by Night #2 (Nov. 1972)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Brother, that's action! 

from The Champions #7 (Aug. 1976) by Tony Isabella, George Tuska & Vince Colletta

EDIT: Mr. Isabella his own self has a few words to say about this panel.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I actually toned down the cynicism in this post. 

I suppose I should write something about DC's new graphic novel initiative, establishing fresh restarts for Superman and Batman presumably to attract new audiences. Or, more likely, to give the old audiences something to complain about since they'll be the ones primarily buying these. Unless, of course, I'm surprised and these are packaged at an under-$10 price tag and are sold everywhere and thus actually have a chance at getting in the hands of new readers. And, as Chris Butcher says, they'd better look different from the dozens of Superman/Batman books already on the shelves or they're just going to get lost in the shuffle. I mean, it is DC, which does act like a real publisher most of the time, so I imagine they already realize the problems they're facing.

As a funnybook seller, I do have some demand for continuity-lite standalone stories featuring the Big Two Characters, particularly with origin stories, so it's not like I don't have a market for it at my shop. That's usually restricted to times when a movie featuring those characters is on the horizon, however, so I guess I'll be set if there's another Superman or Batman movie anytime soon.

The other thing is that, at least for Superman, there seems to be a progressively-decreasing amount of time between reboots/fresh starts for characters which is likely indicative of a fundamental problem regarding marketing and consumer acceptance, or at least a sense of desperation at maintaining a decades-old trademark in its original medium in the face of much more lucrative successes in other media. It's the ol' "let's throw it at the wall and see what sticks" strategy, but it's beginning to seem a little like the flailing arms and thrashing-about of a drowning man just before he sinks beneath the water.


Well, that was a bit of a downer. The graphic novels do seem like they'd be okay, and I do hope they succeed in "sticking" and attracting new readers. I've noted before that most people are good with a Batman or Superman or Spider-Man movie about once every few years or so, and don't need to pop into a comic shop to keep up with the half-dozen monthly comics for each of these characters. A twice-annual graphic novel series seems to be a happy medium between Wednesday "New Comics Day" visits and the (at best) every three years film installments, that allows a new casual fan to follow a character they have interest in without creating a stack of periodicals in the house.

Or, as pal Dorian noted to me as I was discussing this with him, maybe this is all just a test run on publishers switching over to an Original Graphic Novel standard from the increasingly economically-unwieldy periodical standard. That's a bit of an eye-opener, there.

At the very least, like I said at the beginning, maybe they'll sell well to people already coming into the shop. That I can realistically hope for, and if additional interest from new audiences actually materializes, all the better. But I'm not holding my breath.

EDIT: Pal Nat and Tom note the importance of the licensing angle, as well.


Also, given who the writer of the Batman Superman [EDIT: Oops!] graphic novel is going to be, I'm going to be very disappointed if those GNs don't have a hamfisted moral lesson at the end of each story like that same writer's Brave and the Bold comics, because those are awesome.

Monday, December 07, 2009

An excess of sardonicism. 

So thanks, internet pals, for the assorted messages of appreciation/congratulations/pity you've sent me on the sixth anniversary of this here weblogatron.

A few items of note that were sent my way for the occasion:

Sleestak of That's My Skull pointed me in the direction of this Swamp Thing gag from a 1989 issue of Comics Scene. (Gosh, I miss that magazine.)

Longtime ProgRuin reader Michael-Sensei posted this foreign Return of the Swamp Thing poster that I think I may have posted here before, but even if I did, it's always great to see it again! And he linked to this Japanese video cover for the same movie, which made me laugh. "Waugh!" indeed.

Another longtime reader, Old Bull Lee, comments that his favorite post of mine ever is this one, where I mash together Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns with the Greatest Batman of Them All, Adam West. And the only reason I'm relinking it here is so that I can link to Kevin Church's more extensive remixing of these two versions of Batman, which is completely awesome.

And another bull, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, presents a rare image from my childhood as I team-up with one of my heroes.

Oh, almost forgot: here's a bit of spam that I got at work on the same day as my sixth anniversary:


"I am Barrister Micheal Sterling. I have a client Mr.Jeffrey, who bears the same last name with you and a national of your Country who used to work with The Arcadia Group London, on the 22nd of May 2005, my client, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along Manchester Express Road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives."

And then it goes on about how I'm the only relation to the family they could find and boy howdy, do I have a lot of money that's waiting for me to just jump through the necessary hoops. But frankly, I couldn't get past the misspelling of "Michael."

Here's an odd thing a customer said to me the other day:

"Huh, so they're making up new characters, are they?"

Said in reaction to the cover of the Marvel Previews catalog. Specifically in reaction to the Ultimate Comics X image on said cover. So 1) I didn't quite know how to respond to someone expressing mild surprise that comic publishers are making up new characters, and 2) he was looking at an image that essentially had a Wolverine-type character, with hand-claws. I almost responded with "sure, they make up new characters all the time...they're all variations on Wolverine" but withheld my excess of sardonicism.

To give the benefit of a doubt, perhaps this customer was simply resisting the need for Marvel and DC to push new characters into the marketplace, and not just being amazed that maybe, for whatever reason, a new character just might get created and pop up in a book somewhere.

I am using "new" loosely here, since the character does indeed appear to be another Wolvie knock-off, but it's drawn by Art Adams and therefore will be right purty.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sluggo Saturd...er, Sunday #31. 



from Nancy Eats Food (1989)


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