mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sluggo Saturday #34. 



from Nancy Eats Food (1989)


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas. 

from How Sluggo Survives (1989)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seriously, that paper was really a bright green. Totally couldn't miss it. 

So we got our copies of Blackest Night #6 this week, since we agreed to Diamond Comic Distributor's terms that we would hold sales on this comic until the street date of December 30th (which would be during the week Diamond is doing no shipping to retailers). Every retailer that received their copies of Blackest Night #6 had to do the same, and agree to hold sales on it 'til next week. In the box we received with these comics, there was a bright green piece of paper stating, in big bold black letters, that the comics packed within are absolutely not to be sold until December 30th.

At our shop, I was enough of a hardnose about it that not even the employees got copies. I only even had the comics out of the box long enough to count them during the order breakdown in the morning, and put 'em back in the box when I was done.

I then put a sign on the new arrivals shelf stating that Blackest Night #6 (as well as other 12/30 street date items, like a Fall of the Hulk variant and assorted Marvel freebies) will be available starting next Wednesday. Hopefully that, and the promise of some in-store sales and the kids with fistfuls of Christmas money, will help shore up the shop's income during Diamond's skip week.

Some cynics would say that there are folks out there who, despite entering a business agreement with Diamond regarding terms for the street date on these items, despite the repeated reminders about the street dates (on that bright green paper, and on the invoice itself), would put out Blackest Night #6 a week early anyway. And that some enterprising soul would already have scanned and posted said comic to the torrent sites. But those would be dick moves, and I can't imagine anyone wanting to do that.

In other comic news:

Thanks to Chris Sims' proselytizing for the storyline, and thanks to this interview with the comic's writer, and thanks to a second printing of the first installment coming out the same week as the second installment, I am totally on board with the "Frankencastle" storyline in Punisher. So fantastic. It's Hex for the 21st century, and I sincerely mean that in the best possible way.

The last reprint I expected from DC...well, after Sugar & Spike. And after Scribbly. And The Three Mouseketeers. And...er, anyway, the extremely-unlikely reprint I didn't dare hope for is, believe it or not, the 1970s treasury edition Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali. It'll be in two hardcover editions: a deluxe version with bonus features and a new cover by Neal Adams (but hopefully not colored/textured/whatevered by him), and another hardcover edition presenting the comic in its original tabloid size. This really is one of my all-time favorite Superman comics, with some fantastic art and a very silly but fun story, and dude, it costars Muhammad Ali. It's hard to believe I first read this about thirty years ago, and I am very happy it's being reissued. It is (dare I say) A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. Well, a provisional miracle, anyway, depending on these things' price points.

Read more about Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali via the nigh-essential Treasurycomics.com.

And I hope everyone has a happy and safe Christmas Eve, where applicable. EGGNOG SHOOTERS WOOO*

NOTE: Proprietor of this site does not drink alcohol. Regard all references to alcohol consumption accordingly.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Die for Darkseid. 

So I was digging through one of the loose dice bins in the game shop and spotted this lone six-sided die sitting among the others. Half of the faces of this die had the Superman logo:

...and the other half had the face of Darkseid:

I'm presuming this is from some DC Comics role playing game or other, which I'm sure several of you out there are about to tell me in the comments. But that such a thing as this die even exists...well, if that doesn't fill your heart with the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The multiple Amazon links are shameless, but you can't blame a boy for trying. 

During my Christmas shopping excursions, I've been sorta looking at various stores' DVD selections trying to spot the Watchmen: Ultimate Cut DVD set since, if I'm going to buy the thing, I'm going to want the whole enchilada. And I have yet to see it in an actual store anywhere. I realize I can buy it online, and probably will end up doing so, but mostly I just find it curious that nobody seemed to carry it, or carried so few copies that they already sold out and haven't bothered to reorder. Or, of course, it could be a huge hit and stores just can't keep it in stock...but that doesn't seem terribly likely.

The version of the movie I've seen the most is the single disc "Theatrical Cut" version, mostly at low, low "please, for the love of God, take these off our hands" prices. Some stores had stacks of them, which possibly could account for the lack of stocking of the Ultimate Cut.

I have seen a few copies of the two-disc "Directors Cut" here and there, and as it came out at the same time as the single-disc version, this seems to be the version people wanted and the reason why the single-disc ended up being a shelf-warmer. I realize some people don't care about special features and deleted scenes and all that stuff, but if you had to choose between the single disc version and the double disc which has extra stuff embedded in the film itself, that's a little different. 'Course, I know some think any extra run-time on the Watchmen flick is no bonus at all, but they're not likely to be buying any of these. And it doesn't have as much extra material as the Ultimate Cut anyway.

I happened to spot this version at Best Buy, which appears to be an exclusive edition of the Director's Cut packaged in...um, a Rorschach head complete with a cloth mask. I put a wee little picture of it to the side, there, but you can see a great big picture of it right here. It's just a tiny mask which you can't remove and wear, I think, which is probably just as well.

I haven't really looked at the stock on the Blu-Ray edition of Watchmen since I'm still using plain ol' DVDs because I'm a dinosaur. Please do not mock my tiny brain or useless forearms.

I can report that the actual Watchmen graphic novel appears to be selling again...of course, not nearly at the levels it was before the pre-film excitement started and the local demand for Watchmen was really oversaturated. But that we're moving any copies at all is a bit encouraging. I even had a collector express interest in the original issues, which is something that hasn't happened in a while.

Also, there's a part of me that wishes the Watchmen film had been an enormous hit, enough so that a sequel would have been inevitable, and that even possibly new comic book follow-ups and tie-ins would have been published. Because really, the fanguish that would have caused would have been epically awesome.


Speaking of movies, the film I can't wait to see is Sherlock Holmes, because 1) you had me at "new Sherlock Holmes movie," and 2) it's Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock, which promises to be fantastic. I suspect some...liberties will be taken with the interpretations of the characters and the sorts of situations they'll find themselves in, but after over a century's worth of Sherlock pastiches and parodies, what's one more?

And I haven't made it to Avatar yet simply because I haven't had the time. But I have to say, it does look pretty, but I've been hearing some pretty dire things about it story-wise. What say you, internet pals?

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Twas the Wednesday before Christmas.... 

In case you were wondering, new comics are on schedule for the regular Wednesday release this week. And, as you've probably heard, Diamond is distributing no comics during the week between Christmas and the New Year. However, if your retailer remembered (like...ahem...I almost didn't) to get themselves on Santa's Nice List, your local funnybook shop should have Blackest Night #6 for sale during that dead week, a full week earlier than those other naughty shops. You might want to pop into the shop that week anyway, because there may be a sale or three going on to make up for the lack of new books.

In a way, I'm sort of looking forward to a skip week where I don't have to pull comic savers or redo the racks or anything. At last, I'll have time to brush up on my breakdancing skills for the big year-end competition, Employee Aaron will have time to drag a comb through his hair, and Employee Timmy will, I don't know, do something British, I guess...have bangers and mash or queue up somewhere, or something like that.

So here are a few of the comics that are coming our way this week that I feel like saying something about:
  • Angel Annual #1 & Angel: Only Human #5 - Is it just me, or are there suddenly more Angel comics than the market can really bear right now? At the very least, I'd like to see an end to comic adaptations of the television episodes since the target audience probably already owns them on DVD and the comic versions just feel a bit like grabbing that audience's money just because they can. Or maybe those fans are clamoring for comic adaptations for episodes, so what do I know?

  • Archie #604 - It seemed for a while that interest was going to dip in this "Archie Marries Anything with A Pulse" series of stories, once people finally caught on it was an "imaginary" story presenting possible futures for the red-haired boy and his lady pals. However, sales did go back up, and I've had to place reorders a number of times for some installments. Part 3 seems to keep selling out, for some reason.

  • Bart Simpson Comics #51 - After last issue's tour de farce (hey, get it, get it? You see what I did there?) featuring cover-to-cover Sergio Aragones, this issue features Sergio on his regular short feature "Maggie's Crib," with other creators filling out the rest of the book. The Simpsons comics tend to be pretty solid, so don't let less Sergio scare you off from trying the book.

  • Black Widow and the Marvel Girls #2 - Talking with pal Dorian about this the other day...that Marvel is apparently putting out a lot of Black Widow comics right now so that they'll have Black Widow trade paperbacks available for sale to tie into the character's appearance in the Iron Man 2 movie. We both noted that we're not seeing enough emphasis on War Machine, since it's that character's appearance in the trailer people seem to be getting excited about.

  • Captain America Reborn: Who Will Wield The Shield one-shot - I haven't been keeping up...isn't this spinning out of the last issue of the Captain America: Reborn mini? The as-yet-unreleased issue?

  • Ender's Game: Command School #4 and Ender's Shadow: Command School #4 - not sure why we needed two concurrently-running Ender's Game comics, but there they are.

  • Hellboy: Bride of Hell one-shot - drawn by Richard Corben. Man, I do love Corben's Hellboy art.

  • Image United #2 - I mentioned on the Twitter that the first issue of this series didn't do so hot for us, which resulted in a really defensive response from Image Fan #1 telling me the comic did great, it sold 50,000 copies, so in conclusion, shut up. Well, yeah, I'm sure Image printed 50,000 copies and sold them to stores. And I'm sure some stores did gangbusters on them. But our store, and a few other stores I've been in contact with...yeah, they just kinda sat there. The "bonus variant extra whatever" cover by Jim Lee was the variant cover that sold the best. Even the Spawn cover and the Witchblade cover barely moved any copies. That the Shadowhawk cover didn't move one copy at all came as little surprise.

    I mean, nothing against the comic. I like the idea of it, with the Image creators each contributing the artwork for their own characters in this crossover. Kudos to them on the amount of work and planning that went into making this possible. Just...well, no one's terribly interested in it in our neck of the woods. Hey, sorry, not everything can be a hit.

  • Iron Man Vs. Whiplash #2 - Guys, I'm telling you, Whiplashmania is going to hit our country like never before once people see him in the Iron Man sequel. Men will tremble, women will faint, and anyone left standing will be pounding on our doors insisting on every single copy of every Whiplash appearance be presented to them immediately.

    ...Okay, I shouldn't joke, because I can guarantee there's this one guy who comes to our shop who will start asking for Whiplash appearances once the movie is a little closer to opening.

  • Punishermax #1 2nd printing - This comic is really taking off, and it really is good. Hope a 2nd printing of #2 is coming soon, because we can sure use those, too. Hey, for once Marvel's 2nd printings are coming in handy.

  • Wall-E #1 - Sure, #0 was depressing, but it was a cute depressing, and I suppose I'll be back for this issue.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Commenting about comments is a sin. 

Still messing around with comments. General reaction from you folks and from Employee Aaron is that they would miss having the comments on the old posts, so...just for you guys, I'm going to attempt to use the new commenting system that's replacing Haloscan. I'll be messing around with the settings and trying to make it as close as I can to how things worked before, but it won't be exactly the same, I'm afraid. And I'm told it's going to take a while before all the old comments are converted over to the new system, but new posts on the site (like this very one here) should have the new comments system in place. Try it out, let me know how you like it.

I'm really kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place here. I'm not terribly enthused about the new system, but I (and apparently, a number of you) still want my old comments around. However, I still want the simplicity of a basic commenting system, without all the bells and whistles. I'm happy with my telegraph, I can't see any reason to use one of those newfangled telley-phones.

So that's what I spent my blogging time doing tonight...screwing around with templates and settings and all that hoohar. I'll try to get back to talking about comics tomorrow.

Oh, we did sell a full run of the '70s Black Lightning series on Saturday. That was pretty awesome.

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