Though come to think of it, “not enough” and “all over the place” describes this blog, too.

§ November 25th, 2020 § Filed under question time, retailing § 4 Comments

So a new issue of Spawn is out this week, and if you’re aware of the comic at all, you know they’ve been doing the multiple-cover thing for quite a while now. I mean, which is fine…well, not “fine” in that the reliance on multiple covers hopefully to boost retailer orders upward is likely indicative of a weakened marketplace, but rather “fine” in that “it’s not like they’re the only ones doing it.” And anyway, each issue of Spawn has its three, four, five or so variants every month.

A while back, for the release of Spawn #250, I wrote a bit about its sales, how it was essentially a pullbox-only title with few rack sales at my previous place of employment, and that at the new shop was beginning to show some signs of increased demand.

And in the six years since…well, it’s complicated, especially of late. On average, sales on the book for me are higher than they had been. It’s no best-seller, but it’s a solid middling title and there ain’t no shame in that. It has a consistent readership that picks it up each and every month and that’s great.

But on top of the consistent monthly sales, for which I can plan and order, there’s the complicated bit. I’ve written before about the current wave of comics speculation, spurred on by phone apps and websites and YouTube videos, which invariably results in a notable increase of demand the day of, or perhaps the day before, the release of a speculated-upon book. Too late to place raise orders, so not enough of the item is available…but if there were time to place reorders, then there’d be plenty of the item available, and thus no speculation.

Spawn, with its various covers, has been the target of investment-minded folks of late, but almost always for just one of the covers. And there’s no way to predict which one will the the one ahead of time. Well, maybe a little ahead of time, as a couple of my regular pull list folks for Spawn specified they wanted cover “C” of the new issue, and that feels like a good sign that’s the one I’m going to be hearing about on the phone for the next few weeks.

So that’s the trick…order what I need, order a few extra for rack sales, and get ready to hear about the one variant that you sell out of right away for a while, least ’til the next issue arrives. The only consistent thing about the excess demand for the series is that there is consistent demand of this sort for every issue. Maybe not every cover of every issue, but I can always depend on thinking “rats, shoulda ordered more of that one” in my late Wednesday afternoons.

• • •

A little more comment catch-up:

Allen M notes that he’d like to hear me on a certain podcast, and, well, that stirred up old podcasting feelings of my own that I’d have for a while. In fact, it’s baked into this site, with a subdomain that I created 17 years ago and with which I never did anything.

I do think about it a lot, though, especially since it’s easier than ever to put one together now. Main issue is…me. For all the typing I do here, I’m not a particularly good extemporaneous speaker…either I don’t say enough, or I’m just kind all over the place. As I noted before, the phrase “edited for clarity” in this interview with me is carrying quite the load.

On the other hand…I do have to speak off the cuff to customers all the time, expounding on whatever query they’ve made the mistake of asking me, so I have some practicee talking about comics. (“Some practice” = “oh, only about 32 years worth.”) Maybe a podcast isn’t an entirely lost cause for me after all…I have a format semi-figured out, and even have theme music that I’d, ahem, “borrow” from some friends of mine (well, okay, I’d probably ask their permission eventually). We’ll see if that’s something I think I can consistently do, with the time I have available and the minimal skill set I’d bring to it.

Plus side, you get to hear my malodorous — er, mellifluous voice. Minus side, you’d get to hear me say “uh” a lot while I read you my sponsors’ ads for underwear and mail-order mattresses.

I have been on podcasts twice before…I mean, aside from sending in annoying questions to my pals over at War Rocket Ajax. A very long time ago Kid Chris…remember Kid Chris? You know, this guy:

…and his pal Dafna (yes, this Dafna) had a podcast called “Bispectacult,” one episode of which featured an interview with yours truly. It was part one of two, but alas part two never escaped the labs and I can only assume my presence killed the show. I’d link, but no trace of the site and/or the podcast itself seem to remain online, not even on the ol’ Wayback Machine thingie (far as I can tell).

One podcast I managed not to kill was Look at His Butt, a William Shatner-centric podcast that featured my droning monotone going on about my Trek fandom. That was (egads) eleven years ago, but as you can tell by the link, the podcast is still available for your listening pleasure! (And Look at His Butt is still going strong…episode 283 just came out a few days ago! And I still listen to every installment!)

So…more podcasts in my future? We’ll see, if either I do my own or I somehow sneak onto someone else’s podcast in disguise so they don’t realize it’s me.

4 Responses to “Though come to think of it, “not enough” and “all over the place” describes this blog, too.”

  • Matthew Murray says:

    It is on

    “Thu, 29 Nov 2007
    Special Episode – Attack of the Sterling (part 1)
    Yes! It’s finally here! Dug out from the deep depths of Dafna’s ancient, sputtering hard drive, unleashed upon YOU, genteel and discriminating listener, to decipher and fear.

    Mike Sterling of Progressive Ruin ( graces us with his presence, his staggering intellect and his endless good will. Answering our clumsy inquiries, Mike reveals the origins of his blog, his plans for the future, and how he manages to stay so damn dapper.

    If you’re into burly bearded men, Kid Chris and Mike Sterling are your guys, and Dafna, your graciously bearded women. Welcome to The Roadhouse! Or The Bispectacult. Whatever works for you, bro.

    (Apologies to Grandma Sterling, Kid Chris really wasn’t fellating the microphone, he was only checking to see if it was still on. It was. Apologies to the rest of the internet.)”

    And a link to the actual episode (I didn’t realize saved mp3s):

    If you can’t get that to work, I managed to download the mp3, so I can upload it somewhere else.

    (And that’s why you ask Librarians to find info for you. ; )

  • Matthew Murray says:

    I found that episode of Bispectacult, but it looks like my comment got caught in your spam filter.

  • Mikester says:

    Matthew – so it was! Sorry about that…I’ve approved it. And I even checked at and couldn’t find it, and I even had the actual URL! Thanks for double-checking my work!

  • Matthew Murray says:

    No worries, it took me a bit of sleuthing to find it.