“Suddenly, twenty years later….”

§ December 5th, 2023 § Filed under suddenly... § 41 Comments

So for approximately 36.3% percent of my life, I have been working on this website, since way back when I still had brown hair and properly-working eyes. And that also means of the 35 years I’ve been toiling in comics retail (and can currently be found at my own store), 57.14% of that time, more or less, has been spent relating the travails of the funnybook business.

Well, I’m still here. I’ve outlived many other comic shops, many other comics bloggers, mostly out of pure stubbornness, partially out of force of habit. But I’m hanging in there, even as the public’s desire and/or patience for both blogs and comic books wax and wane, and I appreciate you folks out there continuing to tolerate my presence.

As I like to remind folks, when I started this site, I didn’t even plan to bring up the fact I worked in a comic book store. Now it’s such an indelible part of this project of mine I can’t imagine doing without. I doubt I’d still be doing this blog if I weren’t so thoroughly mired in the comics industry.

Big thanks, of course, to my family and my girlfriend for putting up with this ridiculous hobby of mine for this long, to all my pals both online and (supposedly) real, the Longbox Heroes boys for plugging my site every episode, and of course to the Original Comics Blogger, Neilalien, for blazing this weird trail for the rest of us. And naturally to everyone out there still reading blogs and participating in my comments sections…you folks are a big reason why I’m still doing this. Thank you all.

Over the past year, I’ve been doing pretty well, actually. Despite a new but relatively minor issue cropping up, my eyeball problems have been on the mend, experiencing finally some real progress.

At the store, I’ve been having my best year of business yet, in no small part due to the acquisitions of some wild collections. Among those comics are many, many Silver Age Marvels, including a couple of very notable issues which you’ll see linked below.

Social media has been a real ride of late, necessitating the updating of my mikesterling.com page showing where you can find me (which probably could still use a little more updating, frankly). By the way, you can also get to that page via mikester.net, because I’m a raging egotist.

Twitter (or as I’ve been referring to it lately, Xwitter, per its new name nobody seriously uses, and that “X” looks like a collapsing “T”) is a platform I’ve been using far less lately. I’m still there, checking in and monitoring direct messages, but not participating nearly as much. Still, I have a few tweets to share from that platform, for perhaps the last time for one of these anniversary posts:

Marvel movies have taught kids at least one important thing:

Was finally able to form an opinion on The Flash movie based on an actual viewing:

And I can’t help but comment on other people being very wrong about superhero movies:

I address…assumptions made:

I experience the respect I deserve in my own store:

And maybe sometimes I get a little too much respect:

Finally, a fan-casting I can agree with:

And I at long last put my hard-earned English major to use by chiming with some literary criticism:

Now, if you want to find me on a Twitter-a-like social media platform, me ‘n’ many of my pals seem to have settled on Bluesky. Not open to non-members yet, but apparently there are plans to allow public access soon. You can find me here if you’d like (and my store here), where you can see bon mots such as these:

I make a promise I can absolutely keep:

I can’t take a compliment about my shop:

Honestly, I’m usually pretty laid back:


Stealing from Achewood since 1969:

Adulthood destroys many an illusion:

This happens more often than you’d think:

I feel my age somedays:

But overall, I understand my life and its position in the world:

Now to this site itself: for most of the year I’ve been discussing your picks for your favorite 1980s comics, and you can find all those posts under this category. I had hoped to be done with it all by the end of the year, but it’s not looking likely, especially since, surprise surprise, I tend to run off at the keyboard a bit so each entry is longer and more time-intensive than even I expected. But we’re almost done, with a couple of really good titles left to go. And you have yet to find out which 1980s title is my favorite!

But here, have some other highlights from throughout this past year:


I didn’t really need these Popeye action figures but honestly just look at them, more poop on Popeye, more than you ever wanted to know about Gold Key Champion.


My Few Omnibuses with new addition The Thing, and yet more reprints of Swamp Thing for me, and now looking at your predictions for 2022 (1 2 3 4 5 6), that Secret Six (not Blackhawk) story that takes place in my hometown of Oxnard, ass-free comics, arse-full comics and the first Code-approved use of “pissed off,” got pal Nat to sign an early comic of his for me.


I still have little confidence that James Gunn DC movies etc. plan are going to go anywhere, maybe I’ve already discovered the Most 1990s comic, Popeye sailing the Spanish seas, it’s never too late for another Death of Superman post, Cerebus meets Popeye plus some street dates talk, a thing that’s bugged me for years about these two Marvel comics, Zot! Talk, parts One and Two.

MARCH 2023

So long to Dilbert, Howard Chaykin did more American Flagg! than I thought, for some reason it’s getting harder for me to do these birthday posts, so long Rachel, where’s my Eisner for the title I came up with this post about Mars, I think the store I talked about here is long gone, “Hey, I like PC comics” “of course you’d like ‘woke’ comic” “what,” I should get my Eisner taken away for the title to this post about Az, I chat about a handful of 1980s indie companies, Jupiter the comic that dares include me.

APRIL 2023

I think there will be an awful lot of posts there it’s just me talking about miscellaneous ’80s indie companies, so long Al, terrifying comic book ad puppets vs. reality.

MAY 2023

Before Free Comic Book Day with bonus Freak Brothers talk, after Free Comic Book Day, these great Golden Age horror action figures sold great, PLANET OF THE APES BUTTS, God is unhappy with one of these comics, honestly I admire DC’s restraint in not reprinting this Batman book, ROM and Micronauts together again.

JUNE 2023

Have a little Epic Comics censorship won’t you, Void Indigo talk (plus a follow-up), so long Joshua and John, The Adventures of Tom Yeates, when is a signature not a signature, missing Marvel specials.

JULY 2023

I finally get some Guts, I tried to ask another question of the person who did this TikTok video but she mysteriously disappeared (or decided she’d heard enough from me), Hulk is honored, a couple of old images archived on old CD-ROMs, in which I bother Shannon Wheeler his own self about shooting Jab comics, by Jove it’s Jupiter, a small edit to Mad‘s Star Wars parody.


I’m #1 with a Jab bullet, an early review of the first issue of Mage: The Hero Discovered, the wild reasons this issue of Amazing Heroes is expensive, Mike gets yet more fanzines he has no time to read, and here’s another fanzine oh by the way is anyone actually reading this part of the post – please let me know, and more ‘zines, these Flash comics were a real trial (and a follow-up).


Mostly just bragging that I had Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1, those dollar store Disney comics, another exclusive dollar store exclusive comic with video, I may have finally tracked down a childhood Star Wars magazine memory, my initial likely-inaccurate reaction to the whole Bill Willingham/Fables/DC hoohar, and now a picture of me with those Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1 comics, so long Joe, just pure nostalgia for my young comic-collecting days, still trying to figure out a price for this German DC Comic.


In short buy everything Bill Griffith ever does because it will always be good, NANCY TALK with a cameo appearance by long-last pal Andres in the comments, it’s just ducky and very recommended, some new-to-me Curt Swan art, so long Keith, and let’s not forget Video Jack, some of you got the reference in the title, some minor reminiscing about “the dangers of comics,” some info on Comico and its newsstand/money woes.


“A bloo bloo this Flash Gordon strip is too vibrant and exciting and I don’t like it because it’s not old,” a sign of the end times, another ancient memory — this time involving Jon Sable — confirmed, another House of Secrets #92 homage and an old catalog, BROW THING OR NO BROW THING, but definitely NO TEETH THING with bonus movie ranting, what is the most 1990s comic, more old archived images this time from America Online, alternate timeline Howard the Duck movie, Wikipedia is wrong about Amazing Heroes, how many is too many Death’s Head II pins.


…And parts one and two of Our Most 1990s comics.

And I guess that is that…so endeth our 20th year, and on to year 21! Thanks to all of you for sticking around, and I’ll be back later in the week with even more comic talk. Even after two decades of doing this, I still have more to say, much to your delight and/or regret.

But for reading all that, please enjoy this brief video of some oddball’s weird face saying things at you:

41 Responses to ““Suddenly, twenty years later….””

  • Andrew Davison says:

    First time I’ve heard your voice. So you’re American!

    You could have at least ironed that shirt and worn a tie, or a spider-man mask.

    Congratulations, and thanks for all the great posts.

  • Pal Cully says:

    You’re still my favorite comic shop guy, and I really miss working with you. I’m going to keep reading your pearls of comic book insight for as long as you can post them.
    Pals always

  • Mike, you’re a national treasure, or at least a regional park. Maybe a local landmark. Or one of those plaques people put on benches with pithy/funny sayings about someone who died, like “She was cranky when hungry, but otherwise all right.” Wait, what was I saying?

    Oh, yeah — thanks for 20 years of being a shining light in the comixweblogosphere! Keep it up, my man!

    (And continued best wishes for those peepers!)

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Been here since near the beginning (admittedly, under a different name)! I cannot remember how I got steered to your site, presumably a link from somewhere else in the dearly missed ComicsWeboBlogosphere.

    Very glad you’re still doing this!

  • John Jakala says:


    I mean – Congrats!

  • Mark Hale says:

    I’m totally real! Probably!

    Twenty years, that’s crazy. I can’t believe we’ve all been palling around for that long.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    Congratulations, and thanks for the years of blogging goodness! May your Swamp Things continue to declare their chalkhood, and may your Sluggos stay lit!

  • @misterjayem says:

    Three cheers for Mike!

    Hip hip!

    Hip hip!

    Hip hip!

    — MrJM

  • stavner says:


  • Matt says:

    Congratulations, Mikester!

  • Thom H. says:

    This is the best place online to reminisce about comics of days gone by. Thanks for creating such a fun (and respectful) community to interact with. And congrats on the milestone anniversary!

  • LouReedRichards says:

    Congratulations Mike!

    Visiting this site is always an enjoyable and educational experience. Your insights on comics, as both a retailer and fan are greatly appreciated.

    As Thom H. mentioned, the community you’ve created for us consists of a great group of knowledgeable, funny, and amiable folks. Considering how the internet can be, that alone is an accomplishment!

    Here’s to another 20 years. I sincerely wish for the continued healing of your eyes, and continuing success as a funny-book pusher.

  • Casie says:

    Thanks for sharing your funnies and comic knowledge with us. Always a pleasure to read.
    Congratulations, Mike!

  • Robert in New Orleans says:

    Congratulations on twenty blog years! Thanks for the all the posts.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Although I wasn’t here at the beginning, I’ve been enjoying your witty insights, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, and encyclopedic comics knowledge for well over a decade. Thanks Mike for just being the awesome blogging-man you are!

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    Thank you Mike for 20 years of wonderful blogging entertainment! You truly are one of a kind!

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Dang, congrats on 20 years.

    (Also, your referencing of a post you made from earlier this year about Dilbert reminded me that I put an old minicomic online that people can download and print for free. Juchebert is Dilbert mashedup with North Korean propaganda slogans. https://midnitelibrary.itch.io/juchebert)

  • I update my old blog once a year because I hate the thought of it being completely dead. Guess that’s like being on life support or something. Anyway, congratulations on 20 and I admire the hell out of you for keeping on!

  • Pedro de Pacas says:

    Hang in there, Big Mike! Many have fallen by the wayside but you have always been one of my favourites and a regular part of my internet reading routine.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    I’m just sorry I ignored years of links from Dirk Deppey and Tom Spurgeon to your site until about 2010 or so (same with Bully) but I’m grateful for your steadfast devotion to comics blogging. And I’m glad to be able to visit your store once every few years. Live long and profit, Mike!

  • Garrie Burr says:

    Congratulations!! Though I’m too old to see you through 20 more years, I’ll keep reading and enjoying for however long I can!

  • ScienceGiant says:

    La multi ani! To many years and many more!

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    Happy Anniversary, Mike!

  • Snark Shark says:

    “I’ve outlived many other comic shops”

    You’ve outlived most comic COMPANIES!

    ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Congratulations on 20 years of Progressive Ruin, Mike! Long may the website continue to prosper!

    I don’t know that you are necessarily looking for any ideas for future topics for the website, but I’ll throw a few out there.

    1. How are the facsimile editions that DC and Marvel are now releasing fairly regularly selling for you on the whole and are that many of your Progressive Ruin readers picking them up, and if so, what are some of the facsimile editions that readers have been enjoying the most?

    2. Since we have been cycling through the ’80s and Independent Comics, how about having a vote on readers’ favorite DC and Marvel mini-series/maxi-series/prestige books and graphic novels from the ’80s, or a historical timeline and rundown of what was published when? Didn’t DC kind of kick things off mini-series wise with World of Krypton, and Untold Legends of the Batman?

    3.Excluding COIE and all the stuff afterwords, what were Progressive Ruin readers’ favorite JLA/JSA annual crisis team up tales from the Silver and Bronze Ages? It could also be fun to look at the timeline of Squadron Sinister and Squadron Supreme appearances over at Marvel.

    4. As a Nancy collector, how do you personally rank the various comic book reprints of Nancy …how does Sparker Comics hold up against Tip-Top Comics, or various Dell and Gold Key Nancy comic books…and how complete is your Nancy comic book collection?

    5. What is your ranking on the various Swamp Thing eras and runs…do Wein and Wrightson rank higher than Moore and co., or do you rank Moore and co. at the top…and how do the other post-Moore iterations rate?

    Some of this may already be ground you have covered and I wasn’t aware of it, but just throwing some ideas out there.

  • Jon H says:

    Congratulations! Looking forward to the next 20.

  • Donald G says:

    “Suddenly, Twenty Years Later…


    Sorry, Mike, had to do it.

    Belated congratulations on you Bloggiversity.
    May you be here for many more and not disappear like so many others.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “1. How are the facsimile editions”

    I wondered about that, too.

    “DC… mini-series”

    Ambush Bug & Spanner’s Galaxy, BEST EVER!

    “Swamp Thing eras”

    Under-rated: the era right BEFORE Moore took over.
    Not so good- the end of the original run, when DC was trying to turn him into a SuperHero, which just doesn’t work. Let the Monster be a monster!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    I love the facsimile editions…and hope they keep pumping them out …especially Golden Age stuff…they should release facsimiles of the first appearances of all of the GA JSA members, and it would be great if they released facsimiles of all of the pre-Robin GA issues of Detective Comics when Batman was solo.

    Also, more key Silver Age facsimile editions…first Teen Titans (and the Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad team up), first Metal Men, first Adam Strange, and so on.

    Even with the Bronze Age, DC could release facsimiles of some pricey keys like the first John Constantine.

    I bought some of the early Saga of the Swamp Thing issues when they came out and have occasionally picked them up again on the cheap …Tom Yeats is the second best Swamp Thing artist after Wrightson, in my opinion.

  • Happy 20, Mike. Congratulations!

  • Snark Shark says:

    “first Adam Strange”

    I would probably buy that!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    Yes, it seems that it would be easy money for DC to ramp up the facsimile edition reprints. One would think there are a lot of pricey key comics and/or comics that are 5O, 60, 70, or 80 plus years old that are just hard to find in decent condition that fans of a certain age would want facsimiles of …first Zatanna, first Beast Boy cameo in Teen Titans, first Captain Comet, first Space Ranger, first Creeper in Showcase, first Hawk and Dove in Showcase, first Silver Age Atom in Showcase, first Silver Age Hawkman in Brave and the Bold, first Power Girl in All-Star Comics, first Huntress in All-Star Comics, first New Gods, Forever People, and Mister Miracle, first Kamandi, Demon, and OMAC, first Deadman in Strange Adventures, and so on. Would could even be cool would be to release a bunch of classic Kirby stuff during Kirby’s birthday anniversary month, and likewise for Ditko stuff or Infantino stuff, or Nick Cardy stuff, or Neal Adams stuff.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    And also, as Black History month is coming up in February, DC and Marvel could both be releasing facsimile editions of the first appearances of Mal Duncan, John Stewart Green Lantern, Karen Beecher/Bumblebee, Tyroc, Black Lightning, Vixen, Invisible Kid II, Static, Black Panther, Falcon, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Black Goliath, and many other Black characters.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Also, DC should consider releasing facsimile editions of some of its classic Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age comics which have Christmas-themed covers…there are several Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman covers which come to mind…as well as a Teen Titans cover, and a Brave And the Bold cover which featured Batman and Plastic Man. They could also reprint the Christmas-themed stories Treasury Edition from the ’70s.

  • Nik says:

    Good gosh, how did I miss this hallowed anniversary? I think I’ve been following you at LEAST since the late 2000s and it’s good to see at least one blogger has some proper stamina. You’ve been around so long I stopped my first 2004-2012 blog and RE-started a new blog in 2019. To many more, Mikester!

  • Snark Shark says:

    I prefer Halloween themed comics, but i expect there’s a market for the Xmas stuff.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    DC Comics–and Marvel for that matter–could be applying the same principle to bump up sales during October for Halloween with first appearances or issue number 1 facsimile editions of Horror/Suspense anthology comics including House of Mystery or House of Secrets –like some classic issues with Neal Adams covers– and/or characters including Zatanna, John Constantine, Dr. Fate, Spectre, Madam
    Xanadu, Werewolf by Night, Ghost Rider, Morbius, Man-Thing, and so on.

  • Snark Shark says:


    Also, Wrightson covers!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark,

    It seems like if DC did facsimile editions
    for all of the Wrightson/Wein issues of Swamp Thing they wound sell pretty well–also, as you said, Wrightson covers…and I would add Kaluta covers as well…from ’70s HOM and HOS comics…even some of the Nick Cardy covers are pretty cool.

  • Sean Mageean says: