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The big news from the San Diego Comic Con.

§ July 26th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron § 9 Comments

So while attending the San Diego Comic Con, Employee Aaron, as seen here:


…asked for the hand in marriage of his girlfriend Kempo, as seen here:


…and she must not have heard the question, because she actually said “yes” and now she’s pretty much stuck having to marry the guy.

Seriously, though, congratulations to both of them…I’ve known Kempo since she was just a kid, and now here she is, marrying this Aaron fella. Tempus sure does fugit when you ain’t lookin’.

Here’s a nice photo of the both of them, taken during one of those rare occasions Aaron remembered which side of the razor goes against his face:


Okay, I pick on Aaron a lot, but he really is a nice guy — don’t tell him I said that! — and I do wish these two the best.

• • •

In other news:

  • Yes, that really is Kempo in the Plastic Man get-up…that photo was taken a couple of San Diegos ago. She has quite the affinity for costume-making, and this year she went to the con dressed as Dex-Starr. Yes, the Red Lantern cat. Soon as I get a photo, I’ll run it here. If Kempo doesn’t kill me for running the Plastic Man pic first.
  • Isn’t this like the third time Smallville character Chloe Sullivan has been announced as entering the DC Universe proper? No idea what the hold-up was the previous times (probably no more than “didn’t have the right time and place to squeeze her in,” or maybe the show’s producers put the kibosh on it…really no clue), but it should be interesting to see how they alter/merge her Smallville backstory to fit into Superman’s comic book continuity (such as it is).
  • Holy cow, Fantagraphics will be publishing the complete Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse comic strips. I don’t do a whole lot of Disney stuff on this site, I realize, because, oh, hello Disney lawyers, but I am a fan of the Gottfredson Mickey strips and can’t wait to see this book.

    Hopefully someday we’ll get a collection of those early Donald Duck strips, too, which Gladstone used to reprint in their early Donald Duck comics.

  • So the Infinity Gauntlet will be in the Thor movie. I’m still fanboy enough to think that’s neat. And as Augie De Blieck said on this Twitter thingie, that explains the recent hardcover release of the original Infinity Gauntlet mini-series.
  • I knew attending the Injury-to-Eye panel was a bad idea. Okay, it may turn out no one was actually “stabbed” as such, so there goes my jokes about how after all this time, a fan finally decided to literally “go stabby,” but according to the article someone was scratched near the eye with “a pen or an inflatable toy” or perhaps a puppy or maybe a Ford Fiesta, no one’s quite sure, it seems.
  • David Wolkin has been posting his “Internal Monologue Reviews” of the con, and they’re weirdly amusing and disturbing. Also, he dropped by our store to say hello on his way down to San Diego, and he is one handsome bastard.
  • Huh, new Rocketeer stories, by a bunch of name creators. This mini-series would come very close to doubling the amount of Rocketeer comics in existence, wouldn’t it? Anyway, it won’t be Dave Stevens, alas, but it sounds like it could be interesting.
  • Here’s an announcement I didn’t expect: John Byrne’s Next Men is coming back. As I recall, when Byrne ended the series in the mid 1990s, the plan was to revive it when the comic industry’s health improved to the point that it’d be economically feasible to return to the title. Well, I guess he got tired of waiting, because here we go. I am looking forward to this, as Next Men was an enjoyable comic, allowing Byrne’s Byrne-ness to be unfettered by corporate hoohar and goings-on.
  • Here’s a trio of Dark Horse Comics related news items: a movie trailer for The Goon (video autoplays, have to watch an ad), a new Witchfinder mini-series drawn by John freakin’ Severin, and Dark Horse Presents is coming back, with a new Concrete story in the first issue. These are all good things.
  • Scanning some of the online photo galleries of this year’s costumes…now, it’s kinda weird that someone dressed up their six or seven year old daughter as Hit-Girl from Kick Ass, right? It’s not just me thinkin’ that? Another thought I had seeing some of these costumes…they realize they’re going to have to be walking through huge crowds on hot days, right? Maybe a giant costume made of thick fabric and/or with pointy, stick-outy bits is not the best of ideas?

    Also, apparently the Slave Leias are multiplying. At this rate, by the year 2040 approximately 88% of Earth’s population will be Slave Leias. …I hope George Lucas is happy.

So anyway, there I was, looking up bald caps for sale on the Internet…

§ July 23rd, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron, sir-links-a-lot § 7 Comments

…when I came across this item:


First, it never occurred to me that there was a tie-in item of this particular type for the Superman Returns movie, though if you can dress up as Supes, I guess Lex is fair game.

Second, “Luthor” is totally misspelled on the package. I’m reasonably sure this is an official item, which makes the error fairly surprising…and I’ve also found pictures of this product with the correct spelling, so it was caught eventually, in case you were as worried about this as I was.

In other news:

  • Giving the Westboro Baptists any attention is a bad idea, I think, as it plays right into their hands…I don’t like even writing about them here, in fact. So I wasn’t really thrilled with the idea of the counter-protest we all knew was coming when the Westboro clan showed up at the San Diego Comic Con. But on the other hand…it’s kind of hard not to admire the guy with the “DARKSEID IS” sign. The fella(?) dressed as Futurama‘s Bender is amusing too. Pictures at the link if you want to see the hideous carnage.
  • “Say, Mike, what’s the last thing you were expecting to read on the Internet today?” “Well, I’m going to have to say it’s this interview with composer Harry Manfredini about his work on the 1982 Swamp Thing film!” “Wow, that was my guess, too!”
  • Speaking of Swamp Thing, as I so rarely do, Kevin Smith apparently revealed at a San Diego panel that Batman: The Widening Gyre began its life as a proposed Batman/Swamp Thing team-up series. Smith said about Swamp Thing, jokingly:

    “He just talks like a stoner, so it’d be a lot of fun to write.”

    Before any of you say anything…yes, I’d still buy and read it.

  • REMINDER: Employee Aaron is at the San Diego Comic Con, as is his lady friend Kempo (identifying photo of the two here), working the Arsenic Lullaby booth (#2200). Aaron is giving away free hugs, so just walk right up to him and grab him in a big ol’ bearhug. Don’t even warn him…he likes being surprised. Be sure to tell him Mike sent you!

Well, we all just finished working a 15+ hour day at the shop…

§ July 18th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron § 4 Comments

…for one of our very semi-occasional Midnight Madness sales, so I’m downright pooped as I write this (at 1:40 Sunday morning). Thus, all you’re getting today is a photo taken at said event, featuring Employee Aaron and Kempo, his lovely significant other:


I’m pretty sure this photo is weapons-grade cuteness.

Anyway, they’re going to the San Diego Comic Con next week, so if you see them there, be sure to ask Aaron to show you his cat ears. It’s good luck if you rub them.

So anyway, I’m just sitting here staring at my computer…

§ June 11th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron § 7 Comments

…after a long day and a longer evening and seriously, folks, I’ve got nothing. I have nothing I particularly want to write about, nothing to scan, nothing happening at work that’s particularly interesting to talk about…

…so let’s instead wish Employee Aaron a happy birthday!


This is where I keep Aaron between his 14-hour workdays at the shop, by the way.

Happy birthday, Aaron! Here’s to at least a half-dozen or so more!

World’s Frownest.

§ May 28th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron, sir-links-a-lot § 2 Comments

So first, Employee Aaron drew this:


And then I drew this in response:


Neither of us were particularly sad at the time, so I have no explanation. But that won’t stop me from slapping these pics up on the site for all to…”enjoy.”

In other news:

  • Say, you know what’s five years old this week? Why, the weblog of Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull, that’s what! Since Bully is only six years old, he’s been doing his site for 5/6ths of his life! And who among us can say that?

    Congrats, Bully! May you defeat all the matadors life throws at you!

  • Fellow Bureau Chief Matt Wilson penned an article looking at the problems with “nerd news” reporting. Some interesting food for thought in there (especially the bit about some folks just not being able to admit they were wrong about something).
  • Here’s something I didn’t expect to see…the all-seeing Neilalien turns his Eye of Agamotto upon the last episode of Lost. It’s a short, thoughtful, and reasoned response to the show, and I can’t disagree with it.

    Speaking of Lost, get a load of Nedroid‘s “Twitpic” stream, with plenty of Lost comics and illustrations. If this strip doesn’t make you wish for a follow-up TV series with those two characters, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  • Longtime customer Kevin started a sketch blog and I’ve kept meaning to link to it. So here you go. The man wields a mighty pen.
  • If you somehow missed out on ordering the print version of The Journal of MODOK Studies fanzine, like I did, you can now get all three issues as PDFs from the official website. You’re welcome.

Nobody loves the Copperhead action figure.

§ May 7th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron § 8 Comments


So no less than THREE current and former employees had this to say upon seeing the Copperhead action figure…without having heard the others say these things, by the way:

  • “Copperhead? Really?”
  • “Is he a member of [G.I. Joe’s counterpart terrorist organization] Cobra?”

End result: I had to kill all three of them. Sometimes it’s best.

Don’t know why Copperhead stood out so much…I thought it was more strange that you just had a random member of the Metal Men (Iron) in the assortment. Did get a few comments about the Desaad figure in the assortment, though, which isn’t nearly as disturbing as the Super Powers version from the ’80s, but still…”enjoy your action figure of a sadistic torturer, kids!”

Also of note, the Mary Marvel figure in the set is named “Mary Batson,” because of, well, you know, the whole Marvel Comics thing. (Like that set of SHAZAM figures from DC Direct a while back, with “Captain, Jr.” an’ all). Plus, if you get all the figures, each package has a piece o’Darkseid that you can assemble: you can see some of the figures and the fully-assembled Darkseid here.

The figures come with some pinback buttons featuring oddly-cropped cover images of classic, and not-so-classic, DC Comics (though the one I saw of this cover wasn’t too bad). Those pins weren’t nuthin’ on the pins Employee Aaron and I made a while back.

Yup. Those were some good pins we made. Too bad Aaron had to die.

Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ’em down.

§ April 9th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron § 23 Comments

So pretty much out of nowhere at work yesterday, Employee Aaron whips out this decade-plus old bit of promo material:


That’s a sticker, measuring about 4 inches across, advertising the Hawk and Dove mini-series that I don’t remember a single thing about. Oh, I remember that it exists, and that we have it in stock at the store. I just couldn’t tell you anything that happened in it, if any of it is still relevant to current continuity, etc. I didn’t remember the sticker, either, since we obviously didn’t use it. Neat design, though…nice play on the whole yin and yang thing.

Speaking of Employee Aaron, we had this conversation at the shop:

Aaron: “Hey, what’s this comic?”

Me: “That? That, m’boy, is U.S. 1.”

Aaron: “What’s it about?”

Me: “Truckin’.”

Aaron: “AWESOME. I’m buying it!”

And time will tell whether I did a good thing or a bad thing.

I did wonder momentarily if U.S. 1 experienced the same phenomenon that other normally scorned and shunned comics seem to have in the past…that after a decade or two of being ignored and dumped in bargain boxes and such, people are starting to realize that, maybe, actual mint copies of the series are hard to come by. And, as such, maybe prices on the books are beginning to creep up.

Now, the other two examples I had in mind for this sort of thing are DC’s Shazam! revival of the 1970s (way overprinted beyond demand, as I recall), and Hex (DC’s sci-fi revamp of the western hero, rejected by a readership not ready for its total awesomeness). They pretty much lived in quarter boxes for years…until relatively recently, when the prices jumped up quite a bit for the nice copies. But these two titles had other advantages, such as the characters involved still being around in one form or another, and thus still in the public eye and memory. U.S. 1 was pretty much self-contained, rarely referenced after the fact, and, at this point, yet another forgotten Big Two mini-series. Plus, it was critically reviled at the time, though it’s not like the ’70s Shazam and Hex were exactly embraced by the audiences of their respective times, either.

Anyway, upshot to all this: U.S. 1 guides in Near Mint at $2.50 a pop, so I guess it’s not yet begun its upward price creep. Though I’d be surprised as hell if anyone’s selling it for $2.50. $2.50 for a full run, maybe. (And I’m sure someone’s put one in a plastic “officially graded” sealed slab and sold it for $100 or something dumb like that. Please don’t tell me if that’s the case.)

In fairness, there’s nothing particularly wrong with U.S. 1…it’s a goofy, dopey, and fun comic book that just takes its premise and runs with it. We could use a few more U.S. 1s on the rack nowadays.

A giant mosquito on top of a tiny elephant.

§ February 11th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron, question time § 45 Comments

It’s like a ready-made symbolic representation of something:


Like the mosquito could be labeled “DC/MARVEL” and the elephant can be, I don’t know, “THE DIRECT MARKET.” Whee, instant editorial cartoon of…dubious meaning, I guess. It came about when, at the end of the day, Employee Aaron got his hands on a piece of paper and asked if I wanted him to draw anything, and I told the very thing that’s in the subject line of this post. So there you go. And yes, maybe it’s a regular-sized elephant and a really freakin’ huge mosquito, or a regular-sized mosquito and a very tiny elephant. But whatever.

Anyway, I didn’t ask you here to show you that. I asked you all to meet me here today for you to ask me questions. Yes, it’s been about a year since the last time I did this (though that “question time” tag brings up a post from 2007, and I know I did it more recently than that), but I think it’s been long enough. So, you, my internet pals, know the routine…please drop a question in the comments section for this post, and, in a few days (let’s say, Monday) I’ll start answering them. As usual, try to keep ’em clean and friendly and not too terribly nosy, and at least kinda related to things on this site. And as before, I reserve the right to reject questions, but I haven’t so far. (Don’t take that as a challenge, by the way!)

If you have any questions, please drop ’em in the comment box down there. I always enjoy doing this and I hope you folks get something out of it, too. (And, since it happened the last couple of times I did this…please don’t answer my questions for me by responding to them in the comments. Thank you!)

If only life were like that.

§ February 5th, 2010 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, employee aaron, sir-links-a-lot § 5 Comments

from World’s Finest #183 (March 1969) by Leo Dorfman, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito


Hey, I didn’t even realize when I pulled this comic aside that its cover date is the very month and year of my birth! (Its actual release date was likely a month or two previous, I think.) Huh, neat. To think my birth coincided with the raising of the Superman and Batman flags at the United Nations…where they fly even today.

Anyway, you guys had some comments on the redesign from yesterday, so let me respond to a couple:

Just Some Guy sez:

“Oh god! Searing pain in my retinas! The glare… too bright!”

Yeah, it is very…white, isn’t it? I’d been dead set on duplicating the exact look of the old site, which is one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to upgrade…I kept fiddling around with WordPress templates and getting frustrated and giving up. But I think this layout is a lot more open, and a lot less, I don’t know, 2003. I think I can live with it.

Plus, I finally changed the banner. Having some old friends staring back at me from across the top of my site helps ease the transition.

Walaka wonders

“Um, isn’t the apostrophe in your title backwards/upside down? What’s up with that?”

What, indeed? That’s just how the apostrophe is in this particular font used by this theme (Hanami, if you were wondering and if you hadn’t yet peeked at the link at the very bottom of the page). To tell the truth, it kind of bothered me at first, but just a little, and I kind of like it now. Just a little bit of weirdness in an otherwise stately design.

Plus, when I looked at the site on my work computer, it just had the standard straight-line computer apostrophe, so I guess whatever font that is isn’t installed in the shop’s computer. I just used “computer” three times in that sentence.

Pal Andres asks, in regards to my old comments:

“If I read the Blogger update correctly your old site will still be accessible, right?”

Well, it could be, if I go through the trouble of setting it up, but then I’d have two copies of my site on the internet and that could be confusing and screw up Googlers and Bingers and such. I mean, I could adjust settings so that Google wouldn’t index the other site or whatever, but one of the reasons I made the transition over to WordPress in the first place is to kind of keep things simple and in one place. Google’s new set-up would have required fiddling with subdomains and redirects to where Google would be hosting my actual posts, while all the media would still be served up by my hoster, and feh on that.

Employee Aaron declares

“The whiteness of your site will burn my retinas every morning from now on! Soon we will have progressive ruin the social networking site so we can compare Swampthing embroidered doilies!”

You’re fired.

C. Elam gives me more gray hair by suggesting

“I am sure you will be working on fixing links on a prodigious number of your entries, because that is the sort of thing that bothers folks like us. Good luck getting things back to ‘normal.'”

I do plan on fixing some of the internal links to other posts, but it’ll be a slow process since I’m gettin’ near to 3000 entries on this site, and I’d like to be able to sleep sometime. I’ll probably focus on the most recent year’s worth of posts, and work backwards from there.

Former employee Ray (and, in fact, the guy I replaced here at the shop!) pleads

“But you have to get the 1969 thing going. I MUST KNOW what you have done since 1969.”

I think instead of the rotating banner I used to have, that would display a new “since 1969” phrase every time you reloaded the site, I may instead be changing the phrase manually in my banner up there. Not quite as dynamic, I realize, but not everything can make the transition, I’m afraid!

I don’t have the rotating “what people are saying about PROGRESSIVE RUIN” thingie anymore, either, but I do plan on throwing those quotes onto my mostly-empty “About” page. Yes, even the one Dirk wrote about me six years ago about being “one of the better new comic bloggers to emerge so far this year.” I’m hanging onto that quote for dear life.

Ed queries

“Any plans to expand the blogroll to something approaching its former glory?”

Oh, yes, absolutely. But it’ll be a separate page, accessible via a button next to “HOME” and “ABOUT” up there by the banner. Assuming I can do that, that is. In fact, I would have done that today, except I spent all my blogging time doing that swank new banner image. (Who’s not a Photoshop expert? THIS GUY.)

One of the things that bothered me most about the other site is the sheer number of links in the sidebar. It looks cluttered and cramped, but I didn’t want to drop a bunch of links, either. By putting the links on a separate page, that’ll likely encourage me to add lots more of them, so hopefully I can get started on that soon. The links I do have in the sidebar were just kind of put up there to have a blogroll, and are mostly my closest internet pals, the folks with whom I do Fake AP Stylebook, and the mighty Neilalien, the first and most powerful of all comic webloggers.

Anyway, I hope that answered some of your questions about the site. It’s still a work in progress, and again, thank you for your patience and your readership. (And a reminder: you’ll probably need to resubscribe to the syndication feed for your RSS readers…just flip that little chromium switch there at the top of the page.)

In other news:

  • Employee Aaron’s girlfriend Mel had a drawing of hers printed in Tank Girl: Skidmarks #3, out this week in a funnybook store near you. Well, okay, we sold out already, but it’s available for reorder and I’ve got more coming! Here’s a little snippet of it:


    Pick up the issue and check out the whole pic! Oh, and read the rest of the comic, too. After you pay for it. With money.

    You can also visit her Deviantart site and take a gander at her pictures…which, um, may include that same Tank Girl drawing, BUT GO TO SHOP AND PAY MONEY FOR COMIC. Thank you.

  • This gentleman is putting together a list of the “100 Best Comic Book Covers” from 1980 to present, and I’m sure he’s going to get a lot of “um, you forgot” and “wow, really?” responses that these lists always get, but hey, a lot of those are nice images. So anyway, go check it out. Tell him he forgot this cover.

He’s getting the stitches out today, by the way.

§ August 29th, 2008 § Filed under employee aaron Comments Off on He’s getting the stitches out today, by the way.

I didn’t mention this earlier, because I wasn’t sure if Employee Aaron wanted me to say anything about it…but he’s finally come back to work, and after checking with him, I’ll go ahead and clue you all in. Late last week, while driving to work, Aaron was run off the road by another driver (who, by the way, didn’t bother stopping). Aaron’s car was totaled, with both air bags deploying, and Aaron himself took a nasty knock to the head which required stitches. From his phone call to me minutes after the accident: “Yeah, uh, I was told that I hit the rear view mirror with my head.” If you gotta be told that, chances are you’ve been knocked for a pretty good loop.

Anyway, after taking a couple of days off to recover, Aaron is more or less good as new, save for the seven metal stitches embedded in his scalp. At the very least, he doesn’t appear any goofier than usual. But he’s in good spirits, and he’s otherwise in about Fine to Very Fine condition, with some light cover scuffing and minor wear at the staples, so we’re all thankful for that. And special thanks to former employee Kid Chris for filling in for Aaron while he recovered.

Pal Dorian bought Aaron some “Get Well Soon” gifts, including a hat with which Aaron may, quote, “cover his hideous disfigurement.” Actually, it’s quite the snappy hat. It makes Aaron look like Andy Capp.

Unfortunately, Aaron forgot to e-mail me the photos of his stitching that he took with his cell phone camera, so I’ll have to gross you all out later.

EDIT: Here is a picture of Employee Aaron’s frowny face just prior to getting the staples removed:


And here is a shot of the staples themselves…no blood, but may not be for the squeamish or people who hate slightly blurry photos.


In other news:

  • Virgin Comics has shut down its New York offices, though perhaps there’s a chance for some form of revival in the Los Angeles area. Now, this company never sold incredibly well for us, but it had a small following at our store and we always managed to move a few copies of each title.

    Ah, well. They didn’t publish anything I was particularly interested in, but Virgin generally had good production values and published an attractive product…and its always a shame when a few of my customers find themselves suddenly without some of the comics they enjoyed reading. I always worry about the impact of publishing failures like this, making my customers more cautious about investing their time, money, and interest in new titles from new publishers.

  • Yesterday was Jack Kirby’s birthday. He would have been 91 years old.

    Tom Spurgeon assembled an epic sampling of the King’s work, which is certainly worth your attention. And former Kirby cohort Mark Evanier says this in his tribute to the man’s birthday:

    “…If you had his phone number — and everyone did — you could call up, talk to him and maybe even get an invite to drop by the house for coffee.”

    Not an exaggeration. Kirby lived out his later years in Thousand Oaks, which is just over the hill from where I’m at…well, okay, it’s about a half hour drive, but still, pretty close. And more than a couple of times I’ve flipped open the phone book, looked at the listing for “KIRBY Jack” and looked at that phone number.

    I never called that number, but I’ve heard stories at the store from folks who did…who chatted with him on the phone, or even got to visit him at his house. I never felt comfortable enough to do either of those things…but I did at least get to meet Kirby at a local convention, shake his hand, and chat with him and his wife Roz for a minute or two.

    “Shake his hand.” I say that like I just shook the hand of a mere mortal, of just any ordinary person.

    I got to shake the hand that created and drew Captain America, the Hulk, Darkseid and the New Gods, Galactus and the Silver Surfer, Iron Man, Captain Victory, the Boy Commandos, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Challengers of the Unknown, Devil Dinosaur, the Demon, the Fighting Fetus, and countless others. (And I’m not kidding about the Fighting Fetus…you can read my support of that character at the link.)

    The hand that drew the first romance comic book. The hand that drew Popeye in some of the original Fleischer cartoons.

    I got to shake that hand. In my memory, I see myself suddenly becoming enveloped in the Kirby Krackle upon contact. Obviously that didn’t happen, but it should have.

    Happy birthday, Jack.

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