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The archnemesis of Rolling Stone Boss.

§ May 15th, 2020 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing § 4 Comments

Speaking of Swamp Thing showing up in places you wouldn’t expect, I was speaking to longtime ProgRuin reader Wayne (buy his books!) and he let me know that for seemingly inexplicable reasons, the retro-TV channel MeTV has a Swamp Thing shirt available for sale in their online store. I already own that particular design, natch, but it struck me as odd as well, since as Wayne and I thought, Swamp Thing‘s various video incarnations (old non-sweary TV show, cartoon, movies) don’t seem to be candidates for their usual programming. I wondered maybe it had something to do with the Svengoolie program, which specializes in presenting horror movies of, shall we say, varying quality, though I imagine I would have heard from about a million people if Swamp Thing made it on there.

But after some extensive Googling, it would appear…maybe we were wrong about Swamp Thing not sharing a channel with Columbo, Gilligan and the Skipper, and Barney Fife. (Though wotta crossover that would be, right?) Doing some searching, it seems that the older Swamp Thing live-action show was part of MeTV’s “Red Eye Sci-Fi” lineup. There are even a couple of articles I found on MetTV’s site from 2017 discussing the series, such as their “8 Muckracking Facts” or their motivational posters. Look, apart from anything else, at least those articles gave me the term “Moss Boss” for ol’ Swampy, and for that alone we all owe ’em.

No idea if Swamp Thing is still on MeTV, or even rerunning anywhere. Half surprised it hasn’t turned up on the DC Universe streaming service yet.

I don’t know how much of the show any of you have sampled. It’s…well, there are lots of episodes, so if you’re into it, lucky you. I own the DVDs, and have owned them for years, but still haven’t watched them all the way through. It’s…rough going at times, and not because “oh my they changed this and that and the other thing from the comics,” but because it’s just a hard show to watch. Everybody does their best, but it’s just kinda muddled and occasionally off-putting. Now granted it’s been a while, so maybe I’m just being harsher on it based solely on my fading memories more than the actual experience, but it’s just one of those things I never find time to revisit.

Anyway, if you’ve been in need of a Swamp Thing shirt for a special occasion, here you go. It’s a nice design, recommended for all formal events and gatherings, once we start having those aqgain.

Some days I wish I could just go back to posting funny panels in my synopsis of some out-there 1960s Jimmy Olsen comic.

§ April 20th, 2020 § Filed under pal plugging, retailing, sir-links-a-lot, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments

Hot off last week’s presses, some news came down regarding funnybook distribution in our near future. First, Diamond Comics announced that it was looking at a mid-to-late May date to start shipping product out to whatever stores still remain. Nothing nailed down just yet, and I still think it’s really going to depend on the large comic markets like California and New York will be doing in regards to allowing regular retail to resume.

And if that’s not enough, DC Comics has decided not to wait on Diamond, and is instead going to send out at least three weeks of their new comics through a couple of alternative distribution points. It’s not a heavy load of books coming over these three weeks, which is good and bad, I guess. Good in that I’m not being asked to put out a lot of money when not a lot of money is currently coming in, and bad in that there’s not really enough here to goose immediately mail order shipping from customers wanting their new books. But then, you never know..maybe after all three weeks have come and gone there will be enough to get some folks to call in, I think.

Anyway, the books being shipped had their orders cancelled through Diamond, so I had to place new orders for everything. I had to think hard about those orders, given that I’m not going to have the off-the-rack sales as my store will still be closed to the public at least through all three of those weeks. BUT will they sell off the rack once I’m able to open again and people try to catch up? I don’t know…best to order conservatively for now and reorder if I need to.

It’s…a weird time to be a comics retailer. Or any kind of niche retail business, for that matter. The one advantage I have is that comics are escapism, and boy do people want escapism right now.

I’ve been doing…okay, as far as business goes. I’ve had several phone and email orders, and I’m at the post office pretty much every day gettting stuff sent out. I’m not making the money I was, but with Diamond’s invoices paid off, and my rent paid for the next month, I don’t have the same expenses either. (And my planned purchases of that new DC product won’t be very dear either.)

In an odd sort of way, aside from the weird existential dread of awareness that a plague roams the land, working along in my closed shop has been, well, relaxing. Processing mail order, typing old comics into this online spreadsheet for folks to pick from and buy, listening to podcasts as I work…it’s all a bit therapeutic. Which isn’t to say I’m not looking forward to being able to swing my doors wide open again.

So it looks like an interesting month up ahead for my shop, and every shop. Going to try to not let it stress me out too much. And if it does…I’ll just play around with piles of old comics, and all will be well again.

In the meantime:

Don’t forget, I’m still taking orders and want lists and whathaveyou, as well as still doing these packs of 30 random comics for $20 postpaid domestic! Help me clean out my backroom!

Also, over the weekend, one of my regular customers brought me a comics-themed facemask made by her mother! The downside is that you can’t see my quarantine beard that I’ve been growing for the last few weeks. But that’s the price I pay for high fashion!

And so long as I’m being Sir Links-A-Lot again, let me point you at my shop’s website, its Facebook, its Twitter, and its Instagram. News regarding my store’s status during our current situation can be found there…and here on this site, for that matter.

Thanks for reading pals, and stay safe out there. KEEP WEARING THOSE MASKS, even if they’re not as cool as mine!

Maybe I can pay for the weekly comics shipment with toilet paper and bottled water.

§ March 16th, 2020 § Filed under cranius, pal plugging, retailing, swamp thing § 4 Comments

So I expected some kind of dropoff in business this weekend due to the coronavirus, but surprisingly sales remained within their usual range, if not, perhaps, slightly above what I estimated. Now it could be people coming in and loading up on reading material for their sequestering, or that the full impact of what’s going on hasn’t quite settled in (though that’s hard to argue if you’ve seen the state of any grocery stores in the last couple of days), but so far, I’ve been doing okay.

Now whether that continues as everything continues to shut down and more people decide to stay home, I don’t know. Or it could be that folks are just in initial panic mode and that perhaps behavior will begin to normalize as the realization sets in that the world isn’t ending just yet. Again, don’t know.

It’s a level of uncertainty that I’m not particularly enjoying, as I’m sure most people out there are also experiencing. “How do I make money if I don’t work?” “How do I make money if no one is making money to spend at my store?” “How do I make money if people stop going out to shop?” It’s pretty rough. I have to worry about paying my rent, paying for the weekly Diamond invoices, paying myself so I can pay my regular expenses, oh, and saving up for a tax bill that I didn’t think I was going to have up until about two weeks ago. If money stops coming in, then I’ve got no money to go out, and that will be that.

Like I said, business has remained relatively steady, and it could be I’m worrying too much. Could be I’ll ride this out just fine, pinching pennies here and there, taking in few collections, while income is still coming in, even at slightly reduced levels. And I’m still doing mail order, and have offered my local customers the option to ship their books to them if they would rather not make the trip. But if things cut off entirely…well, my landlord and Diamond and my various utilities will hopefully be understanding.

Sigh. Anyway, so it’s not all doom and gloom, let me show you this pic that pal Matt Digges gave to me as a birthday present this weekend:


Heck yeah that’s Arcane and Cranius from Swamp Thing! And you guys know I loves me some Cranius.

Okay, let’s see what the week brings us. Hopefully things will get better, we’ll all start trying to lead normal (if health-conscious) lives, and panic rushes on grocery stores will subside. I mean, I certainly hope they do, I’m runnin’ short on paper towels.

C’mon, surely somebody loves the Hulk.

§ January 9th, 2020 § Filed under hulk, pal plugging, swamp thing, this week's comics, watchmen § 2 Comments

So the other day I noticed on pal Brook’s Instagram that he posted a picture of his latest rare vinyl acquisition. I of course immediately asked him if I could feature it on this here comic book weblog, and he said that was fine…and also since he was going to be dropping by the store Wednesday for new comics anyway, he’d bring it in for me to see in person.

And here it is, with some new photos I took at the store once I had that record in my umngainly mitts, an original 45 RPM single of “Nobody Loves the Hulk” by the Traits, released in 1969:


This is a pristine copy, only removed from its original mailer by the seller to check its condition prior to selling. And speaking of the mailer, here it is:

And why not, here’s a pic of this classic piece of vinyl itself:


And did I play it on the in-store turntable? I wasn’t going to, as a’feared as I was to do damage to this artifact, but Brook insisted that I did, so I dood it. If you weren’t lucky enough to be there when I did, you’ll just have to replicate the experience best you can by listening to this:

Brook also forwarded this link to an interview with one of the people behind this recording. Apparently it was originally sold only through mail order ads in comic books, with only some of the 2,000 copy print run selling that way, the rest being dumped off in various places. Given the condition of Brook’s copy, this seems likely to be some kind of warehouse find, probably sitting in a box somewhere for decades after being discarded by the original owner. Who knows? But Brook got one and, um, perhaps I may have my own copy on its way now too.

Big thanks to pal Brook for bringing that in.

In other news:


This thing came out this week, which made for a nice addition to my personal collection given that the majority of the reprint material inside is taken from the Watchmen supplements for the DC Heroes Role Playing Game, the originals of which I’d sold off long ago. Thus, it’s nice to have them again.

Also reprinted therein are the entries for the Watchmen and related from Who’s Who in the DC Universe (and given the publication of Doomsday Clock, they really are in the DC Universe!), plus the covers for said Who’s Who issues, as well as material from Amazing Heroes and a Dave Gibbons cover for The Comics Journal.

Most hilariously, it includes that bonkers Rorschach appearance in The Question #17. I mean, sure, why not.

Turns out, when asking longtime customer and fellow Swamp Thing afficionado, and Watchmen and Planet of the Apes expert Rich Handley if he needed a copy…turns out, he was actually consulted regarding content for this book! He was asked what extra Watchmen stuff should be included that hadn’t already been offered in reprint form elsewhere…and I’m presuming whoever it was at DC asking this already knew about Question #17 so I won’t blame Rich for that. Anyway, due to changes in editors and whatnot, Rich didn’t seem to get a credit or even a “thank you” inside (at least, I couldn’t find one in the tiny print, given my ailing eyeballs) so just mentally add his name in there when you’re reading it. Okay? Okay!

Also, in other other news:

Also out this week is Swamp Thing The Bronze Age Vol. 2:


I didn’t really pay much attention to the original solicitation for this book. I just figured “ah, it’s just reprinting that big ol’ Swamp Thing omnibus I already bought, I don’t need this,” but reader, How Wrong I Was. It includes a lot of material not in the big ol’ hardcover…enough material that I probably should have passed on it and just waited for the paperbacks. It has the Challengers of the Unknown issues with Swampy and Deadman, it has the DC Comics Presents and Brave and the Bold team-ups.

Most importantly, it has all extant material related to the unpublished #25 from the original series! Now, I already had copies of the pencil and inked interior pages included here, but this volume also contains pencil roughs for other pages, the script, a paste-up of the letters page for that issue(!), and even the inked-and-logoed cover! Pretty amazing. I’d kinda hoped they had enough of this issue done that they could have released it as one of DC’s currently “facsimile” reprint line, a “reprint” of a #25 that never was, but looks like it wasn’t as finished as I’d thought. Ah, well. But this is great to have, finally.

Now, if we can get DC to reprint the finished pages ‘n’ script from that pulled “Swamp Thing Meets Jesus” story should they ever get around to collecting the stories from that immediate era…that’d be somethin’.

This post brought to you by Star Warsing.

§ December 27th, 2019 § Filed under low content mode, pal plugging, star wars Comments Off on This post brought to you by Star Warsing.

I was indeed Star Warsing last night…and into this morning, so I got home way too late and tired to put together a proper entry here on Progressive Ruin Online Punditry Magazine, so just a couple o’links and reminders today.

[On the topic of Rise of Skywalker: good, though I can understand some of the criticisms levied at it by rational, reliable film commentators. It does leave me wondering what George Lucas’ wrap-up to the saga would have been…I mean, completely bonkers, sure, but Star Wars needs to be a little bonkers.]

Anyway, LINKS:

My friends the Beckners still need a little more help to get through this month, so if you can give a bit to their GoFundMe, I’d appreciate it, and they would definitely appreciate it.

I’m still taking your predictions for the comics industry in 2020, so get ’em in already!

Thanks, pals, and I’ll see you on Monday.

That Lego thing still burns me up.

§ July 31st, 2019 § Filed under pal plugging, retailing § 5 Comments

So occasionally my pals Chris ‘n’ Matt will put out the call for questions for them to answer on their War Rocket Ajax podcast, and this time, instead of breaking their wills with my usual Frank Miller’s The Spirit-related inquiry, I asked them:

“What are your thoughts on the vast proliferation of comic book variant covers?”

…and you can hear their response in this very episode (just under the wire at the one hour twenty-five minute mark).

You can hear what they said there, and I don’t disagree with any of their positions…and there are a few positions one can take on the whole “variant cover” thing. Yes, it’s good to offer customers a choice…if one cover doesn’t catch his/her eye, maybe another will. And it gives artists more opportunities for work, in an industry that’s often short on opportunities and, well, money.

But as Matt says, it’s probably not good to build a business model that depends on the sale of multiple covers to the same person, but in a way, that’s what I’m doing when I’m ordering them for the shop. Multiple covers are a way to push those numbers up…maybe not by much, maybe I’ll order 5 each of Unicycle Tragedy #18 if two covers are offered, instead of just 8 copies if only one cover were available, because yes, there is a percentage of customers who’ll buy one of each. Or if an incentive cover is avaiable…if there’s a variant that’s availble to purchase if you order 25 copies of the regular cover, and my order is at 23…well, maybe I’ll justify the extra expense.

So we’re not talking about big adjustments in ordering on a case by case basis, usually. But an extra copy here, an extra two copies there…it begins to add up, both in my expenses and in the publishers’ income. Every little bit helps them, and may actually help certain titles reach their bottom lines.

One clever use of variant covers was in the ’90s, when Marvel started to offer two different covers for the second issues of new series (of which they had several starting up at around that time). Traditionally, when a new series started, retailers would order larger numbers on the first issue, then cut orders on the second with expectations of a drop-off in sales. Marvel’s issue #2 variants countered this a tad, by offering different covers, which would encourage retailers to up their orders a bit in anticipation of, again, some folks wanting to own both versions.

Of course, that was back around the beginning of the end of retailers wanting to have lots of copies of the eary issues of new series around for future back issue sales. Now there still may be a drop-off with issue #2, but #1s are being ordered so close to the bone (given that there’ll be a new #1 for the same series sooner rather than later, killing back issue demand for the previous series) that just doing variants on everything is pretty much the only way to encourage any upward bumps in numbers.

Chris brings up that he would prefer that the covers actually reflect the contents of the book, and, yup, I’d have to agree. Though to be fair, that’s been a problem even without variant covers. How many Amazing Spider-Man covers during J. Michael Straczynski’s run were just “generic Spider-Man action pose #4” or whatever? Yes, I mean, sure, Spider-Man’s inside the comic, so at least the cover is that accurate, and they weren’t bad drawing by any means, but they revealed nothing about the story inside. Nothing telling the reader “hey, dig this crazy story that’s in this issue…can you believe what’s going on here on the cover? Better buy the issue and find out what’s up!” They weren’t all like that, of course, but enough of them were.

But the variants can be a problem, too, like the covers featuring characters that aren’t in the actual comic, but just on there to promote a coming event or movie or whatnot (like the current Carnage variants) or the covers featuing concepts people actually showed interest in buying ’til they saw the contents didn’t refect the image on the front (I’m looking at you, DC Lego variants).

And don’t get me started on when a specific variant beomes “The Hot One” for no real good reason whatsoever and people start calling the day before release for it. Which, of course, is usually too late to order more.

I mean, yeas, sure, many of the variant covers are nice looking, and folks put a lot of work into them. It can just be frustrating ordering these, and also adds an unnecessary level of consumer confusion to a product that’s already facing an uphill battle in obtaining and maintaining a customer base.

Thanks to Matt ‘n’ Chris for responding to my question.

We interrupt this hiatus…

§ April 16th, 2019 § Filed under pal plugging, self-promotion § 1 Comment

…to let you know that my store sponsored this week’s episode of War Rocket Ajax. Hear pals Matt ‘n’ Chris sing the praises of Sterling Silver Comics! …It was definitely nice to hear after a couple of rough eyeball days, so that was good timing!

By Jove, more Jupiter comics!

§ July 30th, 2018 § Filed under indies, pal plugging § 2 Comments

So I’ve written about Jason Sandberg’s Jupiter before, a wonderful black and white comic that ran in the 1990s and was alas too beautiful for this world, disappearing from the racks in too short of a time.

Here’s the good news: that Sandberg fella is bringing Jupiter back, in digital comics form!


Clicking that cover (or the sidebar ad, if you’re a person that still visits my website directly and also a person that still reads comic blogs, will whisk you away tp Comixology, where you can obtain issue #0. This collection is a compilation of several of the one-page gag strips and some of the longer features from that original series, giving you an idea of what to expect when new Jupiter material starts being released. Yes, that’s right, I said new, and it’s about darn time. I missed this comic and I’m so glad to have it back.

Anyway, here are some samples, including a couple of the one-pagers:

…and some excerpts from the longer stories:

NOTE: none of the Pelasgus stories (which I go on about at length in that older post of mine) are featured, though Pelasgus does make the occasional cameo in a couple of the strips. (Maybe a later collection, hmmmmm?)

Also, full disclosure: Jason and I became online pals quite a while back, and I’ve occasionally plugged his work here (and about which you can learn more at his site), and he’s sent me various print projects of his over the years to distribute at both my previous place of employment and my current one. He’s a good guy and I’m happy to promote his work. I’m especially happy to promote the return of Jupiter, which had been one of my favorites back in the ’90s, and sure to be one of my favorites of the ’10s and hopefully many years beyond.

Your regular reminder that I have to sell these things for a living.

§ April 20th, 2018 § Filed under nancy, pal plugging, retailing, superman Comments Off on Your regular reminder that I have to sell these things for a living.

To follow up on my last post, I appear to have ordered just about the right number of Action #1000s, at least to cover the initial rush of sales. The main cover, the one by Jim Lee, was the first…well, second, after the “blank” variant…to sell out, and I had several more requests for it after it was gone. Luckily, that cover (and the blank one) were still available for reorder, so I have more coming in. The other variants, I did have a request or two for them after they were gone, but by and large people just bought one (or, um, two or three) of whatever variants were left. And, right now, I have one copy left of the 2000s variant as I head into Friday. Ah well, I’ll have more early next week, and I expect this will be a consistent seller for at least a little while. But if I hear “do you have any Action #1000s left?” all weekend, I may have to reassess my “ordered about right” assumption.

Now the question I have is “will any of this translate to sales for when Brian Michael Bendis takes over the Super-books,” assuming people like the little taste o’Bendis they got in #1000. I have to place orders for his weekly Man of Steel mini-series right quick, and I’m not entirely sure what they’re going to be just yet. Not like this slew of new Marvel #1s in the same order form, where I’m about 90% certain that we’ll see a small bump in sales on those first issues, then we’ll be right back where we were before. Except maybe Thor, which has a $5.99 price point on that first issue, so Dedicated Fans Only Please, Sorry New Readers Who Might Have Picked It Up. Sheesh.

Anyway, can you tell I spent a chunk of my Thursday working on the monthly orders? Yessiree, I certainly was.

Oh, right, back to Action #1000. Pal Matt pointed out a strange anomaly in the Bendis story from that issue, where the villain of the piece refers to Supergirl as Superman’s “cousinsister.” I noticed that when I was reading, and my initial two thoughts were “maybe that’s supposed to represent some quirk in whatever translation device the alien is using to speak to Superman” (except I don’t see any other examples of that in the dialogue) and “maybe there’s something going on in the Supergirl comic I’m not reading that justifies this strange combined relationship term.” Or, as Matt suggests, just an editing error, but it seems weird that something this blatant would be missed. I mean, it wouldn’t even get past the spellchecker, you’d think. Or it could very well be foreshadowing for some kind of revelation down the road. Whatever, it’s strange and it stood out and maybe there’s an explanation coming, I don’t know. Maybe somewhere Bendis is laughing at us…”how cute, they think that was a mistake!” he chortles.

While we wait for our answer to that, in the meantime why not read the beginning of a new series of articles by one of the best writers I know, pal Andrew, as he starts his look, in his own inimitable fashion, at the Charlton Super-Heroes. This is gonna be good, pals, so get in on the ground floor, Mike said cliché-ishly.

And in other news, a couple of folks dropped a link in my comments section to this article on people arguing over the new Nancy strips I mentioned. Basically, it’s about people who realize current Nancy is very good, versus people who are wrong. That has been the way of the world for decades, I’m afraid.

I’m just gonna plug my pal Kurt today…and also mention his podcast.

§ April 4th, 2018 § Filed under pal plugging § 1 Comment

Like it says in the title, I’m going to plug my old pal Kurt’s podcast today…”Welcome to Geektown,” which you can find on the iTunes and other places like Google Play and Stitcher…just search there for it. Anyhoo, Kurt’s taking questions and offering answers on various comics-related topics, and he’d better do a good job at it or he’ll be answering to ME. So if you have your own questions for Kurt to answer, feel free to send ’em in! Keep that boy busy and out of trouble!

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