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“Better than no meat at all.”

§ October 16th, 2015 § Filed under question time, wood eye § 3 Comments

So recently a lost Dan Clowes interview popped up over the Comics Journal site, conducted by one Zack Carlson. Now, I’ve known Zack for…at least 25 years now? Something like that. And back in the early to mid ’90s, a phrase that made me feel five years older even just by typing it, Zack was one of the participants in our local mini-comics publishing project “Full Frontal Harvey.” I’ve discussed FFH waaaay back in my first anniversary post and have even presented one or two of my contributions over the years.

I bring that up as the Clowes interview linked above was intended for the second issue of Zack’s ‘zine Meat Nog…the first issue of which was published under the Full Frontal Harvey banner. And, as the Official Keeper of All Things Full Frontal Harvey-ish, and probably the only person on the planet with a complete set of everything we did, I thought I’d present the cover of the first issue of Meat Nog right here:


At this late date I can’t remember if that was Zack standing in the toilet on that cover, or some other poor sap who let himself get talked into it. Anyway, in the intro to the Clowes interview, Zack describes Meat Nog as “crummy,” which is being awfully hard on it. It’s probably one of my favorite things we put out, filled with funny cartoons and entertaining music reviews, and I’ll slip it out of the Archives once in a while and poke through a random page. Zack’s one of the funniest and most talented people I’ve ever met, and I’m always glad to know he’s still out there being the Zackiest Zack he can be. (And be sure to check out the documentary Best Worst Movie for more hot Zack action.)

• • • • • •

The most recent Question Time isn’t over, as I had a few straggling questions/comments from the Answer Time posts (1 2 3 4 5 6) that I wanted to address:

Colin McMahon adds to tonight’s show with

“Quick note, the DC Harley polybagged variants are all the same ratio. A color, black & white and a pencil sketch version of the cover. The quality of the artists on them will certainly help.”

Ah, yes, thanks for the correction. I was going off my initial annoyed reading of this particular gimmick from a while back, and didn’t double-check my facts. At any rate, it’s still a variant cover, you don’t know which one, which is sealed inside an opaque polybag. It shouldn’t be any pricier than the standard cover, and I’m just beginning to figure out my orders for them now, and urgh.

• • •

MRPRSE wnts t knw

“Yay! I love question time. I know I’m too late for this round but it might make good fuel for a full post: I’d like to see Mike’s Guide to Comic Storage with all your tips and recommendations such as using low-tack labels to seal comic bags rather than scotch tape.”

NEVER TOO LATE FOR QUESTION TIME except for right now when I’m done for the time being after today. Anyway, I don’t have a whole lot of tips, beyond 1) don’t use your comics for coasters, 2) keep ’em cool and dry and away from peeing cats, 3) for the love of all that is good and holy, if you’re going to seal your comic bags use removable labels like these, not tape…don’t ask, just do it.

• • •

Andrew Davison ties it up with

“What happened to that giant Groot cut-out you had when the store opened? What interesting decor do you have now?”

Groot and Rocket are still in the window, but I have some replacements coming soon. In the meantime, for the Halloween holiday, they’re sharing space with a friend:


I also have a few Halloween decorations in the shop, like a glitter-covered skull topped by a giant purple spider sitting next to my register. …Probably should have taken a photo of that for this post. Ah, well, I’ve a couple of weeks to go ’til the Big Day! I can post a picture of it by then.

• • •

Thanks for all the questions, everybody…had a nice turnout this time ’round and I hope, just maybe, everyone learned a little something. Learning something like “Mike sure likes to run off at the mouth,” but let’s face it, most of you knew that already.

Again, thanks a lot, and I’ll see you on Monday.

I swear to God, this is something that actually happened.

§ April 16th, 2014 § Filed under wood eye § 3 Comments

I posted a few scans from my mini-comics works on the Twitters the other night, some of which I’ve probably featured on this site at one time or another and I will eventually track down and link to with my new “wood eye” category. (Wood-Eye being, of course, the name of the anthology comic most of my mini-comics appeared in.)

After doing Wood-Eye for a few years, in 1998 I put together a solo book reprinting my strips from that anthology along with new strips. That book was called Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin, which is where this website got its name. (You can read more about my mini-comic days, and see a wee tiny scan of the cover for that book, in my very first anniversary post.)

Anyway, one of those new strips was the following, which isn’t so much based on a true story as an exact transcription, and I don’t think I’ve posted it online before, but if so, here it is again:


I was between finals, walking from one building to another on the UC Santa Barbara campus, when that fella came up and said that very thing to me. I had about 40 cents in my pocket, which I handed over to him because you know, what the heck, and now, a couple of decades later, I’m posting a comic strip I drew about it on my website. 40 CENTS WELL SPENT, SEZ I.

Kinda wish I still had that little “Evils of Money” pamphlet. Wonder what happened to it?

A tale of tragedy and woe.

§ August 9th, 2008 § Filed under wood eye Comments Off on A tale of tragedy and woe.

Another bizarrely disturbing strip by me, from the print edition of Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin, 1998:

NOTES:

1. I drew the first page, set it aside for a couple of years, then drew the second page so that I could have the finished story in my Progressive Ruin comics digest.

2. I found that math equation on the internet somewhere. I guess that’s sufficiently complex for the purposes of the strip.

3. I don’t know what the ultimate purpose of this strip is, beyond “sometimes people suck.” Or maybe “animals that can do higher math always get the shaft.” Something like that. Make up your own moral.

4. That poor snake. I remember drawing that deathgrip Tommy has the snake in, in that second panel, and thinking “this is both funny and remarkably pathetic.” Also, Tommy’s a little tall in that second panel. Maybe he’s standing on a crate or a bale of hay or something. He is at a fair.

5. My friends worry about me, sometimes.

Yes, this is where those "Things Not to Say…" posts in the sidebar came from.

§ August 8th, 2008 § Filed under wood eye § 1 Comment

[EDIT: Ignore the “sidebar” comment in the title, there…those links vanished when I revamped the site a few years ago. You can find them here: 1 2 3.]

Straight outta 1996, it’s a mini-comic by me! Please pardon the lettering:

NOTES:

1. Isn’t that a nice paper color? “Salmon” brings out the art, don’t you think?

2. Yes, the name of our mini-comics publishing concern was “Full Frontal Harvey,” named after an overheard comment by some MTV host or ‘nother about Harvey Keitel’s performance in Bad Lieutenant.

3. I have heard every one of these.

4. The “I’m very disappointed” lady was looking for an issue of Stray Toasters we didn’t happen to have at the time, and I can still hear the particular tone of voice she used when she said that, and it still grates. ARGH.

5. Seriously, I don’t know what’s up with what I was putting on the shirts. Except for the “Democracy” t-shirt, which was the name of pal Cully’s punk band.

6. My favorite panel in this comic is the “do you sell comics” one…I swear to God, that’s where the kid was standing when he asked me that. Also: Swamp Thing cameo!

7. None of the people in these drawings are meant to look like any specific customer…except the “I’m very disappointed” lady, who looked pretty much just like that. GAH, that was annoying.

8. The “how much is this comic” panel shared the page with the copyright information, and where to mail your buck and a half for the latest issue of Wood-Eye…and featured my worst lettering ever, so I’m sparing you the horror.

In which Mike is briefly cheered by the thought of a dead dog.

§ July 30th, 2008 § Filed under wood eye Comments Off on In which Mike is briefly cheered by the thought of a dead dog.

So here are a couple of covers I assembled for our local small-press comics anthology digest Wood-Eye, from back in my mini-comics days:


That first one is Wood-Eye #11 from July 1997, and if you’re familiar with pulp magazines or Golden Age comics, you’ve seen this terrible, terrible ad I used to create this cover. As I recall, we had a collection of old, beat-up comics and pulps come in, and just running around loose in the box was a torn-off back cover for a pulp magazine featuring this ad. I couldn’t match it up with any of the pulps in the box, so I ended up just keeping it.

Now, had it been ten years later, I would have scanned the thing and threw it up on the site, here (though I know, without even checking, that ad is somewhere on the internet). But, hey, we were in the midst of our mini-comics-producing mania, and I thought “hmmm, bet I could make a good Wood-Eye cover out of that.” Well, some would say I lost that bet, but that cover still amuses me. And by “amuses,” I mean “depresses me immensely when I look in that poor dog’s eye, as it pleads with me to give it a home,” and then I remember the dog they used for that ad has been dead for decades, and that makes me feel a little better…until I realize what I just thought and fall into depression again.

Okay, moving on….


That’s my pop! Wood-Eye #12, the last in the series, came out in July 1998…wow, a year between issues…I’m almost Frank Miller-esque in my timeliness. Still a better record than Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine, however. Anyway, for that cover I used a photo of my dad from his teenage years, taken from a 1961 newspaper clipping. I think it was from a model-making competition or club my dad participated in at a local sporting goods store, and not from a police report, so I better not see any cracks like that in my comments section.

So, yeah, ten years since the last issue of Wood-Eye. That’s a very oddly specific way of making one feel old. I occasionally think about doing another issue, but…well, we’ll see. As a publisher, I make a good comic shop manager, but doing the comic was fun, if a bit of a time sink and not exactly a money-maker. But there is an undeniable bit of satisfaction in having the final printed product in your hands, even on this exceedingly low level of the publishing scale.

"I — I can’t drink beer fast enough!"

§ August 18th, 2007 § Filed under wood eye § 1 Comment

I spent my Friday at the shop rearranging the toy shelves in the front as well as the shelves of stored toys in the back…cleaning, restocking, shaking my head sadly over the Wetworks action figures.

Anyway, I was pushing a box back onto a shelf, when I noticed it was bumping into something, not allowing me to push it back all the way. I pulled that box out, looked to see what was impeding progress…and found a small cardboard box containing a few mini-comics. Specifically, it contained Wood-Eye #10 and Skulldog Comics #1, both from 1996, published by Full-Frontal Harvey.

I’ve mentioned Full-Frontal Harvey once or twice on this here weblog, but for the folks who don’t remember: FFH was a local mini-comics publishing concern founded by former coworker Rob, centered around the anthology title Wood-Eye (which ran twelve issues). In its four or five year lifespan, about 35 comics under the FFH banner were released, a list of which you can see at this archive of my old website. Featured cartoonists included Rob, of course, as well as myself, Fred Noland, and pal Cully, who was the creator of Skulldog Comics. In fact, Skulldog Comics may be one of my favorite publications from FFH, particularly because of Cully’s fantastic (har har) cover:


That’s Cully’s mighty head busting through the ground. And yes, I’m the one on fire. And that’s a deadly accurate rendition of Fred in the lower left.

The cover for Wood-Eye #10 was, sadly, less impressive…I think Rob and I drew it in about three minutes, and it showed. But the corner box still cracks me up…the box in the original drawing was only about an inch and half tall, and Rob, for whatever reason, drew in a crookedly off-center Eiffel Tower. To fill the empty space, I drew a monster:


We should have just blown that up to full-cover size and used it for the main image. Ah, well.

Actually, looking through my Wood-Eyes and the old site makes me kind of miss those mini-comics days. Maybe a Wood-Eye #13 is in order….

“A vague sense of hope.”

§ March 7th, 2005 § Filed under doom patrol, wood eye Comments Off on “A vague sense of hope.”


Regarding this cartoon I posted earlier today: I swear I’m a well-adjusted, emotionally-stable human being. Just my cartoons are pure evil, I promise. A lot of my comic strips from the Wood-Eye family o’comics digests were very, very dark-humored…why, I’m practically “goth,” I am.


The Doonesbury tribute to Hunter S. Thompson.


Via This is Pop, All The Rage discusses the dropping sales of the current Doom Patrol series and the possibility that its “reboot” of the team will be eventually reverted after the series’ cancellation. The idea noted in the column that this series may be considered to be a “Doom Patrol” TV series within the DC Universe reminds me of how Marvel explained away the stories in the Hulk black and white magazine as movies made by an alien filmmaker. Or how Steve Gerber planned, in this unpublished script, to retcon the Howard the Duck stories he didn’t write.

Like All The Rage, I don’t think DC needs to bother, should things come to this. It doesn’t appear anyone was paying any attention to the team’s rebooted status, anyway, given the throwaway gag in Identity Crisis referring to old DP continuity, not to mention Geoff Johns’ “revamp” of Beast Boy’s origin (which, from my brief glance at the story, just looks like he retold the origin without mentioning the DP’s involvement). In other words, the Doom Patrol’s reboot status has had little or no impact anywhere outside the Doom Patrol title itself, so, you know, big whoop.

There is no official news about cancellation of the title, but sales at least at our store have dropped quite a bit. The first issue sold quite well, but essentially continuing plotlines from the critically-slammed JLA story was a mistake, crippling the comic from the get-go. The book improved shortly after that initial two-parter, but too late to get the readers back, I’m afraid.


An old article about Archie toys that has a nice shot of a vintage action figure. (The possessive version of “it” is “its” – its!)


Reshoots on Fantastic Four planned for later this week. Insert your own joke/snarky comment here.

“Never been very popular.”

§ March 7th, 2005 § Filed under wood eye Comments Off on “Never been very popular.”


(click here for page two)

from Wood-Eye #7 (December 1995) – “cartooned” by yours truly

“Would you what?”

§ December 4th, 2004 § Filed under wood eye Comments Off on “Would you what?”

Wood-Eye #8 (February 1996) – art by Jaime Hernandez