For those of you who missed the announcement, today is Mike Sterling’s fortieth birthday!
That’s right, folks: forty years. But thanks to two decades in comics retail, he doesn’t look a day over Died Three Weeks Ago.
And yes, you read that correctly: The man’s worked in a comic book store for half his life. I’ve worked in one for five years, and every time I see that guy it’s like a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. I just want to run out, buy a goose, and remind myself that it’s not too late: I don’t have to go down that path of beard growth and POG sales.
Of course, unless you’re one of the many transients that worships Mike as the Hobo King of Orange County, you probably know him best from Progressive Ruin, one of the most popular comics blogs on the Internet. Which, when you get right down to it, is sort of like eating the most nutritious meal at the food court.
He’s been doing the blog daily for six years, and in that time, it’s become the first stop of the day for people who want to hear what a guy who thinks the art form peaked with Nancy and Sluggo thinks about the industry, a readership that surprised everyone by totaling over six people. He’s known for being informative, witty and even-handed (especially compared to the rest of the drunken, loudmouthed hotheads of the comics blogger Internet), but let’s take a look at what he’s actually been doing over there.
Mike Sterling devoted a week of daily updates to Joel Schumaker’s Batman & Robin and did a week where he responded to actual, honest-to-God fans of Rob Liefeld. Every time Previews comes out, he spends that Wednesday night staying up late and driving himself crazy with Coast to Coast AM, going through the entire catalog to highlight allegedly erotic statues from Japan.
Folks, that’s not a website. It’s a cry for help.
Incidentally, Mike’s “End of Civilization” posts started because of his shock at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Stake” prop, which was essentially a hundred dollar piece of wood. Because when it comes to figuring out which collectibles cross the line, you can definitely trust a forty year-old man who owns a pair of Swamp Thing slippers.
But he keeps at it every day and he’s somehow managed to become one of the most respected and admired voices on the comics Internet, and someone that for the past few years, I’ve been proud to call my friend. Happy Birthday, Mikester! And here’s to many more!