Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sterling Stuff

So, Wonder Wife and I took a real vacation recently, forsaking the gray majesty of a Pacific Northwest winter for the sunny climes of Southern California. During the second half of the trip, I found myself a mere 51.1 miles from Sterling Silver Comics, the almost brand-new retail shop owned & operated by Mike Sterling, the grand-deanmaster of the comicsweblogosphere (if you don't know Progressive Ruin, you should), and even in California traffic that's not very far, so of course I paid a visit.

After a nice cruise from L.A. along the part of the Pacific Coast Highway that wasn't closed from mudslides and scenic drive through the Malibu Canyon, a few short minutes on the 101 brought me to Camarillo - where I screwed up and stopped looking at my GPS too soon, winding up across the street in the wrong lot.

I squared myself away and got to the store, which is every bit as attractive as I have heard - and the floor certainly lives up to is reputation.

I was a doorbuster, getting there right at the opening hours, so I had a chance to chat with the Mikester before the crowds descended. He was suave enough to recognize me from our online exchanges (or to pretend to) and it was great fun to meet in person someone whose stuff I have been reading for so long. It wasn't a reunion as such, but calling it a union sounds either formal or creepy, so let's just say we were well met.

But I have to tell you, Sterling Silver is just a great comics shop. It has the usual appurtenances - new comics racks, graphic novel sections, some doodads and trinkets - but the jewels in the crown are the back issues. I live in Seattle, where there are almost as many comic book shops as Starbucks, and I have to say I have never seen a back issue stock that was as complete and accessible as Mike's. He gave up some of his personal collection to open the store, and man, that must have been some collection. I could easily have spent the rest of my vacation money (and the rest of my vacation) going through his stock, but I dutifully restrained myself - more's the pity. Here's the stuff I took away:

War of the Gods is a 1991 DC miniseries chock full of Perez art that totally passed by me 24 years ago. (I just love finding complete miniseries in a back-issue longbox.) I am working my way through this; the muddy printing from that time is a bit of a hassle, but it's a great find!

This sure brought back memories! I had totally forgotten Moby Dick was a Saturday morning cartoon hero! (I think it came on right after The Gatsby Green Light Adventure Hour.) This is a cool collection of classic goofiness.

This was the prize - or I thought it was. I bought it for one specific panel by Werner Roth: the final "stampede" of the sensational super-villains. But I forgot that this was a two-parter! The panel that I wanted is actually in the next issue.

Hey, Mike! I need X-Men number 23! Hold it for me will, you? Seriously, I mean it.  I'll be in touch.

Besides getting the right X-Men comic, I would really love to run through that longbox of 80-page giants again, with a little less self-control this time. Anyway, if you're anywhere near Camarillo, California in the near or far future, stop by Sterling Silver Comics and say hi to Mike. And buy stuff.

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