Mike Sterling manages Ralph's Comic Shop in Ventura, California, and writes a daily blog devoted to the strangest of the material he sifts through, Progressive Ruin. The blog's funniest feature, in my opinion, is the monthly string of catalog scans, with commentary, entitled The End of Civilization.
Diamond Previews is a monthly catalog published by Diamond Comics, suggested for comic shop owners to stock their wares from...or for geeks to order from directly, if they can afford it. Much of the unbelievable product inside is so overpriced, you have to wonder...are there nerds out there who are that rich? (The answer is yes: some nerds can become very rich.)
The saga began on January 26, 2005, when Mike was looking through the aforementioned catalog and found the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Stake Prop Replica with Satin-Lined Case. $100 for what amounted to a wooden stick. "So help me," wrote Mike, "if I find out that you've bought this, I'm going to go to your house and punch you."
In the next month's Previews he found something else bizarre enough to scan...and then the next month, more and more....and six years later, more and more still. The End of Civilizations used to be easily accessible through the blog's own search tags until Mike switched weblog programs; now with the exception of the few most recent, entire years' worth of Civs are buried with everything else under the "Uncategorized" tag. Mike doesn't have the time or the will to manually realign everything.
It was up to me and an 8-hour archive binge to resurrect the funniest comments and compile them into one spot. From this point, it's all Mike. Now bear witness to the End of Civilization:
|p. 405 Star Trek The Next
Generation Deluxe Shirts:
Also, if you get one of these, dont wear it to jury duty. I mean, honestly.
p. 356 Star Wars Darth Vader Robotic Arm:
Will make a nice Life Day gift for the fans of Darth Vaders arm in your life.
p. 424 Star Trek Retro Cloth Scotty Figure:
What the hell is Scotty doing? Och, Captn, Ive got descriptive text crawlin up me pants! My disco moves canna stop em!
p. 410 Watchmen Be@rbricks 3-Pack:
Oh, dear you may wish to avert your eyes:
p. 438 Wolverine Enameled Cufflinks:
So Wolverine wears cufflinks with his own face on them? Does anyone else do this? I mean, aside from Donald Trump?
p. 501 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Chainsaw Prop Replica:
For only $214.99, now you too can make every single person you know very, very nervous.
p. 363 Great Figures in History: Mother Teresa & Nelson Mandela GNs:
Im not ready for the adventures of Superdeformed Pokemon Teresa. Though I am curious if Nelson ever finds all the Dragonballs.
p. 316 The World of Warcraft Guide to Winning at Life SC:
p. 354 Disneystrology HC:
How can so much hard science be contained in only 48 pages?
p. 528 Elvis Talking Giant Pez:
Thats it. Its official. Science has gone too far, too far.
p. 505 Doctor Who Tardis Talking Ice Bucket:
p. 355 Jailbait Zombie SC:
Thats too much High Concept. TOO MUCH.
p. 529 Hulk board games:
I cant decide which is my favorite the Hulk Smash board game:
The Operation Hulk board game:
But I think it has to be the "Dont Wake Hulk board game:
p. 340 Barbie Harley Davidson Doll:
p. 346 Charlies Angels Kelly Doll Gift Set:
You got it, Charlie!
p. 437 Barbie Alfred Hitchcocks The Birds Doll:
p. 372 Mr. Sinister Statue:
p. 460 Naruto Pakkun Plush Bag:
Well, I have this bag that looks like a decapitated dogs head.
Does the dog look sad about being decapitated?
You, sir, have a sale.
p. 450 The Cactus Friends: Polpettinia Vinyl Figure:
I dont even know what the hell this is. All I do know is that it disturbs me deeply. And that itd probably hurt a lot if you tried to swallow it.
p. 387, 390 Pretty Face Volume 1 TP:
All right, thats it Japan, what the hell is going on over there?
p. 407 Star Trek Tiberius Cologne for Men:
p. 454 Emilys Fat Balms Kitties Rock! Lip Gloss:
Its like they just toss a bunch of youth-oriented buzz words and images into the Teen-Goth-Exploit-A-Tron 3000" and out comes new Emily merchandise.
p. 447 Caution: Reanimated Corpse t-shirt:
Written prior to the release of X-Men Origins
Oh, for the sake of the movie, I hope not.
p. 405 Wolverine Extreme Green Large Journal:
Marvel Previews p. 79 Marvel Minimates Series 28 Wolverine Movie Assortment:
p. 124-5 Blammoids:
p. 437 Smallville RPG Core Rulebook:
Ill fly after him.
Sorry, you cant fly yet. Not until after ten years of campaign time have passed.
Wait, what? What can I do, then?
You can look longingly into Lanas big watery eyes and say incredibly evasive things that exacerbate everyones problems.
Oooh, I roll for Save Vs. Ridiculous Plot Developments.
Yeah, you can try.
p. 458 Desperately Seeking Susan Minimates 2-Pack:
p. 515 Star Wars Vader Was Framed Poster:
p.113 Marvel Bromance TPB :
I believe it was pal Dorian who observed that once Marvel got their hands on this particular term bromance, that means its likely near the end of its life cycle. We can only hope.
p. 406 The Big Lebowski: The Dude Wig & Goatee Set:
p. 59 Hellboy 8" Qee and Tara McPherson Variant:
p. 424 Star Trek The Original Series Tribble Role Play:
Someone, somewhere, at some Star Trek convention or even just in the privacy of their own homes, has dressed as a tribble. Let that ease your dream-filled sleep.
p. 476 Revoltech Danboard Action Figure:
Oh, cmon, jointed plastic boxes ? You people just arent even trying.
p. 350 Pac-Man Bonus Fruit Energy Drink:
I might have to pass on the Custers Revenge Engorged Arrow Energy Drink, however.
p. 328 Marvel Comics Iron Man 2 Trading Cards:
p. 450 Rocky Apollo Creed Boxing Trunks Replica:
God bless the current onslaught of Rocky merchandise:
WEARABLE. Fantastic. The solicitation also reads limited to 1,000 pieces (the year of the films release) but Im gonna guess thats a typo.
p. 183 Ghost Rider Desert Statue:
p. 346 Sleepy Joe the Egg:
p. 379 Marvel Comics Coloud Headphones:
War Journal Entry #5511: I had hoped the soothing sounds of Billy Joels An Innocent Man would ease away the pain I live with every day the pain of loss that never ebbs no matter how many drug dealers or mob bosses I take down. But if Hulk doesnt shut up about his Gloria Estefan record, I swear to God Im going to shoot the son of a #$%@
p. 406 Mr. Potato Head Elvis Presley:
p. 418 Monopoly 1935 Deluxe 1st Edition:
p. 191 Spider-Man 3 Pumpkin Bomb Prop Replica:
p. 198-9 Wizard #194:
p. 437 Zombie Fragrance Oil:
I dont even know where to start on this.
p. 424 Mr. Toast and Shaky Bacon Plush Toys:
p. 548 I Am The Amazing Spider-Man Personlized (sic) DVD:
Learning with J. Jonah Jameson.
Let the cranky, Hitler-mustachioed Jameson yell at you and call you names as you get minor bits of spider trivia wrong, wrong, WRONG!
p. 424 Batman Folding Pen:
Which totally has the Batman logo on it. That Wayne, hes got chutzpah.
p. 416 Saw Jigsaws Gauntlet Prop Replica:
On second thought perhaps I would like to remain blissfully ignorant.
p. 380 Thor The Frog God of Thunder Mini-Bust:
And now the greatest Marvel statue ever made:
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