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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 10, 2018

The past week ended up being a large-ish week, without being huge nor tiny (I know, great phrasing, isn’t it?).

Anyway…let’s dive in!

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The new Superman, Supergirl, and Flash issues are part of the annual "stunt month" stuff that DC often does. This year–foil-ized covers at no additional cover price (that I’m aware of). I’m buying titles anyway, already grudgingly paying $3.99…but hey…SHINY!

The Cursed Comics Cavalcade is an 80-page squarebound issue for $9.99. The Swamp Thing Halloween Horror issue is a 100-page squarebound issue for $4.99…but you have to go to Walmart to get it. All told, though…180 pages for $14.98 is NOT bad these days when a skinny 120-page volume might be $17.99!

Adding to the horror theme, the Constantine: City of Demons – The Movie came out. I haven’t gotten around to watching yet, but I believe it’s basically a series of "shorts" that were available on the CW‘s web site last year, but now stitched together as a feature-length thing. I’m not sure how well it may or may not match up to Justice League Dark from last year, but what little I’ve seen of it, the visuals seem like they’d fit in. And best of all, Matt Ryan reprises the voice for John Constantine!

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Over the weekend, Saturday October 13th was designated Walking Dead Day to observe 15 years since the original The Walking Dead #1 back in 2003. There was a "free" issue with several short stories focusing on specific characters; a $2.99 reprint of #1 with a new cover (that I figured hey, I really wanna support the price point), and a number of blind-bagged issues…reprints of various "key" issues throughout the series (particularly front-heavy to the first 100 issues).

I opted to snag #100, figuring that’d be my easiest point of comparison of new to original editions. I almost ended up "leaving it in the bag," though, figuring "ignorance is bliss."

From what I understand, each blind-bagged issue has 4 covers:

  • Color with trade dress
  • Color "virgin" (no trade dress)
  • Black and White with trade dress
  • Black and White "virgin" (no trade dress)

I opted, ultimately, to open mine, dreading any but the color with trade dress. Surprisingly enough (for a 1:4 chance), that’s the one I got, which makes me feel a lot better about the purchase. However, something to the cover just doesn’t sit right with me/makes me squeamish, so for filing purposes, I slid it back into the black bag.

Also snagged a Batman Day reprint of Batman: White Knight #1, since it was there and I was there.

Finally, I’d forgotten to look for Nightwing #50 on Wednesday after passing on it the previous week, but snagged the last copy on Saturday. I’d not been keen on the $4.99 price and such, but after reading the latest issue of Batman decided I was curious about how stuff was being handled on the Nightwing side of things, and decided it was worth getting, if only to follow for another issue or two and see how long-term stuff will be.

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The ’90s Revisited: Green Lantern #68 – Underworld Unleashed!

green_lantern_0068Hellfire & Ice

Writer: Ron Marz
Pencils: Paul Pelletier
Inks: Romeo Tanghal
Colors: Linda Medley
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Associate Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Cover Date: November 1995
Cover Price: $1.75

This month, a number of blogs and podcasts have joined together to present #BestEventEver 2018, covering the 1995 event Underworld Unleashed! Beyond my own posts, please check out these other blogs and podcasts for in-depth coverage of the various issues that were part of the event…and join in on further peeks at and discussions of the event on Twitter by joining at hashtags #BestEventEver and #UnderworldReUnleashed!

ITG  |  Resurrections: An Adam Warlock/Thanos Podcast  |  Relatively Geeky Podcast Network  |  The Retroist  |  Chris is on Infinite Earths  |  Cosmic Treadmill  |  The Pop Culture Palace  |  Rolled Spine’s Diana Prince: Wonder Woman Podcast  |  The Idol-Head of Diabolu  |  Justice’s First Dawn  |  Justice Trek: The Podcast


I vaguely remember Underworld Unleashed at the time. I’d been around for Eclipso: The Darkness Within, Bloodlines, and Zero Hour…but I don’t remember getting into this event…I didn’t go out of my way to get the main series or any tie-ins, and at least as of this writing, only recall knowing whatever was in Wizard Magazine or other such promotional stuff about the event, outside of where it touched on stuff I was already buying, such as Luthor’s “return” to full health. This was going on at the same time as The Trial of Superman, which I WAS following in the Superman titles, but was at a time where I was headed toward getting out of comics for the most part for a year or so.

Green Lantern #68 opens on a woman out for a jog being surprised at snow…before being turned into her ice, and her body shattered. We then move to find Green Lantern Kyle Rayner in action fighting rioters in the village. He’s joined by Darkstar, and everyone seems to be wondering at all hell breaking loose. We also find that Kyle and Donna were on a date, which Kyle convinces her they can resume with the rioters dealt with. Elsewhere, Neron meets with Paul Christian–a man who apparently had his ability to walk restored by Kyle’s GL powers. Neron offers Paul a chance to have more power than ever and not have to worry about willpower or accidents, all for just a small price. Meanwhile, Kyle and Donna find Central Park in a very unseasonable state of snow cover…which turns out to be the doing of Freeze (better known as Mister Freeze)…except that he’s brought about the cold and displaying powers far beyond some lame Batman villain in a cold-suit. He reveals that he’s been granted his heart’s desire, become cold itself, and exacts vengeance as his dark lord’s bidding. Our heroic couple can’t catch a break, as they’re still trying to deal with Freeze when Purgatory shows up, bringing some fire to an icy situation. Creative use of his ring grants Kyle a breather–and though Purgatory gets away, Freeze is stopped and seems to revert to “normal.” Despite this, Kyle’s pretty sure things are not actually over.

Other than knowing THAT this is a tie-in to the Underworld Unleashed event, I don’t think I really felt like it felt like a tie-in so much as an incidental thing. Neron could be just some villain powering up other villains; I don’t get a sense here of any particulars to a plan or agenda on his part other than “stirring the pot” a bit. We see him interacting with Paul which gives us the fact of and an example of him powering folks up in exchange for serving him; though I don’t know Paul Christian or Purgatory from anyone else…I do know Mr. Freeze from Batman stuff, but seeing him acting without some sort of cold-suit, being a literal Mr. Freeze, shows off the sort of “upgrades” villains are getting.

I like the art in this issue quite a bit. It’s both good in and of itself and familiar to me. I like the character designs, and followed things quite well without hassle or confusion from visuals.

I read this issue with no context of the main event series, and it’s a solid piece without any of that context. Neron works as “just some villain” and we get to see “things going to hell” as a “red skies” sort of crossover bit presumably reflecting a general theme coming from the event series. Otherwise, we have Green Lantern dealing with unexpected threats while trying to have a simple date. I can’t help but think of the phrasing “villain of the week” such as for a tv show…but in some ways, to me, that’s my thought going into the tie-ins; that the event series Underworld Unleashed has the main story, and then tie-ins simply get to show us various heroes facing powered-up villain(s)-of-the-issue, even “swapping villains” and facing ones outside their usual rogues galleries.

I did expect–I think–to see Mr. Freeze making his deal with Neron within this issue and for the issue to solely focus on him…so I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see his deal and “lost” pages to Neron dealing with Paul, and then Paul as Purgatory taking up some on-panel time.

All in all, though…this was a nice, full issue still pretty “early” in the “Kyle Era”–this is essentially “only” #18 of Kyle’s time as Green Lantern, and his 19th issue as such (out of some 130ish if I recall correctly). As a reader, one is pretty much thrown into things…there’s context to pick up on the interrupted date, and Paul having interacted with Kyle before…but there’s no concrete “previously page” and one kinda sinks-or-swims in following the story. It seems like a very workable “next issue” of the series, the next chapter of the ongoing, unfolding story of Kyle as Green Lantern. But unless you’re looking for it specifically as part of Underworld Unleashed, it does not seem like any particularly great jumping-in point nor something to seek out singularly in complete isolation if you don’t already know Kyle and stuff with Donna and whatnot from this period. 25 cents, 50 cents…it’s worth it; and seems worth it to me as part of the larger event.

I enjoyed this quick foray into “early Kyle” and am interested to read the main event series myself for more context, as well as to get into the next issue for further stuff with Kyle tying into the event.


Again, please check out these other sites for additional, more in-depth coverage of the various other issues–including the main event mini itself–for Underworld Unleashed!

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Superman: Blank #1 [Review]

superman_blank_24_hour_comics_day_000124 Hour Comics Day

Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: N/A (October 2018)
Cover Price: $2.99

I was not going to buy this–it’s basically some "branded" sheets of paper stapled together.

I’ve liked stuff I’ve seen here and there over the years for this "24 Hour Comics Day" thing, but as my own notions of "drawing comics" are nearly a quarter-century in the PAST (I quickly realized MY actual creative enjoyment was in WRITING and creating a STORY, not in "art" in and of itself).

But it occurred to me that as a Superman fan all this time…something like this–it’s NOT a "variant cover"–would be interesting as something to maybe start taking to conventions or such. Get signatures and sketches in it. Depending on pricing and timing, perhaps find a Superman artist I like to get a cover image done, another for a "back cover," and of course, whatever sketches and such inside–24 pages’ worth of room for all that.

The physical stock of this thing is significantly thicker/better than a typical comic…it’s obviously designed to be able to handle drawing utensils being applied to the pages without shredding or necessarily (?) bleeding through.

For "only" $2.99 and NOT being "stuck" or "typecast" or whatever to a specific issue–even if I were to, say, ONLY get a "cover sketch" or such done–this is NOT a "variant" cover. It’s would not be getting Superman (2018) #1 "blank cover variant" signed or sketched on; it’s not something I’d feel I’d need to file with any given SERIES, etc.

It’s $2.99 for a glorified packet of paper, though, so by no means for everyone. I also (initially) had the motive of thinking I’d be "cute" and post a "blank" review for a "blank" comic, $3 for a stupid bit of snarkiness or sarcasm or whatever.

I have no idea how many of these DC was producing (I don’t really care offhand) nor how easy to get it’ll be in the future. Though blank, this has the typical modern/current DC Comics (DC Universe) branding and cover dress with the Superman logo in the iconic yellow and red; this is perfectly sized as any other comic, so it’s not some giant sketchbook or mis-sized anything…this will easily "disappear into" my collection with all my other comics if I’m not careful to keep it separated somewhere.

As this is not something with or of story-content, the price is for the convenience, size, and so on. There is no art whatsoever to this that is not shown on the cover. There’s a generic barcode with the typical TM & Copyright DC Comics / Printed in Canada notice on the back. You’re not missing any art from anyone nor any story/content from anything. No reprinted material, no exclusive material, etc..

As I’ve glommed onto using this for autograph/sketches, I’m liking it all the more, envisioning a mix of perhaps established Superman artists and just artists whose work I like adding something to a page or pages. For $2.99…that’s quite a good deal to me, and very much worth it for my own purposes.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 3, 2018

Another week, another batch of new comics! (and stuff).

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Batman, as usual. #56…means it’s been 6 issues (3 months biweekly) SINCE the infamous Wedding Issue with #50. While I’ve "kept up with" the reading of this title since the Booster Gold arc that began in #45, all the hubbub with #50 and it coming off like the end of "Act One" has made #51-onward feel like a new series in its own way…just (UNLIKE virtually every Marvel title ever) without the renumbering after #50.

I need to catch up on the Super Sons, but knowing I’d eventually be wanting the single issues, it’s easier to "keep up with" than to hunt down later for "everything." And then Die!Die!Die! gets another issue to keep me going (or not).

I was "on the fence" with X-Men Black: Magneto for a number of reasons–$4.99 price, being a one-shot, I don’t plan to get an X-Men Black ongoing, I’m not "current" with most X-Men stuff, I’m not buying 5 issues for the Apocalypse story, etc.

But then I saw Chris Claremont‘s name, and figured fine…with it being a larger issue AND only a one-shot and being a (RARE these days) Claremont issue, I’d give it a chance.

I’m a bit of a sucker for the promotional "magazines," hence the Marvel Universe one here. And hey…free! (at least to me, and though I don’t plan to get into the new/weekly Uncanny X-Men, on the chance something in print could convince me, it’s worth letting the comic shop pay to get something in my hands that might "sell" me on a weekly).

Finally, last week’s and this week’s Comic Shop News. I remember when these were numbered in the 300s…that means I’ve been seeing them for at least 1,000 weeks!

batman_56_shiny

Several of this week’s DC issues had shiny, foil covers! I was tempted with one of the New Age of Heroes issues just for the shiny cover (DC, shiny cover, ONLY $2.99…) but then I realized the Batman one had the shiny cover, and since I was getting it anyway, that satisfied the urge for a shiny cover.

I saw a couple Facebook posts about them, and seems it’s for their "annual" "stunt month" thing. Looks like at least a couple other issues I’d be getting anyway will have the foiling, so I’ll be content with what I’m getting anyway. I’ve no intention of going out of my way for these! (But absolutely give DC credit for NOT bumping these by $1 cover price just for the foil!)

star_wars_hardcovers

And I recently made my first purchase through a Facebook buy/sell/trade group. Someone was getting rid of a bunch of stuff. Seeing what was being asked for for Star Wars vol. 1 and Darth Vader vol. 1 and vol. 2, I’d figured it was reasonable for any single volume. That it was for all three AND included shipping…I jumped on the deal!

star_wars_hardcovers2

Suffice it to say that including shipping, it was like getting a discount on Star Wars vol. 1, with both of the Darth Vader volumes as pure bonus! They came with an extra plastic cover over the dustjackets–I’m not sure if I could remove these…frankly, if these sorts of covers were cheap and easy to handle I’d consider them for most of my dust jackets on stuff I own!

power_rangers_legacy_collection_helmets_display

A local Walmart had these Power Rangers Legacy Collection helmets on clearance. I’ve had my eyes on these for most of the year. Getting both for less than the original price of either individually made them very well worthwhile.


I might do a separate post on the topic in more depth, but in brief: today (Friday, October 5, 2018) the newest Magic: The Gathering set–Guilds of Ravnica–is officially available/on sale, presumably at local game stores, but also at Walmart (and presumably also Target).

The Power Ranges helmets are a much better, more "tangible" value than 4 "random" booster packs of presumably* crap-physical-quality cards that more than likely would not have anything "special" in them. Knowing I was going to willfully stay out of buying this set on principle, I spent less on other stuff I’m happier with and have already gotten more entertainment value (and much more to come yet) out of than opening some boosters and putting some cards in a box or such.

There’s that old thing that works out to "For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost." For want of $20 (Jace’s Spellbook) I want little/nothing to do with "the local game store" and have near-zero use/need for Magic cards now.

We’ll see how fired-up I get in the near future on stuff, as to whether or not this gets expanded into a new post!

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Remembering Kayla on the 28th Anniversary of Her Birth

28 years ago–October 4, 1990–Miss Kayla Crystal came into this world. At least, that’s what information my family was given when we responded to a classified ad for this 15-month-old female sealpoint Himalayan in early January 1992.

kayla_from_october_2009

Kayla was part of my life from an evening in January 1992 until the morning of May 9th, 2010. Just over 18 years.

As we knew her exact birthdate, I’ve always observed it.

And though she’s been gone over 8 years now, she’s not forgotten, even as I’ve continued to grieve as I have over Ziggy these past 10 months, who I had a scant 7 years with where I expected at least as many more. (and it feels odd in a way to mention them together, as they never met, and my time with each of them is separated by months).

kayla_from_january_2010

Happy birthday, Kayla.

Night Kitten, Pretty Kitty. Babycat. Kayla-kitty. I miss you. Perhaps you and Christy have met Ziggy at the rainbow bridge, and I’ll see you all waiting happily together when my time, too, comes…

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Ultraverse Revisited: Firearm #3

ultraverse_revisited

firearm_0003American Pastimes Part Three

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Cully Hamner
Inker: John Lowe
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Designer: Moose Baumann
Interior Color: Foodhammer!
Editor: Hank Kanalz
Special Thanks to: Larry Welch
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

The previous issue ended with Swan a bit out of his depths, and being rescued by a flying Ultra. Here, he wakes up in a room full of Ultras…and finds some answers he’s been looking for…and a new threat! Retaining a hostage–that Swan is determined to save–these Ultras reveal that they’ve got a certain interest in hunting. Human prey. While they’ve denied him his own particular firearm, they give Swan a slight head start, and then the hunt is on! We see Swan take them on–fighting for his life–and ultimately see what kind of man he is, when he catches a break, and can completely escape…or head back in to save the hostage.

I feel like this story is a bit repetitive. The "eccentric rich folks buying property and importing humans to hunt" feels like something I’ve seen at least a couple other places, albeit originally published a number of years apart, probably. I’m thinking there’s at least a Batman story like that, and can’t really imagine there’s not a Green Arrow story like that. Of course, this is the first time I’ve seen it as super-powered people–Ultras–hunting a normal human! And there are only so many stories to be told…what keeps many fresh is a shift in particulars. So while I observe this, it’s not something I’d truly count against the issue/story itself.

The art is quite good, and feels entirely consistent with the earlier issues. Nothing really jumps out as "strange" or "new," nor as any great distraction. Nothing particularly stood out as singularly amazing or awesome…but I’d put that to simple quality of the art! It’s serving the story, conveying the action, and allowing the story to be experienced, rather than calling attention to itself needlessly. In other words…I like the art and the way it’s presented!

As a story, this is a "part three," but has a different "feel" from the first couple of issues to me. For one thing, it feels a bit more frenetic and action-packed…with less "building blocks" and more "doing" in general. In that way, this pays off the first couple issues that introduced us to Swan and his part of the world and set things up for him to wind up in this situation. I really like that this also mostly feels like its own thing, its own "episode," as we just start with Swan waking up and then having to think on his feet…we don’t have pages of exposition/recap…we basically just get launched into the action. I don’t recall (if I ever knew anyway) and haven’t "looked ahead" to see if American Pastimes is carried as a 4 or more chapter arc…but this feels like it could well be a 4-parter or even 5, and structurally I’d probably be happy with either.

While there’s definite nuance to be caught reading this issue out of the first two issues and the ending leads me into wanting to read the next issue…I think this stands pretty well by itself. I’d miss some stuff and have less of an overall context for the feel of the character of Alec Swan (and less of the sense of wanting to see him portrayed "live" by Jason Statham)…this works decently as a one-off issue. "Ultras with powers hunt a human who is really good at fighting back."

All in all, this would be a decent issue to snag randomly from a bargain bin. It’s best matched with issues 1 & 2, but especially if one can get it for 25 cents, it’s worth getting and reading even in "isolation." As part of the ongoing series, I definitely enjoyed it, and I look forward to the next issue!

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TMNT Toys in the Wild: Rise of the TMNT 1st Wave

I already posted about the Raphael figure I bought over the weekend, with the new Rise of the TMNT toy line starting to make its appearance.

I came across a display of the entire first wave of basic figures, and got photos of them "in the wild" (actually at a Walmart). Including the not-in-the-wild Raphael, here are my photos of the figures "on the card" as well as their "profile" from the back of the card, a la the old "clip-and-collect" profiles from the ’80s line.


Raphael:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_raph_profile


Leonardo:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_leo_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_leo_profile


Donatello:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_don_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_don_profile


Michelangelo:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_mike_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_mike_profile


Splinter:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_splinter_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_splinter_profile


April:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_april_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_april_profile


Meat Sweats:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_meatsweats_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_meatsweats_profile


Baron Draxum:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_barondraxum_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_barondraxum_profile


Origami Ninja:

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_origamininja_front

rise_of_the_tmnt_toys_origamininja_profile


Until seeing the figures for myself, I hadn’t realized the Origami Ninja had a foot slapped on its face…which does somewhat "qualify" it as a Foot Ninja…so against prior expectations, I may (eventually, perhaps) try to get several.

And Baron Draxum seems rather obviously a stand-in for Shredder, so there’s a good chance I may (again, eventually, perhaps) try to get one.

I’d figured Meat Sweats would be "worth it" for bulk alone…but I think I’ve pretty much decided that if I want a large pig muant…I’d rather go with a 30+ year old classic in Bebop.

Time will definitely tell. And I suppose I’ll be curious as to what other figures will make their ways out for this line.

I remember the 2012 line rolling out by early August 2012, and 3-4 more figures by Christmas. Given we’re at early October for these, I think I’d be sorta surprised to see a second wave in 2018, though not too surprised if another makes it out in early 2019.

I have issues with the extremely-limited nature and high prices on the Neca figures…and I think it would be absolutely fantastic if Playmates were to produce a line of figures based on the IDW comics…ideally in the style of Mateus Santolouco. The four turtles, Splinter, April, Casey, Shredder, Krang, (human) Baxter Stockman (with mousers), maybe a multipack of named Utrom characters; the Neutrinos, the Mutanimals…Bludgeon, Koya, Bebop, Rocksteady…Alopex, Agent Bishop, The Pantheon…

To borrow a phrasing style…I’d buy the heck outta those, at under-$10/figure!

But that wishlist and topic is surely a topic for some other post.

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