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Showing Off a Shelf: Dragonlance Hardcovers and Gaming

A couple weeks ago, I showed off a shelf of a few of my Magic: the Gathering books; here, now, are my Dragonlance  hardcovers.

dragonlance_shelves_with_mage_knight

Along with the books themselves, I have the Fifth Age game and several of its supplements.

These hardcovers are virtually all by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, or one or the other. I also have a number of graphic novels–several from the ’80s or early ’90s, and most from when Devil’s Due had the license in the earlier/mid 2000s.

Above the books are four dragons from the short-lived Mage Knight game, and then sharing the shelves are several giants and vehicles also from the Mage Knight game. While these are not associated with Dragonlance, in being from a game with a fantasy type setting, they fit well enough on these shelves for me at least for the moment.

Dissecting a Dollar-Store Comic: Freex #1

I usually don’t pay much attention to comics in the "dollar stores" and such. Usually they’re just quarter-bin fodder, random stuff I’ve no interest in, or already have–and certainly not worth $1 or more…particularly when I’d be more interested in buying several at once. (Or often packages are more than $1, but contain several issues of which–at best–I only know what 2 of them are).

Today, I was at a Dollar Tree, and without looking for them, had one catch my eye…very obviously Freex #1, from back in July 1993.

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As a novelty thing, and not loading up with a bunch of other random stuff that would add up to a hefty price tag to get out of the store, I was all the more willing to buy this. Hey, just one single dollar, one single issue…and of course, this is half the price of what it would be at Half-Price Books… and there’s something enjoyable about coming across an issue like this completely unplanned and un-expected.

I was also just slightly curious about the "bonus" collector trading card pack and cards.

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Looking on the back of the pack, I saw the contents list, and my curiosity was piqued at the "How to Collect Comic Book Collectors Guide." I was pretty sure I’ve had/seen this in the past…if not this exact "brand," then certainly something similar. But for today’s mood…it was a curiosity and selling point for me…and definitely an "added value" to dropping a whole entire dollar on a vintage comic book I have at least half a dozen times over.

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I could tell despite all the stuff on the front of the package (basically just a sealed polybag) what this issue was–Freex #1, from the second month of Ultraverse launches! Adding (sentimental) "value" was seeing that the issue was itself still in original polybag with the Ultraverse Premiere #0 coupon…in this case, a "wild coupon" for the mail-away issue. The original trading card is also there.

While I’ve seen this #1 issue numerous times in bargain/used-comics bins, I’d guess that it’s at most a 50% find-rate with the bag, coupon, and card included. I have plenty of sentimental value attached to this, as I "nearly missed out" on the mail-away issue: I was able to use one of these "wild coupon" to make up for the one I was unable to obtain from an issue of Wizard Magazine (having collected all the others).

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I’m not at all impressed with the included trading cards. Some sort of Elvis card, which has no appeal to me–enjoy his music, but no interest in trading cards featuring the guy (or even musical artists in general). Some sort of "puzzle card" from this WWII Trading Cards set…worthless because I have no other cards, and it’s maybe only 1/9th of a single photo, meant to be assembled as a full set. I also have some personal "issue" with something like war being glorified in trading card format (or just commercialized, if not necessarily glorified).

I do remember VR Troopers (vaguely), but I’m far, far more a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers guy, so not even enough interest to bother opening the pack for now. Far as I’m concerned, miscellaneous ephemera to be tossed aside for now…maybe it’ll wind up in the trash, maybe it’ll wind up in someone else’s hands… or perhaps it’ll just languish amidst other such ephemera in my possession.

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This How to Collect Comics thing is slightly larger than an actual comic, but smaller dimensionally than a magazine. The entire unit is newsprint, so nothing at all fancy nor particularly high quality. It’s very reminiscent of the old American Entertainment and Entertainment This Month catalogs, except I’d peg it as a far lesser quality than those…perhaps the nostalgia and sentimentality I hold regarding AE/ETM (one of the catalogs being a large part of my getting back into comics and being able to get "back issues" prior to discovering "comic shops").

I’m not too keen on stuff trying to offer "instruction" on collecting comics…and don’t much care for even these packs in the sense of trying to (continue to?) push the notion of any/all comics, by default, simply for existing being some sort of valuable item. Even as a sales tactic like this pack was, in a dollar store. I mean, if they’re willing to sell it such that I–as the end user, the customer–am "only" paying $1, then (to me) it’s highly obvious that the issue is not worth anything more than that dollar. At most.

I like these for the sense that some kid might get to access a random such comic without having a comic store, without having to "go digital," and being some random thing a parent may buy–after all, it’s "only $1" and all that.

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It’s certainly odd to me to consider that anyone would "need" some kind of guide like this, but then, I have 28 or so years’ experience to completely, thoroughly take stuff for granted, these elements of a comic cover. (Then again, I suppose at times whoever is sorting single issues at Half-Price Books could perhaps benefit at better understanding of subtitles and elements of comic titles/layouts).

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This is just some totally-filler, cheesey page. I almost hate to say it, but really…it’s just sad. Maybe it’s slightly humorous (at least, say, for a kid) it doesn’t hit me that way as a guy in his mid-30s.


All in all, for re-acquiring the issue, and having something to focus my attention and time on for as long as it took to take these photos, get them loaded for the post, write this post, and so on…it certainly made this well worth the $1 I spent.

This does have me rather interested in seeking out more dollar stores to check for this sort of pack and see if I can find any fun gems…as it was, I saw numerous copies of an issue of The Maxx, as well as Secret Weapons #1 from classic Valiant, and a couple Image issues from the early days…probably WildC.A.T.s or Youngblood though I couldn’t easily tell at a glance if the Youngblood was #1 or not.

Several years ago, I’d bought a pack of several comics like this simply because of a Batman poster…there’s a Superman one that exists that I’d love to find.

Despite this singular purchase being worth $1 to me on content and time spent involved with it, that is not a "natural default" for these, and many comics found this way I personally would consider to absolutely be quarter-bin fodder, and far from worth $1. But if one doesn’t have a comic shop nearby or access to back issues, and especially if there manages to be an issue or "bonus item" included of appeal to the individual…it’s absolutely worthwhile!

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The Weekly Haul – Week of August 24, 2016

A definite small week in terms of new Wednesday stuff.

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New TMNT, new Action Comics, and because it was "only" $5.99 (hey, isn’t that what some single issues are from Marvel, nowadays?) the Spider-Man/Wolverine hardcover. Because hey…cheap oversized Marvel hardcover.

And while I continue to–going on 14 months now–refuse to buy any single issues from Valiant, if it’s a "free" issue tossed in, I won’t entirely object. Heck, I might even read it–since hey, I didn’t have to buy it. It’s still not gonna convince me to buy any.

I received an email today that my DCBS package will ship this week, so I doubled up on the Action Comics issue, but last time the package arrived on Friday before I had even gotten to read several of the issues I’d figured I was ok doubling up on, so…learned from that. Especially given life at present.

Comics’ Pricing and Half-Price Books: Why I Complain So Much

hpb_grousing02I don’t “get” HPB and their pricing on comics. They are a used-books store, firstly. Their very premise is “everything is half-off the publisher’s list price” (printed cover price in most cases). Meaning that reasonable expectation is that you walk in, and everything is half-off. Not “pull a random book that’s appealing and discover it’s full price or 150% cover price or 200% cover price.”

Because they are a generalized books store, and have numerous “sections,” they are not a subject-speciality store. You want historical reference? They have it–but they’re not a “Historical Reference” shop. Books on pets/animals? Section for that, too–but they’re not an “Animals books” shop. Religious texts? Sure, they have a section for those, too–but they’re not a “Religous books” store. Vinyl records–yeah, they have those as well, but they’re not a “Record Store.” CDs, but even Records and CDs, they’re not a “Music Store.” They have DVDs and Blu-Ray, and I’m sure I’ve even seen VHS…yet they’re not a “Movie Store.” So even though they have comics and graphic novels, they are not a “Comic Shop.”

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photo from HPB website, https://www.hpb.com/042

At least a couple of the HPB locations I’ve been to have had a whole separate section for “Rare,” “First Edition,” “Autographed,” and “Out of Print” books. This works well–this section is a “special” section of the store that provides space for the anomalous pricing…these rare, collectable volumes/editions are outside of the store’s broad, general premise of half-off: this section is where you would expect to find that $100+ signed First Edition of a book from 1892 or such. Or the now-long-out-of-print oversized Marvel Hardcover edition of House of M from 2005 or so.

As such, I find that it is quite reasonable of me to be able to expect that if I’m browsing the general “Graphic Novels/Manga” section of the store (not the Rare/Collectable) section–that everything will be at least half-off. If something is damaged, overly common, donated, or whatever factors lead to it–more than half off is a bonus, and quite acceptable…even though it’s the inverse that drives me batty–finding something less than half-off or even with a price at or above cover price. For me, it only goes one-way: cheaper than half-off = good, less than half-off = bad…and I admit that readily.

hpb_grousing01Typically, the vast majority of their graphic novels and such are well-organized, with four primary categories: DC stuff, Marvel Stuff, manga, and non-DC/non-Marvel/non-Manga. Within those, they tend to be roughly alphabetical, and generally the same series is clustered together with numbered volumes in a series mostly in numerical order. My core complaint here is when the higher-priced “collectable” editions are mixed in…when I get excited about the Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told thicker volume being present, it’s a huge turnoff to the store in general to be looking for the $9.99 price thinking it’s a $19.99 volume and finding a sticker indicating that HPB is actually asking $29.99 ($10 above cover price!) because it’s marked as “Out of Print.” If it’s out of print and thus rare and they’re not willing to “let it go” at half-off the cover price…it should not be shelved in with the general stock! I’m not shopping at HPB for rare/out of print stuff, and if it’s not half-off cover price, it is functionally not in stock at all even if the store has a copy present, for my purposes of general browsing.

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photo from HPB website, https://ww.hpb.com/050

Back to my earlier bit about their not being a comic shop: their pricing on single issues. HPB‘s pricing has been erratic and trending toward the ridiculous, and the other day I would escalate it from “ridiculous” to flat-out absurd! Being curious, I checked to see what the single-issue stock was like…and they had a relatively new-looking sign indicating that all comics are $2.00 unless otherwise marked. I do not fault them for setting a “general” price, or a “minimum” price or such, but there are a number of factors that collectively leave me extremely irked essentially “on principle” with that $2 mark. (Among other things, numerous prose books into the mid 1990s were roughly $4 each, so that at the “half price” they would be $2 as vintage items compared to relatively recent comics; let alone 1990s comics that by and large are hardly worth 25 cents apiece). To me, HPB does not “earn” the “legitimacy” with their comics to be asking “top dollar” for them.

I would strongly argue that most single issues of comics from the late 1980s/early 1990s to the early 2000s (if not at this point as recent as 2005 or so) are functionally 25-cent-bin books. Between digital and collected volumes, the single issues hold very little “value,” after their first couple weeks or life of the story they contain. It typically seems to me (and I could be wrong) that in many cases, it’s the long-time comics folks who are adamant about having “the single issues.” I imagine casual fans are happy just to read the stories, and would be content with collected volumes, perhaps moving to single issues if they’re completely caught up from collected volumes to where the only option is the single issues, because the current story has not yet finished for there to BE another collected volume. As such, once the story is in a collected volume, there’s little demand or collectability to the single issues.

hpb_grousing03HPB‘s comics are primarily in open bins to be flipped through. Typically their “priced” issues (the “unless otherwise marked” issues) are at least bagged if not bagged and boarded. So those $2 default-priced issues are the ones that likely were not worth protecting and individually pricing, as well as the ones that are more prone to damage from anyone/everyone “flipping through” the bins, bending covers, ripping/tearing, etc. and damage as sturdy bag/board issues get pushed back in, yanking a cover off, or causing the “loose” issue to be folded under, its bottom folded and the whole thing pulled downward…or tape from the protected issues sticking to a loose cover, etc. Someone simply browsing is more likely to pull a “loose” issue out and flip through it than to attempt to take an issue out from a bag or bag and board (especially if there are signs requesting one not do that).

Aside from being loose and more prone to browsing-damage…these “single issues” are not a curated collection. HPB has some dividers indicating letters of the alphabet, and that’s about the extent of the organization of the issues. The “A” section might start with several issues of Avengers followed by a couple Mighty Avengers and Dark Avengers (“M” section and “D section mixed here with “A”) before getting to an issue of Action Comics Weekly and then some issues of Angel: After the Fall and then an issue of Avengelyne before getting to a bunch of scattered issues of Clone Saga-era Amazing Spider-Man and then 4 out of 5 issues of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows and so on. There might be 50 scattered issues of Amazing Spider-Man, but they range from #372 to #595, and are in no discernable order. There’s no telling if there are even any instances, say, of two consecutively-numbered issues…unless one personally goes through all the bins (not even just this “A” section) to pull the issues and then sort by number.

Columbus, North High - https://www.hpb.com/092

photo from HPB website, https://www.hpb.com/092

One might be able to–at a glance–see that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of late silver-age or even bronze-age Superman comics (spanning Superman, Action Comics, Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, The New Adventures of Superboy, Supergirl, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, Adventure Comics Featuring Supergirl, etc). These will be “priced” issues, ranging perhaps $1.75 to $25 or $30 or $35+. And yet… they’re all intermingled, out of order, and so on. Absolutely maddening to even consider seeking one or two specific issues in the mess. And asking even $2/issue let alone the higher collectable prices…but at best you can find most of a given series scattered within a mess of comics whose series titles all begin with the same single letter.

hpb_too_expensive_comics_02At 25 cents or even 50 cents…sure, throw the stuff in loose and let the customer sort it out. You’re not making any significant money of a couple single issues here and there, no need to go to the effort of clear, detailed sorting. I, for one, have no problem with just flipping through several bins of stuff looking for something that is (to me) an unexpected treasure, when I’m “only” out 25 to 50 cents per issue. My effort is made up for by the insignificant price. But once you’re getting to $1 an issue or $2 an issue that’s a much higher, significant bit of money off single issues (and I’ve not seen any HPB location use any “middle-tier” pricing like 75 cents (from the 25 to 50 cents) nor $1.25, $1.50, or $1.75 between $1 and $2!) If I’m paying $1 or $2 per issue, I’m a lot more “serious” about the issues and as such expect the seller (HPB) to take it seriously as well. Have everything in order by series and number within the series. If you think you know enough about comics to know which ones are truly “key” issues worth having a higher price, know as well which version of series go in what order, and which number comes before another number.

Perhaps I overthink it, but…respect the customer. Respect the fact that someone who doesn’t know anything about comics doesn’t care about this particular issue over that particular issue, and thus will have zero interest in laying out $25 when there are sixteen other issues with Superman on the cover for $2 apiece, any one of which works as “a Superman comic for the kiddo.” Meanwhile, anyone who is willing or capable of laying out $25 for a single (not particularly great condition) issue does actually know at least a little bit about comics and that the used-books store is not a comic shop nor is this customer at a convention or other comics specialty location.

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photo from HPB website, https://www.hpb.com/077

Additionally, one should know enough to differentiate between printings (at the height of the Death of Superman, the newsstand edition of Superman #75 went for around $10. Past 2010, the fourth printing of this issue–that probably was never “worth” more than about double cover price (or $2.50) certainly is not a $10 issue. In 2016, one should realize that those ridiculous, astronomical prices of certain issues in the 1990s–be it one of the Deathmate issues or the original Gen13 #1 or whatever–were already inflated and inaccurate, more a sales gimmicky thing of Wizard Magazine than much else. Maybe Gen13 #1 for one month in an issue of Wizard was listed as “$40.00,” but 20+ years later, I don’t know (of) anyone who would pay $10 for the single issue (probably not even that for a collected volume of the first 4 or so issues–the first story)!

hpb_too_expensive_comics_03Finally and perhaps most shocking to me recently…”clearance” comics were seen priced at $1 (they were 25 cents or 50 cents as recently as six months ago)…but $1 by tear-away stickers directly on the covers of the comics themselves. Essentially, the comics were being defaced to mark them as “clearance” items…and at $1 apiece. I could sort of see at 25 cents apiece or 50 cents apiece, marking them physically, indicating they’re not the “$2 unless otherwise marked” comics not otherwise marked. But putting stickers on them that are designed to tear apart and not remove simply or cleanly is flat-out insulting.

If things were priced consistently and clearly I would also have less problem…but all of the above taken into consideration, in short, sometimes it looks to me like it’s just someone at HPB looking at an issue or a graphic novel and thinking “hey, I think that was something I “heard” was valuable…better price that higher to not lose out!”

hpb_grousing04I posted recently about a paperback edition of The Irredeemable Ant-Man that I found, priced as expected at half-off the cover price. And yet, by the same apparent “logic” that seems to “mandate” something like Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told or a hardcover of Avengers Forever be priced at 150-200% above cover price, the Ant-Man book should have been $10-$20, but it wasn’t. Because who gives a darn about The Irreedeemable Ant-Man compared to Batman or The Avengers?

Classic GI Joe TPBs And Half-Price Books Complaining

weekend_august19_gijoe_01Back in 2001, a friend of mine had been talking to me about GI Joe–toys, comics, etc. And then more strikingly, and as has stuck with me for the last 15 years or so–I remember his commenting on the release date of a new comic series: Devil’s Due published their then-new GI Joe comic on September 12th, 2001. One day after 9/11.

Several years later, he and I went to a signing at his local shop with Michael Turner. Along with the an Identity Crisis issue, poster, and something else…I bought the Marvel GI Joe vol. 1 paperback, reprinting the first 10 issues of that original series.

I never did get the rest of that 5-volume series, that had reprinted just under 1/3 of the core/main ongoing series.

Skip ahead a few years to IDW…they got the new license, and apparently the rights to any/all prior-published GI Joe comics (Marvel and Devil’s Due), so they followed the Marvel format and reprinted the classic series in 10-issue volumes. Somewhere along the way, I wound up with the IDW edition of the first volume, and then the second. (I keep that original Marvel one for the sentimental value, but have a definite desire to get the entirety of the run of the classic volumes.) The Classic GI Joe run is all the more appealing to me as I recently discovered that IDW is (wisely and awesomely, I might add!) re-collecting their own GI Joe: A Real American Hero run into subsequently-numbered volumes. The ARAH series had a "zero issue" as a Free Comic Book Day #155 1/2 a number of years ago, and then picked up with the original Marvel numbering at #156 and continues (I believe) to this day, somewhere in the #220s.

[A 15+ YEAR publishing gap, and they STARTED the series–that would have had every right and been completely, entirely legitimately in-bounds to begin with #1–at #156. And it’s done well enough at least to go at least 60 issues now!]

The other day, despite being a lot tighter with my finances lately, I found a number of the IDW Classic GI Joe volumes and snagged them–I know I intend to get them, and when else am I going to find a bunch at the same place/same time for 50% off?

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While they had 5 volumes (3-7) I noticed a nasty tear in the outer spine of the 7th volume that would be glaringly obvious (to me, at least) on the shelf, not reasonably repairable, and certainly not at all worth my time/hassle for the higher price (seems the first 6 volumes were $19.99 before jumping to $24.99 for 7+).

Still, already having the first two, even "only" getting the four volumes at half-off cover (surprisingly, as I honestly do not know if these–or these specific printings–are still considered "in print" or not) made for a fantastic deal, especially balanced against the notion that each volume has 10 issues, and 10 contemporary Marvel comics would be what I paid for 40 issues’ content across these four volumes.

Unfortunately, I discovered a bit of a surprise Sunday night when I went to peel the price stickers off.

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Usually, Half-Price Books has these stickers that–like many bookstores–adhere reliably to the book covers…but unlike cheapo retail/grocery store price tags, the bookstores’ tags are generally of some material/stickiness that can be peeled off easily, simply, and cleanly, leaving no residue, stickiness or other damage/marking behind.

However, under the "new" HPB stickers, I found horrible residue from what seems to be an older HPB sticker. At first glance, I thought maybe (just maybe) I had done a bad peel, ripping it off way faster than necessary. But no, examining what was left behind, it most definitely was not from the sticker that I myself had peeled off.

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The sticker I peeled off is still clean and–aside from "curling," undamaged. The bad-sticker underneath is peeled/torn in such a way that I feel rather justified "assuming" any one of several things:

  • Someone screwed up with sticker stock that was used, and after attempting to peel it off, realized it couldn’t simply be done and so just covered it up with the new sticker
  • Someone screwed up the price, and after ripping off the old sticker simply put a new one over with no regard that as something that could well be in their "collectibles stock," someone might actually care about un-removable bad-sticker residue in buying or not buying the books
  • Someone bought these from HPB sometime ago, gave up attempting to remove the original sticker, so what’s there was just left there, and when it was sold back to HPB, they just put new stickers over the old (again, covering up what can significantly forfeit true VALUE to many people in the CONDITION of a book)

My primary peeve, personally, in this case is that the bad-sticker stuff was COVERED UP. I had no clue of it until after I got the books home–it’s NOT like I peel price stickers off a book AT THE STORE or anything. Buying used, or second-hand, or whatever–I have a much higher tolerance for condition of the book…but it tends to greatly bother me on pricing. If "expected price" is 1/2-off cover price and most stuff is in pretty good condition…when something is noticeably damaged, I’d be inclined to think that justifies a modified-downward price…such as on what they seem to deem as so worthy of being "collectible materials." If it’s so "collectible" and they’re such experts to deal in wildly-varied values of stuff, surely they should also attend to issues like huge patches of shredded/leftover stickers/sticker residue.

That said, while I am highly frustrated at the scraping I had to do to "mostly" remove the residue…I’m still very glad I was able to get these 4 books for half-cover-price each, making them extremely reasonably priced…and bringing me up to about the 1/3 mark for having the entire series of Classic GI Joe.

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Above: including this purchase, my "GI Joe Library."


Along with my specific complaints about the GI Joe volumes…the Half-Price Books location I found them at was one I haven’t been to in about 6 months, so I was quite shocked when I checked their "regular comics" section out of curiosity, given the two locations closer to where I live have the "all are $1 unless marked" and "all are now 25 (50? I can’t remember) cents unless marked."

This one has them as $2 unless marked–and with marked prices generally being at least $2 if not more (with $10, $15, $25 marked, and some color photocopies/printouts put as proxies in the bins with the actual issues held behind the counter for $25+ issues).

The issues that would be $2? Mainly stuff that I would deem–at best–$1 bin fodder at an actual comic shop.

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Meanwhile, checking for some joy in the "clearance" endcap yielded its own shock: clearance comics were all price-stickered as $1.00!

To say that I was appalled would be an understatement…so much so that I tweeted out the above photo with my frustration the other day!

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But getting into all this has led me to what is likely the topic for an entire post on its own.

Spawn Kills Everyone #1 [Review]

spawn_kills_everyone_0001Spawn Kills Everyone!

Writer: Todd McFarlane
Art: JJ Kirby
Color: FCO Plascenscia
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Cover art: Todd McFarlane
Edtor: Todd McFarlane
Publishing Coordinator: Shannon Bailey
Art Director: Ben Timmreck
Publisher for Image Comics: Eric Stephenson
Published by: Image Comics
Cover Date: August 2016
Cover Price: $2.99

I’d THOUGHT it’d been awhile since the last issue of Spawn. Of course, with loving all the DC Rebirth stuff and recent life events going on, it’s caused a certain amount of blurring of time for me, so I didn’t think too much on it. I’ve been enjoying the Spawn title overall and particularly the price point–yet another thing to support given the actually INCREASING price point I"m noticing more frequently on Marvel books I’ve zero interest in.

Despite figuring I’d managed to somehow miss an issue of Spawn itself, I saw this listed, and then saw this last/only copy on the shelf, and once I verified it was actually "only" $2.99, included it with my double-week purchase.

There’s a certain sort of snarkiness to the cover, with a cutesy Spawn on a pile of skulls with a bunch of over-large knives (the size of swords) and a massive gun bigger than he is. In some ways poking fun at other (past?) extreme-ness…in some ways self-lampooning.

The issue’s story goes right along with this. We have this cutesy Spawn railing against his own cuteness (come to think of it, he looks like a Mopeez plushie [I would totally get one of him, provided it has the cape!] and lamenting the lack of recent movie, while all sorts of other comic characters have had movies. So he’s in San Diego at the comic con and makes his way to Hall H to BE his own movie announcement…but encounters a number of troubles along the way, that get dispatched quite graphically and violently, with plenty of call-outs to recent film franchises. And the whole of the thing is rather immature, crude, irreverent, with poop and fart jokes…and yet something to the whole of it left me having quite enjoyed this issue.

I’m not consciously familiar with the artist…but I really dug the visuals for this issue. I like this take on Spawn (or "Lil’ Spawn" or some such), and the art simply conveyed the ridiculous absurdity of the issue. Despite the "graphic violence," it still stayed somewhat cartooney…of course, I would not recommend giving this to a younger reader, but it’s definitely the sort of "fun" issue for adults, whether current, lapsed, or former fans of Spawn in general, or just looking for a truly one-shot issue with a familiar logo on the cover.

This has the "Spawning Ground" thing at the back, and a "Next Issue" box showing Spawn 265, which further lends me the notion of this being a "fill in" issue, to fill the gap between regular issues of Spawn itself. Given my reading experience with the main title and only somewhat noticing it being awhile since the previous issue I’d read, I’m not all that bothered at the lateness..but I’m definitely glad I noticed and bought this issue.

I didn’t see any "notice" in this acknowledging any lateness (and perhaps I really DID miss an issue), but this is a solid one-shot, well worth its $2.99 (compared to how frustrating some $3.99s can be that are not one-off/self-contained issues). Whether you’ve been following the ongoing title or ever did, if you just want a funny (and see other adjectives above) comic, a one-shot for $2.99…this is one to snag.

Conservatively Quarter-Binning: Scud and West-Coast Avengers

I flipped half-heartedly through the quarter-bin this week, after a too-lengthy drive to the no-longer-local comic shop. Recent life events meant an immediate drop to being a LOT more conservative in spending, but I was a bit curious as the quarter bins looked to be a similar state to the last time I’d flipped through, weeks ago.

Of course, I never should have "doubted"–quite a lot of fresh assortment, but with my current mindset, didn’t even consider grabbing much…and ultimately I only bought 6 (amounting to a whopping $1.50!)

scud_and_west_coast_avengers

Two of the issues were Scud: Disposable Assassin #1 and Marvel‘s West Coast Avengers #1.

I had no problems with myself, snagging these two #1 issues–I have plenty of problem when I find "runs" of a series in bargain bins with 12+ issues or such…minus the first issue where someone obviously "cherry-picked" only the #1s. But in these cases, they were just the isolated #1 issues…no #2, no runs.

Not necessarily the greatest condition, but not anything I would consider poor.

The West Coast Avengers issue is a novelty to me…I’m sure I have a few issues scattered in my longboxes, but I don’t consciously recall any particular run of the series. Yet, hey…it’s a #1 from back when #1s actually meant something.

And the Scud one caught my eye, having recently contemplated the single-volume collection of the entire series, though it’s been several years since it was published (I’d put that on a mental want-list at the time, though never actually got around to purchasing the thing). The fact that the issue is a third printing doesn’t bother me at all…I’ve no real intention of trying to track down the singles…knowing there IS a one-volume collection out there!

While I’ve found plenty of enjoyment getting runs of stuff and huge stacks of comics from bargain bins…it’s also quite cool just getting a select few, for such a small price. Especially when–instead of dwarfing the "regular new stuff" issues, this provides for an excellent "enhancement" of the "regular purchase."

The other four issues I picked up were two issues of Valiant/Acclaim‘s Trinity Angels and the first two issues of last year’s Telos series from DCYou after Convergence.

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