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Favorites of Walt: The Comic Shops #2 – Comics & Collectibles

favoritesofwaltcomicshopslogo

Not long after discovering Capp’s Comics, my friend and I discovered another store that sold comics–Comics & Collectibles. This store was in a back/side area of a local shopping plaza…rather out of the way, and if you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t even know it was there.

It had many of the newer comics–like Capp’s did–but seemed to have a much different sort of selection of back issues. The quantity was less, but unlike Capp’s, this place had a couple tables with boxes both on and under the tables full of comics for $.25 or 5/$1. There were also boxes of "sets" and "grab bags" for good prices…and for awhile at one point, there were several boxes of old STAR comics and Archies for $.10/ea.

The store owner even had a weekly column about comics in the local paper, which was very cool to read at the time.

It was this comic shop that my friend and I would primarily geek out on back issues. Poring over our back issue guides, and then being amazed at all the great deals we found in those bargain bins (never mind that the condition of the issues wouldn’t always be pristine, or that we later realized that just because an issue had "Sub-Mariner" in the title did not mean it was the series where the issues were "worth" $75+ apiece…just as it never occurred to us that no comic shop owner at that time would even consider putting such valuable comics in a bargain bin).

A couple times, Dad paid $25 to give me a "credit" with the shop for the bargain bins. It gave me a sort of "Tab" so that I could walk in and pick up some bargain issues, without having to spend "new cash." Made for a pretty sweet deal.

As new issues go…it was at this store that I first saw something called "Batman: The Vengeance of Bane" and thought it looked stupid and pointless–and I passed on it. I picked up the first issue of something called Batman: The Sword of Azrael, but thought that it was boring so never picked up the other issues. (To my regret when Knightfall rolled around). Also got my first issue of Spider-Man 2099 here.

And it was–in the heart of that collector mentality that I’m somewhat afraid to admit I was victim of at the time–at this store that my mom, my friend, and I waited in THE hugest line I’ve ever seen at a comic store, for the chance to walk through the store to purchase a single copy apiece of the black-bagged Superman #75.

I recall a few bicycle rides out to this store–about a 40-45 minute journey each way, but highly worth it. Once such journey was where I picked up something called "Kingdom Come," with art by the guy who did that Marvel series–Marvels. (The names Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, and Alex Ross didn’t mean much in and of themselves to me yet–I followed characters, not writers or artists. Though Alex Ross was the first artist whose work I distinctly recognized).

And it was partway through high school–1996 or 1997–that Comics & Collectibles closed its doors. I still had other comic shops to go to, so it wasn’t a huge loss, except in that sentimental sense.

NEXT WEEK: Fun Stuff Cards & Comics.

52 Week #20 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Week #20: God is Fragged

Supernova in the Batcave, Steel grows into his new powers, and the heroes in space come under attack…

52week20Writer: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Pencils: Chris Batista
Inks: Ruy Jose
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Assistant Editors: Harvey Richards & Jeanine Schaefer
Edited by: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: J.G. Jones & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue gives us some fairly continuous action, opened with a moment of quiet as Supernova infiltrates the Batcave. Steel begins to grow into his new powers/strength, saving a number of lives from a burning building. The rest of the issue pretty much focuses on the hereos-in-space: Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man…and of course, their new best buddy, Lobo. These folks come under attack by a bunch of (other) aliens, and wind up bringing more trouble down on their own heads due to the means by which they end the battle.

All in all, not a bad issue at all. I found it to be a good read–though I feel like we’ve not gotten to see nearly enough of the "new" Steel, so it almost feels like he was just tossed in to remind us he exists (though more likely, he’s there for us to see that he’s growing into his new powers, and learning to make use of ’em and in general, keep on truckin’ as a hero).

The battle in space works–I’m not totally into it, but hey, action-in-space and all that. Seeing what happened to Lobo was rather gruesome, though actually made sense, having read his origin a few issues ago–I wasn’t lost or dumbfounded at his state after the battle.
The art continues to work well, serving the story quite well. I really don’t have any complaints with this.

On the whole–this issue and the series in general–I continue to be satisfied with the product as a whole. It’s one of the better ‘values’ in comics these days, per individual issue, and just has a grand FEEL as a true serial (as opposed to other books that don’t often make the every-30ish-days frequency). I think this series challenges my recent expectations of comics–even with certain stories meandering in and out, I feel that I "get" more out of it than the same number of issues of most anything else.

All that said–chances are, if you’re not on-board yet, you probably aren’t gonna change your mind based on a few remarks from me. And if you’re STILL on-board…you’re probably similarly-minded on the series.

I’m enjoying it–it’s worthwhile and keeps me going to the comic shops each week. Nothing blows me away, but this is simply a solid, reliable series that builds on itself week after week.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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