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A peek behind the curtain

1oldblogformatWhen I started this blog in 2008, I found a WordPress theme that I liked–Contempt–and in over four years, never bothered to change the theme. Part laziness, mostly as “they” say…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But there have been a couple times in there that I’ve considered swapping out the theme for a different one, though I never pulled the trigger.

This weekend I found myself tweaking stuff with the Facebook Page, and after that decided to take a look at themes again–and discovered that Contempt was now “retired,” so did even more digging to see what other themes had to offer. Turns out I have a bit of an expensive tastes–the themes that most caught my attention were premium, and I’m not prepared to throw money at this blog (I’m no Comic Book Resources or Newsarama, after all).

But then I found the theme you’ll now see, and quite like it. It’s allowed me to tweak a few things and clean up the main view a bit. I don’t often like change for the sake of change–but doing this myself, it works. It’s similar to what I started with, but has some differences and since the theme is not retired, I shouldn’t have to worry for awhile about anything suddenly changing one day.

Plus, though it’s not quite 2013 yet, it’s a new look for the new year–possibly the next several.

I have some thoughts for some non-holiday posts the next few days, and once into the new year I hope to establish a new schedule for posts and keep at least somewhat consistent without going overboard.

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Non-’90s Bargain-bin Finds

Usually when hitting the bargain bins, I’m grabbing ’90s stuff. Mostly DC and Marvel, and other randomish stuff. But this time, I found some stuff much more recent, from just the last several years, that totally made my day to find.

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First, I was surprised to discover several TPBs in the 25-cent bins–so much so that I actually asked if they were supposed to be in there. I recall seeing this Turok book a few years ago, but $14.95 seemed too steep for what it is. Of course, for 25-cents it’s an awesome purchase. The Sigil books are quite worthwhile at the price as well–one for me, one for a friend.

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While I’ve refused to pay $3.99 for certain comics, I can’t deny my interest in the Regenesis phase of X-Men stuff. I’ve told myself for awhile I’d backtrack via bargain-bins…I just expected $1-bins, so 25-cent bins I will definitely take advantage!

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I have several gaping holes in my X-Men run, that this bunch begins to plug, though just barely. I missed a few years where I was all but unaware of what was going on in this title; I’ve since caught up a bit (a couple of these issues I bought digitally during a comiXology sale a couple months back), but again…25-cents is a steal for issues so recent.

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I saw a set of these four Magneto issues at another comic shop a few weeks back–while I don’t recall the price, I think it was around $16…I thought these were $3.99 issues but looking now, they’re priced at $2.99 (further example of Marvel losing up-front sales from me for “training” me to believe anything they put out is more likely $3.99!). I’ve been interested in the title, and my waiting has CERTAINLY paid off here.

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Finally, I grabbed the two issues of X-Men Legacy I saw, and for 25-cents can afford to try The First X-Men (heck, if it still has the download code, that alone is “worth” the 25-cents!).

The entire bargain-bin haul for the week barely cost me what any two issues would have cost me new off the rack as recently as this past summer.

Old is New?

20121207-213713.jpgI remember noticing it early in the Uncanny X-Force run: the logo was the classic without the 3-D effect. (And the book was without Cable.)

For me, there’s something about a book’s logo. I can appreciate a new look, or something done to clearly indicate part of a group. I just don’t care for the constant change in a short span of time.

Not even 2 years into UXF, the logo was changed to the Regenesis branding. And beginning with Cable and X-Force under Marvel Now, we’re getting another logo (with yet another for the “new” Uncanny X-Force).

20121207-215446.jpgI noticed comiXology’s Friday sale on the first 15 issues of the original “adjective-less” X-Force (cuz now X-Force, a part of the X-Men family of titles gets its own split to two titles) and 2008-ish Cable run. Already got several of the Cable issues last time they were $0.99, but decided to get X-Force #1 for the heckuvit.

I don’t like paying $2.99 and $3.99 for digital comics…but $0.99 isn’t horrible (except I keep seeing the print edition in the 25-cent bins…) And I guess I’ll pay the $0.75 for the convenience.

Final Issue! (before a new #1)

20121206-125935.jpgI saw this ad, and still can’t believe the whole “Final Issue” bit. Yeah, Superior Spider-Man and all that…but still…I’m not “buying it” and not gonna buy it.

20121206-130033.jpgWhile on the subject of Marvel…I did wind up buying Thunderbolts #1. Partially the novelty–buying THUNDERBOLTS #1 as a new issue–and it was only $2.99…NOT $3.99!

Sadly while I like the art, the story seemed too slow for a first issue…I think I expected something more, somehow.

Pricing in Context: Thrift Stores And collectibles

20121203-153710.jpgI went to what looks like a thrift shop–think Salvation Army or Goodwill or such–but it’s actually stocked with unclaimed baggage from airports.

So most stuff is “used,” some is new, and prices vary from bargain to more expensive/comparable to Walmart.

While there, I came across a small selection of ’90s comics for 99-cents apiece (numerous copies of Ghost: Comics’Greatest World Week 3ish and Deathmate: Black amidst ’em), but all were what I’d consider quarter-bin fare so didn’t buy any.

Most surprising/morbidly amusing I came across this Uncanny X-Force Comic-Con Exclusive set. The store has it priced at $99 (from “$199 Retail Price”). I would value it at most in the $60-70 range and expect it to be in the $30-40 range.

As-is…I simply took this photo and left it on the shelf. I find the $22 price for the Marvel Universe 3.75-inch 3-pack to be rather high, and don’t care these days for Marvel Legends.

Alien Resurrection: Found!

20121203-140243.jpgLast year, I tracked down the Aliens and Predator films on blu-ray. I’m stupidly particular about those cardboard sleeves, which made the hunt a bit more problematic that simply being in stock or not.

I wound up missing only Alien Resurrection, as Walmart and Target don’t carry it and I didn’t want to pay a full $20+ at Best Buy, couldn’t find it at any of the used stores, and an online purchase might not have the sleeve to “match up” to the other 3 Aliens films’ cases.

The other day at Sam’s Club (in Alabama, visiting a friend) I came across the film with the sleeve…for only $10…a great price (especially as I’d expected to pay at least $15 or so) to get this.

Given Joss Whedon’s involvement and seeing hints of Firefly in it (and starting to rewatch the Firefly pilot recently) I might just get sucked back into that, thanks to this.

24 of 32 years

20121203-133836.jpgToday I am 32. For 24 of those years (give or take a few weeks) I’ve been into comics…that’s 75% of a lifetime.

When I was introduced to comics, Superman was 50…Spider-Man was 26, The X-Men 25ish, and the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had but 1 season.

And now it’s amazing to see comics and their characters through the eyes of a pair of 4-year-old boys and try to remember what it was like to NOT have two-plus decades of comics reading experience, the intricate knowledge of comics’ continuities and universes.

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