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Ruining a couple comics and falling victim to a Valiant variant

ImageSaturday night, I had an experience I hadn’t had in quite awhile: I managed to spill something on a comic.

I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened–I’m not OVERLY “careful” anymore about comics–but I’m not going to intentionally set one in standing liquid, or use ’em as a coaster or anything like that. But I knocked a (virtually empty) pop can off its perch and it landed upside-down on my copy of Archer & Armstrong #9. I quickly grabbed the can off, and attempted to gather up the comics to get them away–which resulted in my (stupidly) stacking X #0 on top of A&A, and not realizing it until the damage to both issues had been done.

While I don’t “collect” for profit/”value” I do like my comics to be in good condition–and I’m certainly not gonna want damp/formerly-damp paper to be stacked in with other (dry) paper–so I determined I was going to consider this a costly lesson, and replace the two issues. When I went to the closest comic shop (Comic Heaven in Willoughby, OH), they had several copies of the A&A issue left and one copy of X, so I grabbed one of each, grabbed a another “sale” hardcover (see post later this week on sale acquisitions), paid, and walked out.

When I got home, I realized to my great dismay, that I’d grabbed the VARIANT cover for A&A…which honestly just totally ticks me off. I’m NOT used to grabbing the singles “off the shelf,” and my standard “pull list” includes a request for the “standard/regular” covers of everything, so I thought nothing of just grabbing a copy of the issue, having identified the series from the logo–which was the main part of the cover that was visible. Functionally this was to be a simple replacement of something I’d already bought a copy of the other day, already read, so there was no “need” to examine the cover.

I am so incredibly sick and tired of variant covers, though. And now, even the “equal ratio” variants–50/50–have become troublesome because they’re not separated out (no reason to, it’s the same issue, no “special version” of a cover, etc) so nothing calls attention to it being a variant without looking at the UPC box to find its designation.

So at this point, to get the cover that I actually want–the REGULAR cover!!!–I’m going to have paid $11.97 for ONE COMIC that stays in my collection. I can accept the $7.98 because I’m the clumsy guy that knocked a can of pop onto my original copy. But to pay that $7.98 ON TOP OF the copy I ruined just bugs the crap outta me.

Perhaps “making a mountain of a molehill” or some such, but this has me once more/yet AGAIN contemplating a radical shift to collected volumes. At least then I’m (so far/to my knowledge) not going to be dealing with near-constant variants for each volume. And the collected volumes often have the art from the variants included anyway, so I can still see the art in-person.

Typically, I quite enjoy Valiant, and have been sticking with ’em in part BECAUSE they’re Valiant. But between their ridiculous “clustering” of titles and so many variants…it’s enough to leave me contemplating dropping the line and waiting just for the collected volumes, despite the otherwise quality stories/art.

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