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After 12 Years…Finally: The Complete Classic TMNT!

Twelve years ago, Summer 2004, I was excited at the (then-finally) release of the original episodes of the "classic" TMNT cartoon on dvd. Prior to this, there was only old VHS tapes (That were hardly complete runs) or less-than-stellar downloads and such.

So when a dvd of the first season–the original 5-episode "mini-series"–was released, I was stoked! (Even though I still prefer the 2003 series above the 1980s and current shows).

Not too long after there were a number of other releases, as Volume Two and Volume Three and so on…simply collecting a few more episodes at a time, but stuff was spotty…and then there was crap like a season being released as four parts, four different units to purchase instead of just one, and so on. More recently, stores have seemed spotty on carrying stuff (by "stores" I primarily mean Target and Walmart with a bit of Toys R Us thrown in) with a mix of the "volumes" and "seasons". Finding them for around $5 each, I’d (over a period of months) acquired seasons 10, 8, and 9) after buying the season 3 set (which duplicated several of the early "volumes"–and the discs actually still bear the "volume" labels).

I was thrilled recently fo find a full Season 7 unit (containing the entire season, not just a "slice" of the season) for a good price (about $15).

Of course…that still left me with a gaping, expensive hole: I had seasons 1-3 and 7-10…but no 4, 5, or 6.

tmnt_classic_series_full

Presumably to capitalize on the new live-action movie, Walmart seems to have at least temporarily stocked more TMNT stuff…including new double-season editions.

Over the weekend, when I literally came face-to-face with the Season Four box set and then spotted the double-season edition with Season 5 and Season 6 and realized I could complete the series for a "mere" $25, I jumped on it. (In an age when single 2-hour films cost $20-$25+…to get 3 seasons for that same pricing was fantastic!)

And now, "only" 12 YEARS later, I finally own the entire "classic" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.

I’ve also "kept up with" the releases of the current series…and may "splurge" on the live-action series now…as that’ll just leave the 2003 series missing. I have some of those dvds…but hardly the full series, and those were horrible as they only had 3-5 episodes each (even splitting a 5-part story labeled parts 1-5 onto two different releases!).

Time and "patience," I guess!

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Rant of Disgust on Animated Ghostbusters DVDs

I was pleasantly surprised (initially) and then highly disappointed with the discovery of the classic animated series The Real Ghostbusters on dvd.

I’ve never known of it being on dvd before this, but I have very fond memories of the show–I may never have watched EVERY episode or gone totally ga-ga for the toys and such, but it was definitely a show I enjoyed (more than the movies, even, at the time!).

But my pleasant surprise quickly turned to disgust, and despite being in the “I’m gonna buy SOMEthing to watch tonight!” mood that might’ve seen me spend $20-$30, even, on a box set of The Complete The Real Ghostbusters or such, or $15-$20 on a “box 1 of 2″…the publisher did what I hate as much as variant covers.

They have the entire series. There’s no current release (that I’m aware of) ahead of these, say, from 10+ years ago. All the episodes are available to them and ready to go, right now. ALL FOUR are put out at the same time, together. As FOUR INDIVIDUAL RELEASES, we have all these episodes.

There’s no box set that I’m aware of for the whole thing.

real_ghostbusters_volumes_instead_of_set

And while I’ve nothing concrete to go on at the moment or anything for a “works cited” page–I’m quite confident that a large part of dvd PRICING relates to manufacturing–the discs, the dvd case liners, the cost of the cases, and then assembly (liner into the case, disc(s) in to the case, whatever shrink wrappage over everything). Then stuff like individual bar codes, soliciting to stores on four different SKUs or whatever, all that for FOUR things when they could easily just do 1.

As a comparison–12 episodes each for vols 1-2 and 11 each for 3-4…that’s 46 episodes. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles season 3 has 47 episodes, and sells (via Target at least, and much less at Walmart) for $15. So it’s far from impossible to do a bulk release in a single, small package.

What’s worse with the Ghostbusters release is that they commit another thing: these are marked as “vol. 1” and “vol. 2,” and NOT as SEASON 1 or SEASON 2.

I don’t know–and not interested for the principle of this rant–how many seasons the show ran, but “vol. 1” suggests “intentional series” to me while “season 1” suggests to me a grouping by season. (Over with Disney/Marvel–rather than restrict themselves to “just” season 1 that was 13 episodes for X-Men the Animated Series, the VOLUME 1 release was 13 episodes–the complete first season–and then several episodes of the 2nd season!)

I allow SOME difference, say, for Nickelodeon‘s TMNT releases being incomplete seasons each–but they’re often putting out a release of 6-10 or 12 episodes from the current season WHILE the current season is STILL GOING ON. I’d PREFER to have FULL SEASON SETS (they recently released complete seasons 1 and 2…but I already have all of the individual releases) so for present I’ve continued on.

So, despite fond memories, nostalgia, and definite INTEREST–I did not buy ANY of the Ghostbusters sets. Sure, they’re “only” $10, and buying “vol. 1” for $10 for immediate gratification would be CHEAPER THAN blowing $30 in one go…FOUR releases at $10 each mean an eventual $40. And I was not prepared to spend $40 (even $30 would have REALLY pushed boundaries). At the same time, this being OBVIOUSLY timed to coincide with the new movie about to hit…if I bought vol. 1 now, and even vol. 2 next week and then held for several weeks–would I even be ABLE TO complete the set, or would these be flash-in-the-pan, here-today-gone-tomorrow?

In an age where more and more is being condensed–Double-Feature packs, Triple-Feature/Trilogy packs, 4 Film Favorites packs, franchise box sets, anthology sets, even double-season and FULL SERIES box sets–here they are splitting stuff out into mini-releases.

REBIRTH WEEK 4: Action, Detective, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Justice League

This post is a little late due to timing and leaving the partially-typed post at work. Six books this week, including the “in isolation” Justice League #52 that I got strictly because of tying to the Superman stuff in Rebirth

JUSTICE LEAGUE #52

justiceleague0052This week starts with a sort of one-shot, posing as an issue of Justice League. This issue is basically a “bridge” issue, taking Lex Luthor from one apparent status quo at the end of The Darkseid War and getting him into position for his role in Action Comics. We get a lot of narration from his side of things, making him definitely a sympathetic character…especially as he comes off–to me, on one reading–as actually being genuine, if not pure in his intentions. This IS Lex Luthor, after all…but I find it a lot easier to identify with this version of the character than I did the pre-Flashpoint one. Ultimately…it seems Luthor gave up rulership of Apokalips and all that would entail to return to Earth, to be a hero, a champion, to better himself such that he would make his sister Lena proud. Whatever else he is, whatever side things he might have going, whatever his methodology and such, he wants to be someone his sister can be proud of. And I kinda dig that.

ACTION COMICS #958

action_comics_0958This issue is the second of this Rebirth run, yet both issues take place after the Justice League issue. (Of course, JL apparently was delayed/late, so…your mileage on the matter may vary). We have Superman and Luthor forced to team up against Doomsday, while various elements of the story are brought to bear. Who is this Clark Kent, and how is he separate from Superman? We as readers know, but characters in the story are left to wonder who this Superman is, given they’ve been told Superman is dead. Lois and Jon watch news of goings-on on tv, as Jon begins to learn a bit more about his father, and we see Lois trying to hide her worry so as to protect her son. Because this is Doomsday, and seems to be THE Doomsday; somehow the same one that DID kill Superman, and not just some construct or entity that can turn into spores and be inhaled or infect someone. Superman–our Superman, this Superman, pre-Flashpoint Superman, recognizes the creature, feels its power, and is himself worried. The issue ends with a cliffhanger that leaves me wondering where the story’s headed, and very interested in the questions half-raised by it in the back of my head…all ultimately stuff that enrichens Superman, Luthor, and the story as a whole.

DETECTIVE COMICS #935

detective_comics_935“Only” two issues in, and I’m quite enjoying this series. Like Action Comics, it feels like a flagship title again. It is definitely, obviously a Batman book…but it’s more a “family” sort of title in that we have Batman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Spoiler, Orphan, and even Clayface in the mix. If I can’t have a Tim Drake as Robin/Red Robin solo book, I’ll absolutely “accept” his presence here…particularly seeing that there IS something between him and Stephanie…an element definitely missed since…too far back. I’m not too sure about Kate’s father and what’s going on there…but I’m interested in finding out. I like this mix of characters. I like seeing them, period. And I’m liking the art, and the story holds plenty of potential. I don’t like Marvel‘s double-shipping because of pricing and feeling “obligated” to a title or such. Here, with Detective shipping twice a month, I’m enjoying the story so far and am actually interested in the story, therefore getting another issue every two weeks is a rather welcome thing…especially with each issue “only” being $2.99 vs. Marvel’s $3.99.

THE FLASH #1

flash(2016)_0001While I had bought the entire The Flash: Rebirth mini-series back in 2009 or 2010, whenever it was–I’ve never been a huge Barry fan. Comics-wise, I’m still not, in that he was GONE when I was introduced to comics, and despite occasionally short appearances (Time being wibbly-wobbly and all that) he served as inspiration for Wally and the rest of the Flash family more so than being present himself. But thanks to the tv series, the character has grown on me, and since I’ve quite enjoyed that and I see some elements of crossover, I’m enjoying this. Granted, this is the first issue and only the second issue focused on the Flash in the Rebirth initiative thus far…so I’ve not had much to go on. The story’s not put me off, and something about the art strikes me as something I would not care for with most other characters, but something to it simply “works” for this character. I’m also quite eager to see what all comes up with the fact of Barry being one of apparently only a few individuals to really know “something” is going on, that ten years have been stolen, and so on. That that mystery is something I’m expecting to be drawn out over a couple years makes this title–as a rarity–all the more interesting as a key part of details being learned.

WONDER WOMAN #1

wonder_woman(2016)_0001Possibly the most appealing thing–to me–of this issue is the cover. That’s a beautiful cover, definitely worthy of a poster. Despite that, I’m not sure at the moment if I’d consider it “iconic” or not…I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what the cover of #2 looks like, as well as other elements such as how the title will be collected…as at least for the first few, we’re going to have one story going on in the odd-numbered issues with a “Year One” going on in the evens. While the cover may be the most appealing part…I still liked this issue. It’s just not singularly-stand-out or anything. I’d quite enjoyed what I’d read of Rucka‘s Wonder Woman back around Infinite Crisis and such, but by the time of The New 52 and such, I’ve had no particular interest in the character…really only having anything to with the character by her presence in other stuff–mainly Superman–that I’d read. I’m still looking forward to this series–these first couple stories at minimum–but this is more of a passive enjoyment than an active “chomping at the bit for more” kinda thing. On this single issue alone I could probably take or leave the title if I had to…but having the next several issues coming (eventually) as parts of bundles, I do look forward to reading them and going from there.

AQUAMAN #1

aquaman(2016)_0001I’ve both been aware and simultaneously ignorant when it comes to a lot of Aquaman stuff…particularly longform continuity and back story. I have a couple mental images of the character from the early/mid 1990s of the long-haired, bearded, harpoon-handed period of the character. Despite a couple silver/bronze age issues of my grandfather’s that I’d come across the character, my main introduction to him was in Zero Hour, with a continued “awareness of” the character through the ’90s. Which is all past stuff, and this is a new first issue, the Rebirth issue being a prologue. I don’t know these characters from much familiarity. The whole Aquaman-and-Mera thing is recent for me, from Brightest Day. I’ve known OF Black Manta as a villain going back to early DC Heroclix days. And I’m pretty sure somewhere I’d come across something about his history with Aquaman (I’m thinking Manta was the one that cost Arthur his hand in 1994). Which is alllll to say that I don’t have enough conscious background to really care much one way or the other for this character and his cast…except I’d heard good things about him with the start of the New 52 (though I never jumped in) and I consciously want to like this here, now. It’s a “good” issue, I’m definitely satisfied for my $2.99…but I’m just not EXCTIED by it. As part of a bundle I’m happy to keep reading the series…taken strictly in a pass/fail capacity I think this would be a “good, but just not my kinda thing for single issues” title.

OVERALL:

Another great week of stuff, with no major letdowns. I’m really glad that I ordered bundles starting with July because this is definitely way too much to keep up with, with any regularity otherwise. As with previous “special months” that DC has done, I will occasionally dive in with a bunch of stuff for that month…but to want to carry over fully into following months…this has not happened in a long time!

At this point, I’m thinking I will definitely throw support behind Action Comics and Detective Comics, as well as Superman–wherein even though I’ve ordered the bundles, I’ll still buy the singles day-of-release at the shop. (For what I’m saving on the bundles I still come out way ahead, price-wise).

Only hard thing will be waiting for the end of the month and then cramming in the time to get everything read!

More New Flash–But With Damage

Sadly, I’m not referencing the ’90s character Damage.

Amazon Prime continues to astound me at their lack of use of shipping materials in mailing stuff–particularly paperback graphic novels–that are already oversized and much more subject to easy damage and dingings and such than say, a tight-wrapped “brick” of a mass-market paperback edition.

new_flash_books_damage

This damage is to the bottom of the back…on the shelf it won’t even be noticeable! But to me, it’s the principle of the thing. I pay for Amazon Prime for the shipping; both books were hardly discounted (like 20%)…and they were just stuck into a basic padded mailer, no cardboard, no plastic wrap, no anything really to help protect them in shipping.

The envelope was oversized–and almost big enough the two books could have been inside, side-by-side. And the envelope looked like it had tire treads on it–hardly the first time I’ve received packages that way–so…I am not a particularly enthused camper right now.

new_flash_books

But look! New (to me) Flash books! With these, and last week’s The Flash: Rebirth, and my already having the Flashpoint complete event in collected volumes…I’m definitely building my “Flash collection.”

Once I get the replacement copies for these–once I get satisfactory replacement copies*–I’ll be set for a bit. And at this point I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be adding the New 52 stuff…I already pre-ordered some sort of omnibus with the first 25 issues, and I guess I’ll see what’s what from there.

(* Numerous times over the past few years, I’ve wound up with 3, even 4 or 5 copies of something in-hand due to requesting replacements when Amazon refuses to use packing materials and stuff does not arrive in pristine condition. Shrink-wrap the books to a piece of cardboard in a box? Cool. Shrinkwrap the books and toss a couple bubbles in to minimize stuff moving around? Ok. Put cardboard in and ship in a stiff mailer? Great. Show some effort. Show me that the books were NOT just chucked in something and thrown down a conveyer belt.)

Didn’t Know Then What I Do Know Now

I “returned” to comics in 1992 based partly on an American Entertainment or Entertainment This Month catalog as well as a friend discovering a store that was just for comics (as opposed to a spinner rack in a bookstore or grocery store). 1992 ended with stuff like The Death of Superman, Batman: Sword of Azrael, Robin III: Cry of the Huntress, and Spider-Man 2099 (to name a few). Throughout 1993 I expanded into Marvel after Uncanny X-Men #300, followed the core Fatal Attractions event (at least to Wolverine #75)…and what had been a heavy dose of “dabbling in” comics became a truly actual “thing” for me, in my life.

By 1994, comics were my thing. I was primarily following the Superman and Batman books, as well as having gotten into Green Lantern (with Emerald Twilight and the introduction of Kyle) and a decent run with Archie‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures.

But everything was pretty isolated within the given characters’ realms. I knew there was a shared universe (well, the TMNT were their own thing!) but I hadn’t ventured that far out into the deeper waters of continuity and the like.

So ads like the following were lost on me “in the moment” at original publication.

end_of_today_01

I certainly was not “put off” by the ads or anything…but I didn’t know what this ad was for, as it didn’t directly/solely impact anything I was reading. Crisis on Infinite Earths was at best something that I had heard of and read about; and even including the time between my initial, brief run with comics in 1990-1991 and getting back into them in 1992, when this ad was new, I had barely–if even–5 years of “history” with contemporary comics.

So for me, there was no huge hype driving the pending crossover…and though I was aware of it and bought it and such, I don’t recall any particular anticipation for it.

I got the main Zero Hour series, and then basically “just” the tie-in issues in the Superman and Batman titles as well as Green Lantern–stuff that I was getting anyway.

That I’m finally getting around to reading the entirety of the crossover–the core series, the issues I’d read back then, plus all the other tie-ins I’m aware of/can find now–is something 22 years in the making.

Like my issue-by-issue covering of the original X-Men: Age of Apocalypse stuff… I’ll soon be launching into the Zero Hour equivalent.

As I stare down the barrel of a major change to my personal status quo–the largest such in nearly a decade–Zero Hour‘s tagline fits.

The end of today…

#TBT Throwback Thursday: Entertainment This Month and American Entertainment

Once upon a time–over 21 years ago–I would occasionally get mail like this:

etm_ae_envelope

And I looked forward to this. It meant a new catalog–or catalogs plural–for mail-order comics! As of this typing, I don’t remember for certain, but I’m pretty sure there’d be a new Entertainment This Month catalog with the current month’s worth of "new, hot comics" available for pre-order with an accompanying general catalog of "back issues" and such in the American Entertainment catalog.

etm_ae_entertainment_this_month_catalogs

While some might say "hoarder," at the moment I’m taking to the term "master of ephemera" in finding a box of these old catalogs. Of course, growing up in the ’90s with the collectorism and such, I "saved everything." It helped that it was pre-internet and so outside of getting the actual issues, stuff like this was the only way to get and see some pieces of art…and with some of the promo images (like the Batman one in the lower left above) these may not have even made onto the covers or been finalized images…so might only have been here.

etm_ae_american_entertainment_catalogs

Still on other ones there are just favorite images–like the Superman one above taken from the "newsstand edition" of Adventures of Superman #505.

While I was very definitely aware of the advance-order cycle in comics–I recently re-discovered that I have a 2+ year "run" of Advance Comics from 1993 into 1995ish–I do recall American Entertainment and Entertainment This Month being a key part of my awareness.

Additionally, I credit them as getting me back into comics in 1992, after letting comics slip outta my life in 1990/early 1991. (Long origin story told briefly: my sister got a subscription to Barbie through a school magazine drive, which got her onto a mailing list for an Entertainment This Month mailing, which led to my "return" to comics.)

The Weekly Haul – Week of June 22, 2016

The other night, I went ahead and place an Amazon order for a couple of Flash books. I keep finding myself drawn to them at the bookstores, but they’re a lot cheaper via the site…so I finally convinced myself it was more than worthwhile to order them to have them and not be so tempted to “just” pay full cover price to a bookstore chain when it’s not like I’ll even actually get around to reading them immediately (unless I change my mind, in which case it’ll be more than worthwhile to have them on hand for sheer convenience!)

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622_

I have a couple single-issues of the Grant Morrison story but still missing an issue. This volume will let me more than cover that for now and get to just simply read the thing. And then amidst all the awesomeness of DC Rebirth, and finding myself really drawn to The Flash lately, I figured it was high time to “finally” get The Flash: Rebirth both to have and just to read without having to find the single issues scattered throughout my longboxes.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622a

This would have been a tiny week with only the Bebop and Rockstead issue, except that so far Rebirth has been excellent and so my weeks have been quite heavily padded out. I’m not sure if there are any due next week or not…and I think my bundles kick in, so I should be back to relatively small weeks again, with a monster shipment at the end of July and a bunch of catch-up reading then.

Chances are I’ll still at least pick up Action Comics and Superman for the immediacy and enjoyment, despite the duplicate purchasing…for what I’m saving on the bundles I can handle it.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622b

I snagged a mix of stuff from the quarter bins that I’d swear was not there last week, and yet to glance at the bins, they look like nothing much has been added…but I found a whole treasure trove! Rai #1 from original Valiant, “pre-Unity” even! A Dreadstar #1/2 issue that was apparently originally included with an issue of Hero Illustrated. And a some random stuff that seemed worthwhile/caught my attention for being only 25 cents.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622c

Though missing an Advance Comics preview leaflet, the complete “official” Deathmate saga from Valiant and Image from 1993.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622d

Also from 1993, the Jack Kirby’s Secret City Saga 4-issue mini, with (apparently) three lead-in one-shots. I’ve seen all of these in the past, usually passing on them, but seeing them all together, I snagged ’em today–despite their NOT being in their original polybags with Kirbychrome cards.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622e

Initially I thought I’d be snagging an “old” GLC issue #35 as well as a New 52 #35. Though I then realized one’s a variant cover, for 50 cents (total) I figured why not? It’s a novelty. Much as I hate, loathe, detest, and avoid variants most of the time…here it is relegated to a 25-cent bin. At this point in its existence…I’ll buy it.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160622f

Finally, about 16 (of 27-28, I believe) issues of Manga X-Men from Marvel Imports from back in the day. The entirety of this series–that I’m aware of without looking anything up or confirming it “only” ran 27-28 issues or not–adapts in manga the first season of the ’90s animated series. I know I have the first issue somewhere and possibly the 2nd, so I’m not terribly bothered at this stack of issues starting at #6. And the first season being possibly the most “iconic” and best-remembered (for me as well as based on what I hear from anyone else who mentions/talks about the series) I’d say it’s not that bad.

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