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Way to Miss the Point, Amazon!

I’ve been in a fair bit of a "fight" with Amazon for nearly a week, now, this time around.

On Monday, September 26th, 2016, I placed an order for the newest Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (Vol. 46). I don’t usually buy these, certainly not as an annual thing, but the other one I have is from mid 2011, PRE-New 52, and I figured I could handle one every half-decade or so in terms of owning.

More specifically to be able to know "Guide Value" for various books that I’d be interested in as I look toward the "back issues" side of things on an increasing basis…and unfortunately, far too many comic shops don’t bother to "price" their stock, leaving the poor customer unable to actually KNOW what price they’ll be quoted at the counter, and surely impacting what they’ll try to or consider buying. Buuuut that’s a topic for another post.

amazon_open_box_01     amazon_open_box_02

Anyway. I am an Amazon Prime customer. That means that I pay the annual fee, to be a part of Prime, and I do so for the physical shipping, to get stuff shipped "free" with 2-day/ASAP shipping. It may be labeled as or considered "free," but it is paid for by paying for the year TO BE a Prime member.

Nowhere that I have seen or heard of, does it include anything regarding some sort of "lesser" form of shipping as a result.

So, order placed on Monday, 9/26. Item arrived Wednesday, 9/28. The book’s damaged because it is over 1150 pages, very thin paper, and heavy. Since it was NOT packed to remain immobile…it slid around and was damaged in transit (beyond any damage prior). I requested a replacement immediately.

The first replacement arrived two days later, 9/30. This one was in the same sort of mailer, but with gaping wide openings (it was NOT properly assembled) and I could see daylight THROUGH the thing as well as clearly see the book contained within. Which was, of course, damaged in transit.

overstreet_46_third_time_damages_againI immediately requested another replacement, once again citing the damage and leaving "packaging feedback" about the issue with "heavy book + room to move = damage" and waited.

The second replacement (3rd copy) arrived the next day, 10/1. The mailer was slightly better-assembled, but I could still check out the book without even opening the package…and the book was damaged. I requested yet another replacement.

Meanwhile, I’d separately ordered a Green Arrow tpb, which arrived separately on Saturday. That one was in a flimsy yellow bubble envelope a good 50-75% larger than the book…and with no inserts or markings, it was folded and stuck into the mailbox. (So it earned a replacement-request as wel!)

The second copy of the Green Arrow book arrived the same way–overlarge flimsy envelope, folded and stuck in the mailbox.

It was then that I realized I had not seen any notification of the replacement of the Overstreet book being on its way…it was still held up in some hold status, apparently for my having requested multiple replacements.

amazon_missed_the_darned_point

When I contacted them about it, through their site, through their process, as a question on the item checking on "Where’s my order"–I was told that they would issue me a refund, please send the other books back.

To which I complained that it is not a satisfactory resolution–I’m now out a week of time (I could’ve bought the book from two different bricks-and-mortar stores and had a satisfactory CONDITION copy long before this). And to make me do the administrative thing of juggling receipt of packages and re-ordering, and then my own printer/ink/paper and gas to drive packages to a drop-off, and after 8+ days be back at square one? NO!

Their response to my continued explanation of the situation and emphasis on the fact that the book keeps arriving damaged because they refuse to use packing material and a proper sized box?

They made it entirely (temporarily) unavailable for sale "while they investigate the issue."

HELLO! 1. use a box 2. put packing peanuts or crumpled paper or several air pockets or foam or stick it between a couple sheets of cardboard, shrink-wrap that and toss it in the box, where the book itself will stay put, and any banging/beating suffered will be by the cardboard and not the book that I have paid for.

Halting their sale of the book entirely is so totally, completely missing the darned point!

Supposedly they’ll "resolve the issue" within 7 days; I can only imagine they’ll find that their stock is in undamaged condition (it’s getting damaged in transit for their inadequate packaging process).

Meanwhile… wonder if any of those 3rd party sellers will jack their prices up significantly, thinking the thing is outta print?

And my apologies to anyone else who might’ve been planning to order this from Amazon right now and using Prime shipping. It seems I’m the reason the book is (temporarily) not available for purchase through Amazon itself at the moment.

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TMNT Revisited: TMNT Adventures (Mini-Series) #1

tmnt_adventures_revisited

tmntadventuresmini001Heroes in a Half-Shell!

Written and Pencilled by: Michael Dooney
Adapted from the Scripts by: David Wise and Patti Howeth
Inked by: Dave Garcia
Lettered by: Steve Lavigne
Color by: Barry Grossman
Cover by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
Published by: Mirage/Archie
Cover Price: $1.00
Cover Date: August 1988

It’s rather interesting to consider that this was–I  believe–the first color TMNT comic. Sure, First Publishing had colored the original black and white issues, but this issue began as a color production rather than the color being a conversion. And where the original Mirage TMNT comics were certainly of a more mature nature for violence and language, this is based on the animated series that was aimed fairly squarely at kids.

Reading back through the issue, it has–for this fan of 26+ years–a lot of familiarity, both from the cartoon as well as the visual style of the art. Which ultimately makes sense, given Dooney‘s involvement with the Mirage stuff in particular. The character designs are obviously those of the cartoon, though.

Being such an old comic–at least a quarter-century–it’s immediately clear some differences from modern comics physically; and my copy in particular isn’t a particularly clean copy…it definitely is a bit yellowed from age and all that, as the paper is classic newsprint, one can see the dots to the coloring, and so on.

As a whole, the art’s not bad in and of itself, though the style is a bit “interesting” having gotten used to more “modern” renditions of these characters. I rather like the realization that even though this was published by Archie, it was created by the Mirage folks…thus lending a certain authenticity to this as a Ninja Turtles thing, rather than just being some thrown-together adaptation of a kids’ cartoon.

Story-wise, this suffers the same as the cartoon itself does in my mind…overly-simplistic and full of glaring plot-holes and such, requiring a lot more suspension of disbelief than most comics I’m used to. There’s also something rather wonky about the pacing, with this first issue covering maybe an episode and a half of the cartoon, rather than just one episode. In that way it’s a rather “compressed” storytelling that (especially looking at it now) really needs a lot more room to breathe. And as a comic, it misses so much potential in terms of “enhancing” the cartoon with narration or thought balloons or such that just wouldn’t fit the cartoon but would a comic.

Other than some abbreviated dialogue and missing the show’s music, this is absolutely a straight up adaptation and it doesn’t begin to even try to be anything else–different or additional. In and of itself, unfortunately, I can say with honesty I find this issue rather hokey, choppy, and other than the art “working” it’s nothing particularly stand-out or impressive to me.

At the same time, this goes back to the very beginning of the TMNT in tv and “popular” comics, so it has a huge bit of historical significance and is in itself quite the “artifact” of its time. This is the first issue of 3, a mini-series, which adapts the entire first “season” or 5-episode mini-series of the TMNT cartoon. At a time when home media (VHS) was still relatively rare (especially compared to our contemporary age of everything being on DVD and so readily available to purchase and watch whenever we want) this was the closest I personally would get to “owning” the episodes to consume whenever I chose. Back in the late-’80s/early-’90s, though, I’d acquired a rather thick comic that came with an audiocassette, which actually collected all 3 issues into a singular volume…but was not itself a bookshelf volume or graphic novel…it was more an 80-page Giant or such.

Publish this as-is today and I’d be rather disappointed. But looking at it as a singular piece, and in context of its time, it’s not bad, and makes for a fairly interesting sort of read.

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