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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of August 21 and 28, 2019

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Here we go…after months and months and months of virtually NO posting, I think this makes 3 posts in two weeks? That’s more frequent than once-a-week, even!

Still…two weeks’ worth of new comics to get to…but better than bunched up to 4, 5, or 6 weeks.


Week of August 21, 2019

Last week was a rather small week overall, though a bit more expensive with some extra-priced issues! It also spans 5 different publishers and within the same publisher, each issue is a different imprint/type of publication!

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The newest Batman was one of the comics of the week for speculators, apparently. Thankfully it’s on my pull list or I’d’ve missed out on the thing! Since it’s just part 3 of a 9 or so issue story–or there’s an interlude as a different story (City of Bane), I will wait until the entire City of Bane arc concludes before accepting any major change or such!

Then the new Powers of X issue…I’ve got generally mixed feelings on the whole Hickman relaunch of the X-line. I typically consider the writer’s stuff to be elitist, pretentious, and extremely off-putting for the apparent "need" to do "homework" to fully follow the stuff. I also dislike the cold, clinical visuals of so many "white pages" and massive white-space, to say nothing of just a few small-print words accounting for multiple entire pages of an issue, all the more on something costing $4.99+ an issue! I’m "invested" in the 12-issue House/Powers of X and likely to check out the first issues of the new X-titles, but we’ll see from there.

I’m a huge fan of the recent facimile/replica editions of stuff coming out. These are giving me a chance to own copies of the issues about as close to the original edition as I’m gonna get (or simply provide a certain nostalgia that I’m willing to pay for despite owning the originals). DC kicked off with this Batman issue reprinting the first appearance of R’as al Ghul.

Next was a Transformers #0, I believe intended to (story-wise) take place before Marvel‘s original #1 back in the ’80s. A new issue of Criminal this week…seems ages since the last issue, which may mean I missed #6 (or forgot about it over the last couple months). And I finally snagged an issue of Twiztid Haunted High-Ons on the day of release!

Finally, Superman: Year One #2, which is quite the anomaly for me, given my dislike of variants everywhere. I’ve been FAR preferring the B covers to the A on this series. Something to the regular ones just seem so entirely underwhelming to me.


Week of August 28, 2019

I’m pretty sure this week was about the most expensive week I’ve had, and REALLY stokes the flame of "I’ve gotta cut back!" as well as frustration at IDW for not spreading the TMNT stuff out more (even if some of it is late as heck).

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The new House of X…I don’t think I actually got around to reading last week’s Powers of X, so this’ll give me a bit more of a binge-read. Whether it’s collectively worth $10 I do not know…but I doubt it!

Speaking of $10…Marvel Comics #1000 is a hefty $9.99. I was absolutely going to pass on it, but decided to see for myself what the hype is all about. But that’s something I keep falling for, and eventually I’ll learn to quit!

Spider-Man: Life Story concludes with #6…I don’t recall reading #5, so that should be a definite treat to binge-read 1/3 of the series in one go, hopefully! Also relieves the "regular load" by $4.99/issue!

Despite being three different series with multiple creative teams…we have THREE different TMNT issues in one week! Shredder in Hell is several months late. I understood it to be a 5-issue series monthly…but here we’re at the end of the 8th month and only just now have the 4th issue. TMNT #97 is the latest chapter of City at War and continues the speculator-fire of a new female turtle; while we’re somehow "already" 16 issues into TMNT: Urban Legends, which is the 2/3 point for the series, I believe, including the brand-new issues due to cap off the run.

Even if I was not already getting the series, I’m certain this cover of GI Joe: A Real American Hero would have gotten me to buy it. I’d love a poster of this, even! There’s something to Cobra Commander on there, rolling a couple of dice with Snake-Eyes (both of them) showing. And likely dual-meaning of rolling two ones. This is another title I am ridiculously far-behind on reading. But I love that it’s a RARE series that began publication in the early-’80s and is STILL GOING TODAY (albeit with a 15 or so year gap between #155 and #156).

I was NOT going to get Batman Superman #1. But again with being something I’d probably want later, and somewhat wanting to give it a chance, and whatever other "excuses" I can make. I opted for this variant, though, because UNLIKE the MAIN covers, THIS one actually has BOTH heroes prominent on the first issue of their shared title! And even if I opt NOT to get #2 anytime soon, this one would be easily frameable as a piece of wall art.

Then a couple weeks late, Superman #14 with a different cover with no "battle damage" unlike what the original was gonna be, which is rather annoying, however unrelated or "red-skies"-ish the content might be to the far-too-many-comics Year of the Villain tie-ins.

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And speaking of those Year of the Villain tie-ins, the new Detective Comics has its freezing "battle damage" and is a tie-in. Yet another title I’m far behind on, but I’ve recently been convinced to continue a bit further by discussion with a friend…and assuming I catch up ON my reading!

Even more far behind stuff with the Wonder Comics line. Dial H #6 I believe was to be the final issue, but I think it’s been extended to 12 issues. I guess time will tell?

And I somehow got it into my head that Mark Bagley was the artist on Absolute Carnage so snagged #2. Turns out either he is NOT, or it was just one issue. I believe Stegman was the artist on Madrox and (maybe?) early issues of the relaunched PAD X-Factor series, and I recall liking his art, so…yeah. I’m interested in re-hunting Maximum Carnage and as long as it doesn’t get extra issues tacked on, see how JUST THE CORE MINI goes at this point.

Finally, two reprint/replica/whatever editions. A 3-D edition of Amazing Spider-Man #300…a bit of a novelty that struck the nostalgia buttons with me. PLUS I’m–at this point–quite happy to SUPPORT reprints and such, since they’re largely the best, most enjoyable stuff I’m finding from Marvel, at least, but largely also DC of late.

Annnnnd the week’s Comic Shop News.


I very seriously hope that next week’s haul is a bit smaller, at least by way of brand-new/new-on-the-rack issues. And considering I once swore that if "all" comics went to $3.99 I’d be done…there’s been a ridiculous number of $4.99 and $5.99 "basic" comics, which for me is even MORE likely to be UNsustainable.

I’m "old"–I remember 75-cent and $1.00 comics. And when I REALLY jumped in back in 1992, most comics where a whopping $1.25…4/$5 or 8/$10. We’re getting dangerously close to 1/$5 (or 2/$10)…which really puts comics into a HORRIBLE place, value-wise vs. say, spending $65 for a video game and only playing it for 3 hours or so.

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Super-Blog Team Up: Immortal – TMNT & Highlander

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One of my first thoughts on the topic of "Immortal" was Highlander…owing largely to a Queen song lyric: "I am immortal!" (continuing into "I have inside me blood of kings…I have no rival! No man can be my equal! Take me to the future of you all!"

And of course, IN Highlander, you have this tale of immortal beings who have lived among the mortal population secretly for centuries, no one knowing about them (except another group called The Watchers who observe the immortals but generally don’t interfere). So…Immortal. Check.

But in my participation with the SBTU, I’ve managed to go with TMNT stuff so far:

And as it so happens, in the current ongoing TMNT comics from IDW, the turtles and Splinter are the REINCARNATED Hamato Yoshi and his four sons, who originally lived and died in feudal Japan. And if they were reincarnated together once, nothing’s been obvious to indicate they couldn’t again, and if any of them were to be actually killed off in the comics, I’d imagine someone would note in-story that hopefully they’d meet again in the next lifetime…or some such. So, maybe not the same sort of immortal, but…check.


Still…what is "immortal?"

The dictionary definition–in this case, dictionary.com for ease of referenceIMMORTAL includes: "not mortal; not liable or subject to death; undying; remembered or celebrated through all time; not liable to perish or decay; imperishable; everlasting; perpetual; lasting; constant; of or relating to immortal beings or immortality; an immortal being; a person of enduring fame."

Much of my thought–my initial thoughts–with the word gravitates to Highlander, and that franchise’s use of the term; that the Highlanders (primarily Connor and Duncan Macleod–"Same clan, different vintage") and others of the series’ focus are "immortals."

That is, left to their own devices…they will live forever. They cannot die "naturally." But what keeps them from being gods; what keeps them fairly mortal-ish and relatable is the fact that their being "immortal" is basically a perpetual resurrection. They actually can be killed–albeit for a short while–but that’s in the physical, bodily sense. They physically die, but "get better" pretty quickly.

Sort of like Magic: The Gathering‘s planeswalker "spark," an immortal in the Highlander universe is born naturally, grows and ages naturally…and it takes an inciting event to "activate" their latent status. One who would be immortal must be killed violently to "activate" their immortality; else they will live, age, and die (permanently) a mortal.

Once activated, the way such an immortal can die permanently is by separating the head from the body. Other deaths don’t "stick." If an immortal is killed–their head separated from their body–and another immortal is present (and often, it is this immortal that removed said head from its body), the felled individual’s memories and essence is transferred to that other by way of "The Quickening." In that way, an immortal who has taken the head of numerous other immortals grows in strength and ability.

One of the "taglines" is "In the end, there can be only one." The immortals all come to learn of this notion; a prophecy of sorts; that by nature they are to battle one another until only one who remains, and to that individual goes "The Prize," which comes off to me (offhand) has a bit nebulous. But essentially, "The Prize" is a sort of godhood; and ostensibly this immortal would have the power/essence/etc of every other immortal from all history.


Highlander

Given it ran six seasons, much of the "Highlander Lore" as I think of it seems to have been expanded on throughout the tv series, though the "basics" were introduced in the original 1986 film.

highlander_dvds_filmsMy personal "head canon" slightly retcons the original film to mesh it with the tv series and excludes the 2nd and 3rd films. The fourth film sort of works in context with the tv series, coming after its conclusion, albeit not a perfect fit. The fifth film doesn’t really exist. And the 1994 animated series (Quentin MacLeod) and 2007 anime (Colin MacLeod) are just sorta out there, alternate realities or such.

The tv series follows Duncan MacLeod, and basically shows us his life in "present-day" (1990s) initially trying to live outside "The Game" (what the immortals call the active participation in killing one another and whittling their population down toward that one-in-the-end). He’s quickly brought back in, and then much of the series is (especially early-on) an "immortal-of-the-week" thing. Duncan in present-day, an immortal "villain" shows up, we get flashbacks to how Duncan’s crossed paths or otherwise has a "history" with that immortal, before (often) Duncan’s forced to take their head.

What always struck me was the exploration of someone who has lived hundreds of years living in present-day society…all that they’ve seen, all that’s changed in the world around them (all that they may have been part of as well)…and the perspective their immortality would bring them. Especially in terms of life, and lives, and phases of life. That one could live multiple "lifetimes" all over the world in varying situations over time.

And the way Duncan seemed to have this "history" with SO VERY MANY people who whatever they WERE to him, were not necessarily an active, regular part of his everyday 1990s life.

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And my thoughts would condense this down to what I could personally relate to, not actually being immortal…and all the more as I get older. So right now, 2019, that goes to the way I had friends and people I regularly interacted with in middle school, in high school, in college, in grad school, at a particular job.

Many–most–of these people may not be a regular part of my everyday life. But when our paths re-cross, it can be pleasant, or negative. Nostalgic or bittersweet. Even if I’ve not seen or talked to someone in 20 years, we had a time of life that we were a regular part of one another’s lives–say, in high school–so seeing them again would bring back memories, and though I may have never said one word about them to someone "newer" in my life now, it doesn’t change the importance of both people to my life.


TMNT 

I was introduced to the TMNT property in 1988 or 1989…it was after the cartoon had premiered, but ahead of the 1990 movie; and I recall that period where so many of the action figures were available (such as at Toys R Us) but the turtles themselves were nigh impossible to find. My own very first figure was a Rocksteady, as a result; and I recall "discovering" the villanous Slash because Dad spotted that one and it WAS a turtle…but not one of the main turtles. (And while I don’t recall if he bought it for me then and there or if I got the figure after, Slash is one of the original vintage TMNT figures I still own FROM when I was a kid. He is, however, re-outfitted with a 2017-acquired replacement belt).

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I quickly got into the TMNT–tv, comics, books, movies, the figures…big-time. This lasted til 1993/1994 or so, fading from all, down to the latter issues of the Archie TMNT series. While in that series’ run I had also found and gotten a few of the Mirage issues (including #50 and 51–the start of the original City At War story) I missed most of that, and then got the first issue of the "volume 2" series, but missed the rest of that run as well, and entirely missed the Image "volume 3" series until 2000/2001.

After several years "away," I got back into the TMNT with Peter Laird‘s second issue of "volume 4" showed up–I lucked across that, and happily enough, the comic shop (JC‘s in Toledo, OH) had a copy of #1 still available as well. I followed vol. 4 into the 2003 animated series, into the second volume of Tales of the TMNT, and while vol. 4 eventually lapsed, Tales continued. We also had the 2007 film. But then at the 25th anniversary year, Laird sold the property to Viacom, and for over a year (as I recall) there just simply was no TMNT. No cartoon, no comics.

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Though somewhere in there was TMNT Forever which brought the 2003 TMNT universe into contact with the 1980s’ TMNT universe, as well as touching on the various comics (primarily the original Mirage series). In its way, it was a sort of capstone to the first 25 years of the TMNT brand.

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Then in 2011, IDW launched their ongoing TMNT book (which is still going to this day–I believe #97 is out this week!) followed by Nickelodeon launching a new animated series in 2012, supported as "always" by a toyline from Playmates. That series ran til 2017 before (apparently, it seems to ME) being shelved in favor of a shift toward yet another new series, trying to reach a much younger audience with a Teen Titans Go style of animation in Rise of the TMNT.

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I’ve followed the IDW series for 96 issues so far–I’ve bought every issue of the series as a "new issue" since 2011’s #1, as well as all of the various one-shots, specials, annuals, and mini-series in that time. I’ve done that with no other comics series ever.

So the TMNT have been through a number of major iterations:

  • Mirage Comics (vols. 1, 2, & 4)
  • 1980s cartoon
  • Archie comics
  • 1990s films (loosely includes 2007 film)
  • Next Mutation live-action tv series
  • Image comics
  • 2003 cartoon
  • IDW comics
  • 2012 cartoon
  • 2014/2016 films
  • 2018 cartoon

That said, these don’t all line up exactly with one another; they’re not all strung one after another; there’s quite a bit of coexistence between versions. But I would say that to a certain degree, one could see them at their most "mainstream" by looking at their presence in the mass market toy aisles, which puts us (as of this typing) into the 4th (re?)incarnation (1980s/2003/2012/2018-present).

They’ve come through in different forms, making their own splash, and lasting. While none of the iterations have–in the mainstream–necessarily remained in a continuous "immortal" state, the rise/boom/fade cycle has enabled the general notion of the TMNT to survive, albeit living different lives down through time.


Highlander Memories

highlander_tpbsAs I’ve generally recalled it, I was introduced to Highlander in the summer of 1996–the summer after my freshman year of high school, ahead of sophomore year. I believe a friend had introduced me to the animated series, and talked about a live action series, that I then found in syndication on the USA network, I believe. When I found out new episodes were also airing–albeit around 11 at night on Saturdays–it wound up being something I got to share with my Dad, and became a regular thing for us for awhile: we’d watch Highlander, and sometimes whatever the show was that aired after it. And I’m sure that shared experience was one of the things that made it stick so much with me, and hold it as I do to this day.

Another important memory I have associated with the tv series is watching a couple episodes with friends back in 2005 or so after a Gen Con visit, as we assembled new miniatures we’d bought, an activity that lasted us a number of hours and episodes and movies but remains one of my favorite memories together.

Unlike TMNT, though, there’s not been much in the way of merchandise for Highlander…at least not affordably (for me). So it’s been more of a cerebral thing for me, and experiential thing…something that has mattered a great deal to me over the years, without having much to "show" for it.

highlander_novelsThere have been a couple of comics series over the years. Dynamite had the license for a short time, and I believe produced 12 issues and a mini-series, amounting to 4 TPB collections.

More recently, IDW published a 5-issue mini-series but I’m not aware of any further forthcoming Highlander comics (though I’d certainly be interested in more!)

I’m also aware of the property in games–there was a collectible card game at one point, and more recently some miniatures produced with at least two different games, though I’m not overly familiar with those.

And it seems like quite a few years now that there’s been a rumor of a reboot of the property…something I’m curious about and potentially interested in, for SOMEthing, though it’s seemed to me that the BEST of Highlander has been the tv series.


TMNT Memories

I have far more general memories with TMNT over the years; more than I can reasonably try to share in one blog post.

Whatever other toys and such I was into as a kid…it was TMNT that ruled them all. It was TMNT toys like Rocksteady that I even took to school to show off. It was the toy line I actually wanted the vehicles for–having at least the "Party Wagon" (van), the Blimp, and a "Pizza Thrower" that shot projectile pizza discs.

I remember "playing turtles" with my friend Zack for hours at a time as kids; between the two of us, having most of the figures available at the time (with plenty of overlap as well). And he had a Nintendo, and we often played the various TMNT games, particularly TMNT II: The Arcade Game when that came out. We’d even built our own playsets, and "customized" several of the figures. I especially recall our creating some sort of shirt for the barechested Shredder.

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I had the toys, storybooks, junior novels, the cereal, bedding, plush toys, the Burger King BK Kids Club edition of several of the VHS tapes, and so on.

And even as others drifted away from the property, parts stuck with me in such a way that I was easily "brought back" even as a college student and beyond.


Abrupt Concluding Thoughts

This feels like one of my least-organized blog posts. Perhaps I could have gone in-depth on the modern IDW TMNT series and details on the turtles and splinter as reincarnated entities. Perhaps some detailed synopsis of favorite Highlander episodes or specific memories of episodes of the series (Comes a Horseman particularly).

But I decided–and then backed myself into a corner time-wise–to be a bit more informal than I might otherwise have preferred. And though the comics are certainly parts of things, this is more of a general brain-dump with quasi-stream-of-conscious rambling, taking the topic "Immortal" and running with it.

If you’re reading this on my blog itself, you can type "Highlander" or "TMNT" into the search box up top and find the various posts I’ve written over the last 11-ish years and tagged with either term. Far more TMNT than Highlander, though…but you’ll find at least a review of Dynamite‘s Highlander #0 that I believe was originally published at cxPulp/Comixtreme back in the day.

Though my earliest TMNT toy pre-dates the 1990s…I’m still getting new ones! Below are my latest…TMNT Shadow Ninjas.

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(They’re intermixed with some other recent-ish toys and such!)


Super Blog Team-Up

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It’s been my privilege the last couple years to be part of the Super Blog Team-Up. As much as this is a blog "event" or "crossover" every now and then, the group has been a great community, with year-round nearly-daily discussion on topics related to comics and just about anything else as well as real-life topics.

It’s been a great group, brought together by shared interests, but everyone maintains their own views, topics, and so on.

For this outing, please check out these other fine blogs and podcasts as they cover their own topics from the "Immortal" heading!

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The Weekly Haul Catch-Up: July 10 to August 14, 2019

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Once again, it’s been a few weeks since posting! Maybe soon I’ll get back into a regular rhythm of things with at least 1 less distraction (11 seasons of The Big Bang Theory) behind me!


Week of July 10, 2019

All the way back to early July 2019 to start this re-catchup journey!

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A very heavy-DC week, with the only Marvel stuff being reprints of old material.


Week of July 17, 2019

Another standard-ish week…

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Another replica edition and a reprint from Marvel. I opted to get Vampirella #1 on being written by Priest; the cover’s rather off-putting compared to the other stuff, and has long been one of the reasons I’ve NOT bought the title.

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Somehow the image from Comic Shop News of Vampirella with Red Sonja seems more…"normal"…-ish?

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Runners had finally come in from a Kickstarter!

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Snagged some Dreadstar from bargain bins for a great price! And far superior pricing to a Kickstarter earlier this year that I bailed on.

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Legend of the Shaders is a Kickstarter I’d been looking forward to, and was glad to get! "The Harp Twins" also do some great harp music covers of popular songs…some of my recent favorite instrumentals!

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More bargain bin books. Where was TwoMorrows Publishing when I was writing papers in college and needed citable "sources"?!?

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A batch of the Walmart DC Giants


Week of July 24, 2019

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A surprisingly Marvel-heavy week. I decided to throw in with the Hickman X-Men reboot to give stuff a shot. Marvels Epilogue was expensive for what it is, but goes with the Annotated series. And another X-Men replica edition adds to my collection of such things.

Behind on reading and not one bit impressed with the Year of the Villain stuff. DC just did a similar thing a year or two before the New 52, to say nothing of Underworld Unleashed back in the ’90s. I’d rather pick up ’90s comics than pay $5 an issue for modern stuff.

And then just on the offchance that I’d get around to "finally" getting/reading the original White Knight, figured pick up the new one so I wouldn’t have to "hunt" later.

And I couldn’t pass up at least a first issue of another Archie vs. Predator as the concept is just so ludicrous! Or at least, it WAS before Riverdale and the line’s reboot and whatnot. I think the original series is FINALLY available in paperback, nearly 3 years AFTER a hardcover was out.

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Another $2 newsstand copy of Superman #75.

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I finally got my Munchkin collection re-organized. At one point I thought I wanted to condense to a couple of their "monster box" things, but realized I’d rather just have the games obvious as to what they are, and NOT have to lug most of a collection around just to be able to play any given version.

Quite a shelf, though.


Week of July 31, 2019

Another X-Men week…

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And another couple newsstand Superman #75s. Because I could.

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And I’m iffy on the whole Dawn of X but time will tell.

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I finally "pulled the trigger" on the Armageddon 2001 saga and ordered the issues.

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We’ll see when/if I ever get around to actually reading the thing, but at least this way I can add the story to a "complete events" box I have with Eclipso: The Darkness Within, Bloodlines, and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time.


Week of August 7, 2019

And now into August…the current month at least!

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I opted to take a chance on Absolute Carnage #1. I was then glad I did when I read on Bleeding Cool that if one redeemed the digital code before 8/20, they’d get a "director’s cut" edition of the issue with some more extras including a variant covers gallery.

However, when I went to redeem my code, I found that my copy of the issue had no code whatsoever–apparently a misprint (the sticker didn’t get added to the issue). While Marvel Support provided me a code via Twitter, it only gave me a "basic edition," and when I pursued it, was told that that’s all that came with the issue.

So a digital-only director’s-cut edition for $2 MORE than PRINT is out there, and I feel severely shorted, with frustration toward Bleeding Cool AND Marvel on the matter such that I’m all the MORE determined to NOT buy into this event beyond having already WASTED $8.

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I came across new TMNT toys at a Target and found that I really like the stylized look, especially compared to my overall distaste for the Rise of the TMNT look.

I opted to buy Raphael as my "modern favorite" of the turtles (my "classic favorite" had been Leonardo as a kid).

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The back of the box…

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My mistake, though, was in thinking I’d be happy with JUST the one turtle. I wound up spending an afternoon visiting several Targets to locate the other 3 turtles.

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Leonardo.

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Donatello.

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Michelangelo.


Week of August 14, 2019

And finally, catching up to this past week…

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Another replica edition in X-Factor #87. Mostly I’d consider it a 25-cent book, but I’d still rather pay $3.99 for it than most of what Marvel is putting out presently. AND show that I support these reprints MORE than I do the bulk of their current output!

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The "final" batch of Walmart issues…at least as exclusives. Apparently there could be another 1 or two of the Superman one, but otherwise these are all "rebooting" AGAIN, and rather than the entire package being exclusively Walmart-only, apparently there will be Walmart-only COVERS as well as the retail giant getting a couple weeks to a month’s head-start on comic shops. But rather than 4 or 6 titles, suddenly DC is leaping to 10 or 12 with an eye on 20ish. Which seems a bit of overkill to me, and has me thinking I might throw in the towel on these.

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Here’s what 14 months of the things look like together on a shelf, though. Way too much reading yet to do anyway…plenty for a "rainy day" or such!


And this catches me up to current…I think I’ve actually thus far managed to document every week’s haul of 2019 so far. ‘Bout the only thing I’ve managed to keep up with, it seems.

Of course, as this post goes live, tomorrow–August 21–sees another new week of comics.

As I fall further behind in my reading, and that compounds itself.

The hobby becomes more "chore" week over week.

C’est la vie.

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