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The Weekend Haul and Completing Subcollections

This past weekend was Comic Heaven‘s anniversary sale (Well, last Thursday and Friday! So into the weekend). I stopped in, and took advantage of the sale to snag some cool stuff!

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For what worked out to be LESS THAN the price of 3 Marvel regular, standard, non-fancy, run-of-the-mill, boring comics, snagged these three paperbacks! They were already bargain-priced…but for the sale, it was buy-2-get-1-free!

The Majestic one fits in with my Superman collection as this is the story from 2004 or so when Majestic crossed over into the DCU and for the arc "replaced" Superman in his own titles! (a fun sorta meta-textual thing, as I believe there was a lawsuit years earlier over Majestic’s similarities to Superman). The Iron Man: Disassembled is the final arc on the Heroes Reborn iteration of the title before leaping into the renumber-every-year-or-few era of Marvel. And Five Ghosts I’ve heard of, and as an Image volume one, certainly worthwhile for me to get to read/try.

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For 30% off back-issues, I picked up this Savage Dragon Companion, which I’d swear was not there the last time I looked at Savage Dragon stuff (orrrrrr I may have been so focused on stuff between issues 50-100 that I neglected to look through the whole of the SD collection available). The marked price was cheaper or similar to what I’d seen on Midtown, and with the 30% off, extremely worthwhile to me!

And nearly 25 years (give or take a month) after the fact, a bagged/boarded FIRST PRINT of Superman #75 that even back then was quickly going for $5+ was marked at a mere $4…the price of a current/contemporary standard/boring Marvel comic. At 30% off, it was cheaper than a current well-priced DC issue, and well worth getting for the "convenience" (and I’m a sucker for these). Especially as I remembered my other "handy/convenient" copy of the first print was a barcoded edition, not the "direct edition".

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Then, another gem was this set of (3rd print) individual issues of the original Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series (back when The Dark Knight Returns was actually only the title of the first issue). With the 30% off, this set cost me less than the original collected edition paperback I bought half a lifetime ago!

Additionally, this set "completes" my "subcollection" of "key" Batman single issues that stood out. I now have single issues for Batman: Year One, Batman: Year Two, Batman: A Death in the Family, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

I have never held any illusion/intent of getting first prints of TDKR…but have long held that I want a set of the single issues. ESPECIALLY since the cover images remain the same–it’s only (I believe/assume) the color of the title text that changed between printings, these absolutely fulfill my personal requirements for "qualifying" as single issues fit for "completing" this part of my collection!

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Finally, on a whim, I’d stopped into a Books-a-Million to check their "bargain shelf," on the UNexpected minimal slight off-chance that they’d have the X-Men – The Age of Apocalypse: Alpha volume on sale, as they never have for the past year/almost-year that I’ve been checking…but they did this time, so I grabbed that for sure!

And thus, "completed" this "subcollection" of thick paperbacks. I’m pretty sure by hitting the bargain shelves and a couple bargain bins at comic shops, I managed to get these six for about the cost of 15-16 Marvel single-issues. Or in other words, got the set for essentially about 70% off cover price. Of course, to do so, it’s been across at least 10 months or so, maybe more.

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Remembering Kayla on the 27th Anniversary of Her Birth

kayla_cornerSometimes it seems like Kayla’s still just around some corner somewhere.

But as in years past, I’m taking a moment to publically remember my little cat.

Today–October 4th–is the anniversary of her birth, back in 1990.

It’s hard to believe that now, in 2017, it’s been nearly 7 1/2 years since losing her, back in May of 2010.

She’s the only cat I’ve had or ever known where there was a definite date of birth…Kayla was a "purebred," that Dad found in a classified ad when we started looking to get a cat, back in 1992. He’d been a fan of the Himalayan breed, and though I wanted a kitten, he followed up on an ad, and we wound up bringing Miss Kayla Krystal home one January Thursday. As a purebred, she came with "papers" detailing the date of birth, and so on.

Said "papers" got stowed in a compartment on the plastic "pet taxi" vet-carrier and somewhere along the years disappeared. Because we didn’t care about ’em.

Kayla was instantly a part of the family, and other than as a clinical "fact," her being a "purebred" never mattered.

Even now, all these years later…I’ve yet to be able to string together a lengthy post about her. So many memories, across nearly 18 1/2 years…and for all the writing I do, have done, will do…there’s no doing justice to what this little cat meant to me.

To date, she remains one of THE primary "constants" in my life, a presence far longer than anyone other than immediate family.

She’ll always be here, until no one remembers. Always here, always part of my heart such a precious part of my life.

Below: several times Kayla was the focus of a "cover" in my The Life of Walt series of photo pieces.

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Hall of Fame City Comic Con 2017

Saturday, I attended the Hall of Fame City Comic Con, held in Canton, Ohio. I’m not sure when, exactly, they got on my ‘radar,’ though I think they might have been a Facebook ad (one of the astronomically-rare few to be properly, successfully "targeted," but that’s another story).

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After being thoroughly burned on the NEO Comic Con, I wasn’t entirely sure what to "expect" from this one, and very nearly opted not to go. But since I had pre-ordered a ticket, I figured it’d be silly not to, even if I walked in, did a quick walk-around and walked back out.

Going in, two of my main "goals" were to meet/get stuff signed by Norm Rapmund and Ethan Van Sciver.

I also wanted to find a bunch of Savage Dragon comics on the cheap.

And find some good deals on collected volumes that weren’t just the same old boring/repetitive mix of $10 Marvel hardcovers and SKINNY TPBs.

Finally, there was a Green Lantern panel scheduled with both Daryl Banks and Ethan Van Sciver that seemed likely to be interesting (Banks was the artist of the fall of Hal Jordan; Van Sciver was the artist on the redemption of Hal Jordan). Plus, it was the only one that seemed to hit me as a demographic, involving any kind of super-hero comics.

So…how did this con go?

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I had three Booster Gold issues with me to get signed by Mr. Rapmund. I wound up sticking with two, though…but could easily had multiple dozens of issues, loving so much of what the man’s done!

Then for Mr. Van Sciver, I opted for my "key" issue where I first became really aware of him as an artist–Green Lantern Rebirth #1.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything with me to get signed by Mr. Banks…something I fully intend to correct in a few weeks if I make it to another con I’m aware of that he’s supposed to be a featured guest at!

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I happened across a booth with a bunch of paperbacks, and initially figured to be just another one selling a bunch of over-stocked skinny Marvel books. But I spotted a fat, thick volume, and realized that this booth actually had some real QUALITY stuff for its pricing. I regret a couple volumes I passed on, but still wound up with these eight (8!) volumes.

I believe the paperback Marvels all have a cover price of at least $34.99, if not $39.99 apiece. And I happened to notice a $29.99 price on the hardcover The Puma Blues (a title that caught my attention due to recently becoming re-aware of the title thanks to research I did for my Super-Blog Team Up post The Death of the Mighty Mutanimals. It’s by Stephen Murphy and Michael Zulli; long associated with their Mirage Studios work with the Ninja Turtles.

Each of these worked out to a whopping $5 apiece…so I’m kicking myself all the more for those couple of Wolverine books I passed up!

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After the Green Lantern panel, I headed back out onto the floor, and wound up stopping at a booth with a bunch of Pops because I saw a Swamp Thing, and because of the flow of foot traffic. Once I’d looked at some stuff and was ready to walk away…I spotted a familiarly-packaged Superboy, and on further investigation found Eradicator as well as the black-suited Superman. There was no way in heck I was spending to buy all three…so I selected the Eradicator, finding the design a lot more appealing to me, and this is a figure I’ve wanted for quite a long time!

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Realizing I was blowing my budget, I decided to call it a wrap, knowing anything else I was likely to find would probably put me way over-budget. But on my way out, I opted to buy a copy of this "autograph print," for the art and being a ‘souvenir’ of the con, even though I should have bought it on the way in and then made the rounds to get it signed by all six guests. But then, I’m not an autograph hound, and prefer that when I get signatures for comic stuff, it’s the actual comics and they mean something to me. Not "just" some signature on a print for the sake of filling in some blanks. And I assume the sale of these prints help out the con itself, so figured why not?

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I also stopped back in at an entrance-way table, where as I’d "suspected," there were still plenty of these Voltron posters. I dug the look of this, and didn’t want to be carrying something like it around the whole con…but grabbed it on the way out.

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On the way home, having had the Pops-spark rekindled a bit for the day, I stopped at a Toys R Us hoping to find the Rafiki figure with baby Simba, but no luck. They did have this Clayface, which I’d looked for elsewhere and not seen, and assumed to be one of the oversized figures. Finding it and not wanting to have to "hunt" for it later, went ahead and snagged it!

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Along with getting those Booster Gold issues signed, also got to get a photo with Mr. Rapmund!

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And what I’d "pictured" as just getting a quick photo of the men from the fall and redemption of Hal Jordan wound up with me being in the photo with Mr. Banks and Mr. Van Sciver!


So, all in all…for me, this was about as excellent a convention as I could have hoped for, in going to it alone and not seeing any obvious 25 or 50 cent bins, and being somewhat jaded from other experiences.

I am glad I went, and have to say I’m extremely eager to read more of the Green Lantern run Mr. Banks did the art for, and to get a couple things signed by him in November.

I definitely enjoyed the panel, generally enjoying hearing favored creators speak about their work and various other things in the "comics industry," and very much enjoyed some of the topics covered in the panel. In its way, the panel itself was practically worth the price of admission in itself!

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A Lengthy Stay in the ’90s: Savage Dragon

Since Savage Dragon #225 hit, I’ve found myself on quite a Savage Dragon binge. I already had a couple collected editions–including the original–Baptism by Fire–and quickly acquired several more. I also had recently bought and read the Image 10th Anniversary hardcover’s Savage Dragon piece. But that wasn’t enough for me.

I was also pretty sure I’d had a stack of the first couple dozen or so issues…but I was unable to find them, going through a huge portion of my boxes. Finding myself really wanting to read the stuff–and in color, not "just" the black-and-white reprints of the Savage Dragon Archives tpbs–I turned to online comic shops (specifically Midtown Comics, Lone Star Comics, and Mile High), as well as local shops Comic Heaven and Carol and John’s…and just since buying #225…I’ve put together a collection of the original mini-series 1-3; ongoing series 1-101 and a few scattered after that; as well as the Mars Attacks Savage Dragon 1-4, Mars Attacks Image 1-4, Savage Dragon: Red Horizon 1-3, Vanguard 1-6, and Shattered Image 1-4.

Of those, I’ve read the minis and the main series to #50, and several other one-shot/tie-in issues.

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Minus Spawn #52, the above graphic is the bulk of my reading lately…even to falling behind more on new/current comics!

And of course, I still have Savage Dragon #s 51-101 to fly through in the near-future.

Beyond that, I want to track down the various associated stuff–like Freak Force 1-18, the Superpatriot series, I believe there was a second Freak Force book, and a second Vanguard one. There’s also the Savage Dragon: Sex & Violence mini (that I believe took place about halfway through what I’ve already read of the main book).

One "trouble" now is that after so quickly getting such a significant run…it’s going to really try my patience piecing together  the latter 125 issues…some issues I do have, plenty more I’m missing…and now being past the "’90s glut" where everyone was printing huge numbers of everything and "everyone" had all the early issues (making them definite 25-cent-bin fodder now)…the later books did not have such high print runs or popularity/enthusiasm and such, and as such, where they ARE available as back issues, they’re more likely to command "modern" back-issue pricing and such.

But then, I have so much other reading to do, that I want to do, that by the time I get through another 50 issues I already have, I’ll probably be more than fine with a "break" while I get an issue or few here or there on a much slower basis!

Showing off a Refreshed Shelf

Awhile back, an accident with my display cabinet resulted in basically every last thing inside it knocked over…and until this past weekend, I’d not bothered to go through and clear everything out to set up the display again from scratch.

The thing in shambles was really grating on my nerves, just knowing it was in shambles and all, so I finally took the time to get stuff set up again, and rearrange slightly (as well as add several new acquisitions). I also had to remove a "Mopeez" plush that refused to remain upright.

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I think this is my favorite shelf in the cabinet (though the shelf above it has a much more personal element, with a bunch of Warmachine minis I painted myself seven years ago). This has the bulk of my Robin collection, though several Robins (including the Mopeez) don’t work inside the cabinet.

And I won’t even try to cram my Superman collection in, as that has outgrown an entire crammed top of a bookcase!

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These are on the TOP of the display cabinet. Three more Robins, the tallest Supermen in my collection, and so on. As far as scale–the standing Robin is one of those 12" figures. The Superman in the back is around 20" or so!

The much larger size of most of these make it not very practical to try to contain them inside the cabinet…and the two standing Supermen and standing Robin flat-out won’t fit standing up inside. The giant-size Dorbz Robin and the two bust banks are large enough that it’s not really practical to cram inside, either, as so little would reasonably fit that way.

Labor Day Haul and Dirk Manning

A nearby comic shop, Comics and Friends, had a Labor Day sale that I went to on Monday. They had a bunch of $1 comics as well as discounts throughout the store…and what REALLY drew me in was Dirk Manning (Nightmare World, Tales of Mr. Rhee, Write or Wrong, and numerous other pieces) being there.

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I’d backed a Kickstarter for the Nightmare World Omnibus (which I’ll surely post about once it arrives, soon!) but had held off on anything else. So I was finally able to get my hands on Love Stories (To Die For), and also snagged the first volume of Tales of Mr. Rhee. I also go to chat with the man himself, which was quite the enjoyable experience…and ratcheted up my looking forward to coming projects he’s got in the works!

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I also snagged a few books from the dollar bins. One that I was particularly excited to get was this Image Zero. Patience would seem to have paid off, as I simply snagged this for $1, in-person out of a bin. Originally, this was only available by collecting coupons out of a bunch of early Image comics, mailing them in with postage and however many weeks/months later getting the issue by mail. So this is a fun little piece to have; my primary interest in it being the Savage Dragon bit, though it turned out I’d already read it via a collected edition.

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I also now, after all these years, own a copy of Thor #500! I picked up #501 as well; and had these been 25-cent books, I would have snagged a lot more. Got Captain America #350 and a ‘Breed collected volume of some sort.

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Then there were the cool #1s on principle: Alpha Flight that I don’t think I’ve ever owned the #1 for (or don’t remember ever getting it, unless I did get it with a small run some years back). The original Thunderbolts #1, though I think this might be a second print, as I remember the cover having more of a greenish tint than the pink. And I’d loved the 1999 Captain Marvel series…and still have to finish tracking down the second series…though also keep hoping there might be a couple omnibus volumes put out for it.

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Finally, I was also able to snag several other issues: these "sunburst variants" of the Heroes Return titles from 1998 or so (Thor was a few months after the others). I think I may have snagged the Thor issue before, and maybe a couple of the others, but never as a set like this. These were my "golden age" of sorts with the titles, following all five for nearly two years, and then trailing off (though I believe I followed Captain America to the end of its volume, and this was the volume of Thor that ended with Disassembled). Fair bit of nostalgia just thinking back on these…and reminds me that next year will be the 20th anniversary OF Heroes Return.

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Amidst the sale and other activities over the weekend, I also zipped around to a number of Walgreens locations, and ultimately managed to snag complete sets of the Ghostbusters, Walking Dead, and Suicide Squad Mopeez plush characters. Suffice it to say that all of these combined only cost me roughly what any two individual ones would have at regular price!

Picked up some other fun stuff, but I think that’ll make for another post later, if at all. Some other posts in mind for the near future, but we’ll see what I actually get to!


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Jack Kirby at 100

I’m not sure when I first “discovered” Jack Kirby.

I know I was not consciously aware of him as an individual, nor of his significance, but my first “exposure” to him was probably the TMNT storybook The Magic Crystal (itself based directly on the Donatello 1-issue “Micro Series” from Mirage).

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In that issue, Donatello meets this artist who has a magic crystal, and whatever he draws comes to life, but then disappears. The two wind up in the crystal’s dimension with all the disappeared drawings, and have a bit of an adventure. The guy’s name is simply “Kirby,” here, and at the time I’d had no idea it was referencing any real-life guy named Jack Kirby.

freedom_force_gameWhen Kirby passed in 1994, one of the X-Men: the Animated Series episodes had a ‘dedication’ to him, that I do recall noticing, though I hadn’t really known who he was. Whether I looked into who he was then or not, I’m not sure…but I imagine there were articles and such about him, at least some sort of reference in Wizard Magazine, such that I got an idea of who he was and his early Marvel work and all that.

Skip on just past the ’90s, and there was a game–Freedom Force–that I’d gotten for the computer. It was a fun game at the time–especially once I discovered mods and such online–but the game itself was heavily Kirby-influenced…something I did notice at the time.

savage_dragon_0076More recently, I’d noticed or mentally connected Erik Larsen‘s Savage Dragon stuff to him, Larsen having a Kirby-esque style at points, and what seems to me a definite visual influence. Said influence was “confirmed” for me, reading Larsen‘s intro to the Savage Dragon: This Savage World collected edition.

And of course, I’ve noticed stuff over the years with art that’s recognizably Kirby, as well as Kirby-inspired. I may not be able to define it well to someone not familiar with the concept, but I “get” references such as “Kirby Krackle” and such.

I have no particular or huge, singular interest in his work…but his work is such that I definitely respect it, its place in comics history, and the impact that he had ON comics through his art (to say nothing of what I’ve heard about his speed!).

greatest_superman_stories_ever_toldThinking about it in all this typing, I’ve thought of a couple of other “early encounters” I had with Kirby stuff.  The first was a Forever People story reprinted in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told. This was my first-ever collected edition (and I still have it to this day!). I recall really not caring for that story…but paging back through it, I see where its presence certainly means I was “exposed” to Kirby‘s art as early as December 1989, having received this book as a Christmas present that year.

At the time, I had zero other context for Jack Kirby being anyone special, or of the New Gods being a “thing,” barely would have known what a “Darkseid” was, etc. This story from Forever People #1 was my introduction to all that, it would seem, outside of whether or not I’d seen Superman #2 at that point or not until a bit later.

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That huge mane of red hair left an impression on me, though, making Big Bear probably the most recognizable of these characters to me for awhile.

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Then there was Kamandi: At Earth’s End, which caught my attention shortly after Superman’s return in 1993, due to the aged version of the character showing up in that series. I’m not sure to this day if I’ve actually read the whole of this Kamandi mini-series, but I’m pretty sure I did read the Superman: At Earth’s End one-shot sometime in the last 15 or so years. While neither of these was a Jack Kirby piece…they involved one of the characters he is strongly noted for on the DC end of things.

And of course, there’s the Newsboy Legion, the Guardian, and Cadmus–things that were pretty integral to early-’90s Superman comics, though they were more that I didn’t consciously know or associate with being “Kirby creations” and such.

While I’m no Kirby scholar, nor any particular fan (I don’t dislike his stuff, but I don’t singularly seek it out), I recognize (maybe even more having gathered some of my thoughts and such here!) that his work has been a huge influencer beyond anything I could simply try to note in a post here.

In both the Donatello issue and an issue I recently read of The Savage Dragon, I found pieces by Peter Laird and Erik Larsen about the man, that seem appropriate to share below. Laird‘s piece is from 1986 while he was still alive; Larsen‘s is from just after Kirby‘s passing. Both put things far better than I could, and show some of the influence he had just on these creators and their properties..!


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–(Donatello one-issue “Micro-Series” #1)


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(The Savage Dragon #8)


Several fellow bloggers’ posts on Jack Kirby today:

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