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New Aliens Books (March 2018)

I’ve updated my Aliens novels collection with four new-to-me volumes.


Apparently I neglected to get either of the novels last year for Alien: Covenant…the "prequel" novel Origins and the novelization of the film itself (by Alan Dean Foster!)

And two more of the The Complete Aliens Omnibus series came out, each collecting two more older/out of print novels. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the fifth volume moves into the DH Press series of novels. I wasn’t sure if they were going to do those up, as they’re a bit more recent (albeit a good 13 years old now). And horribly out-of-print.

This gives me higher interest in the Predator side, that even if I can’t track down the older single editions, I can at least have the novels in my collection for that series as well.

Unfortunately, Amazon completely sucks at packaging stuff, and though I ordered all 4 books together, they sent them to me as two separate shipments. One shipment was just one of the novels, and the cover was horribly damaged (huge crease). The other shipment had the other novel and both omnibus volumes…crammed into a container about a half-inch too small for the width of the books’ combined width, side-by-side…which resulted in all three being damaged for shipment (and the package with two points open to the elements as it tried to be wide enough).

Amazon has also gotten even worse than before about the packaging, feedback, etc–removing the ability to leave packaging feedback without Googling a page or tweeting at them and being given a link: you can’t do it from the orders interface the way you used to. They’ve also apparently decided that if they damage your order twice they’re not gonna bother with replacing, and will simply want to refund your money, even though you pay $100/yr or whatever for Prime membership and they’re the ones using zero protection in shipping and even damaging the books TO ship them.

But I suppose that gets into another post complaining about Amazon



#HPBHaul: 50%-Off Coupon March 18, 2018

Last week, Half-Price Books had a series of coupons–two days of 20% off your most expensive item, two days of 30%, two days of 40%…culminating in a Sunday coupon for 50% off your most expensive item.


I held out for the 50%, having spotted the complete Homicide: Life on the Street series awhile back, and noticing it was still available. While I wasn’t willing to spend the money for it at "full price," with the 50% off, I essentially got each season and the movie for less than the cost of two Marvel comics apiece.

On checking out, even got the comment of it being one of those things that tends to only sell with these coupons.

This set joins several other "H" series for me; now giving me Homicide, House, Heroes, and Highlander as complete series in my collection (not counting the Heroes Reborn stunt from a year or two back).

Of course, this is a comics blog, so why am I showing off a DVD set? Well, for one thing, I got it at Half-Price Books, which has been a source of a number of volumes in my collection, despite the love/hate thing I have with them on pricing. For another thing, they didn’t have anything comic-related that was of sufficient interest to me for using the 50% coupon, and I wasn’t at liberty to drive out to the nearest further location, and I’ve had issues with that location having books I was "interested" in but even at 50% off still wayyyyyy outta my price range/what I’m willing to pay for whatever.

Though I went in "planning on" buying this set (on the caveat of "if it’s still there") I also looked at the comic stuff, and there just wasn’t anything of interest to me…and I didn’t even bother to flip through single issues–those are back up to being "$1 each unless priced higher." (well, that’s my reading of "$1 each unless priced otherwise").

Since HPB does not seem to curate its single issues (it barely has them in clumps by first letter of title or several subgroups), the issues seem to be $2-$4 or higher apiece, and they seem to typically be either big dumps of recent issues (so titles I’d be interested in, I already own the issues) or they’re big dumps of ’90s comics that I can get for 25-50 cents at several local comic shops (with better runs, better selection, and less instances of #1s being already cherry-picked OUT of the available runs) I tend to just not be interested in their single issues.

And I keep getting "burned" with any high-interest (to me) volumes being marked as "out of print" and priced at full price or double price or such (said volumes being mixed in with regular/common stock rather than being separated out as special ‘collectable’ volumes).

As I near the end-point of the third season of iZombie on Netflix, with only 2-3 episodes of season 4 having aired (I think the third episode as of tonight, March 19) it might be time for me to hook up a disc-player and dive into this for a 2018 run-through (last having watched the series in 2005 or so).

If nothing else…it’s another of my "all-time favorite/most-meaningful" tv series archived into my collection.


Token Photo Post: My Manga Collection

I almost had daily posts this week, for the weekdays! With some personal stuff going on that took up my Thursday and then exhausted me further on Friday…to get the (week)daily posts for this week…here’s a "token" photo post!


I’m presently (still) reworking my basement space with bookshelves and such. I’ll certainly do a mega-post at some point once I’m done, to show off the entire space AND the specific shelves and collection and such.

But for now, I’ll stick to showing off some of the shelves in somewhat isolation.

Here? My manga collection.

On top of the bookcase I have the complete Dark Horse run of Lone Wolf and Cub. No clue when I’ll get around to actually reading the things; though I think back in 2001 or 2002 I got through the first 3-4 books. That far back, though, I’ll surely have to restart from volume 1.

Then there’s the complete run of Naoki Urasawa‘s Monster; I still have the final four volumes or so to read.

Next is the entire 8-volume run of Chobits, which I had bought and read in its entirety in less than a week back in 2004; partly as self-distraction with losing Grandpa and amidst the funeral and such.

I tried getting into Fruits Basket thanks to the friend that introduced me to Chobits as well as a "promo dvd" that I’d had with an episode of Fruits Basket and Dragonball GT or whatever. But I only made it a few volumes into the series before falling way behind.

Yu-Gi-Oh! I only ever got the first volume…I read it at the time, but never got around to the later volumes.

The first three Pokemon books there are "digest-sized" collections of single issues that were published (I believe) by Viz; whatever the case, I have the single issues for the first couple volumes. Then there are the first three volumes of Pokemon Adventures that I snagged for a buy-2-get-1-free sale a few months back; I’m about halfway through the first, but shelved it to make sure I knew what I was doing with spacing for the shelving.

As always…I own and continue to buy way more than I can possibly read right now…but hey: someday!


The Weekly Haul: Week of March 14, 2018

This week proved to be another relatively small week (thankfully!). It even allowed for a “priced” back issue.


This week sees Action Comics #999 (no, that’s not a typo!) We now have something like six weeks until #1,000 hits end of April. Then the newest issue of Detective Comics, and a freebie in The World of Krypton. This issue is “sponsored by” SyFy trying to drum up support for their new tv series Krypton; the issue reprints the first issue of the Byrne mini-series of this name.

I enjoyed Sideways #1 enough to pick up the second issue…I’m cautiously interested. Then we have the newest issue of Mister Miracle, and the final issue of Ragman (billed as 12 and 6 issue series, respectively!)

The newest issue of DuckTales from IDW, based on the new animated series. IDW is gonna be SOL on me–I’m not putting this on a pull list–I haven’t been reading, haven’t kept up with the actual animated series, but don’t want to catch up and then be missing issues or have to hunt them later. BUT…as soon as an “A” cover is NOT available or I accidentally buy a non-standard/”A” cover, I’m done on principle!

I’m amused by these Venom True Believers issues; even though I do have Lethal Protector #1 (and handy, even, too!), I’ll be interested in comparing the two versions.

Finally, as a “priced” back issue, picked up Action Comics #40 from the New 52 run (aka #944 or so). That leaves me with just a handful of issues to look for as early as this weekend if I make it to a local “convention.”

Here’s hoping next week is a small one, as well!


The ’90s Revisited: Dr. Strange #36


dr_strange_0036Footnote to Infinity

Writers: Roy & Dann Thomas
Penciler: Dan Lawlis
Inker: Andrew Pepoy
Letterer: R. Parker
Colorist: George Roussos
Editor: Mike Rockwitz
Editor in Chief: Tom Defalco
With Special Thanks To: Jim Starlin, Advisor
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 1991
Cover Price: $1.50

I bought this issue completely outside of any kind of context for the Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme series. It initially caught my attention specifically for the presence of Adam Warlock on the cover with the Infinity Gauntlet. The corner blurb that this is an Infinity Gauntlet "Epilogue" solidified it for me. I’ve read The Infinity Gauntlet a couple times (though it’s been a number of years now and I’m due for a re-read–as if I’m not extremely far behind on all my NEW reading) and early issues of Warlock and the Infinity Watch. But I’d never read this issue, and I was curious as to exactly how it was addressing Infinity Gauntlet, its place in the timeline. I’m glad to say that my curiosity was satisfied.

We open on Dr. Strange arriving back home, reuniting with his supporting cast. It’s an impromptu party, and among other reunions we see Strange and Clea (who is the only other person in the room that remembers what happened). As they dance around the subject and share the joy of everyone being present, Wong announces that he’s engaged…and moments later, Pip the troll and Gamora appear, disrupting things–they’re here for Dr. Strange, hoping he might aid them in dealing with a driven-mad-with-power Warlock. Strange confronts Warlock, and winds up having to use every resource available to him, basically, just to hold his ground. After he’s "survived" attacks involving the other Infinity Gems (yes, this is back when they were GEMS, not STONES), he turns the tide by going after the Soul Gem–the one most closely linked to Warlock…and manages to get through to him, helping him see what’s happening, and stand down. After thanks, a friendly handshake, and promises to see things stay on the right path, everyone parts ways…though Strange gets a brief encounter with Eternity…the cosmic being representing the universe itself. Eternity intends to claim the Infinity Gems, by bringing Warlock to some cosmic trial…but that’s not for Strange to deal with, and he finishes his return journey home.

I’m sure I would have enjoyed this issue more if I was "up" on contextual continuity for this series at the point this issue falls. I basically remember THAT Strange was involved early on, being maybe the first Silver Surfer made contact with of the Earth heroes regarding Thanos having assembled all the Gems; and then with Warlock and the "behind the scenes" crew in taking on Thanos. I also vaguely remember that Wong was one of the "half the living entities in the universe" that were blinked out of existence at the start of Infinity Gauntlet. I’m not invested in any of the supporting cast or cameo appearances. And I felt like Warlock was extremely out of character, given the out and out attacks directed at Dr. Strange…and it all rang as the old cliché "hero vs. hero" and such that I really don’t care about. At least here, though, the situation is resolved within the same issue, it does NOT take up the ENTIRE issue, and certainly does not become an entire story arc for a mini-series or title. I was glad to see stuff resolved here, and where I was curious going in as to WHERE exactly this took place in "the timeline," the end of the issue with Eternity suggests to me that this essentially led into Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1.

Story-wise, this felt like "the next issue" of the title. That is, it didn’t waste time trying to retell that which is told elsewhere, nor did this feel like just some "middle chapter" or such of a serialized graphic novel. There are details that are obviously "subplots" being moved along, while the main focus of the issue is an encounter that is begun, run, and resolved within this issue. For a reader perhaps checking this out BECAUSE of seeing Strange in Infinity Gauntlet, it seems to have him pulling out all the stops, and in a way "showing off" for the newer readers, while perhaps reminding older readers of what he can do on his own, as more than just a single character of a huge ensemble cast in a Marvel Universe event.

Visually, I liked the art for this issue overall. For one thing, I felt like I recognized everyone I would expect to–particularly Dr. Strange himself, Pip, Gamora, and Warlock. I attribute this to a "house style" that I feel like I recall being prevalent in the early ’90s; at the least, everyone looks familiar enough that I had no problem with their appearances and nothing messed with my memory of how they "should have" looked or whatever.

As a single issue, this isn’t enough to "sell" me on Dr. Strange’s series…I’m in no particular hurry to find out what happens with the next issue (though I’m "curious" at the tease of "Frankensurfer" and wouldn’t be entirely opposed to keeping an eye out for the issue in a passive sense) nor do I feel any great need to rush out and get previous issues. That said…this seemed a solid issue, a decent follow-up to Infinity Gauntlet, and probably not the worst thing one could read from Marvel for the early 1990s. I enjoyed it enough to have more than justified the 25 cents I spent for it, and I’m glad to have read this.


Rearranging Some of the Toys (Early March 2018)

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been working on re-doing my comic-space in the basement. New/additional bookcases, sectioning out the space, and to do all that has involved (temporarily) packing up a bunch of the non-book stuff that found a home on shelves over the previous 2 1/2 years or so.

Though I’m still "in-process" with it all, here are some photos of stuff that either didn’t get "packed away" or has found its way back out.

"Showing off some shelves," if you will.


Some of my Heroclix oversized figures. "Plastic statues" for lack of other description. I think Galactus remains my favorite, though I like Spectre, the Sentinels, Dark Phoenix, and Sinestro with his yellow construct, as well! (If I didn’t, they wouldn’t be here on display!)


I have two different Mongul figures. The one on the left is from a line of DC/Superman toys some years back; the one on the right is (I believe) a DC Direct figure. I think this sculpt was re-used for a Sinestro Corps version…mine’s from the Infinite Crisis series, offhand.

The Galactus figures are from the 1990s SIlver Surfer line; Funko‘s Marvel Mystery Minis; and the old iteration of Mighty Muggs, respectively.


Kilowog is a DC Direct figure, one of my favorites! Hulk is a Marvel Legends figure. The Skrull Giant Man is from the Marvel 3.75" line–I believe he was a Walmart-exclusive giant figure. This Galactus is the Marvel Legends build-a-figure, when these were large and special and cost less than half of what Marvel Legends figures go for present-day.


I continue to add to the "Thanos collection," most recently adding the finally-taken-out-of-packaging-after-several-years Marvel 3.75" iteration and the Lego mini-figure that I got the other day.

I have a lot of other toys/figures/etc. that I’ll likely show off in the near-future as I continue the re-arranging project. I’ll also almost certainly show off the up-to-date graphic novel collection/library, and maybe even an overall "tour" of the basement space. Time shall definitely tell!


Fantasticon and B&N Haul from March 10, 2018

Over the weekend, I attended a local-ish convention–Fantasticon, in Toledo/Ohio. I went with several friends, stuff was good, and got a few things, and then more at a Barnes & Noble we went to after dinner.


Probably the main thing for going was that Dirk Manning was going to be there. Always great to see him…probably the best creator I’ve interacted with over the years in terms of enthusiasm, approachability, and all that.

And having just debuted it in the last couple weeks or so, I was able to get a couple copies of Hope #1 by him and K. Lynn Smith (one for me, one for a friend). Busy rest of the weekend so haven’t read it yet, but I hope to have a review up in the near future!

Then there was a randomish back-issue-bin-dive where I came across a still-sealed black-bag-edition of Superman #75–the Death of Superman issue. (Yeah, that issue!). It was marked $3, and cost $3, and is the first copy of this edition that I’ve bought in over 25 years. The bag’s a bit wrinkly and some color damage to it like it had stuck to something or something had stuck to it…but darnit, for $3, the stuff inside is more than worth it, and I very definitely intend to open this thing…perhaps that will also be a near-future-ish post!


Outside of (re) meeting Dirk and getting that issue of Hope, my "back issue comics goal" was several issues of New 52-era Action Comics…which wound up being a miserable failure. Ditto for issues of the Marz/Banks early-Kyle-era Green Lantern run.

However, I did find a run of Green Lantern: Mosaic…that when combined with the issues I got a couple weeks ago, give me a complete run of the 18-issue series, right here, right where I know where all eighteen issues are right this moment together.


To some degree, this is a small culmination of 23+ years, having been aware of this series from a friend getting issues from #1 back in 1992. I wasn’t immediately interested myself until later in the run or shortly after. Though I’ve often seen #1 or a handful of issues, I’ve never in all this time (until now) managed to come across or assemble a complete run. From these last several weeks, I now definitely have at least 3 copies of #1, if not more…and certainly several duplicates…but at least I have a single, full run now in one place and I am comfortable not having any further inclination to buy more copies of any of the issues!


For less than the price of two modern Marvel comics, snagged this Emerald Twilight Parallax figure from the Kenner Total Justice line. This was basically half the cost of a contemporary 3.75" figure, cheaper than basically any "basic" figure, period, these days, and 1/3 the cost of a DC Multiverse "full-size" figure. I’ll need to get this outta the packaging before I change my mind…he’s gonna look quite good against a backdrop of my Green Lantern shelf!


I’d long since resigned myself to never getting the Thanos "mini-figure" from Lego as I was not spending the money for the set that he came with, and I wasn’t even gonna begin considering "online prices" for a single figure, as any reasonable price would be obliterated by factoring in shipping. But finding this large mini-fig for the price of only 2 modern Marvel comics was a no-brainer for me…especially as I’m keen on Thanos at present, anyway!


At a Barnes & Noble, found these three Funko Dorbz figures of the TMNT in a $2 bin on clearance. Quite disappointed not to have found all 4…but these were the ones that were present, and my friend even did an extra dig-through to make sure I hadn’t overlooked it!


And then, partly because they were half-off so I could get both for the price of one, I got Sam I Am and his friend cuz…why not? I’d considered getting them a couple other times, and found them individually other times without the other; and figured I’d wind up kicking myself if I passed on these.


Turned out that these were also only $2 apiece. Since they’re usually $6+ each, and I didn’t have any of the DC and am still missing several of the TMNT, 8 boxes worked out to be like buy-3-get-5-free (but slightly cheaper).

Of course, me being me, my first choice would be wanting Superman, and then ideally blue-and-grey Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. For the TMNT I was most interested in Bebop, Casey Jones, or Splinter.


I wound up with three specific ones I was interested in most, and glad to at least have gotten a Batman to go with Superman and Wonder Woman. April O’Neil is a duplicate from the TMNT wave; and I’m not thrilled with Power Girl, and would have a number of the other minis ahead of Black Manta and Harley Quinn. But for the cost, it was well worthwhile (though also means I probably won’t buy any more as I now have extremely-high odds of getting a duplicate!).

All in all, including admission and the Barnes & Noble stuff, I spent about $8 more than what it would have cost me just to get in the door into Wizard World Cleveland had I gone to that the weekend before.

So…not bad at all!


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