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The Death and Return of Superman "Gift Set"

I bought The Death of Superman on blu-ray last year when it came out…though it was heading into a less-than-ideal point in my personal life, so I never got around to/bothering to post about it.

Then in January, I was able to attend one of the Fathom Events theatrical showings of a double-feature of both The Death of Superman and the then-yet-to-be-released Reign of the Supermen; which I detailed in my post Reign of the Supermen…26 Years From Page to Screen.

Reign of the Supermen actually came out on home media the week of January 30, 2019.

And then, like with The Dark Knight Returns a couple/several years ago, they’ve gone and jammed the two films into one epic presentation. And me being me, and like with TDKR, I bought into the shiny new re-issue of what I already had.

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For their part, it helps that the thing has an awesome-looking figurine of Steel. I’m not keen on their marking it as a "gift set," but that more accurately describes this boxed edition that comes with the figurine, over just getting the movie(s) itself.

I nearly bought it in person, but discovered that if I went to the trouble of physically picking it off the shelf and carrying it to the front of the store and checking myself out…that would be one price. Or, by placing an online order at a Walmart I was going to be at for groceries anyway and having an employee track it down, check it out, bag and tag it, and then when I was ready, go find it and take it to await my showing up to grab it from a kiosk, I saved $5.

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First thing I did with this was get it open to get the Steel figure out; I have not yet dug in to the rest. It’s also interesting to me that they apparently include a blu-ray of Superman: Doomsday. I’ll be curious to see if that has the retrospective/documentary on it. I’d love to have THAT digitally.

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Out of the "gift box," the movie comes with the usual cardboard slipcover…and of course, the Steel figurine!

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The figurine is way bigger in this photo (at least on MY screen as I type this) than the physical object. I love how this looks…the contrast of the dark grey with the red cape! And I didn’t even notice the (glowing?) blue eyes until I took this photo.

Maybe I’ll do a random post in the near future showing this figurine with the "battle-damaged" Superman one that came with The Death of Superman last year.

I’m curious as to whether the upcoming (in just the next couple weeks, I think!) Wonder Woman animated movie will come with a character figurine. And perhaps along with the aforementioned Superman figurine, I ought to do a post showing my whole collection of figurines that have come with these DC animated features.

As always, and broken record that I am…time will tell.

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SpawnQuest #5: Batman & Spawn

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Around 3 years ago, in 2016, I’d discovered some comics at Dollar Tree. $1 for a comic, a collector’s guide, etc. Not a horrible price, though most of the comics were what I’d consider 25-cent books. Freex #1 particularly caught my eye; as did another.

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One that seemed well worth the $1 price was Spawn/Batman by Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane.

And then recently at the Hall of Fame City Comic Con, I snagged what I consider a "convenience copy" of Batman/Spawn: War Devil.

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And last week as part of the regular Wednesday haul, I grabbed Spawn #91.

Not as keen this week to charge ahead. It’s actually sorta discouraging to realize just how spotty the rest of the series is going to be to get, and what a long haul it may well be.

And all the more how I’m particularly interested in getting my run filled in up to #100 for the near-future, even if the rest of the series ends up being a long slog.

And #301 came out this week…so I suppose I haven’t done horribly for the month between the issue that kicked off the excitement and the few weeks til its next came out.

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It Was 29 Years Ago Today…

Thanks to some tech issues and timing, this post is hitting almost at the end of the day…but I couldn’t bring myself to consciously, knowingly let the day pass without posting as I’ve done at least most years since she’s been gone.

Today, Kayla would have been 29. It’s been 29 years since she was born.

Though it was 15 months later that she came into MY life.

She’s been gone nearly 9 1/2 years now.

And while these photos are almost certainly duplicates that I’ve posted in previous years…unfortunately, I just don’t have that many of her, or of good quality.

But these are some "key" photos I (as such) often think of with her, and cherish all of them…and the little over 18 1/4 years I had with her!

Miss Kayla Krystal…Kayla Kneeland.

My first kitty.

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I took this photo of her in October 2008 or 2009. I was digging through all my comic boxes at my parents’ house at the time for my various Deadpool and related comics. Kayla joined me, and had quite the adventure with me moving all these BOXES around!

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This photo is Kayla looking up from her bowl. The photo makes her eyes look brown (if not outright kitty-laser-eyes), but in the right light, her eyes were brilliantly blue!

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Kayla napping, curled up as cats do…

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While a bit blurry, I love this photo. Every time I see it, I remember that moment…I was TRYING to get a particular pic of her, and Kayla walked up and started swatting at the camera!

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Another pic of her sleeping. She loved that couch, and laying ON stuff–such as that sheet. More than any other cat I’ve had, she would seek out paper, plastic, cardboard, books, comics, magazines, sheets, anything loose on top of some other firm surface.

And her adventures getting into bags and boxes…all these years later and I still "expect" to be able to put a box down for my other kitties and find at least one in it. But Ziggy never did, and Chloe and Sarah have never matched Kayla’s love of boxes.

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Kayla looked so regal to me in this one. Just her in the middle of the recliner, surveying her kingdom…

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One of her nap-time stretches. A bit awkward in pose, but comfy in the chair!

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And finally, a photo from Christmas Day 2007, me holding this precious kitty even as she squirmed to get down.

Usually such a "ragdoll" in being picked up and held, but trying to pose with her rarely worked, for me.


Happy birthday, Kayla! Little poof, nightkitten, Pretty Kitty…

Until we’re reunited at the bridge…

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Hall of Fame City Comic Con 2019

Comic conventions have come to be a fairly "mixed" thing for me. On one hand, they’re a place to meet creators, and get access to all sorts of back issues and deals and such that are NOT available at the comic shops I frequent usually (and whose stock I largely "know" as-is and take advantage of weekly). On the other hand, I’m not thrilled with large crowds and all the unpredictability that comes with them, unknown parking situations, added parking and admission costs just to get access to the con, certain long lines, etc. Especially when attending alone (whether no one else wants to go with me, or "life" gets in the way and I don’t decide 100% that I myself am even going until the day-of).

This past weekend, I attended what apparently was the fourth annual Hall of Fame City Comic Con (and my second attendance of the show). I’d last gone to the 2017 show two years ago. I’d intended to attend last year’s show, but "life" was not going well at the time, which combined with trying to go alone, parking, and a monstrous-looking crowd that saw me forego the whole thing.

Probably "the" guest for the year was David Yost, the actor who portrayed BIlly Cranston in the original seasons of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. I knew going in that I definitely wanted to attend his panel/Q&A…which was definitely a quick hour! Me being me, I wasn’t interested in coming up with any questions to throw out, and don’t REALLY think I learned anything particularly "new," but I enjoyed the time. There’s something about simply hearing stuff "live" from someone, and taking in their presence and impact on a crowd of people that has such a different impact from simple "facts" or information gleaned by READING (online or otherwise).

I took a small poster that I’d planned to get signed, and looked forward to a quick photo with the actor…waiting until later into the day for the initial line to die down, and still stood in line for nearly an hour.

Only to THEN realize that it was $30/signature, $30/photo op, $50/shout out (whatever that is–something for podcasts or YouTube channels, perhaps?). So, disgusted at spending so much time in a line but unwilling to spend $30 for a "signature of opportunity" or a random photo that would embody "this was a $30 commercial transaction" to me, I bailed.

Lesson learned: look up signing/autograph costs ahead of time, and remember that there’s a significant difference in such "celebrity guests" and comic creators.

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After 3-4 times around the block, I finally found parking nearby. Then had to stand in the 11am sun for over a half-hour. Which admittedly wasn’t as bad as it initially looked–at first, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be in by noon. Where other conventions would have several lines going–at least at the point of admission itself once you got up there–this one seemed to have one line for pre-ordered tickets and one for on-the-spot/at-the-door, which created a definite bottlenecking effect; as well as only one person checking bags and such (I was thankful my bottle-opener and mini-pocketknife (that I always forget I even have on me til I need it) didn’t raise any alarms.)

Once in, I was handed the ashcan-sized "program" for the con, which included a map of the floor’s layout with where the various creators and vendors were located.

The only actual back-issue purchase I made of the whole show was this Batman/Spawn: War Devil issue…which is itself a "convenience purchase" to have it immediately with my Spawn stuff…I’ll get into that eventually with an upcoming "SpawnQuest" post.

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Where I first walked in, I was greeted by the Toys Time Forgot booth, which was fantastic, as that–with Dirk Manning–was one of my primary "goals" for the show. I got the store-exclusive Hope #3, and signed. While I make no secret of loathing variant covers in general…I find that something like this works as an exception. I haven’t thought too deeply on it, but I think part of it is that it’s not DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, etc. And that it’s SO limited as to be negligible; it’s NOT part of the "marketing" of the title "in general," and that Dirk is present and signing the issues in-person, such that the thing being a ‘variant" is nearly incidental, as it’s another creator-owned title; as a store-exclusive, it’s benefiting a specific retailer, and it’s a great souvenir/artifact of attending a particular event (store signing, or in this case, convention appearance).

I also got my Tales of Mr. Rhee hardcover signed; and Dirk gifted me a glow-in-the-dark pin!

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I’m pretty sure that at this point, Manning is the creator I’ve met most frequently, as he’s local to the region, attends a lot of shows and such, and is such a friendly, personable guy and just great to catch at the various shows. He’s really set a high standard in my book, which I’ve certainly held others up to in a big way.

I went from getting Hope and Tales of Mr. Rhee signed to the panel room to be sure I got a seat for Yost‘s panel.

From that panel, my aim was Mark Texeira and Mark Bagley. I’d spent a couple hours going through my comic boxes the night before specifically to locate my original 1998 Marvel Knights Black Panther #1 to get signed, and had bought a Wolverine issue (to avoid having to dig through boxes) earlier in the week.

Unfortunately…I saw that Texeira was charging for autographs–it looked like $10 each. Which immediately nixed the novelty of it, of spending a couple minutes (if that long) at the table and all. Outside of the likes of Stan Lee, Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, I just don’t see paying for autographs!

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So I cautiously made my way onward to Bagley‘s table, and was disappointed to see that he was charging, as well! BUT…then I realized his charging was specific. Signature-only: $10. Personalized: free.

As I’d intended anyway to have them personalized, nothing on my part was changed.

I got The Amazing Spider-Man #375 and Venom: Lethal Protector #1 signed; both being "key" books to ME personally, as a couple of my earliest Spider-Man and Spidey-related comics, and fairly big deals at the time. Though admittedly in 1993, I could not have told you these were Mark Bagley and actually hadn’t even realized the connection when I was getting Ultimate Spider-Man junior and senior years of college.

One of my favorite memories of early Ultimate Spider-Man was the shared enjoyment of the series with one of my best friends. There was something to getting the new issues, reading them, talking about them "in the moment" and the shared enjoyment that went a long way. And I’m pretty sure that was one factor that helped get me into reviewing and eventually blogging, and those few months in particular of it remain a high-level standard unmatched in recent years for me.

My friend had spent some time in Italy one summer for school, and brought back an Italian edition of Ultimate Spider-Man for me. It has the cover image of the U.S. #13, though it has the contents of #s 12 & 13, I believe.

So a gift from a friend from a shared period of shared enjoyment of a series, and signed by the creator…makes that a particularly key, sentimental issue in my collection.

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As I browsed, trying to determine if anyone had any Spawn comics, I spotted a familiar cover…TMNT: A Fishy Adventure. (I detail that book’s significance to me in my 2017 Super Blog Team-Up post on the Mighty Mutanimals.) Seeing that this was in much better condition and without any ex-library junk on it, I stepped in for a closer look and saw that a couple of the other storybooks were also available.

While I’d have been thrilled to have had Fight for the Turnstone and The Magic Crystal present, I was happy to also be able to get Return of the Shredder and The Incredible Shrinking Turtles.

That I was able to get these 3 for a mere $2 total was fantastic! Half the price of a cheap/standard-price comic these days, for 3 long-out of print and (in my experience) rare (especially in such good condition!) storybooks. Definitely the "deal of the show" for me!

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I then made my way back to the "panel room" for Mark Bagley‘s panel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As someone else suggested when Bagley threatened that we’d just have to listen to him ramble if no one had questions…that’s one thing people enjoy with such panels. Just hearing the creator talk about their experiences and such, in their own words.

After the disappointment regarding bailing on meeting David Yost over the $30-$60 signature/photo op pricing, I ended up taking a 2nd look at a booth with some $6 ea/4-for-$20 books, and wound up getting the deluxe hardcover Marvel: Generations, Marvel Legacy, and Thanos: The Infinity Conflict. I also grabbed IDW‘s Saucer Country. Compared to the all-too-frequent-of-late $6 single-issues from Marvel, these oversized/deluxe hardcovers and OGN would actually BE worth $6/ea, and even better at functionally only $5!

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I then swung back around to Toys Time Forgot and caught Dirk again briefly, and then opted to "pull the trigger" on getting a couple of "exclusive" Pops (and hey, what convention’s complete without buying at least one of these little buggers, the last 8-some years?). I still have my eyes on the Swamp Thing one and possibly Lobo, but decided the TMNT branding meant more to me; especially as I do specifically still want to get Michelangelo, Donatello, Splinter, April, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady if I can ever find them for what I consider reasonable pricing (i.e. NOT $20+ apiece!).

I departed the con from there. Met/got stuff signed by Dirk Manning and Mark Bagley; got to attend the David Yost and Mark Bagley panels…truly "more success than not" for the show, disappointing as it was discovering prices for Texira and Yost and choosing as such to pass on them.


I was yet again not particularly impressed with "dealer stock" for comics at the show. Bargain collected volumes, but those are by and large skinny, non-sequential volumes in a longer series and clearly "overstock" without much in the way of being ‘special’.

Plenty of generic variant covers overstock; and plenty of isolated modern back-issues that (at surface glance/appearance) seem to be overstock and primarily Marvel, with a fair bit of DC. I did manage to find 2-3 instances with some Spawn presence…one of which was that Batman/Spawn issue pictured at the top of this post. It seems that "everyone" that has Spawn stuff at a show has the earliest issues, isolated or as a run; but much past #40 or before #270 is not present.

While it makes sense for dealers to bring overstock to shows to try to get rid of it with people that normally don’t make it to their shops; it’s disappointing for someone like me looking for stuff that isn’t "just" random overstock.

It’s also discouraging when I’m looking for very particular back issues that no one’s "bothered" to bring; while any particular "fun" to serendipity in $1 bins or 3/$1 bins or 50-cent bins is totally lost on realizing that stuff is not sorted in any meaningful way. DC? Marvel? Image? Alphabetical? With so many other people around and also flipping through such bins…and MY knowing darned well that any significant "keys" are NOT going to be in there (especially at a convention) it’s just not worth the hassle (to ME) of riffling through such bins on the off-chance of finding anything "worth" getting.

ESPECIALLY when I’m very specifically interested in particular back-issues (Spawn, cheap X-Men #141, non-shiny Uncanny X-Men #350, shiny Wolverine #145).

I suppose we’ll see what I come across at a couple of upcoming shows if I actually make it to them.

All this said…I’ve now been to 2 of the 3 iterations of the Hall of Fame City Comic Con that I’ve been consciously aware of. And as such shows go, it’s been enjoyable overall. "Too many people" for my preference in a way…yet NOT so many as to have choked aisleways and such.

Employment, finances, and timing-permitting, I’ll very likely attend next year’s show. All the more now having this second instance in my experience, I’ll be that much more ready for a third!

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SpawnQuest #4: Nearing the End of Easy Acquisition

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A couple weeks ago, I’d ordered a few more Spawn issues. While I’m not intending to get every last tie-in and off-shoot/spin-off (and not even counting stuff like Curse of the Spawn or the Sam & Twitch series in this hunt), I had a couple of the Spawn Fan edition issues, and two of the Spawn/WildC.A.T.s issues.

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So I ordered the missing FAN edition and crossovers. And a couple more of the single issues. Those arrived.

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I also went back to Comics & Friends and snagged what was left of what they had that I was missing.

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I probably should have cut myself off with fewer issues…but being logical/sensible, since I’d almost certainly be getting the issues anyway, better to just get ’em and be done than to arbitrarily hold off. Especially since–technically–I could afford ’em without significant problem or such.

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And then the next day, I swung back by Comic Heaven and snagged several more of the issues they had that I was missing.

I figured better to get these there as a regular shop I go to ahead of whatever I’d find at an upcoming convention or such!


Of course, seems that after this initial run of stocking up really quickly on a concentrated area of issues, I’m about to hit the harder part of stuff.

"Everyone" seems to have the first few issues of the series. I’ve heard the number "1.7 million" regarding the first issue, and imagine similar for the next several, and while surely declining numbers from there, seems like I’m "always" seeing the first 16-20ish issues as back issues. Beyond those, it seems quite spotty–even with the online retailers, let alone what bricks-and-mortar stores have in backissue inventory.

I’m definitely driving at 1-100 most immediately, now having 1-67, having 70 of the first 75, and 82 of the first 100. Not quite as quick, easy, or cheap as my Savage Dragon build-up a couple years ago. But I do think this one’s gonna have much better longevity.

As always, of course, though…time will tell!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of September 25, 2019

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This is an "interesting" week of new comics. A "large" week as well, but not quite the price-shockingly-huge that several the last few months have been.

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We have the new issue of TMNT–#98–leaving us a mere 2 issues from the big #100! Odd in a way to consider that this has been running for about 1/3 the time Spawn has!

The 10th HOX/POX issue this week in Powers of X #5. Just one issue of each mini after this, before the official Dawn of X launch…which I’m struggling with on whether or not I’m going to dive in or not against better judgment.

I normally would not have picked up this The New Mutants: War Children, on principle of "only" being a one-shot, AND for being yet ANOTHER $5 issue. Buuuut…it’s Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. So, something I’d definitely want to support!

Then we’ve got the latest issues of Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Dial H for Hero…all of which I’m (still significantly) behind on reading.

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I’m several issues behind on Criminal…but that’s always a great read when I get around to it.

A $1 reprint of Crisis on Infinite Earths, that I largely got for the cover…I love this piece, and it’s great seeing it on a single issue! And another Marvel facsimile edition…something I also am enjoying supporting. I may not specifically care about every such issue, but seeing it and being able to decide "in the moment" is a welcome thing!

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A comic shop further outside my usual range had a large quantity of King Conan #1 available. I actually drove out specifically because of that, last week…partly for myself, partly for a friend. And then this week they had these other four issues, so I did another trip out. 5 issues, $5…not bad at all!

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They also had these two Batman Day issues the 2nd time (and/or maybe I just didn’t see them the first time), so snagged them. I’m not keen on The Batman Who Laughs, but as a Batman Day thing, it’s an interesting artifact, and I wasn’t sure if it was something from the mini-series or going all the way back to the original event.


All in all, a solid week. Nothing as exciting as a Spawn #300 or such; though TMNT is up there in general. And the 100th issue WILL be a big deal on a number of fronts. One of which will be that it will be the 100th issue of following ANY single series unbroken for 100 issues for me. I’ve taken "breaks" from comics altogether several times over the years, and particular series more often; such that I have NEVER BEFORE followed a single series for 100 issues! (nor any series OF series, as Marvel in particular has become).

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#SpawnQuest #3: Beyond 50

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After having snagged a bunch of issues online, the next part of my hunt turned to a comic shop I hadn’t been to in awhile that has a lot of backissues.

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I was thrilled to discover that–a perfect fit for having just filled in to Spawn #50–they had issues 51-55! The very next issue I’d need, and it was five issues in sequence!

(I suspect that before long, instead of being able to get "runs" of issues I’ll be forced to go piecemeal singles and more gradually fill in gaps, and have far more gaps in general!)

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On my way back from that shop, I realized that while I’d thought I’d checked another, I hadn’t…so I stopped in, and was able to get some more issues…and introduce several tiny "gaps" into things with them having a bunch of issues, but not every sequential issue.

As such, this expands the bulk of my collection to issue 69, albeit missing 4 issues (56, 63, 66, 68) from that.

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I also opted to go ahead and bag ‘n board the series so far. I’ve a feeling I’ll be moving the collection around over time as I add to it, and over the past year or so I’ve been bagging-and-boarding new comics for that same reason. Stacks "slide" a lot more this way (unfortunately) BUT issues can stack, be stood upright, and generally handled a bit less delicately without having covers getting creased or crunched, and so on.

I may not be fanatical about condition, but that doesn’t mean I want to "destroy" my own comics!

So this stack in the photo is Spawn 1-69 (minus 4 issues) and 257-300, as well as the modern/recent Medieval Spawn/Witchblade mini, the Spawn Kills Everyone one-shot and Spawn Kills Everyone 2 mini, as well as a couple Fan Edition issues, a couple issues that originally came with action figures, the first (only?) issue of Stupid (with a Spawn on the cover!), and couple issues of a Spawn/Wildcats mini.


I’m definitely in danger of over-committing, I think…at present, my official intent with this "SpawnQuest" is the main, actual Spawn series. #s 1-300+, period. NOT all the one-shots, spin-offs, tie-ins, crossovers, etc.

I believe there have been at least a couple iterations of Curse of the Spawn or some such, a couple of Sam & Twitch series, and numerous one-shots, annuals, specials, crossovers, tie-ins, and so on.

While I may (likely) wind up getting some of those as I go along, this "quest" definitely, specifically the main series. If I can get a bunch of those others, cool.

That said, I know I have–and I think from quarter bins, at that, as well!–the crossover issues with Batman. If I recall correctly, there were two. One was Spawn/Batman published by Image while the other was Batman/Spawn published by DC Comics. I believe the Frank Miller/Todd McFarlane one was Spawn/Batman, and that one I recall being a particularly "big deal" back in the early days of my being into comics, and was one of my earliest forays into Spawn, though I couldn’t tell you a darned thing about any "story" to the thing.

I do recall getting another copy of the issue back in 2016 or so in a pack of comics from a Dollar Tree, which I got specifically FOR that issue, as it was well worth the $1 by itself.

While this is a second "SpawnQuest" post in a week and my 5th or so Spawn post in 2 weeks, I can’t imagine I’ll be able to keep up quite such a frantic pace of acquisitions as I have. And it’ll be all too easy to–like with Savage Dragon a couple years ago–get distracted and leave off.

But I’ll probably take the opportunity–as this is also giving me "stuff" to even post ABOUT and get back into posting a bit after virtually nothing for a few months this year–to post photos of the other issues I do have, as–at least for me myself–I’d sort of like to be able to have shown photos of every issue from 1-300whatever by the time I "complete" the series to whatever then-present.

Time–as always–shall tell!

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