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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 27, 2019

Last week was both a small week and a HUUUUGE week!

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On the "HUUUUUGE" part, we have the 1000th issue of Detective Comics! My very first issue of the series was #604…which to some reckoning makes this the 396th issue I myself have been around for. (398 if you count the two #0 issues, over 400 if you count whatever other titled out of sequence issues).

Then there’s the latest issue of TMNT: Urban Legends, guest starring some of the Savage Dragon characters. After all, this is the series that was originally published by Image, and I believe instigated at the time by Erik Larsen, creator of the Savage Dragon and associated characters.

And there’s the second issue of the latest iteration of IDW‘s Transformers. Can’t say I’m all that impressed after reading the first two issues. Maybe it’s not bogged down with intricate continuity, but it’s not engaging me all that much.

Next is the latest Action Comics, which I’m sadly a few issues behind on reading. I’m not terribly keen on stuff with this "Leviathan" branching out to a bigger event…overall, I’m just sick and tired OF events!

Which brings us to Heroes in Crisis #7. I’m pretty sure this was supposed to originally BE a 7-issue series. While it obviously, literally has PAGES that prove its length, I feel like there still hasn’t been any significant STORY developments or forward movement. It’s like something that might be better suited for–I don’t know–a "web comic" series or something, with each of these one-page "interview sequences" serving as a "strip," and EVENTUALLY they all get collected into some print edition.

I’ve thrown in with the Wonder Comics line…the latest premiere of which is Dial H For Hero. I’ve never particularly read any iteration of this title before, but do recall having an old ’80s issue, back in the early ’90s in my earliest days being "into" comics significantly.

Where I’d figued the William Gibson Alien3 thing to be four issues, apparently it was 5 issues. Longer story is good…now to find 1-4 and read the whole thing in one sitting! Fitting in a way as the latest Alien thing for me to read. In 1992 or so, it was the novelization of the film that "hooked" me on the franchise, and that’s lasted 27-some years now!

Finally, Mr. & Mrs. X #9…reminding me yet also once more again that I’m far too "behind" on reading, but quite enjoy Rogue & Gambit and so wanted the title. At this point I believe I can catch up on some reading even without locating all my single issues, thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

I have some small hopes of getting a review of Detective 1000 up in the next week or two. In short, it was a nice, thick issue with lots to read, and took me several sittings to get through. I passed on all of the "decades variants," due to the price, primarily. The ’80s and ’90s covers would’ve had me just for nostalgia of the classic "DC bullet" as well as the title logos themselves. But the image on the ’90s cover just wasn’t distinct enough or interesting enough to me. And the Frank Miller image has got to be one of the single UGLIEST cover images of a Batman I have EVER seen!

I’m still trying to locate the Walmart Detective Comics 100-Page Giant issue…and it might be my "breaking point" on those, as I enjoy having EVERY issue. Miss one, break "the streak," and why bother with the others? But I also refuse to pay $15-20+ for a $5 comic…especially with the many Walmarts around here and the frequency at which I’m able to visit said stores.

Though this post is for the March 27, 2019 books…here’s to the first week of April 2019–April 3rd–being a good week of new comics!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 13, 2019

This week proved to be rather huge for new comics…at least for me, by my own standards! One might even say it was a Giant-Size week!

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Double dose Batman this week with Detective Comics and the Flash crossover. We also have the debut issue of Wonder Twins, which I opted to check out as I’m pretty much giving this whole Wonder Comics thing a chance.

Then there’s the newest issue of Superman as well as the newest Supergirl. And TMNT is into the "final countdown" to issue #100, as #91 hits!

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Marvel actually got me on MULTIPLE issues this week! The usual with Mr. & Mrs. X #8. I "gave in" on Savage Sword of Conan #1…though I’ve no conscious intention of getting #2 and onward. There’s a nostalgia factor here, and I’m willing to "sample" the thing and get the #1 because it IS Conan, and I want to at least have "tried" one issue if I’m gonna be down on Marvel with it. If I’ve never bought so much as one issue, where do I have any authenticity to criticize?

I didn’t even know about Marvels Annotated until the last second. I’m a sucker for this sorta thing…and as a "key" series from my youth, I’m more than willing to "double-dip" with getting this series again, with notes from the creators. Given the story AND visual quality–and this issue has both the original first issue AND the later-published #0 issue–along with the notes, it feels to me like an EXCELLENT (by Marvel standards) value!

Criminal is back and I realize I have yet to read #1. Though I have all the TPBs (I believe) of the series thus far, with this new iteration, I figured I’d give it a few issues as single issues to see if/how it grabs me, AND see what any collected volume may look like, if it’ll be in line with the others, and so on.

And Alien 3 (the William Gibson adaptation) comes to a close. Unless Tristan Jones is doing further covers of the newest Aliens mini, I’m pretty much done with the property as single issues and will opt for the collected volumes.

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And then DC and/or the vendor that handles these at Walmart opted to drop ALL SIX of their MONTHLY 100-Page Comic Giant issues in the SAME WEEK. Even though these are a solid value at only $5 apiece for their size (these’d be $10 through Diamond to regular comic shops)…SIX of them at $5/each still stacks up to a whopping $30!

A mere 8 months into the "experiment" and we already have TWO re-titled/re-numbered books with the Teen Titans book switching to the Titans title, presumably to capitalize on the DC Universe app/service show but other than the logo on the front and a #1 instead of #8, I believe it’s otherwise exactly what we’ve BEEN getting. The same thing with Justice League being retitled to Wonder Woman.

Then we have the new additions of The Flash and Swamp Thing, after "experiment" issues in a Swamp Thing issue last October and a holiday special in December.

Of the original four, only Superman and Batman continue on with their title and numbering.


I’ve a bit of mental "sticker shock" as I look all these over and tally up the costs–seven $5 issues, an $8 issue, and everything else $3.99. At least the Walmart issues don’t have six out every week; and the Conan and Alien3 issues are one-offs at this point. I’m only getting a couple issues of The Flash for this particular crossover with Batman. I jumped back onto Detective Comics for the run-up to #1000, but have yet to decide if or how far beyond #1000 I’m going to go. At the least, I am NOT impressed with the "Decades Variants" and so expect to simply get a single copy of the regular cover edition and let that be that. (Where last year, I got the standard cover, decades variants AND a couple other retailer covers for Action Comics‘ 1000th issue).

Though I’ve been "mid-life crisis-ing" with some purchasing recently…that cannot and will not extend to comics, at least NOT long-term. Huge weeks like this remind me just what a poor value comics truly are, and will push me to all the more drastic decisions regarding what I’ll buy regularly.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 12, 2018

This past week was a rather large week, especially as single issues go. Maybe not huge, but large.

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Supergirl hits its 25th issue, which is an extra-sized $4.99 issue. Considering the series had apparently been cancelled for several months but came back with the existing numbering has been a huge selling point for me…and I’m willing to turn a “blind eye” to a $4.99 #25 much more than I am a #1! Though I’ve skipped several months’ worth of Detective Comics, I’ve opted to get back in for the run-up to #1,000. We’ll see what I think on that after I get around to actually reading #994, though!. While it seems most often that DC saves up its annuals for a 5th week, we get the Batman Annual this week, and it is another $4.99 issue. Again, I’m willing to accept that as this IS an annual, a special issue, and not intended as the premiere issue for a new series!

Then there’s the second issue of the Alien3 adaptation from William Gibson; I haven’t read the first issue yet, and actually need to figure out where it wound up. I probably “ought” to just wait for a collected volume at the rate I’m going, but then, I’m also preferring oversized stuff to skinny-as-heck paperbacks that fit in a comic bag and board that my regular comics fit in. I need to consolidate my Mr. and Mrs. X issues and read…but as a fan of Rogue and Gambit, and of Rogue and Gambit, it’s one Marvel series I’ll actually support. And at least conceptually, their being married is a welcome change, to me! And no particular interest for me in an Archie-published Archie special…buuuuuut it’s “only” $2.99 compared to virtually everything ELSE Archie publishes these days being $3.99 with umpteen variant covers. So I definitely wanted to support the $2.99 price point!

I’d jumped onto Spawn several years ago for the same reason: supporting something with a $2.99 price point! I suppose I ought to check on the price of the main title…and while I’d assumed this Spawn Kills Everyone was $2.99, it’s actually $3.99…and the first issue of a 4-issue mini-series, apparently. Still…I’m ok with it, given virtually everything else is $3.99, so not like it’s standing out, and “at least it’s not a Marvel.”

And as always, the TMNT stuff has long been my “exception” on stuff…including pricing. $7.99 for each of these “prestige format”/squarebound Macro-Series issues doesn’t really phase me. The more good, in-continuity quality TMNT content from IDW, the better!

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And speaking of TMNT…oh, here’s Chloe! Sarah photobombed last time…apaprently it’s Chloe’s turn! She did not care that I was taking photos for this blog…she saw me there, and insisted on some attention!

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So, speaking of TMNT…I don’t even know what to make of this Rise of the TMNT cover. And despite virtually everything else published by IDW having at LEAST one variant, I don’t believe these have had variants. I don’t really care about this series…but have to admit to the “habit” aspect, and knowing that it’s still actually TMNT content, and I’d kick myself if I had to “hunt down” “missing” issues later, so I’ll just get ’em as they come out and be done.

Finally…after however many weeks/months, we get the second issue of Batman: Damned. [ok, it’s been 12 weeks since #1 came out.] 12 weeks…3 months. I don’t remember the original schedule, but I think this is at least a MONTH late, maybe 6+ weeks. I got the first issue out of curiosityDC Black Label, a new Azzarello/Bermejo piece involving the Joker; the magazine-sized format…and if it wasn’t for all the stupid online “HYPE” I never would have even noticed a certain anatomical portrayal graphically present. Having the first issue and not hating it, I got the second issue; and as I believe it’s to be a 3-issue thing, I’m quite likely to also get the third/final issue as well.


Along with these issues, I also during the week snagged the Thanos Mighty Mugg figure from Hasbro. I’ve previously passed on all of these due to how small these are compared to the original line as well as not caring for the “gimmick” of the multiple faces. But hey…this is Thanos, so I went ahead and got it.

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And speaking of Thanos…thanks to an online sale from Hot Topic, I was able to get a significant discount on the Thanos-on-his-throne Pop vinyl…with FREE shipping by having it delivered to the local Hot Topic at the mall. Unexpectedly for me, Hot Topic also had a sale going of buy-1-get-1-50%-off for everything in the store includingPops. I happened across the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers White Tigerzord, which I would have bought “anyway” just for what it IS. That the store had the Grindelwald-and-Thestral already marked down 50%, and eligible for the further discount, it made for quite the “steal.”

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Aaaaaand that’s about enough for this week.

Two more New Comic Days for 2018…that means this was the 50th. And the final will be “interesting,” falling as it does the day right after Christmas…I’m not even sure what (if anything) will really be out that week or if it’ll warrant its own trip to the comics shop(s).

Time will tell…and we’ll see what the week of the 19th holds!

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On My History With Aliens

alien3_novelizationThe Aliens franchise is a strange one for me. I’ve realized in recent years that it is honestly one of my absolute favorites, for whatever reason(s)–going back to the novels that so grabbed me as a kid, despite the horror elements–or perhaps because of them.

As my memory currently stands, I’d found a copy of Alien3–the novelization by Alan Dean Foster. After reading that and knowing it was based on a movie, I wanted to see the movie. Long story short, despite misgivings, I was allowed to rent and watch it–I credit it as my first "allowed" R-rated film.

Of course, this was the THIRD film, and there were two others. And being the reader that I was, I got into the other novelizations and films. I distinctly recall the sense of deja-vu in reading the novelization of Alien…I’m pretty certain to this day that I had actually read that some time before, never having a clue that it had anything at all to do with some movie. Of course I read it again having context of it being a movie…though I think at the time I thought the movie was based on the book rather than the other way around.

aliens_bantam_spectra_runI eventually got into the Aliens novels, then published by Bantam Spectra, based on the Dark Horse comics. These were where the non-film stories most stand out to me: the original "trilogy," or first three series from Dark Horse. In these, the Alien gets to Earth, where predictably it escapes confinement and the Earth is ultimately lost. Two survivors (based on Hicks and Newt) wind up on a couple adventures, eventually team up with Ripley (explained as an android with the original’s memories, accounting for the events of Alien 3) and left on a hopeful if ambiguous note.

avp_deadliest_heroillustratedThen further stories picked up some two decades after this, and seemed to maintain a certain sort of loose continuity–at least in the novels; though regardless, the stories were entertaining enough to read, even though none of them stood up against the immensity of the first three-parter. There were also several crossing the Aliens with Predator, which also led me to the Predator films.

By then, I’d been aware of both franchises and their crossing thanks to Hero Illustrated and such with hype over Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species. avp_three_world_war_0002But it was the novels that I preferred, having little interest at the time in the actual comics, given it was years before "anything and everything" could be relatively simply located–and for bargain prices–online, and further before everything was collected and at least available to be READ if not owned in original single issues.

In the last several years, I’ve "gotten back into" Aliens, with Titan Books now having the license, and putting out some new editions and original stories and such, along with newer editions of the packaging for the films on home media, and new (but too-expensive) toys.

And of course, there have been the comics. There was AVP: Three World War, I believe standing as its own story with not much to do with the films, but utilizing the logo/branding from the AVP films. There was another Aliens series that I’m sure I at least had the first issue, but not sure if I followed through with the series in general.

lifeanddeath_predatorIn 2014, there was the mega-arc Fire and Stone, with 4-issue mini-series each for Prometheus, Aliens, Predator, and AVP that tied together into the larger overall story.

Last year we had the start of a new major Aliens series in Defiance–offhand, I think the longest singular Aliens series (Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species was 12 issues, I believe, but that wasn’t a singular-property series).

Last year also saw the start of a new mega-arc Life and Death, which was "in the tradition of Fire and Stone" with 4-issue minis for each of the four brands, collectively telling one larger overall arc.

Despite both Defiance and Life and Death starting last year, I got behind on READING, so it was only in April–right after the final chapter of Life and Death hit–that I carved out several hours and read that story cycle straight through–lifeanddeath_aliensall 17 chapters–in one day. I also re-read the Defiance issues I’d read, and continued on, though those had a slight delay with real-life issues going on, and I finished catching up a week or so ago.

There’s a new Predator mini that’s started that looks like it builds on continuity established over the years in the Dark Horse series, which makes it all the more appealing to me, as I can go back and read (finally) older stories for enhanced understanding/context.

I posted photos of my Aliens "bookshelf" collection several weeks ago and more recently found a couple figures from the 1990s toy line. A new book anthology Aliens: Bug Hunt was recently released and has been my current "reading project" on lunches at work.

lifeanddeath_predatorWhich all sorta converges this weekend with the release of the new Ridley Scott-helmed film Alien: Covenant. To my understanding, this is a "sequel" of sorts to 2012’s Prometheus which was itself a quasi-prequel to Alien (in that it’s in the same universe and took place prior to the events of the original Alien film). Given the use of Alien back in the title itself, I’m definitely expecting to see the eponymous creature in this one. I’m also looking forward to the film in general as (expectationally) my first theatrical Scott Alien film (though I’ve seen Alien Resurrection, AVP, AVP Requiem, and Prometheus during their theatrical runs).

Perhaps–for me–one of the great things with the Aliens (and Predator) stuff (whether as novels or comics) is that there are so many stories to tell, as well as so many iterations ofsuperman_aliens_ad a formula. The basic elements are there, one can generally have accurate expectations going into a story–but there doesn’t even HAVE TO BE a singular, linear "continuity." The creatures work in stories on their own, or even interacting with other franchises. To me, one of the best of those is the Superman/Aliens crossover, as that drew directly from and even had lasting repercussions within the Superman titles. (And on the matter of lasting repercussions, I believe the Aliens crossover with WildC.A.T.s was the finale of that series and a sort of inciting incident that moved us from Stormwatch to The Authority).

But while a larger story can be found, it seems like if you know the "basics" of the property, you can pretty much read whatever, whenever, without missing out. And the model for the comics lifeanddeath_prometheushas apparently always been the "limited series"–I don’t believe there’s ever been an "ongoing" series with any intention or expectation of exceeding 12 issues; with a number of shorter serialized stories, a "prestige format" 2-issue series, or 4 to 6 issues for a series. And these are finite and collected–largely–in Dark Horse‘s Omnibus line.

It’s also far more achievable to pursue a "complete" collection of Aliens comics than characters that have been around longer, and in ongoing series and crossovers and minis and such all around.

For now–the new Alien film. With plenty of new material to read, and loads to re-read, and old material to read for the first time. It seems like a great time to be "into" the franchise(s) and such with so much content readily available–new and old–to go through!

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Aliens Day 2017

It’s interesting to see the various "days" that folks have come up with. Seems like there’s something for every day of the year. Where once there were "Hallmark Holidays," now even those would be prestigious rarities by comparison.

That said, one of the ones that I can actually appreciate is Aliens Day. April 26th…or 4/26. As in LV-426, the planetoid with the colony that the Colonial Marines and Ripley went (back) to in the film Aliens all those years back.

And as one of my all-time favorite franchises, and not having properly observed it last year in its inaugural outing, I figured I’d dedicate a post to it this year.

Yet, I don’t have anything lengthy or long-winded; I could ramble about my thoughts on the films, the books, etc; some memories tied up in stuff around obtaining various pieces of my collection, but I don’t actually have the time or patience at present.

SO, in lieu of lots of words, I’ll let some photos do most of the "talking."

Aliens Day 2017…here is my Aliens collection.

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The films. Well, the Blu-Ray editions, anyway–once upon a time, I had the Aliens Quadrilogy dvd box set–the 9-foot-long thing with all those discs and such. I also had all the single films on dvd, with a couple different editions of Alien and Aliens. I’ve since bought a pale imitation of the Quadrilogy dvd–bare-bones films–BUT that one came with a code for a digital copy, giving me a digital set of the first four films.

And over the past year and a half or so with the Anniversary Edition releases for the first two, I’ve bought those for the bonus (physical) content.

I also lump the Predator franchise in here…I find that via the Aliens vs. Predator and AvP stuff, the two are solidly linked, and the Predator stuff just works well partnered with the Aliens stuff.

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I believe I have the entire run of ’90s novels, each adapting one of Dark Horse Comics‘ mini-series. About 12 years ago, there were several more books released directly from the publisher under a now-defunct imprint. And of course, there were the movie novelizations. More recently, Titan Books has been putting out new stuff such as a trilogy of Alien novels set between the original Alien film and Aliens.

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Titan also put out a newer trilogy "crossing" franchises–Predator, Alien, and Alien vs. Predator, set in a further future, and set the stage for what could be some very interesting universe-building should further novels be produced. There’s also a newer anthology of short stories, and a number of other books and products outside the Titan well.

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Of course, there are the comics–which I have in multiple formats. I’m loving the oversized hardcovers. There are the original collected volumes. We recently got a collection of Dark Horse‘s collaborations with DC on the Aliens stuff. The excellent Omnibus series encompassing Aliens, Aliens vs. Predator, and Predator itself.

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Then there are the toys/figurines/etc. Funko Pop figures, regular and oversized; Minimates, Neca, Funko Mystery Mini figures, and even a "cute" plush happy-looking face-hugger.

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In trying to get a bunch of the Alien creature from the Mystery Minis line, I wound up with far more Predators–the standard, the "wounded" variant, and the extra-rare translucent "invisible" variant. I eventually snagged the "full-size" standard Pop figure.


I’m also very much looking forward to the new movie due out in about three weeks, and to the concluding chapter of the mega-arc Life and Death that’s due out this week.

I’ve seen a number of other toys/figures I’d like, but they tend to be very much on the far-too-expensive side for me, especially where life is right now.

I do imagine a re-watch marathon may be in the near-future for me, as well as having plenty of reading yet to go, having been back through or just through (in the case of the newer releases) some dozen or so of the novels in the last year-plus.

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