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The Complete Life and Death

I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time. It’s been well over a YEAR since the individual comics finished and it seems like forever that the individual skinny paperbacks have been out…and even a paperback edition collecting the entire series has been out for awhile.

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But this oversized hardcover "library edition" version of The Complete Life and Death is finally out.

This collects the entire Life and Death mega-arc, that spanned four mini-series, each touching on a brand: Prometheus, Aliens, AvP, and Predator.

Even the first issue of the story had comparison to/reference of the previous such mega-arc Fire and Stone…and it’s great to finally have this volume to add to my growing library of these beautiful hardcovers!

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Here’s the book with the other hardcovers and paired with Fire and Stone.

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…and here’s my entire Aliens shelf. Assuming I discovered the Aliens vs. Predator novels in 1995 (I don’t recall for sure as of this typing nor do I feel like looking up copyright dates), that’s less than a decade after the first Predator FILM. And it’s been 23 years SINCE then…so for the majority of the time I’ve even been aware of either property, they’ve been a "shared universe," particularly in the comics.

For me, they just go together.

This shelf is the comics/graphic novels shelf…I have several shelves of novels (I believe I most recently showed those off back in April for Aliens Day 2018.)

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Alien(s) Day 2018

April 26, 4/26–chosen for the planet designation LV-426 where the Alien was found and then the larger outbreak in Aliens–marks the day to observe the franchise.

For my part…sharing my latest shelf configurations!

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I believe I have all of the Aliens paperback novels at this point. Including the Predator stuff, I’m still missing a Predator Omnibus from Titan; but I’m not in a huge rush to get that. There’s also a Predator counterpart to the Aliens: Bug Hunt volume; but again, not in a rush to get that.

Along with the books themselves on the shelves, I’ve got the various Pops and Mystery Minis and Minimates and whatnot. Seems the most appropriate place for the figures to be!

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Along with the various paperback novels, of course I have a number of comics volumes for Aliens, Predator, and Aliens vs. Predator. And rather than have them lost in with everything else, I opted to move my Blu-rays to this shelf (with the added benefit that they help keep everything standing up for the moment). I was counting on a matching volume to the Fire and Stone stuff with Life and Death, but never having seen anything about a hardcover and recently-ish seeing a paperback…I’m quite disappointed at the lack of proper "library edition" volume.

With my recent reconfiguring of the entire "comics space" I wasn’t able to find a good way to have the novels together with the graphic novels…so they are actually completely different bookcases in different parts of the overall space. I imagine I’ll get into more on that whenever I get to actually re-photographing the entire space and shelves and working up a huge post showing it all off!

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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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The Weekly Haul – Week of April 5, 2017

This week’s haul wound up being decently-sized comic-wise while remaining quite cheap, for the number of issues. It’s proven rather expensive on non-comic stuff, particularly the TMNT Toys front.

On to the point of this post, though–this week’s comics/Wednesday Purchase!

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Three $1 issues this week. I was going to pass on The Sovereigns, but for "only" $1, figure I’ll give it a try. It IS Dynamite, and it IS yet another apparent "relaunch" or "reboot" of the Gold Key properties, and I’d swear we’re ONLY a few months removed from the last series dealing with them!

I was skeptical of the True Believers Giant-Size X-Men #1 reprint, given the way the Age of Apocalypse one a couple years back cut off part way through, not EVEN giving us the full issue…and I’m pretty sure the Infinity Gauntlet one did the same. Flipping through…looks like this actually is the complete issue, though! So definitely worth the price!

And of course, definitely cool to have this reprint of the ORIGINAL X-Men #1. I’d seen these listed for release this week and couldn’t place what event they’d be tied to–the Wolverine series and Deadpool series had been tied to the release of their respective movies. Then dawned on me…ResurrXion.

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The newest issue of the Captain Atom mini is out…and I was AGAIN "surprised" at its "only" being $2.99…fully mentally "expected" it to be $3.99!

The Skottie Young print came "free" with thepurchase of the X-Men: Gold issue; which itself is an atrocious $4.99…but as with last week’s Prime, I figure I’ll give the first issues a shot to at least see a BIT for myself, and judge if I might be interested in collected volumes or such down the road.

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ALSO flying radically in the face of my usual, with its presence and price and looking like such a great art piece, I actually snagged a copy of the Superman variant along with the main cover. This variant will be getting framed and hung, though, to be on display…not gathering dust somewhere merely existing in an abyss of longboxes!

The penultimate issue of the Life and Death mega-thing for AVP, Predator, Aliens, and Prometheus came out last week, but I missed it, so grabbed it this week.

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I also decided to pull the trigger on this Eaglemoss Superman figurine, figuring I didn’t want to have to hunt it later, and thus one less item to hunt for.

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This is from the same series as the Robin figurine I’d ordered online, so the back is almost entirely the same, just a changed image for the character booklet, and this one lacks the extraneous sticker of the online retailer for the Robin figure.

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Like the Robin one, I definitely look forward to going through the booklet to see what this take on the general Superman saga is, and compare it to my own existing knowledge and such.

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Finally, here’s the figurine itself; if the photo displays as largely on your monitor as mine, it’s actually larger-than-life! The face is a bit "off" for me, and something about the pose and such in genera isn’t QUITE as iconic as I might like for a Superman thing…but for what it is, it’ll do, I suppose. For better or worse, at this point, most Superman figures essentially disappear into a crowd when added to my Superman shelf…


Extra Week of March 29th Stuff

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Though I’d somewhat expected a couple other issues (the AVP: LIfe and Death one in particular) to be waiting for me, the only one at the usual shop was Aliens: Defiance. So I hit the 25-cent bins a bit half-heartedly…didn’t find much, outside of several early issues of Dark Horse Comics (…Presents?). There was also a variant of the 25-cent 25th-issue of Outcast done in the style of classic Image books, so I grabbed that. I suppose part of my problem with variants is pricing…I’m much more accepting of them on a 25-cent issue where it’s easily-accessible/available and NOT a hassle to find. Such as finding an issue without even setting out to, and NOT being "denied" a PREFERRED image that I go in for!

There’s also the IDW Publishing  catalog The Gateway Collection, showing off books they have available. The catalog was free, so why not? It helped give me hope that I’ll soon be able to get the hardcover TMNT: The IDW Collection vol. 2, as I trust it would not be advertised if it was gonna be left out of print!

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There was also a table of old fast-food toys for $2/apiece. I was rather shocked to find this White Ranger…partly just to find it at all, and maybe moreso to discover it was part of a McDonald’s promotion and not the Burger King I’ve thought for the last however many years! (I suppose nearly 22 years removed, I can be forgiven the poor memory from when I was a 14-year-old kid!).

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I also snagged the Red Ranger. Unfortunately, there were no other Rangers, or I’d have surely bought them all on the spot!

Though "just" Happy Meal toys, these figures are certainly on par with standard commercially-available figures from toy stores…the White Ranger was an almost perfect match for the 2010-or-so series of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers released to coincide with the "remastered" first-season episodes; and served in that role until just a month or two back when I finally added a "real" version to my mix.


Next week I’ll likely have some TMNT stuff to show off, and perhaps delve back through photos on my phone for some random stuff to share.

Time shall tell!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 22, 2017

This week in comics is probably my most expensive in awhile…or at least, it sure feels like it! But then, multiple $3.99 issues and two $4.99s will do that! (Ugh!)

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Actually, the only $2.99 of the week was Action Comics. I’ve been looking forward to Highlander for awhile, though other than knowing that there was a new (mini?) series coming, and something giving me the notion it’s a prequel to the original film, I know virtually nothing about it yet. I’m giving Curse Words and Kamandi Challenge a second issue, and of course, keeping up with the Prometheus/Aliens/Predator/AvP: Life and Death arc. And with TMNT being just about my favorite property, a bit eager on that new issue despite the price point (again, with TMNT remaining my conscious exception to pricing that’d put me off of other properties).

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And a second-for-the-week $4.99 TMNT book in the "Director’s Cut" of Batman/TMNT Adventures #1. I knew I’d ultimately regret it if I didn’t get the thing…and rather than waste time/money later in extra-hunting to get it, figured I’d just nip that right in the bud (so to speak).

And then the Dr. Strange keychain and Outcast #25 were "free" bonuses at the shop (along with a full-size Dr. Strange movie poster that I may photograph later once framed!).

Next step is getting stuff actually read!

Final Haul of 2016

New Year’s Eve, I made a quick trip to the old comic shop to pick up a few things. I also stopped at a Books-A-Million to snag something for a friend, and wound up getting a couple things for myself while I was there. These are the highlights–minus thirty-three 20-cent issues.

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Lotta Aliens stuff. Well, and Predator. And the mashing together of the properties. In short, awesomeness. I’m loving these new Titan volumes collecting the classic Dark Horse Novels books. Even though I have the originals, I’ve been getting these for the completeness. I’ve been realizing the last year-plus that Aliens (and related) properties are much like TMNT for me in being willing to "double-dip" (or more) on stuff.

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With a 20%-off-everything-but-brand-new-comics sale going on, I snagged the Munchkin mini-expansion Dragons (to go with Dragon’s Trike that I got several weeks ago)…and got the Super Powers Superman figure/"statue" to go with the Robin one I got several months ago (though now I definitely want Batman. And Flash. And perhaps even Green Lantern…)

And Friday I’d revisited the closer comic shop for several volumes:

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At half-off and fitting in with recent Clone Saga and Ben Reilly volumes plus CHapter One and The Original Clone Saga that I’d had from 2015 or early 2016, I decided that I wanted them…especially having seen them. So I decided that if they still had all three volumes, I’d get ’em; all-or-nothing.

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And now the Spidey portion of my collection is starting to look like something not completely pitiful. Of course, I believe I have four more volumes to track down for the Clone Saga Epic, and decide how much I’m willing to pay on the Ben Reilly volumes 5 & 6 (even cover price seems way too expensive!) (especially having gotten 1-4 for $8/ea!)

Hopefully this week will be a relatively small week, though!

Finally, the clear bonus to going back to the shop on Friday was getting to see Winston!

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(He was still sleepy when I took this photo). He put up with my attention, though, which (as always) made the trip worth it for that alone!

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