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The Weekend Haul – Weekend of June 9-11

Over the weekend, I wound up getting quite a bit of stuff! Granted, some of it was ordered and arrived over the weekend, but still much more than a usual weekend might be!

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I stopped by Comic Heaven looking for Trial of the Flash issues, with no luck on those. but I did score an anniversary issue of Detective Comics that I think I may have heard of but don’t think I’ve ever read.

Then I found several books more than 50% off in bargain bins I hadn’t realized had been "restocked." (One actually may have been on a bargain shelf display, come to think of it). These, plus a booster pack of Star Wars: Destiny (a dice and cards game) where I got a rather pricey rare card (or "legendary" in game terms) cost me LESS than what the Black Vortex would have cost at cover price!

And it’s kinda hard to believe that there are 75 issues of Savage Dragon across just three of these Savage Dragon Archives paperbacks. (They’re basically like Marvel‘s Essential or DC‘s Showcase volumes–phonebook-sized black and white reprints of series). I remember (among other issues prior) getting Savage Dragon #75 as a new issue and being astounded at how long Larsen kept the result of that issue going at the time. And I’m quite interested in snagging the other Archives volumes as well.

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Then, I took a friend across town to Carol & John’s, where we were unfortunate enough to be there during Winston‘s nap-time. Being cat people, though, we totally understood not waking the kitty!

I snagged the new Marvel Comics Digest starring Spider-Man, and picked up Bane: Conquest #2 which I’d missed/not seen prior (oops!).

At a Books-A-Million, I snagged a Spidey treasury edition…for $3.97 and jumped on it (hey, 5 Marvel issues’ content for a whopping $3.97–cheaper even than a single issue–is a price point I’m willing to sample something at!)

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Also at the Books-A-Million, I found a copy of the (I believe out of print) Gambit Classic vol. 1 for a mere $6.97–seven issues’ content for barely $1 each, and did I mention that I’m pretty sure this volume is out of print? I think its contents are somewhat duplicated in other stuff, but the ’90s fan in me was ecstatic to find this for the price (though I’ll probably pay at least triple this for the second volume if I ever come across it or hunt it down).

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And rounding things out, I’d put an order in with InStockTrades for a few books, sliding I think just a few cents over the minimum threshold for free shipping. And though the box arrived with a hefty dent and outright HOLE in its side from the mail system…since InStockTrades (UNLIKE Amazon) ACTUALLY USES GOOD PACKING PRACTICES, my books were UNHARMED. Additionally, because of actually being packed well, they arrived in new condition, as ordered–something Amazon flat-out REFUSES to do!

Next is to try to hold back a bit, though there are a number of other books and such that I want. It’s just kinda sad when a random visit to a couple comic shops and a bookstore (and an online order) yield better deals and more plentifully so (that interest me, anyway) than a convention.

We’ll see what this week’s new releases hold, and if/when I get another chance to sit down for some major, marathon reading!

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Digital Comics, Unfriendly Page Layouts, and Black Vortex

double_spreads_01I was recently reading some online posts about Thanos, Thane, Infinity, and Black Vortex…and realized that while I had STARTED reading Black Vortex, I never finished it.

I believe it was a 12-issue story…and you can download 12 issues to your device with Marvel Unlimited, and I’d done just that, intending to binge-read the story…and yet I never finished the story.

The reason?

Page layouts.

I enjoy digital well enough…but even turning a tablet sideways, it’s virtually impossible to actually make out the text–captions, speech bubbles, etc–on a 2-page spread shrunk to fit even on the sideways-turned-tablet.

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And in thinking about it, I’m certain that was what stopped me in my tracks: I just got so incredibly annoyed at CONSTANTLY having to turn the tablet and zoom in, because it seemed like every couple pages was a double-page layout!

While a "standard" single-page, vertical, is generally a decent read on a table, it then either is showing only half of the layout, or turn the device sideways and it’s reduced to a much smaller size.

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Sure, there are the various "zoom in to read" modes–Comixology has its "guided view," Marvel Unlimited has some sort of panel view, and I imagine other similar platforms have their own thing to allow you to basically zoom in or view just a given panel in lieu of an entire page.

But part of what drove me to get a tablet, looking forward to the digital comics side, was that the tablet in standard vertical orientation–a bit taller than wide–was roughly the size of a single page of a standard comic book.

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"Modern layouts" can be quite cool, and interesting, and presumably fun for designers, and allow artists to "experiment" and all that (and please believe me, I can totally appreciate that and see immense value and necessity for it) but it all rarely translates well to a digital screen, at least in my own opinion, for my own methods and purposes.

I can’t see "digital" ever totally replacing "print" for me, though I would not be entirely opposed to "switching" to "digital only" for single issues and collected volumes as my "print edition" or "archival copy" if I really dug something… though that’s largely its own topic and for some other post. But for newer comics with the constant full page panels and double-page splashes (already a "cheat" to my pagecount for $3.99 in many cases), it’s even more annoying to experience attempting to read digitally.

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And so–particularly with Marvel, as this specific example–as much as other elements are "barriers to entry, I’m already ok with reading some stuff digitally.

I just can’t stand the double-page spreads that seem to be far too common, recklessly used and even "abused" by way of throwing out pages for something being double-shipped or otherwise trying to make a deadline.

If I’m gonna have to fumble with something physical, do more than just a gentle "swipe" across a screen to read an entire page…I’m darned well gonna just stick with a print edition comic!

The Black Vortex Checklist

An ancient artifact.
An unknown power.
The fate of billions.

February 2015
The Black Vortex Alpha #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Legendary Star-Lord #9
All-New X-Men #38

March 2015
All-New X-Men #39
Guardians Team-Up #3
Guardians of the Galaxy #25
Nova #28
Legendary Star-Lord #10

April 2015
Cyclops #12
Captain Marvel #14
Legendary Star-Lord #11
The Black Vortex Omega #1

source: Promotional Bookmark (pictured below)

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