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Life During Quarantine: Venturing Back Out

After two months, I was finally able to venture out to a comic shop again.

Three, actually.

Observing recommended and mandated rules as applicable.

Not sure when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from IDW will be back (if it comes back?), but a couple more weeks til Batman is back, I believe. Other than the next issue of those, or TMNT/Power Rangers or certain reprint editions…not much that really interests me in the way of new/modern 2020 comics, all the more after the shutdowns.

That said–having finally more or less gotten my X-Men and X-Adjascent collection collated and sorted, I finally have a large, solid list of specific comics I’m definitely "motivated" to hunt down.

So with comic shops finally allowed to be open again and armed with a mask I could physically tolerate for short times, on Saturday I ventured back out to comic shops for the first time since March.


Comic Heaven

First off was Comic Heaven, my weekly comic-shop-home and where I go each week.

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I’d forgotten about the Secret Origins of Super-Heroes replica/facsimile edition being out. Moreso, nothing about DC Super-Stars caught my attention so I hadn’t bothered to message ahead to have it pulled. Or rather, "DC SUPER STARS #17 FACSIMILE EDITION" as it was listed on shipping lists.

And for the heckuvit, I grabbed an extra copy of Uncanny X-Men #266 cuz why not?

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Then I dug into the back-issue bins. I didn’t really think there’d be any new Spawn, at least not from the range of issues I’m looking for. But there was #101…which plugs a hole so that NOW I have #s 1-131 or so, leaving me #s 132-256 (a "mere" 125 or so issues of over 300!).

Also snagged a couple issues from the ORIGINAL Aliens series from Dark Horse.

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From there, managed to score some issues on my X-list. Three X-Force issues and an annual; 1 of 2 X-Factor issues missing, and 4 Wolverine issues!

I have to say…after so many years of sorta randomly buying issues, it felt extremely good to finally be working off a specific (and finite!) list and to chip away at several series I’m specifically seeking to fill!

Of course, there are plenty of other issues I’m also after, but with so few NEW comics, and preferring to spend moderately per purchase even when it obviously adds up over time…that was that for this week, with probably some Generation X, X-Man, and Uncanny X-Men to follow in the near future!


Kenmore Komics and Games

Next was Kenmore Komics and Games, where I’ve been a regular since 2007, but after being laid off in 2016 has been more or less a monthly visit; with far more between visits thanks to the shutdowns.

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An announcement email had let me know there was a restock on the Marvel Champions game several weeks ago, so I’d PayPaled an order for the Captain America and Thor hero expansion decks. Seeing it on the shelf, I grabbed the Black Widow deck as well.

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I’d also jumped on the opportunity to snag several issues of Xenozoic Tales including the first issue! I hadn’t fully thought that through, so made for more of an expenditure than I’d planned, but I told myself I hadn’t been to a comic shop in ages, and would’ve spent way more had I been getting new comics all along, so c’est la vie!

And then for the 33rd anniversary sale, back issues had various discounts. I snagged a couple issues of Batman/Aliens.

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And most of the back-half of Red Robin. I’d followed the series for about 12 issues before losing track ahead of the Flashpoint and New 52. While I’m pretty sure several issues are duplicates, I’m pretty confident this leaves me maybe 1-2 issues short of the complete series…so going all the way back to the original Robin 1990 mini-series!

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Not much luck on the X-list, but I was able to get several issues of NEW X MEN, and then delved down to the third tier or so of my list for a Cable issues from the Cable & Hope post-Messiah Complex series.

Also got another issue of Warlock, bringing me one issue closer to having that complete 15-issue series!

I grabbed a couple random issues that caught my eye as well, and significantly discounted…so not quite 25-cent books, but the next best thing!


Carol & John’s

Finally, swung by Carol & John’s on the way back.

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Unfortunately, Free Comic Day didn’t happen back at the beginning of the month…and this year’s CNJ FCBD event would have been epic…with them bringing Christopher Claremont out! I’d been looking forward to that for months, but maybe it’ll happen yet in some form.

Meanwhile, in lieu of their annual FCBD print, they had a "Free Comic Book Day Cancelled Until Further Notice" print for present, free with any purchase.

I also noticed a remarkable (to me!) price on the vintage-ish (if not vintage, then close TO vintage…) Marvel Legends figures. I quite appreciated the Scarlet Witch/Wonder Man relationship in Busiek‘s Avengers run, and being able to get both characters here together for the price of ONE contemporary Marvel Legends figure was too good to pass up!

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Some weeks back, I’d "won" a couple of livesale/auction issues as well as a "gallery sale" issue; and had claimed a couple of low-priced bulk issues, so picked all those up. A solid haul for stuff I’d basically ordered-and-forgot!

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Picking through some $1-bins, I found a few things to get.

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Getting to actual back-issue bins, I went ahead and snagged X-Factor #5…COMPLETING THE ORIGINAL SERIES in my collection! I’d been missing two issues when I woke…and between CNJ and Comic Heaven I completed the original 149-issue run of the ’90s series!

Also snagged a couple more X-Force and Wolverine issues…including the ELUSIVE Wolverine #96, that–despite keeping up with the title at this point back in the ’90s, post-Age of Apocalypse–I missed back then and somehow KEPT ON MISSING in all the years SINCE!

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And finally, grabbed a few issues of Uncanny X-Men from the X-list.

I also got some "supplies" in the form of several treasury-sized bags and boards, a few silver-age bags and boards, and a well-priced "Stor-Folio" that beats the heck outta the prices I see online.


All told, quite a haul for one weekend…one day!

I doubt I’ll be hitting 3 shops in 1 day frequently…but after the shutdowns, I wanted to make the circuit to support their being open again.

And I definitely look forward to more back-issue bin-diving in the near future as I seek to close the gaps in my ’90s X-Books collection, Spawn, and so on.

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Halloween ComicFest 2017

Over the weekend, we had Halloween ComicFest. Basically like a Halloween-themed Free Comic Book Day with participating retailers. Same sorta thing–publishers put out specific comics that retailers can order, that are intended to be given away. Retailers, of course, can opt to do other stuff as well.

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Since I was not in costume, I was part of the crowd that qualified for picking 5 of the "free" issues. I’m definitely in a Thor mood lately, and Ghostbusters and The Tick caught my eye. I rounded it out with Darth Maul and Hellboy and the BPRD. I also snagged three "back issues" of Action Comics from the New 52-era (#s 37-39), which MIGHT leave me "only" missing #s 36 and 40 or so from that run, and thus effectively means I’m a mere 2 or so issues shy of having every issue of Action  Comics from #583 to #990!

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Along with the Halloween issues, Carol & John’s also had several bonus things to choose from with a purchase. I opted for the Thor by Walter Simonson vol. 1.

Later in the day after some non-comics personal stuff, I was able to stop by Comic Heaven, where I picked up Atomahawk #0 to try, and the fourth volume of Criminal (I think there are 7 volumes). I was also able to get the Walking Dead reprint of #1, Wizard World edition from 2013. Pretty nifty.


Thanks to a couple friends, I learned that Dollar General had some sort of pack of skeleton miniatures. Took some hunting (and finding multiple DG locations) but combined with figures I already had, I was able to take the following photo (done up meme-style at another friend’s suggestion).

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After all…this week (I believe) we get the first issue of a new (and this time weekly) TMNT/Ghostbusters comic series. And this would be a scenario (sorta) the Ghostbusters might just be able to help with, no?

The Weekly Haul – Week of April 26, 2017

This week involved QUITE the feline-centric New Comics Day!

I swung by Carol & John’s, and was greeted at the door personally by Winston himself, who quickly led me into the shop to show off the pint-glasses. (Or he was watching birds outside, and I just got in the way). Whatever the case, he let me scratch his head and pet him, and then he wandered off to attend to his other duties around the shop.

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Here he is…the Master Greeter himself…though he wouldn’t look right at the camera for me. I guess that’s where I should point y’all to ComicCatWinston on Instagram.

Loads of great pics!

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Then, while getting situated for this week’s post, my own cat, Ziggy, played the photo-bomber role again. Often I’ve just shown these on this blog’s Facebook page, but thought I’d include it here as well…’cuz hey, why not?

His butt is planted on this week’s Action Comics issue, while his paws are digging into the lenticular cover of Flash #21, while Streaky looks on curiously from the background.

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…and now to the standard, static photos for the week!

I bought one of the Carol & John’s prints for Free Comic Book Day 2017 in support of the shop and their annual shindig. I have no idea if I’ll get to make it out for any official FCBD festivities, but with getting to visit the shop a lot more frequently since starting the current job, I can definitely display such a print without feeling "off" in doing so!

While it was actually another shop–Hazel’s Heroes Comics and More–that had a post this week about Super-Pets in stock, that reminded me of the existence of the plush critters. While I wouldn’t mind getting Krypto and Dex-Starr, I was more interested in Streaky the Super-Cat. And guess who I saw peeking out at me from a shelf?

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As I keep on saying, I love that there’s a new Superman comic each week now that I look forward to. Of course, as with last week, the Superman titles have taken a slight back-seat to the Batman/Flash crossover The Button.

As I’m a sucker for nostalgia, the Splitting Image book caught my eye…I’m pretty sure this is reprinting some classic ’90s issues from early in the Image days. Whatever the case, I figured it’s a fun collection.

Then as New Comic Day fell on Aliens Day (or Alien, singular), we have the first issue of the new series Aliens: Dead Orbit as well as the finale to the mega-arc Life and Death that’s been going since March 2016.

And since I’m double-dipping for immediacy on the TMNT Universe issue, I opted for the "B" cover, though I don’t care for it as much as the actual regular cover.

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Then there were several more of the True Believers reprints. This time, Uncanny X-Men #281, Generation X #1, and I passed on Astonishing X-Men #1, as they utilized the ridiculously-stupid Wolverine-Claws cover instead of the team-image (for the FIRST ISSUE of a TEAM BOOK).

There was also a free handout of a reading chronology of Marvel stuff. I flipped through it briefly and found most stuff unrecognizable or uninteresting, but there may be a gem or two hidden in there.


Hard to believe we’re already at the end of April 2017. We’re 11 months into DC‘s Rebirth initiative, and I don’t think a week’s gone by since that first special issue that there hasn’t been at least one DC book (typically a Superman issue) I’ve been looking forward to. And the last few weeks with Superman: Reborn and now The Button, they’re really ramping things up, so that I hardly care what else is out next week–I’m looking forward to the next chapter of The Button, and quite curious as to where else stuff will unfold in the mega-arc of the universe-wide tapestry.

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Winston World and the Weekend Haul: Weekend of March 17-19

winston_world_weekend_haul_blogtrailer1While this weekend was Wizard World in Cleveland, I never had any intention of attending that. I’d attended a Wizard World convention in Columbus a few years back, and decided that it’s not a convention "brand" I care to deal with (long story’s another post someday; short story is that it’s too expensive for too little comic-content, and it seems unlikely that the brand can possibly ever get back to the Chicago edition of the con I attended in 2007).

Fortunately, Carol & John’s opted to hold a sale for those #NotAtComicCon: Winston World!

Along with that, Half-Price Books had a week of coupons beginning last Monday, with two days of 20% off your most expensive item; two days of 30%; two days of 40%, and culminating in the final day’s 50% off your most expensive item. While 20% didn’t mean much to me, I jumped in, taking advantage at the 30% and snagged a few things, as I showed off in last week’s Weekly Haul post for Wednesday and Thursday.

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My primary interest in the Winston World stuff was the 75%-off graphic novel bins. There’d been several books I’d had my eye on that weren’t quite justifiable to me even at 50% off (and/or just didn’t have room in the "budget" weeks I was there) that would certainly be more than worthwhile at 75% off!

While one of the main books I was interested in was no longer there, I did find the three above that I couldn’t quite talk myself into passing up for the price. (Namely, each was cheaper than 3 current Marvel single issues!)

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The Ultimate Comics: Divided We Fall, United We Stand was still there, so I snagged it. Then I started poking through back issues, and snagged the Peter David Supergirl #1, which puts me one issue closer to a complete run on that.

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The 50% off back issues brought the cost of these issues to around or under half the cost of a current DC issue, so I snagged the three Superman Specials and the actual Superman issue that had Superman meeting Destiny for the first time (and reprinted in the DC Retroactive – Superman: The ’80s).

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I also picked up several Batman issues post-Death in the Family/pre-Lonely Place of Dying that I’m missing (or pretty certain I’m missing). A bit more expensive than I’d’ve preferred, but they’re issues I don’t tend to see in quarter-bins, and for 50% off, it brought them into the price-realm of "no worse than buying a current comic." And kept me well under $10 an issue!

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For convenience’s sake, snagged most of the The Day of the Krypton Man arc, likely to join with Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite as nostalgia reading in the near future. Unfortunately, they did not have the second Adventures of Superman issue (Chapter V) but I was pretty sure I’d be able to snag that without much problem later.

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Along with the Winston World/St. Patrick’s Day edition of the shop’s sticker that was being given away with any purchase, I also opted to buy one of the regular ones. I haven’t decided yet where to actually stick them, but I’ll try to remember to post a photo here or on Facebook once I do!

All in all, I got out for around the cost of 12 current Marvel issues!

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I then ducked into Half-Price Books to use a 40% coupon. Despite the spine damage (which I’m hoping I can at least somewhat repair with some glue) I opted to snag the Five Years Later Omnibus, as I can’t imagine finding a copy anywhere near this price elsewhere/when. This completes my "set" of New 52 "event-Omnibus" volumes (already having the #0 issues volume from 2012’s "event" and the 2013 Villains volume).

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A friend visited over the weekend, and while we were out and about, we stopped in at a vintage toys store in the Cleveland area–Big Fun Toys. Loads of great toys new and old to see, plenty of classic games and books, too. While I have my eye on some figures that were in a display case and thus more expensive…I picked up these four TMNT figures at the excellent price of $3 each or 4/$10! I was going to get three, but on learning of the 4/$10, I went back to the bin and grabbed the Fugitoid figure! I’d had a Fugitoid back in the day, but it disappeared over the years, so this one will (for now) serve as replacement. Genghis Frog, Groundchuck, and Scumbug are new-to-me characters that I’d never owned.

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At HPB again, using the second day’s 40% coupon, I snagged the Dungeons & Dragons boardgame Tyrants of the Underdark. Way above my price range at full price…but far more reasonable at 40% off! Not quite as cool as a couple of the other D&D games, but still a worthy addition to the games shelf!

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Sunday, I drove out to a third HPB location, hoping to snag a hardcover I’d seen some weeks back. Unfortunately, it was no longer there…someone apparently was more determined than me to get it, taking advantage either of opportunity, the week’s coupons, or both.

On my way back, I swung by Comic Heaven and found that Adventures of Superman issue I wanted! Also snagged some card boxes to use for shelf displays, having found them to be excellent, cheap "risers"!

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I stopped back into the closest HPB, determined to go ahead and use the 50% off coupon. I hadn’t seen/"left" anything at the one I bought the D&D game at, so went back into this thinking of getting the Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years that I’d been eyeing. While it would have made for an excellent purchase…I figured it’s a sort of "anthology" volume, I’ve no clue my likelihood of getting other _____: A Celebration of __ Years editions beyond the Superman and Lois Lane ones I already have, and it seemed a shame to use 50%-off on such a low-priced item that’s well worth its marked price.

So, since they still had it, I opted for the "set" of Impulse #s 1-89 plus Annuals 1 & 2.

With the coupon, they became 25-cent books…these 91 comics cost me the same as what SIX current Marvel issues would.

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All in all, a VERY expensive weekend (compared to usual). But, no money out of pocket solely for the privilege of walking around and then giving dealers cash for product. No significant lines, no major miles or gas costs, no lodging, etc. Yet the weekend’s "haul" is certainly on-par with a solid convention’s haul…but without the general hassles OF a convention.

Now I’m really counting on the upcoming "new comics day" being a small one!

#NotAtComicCon (So I Visited Winston)

not_at_comic_con_logoComic Con is going on right now, but I’m not there. I’m cool with that, as there is plenty of comic stuff for me locally, and I truly prefer it to the sort of travel/etc that would presently be required for me to ever be at SDCC.

But because I’m not there, I was free tonight to pay a visit to Carol & John’s in Cleveland and see Winston (something that’s been on my mind since the other day).

With hours actually conducive to making the trip and such after work Friday, I drove up to Cleveland to visit the shop briefly.

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Once there, I browsed momentarily and then discovered the extent of their #NotAtComicCon sale. Rather than a handful of Dollar Bins…they had a Dollar ROOM set up.

Once I’d browsed many of the boxes and found some neat stuff and even some specifics I was looking for, I returned to the main area, and asked about Winston.

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There he was, just  curled up comfortably, napping on a chair by the counter. He woke up a bit and stretched, then watched me ring out, remaining on his seat, one paw stuck out, seeming to enjoy being the king.

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I usually avoid dollar books in any kinda bulk…they’re sure cheaper than $4/issue, but man do those $1s add up in a danged hurry! Along with a handful of Ultraverse issues, some Valiants, and several X-books…I also found the complete Dead Again arc from the Superman titles from 1994 (though it took a bunch of digging through the titles’ sections in the bins). I also bought the Robin magnet, as I’ve been snagging a bunch of magnets lately, and the Tim Drake Robin (up to about Flashpoint) is one of my all-time favorite comic characters.

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Quite unplanned by me, Ziggy made himself at home on a comic box, and I managed to get this photo of him. My own comic book kitty!

#SaveWinston Ends On a Happy Note

winston_on_comics_carol_and_johns_comic_book_shopI was quite dismayed early on Monday to learn that Winston, a Cleveland-area comic shop’s shop-cat, was missing.

I’ve been to this shop (Carol & John’s) a handful of times, and even if I’ve only caught a glimpse of the kitty, that’s made me smile, and justified the visit. (And I once drove out there specifically hoping to see Winston…something I’m contemplating doing this weekend again).

For me, there’s just something to there being a “shop cat” around…particularly given the way I’m such a “cat person.” I’d encountered a shop cat at a comic store in Pennsylvania about 6 years ago that I’ll always remember–he followed me around, stuck his paws down between issues while I flipped through a longbox, and even decided my head was a plaything while I knelt to flip through a box on the floor and he was stretching down as far as he could reach over the edge to swipe at me, trying to get me to play with him. I had also once “discovered” a book/comic/something shop when I moved for grad school back in 2004…the cat curled up in the window caught my attention, or I wouldn’t have even noticed the store.

There’s also the story of Dewey, chronicled in the book Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World that gets to me.

I ‘discovered’ Dewey barely a week after I lost my first cat, Christy…and reading the book had a huge impact on me, was truly cathartic and really helped me, in its own way, to deal with that loss.

And aside from that, it’s just fascinated me ever since, to consider there being a library or a shop or such with a resident cat that I might see every time I went there.

Even as I type this, a memory’s just surfaced that when I first “discovered” Carol & John’s, I researched the place online, their web page, before I went out, and it was the notion of Winston, their shop cat, that “sold” me on driving out immediately, and the inward thrill of actually seeing him briefly (it was late and he’d probably had enough for the day–I recall him going behind the counter away from the main part of the shop).

So when I saw the top edge of a “Missing Cat” poster in my Facebook newsfeed early Monday afternoon, I had that immediate thought I always have–feeling bad for whoever has lost a cat, but was shocked and then dismayed to realize it wasn’t “just” Carol & John’s page sharing a local missing kitty, but it was their own kitty–a kitty I’ve met, that I “know,” and it was a gut-punch I don’t usually get from such postings.

I’d shared a couple of the posts on social media myself, doing what I could to get the word out so anyone local-ish would know and could keep an eye out, all the while dreading what seems to be the “usual” horrible news.

winston_found_screenshotSo when a friend shared a post to my newsfeed last night, I was first curious about the post…but my heart truly leapt with a beat of joy when I saw what the post actually was:

Great news!

He’d been found, he was safe, the story had a happy ending.

And I’ve thrilled tonight looking at the Carol & John’s facebook page, reading all the comments, seeing several recently-posted photos, and generally seeing just how well-loved this cat is, by so many in the community.

I’d commented to a couple friends last night that I’m sure Winston’s gonna have extra visitors this week, and as mentioned above, I myself am really thinking I want to take a trip out there to see him (regardless of a Not-At-Comic-Con sale the store is holding this week).

And obviously the situation touched me in such a way that it’s what I chose to write about tonight, superseding any other posts I might’ve written.

If you’re in the Cleveland area, it’s well worth paying Carol & John’s a visit. Great service, amazing stock, plenty of bargain-bin ($1) comics, lots of new stuff, a kids’ play area…and of course, Winston the cat.


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Photo (above): Winston laying on some comics, back home again after going missing for a couple days. This particular photo was posted as the profile picture of the Carol & John’s Facebook page Tuesday evening 7/7/2015. Please visit their page, check them out (enjoy photos of Winston at least!), and all that.


You can find them at 17462 Lorain Ave / Cleveland, Ohio in Kamms Plaza.

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