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26 Years of Marvels

Marvels came out in 1994.

While I don’t recall the exact date of getting #1…I do remember being in Comics & Collectibles with Dad, and chatting with Chris (the owner), and he showed us this absolutely stunning/beautiful issue with a painted image of the (original) Human Torch and some sort of clear cover piece with the title.

It was an expensive issue–$5.95 cover price! (at a time when most regular comics were $1.50-$1.95).

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I managed to get all four issues, and though a lot of the nuance of the series was lost on me at the time, I still loved the art, and remember Alex Ross was the FIRST artist–by name–whose work I could recognize/name at a glance.

Not terribly long after the original issues, there was a new #0 issue published. Sadly, this one did not have the fancy cover/deluxe format. However, it fits very well in with the second print editions of the main series.

And then last year we got the Annotated Marvels or Marvels Annotated, with #0’s content covered in the first issue. And following the four issues, a new Marvels Epilogue was released.

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I’m almost certain that I had a paperback edition of Marvels, for awhile. As of this typing, I was unable to locate it, so half wonder if I gave it away at some point.

Otherwise…I have the 10th Anniversary Edition deluxe oversized hardcover; the recently-acquired 25th Anniversary Edition deluxe oversized hardover; the Platinum Edition oversized slipcase edition; and the Monster-Sized hardcover.

For scale, the smallest books in the pic above–the deluxe oversized hardcovers–are larger wide/tall than a standard comic book!

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It’s sort of odd to consider that my original editions are now vintage comic books! They are definitely unique artifacts in my collection…in part as I’ve had them so long AND I’m relatively certain I have never even seen these editions in a quarter-bin or fifty-cent bin…probably not even a dollar bin. The first two issues’ covers are particularly "iconic" to me; and there’s a scene that must be in #3 of the Silver Surfer and a field of asteroids that always stuck with me.

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I’d also gotten the #0 issue while it was still new, along with the "2nd print" of #1. I only in 2020 got the "2nd print" of #s 2-4. These were regular-format issues with standard covers and interiors without the cardstock/acetate deluxe treatment…and were half the price of the deluxe originals.

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In 2019, the series was reprinted again for its 25th anniversary, this time with a bunch of extra material/annotations regarding the originals. Of course, while the originals are singular, iconic covers…OF COURSE Marvel had to do multiple variant covers on each issue. I, of course, went for the standard covers–showing the original-style logo (up the left side of the cover this time instead of across the top) and new images. There were other new images for the variants…as well as near-"virgin" editions of the original covers with virtually no trade dress. (And to me the trade dress–the solid color and border with the image otherwise showing through the title–is an iconic part of the series and its covers; a ‘virgin’ cover looks to me like just some "print" or like someone ripped the acetate layer off!

Like the 1994 #0 issue, 2019’s Epilogue issue is a standard-sized comic, regular cover without any cardstock/fancy upgrades to it.


Before the pandemic/shutdowns, Marvel was publishing Marvels X that I’ve "thought of" as a Marvels-style take on the X-Men side of stuff but have come to realize might have more to do with the Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X trilogy of projects.

I believe there was also some sort of Tales of the Marvels thing in the works.

I’ll have to (later) verify on Marvels X; I’ve never gotten into that series nor found collected volumes of the trilogy affordable with matching trade dress and such.

I’d been pretty dead-set against Tales of the Marvels or whatever it was to be, on principle and the use of variants and pricing. Having brought all my classic Marvels stuff together now, I think it likely that I’d make an exception.

Obviously I have a thing for this classic project, having three editions of the single issues, and at least four editions of the collected editions.

In the end, I suppose time will tell!

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Weekend Acquisitions: Weekend of September 6-8 2019

Over the weekend, I wound up with a lot of "extra" purchasing that’s a bit beyond "normal." In addition to weekend comic shop visits, I had an InStockTrades order come in, as well as having gone to Cleveland Comic Con 2019 (that’ll be detailed in another post).

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I jumped on the chance to get Savage Sword of Conan #1. As this was a "regular-priced back-issue" (and not a 25-cent/50-cent/$1 bargain-bin issue) I had no qualms with "just" getting #1 since it was available. Plus, it’s from a time when #1 MEANT something and was "special"–in this case kicking off an over 200-issue series! (Whereas modern Marvel seems to MOSTLY max-out at 50 issues before a new #1, if not multiple #1s for the same title (renumbered/new volume) within a single year (or 12-month span).

I also snagged Deathmate: Black, having seen something recently noting it as the first appearance of Gen13. And then at another shop, snagged 2 copies of Gen13 #1. These are for the ongoing series, and not the original mini-series of the same title…but still, for the novelty of it, I was happy to spend the $1.25 (total!) for the 3 issues (again).

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Being on an Aliens kick recently, I’d ordered some recent-ish collected volumes. Though I have the single issues for all but Aliens: Resistance, I was willing to pay the discounted online price, where the full price was not worth it to me. I’ve also been a bit resistant to these "skinny" paperback volumes in light of the various omnibus volumes and library-edition oversized hardbacks and such.

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I was, however, quite willing to pay full price for Spawn: Origins vol. 1 as it was already one of the "Image $9.99 vol. 1s" and so a bargain at cover price.

And Classic G.I.Joe vol. 15, which I believe is TECHNICALLY out-of-print and unavailable online except for massively over-jacked-up third-party scalper prices. This still leaves me missing vols. 10-14.

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New Hardcovers! JLI, Darkseid War, and The Button

I think this may have been my single largest (or at least expensive!) purchase of collected volumes in one go!

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I’d been particularly waiting for the Justice League International Omnibus (oops, it’s "only" vol. 1!) and was eager to get it. The book is one of the thicker omnibus volumes, and a bit unwieldy at its size, but for all it contains, seems well worthwhile!

Then there’s the Justice League: The Darkseid War Saga Omnibus, collecting the Darkseid War from a couple years ago. I’d balked at the "skinny books" collecting it in multiple parts–I’ve grown really sick and tired of specific, finite stories being broken up into numerous skinny editions JUST for the sake of having "standard 6-issue collected editions." I was curious about the story and interested enough to want it…but not in multiple volumes. Finding out it was getting an omnibus solved that–it’s a nice, thick book and having the entire storyline is a huge plus!

Finally, the Batman/Flash: The Button deluxe hardcover…there’s just something to it for me, the Batman and Flash teamed up, and being the "next step" of sorts from the Rebirth special…and given how much I was already spending, tossing it on was virtually negligible (and cheaper than 2-3 Marvel single-issues!)

Now, we just need a Thy Kingdom Come omnibus of that 12-issue story and 4 specials! (And if they need to pad it out to be thicker, include the original Kingdom Come itself. And if they want to totally go for broke, include The Kingdom along with the New Year’s Evil: Gog special!)

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Interestingly enough, I’m still really not a fan of Darkseid, and DC has gotten me to triple-dip on several things since Rebirth started. I’ve got a couple of JLI skinny hardcovers from awhile back, but missed vol. 2, and was annoyed so didn’t get any of the later ones that there may have been. Now, this way, I’m getting those and more in one volume! (and we’ll see on a volume 2, hopefully not too soon!)

The Weekend Haul and Completing Subcollections

This past weekend was Comic Heaven‘s anniversary sale (Well, last Thursday and Friday! So into the weekend). I stopped in, and took advantage of the sale to snag some cool stuff!

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For what worked out to be LESS THAN the price of 3 Marvel regular, standard, non-fancy, run-of-the-mill, boring comics, snagged these three paperbacks! They were already bargain-priced…but for the sale, it was buy-2-get-1-free!

The Majestic one fits in with my Superman collection as this is the story from 2004 or so when Majestic crossed over into the DCU and for the arc "replaced" Superman in his own titles! (a fun sorta meta-textual thing, as I believe there was a lawsuit years earlier over Majestic’s similarities to Superman). The Iron Man: Disassembled is the final arc on the Heroes Reborn iteration of the title before leaping into the renumber-every-year-or-few era of Marvel. And Five Ghosts I’ve heard of, and as an Image volume one, certainly worthwhile for me to get to read/try.

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For 30% off back-issues, I picked up this Savage Dragon Companion, which I’d swear was not there the last time I looked at Savage Dragon stuff (orrrrrr I may have been so focused on stuff between issues 50-100 that I neglected to look through the whole of the SD collection available). The marked price was cheaper or similar to what I’d seen on Midtown, and with the 30% off, extremely worthwhile to me!

And nearly 25 years (give or take a month) after the fact, a bagged/boarded FIRST PRINT of Superman #75 that even back then was quickly going for $5+ was marked at a mere $4…the price of a current/contemporary standard/boring Marvel comic. At 30% off, it was cheaper than a current well-priced DC issue, and well worth getting for the "convenience" (and I’m a sucker for these). Especially as I remembered my other "handy/convenient" copy of the first print was a barcoded edition, not the "direct edition".

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Then, another gem was this set of (3rd print) individual issues of the original Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series (back when The Dark Knight Returns was actually only the title of the first issue). With the 30% off, this set cost me less than the original collected edition paperback I bought half a lifetime ago!

Additionally, this set "completes" my "subcollection" of "key" Batman single issues that stood out. I now have single issues for Batman: Year One, Batman: Year Two, Batman: A Death in the Family, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

I have never held any illusion/intent of getting first prints of TDKR…but have long held that I want a set of the single issues. ESPECIALLY since the cover images remain the same–it’s only (I believe/assume) the color of the title text that changed between printings, these absolutely fulfill my personal requirements for "qualifying" as single issues fit for "completing" this part of my collection!

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Finally, on a whim, I’d stopped into a Books-a-Million to check their "bargain shelf," on the UNexpected minimal slight off-chance that they’d have the X-Men – The Age of Apocalypse: Alpha volume on sale, as they never have for the past year/almost-year that I’ve been checking…but they did this time, so I grabbed that for sure!

And thus, "completed" this "subcollection" of thick paperbacks. I’m pretty sure by hitting the bargain shelves and a couple bargain bins at comic shops, I managed to get these six for about the cost of 15-16 Marvel single-issues. Or in other words, got the set for essentially about 70% off cover price. Of course, to do so, it’s been across at least 10 months or so, maybe more.

Showing off the Shelves: Naoki Urasawa’s Monster

Back in 2004, a friend introduced me to Chobits, a manga series that had an interesting enough premise–lifelike humanoid computers, following one kid and his, which turned out to be a very special one, while he interacted with others around him and learned a big secret. I’d tried the first volume of that series, and then wound up getting the other seven or so volumes within the next few days as a major distraction with family stuff going on that week.

Not long after, I tried Fruits Basket, and I think I followed that up to the fifth volume…I’d have to Google it to see how many volumes that series ultimately had. And despite interest, I never really got into getting any of the Dragon Ball Z volumes, only ever got the first volume of Yu-Ki-Oh, and an assortment of Love Hina when I found a bunch for 25-50 cents apiece…most of the series to that point, but not comprehensive.

And even before all that, I’d found the first several volumes of Lone Wolf and Cub at a Borders Outlet for half-off, and I think actually managed to read the first 3-4 volumes that summer (2002 or 2003).

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Then, back in 2006, not long after a friend had told me about this great series he’d just read (either in Japanese or “scanlation,” Viz had announced they were going to be releasing Naoki Urasawa‘s Monster in its Signature Series format, and I jumped in with the first volume…and “kept up” with it for several years, to around the 11th or 12th volume.

In the years since, I’ve managed to track down the final few volumes, to complete the series, without having to “switch” over to the newer “Perfect” editions (larger physical volumes, each collecting the contents of two of these).

And so Monster–as of a couple months ago–is one of only a handful of series (Manga or otherwise) that I actually have the COMPLETE series.

Along with the Manga, I’d also found a boxed set of the first few episodes of the Anime, though I never got around to watching more than a few episodes before getting distracted with other stuff.

Of course, as with most things…this is one that my not flying through or finishing (yet) is in no way a statement on the quality. The Anime seemed quite good, very faithful to the Manga.

And reading these–like most such volumes that I’ve actually read–drew me in and would make for relatively fast reading for the number of pages, and helped cement my preference in general for larger volumes over single issues, outside of a handful of series.

Newest DC Omnibus: Brave and the Bold Bronze Age vol. 1

There’s a danger with seeing something available for pre-order well in advance, at a massively-discounted price.

Case in point? Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Bronze Age Omnibus vol. 1.

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I apparently pre-ordered this some time back, for a great price…but completely, totally forgot about it.

And then I received a notification from Amazon. My “order” had shipped.

…Oops.

I would not have preordered it if I wasn’t interested…but I had not consciously planned for the book, nor even remembered it was due out…and did not note it in any stores.

I’ve been increasingly interested in the _____: The Golden Age and _____: The Silver Age volumes in paperback…but hadn’t really figured to snag any of the hardback Omnibus volumes.

Guess there’s a first time for everything, though!

Showing off the Shelves: X-Men January 2017

Today, I’m showing off my current X-Men shelf configuration, with some volumes "weeded out" for present, possibly permanently, or to be added back in once I expand my shelving, which my collection has pretty much outgrown at the moment.

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One of my earliest collected volumes ever was that original The Essential Uncanny X-Men 1 that I bought right before leaving for college back in 1999. Obviously, my X-collection has grown significantly in the last 17 1/2 to 18 years!

I have stuff largely in chronological–or near-chronological–order, moving through the franchise’s history, with this first shelf pretty much covering 1963-1994-ish.

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Picking up in 1995, this second shelf pretty much takes us through the later ’90s, early 2000s, Morrison, Whedon, and up to 2010 or so.

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And moving beyond Second Coming and the Fraction run, a bunch of the miscellaneous/skinnier volumes taper off the X-Men proper, and get into other stuff…primarily Wolverine and X-Factor.

Of course, with Marvel discontinuing the Essential line in favor of the Epic line, I may eventually be swappign out some of the Wolverine and X-Factor stuff, or pay inflated prices to fill the Wolverine run in. Time will tell!

The X-books are–next to Superman–the most significant part of my entire collection, and certainly out-do the rest of my Marvel collection; while not exact, I’d say these account for at least 35% of my entire Marvel collection.

Impressive as they can be…knowing the "gaps" in content from the various X-Men oversized hardcovers and omnibus volumes…I find it kinda hard to imagine sticking just to the omnibus/OHC format…there’s so much more to be had by combining the formats. That said…I’d be interested in the Inferno and Inferno Crossovers volumes if I could get them relatively cheaply…though more immediately I’ll probably be content to just get the paperbacks as those’ll be much cheaper, period, and there are several other paperbacks that I want that do not (to my knowledge) have hardcover counterparts…including several Gambit volumes!

But that all gets off on other topics (like "wishlists")…

New Arrivals: Cap and X-Men

"Bonus" weekend post!

These two books just arrived today!

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Back in December 2014, I’d thought I’d "completed" the set of Brubaker Captain America Omnibii with The Trial of Captain America. Of course, turned out I was wrong.

However, over the years, I lost track of and/or just flat-out missed the thing’s release, until several weeks ago when I saw someone post about it in a Facebook group.

So, I believe, if I haven’t missed anything else…NOW I have a "complete set" of Brubaker omnibus volumes for Captain America (I’ll likely "show off the shelf" in the near future).

Additionally, the X-Men: Bishop’s Crossing volume is one that I’d thought I’d missed out on entirely, having known OF the hardcover, but not seeing any listing for it online (except massively over-priced third-party stuff) with the newer paperback edition just releasing recently.

However, doing a last-second search "just in case," it was available, so I’d added it to my order.

Of course, I’d never touch volumes like these without a massive online discount. I absolutely want to support local comic shops, and continue to buy what I’d "usually" buy from ’em (my DC bundles from DCBS are in addition to my "usual"). Marvel volumes are–almost entirely–far too expensive for me to justify ever paying "full cover price" for.

Also continues to be amazing (to me) that virtually everything I do have interest in from Marvel (content-wise) tends to be OVER 10 years old, and in many cases, over 15 years old! Brubaker‘s Cap stuff seems to be a primary exception.

While I was able to squeeze the Captain America volume onto the shelf, that was partly due to it "replacing" (and going beyond) two other books I’d had already from bargain purchases and partly to my apparently having left a little bit of extra space for something like this.

Unfortunately, I am out of space for X-Men volumes, and have to wait til I can get a couple more bookcases and do some rearranging to properly integrate X-Men stuff from the last few months.

But that’s something for another post sometime.

Showing Off the Shelves: Batman (December 2016)

I’ve been getting newer stuff worked in and generally re-situating my shelves, leading to showing off the current configuration.

Lagging a bit behind my Superman collection, which is well onto its third shelf, my Batman collection still has a little way to go to fill its second shelf and creep onto its third.

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While The Dark Knight Returns is more of an "ending" to the story (or should’ve been, but Strikes Again and III are another subject/post entirely) I ended up starting the shelf off with it–I have the story in numerous editions, much like other favorites The Death of Superman and Kingdom Come.

Then, following what I did with the Superman stuff, I lead with the "survey" collections spanning the years, then try to approximate rough chronological order from the Silver Age into modern times. The Batman run seems a lot more solidly event-oriented, with the bulk of the "inches" on the shelf being the event collections.

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Following the event stuff, I ease a bit into the New 52 era, and then back out into broad stuff. Even as I type this, it crosses my mind that the Batman Arkham volumes actually belong up in the earlier volumes as ‘survey’ books that are not collecting any singular story but a broad range of issues featuring a particular character.

The glaring gaps in my Batman collection are all the more glaring compared to Superman; but that’s not terribly surprising, as I’ve been a much more solid Superman fan than Batman over the years. No great dislike of the character; just a far deeper like of Superman.

The few hardcovers that I have are largely glaring stick-outs to me, such that I’d be somewhat interested in trying to replace them with paperbacks; particularly Heart of Hush and Batman: R.I.P. I’d ordered Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader at the same time as the Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow counterpart, so am somewhat hesitant to replace one, as they tie together in my mind; perhaps someday I’ll replace ’em both.

It’s simply astounding to consider the vast library of Bat-stuff out there…I have a relatively large collection here, but I swear I don’t have a fraction of what’s (been) available!

Showing Off the Shelves: The Flash (November 2016)

My Flash stuff is the most recent "subcollection" to take off for me, having "started" with The Secret of Barry Allen and not really counting the Flashpoint volumes to pulling those in, and adding a number of other volumes in 2016…including having pre-ordered the Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato Omnibus prior to being laid off.

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As Flashpoint was an "event," I’d had those books grouped with my other "event books," but decided that as the only "event series" that I have like this (and keeping what I do have of Blackest Night with the Green Lantern stuff, made sense to me to move Flashpoint over to fit in right after the Road to Flashpoint volume, leading directly to the Omnibus (which has the first 25 or so issues of the New 52 run).

I would hope that there’ll be another omnibus collecting the back half of the series, but for now, I’m more interested in/looking forward to The Flash by Geoff Johns vol. 3 and The Flash by Mark Waid vol. 1!

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