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A 100-Issue Goal Extension and a Grail

Last month with a rare day off of work, I was able to dig into some quarter bins at a shop outta my usually weekly reach. And had a few good finds that led into a HUGE (for me) find. And then just over a week later, got a Grail comic that I’ve been after for years.

Let’s dive on in…

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I’m a sucker for older TMNT stuff. I need to get my list(s) re-updated to be sure of what I do and don’t still need. I’m pretty sure this Turtle Soup issue is a duplicate, but for 25 cents, not one to pass up. I also hadn’t realized how damaged the TMNT Adventures issue was…but it’s a newsstand edition of one of the first issues I ever got, off a spinner rack in Waldenbooks. A couple of Atari Force issues caught my eye…as did Invasion! #s 1-3 and the Wonder Woman tie-in.

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Then G.I.Joe/Transformers 1-4 (the complete mini-series) for only $1 was a no-brainer. Ditto the Contest of Champions mini and Thor #400.

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Though not quite in order, I realized there was a run of early Marvel Comics Presents, and rather than "cherry-pick" the #1, I snagged the "run." 8 issues…

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…and then the next 8. For less than the price of an issue of the new iteration of the title in 2019, I snagged the first 16 issues of the original.

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One of my earliest #1 issues back in the ’90s–one that was a point of "pride" to me–was Classic X-Men #1. Back when a #1 was actually a fairly big deal and really meant something. It was how I first read the introduction of Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and so on. Finding several of the earliest issues, I figured I’d grab ’em–I’m pretty sure I’d gotten another small run of the title recently, whether this duplicates or enhances that, I’m not sure offhand. And then the two-issue X-Men/Alpha Flight mini is a great find for only 50 cents!

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Continuing on, I thought it was cool to find the 4-issue X-Men and the Micronauts series. And the X-Men/New Teen Titans special! Then a small run of several of the old Annuals. #s 5-7…

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…and on up to #12.

But then I happened on one of the more significant finds (for me)…

A huge run of Uncanny X-Men itself. Beginning with #144 (only a couple issues off from the infamous Days of Future Past from #s 141-142!) and short only 6 issues from giving me 144-238! And I already knew I had #239-onward into the 400s, maybe early 500s, minus #266 (the first appearance of Gambit). So with this 90-ish issue run, I’m only a handful of issues off from being able to push all the way back to Days of Future Past–something I never really considered (Since pulling together all of my X-stuff back in 2012ish, I’ve been aiming for a complete run of Uncanny X-Men from Inferno-onward to the end of "volume one"!)

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And then, after a lotta years’ patience and being determined to find the issue at a certain price point and being completely unwilling to pay "top dollar" for it, since I just want the issue as part of this run…when I walked into the shop only a week after the huge haul, I was informed that a copy of #266 in my price range had (finally!) shown up.

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Then another week later, at an evening "pre" Free Comic Book Day event, I was able to get three of those missing 6 (albeit at a "premium" but still half-off their marked price)!

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$3.50/issue for "key" issues that I specifically wanted, that "mean" more to me for filling in this particular run was a very good price! AND also significantly (to me) cheaper per issue than "just any" brand-new issue I’d get off a new comics rack! #s 171, 198, and 200.

So now, short those other three issues–#s 158, 201, and 221–I’m pretty sure I now have #144-500ish. Which means it’s high time I pull stuff again and get my X-books sorted out again so I can be sure of what I’m still missing from that Uncanny run and decide what my next "grail" book(s) will be to hunt down that may actually be attainable. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1–at $3000+ is significantly out of my reach, though it’d be an amazing acquisition. With the earliest issues of the Mirage series, I’m content with later printings to plug the gaps.

Perhaps the original Image edition of the actual Image run of TMNT–though those are largely a moot thing with IDW publishing the series again; and using the "original" covers, even.

I do think I’ve largely decided that I’ll likely push back to Days of Future Past itself–certainly the 2nd half–as I believe THAT was even where the title "officially" went from the words "The Uncanny" being a tagline to being part of the title itself (a distinction that allowed for the 1991 and umpteen other "adjective-less" #1s of X-Men.)

Time shall definitely tell!

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A Lengthy Stay in the ’90s: Savage Dragon

Since Savage Dragon #225 hit, I’ve found myself on quite a Savage Dragon binge. I already had a couple collected editions–including the original–Baptism by Fire–and quickly acquired several more. I also had recently bought and read the Image 10th Anniversary hardcover’s Savage Dragon piece. But that wasn’t enough for me.

I was also pretty sure I’d had a stack of the first couple dozen or so issues…but I was unable to find them, going through a huge portion of my boxes. Finding myself really wanting to read the stuff–and in color, not "just" the black-and-white reprints of the Savage Dragon Archives tpbs–I turned to online comic shops (specifically Midtown Comics, Lone Star Comics, and Mile High), as well as local shops Comic Heaven and Carol and John’s…and just since buying #225…I’ve put together a collection of the original mini-series 1-3; ongoing series 1-101 and a few scattered after that; as well as the Mars Attacks Savage Dragon 1-4, Mars Attacks Image 1-4, Savage Dragon: Red Horizon 1-3, Vanguard 1-6, and Shattered Image 1-4.

Of those, I’ve read the minis and the main series to #50, and several other one-shot/tie-in issues.

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Minus Spawn #52, the above graphic is the bulk of my reading lately…even to falling behind more on new/current comics!

And of course, I still have Savage Dragon #s 51-101 to fly through in the near-future.

Beyond that, I want to track down the various associated stuff–like Freak Force 1-18, the Superpatriot series, I believe there was a second Freak Force book, and a second Vanguard one. There’s also the Savage Dragon: Sex & Violence mini (that I believe took place about halfway through what I’ve already read of the main book).

One "trouble" now is that after so quickly getting such a significant run…it’s going to really try my patience piecing together  the latter 125 issues…some issues I do have, plenty more I’m missing…and now being past the "’90s glut" where everyone was printing huge numbers of everything and "everyone" had all the early issues (making them definite 25-cent-bin fodder now)…the later books did not have such high print runs or popularity/enthusiasm and such, and as such, where they ARE available as back issues, they’re more likely to command "modern" back-issue pricing and such.

But then, I have so much other reading to do, that I want to do, that by the time I get through another 50 issues I already have, I’ll probably be more than fine with a "break" while I get an issue or few here or there on a much slower basis!

The Weekend Haul – Weekend of June 16-18

Over the weekend, I headed down to Kenmore to pick up stuff that’s been pulled the last couple weeks.

Having learned of a sale at another shop–Hazel’s Heroes–and being much closer to it already being down that far south, I ventured a bit off my usual trail to check out the shop, AND the sale. I was loosely aware of the general region of the shop…I’d just never (since becoming aware of the shop’s existence) had the time while down that way to check it out.

I wasn’t sure going in what the sale itself would be, but the Facebook post indicated it was a "big" sale, and with my present (and likely about to fizzle out) hunt for Trial of the Flash-era issues of the silver/bronze age The Flash series, I was all the more interested, as a sale would bring even too-highly priced issues into a reasonable range, or so I figured.

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While I doubt I’ll ever get the whole series, being aware of the Blue Ribbon Digest series, I’ve found I’m interested in those when I find them for a good price. As this sale was, I believe I got both of these for about $1/each.

Pretty sure the same on the TMNT novels. (Beaten to heck, but for the price, well worthwhile for the moment!) The Six-Guns and Shurikens book and Red Herrings I remember reading as a kid. The Donatello: The Radical Robot is one I don’t remember (and apparently there are others for each of the turtles along with Donatello!).

Gotta say…for me, the better value by far is these five books for $5, over, say, Darth Vader #1 (had a #1 in 2015, and now already again in 2017..!).

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The way the sale was structured, the $12 Power of Warlock cost me $5 (again, which is the better value: that or a book that just came out this week?) while the other Power of Warlock issue matched the price of a DC Rebirth issue.

The Tales of the TMNT #5 (original run), Batman and the Outsiders #1, and Robin (original mini-series) #1 cost me a whopping $1/each!

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The Booster Gold issues also all only cost me $1. I mentally kicked myself when I realized for the pricing I missed grabbing #s 0 and One Million; fortunately, I shouldn’t have much issue finding my #0 from my Zero Hour stuff last year, and already found my One Million from last October. The #1 was a "convenience" copy (and for $1, even, beautiful piece!).

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Then, I noticed some boxes of magazines before I could check out. My curiosity got me, and on investigating, found that there was quite a run of old Wizard magazines! Fortunately, despite thinking it wouldn’t even matter, I’d taken a couple photos of my Wizard shelf in lieu of writing down missing numbers. So, I was able to pull something like 25-26 issues to fill in gaps in my existing run of the magazine…plus several issues that I just want a poster out of and for the price, no sense passing them up–these all had an older $3 sticker on them, with a newer $1 sticker.

Since the sale was that stuff up to $5.99 was $1, I expected I was just gonna be paying $1 per Wizard…but the store owner gave me the stack for 50 cents an issue!

So all told, for roughly the price of 9 standard, modern Marvel issues, I got 30 issues of Wizard, most of which fill in gaps in my existing collection (rather than just cheap duplicates), a couple of old Power of Warlock issues, three TMNT books I haven’t seen available anywhere in over 20 years, a couple of (relatively rare) Blue Ribbon Digests, and a few other issues!

Sure beats the heck outta most conventions!


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Finally, while I was at Kenmore, on a whim, I made a non-comics purchase: a Batman bust bank of the Adam West Batman. A bit more than I might’ve wanted to pay, and DEFINITELY a shame that it took the man’s death last weekend to remind me how much I do actually appreciate his Batman and all that. But I was interested, and opted to get this since it was NOT any kind of "special order" or such, and not a case of anyone profiting off Adam West‘s death! (As, sadly, I suspect Batman ’66 stuff may soon be).

A Token Friday Flash Post

Finally Friday…and I’m beat.

So today, just a token post, featuring the Flash!

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I stopped by another comic shop I don’t often get to, and located a couple Flash issues from the range I’m looking to fill in.

While I certainly balk at (Marvel) and their $5.99 issues, I am less reserved about $5.99 for 30+ year old comics, particularly when multiple other shops (and online ones, too!) have not had the issues available, or not for any reasonable price!

Plus, I get to hold to my $10 theshold as well–getting comics since 1989, and I’ve never paid/had paid for me more than $10 for a single-issue comic. (Maybe a bit more once shipping was added, for some TMNT stuff).

And I think I’m back to toying with the idea of more ’80s DC back-issue hunting, between the "Trial of the Flash" "era" and some Batman and Detective Comics issues I’m curious about, etc.

Time will certainly tell, as always!

More Vintage TMNT Figures: Ace Duck and Fugitoid

I’d actually pretty much forgotten about a local vintage toy shop, Retroland Toys. In definite need of distraction from stuff going on ‘in real life’, I ended up stopping in last Friday–I think it’d been at least a year, if not a couple years since the last time I’d stopped in.

Given my recent-ish hunting down of vintage TMNT toys, I was curious as to what their stock and prices were like, particularly in comparison to Big Fun in Cleveland Heights.

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They had a decent assortment of the older TMNT figures; nothing that particularly surprised me, but I was rather excited to note they have a Foot Cruiser and a couple of really good-condition Man Ray/Ray Fillet figures…making me think I do want to get a “replacement” even though I’m not gonna flat-out get rid of my original of the figure.

They also had a number of variant turtles–sports turtles, military turtles, surfer turtles, and I found a couple of rocker turtles. (There were a bunch of figures and vehicles in a display case, and then a bin of individual figures bagged with accessories in a bin next to the case).

And for what I was half-expecting…VERY GOOD prices! A couple had prices a little bit out there, but for the most part they all seemed to be $10 or a little under, with the vehicles in the $20 range. Basically, the prices are perfectly on par with buying any new contemporary figure/vehicle, if not cheaper.

I ended up deciding to get Ace Duck and Fugitoid, with Ace Duck having been fairly tops in my mind as the next reasonable figure to be able to get.

I also “randomly” remembered over the weekend that I used to have the “Wacky Action” Shredder figure, so I’ve added that to my list…and I’ve added Ray Fillet.

Overall, for figures that seem relatively common-ish that may not be terribly hard to track down, I think I’m pretty much left with Ray Fillet, Splinter, Tattoo, and the Foot Cruiser. Hothead, Wacky Action Shredder, the Robotic Foot Soldier, the 5″ Krang/Android Body, and the “Toon” Shredder & Neutrinos I don’t think I’ve actually seen in person since seeing them on pegs over 20 years ago when they were new and I passed on them at the time.

I also suspect the Party Wagon will be a bit hard to find intact. My own is a “shell” with the top missing, numerous accessories missing, and so on…and mine’s in pretty darned good condition compared to several I’ve seen online. I don’t care about most accessories for it, but want the main outer part to look whole and not be missing anything obvious.

From these, I suspect it’ll be down the rabbit hole on tracking down other figures or “coming across them” “in the wild”–Star Trek TMNT and Cave Turtle TMNT and whatnot…perhaps a replacement or replacement parts for the Turtle Blimp.

My primary checklist thus currently stands as the following:

Replacements

  • Ace Duck
  • Baxter Stockman
  • Fugitoid
  • Rocksteady
  • Triceraton
  • Splinter
  • Ray Fillet
  • Wacky Action Shredder
  • Party Wagon (vehicle)

New (to me)

  • General Traag
  • Rat King
  • Leatherhead
  • Usagi Yojimbo
  • Dirtbag
  • Tattoo
  • Wyrm
  • April II
  • Merdude
  • Hothead
  • Krang’s Android Body (regular figure size)
  • Robotic Foot Soldier(s)
  • Toon Shreder
  • Dask (Neutrino)
  • Kala (Neutrino)
  • Zak (Neutrino) (if radically different from the ‘non-Toon’ version)
  • Movie Star Leo
  • Movie Star Mike
  • Movie Star Raph
  • Foot Cruiser (vehicle)

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Re-Collecting Classic TMNT Toys

Well, I think it’s official: my new "thing" right now seems to be classic/vintage TMNT figures…given the below, the ones I bought a couple weeks ago, and the ones that arrived just last week.

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End of last week, since it was relatively "on the way home" from work, I stopped in at Big Fun (vintage toys store) and snagged three figures from "the case" (and got a surprise discount for buying multiples!) and one from a bargain bin.

General Traag came with a couple of his accessories, which I believe were part of the pricing. It was pointed out that Baxter and Merdude did not come with accessories–something I was totally fine with! (And having looked at stuff online, a number of folks sell Baxter without the wings, or the fly-arm things at all…that this one had those was the main thing to me!)

Finally, the Triceraton is missing its tail…but I already knew I could order a replacement tail online such that this one as-is and the tail combined will work out much cheaper than finding a "whole" figure.

While I’m sure I’ll add other figures as I see them, learn of them, or re-realize their coolness and such, my current "want list" is as follows, for replacing figures that I’d had and need/want to "restore" my original collection as well as adding characters I never did get as a kid.

Replacements

  • Ace Duck
  • Baxter Stockman
  • Fugitoid
  • Rocksteady
  • Splinter
  • Party Wagon (vehicle)

New (to me)

  • General Traag
  • Rat King
  • Leatherhead
  • Usagi Yojimbo
  • Dirtbag
  • Tattoo
  • Wyrm
  • April II
  • Merdude
  • Hothead
  • Krang’s Android Body (regular figure size)
  • Robotic Foot Soldier(s)
  • Toon Shreder
  • Dask (Neutrino)
  • Kala (Neutrino)
  • Zak (Neutrino)
  • Movie Star Leo
  • Movie Star Mike
  • Movie Star Raph
  • Foot Cruiser (vehicle)

A couple of other recent acquisitions (and the store price for these at Toys R Us has kinda set the bar for me for what I’ll pay for actual vintage figures!)

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I don’t remember Super Donnie in stores in 1993…and I think by 1993 I was or had already shifted away from collecting the figures, in favor of comic books.

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And not much sense getting Super Donnie without also tracking down Super Mikey!

(Presently, as this post goes "live," I’m on the hunt for the current-series Super Shredder…independent of these other Super _____ figures!)

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I also believe I’m–at long last, this half-decade or so later–completely "caught up" on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures volumes from IDW.

I’ve been frustrated for weeks at the insane prices for vol. 2 of the TMNT by IDW series…why a "middle volume" (especially so early in the run!) would be out of print has been BEYOND me. Thankfully, the other day, I saw a list put out by Diamond listing new reprints of previously-out-of-print volumes, and spotted it on there…so I should be able to be caught up by the time the fifth volume comes out, whenever that is, in the next couple months.

I also want to get the rest of the Usagi Yojimbo Saga volumes before any of 5-7 go out of print. I have yet to actually read any of these (unfortunately!) but I’ve been "holding out" to also hopefully come across good pricing on the preDark Horse stuff, and read the entirety of the character’s saga.

I guess we’ll see what the next few weeks hold for TMNT stuff in general!

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Remember Early-’90s Speculation on Image Comics?

Remember when Image was so brand-new it was a company having its comics published by another (Malibu)?

Remember when those #1s were supposed to be so “hot” and “valuable” in the future?

Remember how $1.95 was quite a hefty price next to DC and Marvel‘s $1.25(-ish) cover prices of the time?

Remember that supposed notion that a comic’s “value” could only go up?

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These 16 copies of WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams cost me a whopping $4. Basically the cover price of two copies of the issue…at its original, August 1992 cover price. With the bound-in card thingie still intact/present.

Maybe these aren’t “mint” and wouldn’t get anything close to a “9.8” if I “slabbed” them (shelling out far more than any copy is “worth” for the price of getting ANY “graded”)…but for a guy who collects for completion and story…the chance to read the entire story (or as MUCH of it as I’m able to get access to)…25 cents is not at all a bad price for this #1 issue.

It’s actually the later issues that would be more of a problem to find. “Everyone” has #1. How many people followed the series itself? How many followed for more than just the first year? Or after the cartoon didn’t last? Or…whatever else. How many saw the bright flash in the pan mature into something with any staying power?

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