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My Spawn Collection at 300

As of Spawn #300’s release–September 4, 2019–my Spawn collection isn’t all that large.

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But it includes #s 1-19, 25, 30, and 257-300! Granted, in this photo, I have the 2019 Free Comic Book Day edition of #1 on top. I also have the Image Firsts edition. And the homage to Ultimate Spider-Man #1 edition of the Director’s Cut in there.

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I have my real, actual #1 framed alongside the #1-homage cover of the Director’s Cut hanging on the wall down to the basement.

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At a glance it disappears into a sea of framed stuff, but it’s still there! It’s how I like displaying the occasional variant that I do buy for the art!

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Then I have a shelf of miscellaneous stuff that hasn’t been rehomed elsewhere as yet. Several bust banks, a Kotobukiya Professor X, the Neca Shredder…and Spawn figures I got a couple years back.

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In this photo are a couple of early-ish (maybe not FIRST wave, but certainly from an early one!) Spawn action figures. These are standard-size; I’m not sure exactly what scale…they just are what they are. I also have my ORIGINAL Medieval Spawn figure minus its cape elsewhere, but when I had the chance to buy one that had the cape (and the sword) I jumped on it! Of course, with the originals, I do remember it being quite cool having a figure that also came with a "full-size" comic book. (And this was before Marvel Legends, even!)

While I don’t know if they were originally with either of these figures, I do have a couple issues that I think had originally come with some figures.

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And there’s this oversized statue-size figure. I loved the price, and its size. I may not be willing to pay several hundred dollars for a statue, but a couple comics’ price for a plastic figure? Great by me!

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My two original Spawn figures on a shelf of miscellaneous figures…

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A bit of a closer view. Though…wow. Batman is REALLY rather prominent, there!

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OK…there we go. The Spawn figures!

So that’s Comics and toys.

"But what about the movie?!?" you might ask. "Wasn’t there an animated series?"

Got those, too.

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The original film, as well as a "box set" of the animated series (from HBO, at least originally, I think?)


I probably have a handful of other Spawn things around. But other than getting the individual issues the last almost-4-years, I’ve really only dabbled in the character/property. (As I type, I recall I also have at least one of the Spawn/Batman issues…but if I jump up for every memory to add a photo, I’ll never finish this post and get to bed at a decent hour!)

I suppose this is a bit more than I thought when I first started typing tonight…and surely "more" than many people have.

I have roughly 70 issues of the main Spawn title…leaving me 230 issues to have the full series. Whether I’ll seek to attain that, I don’t know. A couple years ago, I hunted down 100 issues of Savage Dragon in barely a month. I don’t see THAT happening again.

But time will definitely tell!

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#HPBQuest 2019

I have a very mixed relationship with Half-Price Books. Many, many books and graphic novels and such that I own come from the chain. But much as I find great stuff at times, they drive me absolutely nuts when it comes to their trying to be too much all at once, instead of just a diversified used-books-and-such store. But that’s a subject for other posts.

This past weekend, I finally took the plunge and took a years-old idea and made a reality of it.

While I’ve been somewhat aware of their being at least 5 Half-Price Books locations in the Columbus, OH area in addition to the two that I’m aware of in the Cleveland, OH area, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to more than 2 stores in a given day: Either both that are still around here, or a couple of the Columbus ones when I’m in the area to visit a friend when she’s in town.

But what if I were to take a day, and simply make it my goal to visit as many of these as I could? No particular visitation, not meeting up with anyone…not the passive “I’m in the area, might as well stop by the nearest HPB location.” But a specific attempt to visit all 5 of the stores.

As I’ve mentally dubbed it after the fact…it became my #HPBQuest. (Something more than “merely” a typical #HPBHaul).

And then after I actually made it to all 5 of the Columbus-area stores…I realized it wouldn’t be a significantly different timespan, so I decided to add the Cleveland ones into the mix on the way back, so made a sixth stop. Unfortunately, though, traffic I’d hit between the 4th and 5th Columbus stores (due to an OSU game) delayed me long enough that I’d have gotten to the 7th store about 5 minutes or less until closing, and I never want to be that guy.

So for good measure, after hitting 6 in one day, I hit that seventh on my way to another engagement the day after, just for good measure. (After all, what if they had something fantastic-awesome-amazing and I missed out solely for not taking a few minutes to stop in?)

Anyway…after such a “quest,” here’s the “haul,” what I have to show for such a random, crazy stunt.


Half-Price Books #1: NorthPointe Plaza, Lewis Center

I’m not sure what I expected to find first, but I wound up getting three books at the first HPB I stopped at.

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I snagged the updated Titan printing of the movie novelizations of Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection; though it turned out that I already had the latter. Oops.

I also grabbed MechWarrior Dark Age: Pandora’s Gambit, adding the first new MechWarrior book to my collection in probably 13-15 years.


Half-Price Books #2: Carriage Place Plaza, Columbus

While a bit underwhelmed at the first store, I found a fair number of MMPBs at the second. And probably my best find of the day in a Highlander complete TV series on VHS set (and just a few days after my Super-Blog Team-Up entry on Highlander and TMNT!)

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I’ve occasionally thought back to some years ago seeing at least a couple of the Highlander seasons at a now-closed HPB in Mentor. Though I have the series on DVD, I’d always liked the way the series was done on VHS with the spines of the tapes all making a single image. There was also something to it for the series being available like that at all, in the late-1990s, when it was rather rare for any tv series to have more than a few episodes or a “Best Of…” selection.

Being the type of person I am, seeing all six of these seasons available grabbed my attention. When I realized that each was the price of a single issue of a modern comic series I knew I was absolutely buying these, if only to HAVE them.

I’ll have to research a bit to see if the DVDs are supposed to have the same content, or if there’s something unique to these VHS that will warrant getting a player to actually try watching some of these!

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Since I’d already pulled them from the shelves, I also got several Dragonlance novels. The Legend of Huma is an old favorite, and in this case a duplicate…but as a favorite, I wanted to get it so I have a copy to perhaps gift to a friend or such!

The Battletech book was part of a hope of finding a number of books in the series, and GI Joe is GI Joe.


Half-Price Books #3: Lane Ave., Upper Arlington

The third HPB was the single largest I think I have ever seen!

Of course, when I first walked in, I thought it was the smallest. But the first room gave way to a hallway which opened into a massive room.

Unfortunately, despite being huge, they really didn’t have much that I was looking for or that I opted to buy, given what I’d already bought and might buy at other stores, with at least 3 more to go at the time.

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While I may wind up kicking myself on it, I opted for a 10-episodes-only He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD over a 2-box-set of the entire first season. #1, this was 1/5 the cost of the other and #2, just being practical, I don’t know when I’ll get around to actually watching even these, let alone binging–and sticking with it–an entire season!

I had never seen or known the Warmachine: Prime Rules Digest to exist, so bought it as a curiosity. I’m sure the full-size rules books that I own are VASTLY out of date as it is (ditto for Hordes), but for “only” $2.99 over $20-40, a curiosity was in order, here.


Half-Price Books #4: Shoppes At East Broad, Reynoldsburg

The fourth HPB was significantly less impressive after the size of the third. I did find the 4-issue Icons: Rogue series. I may already have this, but I’m equally likely to be thinking of a friend having bought the series for another friend. And while these ought to be 25-50 cent comics, they’re not something I’ve come across repeatedly or anything, so for $1 apiece, I figured that’s the price (or less) for anything Marvel publishes at present, and certainly worth spending for a full story like this.

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I’m not quite sure what to make of the covers…I’m not used to seeing Rogue illustrated this way, with an almost photorealistic appearance clearly based on the actress from the 2000 X-Men film (hard to believe that was 19 years ago, and this comic series is 18 years old now!)

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I normally am not much of a fan of oversized items, but I recall some hype over Molly Danger back in the day, and figured a collected edition would be over $10 now. And as a hardcover treasury-edition-sized thing for that price, this wasn’t bad.

I also scored the 4th and 5th seasons of Boy Meets World on the clearance shelves…which add nicely to the first 3 seasons I already have!

Finally, I actually found a copy of the live-action Masters of the Universe film that I’ve been keeping an eye out for.


Half-Price Books #5: S. State St. Westerville

By the fifth stop I was definitely getting rather worn down. I’d also hit some major traffic leaving the fourth store and at one point realized I’d wound up circling back completely to the store just trying to get away from the area.

A lot of intersections were coned-off as closed or turn-a-certain-way-ONLY and I ended up just following several roads for awhile (ignoring my phone’s GPS instructions) until I was far enough away to begin following the device again.

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This HPB I consciously remember visiting a couple times previously. Alas, no amazing Further Adventures of the Batman finds this time or such.

I’ve gotten away from omnibus volumes as they’re generally just too large and unwieldy to me. But I opted to get this Brightest Day one, thinking it didn’t seem too thick or heavy, but at 25 issues a decent size–larger than an 18-issue volume, but not a ridiculous 50-60-issue volume.

Snagging The Boys Omnibus vol. 1 for 50% off beat prices I’ve seen looking on Amazon or such…and was in-stock and available in-person in much BETTER CONDITION than anything Amazon would bother to deliver.

I’m pretty sure I have Chew vol. 1 from ages back. Seeing vols. 2-3 on clearance at $3/each (cheaper than a single issue of a modern comic), I snagged them.


Half-Price Books #6: Great Northern Blvd, North Olmsted

Despite “completing” my goal of all 5 Columbus-area HPBs, I decided it wouldn’t add much to my return trip to aim for a more local one to cap off the trip.

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This is one of the HPBs I’m most familiar with, that I probably get to every few weeks/couple months or so.

Having listened to the William Gibson Alien3 audiodrama from Audible and being deep into the Audible audiobook of Alien: Isolation, when I saw The Book of Alien, I was keenly interested.

I also found the best-condition copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets hardcover I’ve seen in years (even the dustjacket in better-than-Amazon-Prime condition!) so snagged that to complete my hardcover set of the series.

The Wonder Woman Anthology was a bit of a curiosity.Seems it was available exclusively through Costco, and contains the first Wonder Woman (New 52?) volume as well as the first volume of the New 52 Justice League and I think the first volume of the Rebirth Justice League. For $10, for such a thick volume, I figured why not?

Finally, saw the Zombies!!! base set (I think that’s what it is) and decided to get it rather than regret passing it up later. I’m looking forward to trying Zombicide with some friends in the near future, but with a new edition of that coming out next year, I’d rather wait. And I believe this game is the one that you can buy a “bag o’ zombies” and just seems a fun novelty to me and possibility for an interesting game, coming off the ending of The Walking Dead this summer and my 70-issue binge of the latter part of the series.


Half-Price Books #7: Golden Gate Plaza, Mayfield Heights

I could have just made it to Mayfield, but it would have been about 5 minutes until closing if I did…hardly time to go in and look around more than a cursory glance at a couple things. I’d wonder what I missed in such a rush-through of the store, plus I hate to be that guy in a retail place rushing in right before closing and holding everyone up.

Especially as visiting the next day would be a brief, convenient deviation from a straight point-A/point-B route to where I was going anyway!

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Alas, nothing of significant interest that I had to see or pick up.

I did find an acceptable-condition-to-me (and almost certainly better-than-AmazonPrime condition) copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Which, as I’d mournfully realized the night before, I was also missing from a complete set of the hardcovers.

For taking the time, I decided to get a “replacement copy” of Aliens Book 1: Earth Hive. My copy has been read several times over, and the spine is quite the worse for wear. This copy has a nice, clean spine that looks a lot better on the shelf with the other novels. I may also eventually “replace” books 2 & 3, but time will tell on those.


The Forgotten Amazon Orders

I also had a couple of Amazon orders arrive over the weekend.

One I’d intentionally had in addition to the HPB stuff, and the other I’d totally forgotten about.

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I think it was only a couple weeks ago I discovered the Alien: Isolation novel would exist (I think it just came out?). In half-assedly putting together an order for it, I came across Alien: Echo, which seems to be a YA novel set in the Alien universe. Definitely an oddity, but being in-brand, it’s something I was very interested in!

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While I feel the series was vastly over-hyped and opted not to get it at the time, I did finally decide to get Batman: White Knight. I also was not thrilled about it being a retroactive addition to DC‘s Black Label branding. But c’est la vie and all that.

I also had looked up–initially to put on a list to look into it more at some later point–the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection hardcover. But for its price and the size of the thing, went ahead and ordered it along with the White Knight volume.

I’m far from being a particular fan of the He-Man/Masters of the Universe stuff. But with a new series recently announced, having watched the Toys That Made Us episode on Netflix semi-recently-ish, and a couple YouTube videos about the toys, and seeing the size of this hardcover at a store, I realized it’s an excellent sort of volume, collecting all the vintage mini-comics and such into one neat volume, rather than one having to hunt down all the individual pieces as rare artifacts with individual vintage toys. They’re just all here, together, in one item, quite fit for the shelf.

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I’m pretty sure that this is essentially an “oversized hardcover” to the minicomics as a regular “oversized hardcover” is to regular comics. It’s a bit larger than digest-sized, but not quite full comic-book dimensions. Still a great volume, and sure to be an excellent resource!


All told, I don’t expect I’ll particularly want to undertake such a “quest” again as this weekend. It was an idea that’s rattled around the back of my head for years, so now having actually done it…that idea and curiosity has been more than satisfied.

It was definitely something to do, got me away from home, and was maybe the first real trip I’ve taken in years, so plenty of positives despite no desire to do it again anytime soon.

That said, it’s primed the idea to me of another similar idea I’ve had with a friend, or visiting a number of comic shops in a single overall trip. Though I’m pretty sure the “Comic Shop Crawl” would need to be a full weekend thing, or started much earlier in the day.

Time will definitely tell, though!

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The Weekly Haul Catch-Up: July 10 to August 14, 2019

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Once again, it’s been a few weeks since posting! Maybe soon I’ll get back into a regular rhythm of things with at least 1 less distraction (11 seasons of The Big Bang Theory) behind me!


Week of July 10, 2019

All the way back to early July 2019 to start this re-catchup journey!

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A very heavy-DC week, with the only Marvel stuff being reprints of old material.


Week of July 17, 2019

Another standard-ish week…

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Another replica edition and a reprint from Marvel. I opted to get Vampirella #1 on being written by Priest; the cover’s rather off-putting compared to the other stuff, and has long been one of the reasons I’ve NOT bought the title.

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Somehow the image from Comic Shop News of Vampirella with Red Sonja seems more…"normal"…-ish?

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Runners had finally come in from a Kickstarter!

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Snagged some Dreadstar from bargain bins for a great price! And far superior pricing to a Kickstarter earlier this year that I bailed on.

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Legend of the Shaders is a Kickstarter I’d been looking forward to, and was glad to get! "The Harp Twins" also do some great harp music covers of popular songs…some of my recent favorite instrumentals!

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More bargain bin books. Where was TwoMorrows Publishing when I was writing papers in college and needed citable "sources"?!?

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A batch of the Walmart DC Giants


Week of July 24, 2019

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A surprisingly Marvel-heavy week. I decided to throw in with the Hickman X-Men reboot to give stuff a shot. Marvels Epilogue was expensive for what it is, but goes with the Annotated series. And another X-Men replica edition adds to my collection of such things.

Behind on reading and not one bit impressed with the Year of the Villain stuff. DC just did a similar thing a year or two before the New 52, to say nothing of Underworld Unleashed back in the ’90s. I’d rather pick up ’90s comics than pay $5 an issue for modern stuff.

And then just on the offchance that I’d get around to "finally" getting/reading the original White Knight, figured pick up the new one so I wouldn’t have to "hunt" later.

And I couldn’t pass up at least a first issue of another Archie vs. Predator as the concept is just so ludicrous! Or at least, it WAS before Riverdale and the line’s reboot and whatnot. I think the original series is FINALLY available in paperback, nearly 3 years AFTER a hardcover was out.

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Another $2 newsstand copy of Superman #75.

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I finally got my Munchkin collection re-organized. At one point I thought I wanted to condense to a couple of their "monster box" things, but realized I’d rather just have the games obvious as to what they are, and NOT have to lug most of a collection around just to be able to play any given version.

Quite a shelf, though.


Week of July 31, 2019

Another X-Men week…

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And another couple newsstand Superman #75s. Because I could.

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And I’m iffy on the whole Dawn of X but time will tell.

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I finally "pulled the trigger" on the Armageddon 2001 saga and ordered the issues.

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We’ll see when/if I ever get around to actually reading the thing, but at least this way I can add the story to a "complete events" box I have with Eclipso: The Darkness Within, Bloodlines, and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time.


Week of August 7, 2019

And now into August…the current month at least!

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I opted to take a chance on Absolute Carnage #1. I was then glad I did when I read on Bleeding Cool that if one redeemed the digital code before 8/20, they’d get a "director’s cut" edition of the issue with some more extras including a variant covers gallery.

However, when I went to redeem my code, I found that my copy of the issue had no code whatsoever–apparently a misprint (the sticker didn’t get added to the issue). While Marvel Support provided me a code via Twitter, it only gave me a "basic edition," and when I pursued it, was told that that’s all that came with the issue.

So a digital-only director’s-cut edition for $2 MORE than PRINT is out there, and I feel severely shorted, with frustration toward Bleeding Cool AND Marvel on the matter such that I’m all the MORE determined to NOT buy into this event beyond having already WASTED $8.

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I came across new TMNT toys at a Target and found that I really like the stylized look, especially compared to my overall distaste for the Rise of the TMNT look.

I opted to buy Raphael as my "modern favorite" of the turtles (my "classic favorite" had been Leonardo as a kid).

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The back of the box…

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My mistake, though, was in thinking I’d be happy with JUST the one turtle. I wound up spending an afternoon visiting several Targets to locate the other 3 turtles.

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Leonardo.

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Donatello.

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Michelangelo.


Week of August 14, 2019

And finally, catching up to this past week…

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Another replica edition in X-Factor #87. Mostly I’d consider it a 25-cent book, but I’d still rather pay $3.99 for it than most of what Marvel is putting out presently. AND show that I support these reprints MORE than I do the bulk of their current output!

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The "final" batch of Walmart issues…at least as exclusives. Apparently there could be another 1 or two of the Superman one, but otherwise these are all "rebooting" AGAIN, and rather than the entire package being exclusively Walmart-only, apparently there will be Walmart-only COVERS as well as the retail giant getting a couple weeks to a month’s head-start on comic shops. But rather than 4 or 6 titles, suddenly DC is leaping to 10 or 12 with an eye on 20ish. Which seems a bit of overkill to me, and has me thinking I might throw in the towel on these.

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Here’s what 14 months of the things look like together on a shelf, though. Way too much reading yet to do anyway…plenty for a "rainy day" or such!


And this catches me up to current…I think I’ve actually thus far managed to document every week’s haul of 2019 so far. ‘Bout the only thing I’ve managed to keep up with, it seems.

Of course, as this post goes live, tomorrow–August 21–sees another new week of comics.

As I fall further behind in my reading, and that compounds itself.

The hobby becomes more "chore" week over week.

C’est la vie.

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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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The Weekly Haul Catch-Up: Weeks of May 2, 9, & 16, 2019

Well, it’s been a few weeks since a Weekly Haul post. I’ve taken photos to do the posts, but real life got in the way of doing these posts themselves.

So, here are 3 weeks’ worth crammed into one!


Week of May 02, 2019

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A very DC week!

Batman and Batman/TMNT III were out May 2nd…as well as the 25-cent Year of the Villain issue. Like its predecessor last year or the year before–the issue is not all that interesting to me, and turns me off more than on to upcoming stuff; especially as I really have zero interest in "The Batman Who Laughs" OR Snyder‘s Justice League stuff.

We’re nearing the end of Adventures of the Super Sons, and who knows what the future holds for these characters. I’ve also gotten behind in reading the various Wonder Comics titles. Even though I recently decided to go "all-in" on them, if I’m already behind and not overly concerned about it…do I really need/want to be buying these titles?weeklyhaul_20190502b

At a visit to a Five Below store, I snagged a copy of the classic How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. I remember getting this from the library several times as a kid–though it’d been defaced by other borrowers in a rather inappropriate way. Having my own (clean) copy is cool…though after I bought it, it occurred to me that I may have snagged a copy from Half-Price Books previously…though where that particular copy got to, I’m not sure at the moment.

They also had this Hot Wheels Batman classic ’66 Batmobile. It’s basically the only car I really "care" about, NOT being a "cars guy." So, it’s another little trinket to add to the ever-expanding collection.

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Then a couple days after New Comic Day, went with friends to an evening pre-Free Comic Book Day event where they’d brewed some custom beer. I tried the Wolverine’s Canadian Ale, and a friend gave me his empty Cyclops Weak Summer Pilsner bottle so I’d have both!


Week of May 09, 2019

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May 9th was a small-ish week comics-wise. I’m once more falling behind on reading for Detective Comics, which even though I tend to like the writer’s work, leads me to wonder if I care enough to "keep up with" the title, now that we’re past #1000 and it lacks the "excitement" of the "build-up to" that 1000th issue.

I’ve kept up with Supergirl primarily on principle–I think I had all of the Rebirth run, and definitely wanted to support the notion of a series ACTUALLY CONTINUING THE NUMBERING. I’ve yet to read any of the current run, unfortunately, so it seems another one ripe for dropping. And as said above on other Wonder Comics…I begin to wonder if I was a bit premature going "all-in" on the imprint if I’m not gonna get around to reading the things!

It continues to be rather "telling" to me that I’m happy to re-buy (at a premium price) stuff like Annotated Marvels for $8 as that’s "only" double the price of a standard new Marvel issue but it’s an extra-sized thing with even more added content in the annotations..and it’s a known quantity to me, having gotten the original Marvels issues new as they came out back in 1994!

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While at a Gamestop looking for the TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan game for X-Box, I spotted this Batman Funko Pop figure and knowing I’d "eventually" want it, went ahead and bought it so I don’t have to "hunt" it later.

Which is, in itself, another thing I’m noticing a lot more lately–I’m buying way more than I’d typically do, because it seems "everything" so QUICKLY goes "out of print" and "unavailable" that if I don’t buy it on the spot, I won’t be able to (reasonably) do so later.

And that takes a lotta "fun" outta stuff.


Week of May 16, 2019

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…And now we’re to the current/most recent week!

New Superman issue, new Batman issue, and the new Naomi. I’m not into "speculating" on books, and this title is maybe more a driving factor in my reconsidering the Wonder Comics line if I’m not getting around to the reading.

Then there’s the new Immortal Hulk issue. This makes the 3rd issue in a row for the latter for me…though I don’t know that I’ll want to keep going with the series. It’s not really coming off the way I expected, and I’d probably get more from it if I’d read the earlier issues–but if I do those by Marvel Unlimited I might as well do the series that way.

I’ve been digging the Spider-Man: Life Story series, so that’s a "given" for me; and while I was really looking forward to the first issue of Shredder in Hell, I was NOT counting on it being BI-MONTHLY as it’s been so far. At this writing the series should’ve been finished already (or the final issue coming out in a couple days)…not having 2 more issues yet to come sometime later this year!

Despite the being-behind-on-reading, I’m a bit more willing to suppor IDW‘s Marvel stuff. Though even these may be short on my list as the newness/novelty wears off and collected volumes start coming out that put the single issues’ cover prices to shame.


I’m feeling fairly grouchy toward a lotta comics lately…and while much of my frustration is with Marvel, DC is stacking up quite a bit. I’m none too keen on the upcoming Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen 12-issue series. I’m behind on reading the main Superman and Action Comics titles as-is. And I’m NOT looking forward to the Leviathan "event" about to start. Also put-off by the Year of the Villain build-up (some of that from the 25-cent special having an opposite-from-intended effect on me, turning me off to stuff rather than building my excitement). As of this writing, I just saw some articles on Bleeding Cool with the August 2019 solicitations (and stuff from the Diamond Retailers’ Summit or such) with the upcoming cardstock cover variants (adding $1 to cover price for affected issues!) and that puts me yet further off from stuff.

EVERY SINGLE ISSUE having AT LEAST 2 covers continues to be a turn-off on principle.

Then the way stuff goes out of print and out of stock on collected volumes leaves me cold–recently, I’d thought I could "catch up" on the GI Joe Classic line; but maybe 2-3 weeks after I ordered vols. 7-8 (I had 1-6 from a few years ago) suddenly most of 9-16 is unavailable except from 3rd-party sellers jacking the prices way up for being "out of print."

I had had Game of Thrones spoiled for me from casual posts thrown out on Facebook that went significantly well beyond what I’d experienced so far, so I grudgingly gave up and gave in and though I’m only sequentially to season 5: episode 2, I watched season 8: episode 5, and will probably suck it up and watch the finale. If it’s gonna be totally spoiled for me anyway I might as well AT LEAST get the spoilers FIRST HAND from watching MYSELF!

So there’s that ending–and we’re a few weeks past Avengers Endgame and essentially the ending to 11 years’ worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films–and The Big Bang Theory just ended–so it feels like a lot of endings lately.

And I begin to consider: maybe it’s time for me to take more of a "break" from comics?

Though I’ll "eventually" have to "play catch-up" anyway for the likes of Superman and Action Comics as I always do; perhaps I need to cut back to just a few things.

Spawn to #300. TMNT stuff. And Tom King‘s Batman, since it seems like NO ONE ELSE even actually does more than 10-20 issues anymore.

It’s not like I wouldn’t have other stuff to read–to catch up on reading–even if I never bought any more comics ever!

So who knows…

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Ultraverse Revisited: Strangers #6

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strangers_0006The Tao of Physiques!

Author: Steve Englehart
Pencil Art: Rick Hoberg
Ink Art: Dave Simons
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Color Designer: Robert Alvord
Color Team: Prisms
Editor: Chris Ulm
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

This issue opens with a full-page image of Deathwish throwing Electrocute through a wall. The issue’s title–The Tao of Physiques!–is big and bold on this page, as well an explosive callout proclaiming "All Out Action with The Strangers And" [issue credits]. There’s also a small box saying "Thought he was GONE, didn’t you? So did THEY…"

Essentially, this first page is like an AD for the issue, something you might find in another comic. Or like some sort of ’90s action movie poster, showing a hero vs. a big bad with a title, some hype-y language, names of creators, and some tagline.

This seems like something that absolutely would NOT be found in modern comics, and helps ‘date’ this issue as something out of its true to life time period OF the ’90s. It’s also something that–having recently read a discussion thread on some of the ills of modern comics particularly post-2000–feels all the more welcome as something of a time some quarter-century-plus in the past.

The Strangers have just defeated Deathwish, and help clean up the destruction that resulted from that battle; the various members discussing this need and the "explosion" of Ultras onto the scene and whatnot. They then find a survivor–an old man–in the wreckage and he gets transported to a hospital, with several of the Strangers following. Once there, weird stuff starts happening…and Deathwish rises again! Yrial seems detached and basically AGAINST helping, leaving the rest of the Strangers to deal with Deathwish. As they fight him–and marvel at his still being around when they thought he was destroyed–we see Yrial perform some Voodoo stuff she doesn’t want the Strangers to know about, and it turns out she’s gotten to the bottom of things…as she releases another entity from a dying woman, that seems to balance out the power of Deathwish; the new entity confronts Deathwish and both disappear, while the two human bodies they came from disappear into dust. As the issue ends, we see that the Strangers will next face Prototype during Break-Thru!

It’s kinda interesting to me that the issue ends with reference to Break-Thru but not much "selling" of the event or its premise; and no standout ads for it coming up, nor even one of the Ultraverse Checklist ads. The previous issue seemed almost a done-in-one with the rise of a new villain that had been foreshadowed, but then immediately defeated. Yet here already we have the "return" of the villain, and again a "defeat," perhaps permanently, with the introductions out of the way previously, allowing a full unleashing in this issue. We also get "moments" of development for other characters, the lost art of thought balloons, and generally touching on several plot threads at once (Hugh and Candy, Yrial and Zip-Zap, the whole team vs. Deathwish).

Surfacy as some of the stuff might be, it’s pretty loaded with potential when one looks a bit between the lines, so to speak. We see a growing relationship between Yrial and Zip-Zap…a friendship more than mentor/mentee; for lack of better phrasing, almost like a Storm/Jubilee thing from the X-Men ’92 cartoon, if Jubilee was Storm’s anchor-point rather than vice-versa. Candy is self-aware, but still not truly alive, and wants to know what it is to truly be alive and feel real feelings and such, and takes a lot of her frustration out on Deathwish. I don’t know if these elements get explored in further depth as this series progresses, but I look forward to future issues and finding out!

The art is pleasantly detailed–it’s not over-rendered into false realism but it’s not simplified cartoony. It continues to be strong and consistent with past issues, which is a great thing that seems another element lost in many modern comics. I recognize all the characters that seem like SHOULD be recognized, save for the woman the light-entity comes from; but I suppose that could be argument for a job well done as she was seemingly "just some woman" and not someone we SHOULD have paid attention to (and none of the characters did, either…it was Yrial’s magic that allowed her to even pick up on anything).

In 2019, this sixth issue would be the conclusion of a singular opening story; and we’ve essentially had several smaller stories within this title, including a crossover with Hardcase. But this does kind of cap things off with Deathwish seeming even more out of the picture than the previous issue, and the team more "gelled" than before; and this is the last issue before the first big "event" of the Ultraverse in Break-Thru.

As a total broken-record, I say yet again that this is an issue that doesn’t necessarily work entirely on its own as a single issue in a vacuum; there’s no great reason to go into a 4-longbox-bargain-bin section and pull just this issue as a prize unto itself. You’ll get bits of character stuff for a number of characters; a rise/return of a powerful villain and the team fighting him, and so on–so a bargain bin buy wouldn’t be horrible. But this would be enjoyed a lot more with at least the previous issue, if not as part of a small run of all 6 issues thus far (7 if you also get the Hardcase #4 crossover issue).

I enjoyed this, and I’m looking forward to the next issue as much for continued development of the Strangers as for getting into the event itself.

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Ultraverse Revisited: Hardcase #6

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hardcase_0006Friends and Enemies, Part Two: Returning Favors

Writer: Jim Hudnall
Penciller: Scott Benefiel
Inkers: Mike Christian & Jordi Ensign
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Moose Baumann
Interior Colorists: Family Fugue
Editor: Hank Kanalz
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

After being stabbed and looking like he was bleeding out, we open this issue with Hardcase having an out of body experience, watching Choice find his body, fend off Hardwire, and try to get Tom to a hospital. While having this experience, Hardcase–Tom–is told by Linda (Starburst) to go back while he can. After waking in a hospital bed, Tom and Choice are visited by an old friend…who turns out to be an "old friend" in The Alternate. She claims she’s trying to help them survive, while "The Man Who Isn’t a Man" prepares to send agents to the moon to get something for him that he can destroy all Ultras with. Thanks to his remarkable healing, Hardcase is up and ready before long to re-confront Hardwire, and being prepared this time, succeeds. When police show up, Hardcase dislocates both of the villains arms, so that he can’t use his fingers against them. After this all wraps up, Tom lays in bed with his mind in overdrive, reflecting on the evening–Choice, as well as what he actually saw while dying.

The art for this title has been rather uneven…but it worked well in this issue, taken alone. The cover is nicely detailed, with Hardcase looking like Hardcase…even though it has him seemingly deliberately looking AWAY FROM the attacking villain. Within the issue, the art seems good as a whole. It seems slightly "off" to me–but then, my primary memory of the title and its art comes from the first issue, so that’s what I tend to judge a lot of the art against. It’s better than a couple of the other early issues, though, and better than I remember some of the later issues. The story’s not hard to follow–the action of what’s going on–and that’s the main thing. It’s nothing to write home about, but nothing I’m gonna really complain about.

Story-wise, we get some solid follow-up on Hardcase’s injury–and that while he’s nearly invulnerable, he can be hurt; but he also heals much faster, so even dire damage isn’t necessarily fatal. That said, we get some hints at forthcoming answers for Choice, and knowing what I do of the Ultraverse, it’s easy to pick up on the references to the moon and such (all the more after seeing them in Prime–which is another "core" Ultraverse title as one of the three originals). We get some resolution to this initial encounter with Hardwire; foreshadowing of stuff to come, and generally have a decently well-rounded ’90s comic that moves everything forward as an "episode" rather than being just a 1/6th slice of some singular graphic novel the way most modern/2018/2019 comics seem to be.

As with many ’90s comics and other Ultraverse issues, one could pick up on context simply reading this issue…but it’s not one I’d recommend in isolation or as some singular target issue. It bridges the previous issue and what’s to come in Break-Thru, contributing a bit of setup for that event and preparing us for Hardcase joining the greater stage of the Ultraverse as a whole. This is well worth a 25-50 cent purchase to have along with the earlier issues…but you’re better off grabbing the first issue than this if you just want a single issue of Hardcase.

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