• January 2020
    S M T W T F S
    « Dec    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Super-Blog Team-Up/The ’90s Revisited: Shiny Covers

sbtu_chromium_the_era_of_excess_01

Welcome to Wednesday…and another Super-Blog Team-Up! Where a number of comics blogs and podcasts come together at a shared time and a shared topic. We have that shared topic…but everyone picks a specific topic that fits within that group topic, and makes it their own!

I was invited into this group several years ago, and it’s been a great group to be part of–not only for the specific SBTU posts and episodes, but simply the great community the group has.

This time out, we’re looking at the topic of Chromium: The Era of Excess. That is, the gimmicks and such most seen in the ’90s and onward following the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages of comics.

My contribution is below…and at the bottom of this post (feel free to just skip to that!) is a list of the other participants and their posts this time around!


Prologue

I’d had some grand plans for this post. Even a large, detailed outline. Laying out some thoughts and my definitions of the Chromium Age, the Era of Excess; ways that Excess could be seen, and so on. A broad overview of gimmicks–from publicity/attention stunts to cover gimmicks to other stuff; as well as compare/contrasting ’90s gimmicks with modern variants. Perhaps I’ll eventually get to more of that, but it’s not happening this time.

From the moment of seeing the topic, I wanted to look at many of the comics that embodied this era of excess…namely, the shiny, flashy, attention-grabbing physical gimmicks of ’90s comics.

And of course, while I recognize much of the distaste that can be had for such things…I have–particularly over the last 10+ years–come to really enjoy these flashy, gimmicky comics of the ’90s. I relish purchasing them primarily from bargain-bins…these $3 and $4 and $5+ cover price comics that had these prices over 20 years ago–that I can get for that same price if not merely one shiny 25-cent-piece. And especially over this last decade or so, I’ve amassed quite a collection of such comics, their shiny-ness often jumping out at me from bargain bins, and especially the 25-cent bins.

This is by NO MEANS an EXHAUSTIVE list. There are many issues not even slightly touched on here: both known to me…and probably more unknown than I even show below. Particularly glaring to me as I write this is the Robin III mini-series with its polybagged lenticular covers–I have multiple copies of the issues somewhere but could not find them in a timely fashion to include in this post. Ditto the X-Men: Fatal Attractions issues–though I have an old image from scanning the covers myself and combining them with photos of the holograms such that I’m happy to use that in context here.

The following are presented in little order. While I begin with showing some tamer, more basic “enhancements” to covers, the various enhancements were developed over time and used at various times over the years by a number of different publishers. I’ve clustered them in some broader categories, though there’s surely plenty of room for argument and hair-splitting such that I only claim these as my own terms–particularly in context of this specific post–though you’ll definitely find other descriptions, definitions, and terms for certain enhancements elsewhere.

I also use a fair bit of slang that I’m sure I take for granted, but may not actually be defined or the clearest in general. If in doubt, feel free to post a question asking for clarification!

Despite the many examples I have to show–that I gathered up physically in-person to photograph–there are many, Many, MANY issues that fit in all of these categories that I simply did not collate in time for this piece, could not find in time for this piece, do not myself own, OR do not know about.

“Gatefold” covers are also not included here, though to me, the most prominent example of one of those is probably 1991’s X-Men #1, in its (in)famous “deluxe edition.”

But for now, instead of focusing on what is not or will not be covered (pun intended) here…let’s get into a brief overview of “shiny covers” as found on comics in the 1990s!


Extra Colors

Especially in the early days of comics, printing in color wasn’t an extremely advanced thing, I don’t think–not being an expert on printing presses and such, especially in terms of books/magazines/comics. There’s the notion of the “four color process” that I recall, wherein there was a limited color range made up of four basic colors.

So for comics to–even on the covers–have an extra color not usually seen in general, it would be fairly attention-grabbing.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_extra_color_ink_01

Pulling a simple 3-issue sample, there’s Stryfe’s Strike File, Superboy #50, and X-Men #41.

These have an “extra color” with silver or gold ink prominently in the logos, making them stand out from the “usual” issues…and this photo doesn’t really do them justice compared to seeing the effect in-person.

I see this as a sort of “basic” “low level” “gimmick” where other than the visual color, the rest of the comic is pretty much as any other issue.


Paper Overlays

Another simple gimmick/”enhancement” for comics was having this extra piece on top of the covers themselves. It wasn’t exactly the cover, but it enhances the thing overall.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_paper_overlay_01

The Protectors one sets the thing apart with the brightly-colored paper to help draw attention to the issue, standing in contrast to the usual colors one would expect on a comic’s cover. The Justice League America #70 has a bright red overlay proclaiming Superman is dead. The mourning after begins here!

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_paper_overlay_02

It–like the Protectors issue–allows this extra information/promotion copy without taking away from the actual image of the cover itself, which is full and intact beneath and very much a standalone image!

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_paper_overlay_03

And the full-cover overlay on the 71st issue allows for one to NOT be “spoiled” merely by seeing the image at the shop…though one would probably be spoiled when going to read the issue itself.

But it seems a relatively simple and cheap thing to have this extra exterior “insert” (I know that’s NOT the word I’m looking for) as part of the publishing process while “enhancing” the otherwise normal/usual covers.

Batman #497–the issue where Bane breaks Batman’s back–also had one of the half-cover overlays proclaiming You thought it could never happen…the breaking of the Batman. Unfortunately, that’s another issue I couldn’t locate in my accumulation in time for this piece. Though I did do a ’90s Revisited post on the issue some time back.

Similar to this, I recall a couple of Spider-Man comics in the later-’90s that had two different covers attached–with some of the copies having one cover on “top” and the rest having the other. Essentially “variant covers” but BOTH covers came with every copy of every issue…a neat thing that I intend to cover some other time.


Polybagged Comics

There’s actually quite a bit of variety here, though I’ve got these issues grouped together. My emphasis here is the polybagging of the issues–that is, they come sealed in a  plastic bag/covering, and in order to actually access their content–reading the issue, seeing interior art, getting at any trading card, poster, or whatever other goodies are included–means you have to cut open the bag and make the comic “worthless!”

I say that last part tongue-in-cheek because I remember even as a kid feeling it was rather ridiculous. I used to joke with a friend that someone ought to just put a cover onto a bunch of blank pages, polybag it, and put it out to see if anyone would notice. Or include some coupon to get the “real” thing if you actually DID open it!

To me, the general point of polybags was that these comics came with a trading card or such, hence the bag–the bag was not the comic, it was just a way to include extras without them having to be bound into the comics themselves.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_polybagged_01

The Mighty Magnor #1 can be opened out like one of those pop-up children’s books where moving stuff around results in a multi-level display that folds back up into the typical comic size. The bag would seem to protect it prior to one opening it up into its unique oversized glory.

The Captain Glory, Legionnaires, and X-Force issues come with a trading card. The X-Force #1 is especially egregious, even by contemporary 2020 standards: it’s the exact same comic, the exact same cover, the exact same bag…but there are 5 DIFFERENT trading cards. One would have to buy 5 copies of the issue minimum to get them all and ostensibly a sixth if they felt even slitting the bag to remove the issue to read meant they’d destroyed the issue.

Ren & Stimpy #1 is bagged both for a “scratch-and-stink” thing I believe, and you can juuuust make out under the bag that the reader will be scolded for destroying the comic now that it’s out of the bag.

And the Incredible Hulk issue is a Marvel Milestones reprint with some goodies included (and I only recently acquired it myself so have yet to open it up to get at the stuff).

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_polybagged_02

Here are some more comics with mainly trading cards included, though Hardware and Blood Syndicate  also include poster pieces that can be combined with the other two premiere Milestone #1s (Static and Icon) to form a huge 16-panel image. The Fantastic Four issue includes an animation “cel” from the animated series…a neat little promo.

If you grew up in the ’90s and think back…you may realize that NOT included here are two key Superman issues: the infamous Superman #75 black-bagged “death issue,” and Adventures of Superman #500 and its white-bagged edition. Those are topics for elsewhere and elsewhen!


Glow-in-the-Dark Covers

Glow-in-the-dark covers are relatively self-explanatory. These have an extra element bonded to the cover that–when exposed to light for a bit of time will then give off a glow when the surrounding environment goes appropriately dark. Of course, this likely means holding them up to a light, and then flipping the light switch to “off” and enjoying the effect for a few moments.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_glowinthedark_01

I believe this Ghost Rider issue was one of the earliest “gimmick covers”–at the least, I have a bit of deja-vu on having read something about that. The price of the issue was relatively unaffected despite the bonus effect…though that definitely cannot be said for MOST “gimmick” or “enhanced” covers! I’ve yet to actually read this issue or the Spectre issue. Green Lantern #50 and Superman #123 show the characters’ new costumes…

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_glowinthedark_01b

And here’s a shot of the issues taken in the dark/no flash. This copy of the Green Lantern issue is rather beat up and not my original…and is obviously a bit worse for wear.


Foil Stamped Covers

I’m considering “foil stamping” its own thing in that it’s a bit of foiling “stamped” on the cover, typically isolated to the comic’s title logo and used rather sparingly. In good light at the right angles, it gives off a nice, reflective look–as foil does–but the bulk of the cover is still “normal” colors.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_foil_stamped_01

There are many MANY of these comics out there, ’90s to present. I had these four handy (and the rest of the Rogue mini but figured one issue serves the point, and an issue of Shadowhawk I’d mis-sorted and hadn’t realized til these 4 issues were re-buried as I took photos for this post). A bunch of Ultraverse #1s have such editions where the only difference between them and the regular edition is a foil stamping on the logo.


Foil Covers

These covers go beyond the limited foil “stamping” to have the foil either making up the bulk of the cover or the entire cover.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_full_foil_01

Some of these have foil as a background “color” while others use it for good effect to accentuate stuff…while some just…are.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_full_foil_02

Photos don’t really do these covers much justice as the effect is much more noticeable “live” in-person when you see it.


Prismatic Foil Covers

These are much like the “plain foil,” but have more of a prismatic or patterned effect to the way they reflect light back at the viewer.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_foil_prismatic

The Green Arrow #100 is technically more of a prismatic foil stamping but got sorted here, so here it is. Along with this #100 issue, similar “trade dress” with the prismatic foil “stamping” can be found on Superman #100, Flash #100, and Wonder Woman #100, also out around the same time, and not pictured here.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_foil_prismatic_01b

Closer up of the shiny effect on the Venom issue…

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_foil_prismatic_01c

and on the Fantastic Four issue.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_foil_webs_01

These three 30th anniversary Spider-Man issues plus Venom #1 have long been a “set” to me. I got all four when they first came out, and they’ve been a set in that regard at least since then for me.

They all have the same “webbing” pattern visible in the foil.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_foil_webs_01b

Here’s a closer-up on the Amazing Spider-Man issue (this copy I got signed by Mark Bagley last year!). Marvel got away with this 4-issue anniversary extravaganza as a 30th-anniversary despite the hologram series as these were the anniversary of Amazing Spider-Man #1 rather than just the first appearance of the character. Plus, they were big round numbers #375, #200, #100…and in Venom‘s case, #1.

original_2099_collection2

The main 2099 #1s are another sub-set with a particular pattern within the foiling making up probably my favorite trade-dress for a series of titles. Though Ghost Rider was somewhat spoiled by being a much shinier/reflective foil.


Embossed Covers

Embossed covers are also straight-forward. They’re typically thicker/cardstock paper with embossing. That is, there’s a bit of a raised surface or texture, whether applied to the entire cover or just a logo or such. Think those old crayon-rubbings on paper where you put a sheet of blank paper over something, rub the crayon (or pencil) or whatever and see an image come through.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_embossed_01

Here are several full-color embossed covers, and then two printings of a Fantastic Four single-color embossed cover. The former have the embossed logos, while the latter have the entire cover embossed. Catwoman is embossed throughout.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_embossed_01b

The Fantastic Four covers are both the same issue and same “image”…but two different printings. Different color for different printing, allowing one to have the same embossing, same image, but see at a glance that it’s a different printing.


Foil-Embossed Covers

For these, you have the embossing, but that’s combined with foiling. The points of embossing are foil, or is within a field of foil.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_embossed_foil_01

These are a mix of depth and degree of foiling/embossing and shiny-ness; from logos-only to the rest of the cover.

The Magneto #0 issue doubles as a mail-away comic if I recall correctly–another thing of the ’90s but not a focus of this post.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_embossed_foil_02

Still more with foil and embossing. The Avengers title had 4 of these covers in the year they were put out, if I’m recalling correctly; basically quarterly, so you’d have an extra-expensive issue with the “bonus” of the fancy foil-embossed cover followed by 2 “regular” covers, then another foil-embossed and so on. The Action Comics issue is in today’s terms a “variant,” as there were “Collector’s Edition” and “Newsstand Edition” covers; a topic for another time.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_embossed_foil_02b

Here’s a closer-up of the Avengers cover.


Die-Cut Covers

Die-cut covers have very specific parts cut out–using a die–typically with another image underneath. I suppose these could be considered die-cut overlays, but in the sense of most of what I’ve seen, they tend to be more so a cover revealing a hint of something beneath, which might be more of a first page.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_die_cut_01

In the case of these issues–Wolverine #50, Sabretooth #1, and three of the four Reign of the Supermen launch issues–the cover IS the top, and they reveal part of an image underneath.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_die_cut_01b

…such as the Man of Steel issue. It works as a cover showing off Steel’s version of the “S” shield…but when you open the cover you see a full-panel/page image of Steel…but no cover dress, as it’s not the cover itself (but works WITH the cover).

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_die_cut_01c

While Sabretooth‘s cover allows a hint of something beneath, and opens on quite the beautiful image of the feral villain.

I believe this came out about the same time as the first Deadpool #1, also a villain mini-series, though that one was simply embossed, if I recall correctly. (It is not pictured in this post)


Die-Cut Foil/Die-Cut Embossed Covers

Perhaps getting more to the sense of excess, we move here into the die-cut effect used in conjunction with embossing and/or foil to make up a cover.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_die_cut_02

The Punisher War Zone cover has embossing along with the die-cut, though one might not even know it just looking at the cover…it’s a subtle touch. The Ghost Rider and Shadowhawk covers have a foil sheet under the die-cut rather than foil stamping.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_die_cut_02b

Batman #500 is a multiple-part mashup of “enhancements.” The die-cut for the top layer of the cover, foil cover underneath with embossing for the logo…and it’s a sort of overlay that on opening “reveals” the true cover underneath. PLUS it’s an extra-sized, extra-priced anniversary issue.


Hologram Covers

Hologram covers were covers featuring a “hologram” image. These varied in quality and size, and were presented in a number of ways. Primarily, they were approximately trading-card-sized images affixed to the cover; but some were larger, some smaller, and in the case of Malibu, the entire cover for several Ultraverse #1 issues!

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_01

Robin II featured one of the earlier egregious use of variants that I’m aware of. Not only was there a hologram on the covers, you had different cover images…but all with the same hologram per issue! However, the quantity of covers declined with each issue. #1 had 4 hologram covers, #2 had 3, #3 had 2, and #4 just had 1. (And all 4 issues also had a newsstand edition/variant with no hologram!)

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_02

There was actually a slip-cased box set for the Robin II mini that I’d picked up that came with one of each cover in a fancy box…definitely a novelty piece in my entire collection!

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_02b

The box set also included actual trading cards of each hologram image as stand-alone things…pretty neat inclusion!

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_03

For the 30th anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance, there were these larger hologram images on respective issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, and (adjectiveless) Spider-Man. These were possibly my earliest real introduction to such covers, as a friend had at least a couple of these (if not all four) prior to my even discovering other “enhanced” covers or even the black-bagged Superman #75.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_04

Here are 6 “silver hologram” covers of Malibu‘s Ultraverse #1 issues. I believe there were also gold hologram editions–same image and effect, but with a gold instead of silver tint (though the latter three look slightly gold-ish due to the lighting and camera angle for this photo). Unpictured is an Ultraforce #1 that is gold…and I’ve yet to acquire Prime #1 in either silver or gold (though I’d prefer gold to go with these rather than trying to hunt 7 gold to have 8 match). Mantra and Prototype are basically hologram images of the regular edition covers while the others differ from the non-hologram covers.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_05

Probably my favorite hologram covers were those used for the X-Men 30th-anniversary crossover event/story Fatal Attractions. Prior to these, other hologram covers seemed to be layered images with depth…while these felt like you were looking through a portal into an actual truly 3-dimensional object (namely a statue of the character).

I’ve recycled the above image from my ’90s Revisited series covering the event; I’d scanned the covers and taken photos of the holograms that I then pasted over the actual photo of the covers to show the depth of the holograms.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_06

Here are several varied hologram images on covers. I suppose the Resurrection Man one might be more of a lenticular thing but looked like a damaged hologram when I first grouped these.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_06b

This Web of Spider-Man #125 is one of at least two of these holo-disc covers…the other being Spectacular Spider-Man #225. If you lay the book flat and shine a bright light on it, you can essentially look down into a circular well of a view and see Spidey sorta move as you turn the cover. Think the Pensieve from Harry Potter except you don’t fall into it.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_06c

The Silver Surfer #100 isn’t a particularly impressive hologram image…but it sure is pretty and shiny!


Other Covers

These are some covers that don’t exactly have their own categories; I’ve clustered them together for being a bit outside of a singular category or being a “set” (see below).

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_other_01

The Bloodstrike #1 issue “Rub the Blood” doesn’t–in the case of the physical copy I have onhand–work. A quick Googling suggests the blood should disappear when rubbed, but didn’t always work…so I don’t feel bad for not trying hard to get something to happen. I’d half thought it’d change color or brighten, but c’est la vie. The Guardians of the Galaxy issue with Galactus has a foil-like effect, perhaps a bit prismatic-ish, but something to its coloring and texture seems to be something else, hence separating it out.

The Amazing Spider-Man #388 has a textured foiling so isn’t really a straight up foil but isn’t what I tend to think of as embossed, though I suppose it might technically be embossed. The physical texture is a bit too “fine” for what I’d consider embossing.

Bloodshot #1 and Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #1 are some sort of foil/chromium thing with the fancy part affixed to the cardstock covers themselves. I recall Bloodshot being “the” buzz-issue the day my mom took a friend and me to get Superman #75 at Comics and Collectibles in November 1992. And over the years I’ve learned that Turok was apparently a bit of a bomb. But that’ another than that’s a topic for some other post in itself!

Finally, Force Works is another issue with a pop-up/pop-out cover.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_other_01b

While still not really doing it justice, here’s a closer-up look at the Guardians issue…

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_other_01c

And the Amazing Spider-Man issue.

While looking at this title and in this “other” section…I should mention the embossed/die-cut/overlay of #400, which is another that I couldn’t find/dig out in time for this post, though I have at least one copy of it that I got at time of release. (It and #360 with the hologram apparently are much more expensive books these days than I ever realized!)


Acetate Covers

I haven’t seen many of these covers from the ’90s, though DC recently did a whole month of acetate covers. That being 2019, though, puts ’em 20 years outside the ’90s that I’m looking at!

These were covers that have a transparent/partly-transparent sheet over another cover/image where the two collectively make up the cover.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_acetate_01

Marvels is the series I think of for acetate covers…though obviously the Tales of the Marvels: Wonder Years used the cover format, as well as Ruins (not pictured) and several other special issues–a Tales to Astonish issue, Tales of Suspense, Inner Demons, and apparently a Tales of the Marvels: Blockbuster issue. (all not pictured, either).

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_acetate_01b

Here’s a look at Marvels #2 with the acetate opened, showing the full cover beneath (and you can see much of the cover of #1 through the acetate part!

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_acetate_02

While the Marvels and such covers used just the clear layer to put a logo over a “virgin art” cover…these got a lot more fancy and colorful with most of the image on the surface layer, and background coloring coming through from the secondary piece under it.


Chromium Covers

And here we get to the covers that inspired the naming of the age/era. Golden Age…Silver Age…Bronze Age…and what’s another metallic name? Chromium!

These covers were typically a thinner sheet of metallic/foil-like material and raised surfaces maybe akin to embossing, and you could often see a pattern of dots from the inside of the cover. I believe with the exception of Superman #82, all the chromium covers I’m aware of were wrap-around full-chromium. The Superman issue is a sort of cardstock with a front stub that the chromium sheet is attached to. It’s also the only DC comic I’m aware of in this format. Maybe they didn’t do it right and just didn’t do it again?

I should also note that somehow I never remembered–until deep into writing up this post–Ninjak #1 which may actually (once remembered) be one of my favorite chromium covers–and so do not have it in my specific mini-collection of chromium covers and thus it is not pictured here.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_chromium_01

I’m pretty confident that X-O Manowar #0 was the first chromium cover I was aware of. As I’m recalling, it was actually my Dad who picked out my first copy–it caught his eye. It was followed shortly by Superman #82 collector’s edition. And then bookending the original Age of Apocalypse event/saga, X-Men: Alpha and X-Men: Omega sported these wraparound chromium covers.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_chromium_02

Valiant got into these in a big way with the aforementioned X-O Manowar and Ninjak; also #0 issues for Bloodshot and Shadowman; and first issues for (at least) Geomancer and Psi-Lords.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_chromium_03

Marvel also got into doing these covers in a big way. There were at least these 9 issues. I only recently–maybe in the last 5 weeks or so–became aware of this Sabretooth special issue (or at least this chromium cover edition if there was a non-fancy version). And it was only shortly before that I discovered the Fantastic Four 2099 #1 was a chromium cover; or that the Double Edge issue I had with the “death” of Nick Fury was a bookend issue and that the first part also had a chromium cover.

On the subject of Marvel and chromium covers…they apparently also did a series of Marvel Collector’s Edition reprint issues of various X-Men issues, and I think also Spider-Man; these being quite rare, and part of a handful of reasonable-ish “grail” issues for me (though having so many “cheap” chromium issues, it’s a double-edged sword for me. As with many other things…that’s a subject for another post!)

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_chromium_04

Over the years I’ve also come across several other chromium issues mostly in bargain bins, but a couple not.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_chromium_02b

And here’s a look at the Bloodshot and Shadowman #0s at more of an angle with light to show just how bright and shiny they are. Though as another refrain: they look even better in person!


The Era of Excess

I think I’ve spotlighted about 160 issues here, and mentioned still others.

Yet this doesn’t do more than put a big dent in showing off the shiny covers produced in the ’90s. While I find many of these covers “fun” now and love grabbing them outta bargain bins or on deep discounts…it was a different thing back in the ’90s. I fell victim to the mindset of “having to” get both the “collector’s edition” AND the “newsstand” edition of issues with the two. Superman #75 being the first such issue. Then others like the Adventures of Superman #500, the four launches of the titles into Reign of the Supermen.

I haven’t really looked at price in this post–that’s for some other time. As I recall, in general the “collector’s edition” covers were usually more expensive than the “newsstand” edition–sometimes twice or more so. And even with the “option” for the “cheaper” edition…with MANY of these, you had no choice. You either bought this double/triple/whatever-priced shiny/fancy thing…or you didn’t get that issue.

However…for the most part, the covers were still more or less singular. If you didn’t have a choice and had to pay more…it was still an iconic (or at least recognizable!) cover. I know Fantastic Four #375 at a glance just for the shiny sparklies. Or X-O Manowar #0. Any of the Fatal Attractions hologram covers. Or the 2099 #1s. X-Men: Alpha and Omega. Those Avengers foil-embossed covers for the 30th anniversary. Superman #75, the launches into Reign of the Supermen.  And so on and so forth etc.

Others that had “collector’s edition” and “newsstand edition” (or non-“enhanced”) covers the two were often completely different images…some more recognizable than others. Superman #75 had a slate-gray tombstone look for the black-bagged edition; but it’s the newsstand edition–with the tattered cape fluttering on the wood pole–that is the iconic image. On the flip side, it’s the glow-in-the-dark version of Superman #123 that’s had a bunch of homage covers and seems (to me) to be “the” iconic image of that entire electric-blue era/costume for the character.

And the simple fact that I was able to pull together SO VERY MANY of these covers to photograph and share for this post shows (in small part) just how plentiful these were in the ’90s. That being said…I see them all as quite different from the modern “variant” covers. PARTICULARLY in quantity.

I don’t think I have EVER–comic store, dealer at a convention, whatever–seen boxes and boxes of “collector’s shiny edition” covers for sale. Maybe there are a bunch in bargain bins, but I’ve never seen them gathered together with an exclusive category/call-out…while I HAVE numerous times seen boxes and boxes of comics labeled “variants–$X price.”

Granted, you had all those Robin II variant regular-art covers with the same hologram affixed, plus the newsstand editions with no holograms. You had X-Force #1 where you had to buy 5 copies to get all 5 cards. Or X-Men #1 where you could buy 4 different covers that made up a single image…OR the “deluxe” edition gatefold cover with all 4 “panels” combined into the single image they were meant as…5 total covers to have ’em all. Or for its ongoing series, I believe Gen13 #1 had thirteen different covers. Slingers #1 had 4 different covers…and 4 different interiors!

But for the most part, IF you had “variants” in the ’90s…it was very much a 2-cover thing. Regular, and “enhanced.” OR–say, with several “platinum edition” covers or the Ultraverse limited foil and the full-cover holograms, for example–these particular “variants” were almost legendary and in no way “standard.” I got into the Ultraverse stuff in June 1993 when the line launched…but I think it was at least 2010 (17 years later!) before I ever saw one of the hologram issues in-person.

For at least the last 15 years with the ever-increasing quantity of variants, it seems that nearly every single issue of nearly every single series from nearly every publisher is put out with at minimum two different covers, and often 3 or more. I think recently I counted 30 different variants listed for an issue of Vengeance of Vampirella (from Dynamite, I think!). I’m pretty sure that there were more COVERS for that ONE ISSUE than there were pages of interior art! (And it was not even a first issue or any obviously-celebratory numbered issue!)

While I’ve yet to go through and do it, I’d be interested to see a list of comics being solicited in Previews in a single month of 2019 or 2020 that are NOT being published with variants. I’ve often wondered if it’d be easily-feasible to just collect comics withOUT variant covers.

Even where there were multiple shiny covers with one single series…the majority were never sequential…it was not every single issue nor every single series at once. (Granted, in the 2010s, DC has done several “gimmick months” where for that one month only, one issue per title only, there’s been some gimmick. Yet again, though….that’s another topic for another post).

Why I have such a problem with modern variants can be summed up with the following:

Just off the top of my head, on the Superman titles…(in terms of the ongoing series, not counting a number of quarterly giant-size specials in the late-’90s) you had collector’s & newsstand editions for:

  • Superman #s 75, 78, 82, 100, 150, and 166
  • Adventures of Superman  #s 500, 501, and 505
  • Action Comics #s 695
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #s 22, 30, 50

That’s 13 issues out of…I don’t know, let’s say ~400 issues (Superman 75-175, Adventures of Superman 500-600, Action Comics 694-800, Superman: The Man of Steel 1-130-something, and Superman: The Man of Tomorrow 1-15)

Right now, 2020, just going back to mid-2016’s Rebirth renumbering for Superman…Let’s say May 2016-January 2020 (44 months) there’s been Superman #s 1-45 and 1-19 or so. Let’s call it 65 issues. But with DC doing two covers for every single issue…that’s 130 covers for 65 issues in 44 months. That’s not getting into Action Comics and the oodles of covers for #1000 on top of it’s 70ish issues. Nor taking into account adjacent titles like Supergirl, Superwoman, Super Sons, or Batman/Superman.

The ’90s get a bad rap for being an age of speculation and excess…but for me, the 2010s (2010-2019) drastically put the ’90s to shame in terms of covers.

I will absolutely grant that the ’90s very much can be considered the “Chromium Age,” though!


sbtu_continues_below

Don’t forget to check out the rest of this outing’s Super-Blog Team-Up posts! Find the group on Twitter at hashtags #SuperBlogTeamUp, #SBTU, and #SBTUChromium!

Super-Hero Satellite – 70s-80s Photo Covers

Chris is on Infinite Earths (Blog) – Adventures of Superman #500

Chris is on Infinite Earths (Podcast) – Episode 33: Team Titans #1 (1992)

Source material – Spider-Man Torment

ComicsComicsComics.blog – Daredevil 319-325 Fall from Grace

The Telltale Mind – Worlds Collide – The Intercompany Crossover

Between The Pages – Guerilla Marketing

Unspoken Issues – Darkhawk #25

Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog – Connected Covers gimmicks

When It Was Cool – Polybags It! The Blight of the Polybagged Comic Book

Pop Culture Retrorama – Glow in the Dark Covers

In My Not So Humble Opinion – It Came From the 1990s: Force Works #1

Black & White and Bronze Comics Blog – Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine 1968

DC In The 80s – Memorable DC “gimmicks

Comics In The Golden Age – Fawcett’s Mighty Midget comics


sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_blogtrailer

The Weekly Haul: Week of January 15, 2020

weekly_haul_header

This week’s a bit more in line with what I’d like, where I can actually get several comics without racing headlong into $30+ at the register!

One more expensive issue, a $2.99, and a $3.99…plus two $3.99 replica editions/facsimile editions that are well worth $3.99 apiece compared to fair market value on the original editions!

weeklyhaul_20200115a

I haven’t gotten around to reading the first issue of this Question mini yet….but on strength of the creators and the character, I’m interested, and if I get to binge-reading, I’d regret not having all issues. And as I’ve passed on a couple other similar projects, I think I’d decided that if I was getting the first issue, I was getting the later issues, barring some significant reason not to.

The new Spawn issue puts us 4 past 300. I’d think 300 issues is impressive, but is anyone else buying this title? I mean, it’s over 300, that’s hitting triple-digits legitimately, 3 times over, and starting toward the 4th! No one wants any issue numbered higher than can be counted on their own fingers and toes, right??? Or is there something to ACTUALLY keeping the numbering going, AND actually keeping to a reasonable price? This is the 48th consecutive issue I’ve bought of Spawn as a new issue…on strength of that $2.99 instead of $3.99. It was $2.99 when DC was at $3.99 for everything. It was $2.99 when DC cut back to $2.99 and double-shipping with Rebirth, and it’s still $2.99 as DC has leapt back to $3.99! (Meanwhile, Marvel‘s cranking out the $4.99+ books!)

Apparently Second Coming is a mini-series. Or a "season" (blah!). I’m pretty sure I’ve snagged all 5 previous issues, but unfortunately I’m not 100% on that. Still…it sorta proves my point to myself to quit knowingly buying short mini-series and wait for the collected volumes! At this point, after all, I assume a collected edition will make its way along very shortly, perhaps for only $9.99, but even if "only" $19.99 that’ll be like a "free" issue content-wise over the singles, which I’ve paid basically $24 to get.

Then we have Detective Comics #359 (Replica Edition) and The Incredible Hulk #180 (Facsimile Edition). Two reprint editions of comics from…well, some years before I was even born. The former being the first appearance of Batgirl and the latter having one panel at the very end of Wolverine, apparently making it the first appearance of the character, despite the next issue generally being the one credited. (I mean, if you get technical I absolutely would go with #180 as the first appearance, but what’s the POINT when it’s JUST one single panel? I’d much rather have the issue where you see the character DO STUFF and actually find out a little about him and see him face the Hulk and all that!)

I have to give Marvel credit…I’d swear I saw some ad or it was the solicitation text pointing out they gave us #180 last year, so now they’re giving us 180 since it’s "also" part of the first appearance and such. For these reprint editions, I’m actually all for that. Heck, I would PROBABLY buy a bunch of Marvel books if they simply every month published reprint editions of various older runs in this facsimile/replica format!

Comic Shop News meanwhile hits #1700. I’d swear I remember when it was in the mid-ish 300s back in the ’90s. It’s cool to see something like this still going after all this time. In some ways–with it being hard to count on being available by the next week, even–issues of CSN are almost like a "ticket stub" of the weekly purchasing. Or a "proof of purchase" or such. A "souvenir" of being a weekly comics person. Of going to a bricks and mortar shop (I don’t believe the online retailers provide CSN…though I could be wrong).

It’s rather telling that I have NO new Marvel issues; and though The Question is technically DC, it barely counts, given the way they’re pushing this larger physical size and the Black Label…um…label…so much. I’d consider it Black Label more than DC in the same way one used to be able to consider something Vertigo more than DC.

And as said…a decent week, a little over $20, but closer to $20 than $30. And it’s my enjoyment of replica/facsimile editions that lands two of the 5 on my pile this week. I feel like I’m finally getting back to a GOOD "balance" where there’s "enough" worth getting to keep to the weekly thing, but without having massive sticker-shock or buyer’s remorse.

Of course, 20 years ago, this haul would’ve probably been $8 cheaper. But this is the here and now.

That said…we’ll see what next week holds!

weeklyhaul_20200115_blogtrailer

The Weekly Haul: Week of January 1, 2020

weekly_haul_header

The new year started out with a pretty small week.

An issue. TMNT: Urban Legends #20.

weeklyhaul_20200101a

Not much for the week in the way of new comics. Which is–I think–pretty much what I’m leaning toward lately.

I’m a few months–at least–behind on reading TMNT Urban Legends, but as we’re into the latter part of the series as a whole, I just need to figure out where I left off, and binge-read and get back to keeping up with it issue-by-issue.

Comic Shop News features yet another Hawkeye series…How many different series/minis has the character had now, since 2003 or so?

While the new comics were sparse…I did make a sizeable Spawn purchase, but will be detailing that purchase in an upcoming SpawnQuest post.

weeklyhaul_20200101_blogtrailer

Welcome to 2020

Welcome to a new decade. Yes, I consider 2020 the start of a new decade–it’s the start of the ’20s. One doesn’t refer to the ’80s and 1990, or the ’90s and 2000, etc. When I turn 40, that indicates I’ve completed 40 trips around the sun, but it will still be the start of "my ’40s."

ANYway…

2019review_necatoys

I’ve written several drafts of stuff as a year-start post and I’m not all that keen on any of those the way I’d envisioned as I started writing. So here I am, day-of, doing a bit of a stream-of-conscious(ness?) piece.

2019review_1_actual_review2019review_ultraverse_revisitedIn 2019, I only wrote ONE true REVIEW (covering a current brand-new issue). I only wrote 2 new posts of older issues (‘__s Revisited). I posted several stockpiled/not-yet-formatted Ultrverse Revisited posts written in 2018. I posted several entries on adding NECA TMNT (and 1 Aliens) items to my collection. A Super-Blog Team-Up post on the Shredder Redeemed. Some excitement for Spawn #300 and launching my #SpawnQuest. Getting a nearly 100-issue run of Uncanny X-Men allowing me to decide to begin my personal collection with Days of Future Past-forward. And I’m pretty sure I managed to document the entire year’s worth (52 weeks) of NEW-new comics (albeit with a number of posts covering multiple weeks’ worth each).

2019review_shredderOf course, after periods of having (week)-daily posts for extended times including over a year into mid-2017…that makes 2019 seem like one of my least-worthwhile blogging years, looked at as a whole.


2020 Blogging

  • I want to get back into my Ultraverse Revisited project. I believe I have Ultraverse Premiere #0 and Firearm #0 to cover between the November 1993 issues and December 1993’s Break-Thru linewide event.
     
  • I want to get back to covering some further issues of TMNT Adventures, and having decided several years back that I could see "seasons" in the title, I believe I’d be covering "season 3" with 26-38 + Mutanimals 1-6.
     
  • I want to get back to some regular-ish ‘__s Revisited posts.
     
  • I also have a couple other tentative projects shaping up to participate in with others that I intend to have posts for here as well.

2020 Comics

  • I’m beginning the year with the intent of working on hunting down Spawn #s 101-256; 156 issues. I’m pretty sure I have 8 or 9 from #185-193 or so, which means I’m only hunting about HALF of the series in its entirety.
  • I’m also beginning 2020 with the intent of seeking out the "classic" 1990s Marvel 2099 stuff; with several specials and then later issues of the 4 "OG" titles (Spider-Man, Ravage, Doom, Punisher) and a handful of X-Men, and the back half of Ghost Rider, and then whatever other misc. issues I’m forgetting.
  • Beyond stuff I’m interested in acquiring that I don’t already (know I) own…I’m also hoping to get some significant sorting/purging done on my accumulation and get it to being more of an actual collection again than a random "warehouse" of "stuff."

2020 ‘Grails’

  • Uncanny X-Men #141 (part 1 of Days of Future Past)
  • TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #1
  • Prime #1 (hologram cover, silver OR gold)
  • Wolverine (1988) #145 (foil edition)

So we’ll see what actually comes to pass over the next 365 days or so. I believe it’s also a "leap year," with 29 days in February, so…bonus?

Time will tell!

2019review_welcome_to_2020_blogtrailer

Redeeming Black Friday: The Haul

This year’s Black Friday was particularly frustrating and discouraging due to a number of factors. I feel most justified in my disappointment that after getting the newest Big Bang Theory season on DVD from Best Buy Online the last 6-7 years, this year there was no such deal.

In the end, for the first time in about a decade, I did not buy anything from Best Buy (online or otherwise) on/around Black Friday. For that matter, the only movie I remember buying was Bumblebee because it was a combo pack with digital for about the price of one weekend’s Redbox rental. I did buy my first Keurig for about 1/3 off–not bad, but not exactly grandiose or living up to the general "hype" of Black Friday as some wallet-melting sale-day. 

black_friday_haul_11292019_sarah02

So where I’d not been sure if I was going to go to the big Black Friday event at Carol & John’s in Cleveland–after all, I remembered last year‘s crowd and wasn’t planning on spending much, so the odds of winning any of the raffles–especially one of the Marvels Platinum Edition hardcovers–seemed highly counter to being worth braving the crowds.

But I was disappointed and discouraged from the day, and figured it’d do my mind some good to at least get out and get a few comics–my sort of "retail therapy." Plus, I had a bit of "FOMO" wondering if there’d be a treasure-trove of Spawn issues I could get on the cheap.

And it eventually occurred to me that the sale was ongoing–and figured I could "cheat" a bit and if I got there early, have more time in a quieter space to dig through boxes of comics, knowing I wouldn’t be checking out until the sale was in effect.

Little did I realize that I’d lose track of the time, and despite not finding one single issue of Spawn to buy, I’d more than meet the minimum to further halve the cost of the comics I was buying. $1 each, or 100+ for 50 cents each. Functionally, at 50, it would be the same price whether I bought 50 issues or 100 issues…so why stop AT 50?

And then after managing to get my precariously-balanced stack of comics to the checkout and adding several supplies and eventually a sticker to goose my final price to one more raffle ticket, I got stuff out to the car and returned for the first raffle.

Where I didn’t win anything.

So I wandered around the store awhile and ended up buying a book and a couple current single issues. Paid for those, got two more raffle tickets, and then read outside for a bit until the second raffle.

Where I actually won one of the "bonus" prizes–a slipcover/box set of DC’s Greatest Hits! I took my newest purchase and my prize out to the car, and listened to an audiobook for a bit. Then headed back in for the next raffle…and won a graphic novel from a curated selection. I chose the Joker tpb collecting the ’70s Joker series. I’d had my eye on the book for years (thinking as I type, it has the 2012-2016 DC logo, so I must’ve had my eye on the book since at least as far back as 2016 pre-Rebirth!).

Having not had dinner (I hadn’t actually planned to stay past the first raffle) by going-on-9pm it was definitely time to get some dinner, so I walked to Subway a few stores down in the plaza and got a sandwich that I took and dropped off in my car before heading back over for the next raffle–where I did not win anything.

Back out to my car, ate half my sandwich and listened to an audiobook, and realized I was exhausted and with the huge crowd and seeing people seemingly spending way more than me and having my odds of winning ANYthing falling further, it was time to get going.

BUT.

But being "only" about 15 minutes from the next drawing, why not go back in for one last one before getting the heck outta Dodge?

Surprisingly, I then ran into an old coworker from a job I had a couple years ago; so got to chat and catch up a bit. It was such a shock and pleasant surprise! That made it worth having stayed–having gone back in–one last time.

And then as we and others noticed/commented that no one had chosen either of the Marvels books (several of the other large prizes had been snapped up) I heard my name.

After verifying that it was indeed my name and that it was indeed for one of the large prizes…I chose the Marvels Platinum Edition.

All the more knowing there was a 3-prize-cap for the evening (and I’d definitely hit my 3!), it was a good time to call it a night.

black_friday_haul_11292019a

I’ve won occasional prizes in drawings here and there for various things. Even at comic shops–I’d won a $20 credit a number of years ago at Kenmore, and a $25 credit at Comic Heaven back in Fall 2016. But these three items–the Marvels edition, the DC’s Greatest Hits, and the Joker volume–make up the largest/most expensive I’ve ever won.

And absolutely "redeemed" Black Friday for me.

The comics I got were already more or less worthwhile for having gone out; but these made it more than worth having gone out–especially the Marvels book. (And, extra added bonus? The digital code that supposedly expired several years ago redeemed so I got the digital copy along with the physical…the FULL PACKAGE even though the book came out in 2013 or 2014!)


While the raffle prizes moooooore than made the evening for me…I also scored over 100 (what worked out to be) 50-cent comics, making quite the ’90s-riffic haul.

The crux of the sale was a room full of longboxes of $1 comics. $1 each…or 100+ for 50 cents each. 50 comics for $50, or 100 comics for $50. At 50, it just makes sense to get another 50!

And as my 2019 blogging has primarily been showing off the various hauls…why not show off the Black Friday haul as well?

black_friday_haul_11292019b

So, after determining no Spawn (that I could see, anyway), I kinda took a haphazard approach to my browsing. Top of my pile–several Wolverine issues. As far as I know, all are duplicates…making these very much "convenience copies." 48-50 to get TO #50 with that classic die-cut cover. And incidentally, a "sequel" to the classic BWS Weapon X serial that ran in Marvel Comics Presents #s 73-84 or so. And then the "classic" #104 where we found out Onslaught’s tie to the events of Fatal Attractions. And while I may very well never get to it (especially with my lack of blogging the last couple years) I’m willing to grab convenience copies for potential The ’90s Revisited coverage!

black_friday_haul_11292019c

Grabbed a handful of old Image issues (and 1 Eternity with Zen). And yeah, that was two copies of Youngblood #1. Because hey, get to show off both covers. BUT this being a variant DONE RIGHT: it’s a flipbook! BOTH covers on one issue. You only have to buy multiple copies of the issue if you want to DISPLAY both sides!

And both the Prophet and Knightmare issues sport nice, shiny "chromium" covers! I’m always on the lookout for more chromium in the wild. Turned out I already had the Prophet issue, but Knightmare is a new addition to my chromium covers collection!

black_friday_haul_11292019d

The Tim Drake Robin is one of my favorite characters, so for sheer nostalgia, snagged these. The ongoing Robin #1 is fairly iconic–at least to me. And I’m NOT actually sure offhand if I have any of the Robin II: The Joker’s WIld collector sets before this. I have the various single issues, and even a slipcase of the series with all covers (holograms). These remind me a lot of the Robin III: Cry of the Huntress bagged editions, which is part of what casts these into doubt in my mind as to whether I already had them or not…making them all the more cool to have/find!

black_friday_haul_11292019e

Snagged copies of several of the Superman #1 issues largely for the nostalgia and convenience. Ditto for the Action 600, Superman 100, and Adventures of Superman 505 (this latter is one of my all-time favorite Superman covers!) (THOUGH apparently it wasn’t one of my top 10 when I did a post on such covers 6 1/2 years ago. Top 11, or I think of Man of Tomorrow #1 moreso; the two are remarkably similar at a glance!)

And Blackhawk because hey, why not?

black_friday_haul_11292019f

A handful of Batman issues–largely nostalgia, and convenience-copies with Tom Lyle art. And for the heckuvit, Batman #500 for the sake of having it (yet again). Meanwhile, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #25 is one of my favorite covers from that series and the whole KnightQuest thing. Especially for basically having a really cool-looking cover celebrating 25 issues, while serving the ongoing overall story, and the "gimmick" being the silver color not usually found on comics.

Resurrection Man #1 for the "hologram" thing; and Phantom Stranger because I’m not actually sure I had the issue!

black_friday_haul_11292019g

Snagged a bunch of DC One Million tie-in #1,000,000 issues. I had a bunch already and couldn’t find a reference in my phone of which ones (ugh!) so I bought one of each that I could!  black_friday_haul_11292019hStill working on the set overall…but I’m pretty close to having the full DC One Million event in single issues!

black_friday_haul_11292019i

A new convenience-copy of the The Kingdom "fifth-week event" (I believe) from back in the day. Pretty sure this was where we got Hypertime; though pretty sure as well we’re a couple of such things further on now. Hypermulticrisisverses?

black_friday_haul_11292019j

I am STILL after all these years waiting for a SINGLE VOLUME collection of the Thy Kingdom Come saga. Maybe I’ll have to get a copy of the issues bound for that to happen?

black_friday_haul_11292019k

This makes for a good start on a second copy of the saga to (maybe) eventually get bound. Or for a convenience-copy re-read someday before I get my accumulation properly sorted.

black_friday_haul_11292019l

Snagged a bunch of Astonishing X-Men issues since it was most of the run!

black_friday_haul_11292019m

Highly glad I hadn’t tried to "catch up" on the single issues before, given the way of the X stuff the last couple years and finite-ness of the particular run, and here getting 8 issues for the cover price of 1!

black_friday_haul_11292019n

I picked up some X-Force stuff. Pretty sure I have all 5 cards’ editions, but snagged dupes of 4 of them; and the first 3 (of I believe 4) issues of a mini-series.

black_friday_haul_11292019o

Grabbed some 2099 #1s for the nostalgia, convenience, and just liking the pretty foil. Ditto on the Namor issue. And for cheap copies of gimmicky covers, grabbed the Punisher: War Zone issue. Also grabbed a couple further issues of Namor for the story beyond the shiny cover; and the Machine Man/Bastion annual as a giant-sized issue. And I may eventually accumulate a set of these team-up annuals yet.

black_friday_haul_11292019p

Grabbed a few Spider-Man issues for interesting covers and such; stuff that caught my attention in a "I might enjoy reading that or re-reading it" kinda way. The X-Men Unlimited #2 always catches my attention. And the Marvel Spotlight issue for Uncanny X-Men hitting 500 issues looks interesting.

black_friday_haul_11292019q

Found a lot of X-Men stuff. I tend to snag #40 when I come across it…it’s one of my all-time favorite/most memorable issues from childhood. X-Men: Alpha is another favorite (plus it’s shiny!). X-Men: Prime is similar, and pretty. And there’s also some serious nostalgia for me on the two main Onslaught issues, so snagging a pair together is quite cool.

black_friday_haul_11292019r

Then I’m starting to build up my Marvel Comics Presents collection; so with some recent purchases, I think these two extended my collection 2 issues further into the run from #1. And I have visions of destroying X-Men #1 to use the cover as a poster to hang. And the inside cover is also a poster-image…so I’ll have to destroy at least two copies. And if I can do that to 50-cent copies rather than tracking the issue down for $4-6, all the better!

black_friday_haul_11292019s

And thanks to some then-VERY-recent discussion of the issue and the variants and being able to get all 5 (6 total) I went for it. Here’s the comparison of the "deluxe" edition fully opened up compared to the 4 single-panel covers laid out.


Over 120 issues. It’s amazing how quickly they can pile up and add up. Plenty of random "junk" in there, but it was also a bit of "retail therapy" and all. But does continue to contribute to me eventually hitting a point where it’ll just make full financial sense to get my accumulation organized so that I won’t even be interested in buying "convenience copies" of anything!

THAT said…if I get to them, I’ve got a couple more large bargain-bin hauls to potentially show off…whether I get to that before the end of the year remains to be seen!

black_friday_haul_11292019_blogtrailer

The Weekly Haul: Week of November 13, 2019

weekly_haul_header

This past week felt like the sort of balance I REALLY prefer to have with new comics. Though I may be "missing out" on other stuff…it’s still a bit more than I may have "time" for…especially with other distractions that I’ll get into down below!

weeklyhaul_20191113a

Though it’s another $6 book, Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night (the 3rd in a series of these specials) is sorta worth it…I’m willing to let it slide by for being a squarebound thing AND coming out alongside a $1 reprint of the original Blackest Night #1. Plus, having enjoyed plenty of Elseworlds stuff back in the day…if DC isn’t going to bring that imprint back, I can handle stuff like this. I’m still a bit wary and suspicious that this is leadup to some major event for the sake of a major event–and I’ve little intention of "buying back in" on such a thing with the way the new status quo is shaping up (and with Superman revealing his identity for the 2nd time in half a decade).

The Catwoman issue I bought because of having read that it offers her side to "the Wedding stuff," and I’m interested enough in that. And the "fancy cover" for the SAME PRICE AS USUAL is a very positive factor!

GI Joe: A Real American Hero is a title I’m still woefully behind on reading, but am still very supportive of, if only for its high numbering! I have a large amount of the original run and have the notion of filling in earlier issues in this run to eventually have the whole series. But time will tell.

I believe this 6th issue of the IDW run of Usagi Yojimbo is the 30th anniversary issue. I’m pretty sure I saw something on Facebook from Stan Sakai about that.

And then the The Tomb of Dracula facsimile edition is another I got on simple principle OF being a facsimile edition. I’ve lost track of the number of these…I’m not sure if they’re quite "weekly," but I’m certainly appreciating their frequency. I’d probably be quite happy if Marvel (and DC!) simply did a "series" that itself was simply these reprint editions–where one could "subscribe" TO the "line" without hassle to the comic shops.

weeklyhaul_20191113b

Having already had the first 5 of the 6 issues of Event Leviathan, I decided to finish that out. I’m continuing to be discouraged by the issue apparently "ending" with the "launch" of another event/series already. But at the same time, that also backs up my notion of it being time to back away from a lotta this stuff.

I’m not entirely sure what this Marvels X thing is that headlines the previews thing…but it seems like they missed the 25th anniversary of the original series. As a contained thing I might be interested, but time will tell.

And finally, Comic Shop News, spotlighting Superman revealing his identity to other heroes…and the reason I finally pulled the trigger on dropping Superman and Action Comics.

weeklyhaul_20191113c

On a more positive side…a Kickstarter project I backed recently came in! The second issue of Cat & Mouse by Roland Mann & Co. with the revived Silverline. As a Kickstarter thing, I’m more forgiving of variants and such, especially the Kickstarter Exclusive Edition covers–because the CONTENT is still available to anyone, even if the special cover isn’t. As a sucker for nostalgia, I’m cool with the Retro edition. There’s even some difference to the coloring, it looked like–which I appreciate! Finally, the "graphite edition" is not JUST a "sketch cover" (which I dislike as variants). This is a whole different edition of the issue, where the interior is also like this–so the cover is NOT some "inferior" thing, it’s actually a perfect match to its interior! And it gives a different look at the contents of the issue that I find rather cool as a novelty like this.

pokemon_sword_20191115

The new Pokemon game came out last Friday. I broke with "tradition" of getting the "red" versions to get Sword…largely because of knowing a friend had pre-ordered Shield and I wanted to know I had a trading buddy. Then I realized that when I’d bought in on the Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon re-issue of the previous game, I’d also gone "blue" so…c’est la vie.

pokemon_plush_and_banner

I also snagged this nifty felt banner (the flip-side is a map of this new games new "region" in the Pokemon world) as well as the plush starter critter, Scorbunny. I’d gotten the plush of Litten 3 years ago with Pokemon Sun, so it just seemed fitting to make that a tradition of getting the plushie of the critter I’d start the game with!

I also then promptly blew away the weekend with first being up Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday, then spending the majority of the day Saturday and again into wee hours, and a decent chunk of time Sunday playing. As of this typing Monday evening, I’ve left off having acquired 5 of the 8 "gym badges" in the game. I also "bred" a couple Farfetch’d and Scorbunnies for trade, but pulled myself away from that side of the game for the time being. Mindless stuff with that almost 3 years ago is what led to my binging the entirety of How I Met Your Mother into 2017!

Heading fast toward "the holidays," I don’t know how long it’ll take me to "finish" the play-through of the "main game," but I’ve already sunk more time into this game than any other game since the original Pokemon Sun, in such a short span of time. I’ve probably got a way to go yet to match Breath of the Wild, but that was spaced across weeks before I lost interest. I certainly feel like I’ve already more than gotten my money’s worth out of this game compared to every other game I’ve bought other than Breath of the Wild.

weeklyhaul_20191113_blogtrailer

The Weekend Haul: Weekend of November 2, 2019

This past weekend yielded an interesting haul. It started with the Akron Comicon.

I believe the first time I’d attended the Akron Comicon was in 2012. I got to meet Norm Breyfogle, Mike W. Barr, and a couple other creators. Along with meeting them, I got copies of Prime #s 1, 11 and the Prime Time TPB along with Detective Comics #604 (my first-ever issue of the title) signed by Breyfogle. I got Mantra #1 and my Batman: Year Two collected volume signed by Barr.

In 2013, I went again, and got to meet Jon Bogdanove and got Superman: The Man of Steel #1 signed.

I don’t think I made it back again until 2018.

And now 2019.

Which proved to be quite a disappointment for me. Two creators in particular I’d looked forward to seeing at the show had to back out. Additionally, the "guest of honor" (I think that’s MY phrasing, not the official show-phrasing) was an old Cleveland, OH-area tv host from the 1980s–predating MY experiences in 1988-onward–so I had zero interest in his presence at the show as I obviously had no nostalgia/connection whatsoever.

The show was at yet another "new location," this time in Cuyahoga Falls–just outside of Akron proper. Certainly some quibbles on the name of the show tying to location and such, but whatever. Prior to arrival, I was picturing this rather small (for a convention) location from a friend’s wedding I attended years ago. My primary concern was parking. I cannot speak to the parking situation after Noon or so, as I actually got to the show around 11 or a little before. (I was leaving the parking lot shortly after Noon and there were a few open spots). But it seemed to me a rather small amount of parking for a show expecting a lot of people. I was burned a couple years ago by a different local show on the parking, which has made "parking" a #1 concern for me with plans to attend any convention.

weekend20191102haula

I had no trouble getting into the show. I essentially followed a couple in, following signage. I was rather surprised to find no line (having had a pretty good wait to get into the Hall of Fame City Comic Con a few weeks ago). Someone with a scanning rod or whatever those things are called–hand-held metal-detector scanners–was checking everyone on the way in. No problem there–just a few seconds, non-invasive, though I was momentarily worried that stuff on one of my carabiners would set it off. No issues, though. I was directed to a table where there seemed to be several stations–picking up pre-ordered tickets, buying tickets with cash, and using a card. I was using cash, so once I realized the stations, had no further wait.

I was then directed to another table for a "swag bag" (I got the term from the bag itself, I don’t recall exactly what was said to me–I was by then already getting some low-level anxiety from being in an enclosed, densely-populated space). A table had several posters I was going to look at, but I saw (volunteers?) putting them into bags and was handed a bag of my own, so I thanked the worker and went on in to get out of the entranceway foot-traffic. After the show when I inspected this "swag bag" I discovered two Netflix She-Ra posters…and a double-sided 5.5" x 8.5" flyer for some sort of bowling and/or restaurant. Nothing comic-related. Nothing listing comic shops in the area, nothing offering a show-floor layout or vendor list, no random trinkets or promo cards for geek/gaming/comic/hobby/etc stuff. If it was merely a "courtesy bag" (cuz hey, how many people necessarily think to bring bags in with them to hold stuff they buy?) that’d be one thing. As a "swag bag" it was almost insulting. BUT as I wasn’t there for any Akron Comicon items, no big deal.

I was primarily on the hunt for:

  • Uncanny X-Men #141 for $30 or less
  • Uncanny X-Men #350 "regular" cover (non-shiny) for under $10
  • X-Men #45 for ideally $4 or less
  • Wolverine #145 "shiny" cover for under $10
  • Spectacular Spider-Man #200 (for under $5)
  • Spawn issues for under $5 each

I did see a Marvel Legends reprint-edition of Uncanny X-Men #141 for $2.50 that I passed on (I have it already, somewhere, and we just had a $1 True Believers reprint in the last couple weeks, if I wanted anything other than the original). I did see a couple of "wall books" instances but as I’m just looking for low-grade $30 or less, I’m not interested in the $100+ wall-book copies.

I did find the Uncanny X-Men #350 regular edition, and it was only $5…so there was some definite satisfaction in that! The same dealer also had X-Men #45, also for $5; I figured for the convenience of taking it off my mental list and not having to hunt, it was worth the "premium." Plus I was able to simply hand over the $10 I got back from my admission $20.

Another dealer actually had Wolverine #145…albeit the NON-shiny version that I got 20 years ago. I’m interested in getting the "shiny" version since I was not able to get it back then. But for the nostalgia and such, and already having a sinking feeling on the convention, I was shifting into the mindset of wanting to at least buy enough to "justify" my $10 admission…so, $6 for that. Not exactly a waste as it’s a convenience copy now of a key (to me) issue AND it’s no worse than some modern $5.99 comic that I would not appreciate the way I do this one.

Finally, Another dealer had Spectacular Spider-Man #200 for $4.50; but he gave it to me for $4 since he didn’t have change (a pleasant surprise, and I thanked him for the discount!).

I browsed the dealers that had comics; I think I saw two with Spawn issues; but as "usual" they were early (pre-26) and/or 290+ with nothing I was missing between 62-256. I did find a couple with some TMNT comics, but of course they were IDW series or the IDW reprints for the most part; several Mirage issues but no prices and I figured I’d go back to them after I’d had a look around the rest of the show floor.

But I quickly had my fill of the place, and with other stuff planned, decided to cut my "losses" and just leave, rather than get to where I myself felt like I was wasting money on buying stuff and just accept the "loss" of "admission."

weekend20191102haulb

I then went to Kenmore Komics and picked up some stuff; chief being Hope #5 (of 6).

I’d completely forgotten I was intending to look for Uncanny X-Men #325 along with 350 and the X-Men #45, but located it here, and for the same $5 I’d paid for the latter, so well worthwhile.

weekend20191102haulc

I also found 5 Spawn issues for $4 apiece (so no worse than buying 5 random modern comics) to continue to close up the holes in my first-100 issues of the series; I’m now 12 issues away from having 1-100!

weekend20191102hauld

Continuing my journey for the day, I headed to Hazel’s Heroes, which I knew thanks to Facebook was having a "Not at Comicon" sale. Unfortunately, by this point nature was calling, so I ducked into a Marc’s in the same plaza to use the restroom. While in the store I found this Justice League Chibis Complete Set for a whopping $3.99. Considering I’d paid half that a few years ago for a single packet with 3 of these, on that pricing it was well worth buying this set to get the rest. I’m quite certain I got Green Arrow and Superman from that packet and can’t remember the 3rd (Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, or Batman, probably). I’m a sucker for Robin stuff, and while throwing money away for the day…why not?

weekend20191102haule

Once into Hazel’s Heroes, I found a treasure-trove of old Wizard issues for $1 apiece as well as some fairly beaten-up copies of tpbs for $1. Thankfully, I’d recently gotten rough photos of my Wizard shelves and was able to zoom in to the spines to see what issues were not presently…present. Though several are issues I know darned well I SHOULD have…they weren’t on the shelf when I took the photos, and for "only" $1 and rarely if ever coming across Wizard in bargain and/or back-issue bins…I snagged these.

Also for "only" $1, grabbed the Dawn of the Age of Apocalypse and the Twilight of the Age of Apocalypse books. These are the original editions from back in 1995 or so, and rather inferior books at this point. But I’m mildly interested in getting a complete set eventually, and as these fall out of apparent favor with newer, fatter editions, I’m not at all opposed to grabbing them for $1 each!

weekend20191102haulf

Then for general back-issues, the sale was something like comics up to $8.99 were $1, $9-something was $3, and so on.

I found the TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #2 which leaves me only missing the first issue of the mini from having the complete mini-series; and 5 or so of the quarterly "special" issues from the series.

I snagged a couple of the Uncanny X-Men issues from just before #350, thinking a re-read of those might go well with a re-read of #350 itself. I didn’t factor in having several more issues handy or not, so it leaves me still "missing" several for these "convenience copy duplicates." Perhaps I’ll just leave those for Marvel Unlimited.

Since they were functionally $1-books, grabbed a few more X-issues for the heckuvit/with meaning to me.

And as one of "those" issues I like getting just to get, a couple more of the deluxe edition of 1991’s X-Men #1 with the gatefold 4-part single cover. I still intend to eventually frame a couple copies of the covers–the exterior as the large 4-part image; and the interior cover is its own vertical 4-panel poster.

weekend20191102haulg

I also got another copy of the Image Firsts edition of Spawn #1–I’m suck a sucker for that cover image!–as well as the DC Dollar Comics Superman #75 (for what the issue is, I’m happy to buy multiples. Plus, then I have copies to give to (a) friend(s)!) Also got another copy of The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1 for a friend.


I spent slightly more at Hazel’s Heroes than I did the convention, and I got a LOT MORE value out of it.

And I spent as much solely on Spawn at Kenmore as I did at the convention, where no one at the convention had issues of the title I needed.

I’m happy enough, really, with what I got at the convention…but that $10 admission brought the average price of the issues up to $7.50 apiece, essentially…and with a bit of shuffling on how much for which issue I probably would have been better (or just as well) served ordering the issues online and sticking to the comic shops.

weekend20191102haul_blogtrailer

%d bloggers like this: