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SpawnQuest #5: Batman & Spawn

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Around 3 years ago, in 2016, I’d discovered some comics at Dollar Tree. $1 for a comic, a collector’s guide, etc. Not a horrible price, though most of the comics were what I’d consider 25-cent books. Freex #1 particularly caught my eye; as did another.

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One that seemed well worth the $1 price was Spawn/Batman by Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane.

And then recently at the Hall of Fame City Comic Con, I snagged what I consider a "convenience copy" of Batman/Spawn: War Devil.

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And last week as part of the regular Wednesday haul, I grabbed Spawn #91.

Not as keen this week to charge ahead. It’s actually sorta discouraging to realize just how spotty the rest of the series is going to be to get, and what a long haul it may well be.

And all the more how I’m particularly interested in getting my run filled in up to #100 for the near-future, even if the rest of the series ends up being a long slog.

And #301 came out this week…so I suppose I haven’t done horribly for the month between the issue that kicked off the excitement and the few weeks til its next came out.

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The Weekend Haul and Completing Subcollections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Weekly Haul – Week of June 15, 2016

For the fourth week in a row, DC has topped my new-issues pile, which is such a refreshing thing!

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This week there’s only one ___: Rebirth issue…but we get four actual new #1 issues for ongoing series as part of the whole Rebirth initiative.

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Then there are a couple more TMNT books clustered…though I really cannot complain about it as Bebop and Rocksteady is a mini-series…and weekly for its run. (And how long now have I been saying I’d love a weekly TMNT book???). We also have an issue of Darkwing Duck that I had not consciously realized I’d missed, though I’d pretty much decided I had to have missed it. Bought it as “back in stock,” and added it to my pull list so I don’t have to worry about watching for and/or missing it again. And then for the fact of its physical format–prestige format, squarebound, cardstock cover, feels like it fits right in with the “original issues” of Dark Knight and Dark Knight Strikes Again…yeah, it got me. (Even while DKIII continues to hold zero interest for me).

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I took a cursory glance at the bargain bins…the shiny-ness of the “chromium” Shadowman #0 grabbed my attention, and as a sucker for these “chromium” covers, I added it to the stack. Also spotted the #100 issue of The Warlord–I believe I might own an Annual and possibly one or two other issues…but figured “why not?” and snagged it, too.

Even with DC‘s lower price point per “regular” Rebirth/single issue, the fact I’ve really ramped up my quantity still made this week more expensive than some of the times I’ve walked out with a huge stack of quarter-books.

There’s something very positive (to me) about the fact that I’ve already read over half of the entirety of my purchase this week, enjoying everything I’ve read so far–slowing only really to get this post up today, and to prepare some thoughts on the specific, individual Rebirth issues.

Dark Knight Returns and Death of Superman Hardcovers

I’ve long been very interested in the Death of Superman hardcover edition from the line of Graphic Novel + Original Movie + Digital releases from Warner Bros. Not all that much the movie (though the documentary with it is well worth the price alone!).

Thing is…I wasn’t going to pay $27-something for it.

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Browsing at Walmart, having given up actually spotting anything of interest, I did a double take and realized I’d stumbled across a “super-hero display” in the home media section. As my eyes moved upward, I spotted these (as well as an empty Batman Year One slot, and overflowing Justice League: War and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis slots…with one copy of Dark Knight Returns and several Death of Superman.

All were price at $19.96 or so (think “$20”)…but while I knew they were usually $27, I noticed that the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns had a $34 cover price…so I wasn’t going to pass on it and find it upped to $25 or so…nor did I want to pass on it and then waste hours and gas trying to track these down in a Walmart for this price again.

Frankly, if I was buying the Batman one, I couldn’t not buy the Superman one, so I splurged and bought both.

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This also solves my “problem” with the DKR/DKII oversized deluxe hardcover: I now have THE one I particularly want, and got it for a mere $20. (I think the paperback edition is that price) plus I get the bluray, dvd, and digital combo pack of the movie…where the book itself is worth the price to me.

Ditto on the Superman one…and at least with the digital copy, that’s something all-new for me.

I’d also wondered about the packaging, only ever seeing these shrink-wrapped and un-openable: there are pockets built into the inside back cover to hold the bluray and the dvd; the  Batman one had an extra, un-attached sleeve for a bonus features disc; and the Digital Redemption Sheet was not attached. (Only two discs to the Superman book, so no extra sleeve).

It’s a bit of sticker shock buying both, but knowing myself and my OCD, I figured it was better to just buy them now than waste resources in a couple weeks trying to hunt them down.

This does make me want an animated Kingdom Come movie all the more, though.

My Dark Knight Three

dkiii001The newest chapter in the Dark Knight series began last week, with the release of DK III #1.

I passed on it–I was disgusted by all the variant covers and incentives and such, the multiple editions and all that…worse (to me) if this is so special, it deserves the squarebound treatment the first two series had. This looked to be just a standard (cardstock-ish) cover, and I don’t want to deal with individual issues when the inevitable collected volume will be far preferable to me. DK2 was–each issue–functionally a mini paperback itself.

I’ll probably buy the collected volume when the paperback comes out (unless I break down and get The Dark Knight Saga hardover and DKIII gets an oversize hardcover that can match it). But for now…I’m not buying/supporting DK III as single issues.

I do have my own "Dark Knight Three," though:

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The original ’80s edition, by Warner Books; the 1996-ish Tenth Anniversary edition, and the more recent paperback edition with trade dress to match DK2.

A local library had that original edition, and it was one of the first graphic novels/collected volumes I’d ever read…probably matched with a copy of The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told (not to be confused with the more recent Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told volumes) and A Death in the Family.

I’m sort of surprised DC did not include this in that series of graphic-novel-and-Blu-Ray releases they put out recently.

Monday Blasts From the Past

Quite a few years ago now, I picked up–finally–a collected volume of the Man of Steel. It was a new edition as a first volume in a series collecting in order the ’80s “reboot” of the Superman franchise.

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However, it’s only just in the last couple weeks that I’ve finally acquired a copy of the older edition of the book. It’s not in great shape, unfortunately…but for $2.60ish (less than the price of a rare $2.99 single-issue!) it was a purchase I couldn’t quite bring myself to pass up. I’d talked myself out of it a week or so earlier, but since it was still there, I took is as a sign that the volume was destined for my collection, if only temporarily.

I’d picked up an anniversary edition of Dark Knight Returns at some point, though it was not the edition I’d remembered originally reading a copy of from a local library. And then when DK2 was put out and a similarly-trade-dressed edition of DKR released, I picked up both.

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Somewhere along the way in the last few years, I’d found this copy of the older DKR volume and bought it for about $7, in surprisingly good condition given its age and that I found it at a used books store.

In this modern day ‘n age where it’s virtually a “given” that every arc will get its own volume…it’s interesting to me to look at these two “classic” editions of “classic” stories from a bygone era where such volumes were relatively extremely rare and truly special, and not just the latest collected edition of the latest renumbering/reboot of the latest iteration of a character or run.

Avengers, The Dark Knight Returns, and product placement

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I liked the Avengers movie. I saw it three times opening weekend. Friday by myself, Saturday with friends after our Free Comic Book Day comic-shop-crawl, and Sunday with a friend for our annual catch-up/hangout.

I could have seen it again that Monday with other friends at a local theater’s $5-Monday-Night-Movie-Deal and again that Tuesday at a screening hosted by my LCS, but the latter two didn’t happen.

avengersmovieandgraphicnovelAnd now the film’s out, and as usual with various store exclusives. I understand Best Buy has some sort of “steel case” variant if you pre-ordered the film. Target has an extra bonus disc with even more bonus features not included with the non-Target editions of the film. And Walmart’s got a gift pack that comes with Avengers Season One, a 100+ page Original Graphic Novel.

I am rather pleased with the graphic novel that came with the film. I was expecting a digest-sized paperback of questionable physical quality. What I got was a full-size TPB edition on standard, good quality paper…a volume that by pagecount would probably retail for at least $12.99 if not $14.99 to $17.99 with Marvel’s pricing these days.

Now, for some reason–intentional or not–Warner Bros. also released their newest direct-to-home-media animated feature Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 on the same day.

darknightreturnsbrdcoverSince I was already there for the Avengers, I got Batman at Walmart as well; Best Buy’s been–for me–inconsistent with whatever figurine or such they package with these anymore, so wasn’t worth the hassle of even trying to mess around with multi-stores-in-a-day.

While I may comment more at-length on DKR, suffice to say that I was quite distracted (in a good way, I think) at some conspicuous “product placement” in the film (below).

During a scene with Commissioner Gordon stopping off at a convenience store, we see the shop owner taking a couple cases outside, passing a magazine rack of comics. I thought I spotted the Swamp Thing logo, and backed it up–where I realized there was more to see than just a Swamp Thing comic:

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Above we see the covers of Swamp Thing 73, Sandman 1, Crisis on Infinite Earths 1, and Watchmen 1. Below we see the Swamp Thing cover mirrored (though the logo still works?) and the Sandman issue again, as well as V for Vendetta–which seems to be the cover from a paperback collected edition, but I’m not sure that was one of the original covers for a single issue.

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