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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 6, 2019…and Fantasticon Toledo 2019

This was another small-ish week for new comics–single issues, anyway. But a much bigger week with other stuff!

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The week has the new issue of Batman with #66, resuming Tom King‘s run after the 2-issue Flash crossover. We’re "already" at the 3rd issue of Young Justice (time’s flying!). And we’re now 2/3 through this 12-issue Super Sons series.

On strength of Hama‘s stuff and the longevity of the series, I opted to also snag this GI Joe Yearbook issue rather than try to hunt it down later.

And though I had not planned on it for the week, the new issue of Back Issue was out, and had my attention from the Alex Ross Earth X cover.Though I somehow have not managed to finish previous issues, I can attest to the strength and value of this magazine, that I’ve quite enjoyed issues I’ve managed to get!

I’m not sure what to think of the notion, even, of Savage Avengers…but that’s what Comic Shop News chooses to spotlight this week.

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As new comics stuff at the comic shop goes, though, the real gem for me is the Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition. Much like last year’s Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition, this is a huge volume with a number of stories from throughout the history of the title, and I love that the trade dress was maintained to make the two books visually quite complimentary!


Along with new comics, this week also had a couple of conventions. Wizard World: Cleveland was held this weekend (I live close enough that if you’re not local, I can claim "Cleveland-area" geographically). However, where I’d’ve adored having a local Wizard World show 15, 20, definitely 25 years ago, I haven’t yet been to a Cleveland iteration.

Admission is just too high, with too many extra/hidden "fees" and such tacked on to manipulate the actual price, and too few comics dealers and comics-related things for me to justify the massive expense!

That said…I attended Fantasticon in Toledo, Ohio, with a couple of friends, and had quite a good time of it! And the admission price for that convention was under $10–I’m pretty sure a good 75% cheaper than WW and probably more comics in the room!

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Going into the con, my two main "goals" were to pick up the Plume Omnibus by K. Lynn Smith, as well as the new issue of Haunted High-Ons from Dirk Manning.

As it worked out…that was a complete success!

Manning has got to be one of the most personable, friendly creators I’ve ever met, and he’s honestly been "the" draw for me with several shows (or at least the deciding factor). And through his work, I’ve "discovered" Smith, as well as a number of others. But while I couldn’t justify the omnibus the last time I was at an appearance, this time I went in with it as the #1 thing on my list.

Manning has become a definite "exception" in my eyes–akin to my TMNT "exception"–such as my willingness to purchase a variant cover, or to find enjoyment in some "exclusive edition" of something.

The creators have a joint project in Hope, the first issue having been out in an early edition last year, and getting a wide, improved release this upcoming May for Free Comic Book Day. And they’ve (as of this writing) got a Kickstarter project that’s already fully-funded (so if you "back" it, it’s basically a "given" that you’re getting the book, no coming down to the wire and wondering if the thing will squeak across a fundling goal).

I’m quite judicious in my opting to back any such projects…but this was one I backed immediately. It’s for a collected edition of the first six issues of Hope, and though it’s not due til sometime next year, I’m happy to pay for it now and know it’ll be coming!

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The convention was a bit less successful in terms of other comics. I did get a print of this Firestorm cover from (and signed by) Gerry Conway. I found the Amazing Adventures issue and the Flash #1/2 in a 50%-off-marked-prices bin (so, cheaper than any contemporary new comic!). And for the heckuvit at another booth, saw this Aquaman #1 for $1, and decided to go for broke and buy it.

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At another booth, I came across this Rafiki with Simba Pop vinyl figure. I’d seen this at Toys R Us back in 2016, I think, maybe earlier, maybe later–but obviously some time prior to the chain’s closure. And I couldn’t find it again after that, so when I saw it for a "standard" price (as opposed to some jacked-up stupid price) I went ahead and got it.

At a Gamestop after the convention, saw some Captain Marvel Pop figures and remarked to my friend that if they had Goose the Cat I’d probably get it. Well, she had a keener eye than I did, and long story short…I got the figure. I’d hoped with it being a bit smaller it MIGHT be an "exception" to the "all-Marvel Pops are bobble-heads" but unfortunately that’s not the case. I’d be interested in a lot more of the Marvel figures if they were NOT bobbles..!

As another not-exactly-the-convention purchase, someone had a small table set up selling Girl Scout Cookies, so I snagged a couple boxes, as I missed out last year, and possibly the year before.

And I’d had another toy arrive that I’d ordered the week before…and which will likely be detailed in an upcoming post. But including that, and some other stuff, it’s been an incredibly expensive couple weeks.

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Lake Effect Comic Con 2018

This past weekend, I went to the 9th annual Lake Effect Comic Con, in Mentor, Ohio. (Think northeast Ohio, a couple miles south of Lake Erie–hence "lake effect!"). The convention started out at the Great Lakes Mall (still in Mentor)…I don’t recall the first couple–they may have been inside the mall itself, but don’t quote me! The ones I remember were in the movie theater lobby, of the theater sharing a parking lot with the mall. And several years ago, this con outgrew that space and moved to the Holiday Inn where I believe this is the third year.

It’s hosted by Comics and Friends, a comic shop in the Great Lakes Mall that I sure as heck wish had been around when I was a kid!

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With various things going on in my personal life, I wasn’t originally "sold" on attending. But when I found out that Dirk Manning was going to be there, I was "sold."

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Since the last time I’d seen him (at Fantasticon back in March), he’d put out The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1…which I’ve been wanting to get (and ideally in person, at that!). So I snagged that, as well as Then It Was Dark, which is an anthology volume he’s got a story in. (I resisted Tales of Mr. Rhee as I backed a Kickstarter at a level that includes all the volumes of that series). And of course, signed, which is a fun bonus to getting these in-person!

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And for the first time since I’ve been catching him at conventions, I had stuff that I took with me to get signed!

Back in December 2017, at a sale at RuppsComics, I’d come across the first issue of Nightmare World #1 from Ape Entertainment and got that…easily a diamond in the rough! Of course, I couldn’t find the thing back in March, but had managed to in time for this convention. Very cool having this early edition of such an early issue.

And–fun to learn–Dirk showed me where one of the pieces in the issue is different from the final collected version due to a situation with the art that had to be redrawn. I’m pretty sure this is the first instance I have–specifically–of that sort of thing, and I really dig it! To be able to compare an original "version" with a redrawn version and see how they hold up against one another…a rare opportunity!

I also had my Kickstarter edition of the Nightmare World Omnibus, which even though I think it came with a signed bookplate, is not the same as getting the actual book signed in-person!

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Though I’ve meant to previously and didn’t, this time I finally got a photo of Dirk! He’s got quite a selection of stuff available, in multiple formats, and I love seeing his displays. Especially now, with Hope and Cthulhu Jr. included!

Sadly, in trying to be quick so as to not block an aisle or hold anyone up trying to get by…I did not properly frame the photo,cutting off part of the table, as well as Dirk‘s name from his banner…which otherwise is almost perfectly positioned!

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And along with the first photo of Dirk, got my first photo with him, as well!

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In my further wanderings, I came across the guys who do Canada Bear, which was quite cool–I’d already gotten the first two issues from Comic Heaven last year, and hadn’t realized that they had the third issue out already. They also had some prints, and I really liked this Thanos one, so ended up buying it along with the comic.

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I wasn’t all that impressed with the general comics or collected volumes selections at the con. Or at least, I wasn’t seeing much that would spur me to somewhat "randomly" buy something I wasn’t specifically "on the hunt" for. Nothing was matching or beating the selection and pricing I get regularly at Comic Heaven and Kenmore Komics, two stores that really set the standard for me.

But then I did find some bins with books $5 each or 5/$20 that actually had some "worthwhile" books–that is, not Marvel Premiere Edition hardcovers nor exclusively skinny 6-issue books. While $5 (or $4 with the bulk price) is not bad, it’s still not generally "worth it" to ME on "typical" Marvel paperbacks.

But then, when they’re these massive $35+ paperbacks for that $5, they’re absolutely worthwhile to me. And then with the "bulk" price…I got these for the price of any standard Marvel comic presently being published.

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Along with the paperbacks, on the way out there were some Heroclix figures on the freebie table, so I snagged Nebula…because why not?


lake_effect_comic_con_2018hAs said…I wasn’t originally "sold" on attending this convention, but ended up going because Dirk Manning was going to be there.

Though I wasn’t myself interested in many of the booths, I saw a lot of comics as well as comics-related stuff. I saw several costumes–though I was in and out/gone a couple hours before the cosplay stuff.

If I was on-point looking for pre-1990s comics, I’d’ve likely had my fill…but I wasn’t looking for single issues over 50 cents apiece.

I lucked out with my timing on getting to the hotel, and found an empty (and valid) parking spot just to the side of the building, so didn’t have too far to walk to get inside. No problem with getting in and paying for admission, and being directed to the convention space itself.

The overall space was a bit tight, and I’m glad I got there on the early side, as I hardly want to imagine much more of a crowd present, as I don’t tend to do well long-term with small spaces and lots of people. Getting around was fine for me as an able-bodied individual…I didn’t really look for and so couldn’t begin to say in terms of getting around as part of a group, or disability or such.

I do think this one’s outgrowing this space as well, at least as a casual/outside observer.

There was another convention in Akron on Sunday as well, but for where I’m at personally, I would not have made it out given the distance (and lack of Dirk). This Lake Effect convention was about as "local" as I could ask for, so ultimately as the comics person that I am, there’d have to be something really wrong for me to not actually go (even if I’d be in and out in 20 minutes).

It’s also quite cool to see the "community" in the space. I’m more of an "observer" than "active participant," so just "showing up"–especially by myself–is actually a fairly significant thing for me.

I don’t know if I’d quite use the word "fun" for myself for the con–but that’s COMPLETELY me and being quite the introvert. But I am glad that I went, and definitely look forward to the 2019 con!

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Fantasticon and B&N Haul from March 10, 2018

Over the weekend, I attended a local-ish convention–Fantasticon, in Toledo/Ohio. I went with several friends, stuff was good, and got a few things, and then more at a Barnes & Noble we went to after dinner.

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Probably the main thing for going was that Dirk Manning was going to be there. Always great to see him…probably the best creator I’ve interacted with over the years in terms of enthusiasm, approachability, and all that.

And having just debuted it in the last couple weeks or so, I was able to get a couple copies of Hope #1 by him and K. Lynn Smith (one for me, one for a friend). Busy rest of the weekend so haven’t read it yet, but I hope to have a review up in the near future!

Then there was a randomish back-issue-bin-dive where I came across a still-sealed black-bag-edition of Superman #75–the Death of Superman issue. (Yeah, that issue!). It was marked $3, and cost $3, and is the first copy of this edition that I’ve bought in over 25 years. The bag’s a bit wrinkly and some color damage to it like it had stuck to something or something had stuck to it…but darnit, for $3, the stuff inside is more than worth it, and I very definitely intend to open this thing…perhaps that will also be a near-future-ish post!

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Outside of (re) meeting Dirk and getting that issue of Hope, my "back issue comics goal" was several issues of New 52-era Action Comics…which wound up being a miserable failure. Ditto for issues of the Marz/Banks early-Kyle-era Green Lantern run.

However, I did find a run of Green Lantern: Mosaic…that when combined with the issues I got a couple weeks ago, give me a complete run of the 18-issue series, right here, right where I know where all eighteen issues are right this moment together.

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To some degree, this is a small culmination of 23+ years, having been aware of this series from a friend getting issues from #1 back in 1992. I wasn’t immediately interested myself until later in the run or shortly after. Though I’ve often seen #1 or a handful of issues, I’ve never in all this time (until now) managed to come across or assemble a complete run. From these last several weeks, I now definitely have at least 3 copies of #1, if not more…and certainly several duplicates…but at least I have a single, full run now in one place and I am comfortable not having any further inclination to buy more copies of any of the issues!

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For less than the price of two modern Marvel comics, snagged this Emerald Twilight Parallax figure from the Kenner Total Justice line. This was basically half the cost of a contemporary 3.75" figure, cheaper than basically any "basic" figure, period, these days, and 1/3 the cost of a DC Multiverse "full-size" figure. I’ll need to get this outta the packaging before I change my mind…he’s gonna look quite good against a backdrop of my Green Lantern shelf!

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I’d long since resigned myself to never getting the Thanos "mini-figure" from Lego as I was not spending the money for the set that he came with, and I wasn’t even gonna begin considering "online prices" for a single figure, as any reasonable price would be obliterated by factoring in shipping. But finding this large mini-fig for the price of only 2 modern Marvel comics was a no-brainer for me…especially as I’m keen on Thanos at present, anyway!

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At a Barnes & Noble, found these three Funko Dorbz figures of the TMNT in a $2 bin on clearance. Quite disappointed not to have found all 4…but these were the ones that were present, and my friend even did an extra dig-through to make sure I hadn’t overlooked it!

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And then, partly because they were half-off so I could get both for the price of one, I got Sam I Am and his friend cuz…why not? I’d considered getting them a couple other times, and found them individually other times without the other; and figured I’d wind up kicking myself if I passed on these.

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Turned out that these were also only $2 apiece. Since they’re usually $6+ each, and I didn’t have any of the DC and am still missing several of the TMNT, 8 boxes worked out to be like buy-3-get-5-free (but slightly cheaper).

Of course, me being me, my first choice would be wanting Superman, and then ideally blue-and-grey Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. For the TMNT I was most interested in Bebop, Casey Jones, or Splinter.

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I wound up with three specific ones I was interested in most, and glad to at least have gotten a Batman to go with Superman and Wonder Woman. April O’Neil is a duplicate from the TMNT wave; and I’m not thrilled with Power Girl, and would have a number of the other minis ahead of Black Manta and Harley Quinn. But for the cost, it was well worthwhile (though also means I probably won’t buy any more as I now have extremely-high odds of getting a duplicate!).

All in all, including admission and the Barnes & Noble stuff, I spent about $8 more than what it would have cost me just to get in the door into Wizard World Cleveland had I gone to that the weekend before.

So…not bad at all!

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Labor Day Haul and Dirk Manning

A nearby comic shop, Comics and Friends, had a Labor Day sale that I went to on Monday. They had a bunch of $1 comics as well as discounts throughout the store…and what REALLY drew me in was Dirk Manning (Nightmare World, Tales of Mr. Rhee, Write or Wrong, and numerous other pieces) being there.

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I’d backed a Kickstarter for the Nightmare World Omnibus (which I’ll surely post about once it arrives, soon!) but had held off on anything else. So I was finally able to get my hands on Love Stories (To Die For), and also snagged the first volume of Tales of Mr. Rhee. I also go to chat with the man himself, which was quite the enjoyable experience…and ratcheted up my looking forward to coming projects he’s got in the works!

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I also snagged a few books from the dollar bins. One that I was particularly excited to get was this Image Zero. Patience would seem to have paid off, as I simply snagged this for $1, in-person out of a bin. Originally, this was only available by collecting coupons out of a bunch of early Image comics, mailing them in with postage and however many weeks/months later getting the issue by mail. So this is a fun little piece to have; my primary interest in it being the Savage Dragon bit, though it turned out I’d already read it via a collected edition.

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I also now, after all these years, own a copy of Thor #500! I picked up #501 as well; and had these been 25-cent books, I would have snagged a lot more. Got Captain America #350 and a ‘Breed collected volume of some sort.

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Then there were the cool #1s on principle: Alpha Flight that I don’t think I’ve ever owned the #1 for (or don’t remember ever getting it, unless I did get it with a small run some years back). The original Thunderbolts #1, though I think this might be a second print, as I remember the cover having more of a greenish tint than the pink. And I’d loved the 1999 Captain Marvel series…and still have to finish tracking down the second series…though also keep hoping there might be a couple omnibus volumes put out for it.

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Finally, I was also able to snag several other issues: these "sunburst variants" of the Heroes Return titles from 1998 or so (Thor was a few months after the others). I think I may have snagged the Thor issue before, and maybe a couple of the others, but never as a set like this. These were my "golden age" of sorts with the titles, following all five for nearly two years, and then trailing off (though I believe I followed Captain America to the end of its volume, and this was the volume of Thor that ended with Disassembled). Fair bit of nostalgia just thinking back on these…and reminds me that next year will be the 20th anniversary OF Heroes Return.

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Amidst the sale and other activities over the weekend, I also zipped around to a number of Walgreens locations, and ultimately managed to snag complete sets of the Ghostbusters, Walking Dead, and Suicide Squad Mopeez plush characters. Suffice it to say that all of these combined only cost me roughly what any two individual ones would have at regular price!

Picked up some other fun stuff, but I think that’ll make for another post later, if at all. Some other posts in mind for the near future, but we’ll see what I actually get to!


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