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The Weekly Haul – Week of August 29, 2018

Last week was a mixed sorta week. Not huge, not tiny, with some bargain-bin stuff but not a huge stack!

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GI Joe: A Real American Hero hits #255–which marks the 100th issue of this IDW run! It’ll be great to see if this can make it to #309/310 and/or beyond–matching or surpassing the original Marvel run!

The second issue of X-Men: Grand Design: Second Genesis is the latest in these series of hyper-dense X-men issues.

I’d missed out on the Astonishing X-Men annual weeks ago, but I’m a sucker for "reunion" issues, with these original X-Men, so went ahead and got it, even though I’ve little to no intention of much else X-Men-related.

And a dose of TMNT with the latest ongoing issue ,and the conclusion to the 5-issue/weekly Bebop & Rocksteady mini.

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Bargain bins yielded four Marvelman hardcovers, each for less than the price of "cheap" contemporary Marvel comics (these hardcovers about $3.50/ea vs. comics’ $3.99 cheap and too-plentiful $4.99/$5.99+)

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The rest of these bargain-bin issues were a 50-cent bin (rather than my preferred 25-cent bin)…but even at 50 cents, lots of great stuff! Unfortunately, mostly #1s with little in the way of "runs."

The Mighty Magnor, which seems to be a "newsstand edition"…I’m not sure offhand if this is the same contents as the pop-up cover issue, or a different series entirely. Zorro #1, Radioactive Man #1 (I would have loved to have gotten the #1000 issue they did), and a Marvel Action Hour: Fantastic Four issue for the goodies included in the bag.

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This 4-issue TaleSpin mini was an excellent find! Firstly, for having all four issues (at 50 cents apiece, that’s still only $2 for the entire series compared to $3.99/issue for contemporary Marvel stuff!) and secondly for having just watched an episode of the new DuckTales series that involved Don Karnage and the sky-pirates!

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Some mixed Archie-published stuff. Street Sharks was a mid/late-’90s thing; I believe they had a cartoon and know they had a toy line. I’m not sure off the top of my head if I had any of the comics, but finding these in-person, wasn’t going to pass on ’em! Then there’s the Conservation Corps issues. I knew them specifically through a TMNT Meet the Conservation Corps special (which I’m sure is what the intent was). I’m really not keen on these now, but there’s still a bit of nostalgia for the property in me regardless, thanks to that TMNT issue. And long before I was aware of it being any sort of older black-and-white-comics property from another publisher, I recall the Zen: Intergalactic Ninja comics, and though I think I have the first issue, I never remember if I have the others.

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A couple of Uncle $crooge comics because they were there, and especially the 250th issue!

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A couple of Disney movie adaptations. I’m not certain off the top of my head if there are issues like this for Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King, though I know there’s a more recent squarebound adaptation of The Lion King that I got just last year. Whether new material or re-purposed, I’m not sure. I like these "iconic" covers…though Aladdin is missing Rajah, the tiger…which seems a bit out of place.

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More Aladdin issues…

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A Little Mermaid issue and two spin-off Sebastian (the crab) issues. I am pretty sure I have Sebastian #2 somewhere, but not sure about #1…and this way, I have them, and together!

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A couple of Beauty and the Beast issues…

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Several random issues; these three are "squarebound"/prestige, so a bit more stand-out to me on the 50-cent price point; worthwhile for "bulk" alone, at minimum. The Chillers issue is basically a prose story with illustrations…I got it more for the potential of the poster than the product itself otherwise.

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…and an excellent "diamond in the rough" is the first issue of Disney Adventures! I had a copy of this back in the day, but it was lost to Time. I received it as some sort of "replacement" for something ordered through one of those Scholastic Book Group catalogs they’d give out in grade-school to order books. I hadn’t expected it, but remember enjoying it well enough…and then long being amazed at how long the magazine lasted…with the fact that I’d gotten in at the very first issue. Having a copy of that again made it the #1 thing of all of these, for me. Though I’m not 100% sure exactly what I remembered the cover image being–it’s different from the actuality–I still recognized this at a glance!

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Darkwing Duck (2016) #1 [Review]

darkwingduck(2016)001Orange is the New Purple part 1

Storytellers: Aaron Sparrow and James Silvani
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Andworld Design
Assistant Editor: R. Janice Orlando
Editor: Jesse Post
Published by: Joe Books Ltd
Cover Date: April 2016
Cover Price: $2.99

It’s been a few years, but here I am covering a first issue of Darkwing Duck once again. And as with that time, this time finds an issue whose story title is a play off another. Here we have Orange is the New Purple, where back then it was The Duck Knight Returns. As best I can follow, this continues the bulk of the story from that previous series, itself picking up and continuing from the classic (now 25-years-old) animated series of the same name. I don’t truly “get” comic book politics, and was disappointed at the time when Disney‘s purchase of Marvel seemed to spell the end of Boom‘s license and its run on the Disney books. Now, we have another publisher running with the title, but it is not Marvel.

That aside, this works quite well as a first issue.

We open on a parade that is quickly crashed by DW rogue Megavolt, whose attack is quickly dampened by Darkwing. We move on to see DW in his civilian guise, interacting with family and neighbors; while there’s an attack on the transport carrying Megavolt to prison. Later, Darkwing interacts with SHUSH, though things don’t go overly well there with a new assignment. Back at home, DW is flabbergasted at learning that he has not been invited to cut the ribbon at the opening of the new super-max prison that is primarily populated by individuals HE put there. And still later, crashing that particular party, the villain of the piece is (unsurprisingly) revealed and sets the situation to a cliffhanger worthy of any episode of the classic tv series.

As first issues go, this is definitely a solid one. The most noticeable thing for me is the art, which gives us characters that look like they stepped right off the tv screen (albeit with improved, more robust coloring than the cartoon could maintain). This is not some reinterpretations of the characters’ looks; it’s no “new take” or some artist looking to put their stamp on the appearance: it’s just clear, solid work that carries the absolute look and feel of Darkwing Duck and leaves no doubt of what this book is.

The story itself does a great job of things, serving the main points I’d expect FROM a first issue. We’re introduced to the title character; we meet supporting cast members, and associated characters; we see the hero in action, and we get a good taste of where we’re going from this issue. Though this issue is not a singular, complete, contained story, it gets things set up while providing enough in and of itself to satisfy on the single issue level…at least for me. Given how short and formulaic some of the tv episodes could seem, I welcome the longer story that this sets up while still getting the various elements we’d have in a single episode.

This issue feels like a mix of things…it’s a new series, a new first issue, and suitable for younger readers though it hits home for me as an adult reader and long-time fan of the property. It feels like a continuation of the cartoon, and a continuation of the previous comic series that ended several years ago. Of course, part of the latter is that we have some of the same creatives carried over, itself a sort of continuity that I hope is nothing but good.

I enjoyed this issue, and expect I’ll be adding it to my pull list at least for awhile…and might even try to track down the super-sized collected edition ostensibly collecting the previous series if only for a convenient availability of a re-read of that.

If you’re a fan of Darkwing Duck, this is very definitely a comic for you. Maybe best of all…despite never ever having heard of this publisher prior to learning of the collected volume and now this series, they do what it seems most publishers are utterly incapable of: offering a full-sized, full-length comic for “only” $2.99. Like with DC‘s promise of the upcoming price drop back to all-$2.99s, this is as good a price point as one is really going to find in this day and age, and will certainly hold me a lot longer than $3.99 would!

Highly recommended!

Uncle Scrooge (IDW) #1

unclescroogeidw001Editor: Sarah Gaydos
Interior Designer: Paul Hornschemeier
Archival Editor: David Gerstein
Cover: Giorgio Cavazzano
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: April 2015
Cover Price: $3.99 (48 pages)

Gigabeagle: King of the Robot Robbers

Writer: Rodolfo Cimino
Artist: Romano Scarpa
Inker: Giorgio Cavazzano
Colorist: Digikore Studios
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Translation and Dialogue: Jonathan H. Gray

This first feature goes with the cover, making it seem like the "core" of the issue. We find Scrooge going a bit crazy with stress and come to find out he’s stressing out over the fact that the Beagle Boys haven’t attacked his famous Money Bin in quite some time…which means they’ve gotta be up to SOMETHING. Turns out that what they’re up to is building a giant robotic Beagle Boy, that can physically TAKE the Money Bin…and take it the thing does, bypassing a ring of mines the ducks have put out to stop intrusion. Unfortunately for the Beagles, the AI malfunctions which leads to a tidy-ish ending of the story for Scrooge.

Given this is a new story I’d never read, it was interesting in itself. It’s been years since I’ve read anything Uncle Scrooge or Disney Ducks, so I was just happy to get a new (to me) story without going outta my way. As a story, though, it seemed rather ludicrous and in many ways far too "simple"…there also seemed to be something a bit "off" to the characters (something I can’t QUITE put my finger on). It’s possible I’ve just had years to build up expectation and for the likes of Don Rosa‘s Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck to settle in my head as an incredibly high standard.

The art is spot-on, though…characters looking perfectly familiar and sound quality.

Pure Viewing Satisfaction

Writer: Alberto Savini
Artist and Inker: Andrea Freccero
Colorist: Disney Italia with David Gorstein
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Translation and Dialogue: David Gerstein

I was surprised at the brevity of this feature. We basically see Scrooge sitting, staring at a new tv…and to summarize beyond that is to give away the "punchline" of the short. It’s amusing enough, fits the generic sense of Scrooge…though it felt odd to see Scrooge and a TV together…somehow I’m more used to (if only due to personal faulty memory) Scrooge and radios or such.

While I appreciate the short as a short, it’s nothing special and kinda seems like filler…yet it still works for me, at least visually. It seems a bit extreme and petty as a story…more like a fleshed-out anecdote than anything else…something a character might comment on in passing about Scrooge than something I’d care to actually see on-panel.

Still…it’s just a single page, a "gag strip," and actual content whose page otherwise could have been some sort of ad, so I’ll take it.

Tinker, Tailor, Scrooge and Sly

Writer: Romano Scarpa, Luca Boschi
Artist: Romano Scarpa
Inker: Sandro Del Conte
Colorist: Disney Italia with Digikore Studios
Letterer: Tom B. LOng
Translation: David Gerstein
Dialogue: Joe Torcivia

This second feature is a welcome element to the issue. When someone steals Scrooge’s jacket, he’s thrust into an adventure unbeknownst 10 years in the making. Seems that 10 years earlier, Scrooge had the thing in to a tailor to be repaired, but the tailor hid a map to a treasure in the lining to smuggle it out from under authorities. After twice rescuing his coat from the would-be thief, he takes it to a tailor in town to repair. Knowing she has a crush on him, he works the angle to get the work done for free…though  he doesn’t get to keep the treasure-find to himself.

The art on this story matches the first (which makes sense stylistically and in being the same artist!). Nothing to gripe about there.

There was something more familiar to this story that worked better for me…perhaps because it "felt" like it could be at home as a DuckTales episode or some such. I might’ve preferred this story as the lead, but its presence in the issue is welcome none the less and definitely worth the read.

Overall

I’d have to go back to revisit the Boom! Studios-published stuff from a few years ago but I don’t remember those issues being quite this thick. Getting two "feature length" stories and a "gag strip"/one-page short as a third thing is quite welcome. The lead is 28 pages, and the second feature is 15 pages…44 pages of content including the single-page piece!

And we get numerous panels per page with plenty of dialogue and such throughout so this is NOT a quick read the way many other comics are with half, full, and double-page splashes and pages of near "silence" to be sped through with no text to slow things down.

Combine those factors and you have one of the most fun comics out there for the $3.99 price point. That’s double (or MORE) the content of MOST $3.99 books.

My core complaint about this tends to be my usual: those doggone VARIANT covers. Given the issue is (as I understand) functionally "just" translated/reprint material previously published outside the U.S….throw a couple full-page images/"pinups" in the issue, use ’em as a watermark on the inside cover(s), put one on the back cover…but…enough with the perpetual variants already!

This issue is technically numbered #1 (405) as IDW is looking inconsistent–wanting to publish its OWN Uncle Scrooge #1, yet appease fans of the "legacy" numbering by doing this dual-numbering (yet, I believe they are simply going with the classic numbering for the forthcoming Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories title…so why they couldn’t simply preserve the "legacy" numbering on this as well is beyond me (and even if they numbered this #405 they could STILL have plastered a big #1 or 1st Issue or such on the thing… or gone with #405 (1) to track their own numbering within the "classic legacy" of the Disney books.

The Duck Books are fun, classic fare. Like Archie comics, they may look like they’re "just for kids" or juvenile, but they hold so much potential and there are some great bits, certainly quite enjoyable for an adult…particularly for the bit of nostalgia.

I’m assuming the pagecount is going to be "standard" for this series, and especially if it holds on that, you really won’t find much out there more fun and more worthy of a $3.99 price point.

Donald Duck and Friends #347 [Review]

Doubleduck

Written by: Fausto Vitaliano
Art by: Andrea Freccero
Editor: Aaron Sparrow
Assistant Editor: Christopher Burns
Translator: Saida Temofonte
Letterer: Jose Macasocol Jr.
Cover A&B: Andrea Freccero
Designer: Erika Terriquez

I do believe that this is the first-ever “new” issue of a Donald Duck comic I’ve bought. I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this purchase, but after years of having to pass on Gemstone’s Duck comics for pricing, I wanted to pick this up to at least give it a look-see. As usua. I’m not thrilled at the use of variant covers, but at least both ‘regular’ covers were in stock on the lunch hour I used to visit the comic store, so I was afforded a choice between the two (hint: I went with the one you see with this review).

Glancing inside the issue, the interior art is vastly different from the cover art–the cover actually gives Donald an “edgy” sort of look, kinda like what you might expect of a comic called “Donald Duck Extreme.” The interior visuals seem rather soft and simplistic by comparison. However, while the art was really pretty “standard” I liked it. The characters seem to be depicted in what I imagine could be compared to the “house style” for the Archie characters; the “generic” style works well in keeping everyone recognizeable and I could almost visualize character “templates.” One character put me in mind of Herb from Darkwing Duck–I could hear that voice as I read the character’s word balloons.

The story itself is fairly ridiculous: Donald falls asleep at a James Pond movie, so Daisy gets upset and goes off with someone else for the rest of the night. Donald is recognized as “Double Duck,” and eventually comes to find himself with an unlikely situation–and a choice to make.

Though the potential for a lot more violence is there, things are really pretty toned down. This reminds me very much of what I’ve always enjoyed with a lot of the Disney characters, especially the classic “Disney Afternoon” shows: that simple, classic characters can be retooled into other roles that are interesting and yet maintain the essential “character” that draws you to ’em.

That “347” on the cover makes this feel like what it is: a leap into the depths of the lake to see how the water is there. It’s a first issue without all the trappings of a traditional debut issue; it’s simply a story per likely standard fare; the reader is assumed to be able to pick it up and enjoy it without it having to be some fresh start.

The story itself and the visual style with numerous panels on every page made for a much more satisfying read, with more story than many other comics these days hold.

This is the first of at least 2 parts, which is a little unfortunate–picking this issue up, one will need to invest in at least one more to complete the story. At the same time, this issue is enjoyable enough that I fully intend to snag the next issue to see where things go.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 7/10

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