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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of October 2 and October 9, 2019

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Well, let’s try to NOT get a full month or more behind as several times earlier this year already! Alllllllmost two weeks behind, but c’est la vie. That’s one of the things, I guess, about having one’s own blog and not making any money from it or such–far more freedom of schedule and such!

Several quick, random shout-outs to start things off!

Sadly, far too many great bloggers out there to shout out without being an entire post. But all of the Super-Blog Team Up folks are fantastic and always worth following and reading!


Week of October 2, 2019

The first week of October brought what really is a small-er-ish week, though it felt a lot bigger!

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New Batman, new Young Justice, and the last House of X (really "just" chapter 11 of the 12-part HoX/PoX foundation-laying world-building whatever for the relaunching X-Men family of titles).

The 2nd issue of the 2-issue Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium; the final issue of Batman/TMNT III round out the truly "new" stuff.

We then have the facsimile/replica edition of Batman #251, the Dollar Comics (DC‘s version of Marvel‘s True Believers reprint line) edition of the 1970s’ The Joker #1 (apt timing, obviously intentional, for the new film Joker).

And speaking of Marvel‘s True Believers stuff, two of those, reprinting the first appearances of Bishop as ell as Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost. The Bishop issue in particular is more of a 25-cent book to me…but I’m willing to pay the $1 for the True Believers in general, and definitely want to support the reprints, as I get more out of them than most new stuff the publisher puts out the last few years.

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…And the week’s Comic Shop News stands alone by virtue of the way I do photos for these posts. Since I’ve taken to including it each week, didn’t want to be overly lazy and leave it out.   


Week of October 9, 2019

And then for the most recent week…we lead with multiple $4.99 comics! Which is rather disgusting in its own way. Also a reminder of how absolutely shameful Marvel has gotten with its numbering!

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While a local comic shop (as of this past weekend) has a copy of the original Amazing Fantasy #15 (for only $8,000!)…I am quite happy enough with this $3.99 facsimile edition of the issue. Then we have the final issue of Powers of X, which is also the overall finale to Hickman‘s HoX/PoX saga. And then Spawn #301. #300 a few weeks ago was a big deal for the huge number, matching Cerebus as a creator-owned title reaching such a number, and so on…but now with #301, Spawn exceeds that record (it’s even earned McFarlane a Guiness World Record…a record which I was glad to see the creator acknowledge would never have been reached without all the other people who have also worked on/with the title over the 27 years!). That the series launched after the artists left Marvel which at the time had a 30+ year history of their then-titles, but is now 250 issues beyond any numbers Marvel is publishing 27 years later?

IDW gets the next couple of slots for the reprint series of the Image TMNT series as well as what may (now) be the 2nd-highest-numbered comic series of its obvious category in GI Joe: A Real American Hero. The fact that they’ve successfully published some 112+ issues picking up from #155 some 15+ years earlier totally blows the notion that only low numbers sell! We have another $1 True Believers issue from Marvel, this one reprinting the first appearance of Pyro, I guess? More importantly, it reprints the key Uncanny X-Men for only $1. Even with this edition, I would happily pay $3.99 or so for a replica/facsimile edition of the issue!

Then we have new issues of Superman, Supergirl, and Detective Comics, all of which I feel like I’m woefully behind on reading. And if rumours are to be believed for stuff DC may have coming up, it makes me feel all the more like these have a short lifespan ahead in my buying.

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Finally, we have the latest issue of Event Leviathan, which I’ve been getting–continuing to get–on the notion (now vain!) that I’d catch up on Action Comics and Superman and this title itself and not want to have to THEN chase down issues or such. At this point, 5 of 6 issues in and not having read any, I’d have been far better off just waiting FOR a collected volume! Ugh.

And this week’s Comic Shop News features Vampirella; with the very sorta cover that makes me feel dirty at seeking the title out at all, ever. That the title’s publisher insists on umpteen covers per issue makes it extremely inconsistent to even find issues and though I’d bought the first issue, I’ve missed subsequent issues for either not recognizing a cover, or seeing multiple covers and just not feeling arsed enough to decipher which would be the "A" cover vs. C or E or whatever umpteenth cover.

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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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Dissecting a Dollar-Store Comic: Freex #1

I usually don’t pay much attention to comics in the "dollar stores" and such. Usually they’re just quarter-bin fodder, random stuff I’ve no interest in, or already have–and certainly not worth $1 or more…particularly when I’d be more interested in buying several at once. (Or often packages are more than $1, but contain several issues of which–at best–I only know what 2 of them are).

Today, I was at a Dollar Tree, and without looking for them, had one catch my eye…very obviously Freex #1, from back in July 1993.

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As a novelty thing, and not loading up with a bunch of other random stuff that would add up to a hefty price tag to get out of the store, I was all the more willing to buy this. Hey, just one single dollar, one single issue…and of course, this is half the price of what it would be at Half-Price Books… and there’s something enjoyable about coming across an issue like this completely unplanned and un-expected.

I was also just slightly curious about the "bonus" collector trading card pack and cards.

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Looking on the back of the pack, I saw the contents list, and my curiosity was piqued at the "How to Collect Comic Book Collectors Guide." I was pretty sure I’ve had/seen this in the past…if not this exact "brand," then certainly something similar. But for today’s mood…it was a curiosity and selling point for me…and definitely an "added value" to dropping a whole entire dollar on a vintage comic book I have at least half a dozen times over.

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I could tell despite all the stuff on the front of the package (basically just a sealed polybag) what this issue was–Freex #1, from the second month of Ultraverse launches! Adding (sentimental) "value" was seeing that the issue was itself still in original polybag with the Ultraverse Premiere #0 coupon…in this case, a "wild coupon" for the mail-away issue. The original trading card is also there.

While I’ve seen this #1 issue numerous times in bargain/used-comics bins, I’d guess that it’s at most a 50% find-rate with the bag, coupon, and card included. I have plenty of sentimental value attached to this, as I "nearly missed out" on the mail-away issue: I was able to use one of these "wild coupon" to make up for the one I was unable to obtain from an issue of Wizard Magazine (having collected all the others).

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I’m not at all impressed with the included trading cards. Some sort of Elvis card, which has no appeal to me–enjoy his music, but no interest in trading cards featuring the guy (or even musical artists in general). Some sort of "puzzle card" from this WWII Trading Cards set…worthless because I have no other cards, and it’s maybe only 1/9th of a single photo, meant to be assembled as a full set. I also have some personal "issue" with something like war being glorified in trading card format (or just commercialized, if not necessarily glorified).

I do remember VR Troopers (vaguely), but I’m far, far more a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers guy, so not even enough interest to bother opening the pack for now. Far as I’m concerned, miscellaneous ephemera to be tossed aside for now…maybe it’ll wind up in the trash, maybe it’ll wind up in someone else’s hands… or perhaps it’ll just languish amidst other such ephemera in my possession.

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This How to Collect Comics thing is slightly larger than an actual comic, but smaller dimensionally than a magazine. The entire unit is newsprint, so nothing at all fancy nor particularly high quality. It’s very reminiscent of the old American Entertainment and Entertainment This Month catalogs, except I’d peg it as a far lesser quality than those…perhaps the nostalgia and sentimentality I hold regarding AE/ETM (one of the catalogs being a large part of my getting back into comics and being able to get "back issues" prior to discovering "comic shops").

I’m not too keen on stuff trying to offer "instruction" on collecting comics…and don’t much care for even these packs in the sense of trying to (continue to?) push the notion of any/all comics, by default, simply for existing being some sort of valuable item. Even as a sales tactic like this pack was, in a dollar store. I mean, if they’re willing to sell it such that I–as the end user, the customer–am "only" paying $1, then (to me) it’s highly obvious that the issue is not worth anything more than that dollar. At most.

I like these for the sense that some kid might get to access a random such comic without having a comic store, without having to "go digital," and being some random thing a parent may buy–after all, it’s "only $1" and all that.

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It’s certainly odd to me to consider that anyone would "need" some kind of guide like this, but then, I have 28 or so years’ experience to completely, thoroughly take stuff for granted, these elements of a comic cover. (Then again, I suppose at times whoever is sorting single issues at Half-Price Books could perhaps benefit at better understanding of subtitles and elements of comic titles/layouts).

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This is just some totally-filler, cheesey page. I almost hate to say it, but really…it’s just sad. Maybe it’s slightly humorous (at least, say, for a kid) it doesn’t hit me that way as a guy in his mid-30s.


All in all, for re-acquiring the issue, and having something to focus my attention and time on for as long as it took to take these photos, get them loaded for the post, write this post, and so on…it certainly made this well worth the $1 I spent.

This does have me rather interested in seeking out more dollar stores to check for this sort of pack and see if I can find any fun gems…as it was, I saw numerous copies of an issue of The Maxx, as well as Secret Weapons #1 from classic Valiant, and a couple Image issues from the early days…probably WildC.A.T.s or Youngblood though I couldn’t easily tell at a glance if the Youngblood was #1 or not.

Several years ago, I’d bought a pack of several comics like this simply because of a Batman poster…there’s a Superman one that exists that I’d love to find.

Despite this singular purchase being worth $1 to me on content and time spent involved with it, that is not a "natural default" for these, and many comics found this way I personally would consider to absolutely be quarter-bin fodder, and far from worth $1. But if one doesn’t have a comic shop nearby or access to back issues, and especially if there manages to be an issue or "bonus item" included of appeal to the individual…it’s absolutely worthwhile!

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