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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of March 13 & 20, 2019

Personal life once more got in the way of even a simple, weekly haul post…so here’s a double-up from the last couple weeks! As such this also includes some Walmart, Half-Price Books, and Mac’s Backs books!

Week of March 13, 2019

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New Superman, Supergirl, and Wonder Twins.

I decided to try the new Transformers series. If IDW is rebooting the continuity and such and starting wholly fresh…fine, I’ll check stuff out. I’m not interested in following a ton of spin-offs and tie-ins or gigantic shared-universe stuff. But a contained universe, starting small, and seeing how much/if it grabs me…that I’m open for.

$4.99 for 100 pages of The Maxx is certainly worthwhile on principle…I’m more than happy to support such huge issues at great price points!

And speaking of…$7.99 for Annotated Marvels is still a great price and quite worthwhile to ME for my own nostalgia with the series. To get the cardstock covers, the reprint of the original issue (which I want to say–someone can correct me if I’m wrong–were $5.99 25 years ago) and the annotations for "only" $8 new is perfectly ok by me!

Then we (finally!) got the SECOND issue of the IDW Spider-Man series…I’d begun to think I’d flat-out MISSED this (and maybe the 3rd issue as well)! Not sure why it’d be so long since the previous issue, but it’s definitely something that if I miss an issue, that’d be that–I’m not gonna go way outta my way to hunt it down, but I’ll support it for several issues to check out and treat as its own relatively self-contained thing (I hope!)

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Then there were the release of the new issues of the six Walmart-exclusive (apparently only exclusive for a bit longer) 100-page Giants. I definitely dig the Superman cover most of all…the "iconic" Flash/Superman racing thing is quite nostalgic for me, going back to a 1989 issue of Adventures of Superman and its cover (which I eventually learned was itself an homage to a silver-age issue).

Though these are out, apparently there’s a "surprise" Detective Comics #1000 100-Page Giant due, but I’ve yet to find that one…and these six issues pictured above have probably been THE most spotty I’ve seen for the issues since last summer in availability–like the vendor cleared out all the previous stock and is only sparingly stocking these.

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Along with the Walmart comics, Half-Price Books had another one of their week-long sales via coupons, with Monday & Tuesday 20%-off-one-item coupons, Wednesday & Thursday 30%, Friday & Saturday 40%, and Sunday 50%-off coupons. I went to HPB on the Friday and snagged these Dragonlance novels.

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On the Saturday, I was in the area and visited a used-books store called Mac’s Backs, and scored a couple of Highlander novels I was missing, as well as 3 of the early Myth books by Robert Asprin.

I also visited another HPB location and wound up getting a pack of Justice League: New Frontier figures with a comic…alas, I neglected to get a photo of it, so perhaps that’ll be another post later.


Week of March 20, 2019

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Batman, Nightwing, and Naomi hit this week. The Batman issue is probably THE most disappointing issue I’ve read in ages–VIRTUALLY a "silent" issue that can be flipped through in moments and summed up as "Batman chases someone, and the identity might be a surprise." It includes a scene that references the Batman/Elmer Fudd issue from a couple years ago if you know what you’re looking at…but that’s hardly worth $3.99 on its own!

TMNT has its 92nd issue–we’re a "mere" 8 issues away from the first-ever TMNT #100 at this point! The new issue of Criminal is out. And I was juuuuust curious enough about Spider-Man: Life Story to get it…and it’s by far THE single best Marvel comic I’ve read in ages! A lotta personal stuff to it with personal nostalgia and such, but even so…I’d highly recommend it despite the $4.99 price!

I gave in on some "hype" over the Immortal Hulk issue and decided to check it out…it’s #15, and it’s the first Hulk comic I’ve bought as a new issue in YEARS and it wasn’t actually all that bad. It has be curious about the series, and maybe I’ll check it out via Marvel Unlimited…and maybe I’ll get the next issue. We’ll see.

Finally, the IDW iteration of Avengers has its 3rd issue–now an issue ahead of Spider-Man despite starting after that one.

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And since I was getting a splash of Marvel and didn’t hate the Captain Marvel movie, snagged the preview thing of CM stuff. And the usual Comic Shop News stuff with a spring 2019 preview I may or may not actually page through.

Depending on what personal life holds, I’ll hopefully "catch up" and actually get stuff posted for several other recent acquisitions in the toys-arena…as well as some new shelving arrangements.

And though I’ve been saying it for years now, perhaps this spring I’ll actually, finally get around to a full showing-off of my "comic cave." Though the space has come to resemble a cramped comics/dvds/games/toys store.

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A New Adventure on Krynn

I’ve recently had my interest in Dragonlance rekindled a fair bit. And this goes beyond a couple shelves of hardcovers and games…this gets into the vast array of MMPB volumes that were pumped out over nearly a quarter century.

dragonlance_new_sept19a

As with "sub collections" of comics, the earlier stage is the cheapest–going from "just having a few" to "acquiring ‘more’ of them." It’ll be once I track down a majority of the books that the last few will be ridiculously, incredibly expensive.

But for now I’m still down at–and sticking TO–truly half price or less (with the next stage being the move to roughly cover price when factoring in discount + shipping).

At one Half-Price Books I snagged the five volumes above. I would have sworn I already had the Brothers in Arms volume, but if so, it got mixed in/packed away somewhere away from my actual collection. I think a friend had the The Dragons of Krynn book back in the day; and the other three pictured above are simply new books to me.

dragonlance_new_sept19b

At the other Half-Price Books, I snagged the above two books. The Time of the Twins is an older (I think original) edition (not sure/don’t care if it’s a first print or not)…it completes my "set" of Dragonlance Legends in this trade dress.

The Love and War volume is (I believe) also an original (if not first print) edition, and I’d rather have the newer one, but this I got for the nostalgia and immediacy–I like the cover, and Raistlin is one of my favorite characters. Plus, I have Tales vol. 1 in this trade dress, so it’s another that I won’t mind multiple editions "in the end."

Sadly, several books at both stores had my interest but I decided they were beat up/damaged enough that I would end up wanting to replace them anyway so no sense buying them now.


While I do have a number of different editions of some of the books–particularly the Chronicles series–I don’t currently have any real intention of hunting down every Dragonlance book in every edition published over the years…though I think it might be a decently-achievable goal to simply seek a copy of all the books in some edition.

I do not like that a bunch of the original editions–including at least one series that I do not think was ever reprinted in a later edition–merely had the sub-series title/numbering on the spine, but not the actual title of the book itself. (Tales Volume Three on the spine, but you only see Love and War on the front cover or interior.)

dragonlance_paperbacks_before_sept19

Here’s my existing MMPB Dragonlance collection (minus the new books pictured earlier in this post).

Showing Off a Shelf: Dragonlance Hardcovers and Gaming

A couple weeks ago, I showed off a shelf of a few of my Magic: the Gathering books; here, now, are my Dragonlance  hardcovers.

dragonlance_shelves_with_mage_knight

Along with the books themselves, I have the Fifth Age game and several of its supplements.

These hardcovers are virtually all by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, or one or the other. I also have a number of graphic novels–several from the ’80s or early ’90s, and most from when Devil’s Due had the license in the earlier/mid 2000s.

Above the books are four dragons from the short-lived Mage Knight game, and then sharing the shelves are several giants and vehicles also from the Mage Knight game. While these are not associated with Dragonlance, in being from a game with a fantasy type setting, they fit well enough on these shelves for me at least for the moment.

The Weekly Haul – Week of April 13, 2016 (main haul)

A day late, went through the LCS on lunch Thursday, and wound up with a pretty good haul.

Firstly, I found the Superman/Wonder Woman issue I’d hoped to find on Wednesday; and then my usual stuff.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160413b

Everything else is either pull-list (Spawn added the other day–I’ve decided to stick with the title for awhile in support of the $2.99 price point, lack of promiscuous variant covers, and maintaining its numbering for 24ish years.

A couple $1 books, TMNT stuff, Letter 44…and the $6 Image Firsts Compendium vol. 2 (like the 1st volume, this has 9 issues, making each $1.50…only slightly more than a digital “sale” price and it’s a physical print-product, a thick volume.

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As is fairly usual (despite really running out of storage space) I raided the quarter-bins; found a dozen issues of Dragonlance. At least several are duplicate issues, but finding this many, I snagged ’em all to avoid any of them becoming “grail issues” in the future.

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Snagged several other “random” issues for the sake of getting them for 25 cents. Due to a comment from a fellow comics blogger (Chris is on Infinite Earths) I bought a convenience-copy of Uncanny X-Men #308…20-something years old, and still “only” the price of a cheaper contemporary issue and no worse than “just” buying any other issue of something new.

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I’m pretty sure I already have the Chaos Effect issues, but for 25 cents each, no sense passing them up. The Spawn issue caught my attention, and then I noticed several other issues of these Fan Editions…looks like they came with a magazine back in the ’90s (much like Wizard or Hero Illustrated…I passed on some others that weren’t sequential nor included a #1.

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And finally, the prestige-format Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown mini. I’m not sure if there were only 3 issues, or if there’s a fourth one…but again, for the price, wasn’t going to pass it up.

Next week may be a small week single-issue wise…though I’m finding myself unfortunately more than a little interested in some of DC‘s #50s…as well as feeling a pull back to the Superman family of titles that I’ve been away from maybe the longest time ever now.

And an extremely expensive purchase looming that I’ve had in mind for about eight months.

Some Negativity in the Form of Questions

I don’t like being negative, nor causing random (negative) ripples or fights on the internet; I don’t like flame wars, I don’t like raining on others’ parade, etc. (That’s part of why I have this blog–I can simply put MY thoughts “out there,” but I’m not inserting them into discussion forums or other places in some consciously disruptive fashion). But for now I want to vent a bit, with several questions that have arisen and that I’ve wound up with photos to illustrate said questions (in the course of prepping photos for other blog posts).

Who in their right mind is going to buy multiple copies of a reference book like The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide?!?

overstreet_dual_covers

I mean, I am long used to their having multiple covers, but those usually seem (to me, in my memory) to be singular covers, just different artists and even focus on different publishers in subject-matter of the cover. Pick your favorite, so you’re not locked into a cover you despise, for a book you may be utilizing frequently for a year or more. That I can be ok with.

What I’m not ok with is something like this, where on a freaking REFERENCE BOOK they’re taking a singular image and splitting it in half. Not even doing a wrap-around cover type thing, or some insert, or whatever. If you want the WHOLE of the SINGLE IMAGE, you have to have TWO COPIES of the exact-same, not-supposed-to-be-“collectible”-itself book.

And of course, I’m pretty sure they already do multiple editions, with the volume available in hardback and paperback. I myself several years ago bought a year-or-two-old edition to have for reference of a bunch of ’90s stuff–not for the so-called “prices” or “values” listed, but as a resource to determine relatively authoritatively exactly how long various series lasted. (How many issues were there of X-O Manowar vol. 1? Instead of trying to corroborate stuff online and do a lot of Googling, just flip to the listing in Overstreet and see what the final issue listed is.)

Needless to say, I won’t even be tempted to pick up this year’s edition as a replacement or “update,” and I’d be truly curious at the effect of this “diptych” cover stunt on sales (probably not much, since I’m just one person, and grumpy at that, and it seems very few people feel so strongly on stuff as I do).

Why must there be umpteen to half a hundred variant covers rather than some sort of “art-gallery” special issue to “celebrate” a series/issue/milestone?

Valiant is just digging its hole even deeper…this totally, completely turns me OFF to even the contemplation of randomly buying X-O Manowar #50 as a new issue!

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Are there REALLY so many Valiant collectors that will truly be interested in and hunt down FIFTY COPIES of the same exact issue JUST for some covers? IF you want to celebrate the character, let other artists “weigh in on” the character, you want “bonus sales” without commissioning/contracting a whole extra story to publish…

What ever happened to the “art gallery” issues? Publish some 50-page “issue” that’s nothing but cover images (with or without cover text/logos) as something like X-O Manowar: A Celebration of 50 Issues or such. Sell it as a poster book. something.

How many people are totally turned off anymore to the constant glut of VARIANT covers? I would honestly be willing to argue that the last several years and present are far worse in terms of “variant covers” than the “Collector’s Age” of the 1990s ever was with variant/”enhanced edition” comics, with the “newsstand” and “direct market” covers.

Yet another thing that will leave me willing to not even buy new issues, but go and be fairly content to drop twice the cost of a “new” issue on a random late-Bronze-Age comic from a back-issue bin.

Why do book designs have to be ruined by “branding” on something that has had dozens to hundreds of books published in its course of existence?

While I might otherwise have some interest in purchasing new Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms books; Elminster specific volumes or something with Drizzt…I flat out refuse to buy any such mass-market paperback with that ugly D&D “swish” on the spine.

d&d_swoosh_on_books

Frankly, I don’t “get” it–does anyone specifically read Dragonlance or  Forgotten Realms books because they’re a sub-brand of D&D/Dungeons & Dragons? Speaking for myself–I sure do not. I’m interested in either property for the property itself, and I truly feel like these are marred by that “swish” on the spine.

I can appreciate the “branding,” of wanting to promote D&D over an individual setting, but I absolutely do not have to like it. Nor, in that regard, do I have to buy any of the newer editions thus marred by the branding.

What, exactly, is the POINT of the extra half-inch or whatever to have “oversized” mass-market paperbacks???

I absolutely loathe the things and refuse to buy them…and they can even put me “off” from a whole series of books if I’m not “chomping at the bit” TO read them.

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I’m trying to track down the hardcover edition of The President’s Shadow, having only just recently finally finished The Fifth Assassin. I’ve been getting Meltzer‘s books in hardcover since/including The Zero Game back in 2004 or so, so I don’t have much interest in the MMPB (I’ll get the e-book first, honestly). But even if I was interested in the MMPB, seeing it on the shelf like this, next two a couple of the earlier books simply reminds me that even if I switched to paperback, it’s impossible for me to have a complete set of his books that actually go together on the shelf, without at least a couple of the more recent/”middle” ones sticking out like glowingly-red sore thumbs, having been released in the “oversized” format.

And despite that, now they’re back to the “regular” paperback size…so there doesn’t even seem to be any commitment to one or the other, thus there isn’t even consistency to the books, whatever format, regardless of my liking them or not.

In a time when buying a movie shortly after initial release costs a premium and it seems fairly routine for prices to drop within a few months until it’s on the bargain racks within a year…does Disney truly sell more keeping the higher price, or would people who’d buy it at a lower price continue–like me–to pass on stuff?

Loosely, conceptually, I’m very interested in this Descendants property. I love “legacy” characters, seeing a universe expanded on, digging deeper into stuff I’ve already enjoyed…and thus, I was originally looking forward to the home-media release of Descendants last year or whenever it was.

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But the thing was not “on sale” for the “week of release” if I noticed it then, and I have been unwilling to pay the whopping $18 for a 90-minute “tv movie” that I know darned well is gonna be cheesey and hokey and more of a “guilty pleasure” than much else.

And month after month after month, I have never seen the thing on sale such that I’d be willing to purchase it. I think it might have once been “on sale” for $16.99, but $17 vs $18 is negligible for me compared to $15 or $13 or even $10. $15 would be seriously pushing its luck, $13 a bit more reasonable, and at this point, $10 ($9.99) would be ideal.

And this is at Target and Walmart, to say nothing of other retailers and such.

To me, the $17.99 is an odd price–more expensive than the $10-15 many movies cost, but not quite the “premium” $19.99+ units. Yet, this definitely is not something I would ever pay $20 for…and negligible as it may be if one’s got the money available to spend on something like this, I’m not paying the extra $3 just on principle, beyond the $15 or $14.99 I’d otherwise have been willing to pay.

And with this stuff outta the way, back to the usual content, most likely.

I continue to “find my comic book joy” in 1990s 25-cent issues, and increasingly in the notion of actually hunting down late Bronze Age comics. Contemporary comics–at $3.99 and increasingly $4.99; characters and properties being driven into holes into which I’m uninterested or unwilling to follow; variant covers in general…as publishers strive for some mythical “new readers” audience and increased month-over-month year-over-year and other buzzwords sales in a modern market…they just keep putting me off entirely to their product(s).

Booking Through Thursday: Serial

bookingthroughthursdaybuttonSeries? Or Stand-alone books?

 

When it comes to non-graphic books…I don’t think it really matters to me if the book is standalone or part of a series. At least, I don’t choose a book because it’s one or the other.

Most of the Stephen King, Brad Meltzer, and John Grisham books I’ve read have been standalone (even if they’re set in the same world/continuity, they aren’t necessarily part of a series). I look forward to their new books based on it being a new book by an author whose work I enjoy…not because it’s the next book in a series.

At the same time, in the last couple years, I’ve read the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson series, and I just finished listening to the latest two books in Weis/Hickman’s Lost Chronicles (Dragonlance) series. A few years back, I spent six weeks reading the entire original Left Behind series. A couple books on my to-be-read list for this year are the first books in new series—but they’re there due to the author, and not for kicking off new series.

When it comes to comics, though, I’m a bit more choosey.

I prefer series. If something is an “ongoing” series and has proven itself to last, I’m more likely to give it a shot. (a $2.99 or under price point certainly helps). Superman, Batman, X-Men, Green Lantern…there’s a history, there’s a reasonable expectation of the series continuing indefinitely, and so I’m more likely to be comfortable checking things out long-term.

For the most part, I tend to avoid “mini” or “limited” series as these will inevitably be collected into collected volumes/graphic novels, which I may pick up if my interest’s there by the time that edition is published.

Given the serial nature of comics, while there are the occasional great self-contained stories…overall, if it’s just a one-off short story (under 12 issues) I’m generally not going to check it out without much prior critical acclaim—I’ll feel cheated, as it’s a comic, I enjoy it, and I want more. V for Vendetta and Watchmen are a couple of notable exceptions on my own shelf.

Of course, as always…I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions to all this, holes to be poked in my thoughts that make sense before 9am. But hey…that’s the point of discussion. These are my stand-alone thoughts, for the moment…and they’re open to the changes/molding/evolution of a series of posts…

Booking Through Thursday: Headlines

bookingthroughthursdaybuttonHmm … I can’t quite come up with an outright question to ask, but thinking about the theory of fiction and how it can affect and be affected by real world events can act as a buffer between the horrific events on the news and having to actually face that horror. So … what happens when the line between fiction and reality becomes all-too slim? Discuss!

We often use fiction to escape reality, or at least visit something beyond “reality,” so when the huge events of fiction happen in real life…or something from real life pops up in our fiction, it really can be a bit jarring.

dckingdomcomeIn DC ComicsKingdom Come—the novelization of the graphic novel, at least—there’s a scene where the main character is going about his life, and comes to realize that everyone around him is focused on a giant tv screen—where news of a nuclear explosion that’s wiped out much of Kansas is coming through.

The morning of September 11, 2001 was eerily like that for me. I got out of an early morning class, to find the entire lobby filled with people, all focused on a  single tv on a cart someone had wheeled out of an office. It was a standing crowd, and people lined the stairs, no one really talking, everyone just taking in the shocking news.

I recall coming across a quote that I believe was attributed to Grant Morrison, then writer of New X-Men:

“How close is the real world coming to the comic world?  We were talking about crazy madmen launching attacks on the world years ago.”

bttexmachinaThen there’s Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan…whose premiere issue brought a huge surprise twist as its cliffhanger, providing a huge “what if..?” and setting itself in an “alternate reality” from our own, splintered off based on what happened that day.

In the last several weeks, I’ve been on an Ultimate X-Men tear, reading from early in the series right up to Ultimatum in barely a week…and then realizing that I actually now own Ultimatum, reading that as part of the experience…the whole thing also filling out my knowledge from the confusion I had last year when I read about half of the Ultimate Spider-Man series.

ultimatumIn Ultimatum, a huge tidal wave suddenly strikes Manhattan, destroying it. The various heroes rally to deal with the disaster—but many of their own are lost when the “Ultimatum Wave” first hits, and many others are lost in the aftermath.

There’s also reference to Europe freezing, as it seems Magneto managed to switch the magnetic poles of the planet, and the destruction caused is world-wide.

In the Magic: The Gathering novels, the early books in the series begun in 1998 with The Brothers’ War…we find all sorts of disaster, localized and global…all of which affect the local or global culture.mtgapocalypse

Additionally, this is seen in the Dragonlance novels, where an entire continent is devastated by a “fiery mountain from the sky” that completely destroys one city, and causes a huge upheaval that changes the terrain (another city famed for its sea and ships finds itself suddenly landlocked without a sea).

Given how I’m rambling a bit here…I would really suspect it possible to write a whole series of posts, each one focusing on and digging into any of these examples individually, and so many more. I’ll probably kick myself later today as more examples come to me.

Ah, yes: The Sum of All Fears. I don’t honestly recall if I’ve read the book, but I certainly saw the movie…and I recall that freaking me out.

Booking Through Thursday: Cheating

imageDo you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

superman075For the most part, no. If I don’t already know the ending, I don’t want to know it ahead of time. The only reasons I really ever have to “peek at the end” of a book is to check the pagecount of the story itself (doing my darnedest to view the page number while forcing myself to NOT visually register the words on the page) or to see if there’s a “preview chapter” of some other book lumped at the end that’ll throw me off by a couple dozen pages with the true end of the book hitting too soon.

Now, the main exceptions come from graphic novels. At the bookstores or occasionally comic shops, if there’s tons of internet buzz and no one’s spoiling online, I might take a peek to see what the hype’s all about. I also have the problem occasionally with hardcovers, where I’ll remove the dust jacket so I can carry the book around and not worry about the DJ getting screwed up. Occasionally while pulling it away from the back side of the book, I’ll wind up catching a glimpse of a page or two at the back, which might grab my attention just enough to see what, exactly, is going on there.

The other primary exception comes if I’m trying to determine if I’ve already read something—such as a Star Trek novel I may or may not have read 15 years ago…I may look at the end to see if I remember it, as I have an easier time recalling endings than I do beginnings.

endersgamemmpbANECDOTE: If you’ve read Ender’s Game, you know that that has a doozy of an ending. It’s that ending that draws me back to the book on occasion (and partially influenced me on Ender’s Shadow a couple years back). Early in college, a friend was telling me about the book, and I convinced him to sum it up for me, as I didn’t see getting around to reading it. Sounded interesting, but having been told, I mentally filed it away as one of those things, and life went on.

A couple years later, for some reason or another, I happened to get a copy of the book, and got pulled in enough to read the whole thing. And I was blown away by the ending…only later realizing that this was THAT book my friend had told me about. And here I was “lucky” enough to not have made the connection, so I was still taken by surprise.

DragonsofAutumnTwilightIt’s this sort of phenomena that causes me to see re-reading books as a bit of an analogy for the time-travel experience, were it not fiction.

Having read the book, if you go back and re-read it…you’re traveling to the past, and re-joining characters who don’t yet know what’s going to happen…but as the reader…you DO know what’s going to happen. Or at least, have access to it. Of course, you can’t change what’s going to happen…but you’re aware of it.

Yet, there are details that slip away, and you might only remember the broad strokes and biggest players.

highlordskiesI’m near the end of Dragons of the Highlord Skies, and something’s just happened to a couple characters that has me on-edge, as I’d swear this isn’t something that happened to them, and I thought I remembered them doing something else. But this book delves back to a time between-pages of Dragons of Winter Night, which I haven’t actually read in a decade or more now…so I may be thinking of other characters.

Just as, if someone were to travel back 100 years…they might know big details, broad strokes…but not have any clue of what roles people play in the smaller stuff.

But I digress from the topic at hand.

Dragonlance: Chronicles #8 [Review]

Quick Rating: Above Average
Title: Dragons of Autumn Twilight

The Companions battle Verminaard and his minions in Pax Tharkas with many lives hanging in the balance…

dragonlancechronicles008Story: Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Adaptation Script: Andrew Dabb
Pencils: Steve Kurth
Colors: Djoko Santiko of IFS
Letters: Brian J. Crowley
Editor: Mark Powers
Cover Art: A: Steve Kurth and IFS, B: Tyler Walpole
Publisher: Devil’s Due

This is the final issue of this particular Dragonlance mini-series, and as such, things can be generalized a bit more than in previous issues.

The art has maintained a pretty solid level of quality–though I’m not sure we’ve had the same artist for the entire series. We do have Kurth on art chores for this issue, which is a plus, regardless of previous issues. Kurth‘s art is definitely a departure from a lot of the "classic" Dragonlance art from the 1980s, and even a lot of what I recall from the 90s. And while it may not be definitive, exactly, it very certainly fits these characters and the story. It’s not perfect (what art is, though?) but one gets a sense that these are (physically) 3-dimensional characters interacting with each other. There’s a certain creepiness here that captures the dark nature of this part of the story–and it works well. Where it fails is in some of the details of the story, as it’s not always clear from the visuals exactly what’s going on panel-to-panel.

The story itself comes across as very choppy. Perhaps I’m too biased, having read the original Dragons of Autumn Twilight as many times as I have in the last decade. This issue feels like an extremely abridged retelling of that story, as if it has certain points that it hits on, but lacks the detail of the original–and as such, comes across choppy.

I felt like I had to keep thinking back to the book to fully "get" what was going on with these characters. While the art gives a sense that these could be real, 3-dimensional beings, the story comes off as shallow and 2-dimensional. The blame for this is shared, and it should be noted that the novel this mini is adapted from is itself possibly the weakest of the Weis/Hickman Dragonlance Chronicles volumes.

The story caps off the first volume of the trilogy as the companions battle Verminaard in Pax Tharkas, while a couple dragons tear it up in the background, and Verminaard’s slaves reunite with their families as they prepare to take their leave of the fortress–provided anyone survives the battle.

I suspect that the story on the whole comes across better if read as a whole–reading an adaptation in eight segments separated by several weeks likely takes away from the overall experience. Given that, I don’t recommend this single issue unless you have already been following the mini. However, in a few weeks when the collected volume (advertised adjacent to the final story-page in this issue) is released, consider checking it out.

On the whole, this series has been a solid jump-on point for anyone interested in the "classic" Dragonlance saga. It introduces the core/original characters, generally conveys some key aspects about them, and the art particularly gives a visual interpretation of the characters that is much more realistic and believable than earlier visual renditions.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Dragonlance: Chronicles #6 [Review]

Quick Rating: Solid
Title: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (chapter 6)

Having been freed by elves from captivity, the companions find themselves witness to the decline of the Qualinesti elves; they also find their next quest in their journey toward saving the world of Krynn…

dragonlancechronicles006Story: Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Adaptation Script: Andrew Dabb
Pencils: Stefano Raffaele
Colors: Djoko Santiko of IFS
Letters: Steve Seeley
Editor: Mark Powers
Cover Art: A: Steve Kurth and IFS, B: Tyler Walpole
Publisher: Devil’s Due

This is another good/standard issue of the series. It has been thankfully consistent–the story and art continue to work well together, to provide a true adaptation to the original novel (Dragons of Autumn Twilight). Perhaps in contradiction to that, this issue features art by someone other than Kurth. While a side-by-side comparison will undoubtedly reveal difference, taken by itself it works well here. In light of a certain other publisher often combining artists of late on a single issue, that the entirety of this issue is just one is refreshing.

This issue takes the story up with the companions having just been freed from Fewmaster Toede’s slave-train. Their elven rescuers lead them into Qualinost (one of the Elven homelands, but not the original Elven homeland–but that issue doesn’t rear its head til later and isn’t overly relevant here). Once in Qualinost, we view some of the past come back to haunt Tanis, and get to see Tasselhoff marvel at what must’ve been (in his eyes) quite the childhood for the half-elf. The companions then take on a task from the Speaker of the Sun and head for Pax Tharkas.

The story itself is faithful at its heart if not word-for-word to the source material. The only real gripe I have on that angle with this issue is that here we see Tanis deliberately acquire a particular sword, whereas the original novel had him fumble for a weapon, and belatedly realize what he’d acquired, which added a bit more wonder to the weapon as well as what the companions face. Ultimately it is a minor detail, one that works well in prose format, but like a movie, not every minute detail can be adapted, and it’s better that detail is cut than something more integral to the story.

This is a fantasy comic/story, and based on what Hickman himself considers the weakest of these original novels. As such, you will find aspects of the familiar here. The creature the companions face seems drastically out of place given the sort of story here (I can think of no other examples of such a creature encountered anywhere else in the Dragonlance mythos–if anyone else can, I’d be interested in having that noted). However, from a story that was based strongly on a new Dungeons & Dragons module at the time, such a creature is just another generic sort that gives an excuse for a fight. In this story, it serves to introduce a new aspect to a just-met character that will serve a much larger role later in the Chronicles saga, if not this specific arc.

We’re six issues in, and have covered a lot of ground. As I understand it, we’ve two chapters left to conclude this mini/arc. If you’ve not followed along thus far, this won’t be a particularly good point to jump in. If you’re following it, though, don’t bail now!

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

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