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New Hardcovers! JLI, Darkseid War, and The Button

I think this may have been my single largest (or at least expensive!) purchase of collected volumes in one go!

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I’d been particularly waiting for the Justice League International Omnibus (oops, it’s "only" vol. 1!) and was eager to get it. The book is one of the thicker omnibus volumes, and a bit unwieldy at its size, but for all it contains, seems well worthwhile!

Then there’s the Justice League: The Darkseid War Saga Omnibus, collecting the Darkseid War from a couple years ago. I’d balked at the "skinny books" collecting it in multiple parts–I’ve grown really sick and tired of specific, finite stories being broken up into numerous skinny editions JUST for the sake of having "standard 6-issue collected editions." I was curious about the story and interested enough to want it…but not in multiple volumes. Finding out it was getting an omnibus solved that–it’s a nice, thick book and having the entire storyline is a huge plus!

Finally, the Batman/Flash: The Button deluxe hardcover…there’s just something to it for me, the Batman and Flash teamed up, and being the "next step" of sorts from the Rebirth special…and given how much I was already spending, tossing it on was virtually negligible (and cheaper than 2-3 Marvel single-issues!)

Now, we just need a Thy Kingdom Come omnibus of that 12-issue story and 4 specials! (And if they need to pad it out to be thicker, include the original Kingdom Come itself. And if they want to totally go for broke, include The Kingdom along with the New Year’s Evil: Gog special!)

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Interestingly enough, I’m still really not a fan of Darkseid, and DC has gotten me to triple-dip on several things since Rebirth started. I’ve got a couple of JLI skinny hardcovers from awhile back, but missed vol. 2, and was annoyed so didn’t get any of the later ones that there may have been. Now, this way, I’m getting those and more in one volume! (and we’ll see on a volume 2, hopefully not too soon!)

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Showing Off the Shelves: Batman (December 2016)

I’ve been getting newer stuff worked in and generally re-situating my shelves, leading to showing off the current configuration.

Lagging a bit behind my Superman collection, which is well onto its third shelf, my Batman collection still has a little way to go to fill its second shelf and creep onto its third.

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While The Dark Knight Returns is more of an "ending" to the story (or should’ve been, but Strikes Again and III are another subject/post entirely) I ended up starting the shelf off with it–I have the story in numerous editions, much like other favorites The Death of Superman and Kingdom Come.

Then, following what I did with the Superman stuff, I lead with the "survey" collections spanning the years, then try to approximate rough chronological order from the Silver Age into modern times. The Batman run seems a lot more solidly event-oriented, with the bulk of the "inches" on the shelf being the event collections.

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Following the event stuff, I ease a bit into the New 52 era, and then back out into broad stuff. Even as I type this, it crosses my mind that the Batman Arkham volumes actually belong up in the earlier volumes as ‘survey’ books that are not collecting any singular story but a broad range of issues featuring a particular character.

The glaring gaps in my Batman collection are all the more glaring compared to Superman; but that’s not terribly surprising, as I’ve been a much more solid Superman fan than Batman over the years. No great dislike of the character; just a far deeper like of Superman.

The few hardcovers that I have are largely glaring stick-outs to me, such that I’d be somewhat interested in trying to replace them with paperbacks; particularly Heart of Hush and Batman: R.I.P. I’d ordered Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader at the same time as the Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow counterpart, so am somewhat hesitant to replace one, as they tie together in my mind; perhaps someday I’ll replace ’em both.

It’s simply astounding to consider the vast library of Bat-stuff out there…I have a relatively large collection here, but I swear I don’t have a fraction of what’s (been) available!

Showing Off the Shelves: The Flash (November 2016)

My Flash stuff is the most recent "subcollection" to take off for me, having "started" with The Secret of Barry Allen and not really counting the Flashpoint volumes to pulling those in, and adding a number of other volumes in 2016…including having pre-ordered the Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato Omnibus prior to being laid off.

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As Flashpoint was an "event," I’d had those books grouped with my other "event books," but decided that as the only "event series" that I have like this (and keeping what I do have of Blackest Night with the Green Lantern stuff, made sense to me to move Flashpoint over to fit in right after the Road to Flashpoint volume, leading directly to the Omnibus (which has the first 25 or so issues of the New 52 run).

I would hope that there’ll be another omnibus collecting the back half of the series, but for now, I’m more interested in/looking forward to The Flash by Geoff Johns vol. 3 and The Flash by Mark Waid vol. 1!

Showing Off the Shelves: TMNT (November 2016)

I’m showing off the latest configurations of "sub collections" on my shelves.

Here, today, are my TMNT and Usagi stuff. While not officially tied together, I’ve long associated Usagi Yojimbo with the TMNT stuff; and so they fit together well on a shelf. Though I’m basically maxed-out on this shelf now, so the Usagi stuff might end up getting moved to fit elsewhere before too long.

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I’d jumped on the TMNT Ultimate Edition line as soon as it started, and "kept up" with it, including the surprise/addition of the 6th volume. Then I have the 1First graphic novel series, collecting the early Mirage stuff in color the first time. These were my initial introduction to the original/Mirage version of the characters, having had my start with the classic cartoon and the Archie-published TMNT Adventures.

After those we have stuff from Mirage itself over the years–first some of the generic collected volumes; then a bunch of the mid-2000s collected volumes up to the cgi-TMNT film just before Laird sold the property.

From there, the Archie edition of the original TMNT Adventures mini, collected; along with 4 of the 6 TMNT Classics Digest that reprinted the earlier TMNT Adventures issues; and then the current run of IDW‘s volumes collecting the TMNT Adventures run. From there, some other versions of the TMNT Adventures collections, the IDW TMNT hardcover, the 30th Anniversary Special and the 2012 & 2014 Annuals.

Finally, the first 4 Usagi Yojimbo mega-collections from Dark Horse.

I’d had a number of the earlier IDW TPBs of their TMNT series; but stopped with those as soon as I found out about the oversized hardcovers–and though I’m a couple volumes behind, my aim is to use THOSE for my "double-dipping" on the series. They’re the far better value, with about 3 paperbacks’ contents for about/slightly over the cost of 2.

I had at one point figured I’d be getting some of the various other large hardcovers IDW has been putting out for the various TMNT stuff…but they’re all different dimensions, and just don’t look like they go together that well, and thus are quite unattractive to me as a group of books.

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Then, of course, there are the TMNT toys. While this is not the entirety of my TMNT toys collection…it is a full shelf’s worth, laid out for display at present.

Showing Off the Shelves: Superman (November 2016)

My collection is constantly growing and shifting, with gaps filled in here and there, a new/superior or preferred edition replacing another, and so on.

I have a large DC collection overall, though primary within that are my Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern collections. I think from there it drops down to The Flash and then the remainder of DC stuff and events.

Today, I’m showing off my updated Superman collection!

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I start the section with the two Archives volumes I have, and then other general/history-spanning volumes. Then the Superman Chronicles of the Golden Age stuff, then the Showcase Presents kicking off the Silver Age/Middle stuff; the "themed" volumes, then the Superman vs. _____ books; several other collections, to Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Kicking off "my" Superman we have the World of Krypton and The Kents, both (to my understanding) taking place before we jumped in with the Byrne reboot. Then For All Seasons as a general beginning/Year One/Origin thing. Next, the Man of Steel series collecting the entirety (I believe) of the Byrne run. I have stuff as much in order as possible from there; roughly publication order, working within existing structure.

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We quickly get into the Death of Superman stuff, and the few volumes of stories after, before jumping to the weird semi-complete-ish (sorta) run of stuff from 1999-2001ish with the numbered Superman volumes (and Emperor Joker) to Our Worlds at War, the "new" "origin" in Birthright, and then stuff from around Infinite Crisis and into the New Krypton era, Black Ring, skipping the New 52, and I’ve got the Superman: Lois and Clark volume here. I have my Death and Return of Superman Omnibus as a "divider" to other quasi-miscellaneous stuff–the Superman: Doomsday tpb, the Gil Kane and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez volumes, then what I have of the various Superman/Batman collections.

While I’ve no significant interest in the older, incomplete "omnibus" that had a lot of the Death/Return stuff, I do also have my original volumes collecting the stories, including several editions of the Death of Superman volume itself–the original edition, the updated edition, and the hardcover edition they put out "recently" for the Book/Blu-Ray/Digital combo packs.

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Spilling onto a third shelf, my two Superman hardcovers from the New 52 era–Unchained and Superman: Doomed. From there, the Earth One volumes, All-Star Superman, and other semi-isolated volumes into Supergirl and Superboy stuff, before getting into general-DC Universe stuff.

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And while showing off "the Superman collection," I can’t leave out the shelf of 3D depictions of the character!

Of course, this is a "snapshot" of the collection at present–I have several figures packed away from moving; and several paperbacks have gotten shuffled around and pulled and not re-filed to read…and there are plenty of others I’d like to get as able.

But for now, November 2016, this is the core of my bookshelf-able Superman collection!

Unplanned Books-A-Million Clearance Purchases 11/3

Thursday evening, I found myself at a Books-A-Million for the first time in quite awhile. Where I’d figured maybe I would find a cheap book or a comic frame…I didn’t expect to find a giant stack of books that had my interest for the price.

I eventually pared a stack of about a dozen books down to three:

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I got all three books for the price of 5 standard Marvel issues and a True Believers issue.

I was disappointed that Captain America and the Falcon by Priest that I found in the clearance section was not actually on (discounted) sale. And while they had a bunch of the Secret Wars (2015) skinny volumes for $4.97 apiece, they weren’t the greatest condition nor interest to me. I absolutely would have gotten the Age of Apocalypse one if that’d been there for that price, though!

The Wolverine volume is Wolverine; and collects a few issues from the latter part of The Essential Wolverine vol. 5 and the earlier issues from The Essential Wolverine vol. 6…but in full color. I quite like the Essentials line, but for this period of the title, the black and white/graytone effect gets very muddy and doesn’t work nearly as well, so getting this run in this format is very cool. All the moreso for the price!

The Avengers: Scarlet Witch fits thematically with my Avengers: Quicksilver volume. And I’ve been interested in reading Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl for awhile, especially since getting/watching the first season of the tv show last year (though I’ve yet to be able to see the second/final season).

It’s amazing, though, to consider just how highly-priced most Marvel volumes are, such that I virtually never buy any at "full price," because that price is just not worth it to me; while DC has had a number of volumes that I’m willing to pay full price for (even though I’d prefer cheaper means!)

New Death of Superman Editions

death_of_superman_new_editions_03Back in late 1992, possibly early 1993–VERY shortly after Superman #75 was published–a collected volume was rushed out, collecting the six Superman issues and the Justice League issue that made up the Doomsday! (now simply The Death of Superman) arc.

I have always considered it something that was rushed because on the back where they gave a cover gallery, several of the issues were obviously-marked (Roman Numerals) later printings…whoever had been tasked with designing the back cover did not even themselves have access (or care) to all first-print editions (and I say this assuming there were no digital images floating around back then to simply access and use).

And over 1993 we then got the Funeral for a Friend story collected as World Without a Superman, and then eventually a massive (even by contemporary standards!) The Return of Superman (my copy, bought at the time, was a whopping $14.95 or so..!).

Over the years, those volumes have remained in-print…with the only major difference that I have noticed being that the Death of Superman volume eventually was switched to the iconic Superman #75 cover image of the tattered cape amidst the wreckage of Doomsday’s rampage.

The volumes originated in a time where any such collected volume was a real rarity/novelty, and it was only the particularly “special” or truly “sold-out” major storylines that would get collected into a single-volume edition…and each was largely its own thing, existing as an isolated item. “Simple” as the spines were back then, my original editions, at least, look ok together, but do not match many “surrounding” volumes on the bookshelves…and other than “knowing” the three volumes belong together, there’s no real indicator of them, nor the order to read them in. I take such knowledge totally for granted, but especially in this day and age of constant deaths and resurrections and timey-wimey stuff and multiverses and pre-Flashpoints and New 52s…’nuff said.

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We now get five volumes–each more manageable than the Death and Return of Superman Omnibus, and admittedly higher prices…but also more content in the volumes–for example, the Death of Superman volume now contains the Newstime magazine that was published during all this; the Funeral for a Friend volume has the Legacy of Superman and the Supergirl/Team Luthor special; while what was formerly the single-volume The Return of Superman has been split in two–with the addition of the four ongoing titles’ Bloodlines annuals (each issue starring one of the Four Supermen) as well as the entirety of issues that had only had several pages reprinted.

And while it does not fit the “set” or “series” quite the same way, we have the inclusion of the Doomsday volume, giving us the Doomsday: Year One annual as well as the complete Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey along with Superman: The Doomsday Wars.

I believe podcaster and fellow blogger Michael Bailey said it on Facebook (and I wholeheartedly agree!) that probably a better fit for this volume would have been the early-2000s mini-series Superman: Day of Doom in place of The Doomsday Wars.

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Still, all in all, I love the new trade dress–the black bar with red logo/title text contrasts nicely with the images, and really make them look like part of the same series of books.

While I kinda question the wisdom of numbering the volumes (wondering if a 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 on the spine would put someone off from buying an isolated volume), I absolutely love that with the full set, part of the spines makes up a black box with the iconic (extremely so to me!) “bleeding S” that denotes the death of the Man of Steel.

This set gives me at least my 5th edition of the Death of Superman volume, and I have many of the issues in this set multiple times over. Yet, given what the saga means to me, on learning of these new editions’ existence and the inclusion of the specials and particularly the annuals…I was immediately interested. That the spines do what they do put me over the fence.

However, I did wait until these were available from InStockTrades, as I certainly was not going to buy all 5 at once at anything remotely approaching cover price, and even this was a hefty one-time amount to lay out. For saving 45%, though, I’m extremely pleased with the purchase, and having these volumes!

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