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Dawn of New Secret 2099 Limited: World of Yesterday

When you have over 50 longboxes and at least as many shortboxes…and they have not been properly sorted since you had less than 10 longboxes and maybe 2 shortboxes…that’s a lotta chaos.

Over the years, I’ve taken to buying loads of "convenience copies" from bargain bins–deciding since I’m very fortunate and thus ABLE to afford to–I’d rather buy new, cheap duplicates even of stuff I consciously know darned well I already own for the convenience of having those particular issues "handy" in a "recent" comics-keeping-location rather than having to manhandle umpteen longboxes and undetermined quantities of shortboxes, rifling through each box individually in the hopes of coming across a specific issue or handful of issues that I at least THINK I remember having, and all that.

2099promoposter1992


Just before the end of 2019, having decided that I definitely want to seek out the entirety of Marvel‘s original 2099 line, I’d ordered a bunch of comics online for definite blind-spots or stuff that came later in the ’90s after my initial attention on the line had waned (particularly 2099 Unlimited, 2099 World of Tomorrow, Hulk 2099, Fantastic Four 2099). I’d also managed to get some other miscellaneous and sale-priced issues to have a good foundation of collecting the line.

marvel_2099_collage_small

But the 2099 line is one I fondly remember from my youth, having begun with an off-the-shelf copy of Spider-Man 2099 #1 at Comics & Collectibles back in Fall 1992. I remember having a bunch of the issues, and it was a significant imprint/subset of the entirety of my collection at the time I went off to college in 1999 (which was a year after the last time my collection as a whole was more or less "properly organized"–as 2020 dawns, it’s been 22 years that brief period in Fall 1998!).

I’m quite a fan of the convenience copies and relish getting 25-cent and 50-cent fancy issues and enhanced covers and ’90s variants and other ’90s awesomeness, in part because I couldn’t get stuff THEN but can get it so cheaply NOW.

Over the final weekend prior to the new year, I got it into my head to do some heavy lifting, and began hunting through a number of my original range of longboxes (pre-2004) and made a slew of discoveries. For one thing, I had "fancy covers" for issues I didn’t remember having. I also found several very cool issues, PERIOD, that I did not remember having.

And thankfully, of course, I found my original range of 2099 comics.

original_2099_collection

For personal posterity’s sake, below is the makeshift "inventory" of what was in that range, though the stack included quite a few duplicates I did not remember having. My thoughts continue beyond the list.


2099 World of Doom Special
1

2099 World of Tomorrow
4

2099 Unlimited
1, 7

DOOM 2099
1-10, 25 (foil)

GHOST RIDER 2099
1 (foil and regular), 2-13

HULK 2099
1-3

PUNISHER 2099
1,2,4,5,6,7,25 (foil)

RAVAGE 2099
1-5, 7-10, 13, 25 (foil)

SPIDER-MAN 2099
1-18, 25 (foil)

X-MEN 2099
1-5


spiderman2099(1992)001As said, I’d begun with the initial release of Spider-Man 2099 when it was a brand-new issue. It’s truly one of the more significant single issues IN my entire collection, as it was my first-ever #1 issue with Spider-Man in its title, and I was keen on this then-new line of comics that I was getting to get in on at the very, very beginning. (And don’t give me any of the nonsense of "previews" as true 1st appearances and all that!) Earlier that year, a friend had gotten at least a couple of the Spider-Man 30th-anniversary hologram issues. [I remember there being 4 of those in total; I feel like I remember his having the Amazing Spider-Man issues with the black border, at least; beyond that, I can’t disentangle my memories and deja vu and nearly 30 years of being aware of the issues.]

I recall the line getting a "staggered" release.

That is, where in present-day, 2019/2020, Marvel would kick the line off with ALL the titles in one month with multiple #1s possibly hitting the SAME DAY of release…back in 1992, the line launched with…

ravage2099(1992)001Spider-Man 2099 #1.

Then the next month, Ravage 2099 #1, and Spider-Man 2099 #2.

The third month, Doom 2099 #1, and the respective 2nd and 3rd issues for the first titles.

And then the fourth month, Punisher 2099 #1, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th issues of the earlier titles.

The following fall, X-Men 2099 launched. That gave the line 5 titles, all at different numbers, having gotten to be its own thing in its given month of launch, and so on.

I remember there being some 800-number (presumably 1993 or 1994) that you could call for "insider tips" from Marvel about upcoming stuff. This was pre-common-internet, so most information (at least in my part of the comics fandom world) came by word of mouth and by stuff like Wizard magazine…so whatever the ad was (in), I remember (along with my friend) being intrigued by that ad with the phone number…and excited when we got parental permission to actually CALL.

ghostrider2099(1994)001I don’t recall what ELSE was announced in this way, but I do remember that being when I first heard about an upcoming then-addition to the 2099 line: Ghost Rider! So of course I was on the lookout for THAT #1, and it being a TRUE "discovery" and such and not just something that "showed up" but something I’d learned of EARLY, before it appeared in Wizard, before the comic shop owner could tell ME about it, etc.…it was something SPECIAL.

It was also a bit of an anomaly, as the 2099 #1s went. The previous FIVE titles all had the same-style foiling and border, just different-colored foil, making the issues very distinctive. But Ghost Rider‘s #1–while it had the general design and shape of the border–was a multi-color/prismatic/shiny-reflective foiling, rather than the distinctive single-color foiling (red, silver, gold, purple, or blue of the first 5 or green of the later Hulk). The Hulk premiere apparently went back to the distinctive colored foil.

doom2099(1993)001Unfortunately, I could only keep up with SO MANY titles, so I mostly hung on to Spider-Man 2099, as my then-favorite (though I’ll be darned if I can remember details of that run at this point!). Apparently I lasted a year and a half with it, and missed an issue here or there, but had filled in those holes prior to 1999.

While going through the collection I found a number of issues bagged with the same-style sticker with the same handwriting of prices, firmly indicating I picked up a bunch of issues as back-issues. This reminded me that I had obviously been a bit inconsistent and didn’t get everything I had exactly at-release/every-month-to-month…but I’d been invested enough back then to track down what back-issues I could for a reasonable price!

I also found duplicates of Doom 2099 and Ravage 2099 #1s. Based on most being loose and no prices on the bag-and-boarded copies, I can make the reasonable assumption that the bag-and-board copies are my actual original copies for those two titles, as I’d early in my collecting I’d had a phase where I attempted to bag and board "everything" before giving that up as a lost cause–I could bag and board, OR I could get MORE COMICS. (I wanted more comics!)

punisher2099(1993)001Despite the duplicates…there was only 1 copy of Spider-Man 2099 #1 in the bunch, and it had the familiar dents/spine damage I remembered, as well as the direct-market "2099" where the upc/bar code is on newsstand copies, so I know THAT one to be as "for certain" as possible to be my actual original copy of the issue; the genuine artifact. Ditto for Ghost Rider 2099 #1’s shiny foil. I didn’t remember getting both versions at the time, but clearly remembered getting the shiny foil. So either I got both at once or I’d gotten a non-shiny copy not long after. I’d thought it was only rather recently that I’d obtained a non-shiny copy (2019 recently)…so, c’est la vie.

I had the original 2099 Unlimited #1 issue–I believe offhand this was the "first appearance" of the Hulk of 2099. And while I vaguely recalled having gotten Hulk 2099 #1 at some point after it was out (I do recall I did not get it "on release") I would’ve sworn I had no subsequent issues, but apparently I’d gotten the first 3.

xmen2099(1993)001All in all, back in the ’90s, I primarily kept up with Spider-Man 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099. I lapsed pretty quickly on the other titles, even on "back issues." BUT a couple years into the runs, the original books all rolled up on their 25th issues! Those were a big deal (to me), probably as much for having had the #1s as anything else; but I snagged the fancy foil/embossed versions of those. I don’t recall now if I knew at the time there were non-fancy versions or not; though I’m keenly aware of that in more recent years!

And somewhere along the way, I just stopped buying any of the titles. With other memories I have from the early-to-mid-’90s with comics, it’s reasonable to assume that I made a conscious decision to do so, in favor of other stuff I was interested in. The 2099 titles pre-date the Ultraverse by at least 6 (and maybe 9-10) months; but I’d probably opted to stay with several Ultraverse titles along with the Superman books and post-Age of Apocalypse the various X-titles. And with finite allowance & lunch money (and convincing Dad to "invest" in more issues for me to have) I could only keep up with so many titles, and 2099 stuff fell off.

hulk2099(1994)001Only later did I realize that the line had not only disappeared from me, but from EVERYONE.

As I have come to understand it (at present as of this typing), when Marvel hit the hard times before/around the bankruptcy, they started doing lower print runs on lesser-selling titles and eventually a number of those titles went away entirely. (And that’s why you could fairly easily get GI Joe #1 for $10 but #155 seems to be a $100+ book!)

I believe one of the editors was let go, and the writers quit in protest, which led to the individual titles disappearing, and the 2099 line being "consolidated" into the single 2099 World of Tomorrow book before petering out and done was done.

I also remember there being some hubbub over the Doom character taking over and some AD or After Doom branding going into stuff. I believe I’d most noticed that in Ghost Rider as it affected the status quo. If I had the actual issues where Doom’s coup happened, I don’t recall; my memories of relevant issues are far more recent with zero recollection of owning the issues at all when they were new/current in the mid-’90s.


captain_marvel(1999)028In the years since, the line never totally disappeared the way some do. I remember being THRILLED at a Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell) story involving 2099. Which makes sense, as the writer was Peter David.

And I have half-formed memories of "hearing about" some other appearances of the Spider-Man character in modern issues (maybe it was just one of the video games), and then there was whatever that Spider-Verse event was); and a "modern run" of subsequent Spider-Man 2099 stuff (also by Peter David if I recall correctly.

There was also the 2099 corner of the 2015 Secret Wars stuff.

MOST RECENTLY (as of this typing), Marvel just had a 2099 "event," with the recognition that in 2019, it’d been 80 years since the start of what became Marvel in 1939, and 80 years from then-present 2019, it would be 2099. As I understand (and bought thusly) the "event" includes 4 issues of the current Nick Spencer Amazing Spider-Man title (#s 33-36) as well as bookending 2099 Alpha and 2099 Omega specials, with a number of one-shots featuring individual characters. Most of the "original class" or "OG" were represented–Spider-Man, Doom, Punisher, and Ghost Rider. Rounded out by late-addition Fantastic Four and newly-promoted Venom (who I believe appeared in late issues of the original Spider-Man 2099 issues). And of all things, Conan the Barbarian was shoehorned in. However, no Ravage 2099 nor X-Men 2099, though I’m aware that the X-team was represented on a "2099 Variant" of an issue of Hickman‘s not-actually-Uncanny X-Men title.

hickman_xmen2099_ron_lim_variantIt’s admittedly this "event" that re-sparked my interest in the line, triggering my nostalgia, particularly with the cover of the main 2099 Alpha issue. Though I’d made up my mind NOT to buy the rest of the event, I had an in-the-moment/spur-of-the-moment change of heart when there was nothing new for me for the week of December 25, 2019 AND the shop had the entire selection of issues I was missing in-stock (albeit one was a variant I didn’t notice until I got home). (And I may have gotten the last copy of several of what I did get).

I count 2099 among the "dead universes," such as the Ultraverse or ’90s Valiant or CrossGen. In the collecting sense, I see a "dead universe" as an entire line of comics that is no longer being actively/regularly added to; a FINITE body of comics, and so its completion is a goal that is reasonably attainable without a constantly-increasing quantity of stuff to acquire. It’s not going to involve having to locate THOUSANDS of issues.

2099(2019)promoI believe that all-told, the entire body of 2099 stuff comes in under 300 individual issues. And I seem to have had a 75-issue jump-start, with an additional 20-something issue leap, such that I may already be near the 1/3 mark. I also recall getting a bunch of X-Men 2099 and X-Nation 2099 issues in the last several years that I still have to dig out. As such, I believe the majority of my hunt will be the later issues of the original 6 titles.

I don’t know if I’m going to include the "modern" Spider-Man 2099 books in this hunt. While technically 2099, being nearly two decades removed, they’re more a "recycled concept" to me and "modern Marvel" than they are "classic ’90s 2099." I’ll probably eventually seek them out for the sake of completion and all, but that’ll be subject to a number of factors.

But for now, as 2020 kicks into gear, 2099 looms as a primary collecting goal/focus for me, along with Spawn.

We’ll see where I am within the year!

dawn_of_new_secret_2099_limited_world_of_yesterday_blogtrailer

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