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Life During Quarantine: Non-Traditional Hauls

Coming up on two months since I’ve been to a comic store. During the shutdowns, I’ve wound up with some "non-traditional" hauls.

Some Kickstarter stuff’s come in–pledged for as far back as a year or more. Some new "Walmart comics" that I was able to order via their site. And an excellent order from Mirage Studios for a run of Usagi Yojimbo that I’ve really never seen (never looked that hard though) anywhere.

And as stuff stacked up, I figured I’m not doing other worthwhile content, so might as well do a "Haul post" and highlight these.

At least for my own personal documentation!

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Odd Tales from the Curio Shop. Tales From Nocturnia.

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I’ve increasingly been a fan of TwoMorrows‘ stuff. Where was all this when I was in school and could have used these as reference citations for papers?!? I’d be interested in the complete American Comic Book Chronicles series…but it’s a bit pricy (textbook-like) and not all volumes are in-print. I backed a Kickstarter for this new printing of the 1980s volume. It also prompted me to acquire the 1990s volume last summer. I also backed their anniversary volume The World of Twomorrows. Why not?

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I was drawn to the Deborah Daring by the art. Unfortunately, I was blindsided by shipping. With all the ‘upgrades’ during the campaign, shipping became a very expensive nightmare to the US from Canada. I was initially ready to write the thing off, but some of that "heat" "in the moment" dealing with the shipping has worn off, so we’ll see if/when I get around to actually reading the thing!

Then we have the Haunted High-Ons: The Darkness Rises hardcover, collecting the 6-issue mini-series! This one was a no-brainer for me, enjoying Manning‘s work and all!

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I’d backed Everglade Angels on strength of Northcott‘s name; having Lobdell on it as well is quite a bonus. Yet another thing that I need to get around to actually reading…but sure is pretty to have thus far!

One of my profs from college introduced me (via Facebook) to Phil Machi some years back; and we’ve been facebook friends now for however many years. I’ve known of his work and enjoyed seeing all he posts about it…but somehow had never gotten around to purchasing anything.

So I put an order in for Silver Lining, one of his Retail Sunshine volumes…and have quite enjoyed it! Just in the first several pages, I was chuckling at the humor…though I’ve not had any extensive work in retail, I’ve had just enough to begin to have a hint of what it can be like…and I’ve read enough Reddit stories to have a feel as well. But to get stuff in strip format like this makes it all the more entertaining and engaging!

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AND Phil threw in this sketch for me as well…totally made my day getting the package and seeing this!

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The collected volume of the 6-issue Hope series came…and I still can’t help but think it should have more of the pink/purpleish tone of the first issue, which is rather iconic to me. That said, this blue cover is enough of a change to draw the eye, and I do like it, and hope to really dig in soon having the whole story in one place and not scattered!

Then For Goodness Sake volume one which is a full K. Lynn Smith piece; another to get into!

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While I’m not keen on exclusive-to-a-single-retailer things… a new line of comics has hit Walmart. Norah’s Saga particularly caught my attention, being another of Blake Northcott‘s projects; but I snagged all four issues to give them a try…though I had to order them online, as the Walmart I’ve been frequenting did not have them out (despite their app saying they had them in stock).

I’m more willing to give stuff like this a shot at $5/issue for the novelty than I am a mainstream publisher; though not on a continuous basis.


I’ve wound up getting quite a bit of stuff directly from Mirage Publishing over the years–back issues, a couple posters, and whatnot.

They may not be pristine "Near-Mint" or such…but that’s great! While I’m not gonna willingly damage my own comics, and don’t necessarily want anything beat to heck and back…I’m VERY MUCH a "reader copy" kinda guy…generally more interested in having the issue than I am with having it "graded" or "gradable" at high grades.

So everything I’ve gotten from Mirage has been excellent for me!

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All the more with a semi-recent order of the Mirage Usagi Yojimbo run.

The site listed issues 4-16 as available. Figuring that’d leave me with just a couple issues (2-3) to hunt down in the wild (pretty sure I’d seen #1 somewhere in going through boxes the last couple years) I pulled the trigger and ordered them.

A few weeks later when my package arrived, I was greeted with a VERY pleasant surprise: #s 1-3 included! So a complete run of the Mirage iteration of the series!

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I emailed to make sure it wasn’t a mistake–and was confirmed to be intentional!

So it was a huge thank-you then…and now publicly! Thank you, Mirage, for being most excellent!

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Tales of the TMNT #70 [Review]

Return to New York, book 1.5: Zog

Plot: Eric Talbot and Jim Lawson
Script/Pencils: Jim Lawson
Inks/Tones/Letters: Eric Talbot
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Cover: Jim Lawson, Eric Talbot and Steve Lavigne
Published by: Mirage Publishing

Refusing to wait for his brothers, Raphael returns to the NYC sewers, where he promptly encounters a Triceraton. Upon waking from the beating inflicted, he finds himself prisoner of Zog, along with a Foot ninja. Though technically enemies, the Turtle and Foot realize they’re not gonna get free of this alone, and must work together…though after a bit of cooperation, their relationship tanks pretty quickly. When their captor returns, Raph takes advantage of the alien dinosaur’s deteriorating mental state by donning the skull of the dead Triceraton commander. With this guise, he convinces Zog that he’s needed for a final mission that involves helping the turtles.

I can’t be certain without digging out the original Return to New York arc…but this reads as slightly more refined than that. But then, it’s coming nearly two decades later, and the Mirage talent has had plenty of time to grow and refine their work since the original story. Also, this is written by Lawson & Talbot rather than Eastman & Laird, so has that slightly different feel. Despite that, this does not feel out of place in and of itself, and I greatly enjoyed the return to such a key story. The “voice” of the characters fits, and while the opening pages provide some context and serve to differentiate this from the early TMNT issues, there’s nothing that I can recall that this contradicts.

The Lawson/Talbot art seems pretty much standard-TMNT to me…really, the standard, to where other artists’ work on the characters has been the variance and different interpretations. While the visuals don’t exactly match what I recall of the original story, that’s fine by me. The art fits the story, conveys what’s going on, and it’s the story itself that makes the issue fit, the art just conveys this specific chapter.

This seems a fitting send-off to this long-running title. Though this is the final issue, its predecessor felt like much more of a final issue. This fits between-issues of the 1980s Return to New York arc when the turtles returned from Northampton and confronted the resurrected Shredder after their sound defeat months earlier. One of the best final touches to the issue is that rather than ship with different editions, each with a different cover (as virtually every other comic publisher seems wont to do these days), this issue ships with a “variant version” on the front, and the “standard” cover on the back…and Mirage gets loads of credit from me for that. This “variant” cover takes on the trade dress of the Return to New York arc–this’ll fit nicely in the longbox with that story and not look out of place–while the standard cover on the back carries the contemporary trade dress/logo.

This issue may whet your appetite for the full Return to New York story if you’re just checking this out or otherwise are not familiar with this key story from the original Mirage run of TMNT. If you’re already familiar with that story, this should be that much more of a treat.

I wouldn’t recommend this issue as a single issue to start with…but otherwise, it’s well worth tracking down…particularly if you’re familiar with the early Mirage TMNT stories.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Overall: 8/10

Tales of the TMNT #56 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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