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TMNT Toys – Armaggon

For me, at least, looking at the TMNT toys has become boring and stale–already having all the figures I’m interested in, or not willing to play the hunting game to get several that as a group justify each other (such as the frogs and I just can’t get behind this version of Mondo Gecko, and I’m still waiting for Man Ray…)

However, the other day I stumbled across one that I hadn’t even thought about being made (or had forgotten), but is truly a no-brainer for me on getting–I didn’t want to spend the money just then, but dreaded the hassles and gas money driving all over the place hunting it down later:

Armaggon.

Granted, the toy is based on a derivative version of the actual character I’d want, but it’s better than nothing.

mighty_mutanimals_0007     tmnt_adventures_0043

The character was a villain introduced in the Archie TMNT Adventures continuity, first in a fight with Man Ray and then a 3-issue story The Future Shark Trilogy. The character was also revealed to have been working with a version of Shredder and another villain, Verminator-X (also from the future)…all of which was part of a relatively long-running element of the "future turtles," including the Cyber Samurai TMNT.

I always liked the villain, and was rather disappointed at the version concocted for the current tv series.

Still, as said–better something than nothing!

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Here’s the front of the packaging…

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and here’s the "profile card" for the figure–I’m glad they’re still doing these on the backs! Not as cool as the file cards on the 1980s/1990s line, but again, better than nothing!

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And the full card back. I’m reminded that I still have not picked up any version of Rahzar…though with no Tokka equivalent, not as much interest. Plus, I already got Dogpound, so…yeah.

I wouldn’t mind getting Mondo Gecko eventually, I just don’t like this version of the character. Similar for Napoleon Bonafrog.

Of actual interest to me on this cardback, though, is a human version of Karai, that I’d actually be interested in owning (unlike the Karai Serpent released in the past).

Kinda hard to believe this line’s crossed the 4-year mark!

Hopefully we get some more new figures, and hopefully it is not hurt on the whole by the "integration" of the movie line…

Back Issues – September 1st, 2016

After yesterday’s grousing over not being able to get the cover I wanted (the standard/basic/regular/NON-variant) of TMNT Universe #1 at either of the comic shops I went to*, I pulled up Diamond‘s web interface of a comic shop locator thing and found one I didn’t even previously know existed, that was relatively close by.

(* since being laid off, my usual shop is over an hour’s drive away instead of the 8 minutes one-way from the office, and so I’m having to adjust…)

And so, early afternoon, I set off to find this shop, having confirmed their continued existence via Facebook and saw by a photo they’d posted that they did indeed (at least initially) have the issue.

They had it (more on that later/in another post), but as a “new to me” shop, that meant a new selection of back issues to peruse.

I found that they had a number of issues of note that I’ve looked for elsewhere with no luck…as well as a similarly disappointment in holes in their collection. Still, that’s comics for ya, and these “holes” were more ’80s, with a surprising presence of ’90s stuff (though no Ultraverse issues, unfortunately).

However, I was quite put off by the absolute lack of any sort of price sticker.

Which suggested ok, they’re subject to whimsy of the owner/staff or at least price guide valuations…something I loathe when browsing back-issues! Still, in further browsing I spotted the new (recently-released here in 2016) Overstreet guide for sale, and taking a couple minutes, I paged through and looked up several of the issues, and decided that even at “full Guide value” I was willing to pay the prices, and knowing the “guide value” I would not feel bad passing on them if asked for more. Plus, they’re having a 20%-off sale for the weekend with the holiday.

back_issues_worldsfinest323_donatelloleatherhead1and2

I was VERY pleasantly surprised when the owner didn’t even look around for where he’d left the guide. Just looked at the issues, quoted me $2/ea, applied the 20% discount, and rang me up.

That alone means I will make a point of going back (hopefully sooner than not) to snag some other issues I saw of interest…as well as look for stuff I forgot, like Spawn and DC Comics Presents.

Just under $6 for World’s Finest #323 (final issue) as well as Donatello and Leatherhead #s 1-2 is excellent pricing! Certainly above cover price, but considering one issue’s 30 years old and the other two are probably 20, I’m happy with the price.

I was expecting the three to run me about $14.

While I “get” collector-pricing and such, and supply-and-demand…as someone collecting for completion with virtually zero expectation of reselling anything of significance, I don’t need stuff to be pristine “Mint” or “Near-Mint” condition, nor do I have any real interest in anything “slabbed,” such that I’m happy with a 25-cent cover’s-off, pages brittle and whole thing beat-up issue for the sake of having it than something that’d fetch $100-$200+ in solid positive condition. These issues more than exceeded that, and while I don’t even know what they’d be “graded” at even in general, for me they fit “reading copy” and are not “bad” so I’m good with ’em.

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From behind the scenes: Ziggy photo-bombing my blog-post-prepping.

Where is the NON-Variant?!? TMNT Universe #1 Frustration

Welcome to The Weekly Haul Disappointment post for this week.

Yeah, there’s a bit of annoyance there, and disappointment, and frustration, and as I type this, I’m more “resigned” to things than the lit-up pissed-off that I was a couple hours ago.

See, ever since it was announced, I’ve been looking forward to the new TMNT Universe series from IDW. I’ve been loving the regular ongoing series (well, the past year or so post-Shredder hasn’t been nearly as interesting to me, but that’s another topic for another time) and I was jazzed at the prospect of a second ongoing title! (Presumably there’ll still be room for the occasional parallel-running mini-series in addition to the ongoings, but two ongoings allow for a lot more development without having to keep track of a bunch of “side” mini-series to begin with).

Reading last week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #61 and seeing the house ad for the series made me think first that I had flat-out missed the issue somehow, and then think it was late. (Of course, then I realized there was a fifth Wednesday for the month of August this year, and so it would still hit for “August 2016” and thus be “on time” for all the more I recalled any specific date).

tmnt_house_ad

So, with it being a fifth-week situation, and no new DC books due out for Rebirth (thus, no new Superman or Action Comics issue), there was one single, solitary issue I was particularly interested in for the week. TMNT Universe #1.

tmnt_universe_0001_regSo despite recent discouragements and frustrations in life, and a particularly bad start to the day, I eventually set off for a comic shop intending to pick up this TMNT issue I’ve been looking forward to.

I was honestly sort of afraid it might sell out, given it might be under-ordered as being “just” another TMNT book, and yet I believe the cover artist (if not interiors) is the same as the Batman/TMNT mini, and it wouldn’t surprise me for that alone to impact sales of this (frustratingly enough).

So when I walked into the shop, I went straight to the “new comics” rack, skipped over the first half of stuff and found the “T” section, and spotted the logo/title and physically picked up a copy…as I began to realize something was wrong.

I was, of course, expecting the cover above. The cover whose image had been advertised as being the cover. The cover whose image I’d come to associate with looking forward to the issue. The cover…to TMNT Universe #1.

tmnt_universe_0001_subInstead, I had a Kevin Eastman-style cover, which even though it’s a really freakin’ cool-looking image, is not the solicited image. It’s NOT the cover I have been looking forward to, expecting, and is not the standard cover. The one that actually, truly belongs to the issue.

This would be an absolutely fantastic poster.

I would love this as a poster, in fact.

But it’s a generic, stock-ish image of classic Mirage Studios TMNT, something that makes me think of the recent-ish TMNT Ultimate Edition hardcovers, or like something reprinting the original, classic TMNT #1, or a posterbook of Eastman covers, or something that actually is not this new, in-continuity parallel ongoing series to be a companion to the main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title. This image does not reflect current goings-on in the series, and thus is not “relevant” for the ongoing stuff. It simply suggests a typical Turtles vs. Shredder and Foot.

After some honest debate and waffling on the matter, and despite the admittedly cool cover (which would have been perfectly fine had it been advertised as THE cover), I put the thing back, and didn’t buy it there. They had at least 15-20 copies of this cover, but none of the standard/regular cover.

tmnt_universe_0001_riI went to another shop I haven’t been to in awhile that was close-by, figuring ok, they would have the correct standard/basic/non-variant cover.

Unfortunately, on walking in and locating their “new comics this week” I was again greeted with a bunch of issues sporting that same cover–cool, but not the standard, basic, most non-variant cover.

I actually picked up their entire stack to gently flip through in the vain hope of at least one copy sporting the main cover.

No luck on that front, though I did find a copy of the “RI” cover (Retailer Incentive). Looking for the image online, I believe this one was indicated as the 1:10 ratioed variant, and since I did not see a price on the front, I turned it over to check the barcode box on the back, but alas! No price.

And I was in no mood whatsoever by then to even take a chance at being further pissed-off by asking the price and being told some outrageously jacked-up number (even $10) so I neatly put the stack back, and left.

I was angry enough to post an angry tweet on the matter.

It’s just a comic. It’s just a cover.

And frankly, simply buying the standard, basic, advertised cover for a brand-new issue, out today, with plenty of copies of the issue in-stock and available for cover-price should never be such an amazingly frustrating experience!

It’s not fun. It’s not cute. It’s not some “bonus” or such, it’s not “nostalgic” or a “nod to the past.”

It’s the sort of thing that–were it basically anything else other than TMNT, I’d be done with the series, and possibly even done with the publisher, just on principle. But as I’ve been on record in the past saying, TMNT is my exception, the thing that (so far) I’ll “give a pass” on and such.

But this is really trying whatever patience I have, and is a concrete reminder of just how freaking ridiculous stuff is getting in the world of contemporary comics and their publishing.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of August 24, 2016

A definite small week in terms of new Wednesday stuff.

weekly_haul_week_of_08242016

New TMNT, new Action Comics, and because it was "only" $5.99 (hey, isn’t that what some single issues are from Marvel, nowadays?) the Spider-Man/Wolverine hardcover. Because hey…cheap oversized Marvel hardcover.

And while I continue to–going on 14 months now–refuse to buy any single issues from Valiant, if it’s a "free" issue tossed in, I won’t entirely object. Heck, I might even read it–since hey, I didn’t have to buy it. It’s still not gonna convince me to buy any.

I received an email today that my DCBS package will ship this week, so I doubled up on the Action Comics issue, but last time the package arrived on Friday before I had even gotten to read several of the issues I’d figured I was ok doubling up on, so…learned from that. Especially given life at present.

TMNT at Work: The Leonardo Collection

It’s easy to locate my desk/work-area at work: just look for the toys displayed on a cabinet above a cubespace. I tend to go in phases, over a period of weeks/months of adding to or building a ‘collection’; after a lengthy Robin (Tim Drake) run, I cleared the cabinet, and restarted with Leonardo, Ninja Turtle.

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Initially I started with taking in several of the "basic" figures from the various toy lines over the years. 1980s, 2003, 2012, the "Original Comic" line, and even the 2014 film line. Then I found the Classics figure, the Funko Mystery Mini, and the miniature version of the 2003 figure.

Since starting, I’ve acquired the miniature 1980s figure, the two mini 2016 film figures, and the MegaBlox 2012 figure along with the plush.

And while helping clean out my parents’ garage, I found what I think was some sort of Kids’ Meal toy, presumably from Burger King back in the day (based on the 2003 animate series.

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In addition to these I have quite a few Leonardo "variant" figures primarily from the 1980s line.

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The larger quantity of figures I started with of Leo is why I went with him as the focus…and he’s "traditionally" been my favorite Turtle (though I’d say in recent–the last 10 or so–years that has shifted to Raphael).

After 12 Years…Finally: The Complete Classic TMNT!

Twelve years ago, Summer 2004, I was excited at the (then-finally) release of the original episodes of the "classic" TMNT cartoon on dvd. Prior to this, there was only old VHS tapes (That were hardly complete runs) or less-than-stellar downloads and such.

So when a dvd of the first season–the original 5-episode "mini-series"–was released, I was stoked! (Even though I still prefer the 2003 series above the 1980s and current shows).

Not too long after there were a number of other releases, as Volume Two and Volume Three and so on…simply collecting a few more episodes at a time, but stuff was spotty…and then there was crap like a season being released as four parts, four different units to purchase instead of just one, and so on. More recently, stores have seemed spotty on carrying stuff (by "stores" I primarily mean Target and Walmart with a bit of Toys R Us thrown in) with a mix of the "volumes" and "seasons". Finding them for around $5 each, I’d (over a period of months) acquired seasons 10, 8, and 9) after buying the season 3 set (which duplicated several of the early "volumes"–and the discs actually still bear the "volume" labels).

I was thrilled recently fo find a full Season 7 unit (containing the entire season, not just a "slice" of the season) for a good price (about $15).

Of course…that still left me with a gaping, expensive hole: I had seasons 1-3 and 7-10…but no 4, 5, or 6.

tmnt_classic_series_full

Presumably to capitalize on the new live-action movie, Walmart seems to have at least temporarily stocked more TMNT stuff…including new double-season editions.

Over the weekend, when I literally came face-to-face with the Season Four box set and then spotted the double-season edition with Season 5 and Season 6 and realized I could complete the series for a "mere" $25, I jumped on it. (In an age when single 2-hour films cost $20-$25+…to get 3 seasons for that same pricing was fantastic!)

And now, "only" 12 YEARS later, I finally own the entire "classic" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.

I’ve also "kept up with" the releases of the current series…and may "splurge" on the live-action series now…as that’ll just leave the 2003 series missing. I have some of those dvds…but hardly the full series, and those were horrible as they only had 3-5 episodes each (even splitting a 5-part story labeled parts 1-5 onto two different releases!).

Time and "patience," I guess!

Dipping Back Into Digital…Over Two Years Later

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It’s been over two years now since Comixology did away with in-app purchasing for Apple devices. Being an Apple guy (simply by way of having iPhone and iPad), that stopped me in my tracks as far as digital comics went.

back_to_digital_openscreen_marvelI wrote about the one-year mark last year… and not too long after, “discovered” Marvel Unlimited.

I’ve enjoyed Unlimited a great deal, and found it to be SUCH a great value that even doing the $10 month-to-month subscription (rather than lay out $70-80 in one go for the entire year), I have zero problem with going a month or months without using it yet still paying for it!

The six-month “delay” or “embargo” or whatever–the gap between what’s available without separate purchasing and whatever’s out this week–does not bother me at all. I’m so far behind on “current Marvel” in general anyway that it doesn’t much matter…and for the cost, any mattering there is is offset by reading relatively new stuff for such a small cost–given Marvel‘s $3.99+ price point, really all I have to do is average 3 comics read per month to ‘break even’ with anything else being total bonus. And for what I read just last summer, I’d mentally decided it more than covered over a year, and it’s not yet BEEN a full year since then, so I’m golden. It allows me to–should I choose–read up on a lotta stuff, catch up, etc at my relative leisure without laying out a lotta money (and while I may not like to admit it, keeps me tethered enough that I’m then going to be interested in buying other stuff as a result of things I read, whether newish issues, some collected volume(s), or just stuff from bargain-bins.

back_to_digital_openscreen_dcMaking the “purchase” one time, and being all set until I cancel my subscription and otherwise being free to browse and select and download at my leisure from the app–without constantly logging in or having to juggle multiple apps and interfaces for single-issue selections and such (i.e. purchasing through Comixology without in-app purchases) works extremely nicely!

Just about 3 weeks ago, heading toward DC Comics‘ big Rebirth issue, I’d gotten excited enough that I searched for and downloaded DC‘s digital-comics app to “check” on what a friend has told me a number of times…the individual companies’ apps still allow the inn-app purchases, even though Comixology‘s app itself does not. So, for the first time in over two years, I was all set not only to make “a” digital purchase…but was excited, anticipating, and ready/willing to pay full price digitally…just to satisfy the craving, the immediate gratification of getting to read an issue before work rather than have to wait until a late lunch break to go to the store to get the issue (which I’d already had a copy being held).

back_to_digital_2Taking advantage of a “sale” I had noticed, for a mere 99 cents, I bought the recent Superman Annual that I believe led into the final stuff just ahead of The Final Days of Superman with the titles big #50s and such.

EDITING 6/15/2016 to add: Can’t believe I forgot that I also dropped another $14 or so on an Annual and 12-13 or so issues of Batman for the “core” Zero Year story!

And then after so thoroughly enjoying the new Action Comics issue last week, just to “support” the title and legacy numbering and in-app purchasing and $2.99 price point in general, I bought a digital copy to just have it.

Which I’m sure–for me–may have opened the floodgates as I rediscovered the joy of the digital purchasing–being able to learn of something and/or just being flat-out “in the mood” to read it, and even if I’d consider its print edition nothing more than “a quarter book”–something I wouldn’t pay more than 25 cents for–I’ll pay the “convenience tax” for the digital access and get to read whatever issue(s) immediately and without it taking up a lot of physical space!

back_to_digital_openscreen_tmntCue, then, adding the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles app to my device–because darn it, the TMNT have always been a soft spot for me and an “exception” I’m willing to make to things I’ll otherwise completely avoid on principle…so might as well check that app out, and at the very least see if I can access old purchases I’d made of some of those books.

Much like the DC app, the TMNT app does indeed allow for in-app purchasing…which may well mean some trouble for me down the road, but I especially like that they have stuff priced well below print, at least on some of the collected volumes.

And much to my shared chagrin and enjoyment, there’s currently a sale going on…not just for a couple days or the week, but the entire month of June.

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So, I ‘bit.”

I was curious.

I had to check into the prices of the collected volumes…especially after realizing how far behind I am on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures volumes.

back_to_digital_3With the sale going on, the volumes were $3.99 apiece…and contain at least 4 issues each, if not 5.

For the price of one single Marvel issue that I’d read in a few minutes, I could buy a collection of issues I’ve been intending to re-read soon anyway and that I know I’ll enjoy.

So, utilizing the ease of in-app purchasing…I bought volume 10 for the Future Shark Trilogy story. And that included references to the Eye of Sarnath and such, so decided I might as well get the next volume as well, for the Black Hole Trilogy that I remembered quite enjoying.

Yet after reading the Future Shark stuff, I wanted to backtrack a bit…so got volume 9 for the United We Stand “crossover” story with the Mighty Mutanimals, and a couple more “key” issues I remember from back in the day.

And at this point, I’m honestly thinking that–while it’ll add up to the same thing either way–being able to spread the purchases out, I maybe completely backtrack on these volumes to take advantage of the $3.99/volume price, just for the ease of re-reading the issues on my tablet.

Ultimately, the point being: I was completely soured to digital comics, my interest (and weekly purchases of at least a handful of 99-cent issues) had been killed in its tracks. And I wasn’t just mouthing off or “complaining online” while still giving over my money–I stopped cold, and did not spend another cent, period, sum total on any digital comics from Comixology.

That lasted over two years, some 25 months.

While some of it is the re-“novelty” of the stuff and diving back in after some time away, I’m obviously somewhere in the audience for digital comics! And willing to (on impulse!) purchase digital comics if only to read one time and be done.

Just a drop in the bucket overall, but nearly $20 in just a couple weeks while planning on several more purchases (and who knows from there) on top of buying print editions…and Comixology itself lost out as I’m now going through the individual companies’ apps rather than theirs directly. Sure, they might get a cut, but I imagine it’s smaller than what they’d get if I was going through their app itself even with the “Apple tax,” and all the more significant across time.

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