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Life During Quarantine: Duplicates From Sorting X-Men Stuff

I decided to break this off into its own post, as my last one got rather lengthy.

In the course of sorting through all my X-Men and related comics, I came across plennnnnnty of duplicates. Some intentional, some just from lack of proper checklist of missing stuff.

While I’d initially had an accurate list I was working from back in 2012 or so; in early-2013 my phone at the time fritzed out, and the backup didn’t work, so I lost my list. Then I found something to restore from, but it did NOT include changes between initially creating the list and then, so I wound up RE-buying a lot of issues needlessly.

This was part of what FINALLY prompted me to get around to going through all this X-stuff; to get a newly-ACCURATE checklist to work from!

A few issues stood out as I went through, enough to take some photos; though I didn’t take nearly as many photos as there are issues that "mean something" to me; so what follows is a SMALLLLL selecting of notable issues I observed, but by no means is it comprehensive!

The first photo I took during sorting was a set of one of each X-Force #1 that I presently have.

Seven in total: 1 each of the original bagged-with-a-different-card #1s (one of each card, still bagged), 1 unbagged first print, and a "gold" second print.

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While these may have been "hot stuff" "back in the day," they’re less so now; and as I’ve obtained a number of copies from bargain-bins, I’ve no qualms about leaving copies of the issues bagged!

I should ALSO note that while I mostly despise modern variants…emphasis there is on modern variants. X-Force #1 has 5 "versions"? Sure. But it was a first issue, a new launch/"re"-launch, and as a #1, a definite rarity at the time (nowadays Marvel might as well number EVERYTHING #1!)

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I came across a variant cover of the 1997 Flashback Month "Minus-1" issue of X-Men, SEEMINGLY signed by Stan Lee! I feel it EQUALLY likely to be genuine as not; it may not have a certificate of authenticity/witness…but over the years, knowing just how MANY issues he had to have signed (and this being published 23 years ago), it’s perfectly likely that SOME issues he signed slipped through the cracks in notice when whole collections have been sold over the years. I’ll choose to believe this is a genuine signature; its validity doesn’t need to be proven. It’s not something I’m gonna be trying to sell, whatever the case!

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Turned out I had a couple of the old Marvel Legends reprints that came with the action figures filed in with the regular issues. This The Beast issue reprints X-Men #3…

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…while this Gambit issue reprints X-Men #4!

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Back in 2002 or so, I snagged the original Wolverine mini-series for 25 cents or so apiece along with the first issue of the ongoing!

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Since 2012,I’d finally acquired Wolverine/Gambit: Victims #4. I’d bought the first three issues as they came out, back in 1995 or 1996, but never got the final issue. So here that mini is, in my possession and finally complete after nearly a quarter-century!

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Apparently I’ve been snagging Onslaught: X-Men repeatedly from bargain-bins!

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Ditto for Onslaught: Marvel Universe! One of these turned out to be some sort of reprint, though…sort of akin to DC‘s Millennium Editions from around 2000, I suppose.

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And several X-Men: Primes.

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The issue immediately prior to the Age of Apocalypse, one of my favorite/significant issues is X-Men #41, which I’ve wound up with a number of copies. These in the photo; the one filed in the collection, and I have a "framed" one as well!

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Over the years, of ALL the issues in the series one could get, the ONLY Mutant X issues that I bought, apparently was #1. Repeatedly. Pulling stuff together, every single copy not from my original collection was #1! At least one of them was a variant of #1, that I was able to merge into the existing collection. And a bit of insult onto injury…despite having bought the series as it came out, start to finish…I found I’m missing a couple issues. The covers are familiar, so perhaps I misplaced them somehow. But thinking I had every issue otherwise would certainly explain "only" buying #1 as a novelty each time I did. (Obviously never recalling that I’d already bought an "extra" "novelty" copy).

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I had several copies of Generation X #1 (the chromium cover); and I have the copy filed away in the collection as well as one with a separate sub-stack of Chromium Covers! I remember the summer this came out, and the Phalanx Covenant crossover/event. I’ve actually been tracking down the NON-shiny covers for that.

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And finally, after its initial significance in 1996, I seem to have maintained a fondness for X-Men #54. This was the issue that finally revealed the secret of Onslaught, just before the event itself. If I recall correctly (as of this typing, having shelved/boxed everything and not now having the issue in front of my to flip through) this was the issue that resolved the "X-Traitor" subplot…hence being a Rather Big Deal at the time. The issue and the Onslaught stuff was a big deal to me as a kid. I’d followed the Age of Apocalypse in its entirety, kept on with the return to the 616 universe, and had read the issue with the first mention of Onslaught, so it was really cool seeing how all that paid off after the build!


I did not come across my Fatal Attractions duplicates stash, so I suspect I’ve got some more rogue (no pun intended) X-stuff around. That’ll be stuff for some other time, though!

Yesterday’s post and this have been a couple weeks in the making, overall. And with quite a few posts’ drafts I’ve found, I decided to go ahead and push these on out before they became yet MORE "dead content".

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Life During Quarantine: Organizing an X-Men Collection

I’m very fortunate in that I already worked remotely prior to all the pandemic/quarantine/lockdown/etc stuff. I’ve seen some disruption, but to a very large degree, work-life has not changed except for "more meetings."

THE main change for me has been suddenly comic shops were closed and so were pretty much all other casual-browsing stores and such that I’d frequent.

I have NOT had the sudden influx of time so many have; sometimes that’s been frustrating, but logically, consciously, I have to be thankful for that–I’ve been fortunate enough to have and keep a job; no cut in hours, pay, furlough, layoff.

That said…I did finally talk myself into taking a few days off several weeks back; just to have a couple "extra" days to do whatever/"not-work" and such.

I decided that as intimidating and overwhelming as its been, it was time to finally try to at least START going through my collectioaccumulation. 50+ longboxes, and nearly as many shortboxes. MOST of them virtually untouched for nearly half a decade.

I’ve long been content to buy countless duplicates as "convenience copies," because I tend to get those from 25-cent bins, sometimes 50-cent bins. But when I know darned well that I already HAVE (an) issue(s) it is just NOT "sustainable" to keep doing that. It should NOT be easier to order new copies from an online comic shop than to simply pull a box and an issue in my own collection.

But while I’ve managed to literally FIT everything into the space I work with, I have not had the space to do some wide spread-out sorting of the entire collection all at once.

So…I had to start somewhere.

X-Men.

Back in 2011 or 2012, I finally had gone through the longboxes I had at my parents’ at the time and pulled everything X-Men and X-Men-related (aka "X-Adjacent") and got those to my apartment at the time; and went through everything there and finally brought them all together, and made myself a checklist on the Notes app on my phone of missing issues I wanted to track down.

My goal was essentially complete runs of all of the ’90s X-and-adjacent books. Uncanny X-Men I’d go back as far as I could–for awhile, Inferno–and then forward to pretty much the then-present.

Now, in 2020, that remains basically the same–except I’m going back to Days of Future Past and basically going for as "complete" as I can with everything to maybe 2010-ish or so before all the especially-ridiculous renumbering crap started becoming so ubiquitous.

I’m not overly concerned with The New Mutants as I am the titles that were current when I got into Marvel in the 1990s; or moreso, X-stuff from the Age of Apocalypse.

Those being Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, Wolverine, Cable, Excalibur, Generation X, X-Man, and X-Men Unlimited.

Anyway…the task at hand: first step, gather all the X-Men and related comics in my collection! Stuff I sorted 8-9 years ago; stuff I’ve accumulated since then attempting to fill that initial "missing-X-stuff" checklist, etc.

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I had some boxes pre-marked from back then as well as a couple boxes friends gifted me of Excalibur  and X-Force. I otherwise had to go through MOST of my longboxes (that were not otherwise marked as other stuff–like my Superman Byrne-to-2005ish stuff). Pull the X-stuff and get it consolidated in other boxes and piles and whatnot.

Lug said boxes through the basement and up the stairs.

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And finally pile all together in one condensed space to prepare for the actual sorting. Which wound up having to wait til after I worked a few days again.

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I initially emptied the pre-sorted stuff from 2011/2012 and stacked those.

I’ve been keen on IDing as many of my "original copies" of stuff as I can–same as I was back in ’11/’12. So along with sorting, when I "merged" stuff, I gave priority to my "older" copies. They may not be in the best condition, but if I had it in 1993, that–primarily/hypothetically–should be the copy I kept in the "main" collection.

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With two cats who absolutely MUST sniff, check out, step on, walk on, lay on ANYTHING paper-like on the floor OR that I’m paying attention to that is not initially them, I wound up closing these initial stacks in with empty boxes, and then as I sorted the rest of the books by title, I piled those largely on top of these…but still ran out of room.

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Thankfully, neither cat was overly interested in settling on "piles" as they were "single issues," especially while I was standing/moving around sorting. Sarah was especially keen on keeping tabs, though.

Eventually I had stacks of accumulated back issues by title, with a separate stack (not pictured) of misc. single issues/one-shots/specials/mini-series/etc.

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Then the task was to sort the "accumulation" issues, within each title and merge those into what I already had.

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One series I was particularly keen to get sorted was the 1991-originating X-Men, as I’d gotten this nifty "art box" or whatever; a shortbox with the art from the first issue’s "deluxe edition" cover.

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EXcluding its stint as NEW X MEN and later as X-Men Legacy, this single shortbox almost perfectly holds the entirety of that X-Men series. And I don’t even have to label the box to know what it has in it!

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Sarah-cat was always nearby through the sorting/merging process.

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I was a bit surprised at what I wound up having with Uncanny X-Men. I had a few more "early" issues (pre-#141) than I remembered; and it turned out I’m still missing more issues than I’d thought.

However, as of this typing, from #s 142-454, I’m only missing 158, 359, and 422. Then another 26 issues between 455-514, and all of 515-544or so. So still quite a few to finish out the series. Ultimately, my aim is Uncanny X-Men (vol 1) #s 141-544, plus contemporary Annuals in that range.

Once I’ve managed those, THEN I may look into creeping backwards a bit. BUT I believe the infamous end of the Dark Phoenix Saga was only #137–and I’m still hunting for #141 in my price range; so that’s all of 4 issues to have another "key" in the way.

As-is, going back to #141 is "only" about 47 issues into Claremont‘s run (I believe he started with #94) and Classic X-Men/X-Men Classic suitably covers that era, while there are various reprint volumes and such to cover the original few years of the X-Men.

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X-Factor #92 was one of my earliest issues getting into X-stuff and kicked off the Fatal Attractions arc celebrating the then-30-years of the property. As I was getting into the titles back then, 1993 was "only" 30 years removed from the original silver-age X-Men premiere! And was "only" about 18 years removed from the start of Claremont‘s epic run. (As I type this in 2020, it’s been 27 years since X-Factor #92!!!)

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Not to leave Sarah as the only interruption, Chloe had to get some attention as well!

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I lost track of how many times Sarah knocked over a stack or shoved issues around. Not my first choice…but ultimately, the comics are just THINGS. I cherish these cats, and that they love being around me and my stuff!

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And a random(-ish) photo of Ziggy lounging on some longboxes, taken some years back obviously. He’d "helped" me sort through X-stuff back in 2011/2012 at my parents’ house. Sadly, losing him back in 2017, he never got to see the entirety of this collection of X-stuff unified.

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…and here is the entirety (as of May 11, 2020!) of my X-Men and X-Adjacent collection!

As I was going through boxes at the start of this project, I was able to consolidate a number of my shortboxes and shift stuff around to free up this rack FOR the X-stuff!

It also worked out that I’d just ordered a case of 10 new BCW shortboxes so I was able to put the bulk of the newly-properly-sorted stuff into those.

And I’ve also decided that while it’s going to ultimately be a huge expense…I have GOT to convert the ENTIRETY of my collection to shortboxes. I’m getting way too old to be slinging longboxes!

But as it’s gonna take a bunch of "sub-collections" to get eventually to having the ENTIRE thing sorted…I don’t have to go singular-lump-sum to do that.

I anticipate my NEXT major sorting project to be "Superman and Batman stuff," followed by "general DC", "general Marvel", and then whatever’s left.

I also need to start looking into some sort of inventory system. I failed to do that before shelving the X-stuff, but along with getting my "missing stuff to seek out" lists, I really need to also have a list of what I actually have as well.

Though I can envision the ultimate whole of everything…I have no set timeline in place. Depends on quarantine stuff, work stuff, family stuff…stuff-stuff.


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