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#NotAtComicCon – But Probably a Better Haul

moving_books_summer_2016Without getting much into it for now…2016 is another year that I am #NotAtComicCon. And frankly, I’m glad for it…in some ways it’d be kinda cool to go, just to HAVE gone, but it’s not my scene; it’s gotten too huge, too many people in too small a space, it’s too non-comic focused, all the “good” panels would be full before I could get there, it would not be a conducive environment to hunt back issues and bargain books, the cost of admission and lodging and food and travel would eat up any “margin” of bargains anyway, and for what dealers pay to be there, they aren’t gonna be just peddling the kinda bargain-priced stuff I’m after anyway, etc.

Amidst a major shift in my personal life, I made it to a couple of Half-Price Books stores last week, taking advantage of two 40%-off coupons and a “surprise” 50%-off coupon. I’ve had my eye on the Lois Lane: a Celebration of 75 Years for several months now, not pulling the trigger, and other stuff beating it out on previous coupons. Along with that, I paid “full price” (half of cover price) for the two Alex + Ada books; vol. 2 to replace a damaged copy I hadn’t realized was damaged when I bought it, meaning that across editions I’ve functionally paid full price for the 3 good-copy volumes I have (the complete 3-volume series).

The day before that, I got the Absolute Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War which was a bargain at $40 (carrying a $100 cover price); got it for 40% off that $40, bringing it down to the cost of 5-6 Marvel single-issues!

With the 50%-off coupon, I bought the X-Men: Fatal Attractions volume. $25 cover price, HPB had it priced as $20 (ugh!), but I got it for $10, which is what I’d seen it for at a convention maybe a decade ago. (And then I learn there’s a new edition coming out in about 3 months…). I also got the Superman: Escape From Bizarro World just to fill in a gap…I’m not overly interested in the Superman volumes from this era, but the Superman fan that I am, I’m not opposed to expanding my Superman sub-collection.

Finally, stopping in at a shop I hadn’t been to in awhile, browsing bargain bins, I found the 2nd volume of Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection by Matt Fraction, which completes the ‘set’ I’d started five months ago.

I highly doubt I’d’ve been able to score this kinda haul at any convention; these come from three separate stores, each in a different city, some 10-15 minutes’ drive apart…not all one location a couple minutes’ walk apart. But I’m good for the prices I paid for them.

critters_at_desk

My desk at work has amassed another small collection of randomness in recent weeks. Target clearanced the larger-sized monster figures several weeks back, so I got the Marshmallow Man for about 30% off (turns out the clearancing was an error…I’d wondered about that, considering it was a week before the new movie had even come out!)

The two blind-pack Ghostbusters I’d gotten awhile back, as well as a miniature Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon) from 2014 or ’15… and some Pokémon. Seems what I’m most a fan of are the “Generation 1” characters, and here I’ve scored several of my favorites, from a couple of 2-packs.

So again…I’m quite happy enough with what I’ve gotten lately along with “regular” comics, even not being at Comic Con.

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#NotAtComicCon (So I Visited Winston)

not_at_comic_con_logoComic Con is going on right now, but I’m not there. I’m cool with that, as there is plenty of comic stuff for me locally, and I truly prefer it to the sort of travel/etc that would presently be required for me to ever be at SDCC.

But because I’m not there, I was free tonight to pay a visit to Carol & John’s in Cleveland and see Winston (something that’s been on my mind since the other day).

With hours actually conducive to making the trip and such after work Friday, I drove up to Cleveland to visit the shop briefly.

carol_and_johns_storefront

Once there, I browsed momentarily and then discovered the extent of their #NotAtComicCon sale. Rather than a handful of Dollar Bins…they had a Dollar ROOM set up.

Once I’d browsed many of the boxes and found some neat stuff and even some specifics I was looking for, I returned to the main area, and asked about Winston.

winston_napping_carol_and_johns_july10

There he was, just  curled up comfortably, napping on a chair by the counter. He woke up a bit and stretched, then watched me ring out, remaining on his seat, one paw stuck out, seeming to enjoy being the king.

not_at_comic_con_carol_and_johns_haul

I usually avoid dollar books in any kinda bulk…they’re sure cheaper than $4/issue, but man do those $1s add up in a danged hurry! Along with a handful of Ultraverse issues, some Valiants, and several X-books…I also found the complete Dead Again arc from the Superman titles from 1994 (though it took a bunch of digging through the titles’ sections in the bins). I also bought the Robin magnet, as I’ve been snagging a bunch of magnets lately, and the Tim Drake Robin (up to about Flashpoint) is one of my all-time favorite comic characters.

ziggy_on_comic_boxes_july10

Quite unplanned by me, Ziggy made himself at home on a comic box, and I managed to get this photo of him. My own comic book kitty!

#NotAtComicCon (But Got Archie #1 and TMNT vol. 1)

Comic Con is going on right now, and I’m not there. Still, I don’t have to be in San Diego to buy comics, comics related stuff, or be cool with what I have locally.

Tonight, for instance, I swung by Books-A-Million and wound up with an unexpected comic purchase; and this week a TMNT book I’ve been waiting a number of months to see released and actually acquire the thing is finally in my possession.

I completely did NOT realize the new Archie #1 was out this week. I’m not sure if it sold out or wasn’t ordered or who-knows-what-all at the comic shop, but I figured I’d duck into another shop this weekend to get the issue, or just not worry about it at all. With local construction/traffic issues, it’s not worth going back to the usual shop “just” for the one single issue when another shop is about 2 minutes out of my way on its own or just across the street from a Target I frequent.

I stopped into Books-A-Million, and while standing in line to check out, spotted an Archie comic.

archievol2bamvariant001

Now, much as I hate variant covers (and this is obviously the Books-A-Million-exclusive variant), I saw the price sticker was $3.99–same cover price I’d pay at a comic shop–in a sea of BAM variants priced $1-$3 above standard-cover cover price. And rather than have to go outta my way (I was already there with this thing right in front of me), I figured I’d suck it up and buy this…I’ve near zero intention of following the single issues, but I’m quite curious about the story content of the issue. So…we’ll see what I wind up with.

tmnt_the_idw_collection_vol_1_b

I first saw an ad for this TMNT book very early in 2015 saying it was due out in March, but seemed it was delayed at least a couple months. I finally saw it on Amazon for a really good price (about 48% off!) and pulled the trigger.

tmnt_the_idw_collection_vol_1_a

It was actually that ad, the pending existence of this oversized hardcover edition collecting 17 issues (just over 4 paperbacks’ worth of content) that instantly soured me on the expensive, skinny 4-issue paperbacks IDW insists on holding to.

This volume contains the first 12 issues of the ongoing series, the first 4-issue “Micro Series,” and the first issue of the second “Micro series.” It’s hardback, has the issues in story-order (the “Micro Series” issues taking place amidst events of and influencing the main title) and even has a bound-in ribbon as a bookmark, plus the cover images.

A far superior format and presentation (overall) to the paperbacks, and if I’m gonna “multi-dip” and get the singles as they come out and then a collected format for the bookshelf…I’m darned well gonna stick with this format!

And for the price…I seriously doubt any dealers in San Diego would beat this…or even match it.

Not at Comic Con: Thoughts On Announcements/etc.

SDCC LogoIn no real particular order…

New Amazing X-Men title

I don’t know how Nightcrawler’s coming back, nor do I much care…but I have a certain fondness for the character, especially in tandem with Wolverine. Right now, MONTHS before the issue would even hit stands, ok…interesting concept. I’ll probably “bite.” BUT at SURELY a $3.99 cover price and presumably biweekly shipping (aka “double-shipping”) at that price point, I won’t be around long. I’m enjoying the heck outta how much my 1990s’ X-books collection seems to be coming together lately….and when I can get 8-16 issues for the price of one new issue, I’ll take quantity (and nostalgia) as the better value.

Doctor Who Comics in 2014–Publisher?

So, my main concern is: what happens to what I’ve bought of the IDW stuff via Comixology? I mean, I enjoy the IDW GI Joe Classics issue that reprints what was originally published by Marvel, but I haven’t seen things go the OTHER way. IDW is quite guilty of the variant covers, and the $3.99 price point, so rumoured Boom or Dynamite wouldn’t make any real difference to me there. I suppose really I’ll just wait and see…and make sure I read my IDW/Comixology issues before the end of the year.

Superman/Batman film

OK, so there’s been talk of something like this for YEARS. That it’s official? I like it a lot better than the prospect of a Justice League film so soon. Certainly fits better, and (at least conceptually) has potential. Also works well to me as a Man of Steel sequel, but also allowing the introduction of a new Batman, without actually relaunching a Batman franchise so soon after the conclusion of the Dark Knight films. If there’s controversy over the quote from DKR used to “help” announce it, well…to me, that just goes to show one of THE most adversarial, iconic moments of the characters in conflict, to me. It doesn’t mean the film itself will be DKR. Of course, this is just the announcement of the film…we still have YEARS until it would be released, so waaay too soon for much serious speculation. While there’s a place for the classic silver age buddy-buddy Superman/Batman relationship, I’m rather fond of the semi-adversarial but mutual-respect One Night in Gotham City (Man of Steel 1986 #3) relationship.

Avengers 2 = Age of Ultron

I’ve heard enough negative of the comic series Age of Ultron to make me glad I didn’t keep up with the single issues beyond #1. And I certainly hope the movie is in no way an adaptation of that specific story in general. Perhaps some loose concepts of that, some of Busiek‘s Ultron Unlimited, etc. I was looking forward to Thanos and possible Infinity Gauntlet stuff, but hey…I jumped straight to that conclusion for obvious reasons. Other than Iron Man 3, we haven’t had any more Marvel Movieverse films since Avengers as yet, though, have we? So the post-credits “subplots” haven’t really gone anywhere since then…and we’re way too early yet to truly have any reasonable expectations here.

Afterlife With Archie

Archie + zombies, and requests to not have ’em shelved with regular Archie comics? OK, I’ll probably (if you’ll excuse the bad pun) “bite” on this one, provided I remember it when the first issue would actually hit. A bit late to the party, but hey…when I do dip into Archie stuff I tend to enjoy it, and the publisher taking enough of a chance on a different direction that they’d watch out that it’s not put in front of kids is a responsible enough move to get props from me.

TMNT Stuff

Mostly just glad there are no plans for Venus de Milo in the main comics. Overall just looking forward to the continuing series, and that it’s being kept seperate from the tv animated series. Pre-Comic Con saw that there’d be a City Fall part 1 tpb, which is rather discouraging…I would truly prefer to see a single-volume of a single arc, especially when it’s “only” 8 issues. Not all that pleased at the prospect of Bebop and Rocksteady being introduced, but given Krang and the Neutrinos’ depictions, there’s some potential, and I’ll wait to see what actually develops.

Cataclysm vs. Hunger

Much like last year’s announcement of Mavel Now killing my enthusiasm cold for AvX, this series’ announcement totally killed any enthusiasm I had for Hunger. For the most part, I feel like it says “Hunger is prologue, but the REAL story that ‘potentially could end the Ultimate Universe’ will ACTUALLY be Cataclysm.” So I’ll stick to avoiding the Ultimate Comics stuff as singles per usual, see what shakes out, and back track in collected volumes or such after the fact.

Marvel Now 2

Though I got sucked in on several Marvel Now One books, I quickly dropped those for one reason or another (primarily $3.99/issue + double-shipping). So I’m not particularly interested in and of itself in a second round of Marvel Now. If something individually grabs me (Say, Amazing X-Men #1), fine…I’ll check it out. Otherwise…it’s just another thing out there.

Deadpool vs. Carnage, Origin II

Never particularly enjoyed the first Origin series. So I don’t have any enthusiasm whatsoever for a second. See earlier comments about enjoying cheaper ’90s X-comics. Now, Deadpool vs. Carnage sorta sounds “interesting” as a loose concept simply for my having digital issues of Carnage and Carnage USA to read, thanks to being mildly interested after reading the “free” issue(s) #1 from the big Marvel “giveaway” a few months back.

Everything Else?

As of this typing, nothing exciting or of real interest for me from DC. But then, I’m not their target audience anymore. I may go back on my resolve regarding Adventures of Superman, and allow the indulgence in the non-New 52 Superman stories, but DC in general just doesn’t interest me these days; all the worse with the creep into the $3.99 pricing. Sorta interested in Sam Keith‘s The Maxx return, and will probably find myself picking up the first issue at least just for the heckuvit…I remember when the original edition came out, and have a copy or two SOMEWHERE in my collection, snagged from bargain bins through the years. And at least so far…so much for the hope of Batman ’66 home media official release…

And overall, more than glad I didn’t have to deal with the crowds and costs and hassles of Comic Con itself to learn what I have.

Not at Comic Con 2013

SDCC LogoOnce again, Comic Con is upon us, and once again, I am not there.

Yet…truthfully, I am honestly pretty sure I don’t actually WANT to be there.

I get “crowd-claustrophobic” fairly easily, and everything I hear of the convention population suggests I’d wind up fairly miserable.

As I’ve told the guys at Kenmore Komics several times: they’ve “ruined” conventions for me, as well…the Kenmore 25-cent bins are a RICH source of cheap comics for me, with more great “gems” than I can honestly try to recall in one sitting…and more often than not, the bins are at least somewhat organized. Lately, it seems to me that most convention bargain bins are little but “recent” stuff from the last 5-10 years with little good assortment from the ’90s…and it’s frustrating just how many “bargain bins” have crept up to 50-cents.

I’m also quite a fan of the panels at conventions. I still remember my first Gen Con, going to a random panel about Magic: The Gathering, and sitting next to someone playing with his kid…and come to find out that it was Richard Garfield–the guy who created the game! Or attending that panel with Ed Greenwood, author of the Elminster books. A particularly fun panel with Tracy Hickman and his wife, and the crowd-involved generation of the Ninja-Pirate-Viking Elves. Or that Wizard World Chicago attending all the DC panels, a Vertigo panel, and a number of Marvel panels. Being present at a Gen Con for the announcement of Privateer PressHordes game. The Stan Lee panel at Pittsburgh 2012 with my friends Bridgett, Michael, and Ashley.

But everything I hear of SDCC, you basically have to wait in ridiculous lines to get into any of the “major” panels. And frankly, to me that seems a waste of time. I shouldn’t have to “camp out” overnight and half a day to attend a 1-hour panel on Doctor Who or whatever “big” panel. Hardly worth the air fare, lodging, parking, and food costs.

So I intend to stick to the “smaller” cons. I keep entertaining the idea of attending Heroes or Dragon Con one of these years. I’ve given up on the NYCC as that seems to have gotten too huge too quickly. Even C2E2 has gotten “iffy” for me.

And while I haven’t even touched on other “issues” I have–particularly the “con exclusives” and such–I’ll stick to getting my “news” from sites like Bleeding Cool and CBR…though even a lot of that I’m not fond of these days as there’s just so much…hype. And spoilerage.

That being said, I may post later this weekend with some of my thoughts on what news does catch my attention; things that I’ll be looking for coming out of the various announcements.

EDITED TO ADD: Some of my thoughts on news that caught my attention.

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