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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 11, 2018

Thankfully, this proved to be another small-ish week for new comics!

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We have a new issue of TMNT, starting a new arc. I might be slightly “off” but it seems like IDW managed to FINALLY realize it is possible to do comics in longer-than-4-issue-arcs! Meanwhile, we have the 2nd issue of the new Sonic the Hedgehog…I remain skeptical of a WEEKLY $3.99 title. However, for a launch, I’m all for a quick succession of 4 issues–it gets more material out quicker, and gives a full (larger) arc in a shorter time, and while the “cost” to me is the same, without looking to the hassle that weekly titles are to comic shops, it gives me a chance to have several issues to decide if I want to continue with the series…without the question being dragged out for months.

We also have the new issue of Oblivion Song (I reviewed the first issue here) which I’ve pretty much lost interest in and haven’t experienced any “hype” for its SECOND issue (yet again where “only” the first issue/premiere of a series is pushed and then left to sink or float on its own while the “next big thing” is actively over-pushed).

Then we have what I think is the “final” issue of Supergirl (well, this current iteration anyway. Given the hit tv show, I can’t imagine there not being some sort of comic series going for it). And of couse, far behind as I am in the reading, the latest issue (again? Already?) of Detective Comics.

Finally, a True Believers reprint of The Infinity Gauntlet #1. From 1991…a 27-year-old comic that back then was “just comics” doing some gratuitous cosmic crossover and now is a multi-billion-dollar basis of movies. Though I’ve gotten copies of this issue from 25 and 50-cent bins in the (“distant”) past…this is certainly the cheapest way I’ll acquire any new copies. And on shinier, cleaner paper, possibly with “cleaned-up” colors/restorations…and certainly the (print copy) “convenience” of the issue, without digging through all my unsorted longboxes. Plus…it looks like this 2018 edition reprints the ENTIRE ISSUE. The 2015 edition (around Secret Wars) did not–as I recall–give the entire issue.

Next week will have the issue that–in nearly 30 years of being into comics–I’ve waited the longest for; having looked forward to it for some 23+ months: Action Comics #1,000.

And really, in a way I’ve been looking forward to it for over 350 months…since my first issue of the title as a new comic, waaaaaaay back with #651!

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The ’90s Revisited: Action Comics #677

90s_revisited

action_comics_0677“…In Love and War!”

Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: Jackson Guice & Denis Rodier
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Cover: Art Thibert, Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor: Dan Thorsland
Editor: Mike Carlin
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: May 1992
Cover Price: $1.00

This issue details the background and a then-new status quo with Supergirl, and Lex Luthor II, the son of the late Lex Luthor, arch-enemy of Superman. We see this young couple as they’re new to each other, Luthor curious about this Supergirl’s background, and she’s totally fallen for him, as he’s a visual doppelganger at least to the man who created her and gave her life in a pocket/alternate universe. That background–that readers saw over the course of The Supergirl Saga and subplot elements following, and things that came out in the Panic in the Sky story–is recounted here, as Supergirl tells Luthor. This also serves as further introduction for newer readers as to this Supergirl, her background, and her abilities. Meanwhile, we get touchpoints in other subplots–Jimmy Olsen had been fired but now recently re-hired to the Daily Planet. Perry had been gone, but now is back, and we see him meeting a Ron Troupe. We also see development in stuff with Cat Grant and her career, as well as Sam Foswell, who had temporarily held Perry’s job. We also see Clark and Lois spending time together as a newly-engaged couple and whatnot, as well as reporters. And then the “core” of the issue, as Luthor announces Supergirl has joined Lexcorp, and Clark is quite concerned about what she may have let slip to Luthor–about him, his parents, and so on. The Superman/Supergirl discussion gets heated, she instinctively lashes out, and this physical altercation is caught on camera by one of Luthor’s cameramen–accompanying him as he pursued the Super-duo, trying to keep tabs on his girl. Though Luthor demands the tape from his man and promises it will never see air while he’s around, he neglects to destroy it, which keeps Superman at a certain point of unease, as we see that this bright, charming son of Luthor has a certain questionable, dark streak to him…that as the issue fades out, indicates could be quite threatening indeed.

In retrospect, this is quite a “key” issue, primarily on the Supergirl and Team Luthor front. In fact, much of this issue was pretty directly adapted in the Dirk Maggs audio drama Superman Lives!, which adapted the novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond based on this and other comics in the Death and Return of Superman saga.

I quite enjoy Stern‘s writing, and the Guice/Rodier visuals. Everyone looks as I remember them from this time frame…which would be expected, given the pretty consistent nature of the creative teams on the books in 1992, into the Death of Superman stuff and beyond. I even recognized Foswell, as much by name as appearance, given a story this issue is a few months from at this point.

Story-wise, this packs a LOT into a single, regular-sized issue’s page-allotment. Of course, this was in the midst of the best of the “Triangle Numbering” period, where the Superman titles all had their own focused subplots, but collectively served as a nearly-weekly ongoing singular title (with ongoing elements, but Action Comics really taking the reins on dealing with Luthor II’s background, for example, or Superman: The Man of Steel taking the reins on the underworlders, etc).

I remember being aware of this issue for awhile before acquiring a copy for myself back in 1993 or ’94–whenever it was that I actually did. I was even more aware of what the content of the issue was, thanks to the Stern novelization The Death and Life of Superman, which included loads of continuity detail from the Man of Steel mini-series by Byrne through key issues up to and including the actual Doomsday!, Funeral for a Friend, and Reign of the Supermen run. Finding that this one issue alone had so much key stuff that factored into the larger story–the comics AND Stern‘s novel–is quite cool on this read-through. It seems so odd in 2018, snagging this for 25 cents to recall that it was not an issue simply or readily available to me as a kid–and I think I may have paid $3-5 for it as a “priced back issue,” at the time.

While many of the “random” single issues from this time period might be relatively inconsequential, this one, and I believe the next, are a couple of rather “crucial” issues, and are much more worthwhile to pick up as single issues than most. That said, a lot of my enjoyment here is from being quite familiar with the history and context of these characters, including knowledge of information that had not quite yet been revealed when this saw publication and would have been originally read…and knowing where things go, and hence how important this is. It’ll be much more enjoyable to one familiar with this period of the Superman comics, or going through everything from the time, than as a one-off if you’ve no familiarity with the time or the Death/Return/etc.

I paid a whopping 25 cents for this particular copy…and that was well worth it to me to revisit this without digging through longboxes looking for a copy, or even having to deal with lugging a box off a storage rack just to get at it.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 14, 2018

Along with recent toy hauls and Ollie’s hauls, this week was a big comic week! I almost held off on some issues, but figured I’d just end up spending the same–or more–trying to hunt a bunch of stuff down later, or outright forget stuff that I didn’t want to. So…got a bunch of stuff, and here it is!

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I probably should have held off on the Metal stuff. I never intended to wind up so far behind on reading, but at this point, I’ve read up to #2 or so and none of the tie-ins. The shiny covers are also wearing a bit thin…yet, I still appreciate them as identifying markers for the series and its official chapters (i.e. not tie-ins). We’re just a couple issues/months away from Action Comics hitting #1,000. Sideways actually looks interesting, so I figured I’d pick that up. Detective Comics is another regular for me, and I’ve been trying to keep up with several of the mini-series such as Ragman and Deadman.

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I need to "stabilize" what extraneous DC books I’m keeping up with. I’m pretty sure Titans and The Flash are ones I’ll want to–emphasis on Wally West, and with the upcoming Flash War stuff.

Avengers: No Surrender as a weekly and hopefully having something to it. I’d much rather follow a single weekly than multiple separate titles. Though my math was definitely off, if this is a 16-week thing, it’s gonna end at #690…not #700!

Invincible concludes, so figured I’d pick that up to read. Eventually, someday, I’ll get caught up on the entire series. Especially as this caps it off and it’s a finite run.

I’m a fan of Tristan Jones‘ art…he’d posted some stuff on Facebook about this Lazarus issue out this week. I figured I may’ve missed earlier ones, but what the hey…now being aware, I’d grab this one to jump in. D’oh! It’s a 6-issue series, and this is the 6th issue. So, I’ll either have to backtrack on single issues, or nab a collected volume down the line.

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A Valentine’s Day promotion: draw a card from the bucket, and win something. Some free comics from the bargain bins, a graphic novel from the half-off bins, might’ve been other stuff. I drew one for a graphic novel from the half-off bins, and chose this Ultimate X-Men vol. 2. $30 cover price, in the half-off bins, $15…definitely an excellent "door prize" or Valentine’s gift.

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Thanks to a #SciFiJanuary post over at The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu, I was interested enough to snag this Trekker Omnibus. It’s a little bit beat up and some slight curl to it…but for the price, and very pleasant surprise of its very existence, an absolutely excellent addition to my collection!

And Comic Shop News has had Superman on its cover two weeks in a row now…quite a nice change of pace!

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New Year, New Toys…ish.

Facebook marketing works, when done correctly. Like, say, having a Page, that I’ve Liked, and putting content out (particularly of stuff I might be interested in buying), and mentioning prices that aren’t otherwise visible.

Plus, I’m a sucker for photos that essentially allow me to browse a store’s stock at my leisure without being there.

So when I saw a post in my newsfeed from a local shop on Saturday, since I saw it via the app on my phone, I was able to view the photo, and ZOOM IN to look at stuff!

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While none of the slightly larger statues/busts really appealed to me (especially for the prices, even being on sale!) the DC figurines caught my attention, and I saw several that appealed to me. So I figured ok, I had to dig my car out from under two days of snow anyway, might as well reward myself for the effort with a brief trip to the shop (plus parking at a couple of Pokestops to restart streaks in Pokemon Go).

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While they’d not grabbed my attention in the photo, on looking at them in person, the JLA pewter figures looked pretty cool…particularly the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. Though it’s cool as-is…the thought’s dawned on me that it could be primed and painted…which could be an interesting project sometime!

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The figurine that most grabbed my attention from the initial Facebook photo, though, was Booster Gold! And since he was still there, I got him! I was pleasantly surprised at the weight of these…being so used to action figures and such, pewter/lead/metal figurines are a relatively new thing for me, in terms of DC/comic/super-hero figurines like this!

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I saw/recognized Supergirl in the photo, and seeing that that figurine was still there, I decided to get it as well…though I neglected to pay it much attention (said attention had been grabbed by Booster Gold!).

And getting it home, I realize I’m not very happy with it…the character is not really a version I like, and projecting the weirdness (to me) of a young/mid-teen girl being made to look "sexy" and I’m an adult male more than twice the character’s supposed age!

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I realized that what really got me was the cape–I love the gold trim, as well as the yellow S on the back! So this is the view that I like for the character, and I think it was reflected enough in the display case that it’s what had most grabbed my attention.

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So I start out the new year with metal figurines…a bit more "upscale" than 3.75" action figures or "adult collector" figures, basically miniature statues. They are static–no re-posing them to interact with other figures or such. But for the price, at least, quite appealing, and I could easily see getting several more…assuming they’re still there after a new paycheck!

The Weekly Haul – Week of October 12, 2016

This week proved to be another "small" week for me, though also "key" and "expensive" in others.

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Firstly, yet another week with a new Superman comic (Action Comics, specifically)…I’d have to dig back, but I’ve gotta be getting close to the half-year mark of the week-to-week actively wanting to get the next Superman-related comic out that week, just for the next bit of story. And unlike even the New Krypton stuff (which PALES by comparison to Rebirth!), this is a FUN excitement, a new/updated status quo that I like and am not just going with. And rather than tease me with pseudo-triangle-numbering, the two main Superman books are just coming out, telling solid stories, and now with this issue of Action we’ve even got footnotes again–referencing the sister title (Superman) as if BOTH TITLES are actually taking place in the same timeline, part of the same universe, etc! We also get a nice reference to another series that means next issue will be interesting as well…

I was going to hold off on Supergirl, but that cover just grabbed me! Not so much the rendition of the character herself (this art style is not very much to my liking for her) but the Cyborg Superman, and the promise of potential that it holds in that image.

And I pulled the trigger on the Hellblazer volume to get that outta my system…I don’t think vol. 15 is due for another few months, and unfortunately, I worry too much about stuff going out of print these days, thanks to Marvel refusing to keep anything in print all that long or predictably. This volume is also a bit more of a "key" volume than I’d considered initially.

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With Hellblazer vol. 14: Good Intentions, these new editions have fully caught up to where I came into the series back in 2001 (just over 15 years ago!). This single volume combines three previous paperbacks, as it collects Hard Time, Good Intentions, and …Freezes Over. Sixteen issues in one volume; three story arcs…plus material from Vertigo Secret Files: Hellblazer.

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Now begins the steady march through as the new editions finish, and hopefully over the next several years, we’ll get a full Hellblazer library of volumes that actually look like the single series that they are, and allow one to–in this format–have the entirety of the 300-issue 25-year series.

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Even if the new, numbered editions do not end up spanning the entirety of the run…I do have–with the probable exception of the Hellblazer: Bad Blood mini–the run between the new editions and the smaller "original" editions.

The Weekly Haul – Week of September 7th, 2016

This was a much better haul this week, with a visit to the usual comic shop, and only a passing visit to the closer-by one.

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Though they’re doomed to be duplicates with the Rebirth bundle from DCBS, snagged Superman and Supergirl. Also Darkwing Duck and Aliens: Defiance, from previous weeks’ pulls.

Then I did end up hitting the bargain bins.

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A quick glance at the bargain bins told me there was nothing really of interest, but I flipped through anyway, once I spotted a bin that I hadn’t seen at first. In this one, for 80% off, I found the Marvels: 10th Anniversary Edition, and quickly did the math in my head. Yep. For $10, on a $50.00 book that I have honestly wanted since I first learned of its existence some twelve years ago, this was a no-brainer. The book sports a little bit of wear–or at least, the dust jacket does. But it’s more than acceptable given the price!

Then the Wolverine hardcover was a freebie for buying something from the 80% off bin! At the closer-by shop, after seeing it for several weeks, I "gave in" and snagged the Heralds volume. Oversized hardcover, contains 4 issues (I think), at the price of one single regular-sized Marvel comic? Considering I couldn’t find it showing in my ‘inventory’ on my phone, opted to go for it.

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There were a lot of "new" ’90s books in the quarter-bins, and I snagged a few, though they were still collectively cheaper than two current Marvel books!

The Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 I recall as–at one time–being listed in Wizard as a $40 book. 25 cents today! It wasn’t til I got the thing home that I noticed a scribble on the cover…could be an autograph, though there’s no certificate or anything for its authenticity. Still, for only 25 cents, I’m quite happy. I actually had forgotten that the cover folds out…and this on a roughly standard-priced single-cover "iconic image" issue. Today these would be 3 different covers, all for this first issue: the center image as the "main" cover, the left panel as the "original Azrael" cover, and of course, the actual "Batman" cover for the right.

And there’s just something–to me–appealing with a handful of the Marvel #1s that Marverick and Mutant X are a part of.

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I’m quite interested in assembling the entire 18-issue run of Eclipso, and have been for years. Ideally from 25-cent bins, as I could probably just go online and get it relatively easily as $1+ single issues. Snagged the Prodigy variant because of the art, and nostalgia (Slingers was a cool concept, to me!). The Sovereign Seven Plus issue is one I may or may not have already, but not a bad one to snag. And the Doom Force caught my eye initially as a #1, then for curiosity with the "Suggested for Mature Readers" note. And the cover just looks like a ’90s book..! So why not?

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I’ve been working on an extra set of Mantra, and this Giant-Size issue comlements that nicely. The Superman issue is one of my favorite cover images, one I’d love to have a poster of! Nomad #1 for the sake of hey! Nomad #1! And though I had a copy from several years ago, I think this copy of Parallax: Emerald Night is in better condition and so will be a ‘replacement copy’ as well as a ‘convenience copy’ to have my "core series" set of The Final Night unified for now.

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I’m a sucker for old Wizard issues, especially as they are a relative rarity at all in bargain bins, and I have a shelf full of all my old issues and then some. The Image themed Wizard Special Edition is a new one for me. And this copy of #12 is in far better condition than the copy I had previously, thus serves as an excellent replacement copy for the rather beat-up copy I’d had. The Mage issue/collected edition was an oddity that caught my attention…it’s a Book One yet has a #9 on the cover…I still don’t have the issues all straight for this series. But for only 25 cents, I added it to the stack!

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These six issues were relatively random. Several for nostalgia, others for probably filling-in-of-holes in runs. All of these would likely be $2+ at Half-Price Books, with the Batman issue probably getting priced at $5-$10, based on recent patterns of pricing. All six for 25 cents each at the actual comic shop that knows the value of these sorts of issues.

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And finally, several Marvel Annuals…I may eventually see if I can assemble a set of all of the ____ and ____ ’98 annuals. For now, two new (I think) ones, plus the ’96 X-Force and Cable. I would have passed on the Gen13/Generation X and Generation X/Gen13 issues had both not been present. I found one in the back of one box, the other in the front of an adjacent box, and decided to grab them. Some weird synergy to them, and hopefully an interesting read eventually!

All in all, considering the stack of older stuff, the hardcovers, AND the new issues, this was an excellent haul…though one that certainly could have been a lot more expensive.

Supergirl Premiere

I was a half-hour or so behind…but otherwise, I basically watched this pilot “live.”

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Though I’d had no particular high-hopes when the show was announced, and stuck to my usual avoidance of trailers and news and stuff about development (failing to completely avoid some character names that would be in the show)…over the last several weeks I found myself interested.

Then curious.

Finally, just truly looking forward to this.

After all that…I saw several commercials…and was eagerly looking forward to the premiere.

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This was a pilot episode. So we were introduced to a lot of stuff, in a rather cheesy fashion at points. But it sets things up. And certainly left ME ready for the next episode.

We see Krypton, and “the origin” and such…we even see Superman (with creative lighting, though). We get Kara, her adoptive family (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman‘s Dean Cain is the father, Helen Slater of the 1980s Supergirl film is the mother). We see Kara in her private life, are introduced to the supporting cast–her boss, Cat Grant; “best friend” Winn, and office newcomer James “Jimmy” Olsen.

We learn some interesting stuff about her adoptive sister Alex, and meet Hank Henshaw, albeit one who does not pilot the doomed ship Excalibur.

Kara brings friends “into the fold,” setting the stage for stuff to come, while we see her perform super-feats and get some practice using her powers.

And like sister-show The Flash we get a teaser scene at the end to give a sort of “sub-plot” to be unraveled as the season progresses, with a character I wonder at my lack of familiarity even as I’m willing to roll with it.

And though it’s my initial reaction–and I’m typing this immediately post-viewing, to get some initial thoughts down before I can be influenced by others’ thoughts, reviews, discussions, etc.–I really very highly enjoyed this.

While I’m typically rather averse to gender-and-race-bending characters, given this is something wholly separate from the comics, we’ve already had numerous versions of Supergirl herself, and my understanding is that this technically will share a universe with CW shows Arrow and The Flash and there’s been effective character developments there that I totally overlook and enjoy…I’ll overlook it here.

James Olsen holds a lot of potential to me–getting away from the annoying down-on-his-luck dude-in-distress cub reporter and giving us an adult, cool, confident character with plenty of charisma in this episode alone. Hank Henshaw is a bit of a name-drop, but given the ties to “my” era of Super-comics, I’ll take it, and hope for some interesting developments there, given what the character was and became in the ’90s and early 2000s Superman comics.

I hope I keep up with this and don’t lose track of it. My enjoyment overall suggests this will be one of my initial watches each week, and at least for this first episode…this is truly an immediate favorite show for me, and a welcome guilty pleasure (even if it should be no surprise, given my history with Superman).

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