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The Weekly Haul: Week of November 6, 2019

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I’m pretty sure this was the cheapest Wednesday I’ve had in MONTHS…and that INCLUDES buying an Image Compendium volume!

Let’s get to the week’s books..!

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I’d totally forgotten about the "acetate covers" or whatever they’re called. DC has really lost me overall, so the only thing redeeming about it is…even WITH this "fancy cover" on Batman #82 (or is that City of Bane #82???) it still carries a $3.99 price point. Small "wins," right?

New issue of TMNT: Urban Legends…we’re well past the halfway-point for this series, and just a couple issues shy of where I’d gotten in on the original Image run of TMNT for a couple issues. Looking forward to catching up on the reading and getting to that point…as well as the series finally getting a proper ending of sorts. The primary drawback to me is that I still want to get the original Image issues…but ALL anyone ever seems to have at conventions and such IS the IDW stuff, be it the current ongoing, color classics, or whatever.

Spawn #302 puts us 2 issues past the big one, and we’re back to the regular price point of $2.99 that got me onto the title a few years ago. I’m getting REALLY sick of the variants even on this title…but at least with it "only" being $2.99, even if I get a variant, I can still get multiple copies for the price of a single Marvel.

We have yet another DC Dollar Comics release in Flashpoint #1. This one seems rather RECENT to me to be reprinting, even though–scarily enough to think about–it’s been 8 1/2 years since it first saw print! I suppose it’s fitting for this week with the City of Bane issue, given the Flashpoint Batman’s involvement in the ongoing stuff.

And the CORRECT-PAGE-ORDER edition of the DC Dollar Comics Batman #497 is out. I didn’t bother to try to exchange the original. I still had bought a $1 comic, and for "only" $1 I’m willing to buy it again, still for the nostalgia and all that. Of course, it’s gonna be a crappy time for back-issue buyers with no indicator on the cover that anything’s different or amiss about the issue.

The biggest surprise of the week for me was this Image Firsts Compendium vol. 3. I saw it and picked it up to look at–a curiosity. It’s been several years since I’d seen one of these as a new publication. I recalled having the first volume, so for "only" $5.99 I figured I’d add it to my collection. It reprints 8 or so #1 issues from Image, in a handy single volume and cheaper than even the Image Firsts $1 editions if you want "everything." AND when I got home and checked my existing collection…I DO already have both earlier volumes, so I’m adding vol. 3 to my collection without any gaps!

Finally, we have this week’s Comic Shop News, this time spotlighting Captain America: The End, which I believe is one of a bunch of pending one-shots giving more characters the The End treatment–a limited story to provide an "ending" to the character(s) in question. This is capitalizing on series from YEARS back like Hulk: The End, Wolverine: The End, and the 18-issue trilogy of 6-issue arcs making up X-Men: The End. Of course, these are sure to be $4.99+ an issue with too many splash pages and such…over-hype and under-delivery that turns me off to so much of Marvel‘s fare.

I’m not their target audience, so I just won’t buy what I don’t care for…more power to those who want the stuff and get what they pay for.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 30, 2019

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Well…I was a week late posting last week’s edition, but here I’m essentially "early" for this week’s edition. Go figure, huh?

That’s what life does, though, I guess!

This was a large-small week. Relatively "small" in quantity. Small in quantity, but big in price.

Let’s get to it!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #99

This is the 99th sequential issue I’ve bought for this series, beginning a little over 8 years ago in August of 2011. This is by far THE longest single uninterrupted "run" with any comic series for me with no "breaks." Even though I followed 2004’s Tales of the TMNT to its concluding issue, there were months at a time where I wasn’t able to get (an) issue(s) and would have to catch up 3-6 issues at a time with online orders and such. So as the title heads to its 100th issue, it’s also a big deal for ME in tracking that length! That this issue–#99–is $7.99 was unexpected as I expected this for the 100th issue. If it means the 100th will be even bigger…great! I’m all for more content. THOUGH even as MUCH as I allow TMNT to be my "exception," variant fatigue is even seeping in HERE to me. As well as this being the longest I’ve followed any single series in one go…part of me begins to wonder if even this could use a "break." Get to 100 and take a break for a few months. But then, look how long it took me to pull the trigger on other stuff I lamented pricing/etc. before finally dropping.

 Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1

This is another $5.99 #1 issue. At least it’s squarebound so quasi-"prestige format." Despite having a large #1 on the cover, the code in the barcode box that tells which cover you have (regular or variant(s)) is 0211, meaning this is being considered a #2…if these are one-shots, I’d expect that code to be 0111. I got sick enough of $4.99/issue with X-Men stuff the last few months; $5.99 is really quite out of the question for a "series" for me. Perhaps it IS DC trying to be sneaky, a la Marvel by making it look like one-shots while actually considering it a series?

The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1

Then an issue I’d forgotten was coming: I believe this brings the John Constantine from the ’80s Books of Magic (back?) into canon; certainly a younger version of the character not being aged in "real time" from his first appearance. But I think I’d seen that this version may be a lot more Vertigo-esque than we’ve had since a version of the character crossed back to the main DC universe back in 2011 at the end of Brightest Dayin Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing. I was also rather surprised to see the Black Label…um…label on this. I thought it was Sandman Universe, not Black Label. Considering All-Star Superman was moved to Black Label and is not an "adult" or "mature readers" comic, it seems rather odd to me that BL would mean "adult" in and of itself. Whatever it means, I am truly growing tired of seeing it all over DC‘s output with their inconsistency and lack of clarity about stuff. So that’s a ding against this as well. Whether I’ll pick up and go with the ongoing series at the end of November remains to be seen. I’ll likely try the first issue at least, but more than likely will fall back to wait for collected editions.

DC Dollar Comics: Superman #75

This is one of THE more appropriate reprints, and feels like one of THE best-done for a DC Dollar Comics edition vs. a replica/facsimile edition. It’s $1, which is 25 cents less than the original issue was 27 years ago; and this comes out within 2-3 weeks OF the 27th anniversary of its original release! I was a bit surprised at DC keeping so MUCH of the classic cover intact…they even KEEP the original UPC box from the Direct Edition stating the creators, and put a NEW UPC box on the other side of the cover for the current edition. They also replicate part of the original corner box including the flying Superman image, and the cover dress/placement/font of the phrase The Death of Superman!. I almost feel like I would prefer this as a replica edition…I do not believe ANY reprint of the issue since the original 4 printings has had the gatefold back cover; so the effect has never been the same for the issue’s ending. I do find it odd that this reprint has a "To Be Continued in The Death of Superman" seeing as this is the end of that story. But much as with the Batman #497 a couple weeks ago…this is one of THE single issues I am absolutely MOST familiar with, and thus far more "sensitive" toward than most other reprints.

True Believers: X-Men: Moira MacTaggert #1

This one’s "just another" reprint to me. I believe it reprints X-Men #96; just a couple issues into the post-Giant-Size X-Men #1 era. I’m not sure when I thought the character had first appeared, but I would not have guessed it correctly.

True Believers: X-Men: Karima Shapandar, Omega Sentinel

This one’s another that I definitely recognized the cover image but would not have been able to tell you a number. I WAS pretty sure it was an X-Men Unlimited issue, and the indicia bore that out–originally published as X-Men Unlimited #27. As it was a quarterly title and #1 was in 1993 AND it took two quarters off during the original Age of Apocalypse for X-Men Chronicles…I’d place this as being an issue from 2000 if I had to hazard a guess. Which makes it relatively recent as True Believers reprints go.

Batman Annual #4

Not much in thoughts for this, except I’ve gotta catch up on reading the main title. I’m not sure how "between-the-issues" this one might be, though it looks like it may read well enough on its own…time will definitely tell!


One $7.99, one $5.99 two $4.99s and three $1 issues. $27 for 6 issues. When I got back into comics in a big way–particularly summer 1992–I could get 20 comics for $27, with a bit left over!

Next week looks to be decently-smallish…I’m tentatively planning on Legion of Super-Heroes solely for the stupid plastic ring, assuming one is available with it. I’ll pay $3.99 for the ring and a bonus comic…if I’m not enthused about a comic with a bonus ring.

And looking ahead…I’m not seeing anything offhand about more True Believers for November…I was starting to think these were basically weekly with a different theme each month. I guess not?

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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 16, 2019

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This week’s an interesting week in terms of the weekly haul. Along with comics, it includes the single most expensive "leisure item" I think I have EVER bought!

Let’s get into ’em…

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When the Tales From the Dark Multiverse things were announced, they were very appealing to me. Re-imaginings of key stories such as Knightfall and The Death of Superman particularly, as key stories that really largely "defined" comics for me as a kid. Stuff to be sort of Elseworlds without the name, slotted into modern stuff. I was keen to get this Knightfall issue…though on reading it, did not enjoy it the way I’d thought I would. I’ll save that for further thought and a possible review.

DC really screwed up the DC Dollar Comics Batman #497–printing pages out of order, so you have pages 19, 21, 20, then 22. It’s particularly egregious as it’s a reprint, and not even "just" some new comic having an issue. It’s been published correctly in the past, repeatedly! How it gets screwed up now in 2019 is beyond me.

And perhaps appropriate in a Batman-heavy week is the latest chapter of City of Bane as we near the end of King‘s run on this main title. Particularly appropriate as this arc–if not the entire series–is a sort of "modern riff" on the original Knightfall arc.

It’s equally an X-Men heavy week, with the first issue of Hickman‘s ongoing X-Men title. I’m not keen on it being "legacy numbered" 645 or whatever–taking up the Uncanny numbering withOUT the Uncanny part of the title. Seems just MORE of Marvel‘s wanting to have its cake and eat it, playing fast and loose and ARBITRARILY with numbering. Additionally, while a small part of the issue, an exchange with "Kid-Cable" and Jean realllly put me off, as well as continued use of insert/whitespace pages. I’m also not keen on the apparent villain, and the apparent characterizations of several characters including Storm. As if HoX/PoX hadn’t already given me plenty of clues, I wonder what I am–or will be–subjecting myself to if I try to go all-in on the X-books or any of the titles at all. Especially as the next few weeks are just a "first wave" with MORE titles to follow, and the feeling I myself (reasonably or NOT) get of unpredictability/lack of clarity of publishing frequency coupled with Marvel‘s propensity to do random-seeming $5+ issues and/or the multiple-$4-issues-per-month for a single title.

The True Believers issues give us the first appearances of Rictor and Jubilee. Again, issues I’m glad to support for the $1 price point and NOT being "new" issues, but appreciating the quality and personal preference for the past.

We also have the finale (3rd issue of 3) of Superman: Year One from DC‘s massively over-pushed Black Label. I still need to read the second issue and then this; I recall not being AS put off by the first issue as a lot of folks did…we’ll see how I feel once I’d read a couple more issues and have the story in its entirety. I also feel like DC is really shoving Black Label as a "THING" and it’s a complete turn-off to me; all the MORE after their stuff with Batman: Damned that seemed like they neutered the entire purpose of this thing.

Finally, for the heckuvit and it being available for the price, I picked up a back-issue copy of Spider-Man Unlimited #1. This is the original series–and the issue that kicked off Maximum Carnage, which I remember getting each chapter as it came out across the several months; all 14 or so chapters! (Back when 14 chapters was a LOT for any given crossover, rather than just the number of variant covers on the first issue of an event mini that includes umpteen tie-in minis at inflated prices). I’d much rather pay $5 for a back issue with the nostalgia factor that I’ll enjoy seeing/owning/re-reading/etc over some blasé generic one-of-umpteen-covers reads-in-5-minutes-and-not-even-designed-to-stand-alone chapters of a current "event" comic.

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And then there’s the Arcade1Up edition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / TMNT: Turtles in Time arcade cabinet.

This cost me only slightly less than my Nintendo Switch (with two games); but it’s a fixed unit capable of playing only two games. (without "modding"). BUT this is TMNT, which has long been my "exception" to normal stuff–be it variant covers, price I’ll pay per issue, etc. And the nostalgia factor for me of the original arcade game AT arcades/the mall…to own this 3/4-scale edition with its various features (no coins needed, all 4 controllers for up to 4 players at once [previous home console versions only allowed 2 players at a time, to best of my knowledge offhand–and specifically thinking of the Nintendo TMNT II: The Arcade Game] is very appealing.

"Online research" and YouTube folks have made it clear the opening song is changed–something to do with copyright issues–but I don’t know if I would’ve truly noticed had "everyone" not been "talking about it." I may have noticed something "off" but likely would have chalked it up to memory, and assuming that the game always HAD been slightly different from the cartoon.

A lot of people dislike the lack of a light-up marquee; but that really doesn’t bother me. I love the idea of these "mini" arcade cabinets; having such a thing in my home for playing at my own leisure and all that. The artwork is at least largely what I remember from the original machine, and enough of the "experience" of the unit itself is there to satisfy my arcade-nostalgia and such; I don’t need a 3/4-scale unit to be 100% accurate to the full-size original.

I don’t know how much "play" the unit will get long-term, but it’s definitely a major "piece" in my "collection," and one I’m glad to have. 9-year-old me is ecstatic at owning such a thing; while pushing-40-me finds it a very cool item.


Partly the purchase of the arcade machine; partly recent general expenses entertainment/leisure-wise…I’ve found even my "interest" in certain other expenses tamped down a bit. At least comic-wise.

I’ve also splurged a bit on some gaming stuff (partly on principle because I could) as well as a couple things I’d pre-ordered months ago on Amazon came up; and a couple Kickstarter things wrapped up.

I’m leaning more and more toward trying to cut back on comics, as I find less and less of interest, get turned off to stuff I feel like I "should" be liking; prices keep going up, variants piss me off, and rumors of gestating upcoming "initiatives" and so on percolate.

One more week down, and we’ll see what the coming one brings.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of October 2 and October 9, 2019

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Well, let’s try to NOT get a full month or more behind as several times earlier this year already! Alllllllmost two weeks behind, but c’est la vie. That’s one of the things, I guess, about having one’s own blog and not making any money from it or such–far more freedom of schedule and such!

Several quick, random shout-outs to start things off!

Sadly, far too many great bloggers out there to shout out without being an entire post. But all of the Super-Blog Team Up folks are fantastic and always worth following and reading!


Week of October 2, 2019

The first week of October brought what really is a small-er-ish week, though it felt a lot bigger!

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New Batman, new Young Justice, and the last House of X (really "just" chapter 11 of the 12-part HoX/PoX foundation-laying world-building whatever for the relaunching X-Men family of titles).

The 2nd issue of the 2-issue Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium; the final issue of Batman/TMNT III round out the truly "new" stuff.

We then have the facsimile/replica edition of Batman #251, the Dollar Comics (DC‘s version of Marvel‘s True Believers reprint line) edition of the 1970s’ The Joker #1 (apt timing, obviously intentional, for the new film Joker).

And speaking of Marvel‘s True Believers stuff, two of those, reprinting the first appearances of Bishop as ell as Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost. The Bishop issue in particular is more of a 25-cent book to me…but I’m willing to pay the $1 for the True Believers in general, and definitely want to support the reprints, as I get more out of them than most new stuff the publisher puts out the last few years.

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…And the week’s Comic Shop News stands alone by virtue of the way I do photos for these posts. Since I’ve taken to including it each week, didn’t want to be overly lazy and leave it out.   


Week of October 9, 2019

And then for the most recent week…we lead with multiple $4.99 comics! Which is rather disgusting in its own way. Also a reminder of how absolutely shameful Marvel has gotten with its numbering!

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While a local comic shop (as of this past weekend) has a copy of the original Amazing Fantasy #15 (for only $8,000!)…I am quite happy enough with this $3.99 facsimile edition of the issue. Then we have the final issue of Powers of X, which is also the overall finale to Hickman‘s HoX/PoX saga. And then Spawn #301. #300 a few weeks ago was a big deal for the huge number, matching Cerebus as a creator-owned title reaching such a number, and so on…but now with #301, Spawn exceeds that record (it’s even earned McFarlane a Guiness World Record…a record which I was glad to see the creator acknowledge would never have been reached without all the other people who have also worked on/with the title over the 27 years!). That the series launched after the artists left Marvel which at the time had a 30+ year history of their then-titles, but is now 250 issues beyond any numbers Marvel is publishing 27 years later?

IDW gets the next couple of slots for the reprint series of the Image TMNT series as well as what may (now) be the 2nd-highest-numbered comic series of its obvious category in GI Joe: A Real American Hero. The fact that they’ve successfully published some 112+ issues picking up from #155 some 15+ years earlier totally blows the notion that only low numbers sell! We have another $1 True Believers issue from Marvel, this one reprinting the first appearance of Pyro, I guess? More importantly, it reprints the key Uncanny X-Men for only $1. Even with this edition, I would happily pay $3.99 or so for a replica/facsimile edition of the issue!

Then we have new issues of Superman, Supergirl, and Detective Comics, all of which I feel like I’m woefully behind on reading. And if rumours are to be believed for stuff DC may have coming up, it makes me feel all the more like these have a short lifespan ahead in my buying.

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Finally, we have the latest issue of Event Leviathan, which I’ve been getting–continuing to get–on the notion (now vain!) that I’d catch up on Action Comics and Superman and this title itself and not want to have to THEN chase down issues or such. At this point, 5 of 6 issues in and not having read any, I’d have been far better off just waiting FOR a collected volume! Ugh.

And this week’s Comic Shop News features Vampirella; with the very sorta cover that makes me feel dirty at seeking the title out at all, ever. That the title’s publisher insists on umpteen covers per issue makes it extremely inconsistent to even find issues and though I’d bought the first issue, I’ve missed subsequent issues for either not recognizing a cover, or seeing multiple covers and just not feeling arsed enough to decipher which would be the "A" cover vs. C or E or whatever umpteenth cover.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of September 25, 2019

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This is an "interesting" week of new comics. A "large" week as well, but not quite the price-shockingly-huge that several the last few months have been.

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We have the new issue of TMNT–#98–leaving us a mere 2 issues from the big #100! Odd in a way to consider that this has been running for about 1/3 the time Spawn has!

The 10th HOX/POX issue this week in Powers of X #5. Just one issue of each mini after this, before the official Dawn of X launch…which I’m struggling with on whether or not I’m going to dive in or not against better judgment.

I normally would not have picked up this The New Mutants: War Children, on principle of "only" being a one-shot, AND for being yet ANOTHER $5 issue. Buuuut…it’s Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. So, something I’d definitely want to support!

Then we’ve got the latest issues of Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Dial H for Hero…all of which I’m (still significantly) behind on reading.

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I’m several issues behind on Criminal…but that’s always a great read when I get around to it.

A $1 reprint of Crisis on Infinite Earths, that I largely got for the cover…I love this piece, and it’s great seeing it on a single issue! And another Marvel facsimile edition…something I also am enjoying supporting. I may not specifically care about every such issue, but seeing it and being able to decide "in the moment" is a welcome thing!

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A comic shop further outside my usual range had a large quantity of King Conan #1 available. I actually drove out specifically because of that, last week…partly for myself, partly for a friend. And then this week they had these other four issues, so I did another trip out. 5 issues, $5…not bad at all!

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They also had these two Batman Day issues the 2nd time (and/or maybe I just didn’t see them the first time), so snagged them. I’m not keen on The Batman Who Laughs, but as a Batman Day thing, it’s an interesting artifact, and I wasn’t sure if it was something from the mini-series or going all the way back to the original event.


All in all, a solid week. Nothing as exciting as a Spawn #300 or such; though TMNT is up there in general. And the 100th issue WILL be a big deal on a number of fronts. One of which will be that it will be the 100th issue of following ANY single series unbroken for 100 issues for me. I’ve taken "breaks" from comics altogether several times over the years, and particular series more often; such that I have NEVER BEFORE followed a single series for 100 issues! (nor any series OF series, as Marvel in particular has become).

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of August 21 and 28, 2019

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Here we go…after months and months and months of virtually NO posting, I think this makes 3 posts in two weeks? That’s more frequent than once-a-week, even!

Still…two weeks’ worth of new comics to get to…but better than bunched up to 4, 5, or 6 weeks.


Week of August 21, 2019

Last week was a rather small week overall, though a bit more expensive with some extra-priced issues! It also spans 5 different publishers and within the same publisher, each issue is a different imprint/type of publication!

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The newest Batman was one of the comics of the week for speculators, apparently. Thankfully it’s on my pull list or I’d’ve missed out on the thing! Since it’s just part 3 of a 9 or so issue story–or there’s an interlude as a different story (City of Bane), I will wait until the entire City of Bane arc concludes before accepting any major change or such!

Then the new Powers of X issue…I’ve got generally mixed feelings on the whole Hickman relaunch of the X-line. I typically consider the writer’s stuff to be elitist, pretentious, and extremely off-putting for the apparent "need" to do "homework" to fully follow the stuff. I also dislike the cold, clinical visuals of so many "white pages" and massive white-space, to say nothing of just a few small-print words accounting for multiple entire pages of an issue, all the more on something costing $4.99+ an issue! I’m "invested" in the 12-issue House/Powers of X and likely to check out the first issues of the new X-titles, but we’ll see from there.

I’m a huge fan of the recent facimile/replica editions of stuff coming out. These are giving me a chance to own copies of the issues about as close to the original edition as I’m gonna get (or simply provide a certain nostalgia that I’m willing to pay for despite owning the originals). DC kicked off with this Batman issue reprinting the first appearance of R’as al Ghul.

Next was a Transformers #0, I believe intended to (story-wise) take place before Marvel‘s original #1 back in the ’80s. A new issue of Criminal this week…seems ages since the last issue, which may mean I missed #6 (or forgot about it over the last couple months). And I finally snagged an issue of Twiztid Haunted High-Ons on the day of release!

Finally, Superman: Year One #2, which is quite the anomaly for me, given my dislike of variants everywhere. I’ve been FAR preferring the B covers to the A on this series. Something to the regular ones just seem so entirely underwhelming to me.


Week of August 28, 2019

I’m pretty sure this week was about the most expensive week I’ve had, and REALLY stokes the flame of "I’ve gotta cut back!" as well as frustration at IDW for not spreading the TMNT stuff out more (even if some of it is late as heck).

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The new House of X…I don’t think I actually got around to reading last week’s Powers of X, so this’ll give me a bit more of a binge-read. Whether it’s collectively worth $10 I do not know…but I doubt it!

Speaking of $10…Marvel Comics #1000 is a hefty $9.99. I was absolutely going to pass on it, but decided to see for myself what the hype is all about. But that’s something I keep falling for, and eventually I’ll learn to quit!

Spider-Man: Life Story concludes with #6…I don’t recall reading #5, so that should be a definite treat to binge-read 1/3 of the series in one go, hopefully! Also relieves the "regular load" by $4.99/issue!

Despite being three different series with multiple creative teams…we have THREE different TMNT issues in one week! Shredder in Hell is several months late. I understood it to be a 5-issue series monthly…but here we’re at the end of the 8th month and only just now have the 4th issue. TMNT #97 is the latest chapter of City at War and continues the speculator-fire of a new female turtle; while we’re somehow "already" 16 issues into TMNT: Urban Legends, which is the 2/3 point for the series, I believe, including the brand-new issues due to cap off the run.

Even if I was not already getting the series, I’m certain this cover of GI Joe: A Real American Hero would have gotten me to buy it. I’d love a poster of this, even! There’s something to Cobra Commander on there, rolling a couple of dice with Snake-Eyes (both of them) showing. And likely dual-meaning of rolling two ones. This is another title I am ridiculously far-behind on reading. But I love that it’s a RARE series that began publication in the early-’80s and is STILL GOING TODAY (albeit with a 15 or so year gap between #155 and #156).

I was NOT going to get Batman Superman #1. But again with being something I’d probably want later, and somewhat wanting to give it a chance, and whatever other "excuses" I can make. I opted for this variant, though, because UNLIKE the MAIN covers, THIS one actually has BOTH heroes prominent on the first issue of their shared title! And even if I opt NOT to get #2 anytime soon, this one would be easily frameable as a piece of wall art.

Then a couple weeks late, Superman #14 with a different cover with no "battle damage" unlike what the original was gonna be, which is rather annoying, however unrelated or "red-skies"-ish the content might be to the far-too-many-comics Year of the Villain tie-ins.

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And speaking of those Year of the Villain tie-ins, the new Detective Comics has its freezing "battle damage" and is a tie-in. Yet another title I’m far behind on, but I’ve recently been convinced to continue a bit further by discussion with a friend…and assuming I catch up ON my reading!

Even more far behind stuff with the Wonder Comics line. Dial H #6 I believe was to be the final issue, but I think it’s been extended to 12 issues. I guess time will tell?

And I somehow got it into my head that Mark Bagley was the artist on Absolute Carnage so snagged #2. Turns out either he is NOT, or it was just one issue. I believe Stegman was the artist on Madrox and (maybe?) early issues of the relaunched PAD X-Factor series, and I recall liking his art, so…yeah. I’m interested in re-hunting Maximum Carnage and as long as it doesn’t get extra issues tacked on, see how JUST THE CORE MINI goes at this point.

Finally, two reprint/replica/whatever editions. A 3-D edition of Amazing Spider-Man #300…a bit of a novelty that struck the nostalgia buttons with me. PLUS I’m–at this point–quite happy to SUPPORT reprints and such, since they’re largely the best, most enjoyable stuff I’m finding from Marvel, at least, but largely also DC of late.

Annnnnd the week’s Comic Shop News.


I very seriously hope that next week’s haul is a bit smaller, at least by way of brand-new/new-on-the-rack issues. And considering I once swore that if "all" comics went to $3.99 I’d be done…there’s been a ridiculous number of $4.99 and $5.99 "basic" comics, which for me is even MORE likely to be UNsustainable.

I’m "old"–I remember 75-cent and $1.00 comics. And when I REALLY jumped in back in 1992, most comics where a whopping $1.25…4/$5 or 8/$10. We’re getting dangerously close to 1/$5 (or 2/$10)…which really puts comics into a HORRIBLE place, value-wise vs. say, spending $65 for a video game and only playing it for 3 hours or so.

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Super-Blog Team Up: Immortal – TMNT & Highlander

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One of my first thoughts on the topic of "Immortal" was Highlander…owing largely to a Queen song lyric: "I am immortal!" (continuing into "I have inside me blood of kings…I have no rival! No man can be my equal! Take me to the future of you all!"

And of course, IN Highlander, you have this tale of immortal beings who have lived among the mortal population secretly for centuries, no one knowing about them (except another group called The Watchers who observe the immortals but generally don’t interfere). So…Immortal. Check.

But in my participation with the SBTU, I’ve managed to go with TMNT stuff so far:

And as it so happens, in the current ongoing TMNT comics from IDW, the turtles and Splinter are the REINCARNATED Hamato Yoshi and his four sons, who originally lived and died in feudal Japan. And if they were reincarnated together once, nothing’s been obvious to indicate they couldn’t again, and if any of them were to be actually killed off in the comics, I’d imagine someone would note in-story that hopefully they’d meet again in the next lifetime…or some such. So, maybe not the same sort of immortal, but…check.


Still…what is "immortal?"

The dictionary definition–in this case, dictionary.com for ease of referenceIMMORTAL includes: "not mortal; not liable or subject to death; undying; remembered or celebrated through all time; not liable to perish or decay; imperishable; everlasting; perpetual; lasting; constant; of or relating to immortal beings or immortality; an immortal being; a person of enduring fame."

Much of my thought–my initial thoughts–with the word gravitates to Highlander, and that franchise’s use of the term; that the Highlanders (primarily Connor and Duncan Macleod–"Same clan, different vintage") and others of the series’ focus are "immortals."

That is, left to their own devices…they will live forever. They cannot die "naturally." But what keeps them from being gods; what keeps them fairly mortal-ish and relatable is the fact that their being "immortal" is basically a perpetual resurrection. They actually can be killed–albeit for a short while–but that’s in the physical, bodily sense. They physically die, but "get better" pretty quickly.

Sort of like Magic: The Gathering‘s planeswalker "spark," an immortal in the Highlander universe is born naturally, grows and ages naturally…and it takes an inciting event to "activate" their latent status. One who would be immortal must be killed violently to "activate" their immortality; else they will live, age, and die (permanently) a mortal.

Once activated, the way such an immortal can die permanently is by separating the head from the body. Other deaths don’t "stick." If an immortal is killed–their head separated from their body–and another immortal is present (and often, it is this immortal that removed said head from its body), the felled individual’s memories and essence is transferred to that other by way of "The Quickening." In that way, an immortal who has taken the head of numerous other immortals grows in strength and ability.

One of the "taglines" is "In the end, there can be only one." The immortals all come to learn of this notion; a prophecy of sorts; that by nature they are to battle one another until only one who remains, and to that individual goes "The Prize," which comes off to me (offhand) has a bit nebulous. But essentially, "The Prize" is a sort of godhood; and ostensibly this immortal would have the power/essence/etc of every other immortal from all history.


Highlander

Given it ran six seasons, much of the "Highlander Lore" as I think of it seems to have been expanded on throughout the tv series, though the "basics" were introduced in the original 1986 film.

highlander_dvds_filmsMy personal "head canon" slightly retcons the original film to mesh it with the tv series and excludes the 2nd and 3rd films. The fourth film sort of works in context with the tv series, coming after its conclusion, albeit not a perfect fit. The fifth film doesn’t really exist. And the 1994 animated series (Quentin MacLeod) and 2007 anime (Colin MacLeod) are just sorta out there, alternate realities or such.

The tv series follows Duncan MacLeod, and basically shows us his life in "present-day" (1990s) initially trying to live outside "The Game" (what the immortals call the active participation in killing one another and whittling their population down toward that one-in-the-end). He’s quickly brought back in, and then much of the series is (especially early-on) an "immortal-of-the-week" thing. Duncan in present-day, an immortal "villain" shows up, we get flashbacks to how Duncan’s crossed paths or otherwise has a "history" with that immortal, before (often) Duncan’s forced to take their head.

What always struck me was the exploration of someone who has lived hundreds of years living in present-day society…all that they’ve seen, all that’s changed in the world around them (all that they may have been part of as well)…and the perspective their immortality would bring them. Especially in terms of life, and lives, and phases of life. That one could live multiple "lifetimes" all over the world in varying situations over time.

And the way Duncan seemed to have this "history" with SO VERY MANY people who whatever they WERE to him, were not necessarily an active, regular part of his everyday 1990s life.

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And my thoughts would condense this down to what I could personally relate to, not actually being immortal…and all the more as I get older. So right now, 2019, that goes to the way I had friends and people I regularly interacted with in middle school, in high school, in college, in grad school, at a particular job.

Many–most–of these people may not be a regular part of my everyday life. But when our paths re-cross, it can be pleasant, or negative. Nostalgic or bittersweet. Even if I’ve not seen or talked to someone in 20 years, we had a time of life that we were a regular part of one another’s lives–say, in high school–so seeing them again would bring back memories, and though I may have never said one word about them to someone "newer" in my life now, it doesn’t change the importance of both people to my life.


TMNT 

I was introduced to the TMNT property in 1988 or 1989…it was after the cartoon had premiered, but ahead of the 1990 movie; and I recall that period where so many of the action figures were available (such as at Toys R Us) but the turtles themselves were nigh impossible to find. My own very first figure was a Rocksteady, as a result; and I recall "discovering" the villanous Slash because Dad spotted that one and it WAS a turtle…but not one of the main turtles. (And while I don’t recall if he bought it for me then and there or if I got the figure after, Slash is one of the original vintage TMNT figures I still own FROM when I was a kid. He is, however, re-outfitted with a 2017-acquired replacement belt).

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I quickly got into the TMNT–tv, comics, books, movies, the figures…big-time. This lasted til 1993/1994 or so, fading from all, down to the latter issues of the Archie TMNT series. While in that series’ run I had also found and gotten a few of the Mirage issues (including #50 and 51–the start of the original City At War story) I missed most of that, and then got the first issue of the "volume 2" series, but missed the rest of that run as well, and entirely missed the Image "volume 3" series until 2000/2001.

After several years "away," I got back into the TMNT with Peter Laird‘s second issue of "volume 4" showed up–I lucked across that, and happily enough, the comic shop (JC‘s in Toledo, OH) had a copy of #1 still available as well. I followed vol. 4 into the 2003 animated series, into the second volume of Tales of the TMNT, and while vol. 4 eventually lapsed, Tales continued. We also had the 2007 film. But then at the 25th anniversary year, Laird sold the property to Viacom, and for over a year (as I recall) there just simply was no TMNT. No cartoon, no comics.

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Though somewhere in there was TMNT Forever which brought the 2003 TMNT universe into contact with the 1980s’ TMNT universe, as well as touching on the various comics (primarily the original Mirage series). In its way, it was a sort of capstone to the first 25 years of the TMNT brand.

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Then in 2011, IDW launched their ongoing TMNT book (which is still going to this day–I believe #97 is out this week!) followed by Nickelodeon launching a new animated series in 2012, supported as "always" by a toyline from Playmates. That series ran til 2017 before (apparently, it seems to ME) being shelved in favor of a shift toward yet another new series, trying to reach a much younger audience with a Teen Titans Go style of animation in Rise of the TMNT.

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I’ve followed the IDW series for 96 issues so far–I’ve bought every issue of the series as a "new issue" since 2011’s #1, as well as all of the various one-shots, specials, annuals, and mini-series in that time. I’ve done that with no other comics series ever.

So the TMNT have been through a number of major iterations:

  • Mirage Comics (vols. 1, 2, & 4)
  • 1980s cartoon
  • Archie comics
  • 1990s films (loosely includes 2007 film)
  • Next Mutation live-action tv series
  • Image comics
  • 2003 cartoon
  • IDW comics
  • 2012 cartoon
  • 2014/2016 films
  • 2018 cartoon

That said, these don’t all line up exactly with one another; they’re not all strung one after another; there’s quite a bit of coexistence between versions. But I would say that to a certain degree, one could see them at their most "mainstream" by looking at their presence in the mass market toy aisles, which puts us (as of this typing) into the 4th (re?)incarnation (1980s/2003/2012/2018-present).

They’ve come through in different forms, making their own splash, and lasting. While none of the iterations have–in the mainstream–necessarily remained in a continuous "immortal" state, the rise/boom/fade cycle has enabled the general notion of the TMNT to survive, albeit living different lives down through time.


Highlander Memories

highlander_tpbsAs I’ve generally recalled it, I was introduced to Highlander in the summer of 1996–the summer after my freshman year of high school, ahead of sophomore year. I believe a friend had introduced me to the animated series, and talked about a live action series, that I then found in syndication on the USA network, I believe. When I found out new episodes were also airing–albeit around 11 at night on Saturdays–it wound up being something I got to share with my Dad, and became a regular thing for us for awhile: we’d watch Highlander, and sometimes whatever the show was that aired after it. And I’m sure that shared experience was one of the things that made it stick so much with me, and hold it as I do to this day.

Another important memory I have associated with the tv series is watching a couple episodes with friends back in 2005 or so after a Gen Con visit, as we assembled new miniatures we’d bought, an activity that lasted us a number of hours and episodes and movies but remains one of my favorite memories together.

Unlike TMNT, though, there’s not been much in the way of merchandise for Highlander…at least not affordably (for me). So it’s been more of a cerebral thing for me, and experiential thing…something that has mattered a great deal to me over the years, without having much to "show" for it.

highlander_novelsThere have been a couple of comics series over the years. Dynamite had the license for a short time, and I believe produced 12 issues and a mini-series, amounting to 4 TPB collections.

More recently, IDW published a 5-issue mini-series but I’m not aware of any further forthcoming Highlander comics (though I’d certainly be interested in more!)

I’m also aware of the property in games–there was a collectible card game at one point, and more recently some miniatures produced with at least two different games, though I’m not overly familiar with those.

And it seems like quite a few years now that there’s been a rumor of a reboot of the property…something I’m curious about and potentially interested in, for SOMEthing, though it’s seemed to me that the BEST of Highlander has been the tv series.


TMNT Memories

I have far more general memories with TMNT over the years; more than I can reasonably try to share in one blog post.

Whatever other toys and such I was into as a kid…it was TMNT that ruled them all. It was TMNT toys like Rocksteady that I even took to school to show off. It was the toy line I actually wanted the vehicles for–having at least the "Party Wagon" (van), the Blimp, and a "Pizza Thrower" that shot projectile pizza discs.

I remember "playing turtles" with my friend Zack for hours at a time as kids; between the two of us, having most of the figures available at the time (with plenty of overlap as well). And he had a Nintendo, and we often played the various TMNT games, particularly TMNT II: The Arcade Game when that came out. We’d even built our own playsets, and "customized" several of the figures. I especially recall our creating some sort of shirt for the barechested Shredder.

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I had the toys, storybooks, junior novels, the cereal, bedding, plush toys, the Burger King BK Kids Club edition of several of the VHS tapes, and so on.

And even as others drifted away from the property, parts stuck with me in such a way that I was easily "brought back" even as a college student and beyond.


Abrupt Concluding Thoughts

This feels like one of my least-organized blog posts. Perhaps I could have gone in-depth on the modern IDW TMNT series and details on the turtles and splinter as reincarnated entities. Perhaps some detailed synopsis of favorite Highlander episodes or specific memories of episodes of the series (Comes a Horseman particularly).

But I decided–and then backed myself into a corner time-wise–to be a bit more informal than I might otherwise have preferred. And though the comics are certainly parts of things, this is more of a general brain-dump with quasi-stream-of-conscious rambling, taking the topic "Immortal" and running with it.

If you’re reading this on my blog itself, you can type "Highlander" or "TMNT" into the search box up top and find the various posts I’ve written over the last 11-ish years and tagged with either term. Far more TMNT than Highlander, though…but you’ll find at least a review of Dynamite‘s Highlander #0 that I believe was originally published at cxPulp/Comixtreme back in the day.

Though my earliest TMNT toy pre-dates the 1990s…I’m still getting new ones! Below are my latest…TMNT Shadow Ninjas.

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(They’re intermixed with some other recent-ish toys and such!)


Super Blog Team-Up

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It’s been my privilege the last couple years to be part of the Super Blog Team-Up. As much as this is a blog "event" or "crossover" every now and then, the group has been a great community, with year-round nearly-daily discussion on topics related to comics and just about anything else as well as real-life topics.

It’s been a great group, brought together by shared interests, but everyone maintains their own views, topics, and so on.

For this outing, please check out these other fine blogs and podcasts as they cover their own topics from the "Immortal" heading!

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