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SpawnQuest #5: Batman & Spawn

spawnquest

Around 3 years ago, in 2016, I’d discovered some comics at Dollar Tree. $1 for a comic, a collector’s guide, etc. Not a horrible price, though most of the comics were what I’d consider 25-cent books. Freex #1 particularly caught my eye; as did another.

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One that seemed well worth the $1 price was Spawn/Batman by Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane.

And then recently at the Hall of Fame City Comic Con, I snagged what I consider a "convenience copy" of Batman/Spawn: War Devil.

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And last week as part of the regular Wednesday haul, I grabbed Spawn #91.

Not as keen this week to charge ahead. It’s actually sorta discouraging to realize just how spotty the rest of the series is going to be to get, and what a long haul it may well be.

And all the more how I’m particularly interested in getting my run filled in up to #100 for the near-future, even if the rest of the series ends up being a long slog.

And #301 came out this week…so I suppose I haven’t done horribly for the month between the issue that kicked off the excitement and the few weeks til its next came out.

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SpawnQuest #4: Nearing the End of Easy Acquisition

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A couple weeks ago, I’d ordered a few more Spawn issues. While I’m not intending to get every last tie-in and off-shoot/spin-off (and not even counting stuff like Curse of the Spawn or the Sam & Twitch series in this hunt), I had a couple of the Spawn Fan edition issues, and two of the Spawn/WildC.A.T.s issues.

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So I ordered the missing FAN edition and crossovers. And a couple more of the single issues. Those arrived.

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I also went back to Comics & Friends and snagged what was left of what they had that I was missing.

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I probably should have cut myself off with fewer issues…but being logical/sensible, since I’d almost certainly be getting the issues anyway, better to just get ’em and be done than to arbitrarily hold off. Especially since–technically–I could afford ’em without significant problem or such.

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And then the next day, I swung back by Comic Heaven and snagged several more of the issues they had that I was missing.

I figured better to get these there as a regular shop I go to ahead of whatever I’d find at an upcoming convention or such!


Of course, seems that after this initial run of stocking up really quickly on a concentrated area of issues, I’m about to hit the harder part of stuff.

"Everyone" seems to have the first few issues of the series. I’ve heard the number "1.7 million" regarding the first issue, and imagine similar for the next several, and while surely declining numbers from there, seems like I’m "always" seeing the first 16-20ish issues as back issues. Beyond those, it seems quite spotty–even with the online retailers, let alone what bricks-and-mortar stores have in backissue inventory.

I’m definitely driving at 1-100 most immediately, now having 1-67, having 70 of the first 75, and 82 of the first 100. Not quite as quick, easy, or cheap as my Savage Dragon build-up a couple years ago. But I do think this one’s gonna have much better longevity.

As always, of course, though…time will tell!

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#SpawnQuest #3: Beyond 50

spawnquest

After having snagged a bunch of issues online, the next part of my hunt turned to a comic shop I hadn’t been to in awhile that has a lot of backissues.

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I was thrilled to discover that–a perfect fit for having just filled in to Spawn #50–they had issues 51-55! The very next issue I’d need, and it was five issues in sequence!

(I suspect that before long, instead of being able to get "runs" of issues I’ll be forced to go piecemeal singles and more gradually fill in gaps, and have far more gaps in general!)

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On my way back from that shop, I realized that while I’d thought I’d checked another, I hadn’t…so I stopped in, and was able to get some more issues…and introduce several tiny "gaps" into things with them having a bunch of issues, but not every sequential issue.

As such, this expands the bulk of my collection to issue 69, albeit missing 4 issues (56, 63, 66, 68) from that.

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I also opted to go ahead and bag ‘n board the series so far. I’ve a feeling I’ll be moving the collection around over time as I add to it, and over the past year or so I’ve been bagging-and-boarding new comics for that same reason. Stacks "slide" a lot more this way (unfortunately) BUT issues can stack, be stood upright, and generally handled a bit less delicately without having covers getting creased or crunched, and so on.

I may not be fanatical about condition, but that doesn’t mean I want to "destroy" my own comics!

So this stack in the photo is Spawn 1-69 (minus 4 issues) and 257-300, as well as the modern/recent Medieval Spawn/Witchblade mini, the Spawn Kills Everyone one-shot and Spawn Kills Everyone 2 mini, as well as a couple Fan Edition issues, a couple issues that originally came with action figures, the first (only?) issue of Stupid (with a Spawn on the cover!), and couple issues of a Spawn/Wildcats mini.


I’m definitely in danger of over-committing, I think…at present, my official intent with this "SpawnQuest" is the main, actual Spawn series. #s 1-300+, period. NOT all the one-shots, spin-offs, tie-ins, crossovers, etc.

I believe there have been at least a couple iterations of Curse of the Spawn or some such, a couple of Sam & Twitch series, and numerous one-shots, annuals, specials, crossovers, tie-ins, and so on.

While I may (likely) wind up getting some of those as I go along, this "quest" definitely, specifically the main series. If I can get a bunch of those others, cool.

That said, I know I have–and I think from quarter bins, at that, as well!–the crossover issues with Batman. If I recall correctly, there were two. One was Spawn/Batman published by Image while the other was Batman/Spawn published by DC Comics. I believe the Frank Miller/Todd McFarlane one was Spawn/Batman, and that one I recall being a particularly "big deal" back in the early days of my being into comics, and was one of my earliest forays into Spawn, though I couldn’t tell you a darned thing about any "story" to the thing.

I do recall getting another copy of the issue back in 2016 or so in a pack of comics from a Dollar Tree, which I got specifically FOR that issue, as it was well worth the $1 by itself.

While this is a second "SpawnQuest" post in a week and my 5th or so Spawn post in 2 weeks, I can’t imagine I’ll be able to keep up quite such a frantic pace of acquisitions as I have. And it’ll be all too easy to–like with Savage Dragon a couple years ago–get distracted and leave off.

But I’ll probably take the opportunity–as this is also giving me "stuff" to even post ABOUT and get back into posting a bit after virtually nothing for a few months this year–to post photos of the other issues I do have, as–at least for me myself–I’d sort of like to be able to have shown photos of every issue from 1-300whatever by the time I "complete" the series to whatever then-present.

Time–as always–shall tell!

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#SpawnQuest #2: Issues 31-49

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I guess I could have titled an earlier post as "SpawnQuest #1," but I don’t think I was quite as "committed" to the thing at that point. Though I used the phrase "SpawnQuest" in it, and since it technically was the first post for this, I’m starting here, now, with #2! There IS no actual #1. (or perhaps I’ll retroactively go back and re-title the post…though I don’t really like doing that!)

But with several recent posts on Spawn, I suppose I’m making it a bit more official, if only for a few weeks.

I suppose the convention that weekend was like "testing the waters" or some such. But that was also "filling in a gap" in my collection. I forged ahead after that with a couple of online orders, to fill in the next gap in my collection, created by buying Spawn #50.


SpawnQuest #2

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Though I don’t believe I’d ordered from them in years, I remembered a site I’d ordered comics from in the past without any problems–NewKadia.com. I decided to check their selection, and found that they had a number of Spawn issues in stock. They also had a handy feature where I could type an issue number or range and add all to my cart; ALSO specifying best condition OR lowest price.

As I’m definitely going for a "reading copy" collection–I’m happy to have great-condition issues, but I just want the issues and for them to not look like they’re in horrible condition or such.

Since my next "immediate goal" after the convention last weekend was issues 31-49, I keyed in that range, selected "lowest price," and let those get added to my cart. I checked out, and that was that for NewKadia.

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For the remaining issues, I was able to use LoneStar Comics (aka mycomicshop.com).

Both orders arrived on the same day, which was even better…especially as I’d placed the order on a Wednesday and had them Saturday!

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While "just" ordering online certainly takes some of "the hunt" away, when I get "all about" something like amassing many issues quickly, I can be quite impatient and more "for" the "immediate gratification" than ever being able to say I hunted every issue down from bargain bins or such.

Especially as I saw from the Cleveland Comic Con, dealers that HAD Spawn at all had them clearly marked–a sort of "sub collection" or such, a specific "category." While I’ll be happy to grab any random issues in a 25-cent bin or such, the series is still going at #300 and beyond, has never been renumbered/relaunched and all that, and so has never just ENDED or been "dead" or such…so its issues are all still relevant and less likely to be "dumped" en masse or whatever.

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Along with filling in the #s 31-49 gap, I’d previously ordered Spawn: Resurrection #1…beginning from the other end of the series. I’m pretty sure (at the moment) that this one-shot fits between Spawn #s 250 and 251; that it goes with 251-256 as an arc; where I "joined in" with #257 and have kept up since.

And as I’ll likely show off existing issues as I go about this #SpawnQuest, here are several of the reprints of #1. The Image Firsts edition; the 25th anniversary edition (Ultimate Spider-Man #1 homage cover). And the 2019 Free Comic Book Day reprint.


I’m probably going to be a total broken record over the course of these posts, but I’m just amazed at the series being at #300, and that despite multiple different reprint editions OF the original, I actually own the original, as well! Particularly as I remember my friend Zack getting/having The Amazing Spider-Man #365 back in 1992 or early 1993–along with at least one of the other Spider-Man 30th-anniversary issues with the large hologram on the covers. Granted, that represents another 5 or so years’ worth of issues after the series’ 300th issue (1988?). But it was just absolutely unfathomable to me at the time that I’d ever be able to go all the way back to #1, say, on that series. (And all the moreso now in 2019!)

But with filling in this 31-49 gap, I already (now) have the first 50 issues of the series, as well as the latest 44 issues (257-300). With knowing I have a few issues from the 185-190ish range and #200, that means I have at least 100 issues out of the 300…so a third of the series!

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My Spawn Collection at 300

As of Spawn #300’s release–September 4, 2019–my Spawn collection isn’t all that large.

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But it includes #s 1-19, 25, 30, and 257-300! Granted, in this photo, I have the 2019 Free Comic Book Day edition of #1 on top. I also have the Image Firsts edition. And the homage to Ultimate Spider-Man #1 edition of the Director’s Cut in there.

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I have my real, actual #1 framed alongside the #1-homage cover of the Director’s Cut hanging on the wall down to the basement.

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At a glance it disappears into a sea of framed stuff, but it’s still there! It’s how I like displaying the occasional variant that I do buy for the art!

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Then I have a shelf of miscellaneous stuff that hasn’t been rehomed elsewhere as yet. Several bust banks, a Kotobukiya Professor X, the Neca Shredder…and Spawn figures I got a couple years back.

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In this photo are a couple of early-ish (maybe not FIRST wave, but certainly from an early one!) Spawn action figures. These are standard-size; I’m not sure exactly what scale…they just are what they are. I also have my ORIGINAL Medieval Spawn figure minus its cape elsewhere, but when I had the chance to buy one that had the cape (and the sword) I jumped on it! Of course, with the originals, I do remember it being quite cool having a figure that also came with a "full-size" comic book. (And this was before Marvel Legends, even!)

While I don’t know if they were originally with either of these figures, I do have a couple issues that I think had originally come with some figures.

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And there’s this oversized statue-size figure. I loved the price, and its size. I may not be willing to pay several hundred dollars for a statue, but a couple comics’ price for a plastic figure? Great by me!

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My two original Spawn figures on a shelf of miscellaneous figures…

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A bit of a closer view. Though…wow. Batman is REALLY rather prominent, there!

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OK…there we go. The Spawn figures!

So that’s Comics and toys.

"But what about the movie?!?" you might ask. "Wasn’t there an animated series?"

Got those, too.

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The original film, as well as a "box set" of the animated series (from HBO, at least originally, I think?)


I probably have a handful of other Spawn things around. But other than getting the individual issues the last almost-4-years, I’ve really only dabbled in the character/property. (As I type, I recall I also have at least one of the Spawn/Batman issues…but if I jump up for every memory to add a photo, I’ll never finish this post and get to bed at a decent hour!)

I suppose this is a bit more than I thought when I first started typing tonight…and surely "more" than many people have.

I have roughly 70 issues of the main Spawn title…leaving me 230 issues to have the full series. Whether I’ll seek to attain that, I don’t know. A couple years ago, I hunted down 100 issues of Savage Dragon in barely a month. I don’t see THAT happening again.

But time will definitely tell!

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Rare Excitement: Spawn #300 (But Stymied by Variants!)

I don’t feel like I TRULY get all that "excited" anymore for most new comics.

A lot of what I buy tends to feel rather habitual to some degree, such that a new issue is just simply "the next issue" of whatever, rather than something I truly look forward to and am eager to get to Wednesday and the comic shop to obtain and read the issue.

This week sees the arrival of Spawn #300.

Which totally BLOWS MY MIND in its way.

Spawn.

#300.

Not just 12 issues. And I especially recall #16 as something new-on-the-shelf at the time (though I don’t think I bought it at the time).

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Not just 25 issues, though that’s a pretty respectable number to get to.

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I definitely recall getting #25 when it came out, though, and I’m pretty sure it may very well have been my first issue of the series, despite other hype for the series in general and whatnot.

For all that, the series even made it to 50 issues (which would be QUITE the accomplishment based on modern Marvel, though Spawn is "original Image" and NOT Marvel.

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Heck, the series made it to 100 issues!

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It seemed like QUITE the accomplishment for an Image comic to hit #100…and especially something like Spawn that often seemed like most expected it to have been a flash in the pan that would go away after a few issues of burning brightly.

I remember jumping in around #185 or 189 or so for a few issues, skipping a few, and then getting #200 (for the sake of Spawn #200).

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But still, the title has kept on going.

I jumped on with #257 in 2015 when the issue’s cover REALLY stood out to me and caught my attention. And I stuck with the title, even adding it to a pull list, largely to "support" its $2.99 standard price point (which as of #299 has still held!).

And 44 issues later…closing in on FOUR YEARS later…here we are.

#300.

And I’m very much looking forward to the issue, and seeing where things are. I have to catch up on READING from about #272 or so; but I’ve spent hours over the past couple days digging through all my stacks and piles and boxes of comics from the past few years, and pulled the "run" together, with the exception of being unable to locate #286, which I’m happy enough to "replace" for the sake of having the run together in one place.

Typically I DESPISE variant covers, especially numerous covers. I’m much more forgiving for something like this–a 300th issue; though that’s from years and years of being (figuratively speaking) beaten over the head with variants.

Though it would seem to ME better to have an "iconic" cover ESPECIALLY for anniversary issues of this magnitude.

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My first issue "off the rack" of Uncanny X-Men was its oversized #300 issue…and the feeling of enormity to THAT at the time, at 300…that probably contributes to my excitement here for Spawn hitting that number.

I remember the earliest issues. I own the first 25-30 or so now, as well as a handful of others prior to 257.

But I’ve been "around" and "into comics" essentially for the entire run of Spawn.

So to see it hit this number is amazing to me, and enormous for the constant rebooting/renumbering of all the longest-running titles from other American publishers.

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I’m all for the "main" cover, by McFarlane himself…assuming the above IS the "main" cover.

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I also really dig this cover (in its color version WITH the cover logo and such!)

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I also can’t help but appreciate the Amazing Spider-Man #300 riff, even if this isn’t THE final version. It fits nicely with the previous couple issues’ covers:

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Now, whether the issue lives up to its hype…I haven’t the foggiest.

I’m just glad that there IS an issue that I’m this specifically stoked for. All the more as–unlike #200–I have the previous 43 issues to read up to current and fill in any immediate gaps.

We’ll see how things play out, even with just being able to get the "parody" cover and/or the main cover.

My primary annoyance is that I cannot find ANY page anywhere that specifically lists which cover is which to a list. Which cover is the "A" cover, which is the "B" cover, and so on. With so many covers…I would think the publisher at least ought to have something.

That I can’t just "message ahead" to the comic shop to hold the cover I specifically want is a definite PROBLEM with so many variants wantonly out there for the issue; before getting into any "ratioed" variants and such (those I choose to try to ignore entirely as best I can and hope that none of the images I’m interested in are the "ratioed.")

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Cable #150 [Review]

cable_0150_lenticularThe Newer Mutants (Chapter 1)

Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Jon Malin
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Jon Malin, Federico Blee (Lenticular Cover Artists: Rob Liefeld and Jesus Aburtov (based on New Mutants #87 by Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane)
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Assistant Editor: Chris Robinson
Associate Editor: Mark Basso
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

I "sampled" the ResurrXion stuff back in the spring, though between the pricing, frequency, "art," quantity of variants, quantity of titles involved, etc. I opted not to follow the various series. I did apparently buy Cable  #1 as I saw it recently while going through other recent-ish stuff for something, but haven’t yet read that, and otherwise figure it’s been at least a couple years since I’ve bought anything with Cable on the cover, though I’d followed the beginning of his post-Messiah CompleX series, and the final several years of his ’90s series into the first couple issues of Soldier X back in the day. I even sampled a couple issues of Cable & Deadpool at the beginning and end of the run (oops…Cable gets no "credit" for that series, as Marvel tossed it entirely into Deadpool‘s…um…pool).

Long complaining of Marvel‘s pricing, variants, stunts, rebooting of numbering, renumbering, event-into-event-into-event churn, etc, I’ve also long avoided most of their "newer" output–certainly over the last half-decade. But there comes a point where "curiosity" gets the better of me, or "nostalgia," or perhaps just "morbid curiosity," and I check out an issue or few. Plus, I can only complain so much while never actually purchasing something–I can grouse about stuff all I want, but I feel I have to occasionally have some hands-on experience, not just 100% taking "everyone else’s word" on stuff.

So I’ve got Cable #150. After all the hubbub on the "lenticular covers," I opted to go for that version…after all, it was available in-person, at cover price, and said cover price being the "regular" $3.99, I figured at least I’m getting a "fancy cover" for the price. Alas, though the cover has the slick, plastic-y feel (and sound!) of DC‘s lenticulars, I really don’t like this at all. It’s supposed to have both the New Mutants #87 cover from 1990 or so with the 2017 re-iteration of the image. But try as I might, I can’t get a clear, non-fuzzy view of either that doesn’t have distinct bleed-in of the alternate image. If it wasn’t for the non-lenticular version presented as the first page, I wouldn’t really even know what the "newer" image truly looks like! And honestly, the best the cover has looked to my eye is the scan I did for the image above…so not even "just" to the naked, human eye as far as looking at the cover in-person!

Simply as an image, I like the thing. I really dig the nostalgia–we go from Cable’s first appearance in a #87 to his own series at #150…full circle and all that. While I like the Liefeld re-do of the original, it works well as the cover, and I’m glad the interior is a different artist. Malin does a good job of giving a clean, sleek design to the characters while capturing the classic look–including Cable’s ridiculously huge gun, a staple of the ’90s. On one hand, I’m quite glad to see the character simply looking like himself; on the other, I’d swear he’s been through more changes and was looking much older. Of course, there’s also flashback stuff to this, so, whatever.

Overall, there doesn’t feel like there’s much story to this issue. Cable’s with Longshot, investigating the death of an External named Candra. Confirming the death (which shouldn’t be able to happen, as she was supposed to be immortal), they proceed to meet up with old Cable-ally Shatterstar, and the group then goes to confront the last remaining External: Selene. The confrontation proves less than ideal, with Selene thinking Cable & Co. are there to kill her, not question her…and ultimately we’re left with a bit of a revelation that screams "retcon" to me, while leaving us as readers none the wiser, really, and stuck waiting for another issue.

I’m not familiar with Brisson offhand, but this isn’t bad. Strictly in and of itself, I enjoyed this issue…just not the fact it’s (as "always") simply 1/6th of a constrained story arc. I get a sense of the nostalgia being gone for with this, but don’t really feel like there’s much context to stuff…while I expect things’ll be clarified in later issues, this feels more like the first chunk of pages of a singular lengthier story, and not a full story in itself. I shouldn’t be surprised–that’s basically standard practice these days, for the last decade or more. There is a brief ~3 page segment with the character’s "origin," rather broad and boiled down, but hitting a few key points (far from all, and basically touching on none of the development(s) since 1993). I don’t know that anything Marvel would publish on that front for this would satisfy me, though…especially as none of the origin was "new" to me. I’m clearly not the target audience for it, though!

As usual for a Marvel issue of late…the Marvel brand itself is damaged as far as my feelings towards ’em on so many points, and while by no means a bad issue, this issue is not enough to leave me interested in planning on getting the next issue…and Marvel‘s pricing doesn’t leave me all that expectant of being highly inclined to even bother with the collected edition once it comes out.

Though this brings in some ’90s elements and looks like a familiar-ish iteration of Cable himself, this issue by itself does not stand out as anything overly special, either as part of Marvel Legacy or as a 150th issue. With the screwy numbering and not really being a standalone issue, I’d say wait for the collected edition if anything, if this didn’t already draw you in on nostalgia, number, or cover image(s) alone.

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