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Showing Off the Shelves: TMNT (November 2016)

I’m showing off the latest configurations of "sub collections" on my shelves.

Here, today, are my TMNT and Usagi stuff. While not officially tied together, I’ve long associated Usagi Yojimbo with the TMNT stuff; and so they fit together well on a shelf. Though I’m basically maxed-out on this shelf now, so the Usagi stuff might end up getting moved to fit elsewhere before too long.

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I’d jumped on the TMNT Ultimate Edition line as soon as it started, and "kept up" with it, including the surprise/addition of the 6th volume. Then I have the 1First graphic novel series, collecting the early Mirage stuff in color the first time. These were my initial introduction to the original/Mirage version of the characters, having had my start with the classic cartoon and the Archie-published TMNT Adventures.

After those we have stuff from Mirage itself over the years–first some of the generic collected volumes; then a bunch of the mid-2000s collected volumes up to the cgi-TMNT film just before Laird sold the property.

From there, the Archie edition of the original TMNT Adventures mini, collected; along with 4 of the 6 TMNT Classics Digest that reprinted the earlier TMNT Adventures issues; and then the current run of IDW‘s volumes collecting the TMNT Adventures run. From there, some other versions of the TMNT Adventures collections, the IDW TMNT hardcover, the 30th Anniversary Special and the 2012 & 2014 Annuals.

Finally, the first 4 Usagi Yojimbo mega-collections from Dark Horse.

I’d had a number of the earlier IDW TPBs of their TMNT series; but stopped with those as soon as I found out about the oversized hardcovers–and though I’m a couple volumes behind, my aim is to use THOSE for my "double-dipping" on the series. They’re the far better value, with about 3 paperbacks’ contents for about/slightly over the cost of 2.

I had at one point figured I’d be getting some of the various other large hardcovers IDW has been putting out for the various TMNT stuff…but they’re all different dimensions, and just don’t look like they go together that well, and thus are quite unattractive to me as a group of books.

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Then, of course, there are the TMNT toys. While this is not the entirety of my TMNT toys collection…it is a full shelf’s worth, laid out for display at present.

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New Death of Superman Editions

death_of_superman_new_editions_03Back in late 1992, possibly early 1993–VERY shortly after Superman #75 was published–a collected volume was rushed out, collecting the six Superman issues and the Justice League issue that made up the Doomsday! (now simply The Death of Superman) arc.

I have always considered it something that was rushed because on the back where they gave a cover gallery, several of the issues were obviously-marked (Roman Numerals) later printings…whoever had been tasked with designing the back cover did not even themselves have access (or care) to all first-print editions (and I say this assuming there were no digital images floating around back then to simply access and use).

And over 1993 we then got the Funeral for a Friend story collected as World Without a Superman, and then eventually a massive (even by contemporary standards!) The Return of Superman (my copy, bought at the time, was a whopping $14.95 or so..!).

Over the years, those volumes have remained in-print…with the only major difference that I have noticed being that the Death of Superman volume eventually was switched to the iconic Superman #75 cover image of the tattered cape amidst the wreckage of Doomsday’s rampage.

The volumes originated in a time where any such collected volume was a real rarity/novelty, and it was only the particularly “special” or truly “sold-out” major storylines that would get collected into a single-volume edition…and each was largely its own thing, existing as an isolated item. “Simple” as the spines were back then, my original editions, at least, look ok together, but do not match many “surrounding” volumes on the bookshelves…and other than “knowing” the three volumes belong together, there’s no real indicator of them, nor the order to read them in. I take such knowledge totally for granted, but especially in this day and age of constant deaths and resurrections and timey-wimey stuff and multiverses and pre-Flashpoints and New 52s…’nuff said.

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We now get five volumes–each more manageable than the Death and Return of Superman Omnibus, and admittedly higher prices…but also more content in the volumes–for example, the Death of Superman volume now contains the Newstime magazine that was published during all this; the Funeral for a Friend volume has the Legacy of Superman and the Supergirl/Team Luthor special; while what was formerly the single-volume The Return of Superman has been split in two–with the addition of the four ongoing titles’ Bloodlines annuals (each issue starring one of the Four Supermen) as well as the entirety of issues that had only had several pages reprinted.

And while it does not fit the “set” or “series” quite the same way, we have the inclusion of the Doomsday volume, giving us the Doomsday: Year One annual as well as the complete Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey along with Superman: The Doomsday Wars.

I believe podcaster and fellow blogger Michael Bailey said it on Facebook (and I wholeheartedly agree!) that probably a better fit for this volume would have been the early-2000s mini-series Superman: Day of Doom in place of The Doomsday Wars.

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Still, all in all, I love the new trade dress–the black bar with red logo/title text contrasts nicely with the images, and really make them look like part of the same series of books.

While I kinda question the wisdom of numbering the volumes (wondering if a 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 on the spine would put someone off from buying an isolated volume), I absolutely love that with the full set, part of the spines makes up a black box with the iconic (extremely so to me!) “bleeding S” that denotes the death of the Man of Steel.

This set gives me at least my 5th edition of the Death of Superman volume, and I have many of the issues in this set multiple times over. Yet, given what the saga means to me, on learning of these new editions’ existence and the inclusion of the specials and particularly the annuals…I was immediately interested. That the spines do what they do put me over the fence.

However, I did wait until these were available from InStockTrades, as I certainly was not going to buy all 5 at once at anything remotely approaching cover price, and even this was a hefty one-time amount to lay out. For saving 45%, though, I’m extremely pleased with the purchase, and having these volumes!

The Weekly Haul – Week of February 17, 2016

Raided the 80%-off bin…and snagged these four volumes. $25 for the four.

Four decently-thick (especially Inferno) volumes…for the price of 6 current single issues. And given Marvel‘s propensity lately for the $4.99 to $5.99 #1s…hey…these make for that much more of a value-purchase.

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The drawback is now going to be tracking down the 2nd volume of the Complete Collection by Matt Fraction run, having scored vols 1 & 3 here. But considering what it would’ve been for all 3 at full price, even if I’d pay full price for it, I’m still well ahead on things.

Deals like this continue to totally blow away even convention deals, as most dealers seem to primarily stock $10 bins of scattered Marvel hardcovers ($19.99 cover price)…while “complete” collections or thicker volumes like these are scarce, at least for reasonable prices.

As to regular comics this week…a $1 reprint under my “all $1-or-less issues” and an off-the-shelf Power Man and Luke Cage issue…because of a couple friends, figured I’d TRY the first issue if only to be able to talk about it with them…though I can’t see following it on a regular basis unless it surprises me and totally sucks me in.

Superman Shelves Return

superman_shelf_01It’s been a couple years since I really “refreshed” some of the shelves I have, and some recent Superman acquisitions had me curious what things would look like put together again.

So I took some time and pulled all the newer Superman books I’ve bought, and went through and got the Superman shelves re-organized and re-confirmed for myself that Superman is certainly a key part of my collection.

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I’m very interested in tracking down Superman in the Fifties and Superman in the Sixties, as well as Superman Chronicles vol. 7. (I’m not sure if the series made it past 10 or not). I’m sort of interested in other Showcase Presents volumes, but not dead set on ’em…though the nostalgia might kick in and change my mind.

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I think I’m three volumes behind in the The Man of Steel series…and off the top of my head, not sure what else I might be missing from the post-CoIE/pre-Death era outside of The Wedding and Beyond.

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I’ve waffled on whether or not to pursue the New Krypton era of stuff, as I just wasn’t overly fond of that…PARTICULARLY in retrospect (though I’ll take it over New 52!) I’ve got the first couple Superman/Batman volumes…though I’ll probably “upgrade” to the newer editions soon, replacing those two with the more compact, robust paperback with both under a single cover.

I’d also like to get the single-volume edition of All-Star Superman, and had been intending to get the single-volume edition of For Tomorrow…though that was rendered a bit moot by recently acquiring the Absolute edition for 75% off. Then again, that unfortunately does not fit properly on any of my shelves, and might be relegated to a “special” shelf with other books that just do not physically fit…which would leave these shelves able to make use of the paperback as well.

(Plus, hey…Superman.)

New (to me) TPBs to Start December

Along with new comics, this week I scored several bargain volumes:

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The Marvel volumes were all 90% off so cost me $1.50 to $2 each…less than HALF the cost of a SINGLE ISSUE.

And the Hellblazer volume I got for $5, less than 1/3 its cover price.

Everything in the photo above for basically the cost of 3 single Marvel issues.

Yet I’m probably most thrilled with the Hellblazer volume as it gets me one book closer to a full run of the Hellblazer trades, outside of the new “complete” editions being published every few months.

Acquiring Critical Mass (and TPB pricing)

Usually, I’m not one for buying a tpb the week it comes out, nor for buying it at a shop instead of waiting to get it on Amazon or some other site or finding it at a used book store.

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But this volume is a bit of a milestone: it begins the collection of Paul Jenkins‘ run on the title–brand-new-to-collected-format material I have been interested in reading for well over a decade!

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I’ve been trying to keep up with these new editions, and fully intend a serious re-reading project at some point. Until then, though, I add to the shelf, while removing my older editions to make space for these numbered editions.

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This volume collects 13 issues, and while not the thickEST of the Hellblazer volumes in this new run, it’s still a very nicely-thick book. The best part is that despite that whopping issue-count…the cover price is STILL ONLY $19.99. And truthfully, I felt the need to buy this one in-store because so few volumes carry such a REASONABLE, respectable ratio of price-and-content.

I’ve no doubt that a Marvel volume of this size/this many issues would be at MINIMUM $34.99 if not $39.99. Of course, for Marvel, that’d be a “mere” $3/issue contained within as opposed to the seeming “standard” of $4-$5/issue contained.

This volume works out to about $1.54/issue…which is LESS THAN COVER PRICE for the individual issues it contains. Truly a benefit of the format, and a large part of what draws me in: the bargain of having en entire story or run of issues in a single volume…at a better price than the single issues. All the more as these issues are from the mid-1990s so nearly 20 years old and (at least in my experience) not the easiest to come by in bargain bins.

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These new editions are becoming a larger part of my overall Hellblazer library. With many of these replacing 2-3 prior volumes, I’m also liking how the collection is shaping up with the thicker volumes instead of a bunch of skinny little things.

I’d thought this 9th volume wasn’t going to replace anything, but then realized that the first issue of the collection–#84–wraps up the material reprinted in the Hellblazer: Rare Cuts volume. At the time, that volume had stuff that hadn’t previously been reprinted, but it was primarily from the earliest part of the series–and these editions have filled in the gaps that Rare Cuts had tried to fill.

With this volume carrying to #96, I figure volumes 10 & 11 will be completely “new” content to my collection, with Son of Man picking up at #129. With several months between volumes, that won’t be something to worry about until next year sometime.

What’s going to be particularly “interesting” to me is when (if?) these catch up to where I “joined in” around #160/161 or so; or just as much a few issues earlier with the start of Azzarello‘s run.

Ending the Year: A Quarter-Century Collection Unified

shelf00For the first time in several years, I actually have my comics “library” whole, in one space (outside of some Walking Dead books out “on loan” at the moment). I’ve attempted to arrange the collection in a number of ways over the years, but keep changing stuff here and there. This latest “reunification” was no exception.

Previously, I’d had my Marvel Oversized Hardcovers grouped together, separate from the “regular size” hardcovers and premiere edition hardcovers and paperbacks. Several months back when I reorganized my “last 2+ years” shelves I didn’t do that separation, and decided I liked having stuff together like this more than the sleek look of all the hardcovers lined up together.

I went with a quasi-alphabetical scheme, “grouping” stuff like Avengers, Captain America, Essentials, Spider-Man, Ultimate Universe, X-Men, and such with other stuff peppered throughout. Within these groups I put stuff mainly in story order or in the case of numbered volumes, numerical order with the entire cluster roughly where they’d begin in-story (with a few exceptions for appearances).

And now, showing off the collection in detail!

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Annihilation, Avengers, and Captain America. While I consider AvX more an X-story, the prominent titles on the spines and the AvX logo just made it totally fit better with the Avengers stuff, and keep my head from exploding at putting big A volumes in with the Xs…

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I decided to put my Essentials in the E range, as the word Essential is so prominent on the bulk of my editions (notice that it’s hardly noticeable on the third Classic X-Men volume/current trade dress, instead more closely resembling the Omnibus styleage. (Over on the DC side the Showcase Presents volumes are grouped by character as the “Showcase Presents” is rather small and the character/title far more prominent.)

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The Heroes Reborn and Infinity Gauntlet/etc. stuff are some of my favorite volumes and I wanted them together, so let the Hulk stuff jump the alphabet slightly (with the added excuse that Incredible DOES come before Infinity).I still am missing Infinity Crusade vol. 2, and intend to snag the new edition of Infinity Abyss soon, and likely Infinity next year sometime. As my only real Silver Surfer volume, the Rebirth of Thanos is shelved here as it was a definite prelude to Infinity Gauntlet, and the Thanos – Marvel Universe: The End is here as well as a continuation of the Thanos/Infinity stuff.

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My Spider-Man and Thor collections are relatively small. Spider-Man’s basically all from bargain bins. The oversized Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimates collections are some of the more “premium” books in my collection. Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 1 and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up were–I believe–my first two Marvel hardcovers. Pretty high on my list to track down yet are Ultimate Spider-Man vols. 6 through 9 and the Death of Spider-Man Omnibus.

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The X-Men have largely dominated my hardcovers…the Grant Morrison New X-Men books starting things off; a bargain bin for Supernovas and Rise/Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire continuing things, and the “premium” Messiah Complex/Messiah War/Second Coming ‘trilogy’. Bargains yielded Fall of the Mutants, Mutant Massacre, X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner’s Song; and I’ve had my eye on the Age of Apocalypse Omnibus and believe there’s an Age of Apocalypse Companion coming out next year, both of which would be cool to have, though likely a bit less physically readable than the five-volume paperback series.

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Stuff like Rogue, Longshot, and Magik (with only 1-2 volumes) got shelved elsewhere; but “general X-related” and Wolverine stuff fell here to be WITH the X-Men stuff, if a bit out of alphabetical order. Due to their size, the various digest-sized stuff got grouped here rather than get lost amidst the full-size/oversized volumes. I put the Crossgen books here as well since they’re now under Disney WITH Marvel; and size-wise they’re a good fit.

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And for the first time since returning to active publication, I finally have all my TMNT stuff together and all my Valiant stuff together.

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My Superman collection has continued to expand. While I could replace the Death/Funeral/Return of Superman volumes with the Omnibus…these paperbacks are my original editions from 1992-1993, so they remain with the 2013 Omnibus. I’m yet a couple volumes behind on the Man of Steel paperbacks, and there are a number of Silver/Bronze Age themed collections that I don’t have yet.

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With a bit of spillover from the Superman shelf, the bulk of the Batman stuff fits just below. I’ve had eyes on the newer Knightfall volumes, and do want to get those eventually, as they’re far superior to these original 3 editions (though vols. 1-3 are each from different printings/trade dresses prior). I’ve also had my eye on the new printings of No Man’s Land.

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Green Arrow and Green Lantern have always been a good fit together; especially as I’ve so few GA as to be negligible compared to the GL books. I need to catch  up on the first couple Green Lantern hardcovers in the New 52, plus the Wrath of the First Lantern and The End, (and perhaps paperbacks for GL Corps to that point) but I think I’m almost ready to close out my keeping up with having the entirety of the Johns GL saga/”era”…whether or not I track down any of the tie-in Blackest Night volumes I don’t yet have. For lack of better placement and keeping a few inches to ‘grow’ I also shelved Astro City here. I believe I’m missing a single volume from having the complete run in one edition or another, outside of any collected volumes of the current Vertigo incarnation.

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My ‘general DC’ stuff is a bit less organized; more a clustering. Somewhat alphabetical, but then I grouped the big events: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, and Flashpoint. The Shazam books got stuck right after Flashpoint as a couple volumes are in the Superman books, and I didn’t get really “into” Shazam until the New 52 volume came out.

shelf12

Hellblazer, Sandman, and Y: The Last Man headline my Vertigo shelf. I do want to “upgrade” my Hellblazer volumes to the newer printings for the early stuff, except I think vol. 2 is already out of print while 1 and 3-5 may not be? I may also “downgrade” the All His Engines to the softcover just to “fit in” more. I’m looking at doing the same with the Sandman: Endless Nights volume. Watchmen sits alone without any Before Watchmen as it’s physically smaller and if I’m to ‘buy into” the Before Watchmen stuff, I want it to physically match with the original.

shelf13

I’m still missing a volume of Preacher, and am not happy that to get it I’ll likely have to get the new trade dress that may have some overlap due to the volumes’ issue counts being messed with. Alternatively I’ve considered just revisiting the series with the newest editions that seem likely to be fewer volumes but thicker all the way through. For lack of other placement, the zombies fit nicely here, as does my GI Joe.

shelf14

Since reading the novelizations of the comics in the ’90s, I’ve been quite a fan of Dark Horse‘s Aliens stuff…and the novelizations continued into the AvP stuff…so by extension I’m a fan of their Omnibus series, and hope to expand it, at least on the Aliens side. I then have other misc. Image and Image-type stuff, and while Marvel published the Ender’s stuff, that’s it’s own thing, so fell here.

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My DIsney, Archie, Usagi, and Bone stuff wound up down here, followed by Highlander and a true “mixture” of remaining stuff. Having the Death and Life of Superman novel (anniversary edition) on the shelf next to the hardcover didn’t work for me, but I’ve got both because of extra material in the paperback, so it’s relegated here. Several other volumes wound up here that I’m hanging onto but don’t otherwise fit with what they ought to, for me.

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Finally, my comics “reference” and novels wound up on the top of the bookcase. Thus they reside with the comics stuff, but there wasn’t otherwise room to give them their own shelf with the current arrangement.

While going through the entire collection, I did do a bit of “weeding,” pulling a number of volumes I’ve grabbed off $1 tables and such; or that I got years ago when I thought I just wanted “more volumes” “in the collection.” I’ll probably wind up “weeding out” some of the Essentials volumes.

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…and here again is the entire collection as “presented” last Friday, now with the closer-up shelf-by-shelf detail above.

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