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Showing off the Shelves: X-Men January 2017

Today, I’m showing off my current X-Men shelf configuration, with some volumes "weeded out" for present, possibly permanently, or to be added back in once I expand my shelving, which my collection has pretty much outgrown at the moment.

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One of my earliest collected volumes ever was that original The Essential Uncanny X-Men 1 that I bought right before leaving for college back in 1999. Obviously, my X-collection has grown significantly in the last 17 1/2 to 18 years!

I have stuff largely in chronological–or near-chronological–order, moving through the franchise’s history, with this first shelf pretty much covering 1963-1994-ish.

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Picking up in 1995, this second shelf pretty much takes us through the later ’90s, early 2000s, Morrison, Whedon, and up to 2010 or so.

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And moving beyond Second Coming and the Fraction run, a bunch of the miscellaneous/skinnier volumes taper off the X-Men proper, and get into other stuff…primarily Wolverine and X-Factor.

Of course, with Marvel discontinuing the Essential line in favor of the Epic line, I may eventually be swappign out some of the Wolverine and X-Factor stuff, or pay inflated prices to fill the Wolverine run in. Time will tell!

The X-books are–next to Superman–the most significant part of my entire collection, and certainly out-do the rest of my Marvel collection; while not exact, I’d say these account for at least 35% of my entire Marvel collection.

Impressive as they can be…knowing the "gaps" in content from the various X-Men oversized hardcovers and omnibus volumes…I find it kinda hard to imagine sticking just to the omnibus/OHC format…there’s so much more to be had by combining the formats. That said…I’d be interested in the Inferno and Inferno Crossovers volumes if I could get them relatively cheaply…though more immediately I’ll probably be content to just get the paperbacks as those’ll be much cheaper, period, and there are several other paperbacks that I want that do not (to my knowledge) have hardcover counterparts…including several Gambit volumes!

But that all gets off on other topics (like "wishlists")…

New Arrivals: Cap and X-Men

"Bonus" weekend post!

These two books just arrived today!

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Back in December 2014, I’d thought I’d "completed" the set of Brubaker Captain America Omnibii with The Trial of Captain America. Of course, turned out I was wrong.

However, over the years, I lost track of and/or just flat-out missed the thing’s release, until several weeks ago when I saw someone post about it in a Facebook group.

So, I believe, if I haven’t missed anything else…NOW I have a "complete set" of Brubaker omnibus volumes for Captain America (I’ll likely "show off the shelf" in the near future).

Additionally, the X-Men: Bishop’s Crossing volume is one that I’d thought I’d missed out on entirely, having known OF the hardcover, but not seeing any listing for it online (except massively over-priced third-party stuff) with the newer paperback edition just releasing recently.

However, doing a last-second search "just in case," it was available, so I’d added it to my order.

Of course, I’d never touch volumes like these without a massive online discount. I absolutely want to support local comic shops, and continue to buy what I’d "usually" buy from ’em (my DC bundles from DCBS are in addition to my "usual"). Marvel volumes are–almost entirely–far too expensive for me to justify ever paying "full cover price" for.

Also continues to be amazing (to me) that virtually everything I do have interest in from Marvel (content-wise) tends to be OVER 10 years old, and in many cases, over 15 years old! Brubaker‘s Cap stuff seems to be a primary exception.

While I was able to squeeze the Captain America volume onto the shelf, that was partly due to it "replacing" (and going beyond) two other books I’d had already from bargain purchases and partly to my apparently having left a little bit of extra space for something like this.

Unfortunately, I am out of space for X-Men volumes, and have to wait til I can get a couple more bookcases and do some rearranging to properly integrate X-Men stuff from the last few months.

But that’s something for another post sometime.

New Toys: TMNT, Rogue, and Aliens

Over the weekend, along with going to a small convention, I also found a couple toys I’d been looking for…and a friend gave me some others that are equally (if not moreso) cool.

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Quite some time back, I was disappointed at the "Karai Serpent" figure. When I recently came across the Armaggon figure, I noticed reference to this figure, and have had my eye out since. Heading into November very shortly and the shopping season, I did not want to pass on this figure, having found it… who knows when I’d come across it again.

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I again don’t really see any other figures of particular interest to me–I have come across my original 1980s Mondo Gecko, so am interested in getting the new one for the contrast as I have with a number of other characters. Between what I see on this card back and the 2016 live-action movie figures…there’s really nothing that I’ll be much looking for in the near future, that I am presently aware of.

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Here’s the "profile card" for Karai…


Rogue has long been one of my favorite X-Men characters…at least in the comics. And probably more specifically, the 1990s comics. Even more specifically, probably from 1991’s X-Men #1 to around The Trial of Gambit, maybe a bit beyond.

I had intended to–as with most other waves–ignore the X-Men wave of the Marvel Legends figures.

But I found myself interested in the Rogue figure…if not the price of these figures.

So when I came across the figure at a 25% discount…the price became a bit more palatable…"only" $2 more than what Target (ridiculously!) has as their pricing of the 3.75" figures.

And as I told my friend when I put the figure in the cart…if I did not buy it immediately, we’d never see this figure "in the wild" again. Of course, having bought it…I expect I might see it "everywhere" now.

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I’m not fond of the build-a-figure things anymore…not at these prices. When the regular figures were $7-8ish and you only needed 5-6 to build the bigger figure, they were pretty cool. But at $20/figure (regular asking price), they’re just way too expensive these days, especially when I’m truly only interested in a couple figures in the line and the build-a-figure itself.

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Digital Comics, Unfriendly Page Layouts, and Black Vortex

double_spreads_01I was recently reading some online posts about Thanos, Thane, Infinity, and Black Vortex…and realized that while I had STARTED reading Black Vortex, I never finished it.

I believe it was a 12-issue story…and you can download 12 issues to your device with Marvel Unlimited, and I’d done just that, intending to binge-read the story…and yet I never finished the story.

The reason?

Page layouts.

I enjoy digital well enough…but even turning a tablet sideways, it’s virtually impossible to actually make out the text–captions, speech bubbles, etc–on a 2-page spread shrunk to fit even on the sideways-turned-tablet.

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And in thinking about it, I’m certain that was what stopped me in my tracks: I just got so incredibly annoyed at CONSTANTLY having to turn the tablet and zoom in, because it seemed like every couple pages was a double-page layout!

While a "standard" single-page, vertical, is generally a decent read on a table, it then either is showing only half of the layout, or turn the device sideways and it’s reduced to a much smaller size.

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Sure, there are the various "zoom in to read" modes–Comixology has its "guided view," Marvel Unlimited has some sort of panel view, and I imagine other similar platforms have their own thing to allow you to basically zoom in or view just a given panel in lieu of an entire page.

But part of what drove me to get a tablet, looking forward to the digital comics side, was that the tablet in standard vertical orientation–a bit taller than wide–was roughly the size of a single page of a standard comic book.

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"Modern layouts" can be quite cool, and interesting, and presumably fun for designers, and allow artists to "experiment" and all that (and please believe me, I can totally appreciate that and see immense value and necessity for it) but it all rarely translates well to a digital screen, at least in my own opinion, for my own methods and purposes.

I can’t see "digital" ever totally replacing "print" for me, though I would not be entirely opposed to "switching" to "digital only" for single issues and collected volumes as my "print edition" or "archival copy" if I really dug something… though that’s largely its own topic and for some other post. But for newer comics with the constant full page panels and double-page splashes (already a "cheat" to my pagecount for $3.99 in many cases), it’s even more annoying to experience attempting to read digitally.

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And so–particularly with Marvel, as this specific example–as much as other elements are "barriers to entry, I’m already ok with reading some stuff digitally.

I just can’t stand the double-page spreads that seem to be far too common, recklessly used and even "abused" by way of throwing out pages for something being double-shipped or otherwise trying to make a deadline.

If I’m gonna have to fumble with something physical, do more than just a gentle "swipe" across a screen to read an entire page…I’m darned well gonna just stick with a print edition comic!

#NotAtComicCon – But Probably a Better Haul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New "Old" MiniMates: Wolverine and Sabretooth

I’m definitely a fan of miniature figures of favorite characters. Tonight while checking a local Barnes and Noble for the squarebound edition of DC Universe: Rebirth, I spotted a huge clearance table…and ultimately settled on a couple things.

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I have not much cared for the newer iterations of the costumes for Wolverine or Sabretooth…I’m very much rooted in their early-1990s appearance, as depicted on the X-Men animated series. While there may be slight differences in details, I’m quite happy with this pack.

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I’d forgotten that MiniMates come with stands…I’ll definitely need to utilize them to display these guys at work. They barely balanced for this photo, and would topple if a slight breeze hit them, it seems.

For $5…I’m quite happy with ’em…even though they were not something I’d set out to locate/purchase.

Further Shame of Conventions vs. Awesome LCS

Further putting conventions in general to shame, last Friday I’d gone BACK to the LCS in the hopes of snagging the rest of the Action Comics issues I’d passed on on Wednesday, and with it being Friday, and after work, and the store nearly empty…I did a more thorough flipping through the quarter bins than just the relatively quick pass through barely 1/3 of them that I’d done previously.

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Eleven of the first Twelve X-Men Forever issues.

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Pretty sure I’d recently snagged Strangers 1-16, so tacking several issues onto that for convenience doesn’t hurt.

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I am not sure if or where in the run of Hellblazer collected volumes this series was ever reprinted (Might have only been one of those Vertigo Resurrected issues I’m missing). For $1, not a bad acquisition…have not read this since summer 2001 when I was first introduced–solidly–to Hellblazer in general.

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For shiggles, grabbed several Spawn issues to be thorough…though I think I already had them. Better an extra $1 now than, say, $9.50 or more per issue (a local Half-Price Books had the Spawn #30 priced specifically at $9.50!).

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Several unrelated books, one-off things that had caught my attention–the Malibu issue has a hole through the entire issue–I don’t recall if this would be “THE” infamous bullet-hole issue from the early-’90s or just some stupid die-cut/hole-punch thing. But hey… 25 cents. And Adam Warlock, penned by Jim Starlin, with that classic The Infinity _____ logo? Beautiful cover, 25 cents with a digital download code (a digital purchase would cost at least 99 cents)…yeah, sort of a no-brainer, particularly as “just another issue” tossed on the stack.

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A bunch of #0 issues from the original Zero Month from DC Comics, immediately following Zero Hour. So many memorable, “iconic” covers, some of the more recognizable (particularly for the theme)…

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17 or so Mantra issues, for the potential convenience of an earlier re-read, or an extra set to look into getting bound!

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Minus one issue, the complete run of R.E.B.E.L.S. (’94, ’95, ’96).

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And of course, the Action Comics issues I’d even gone back looking for. I’m now only missing about 15 issues from having #532-904…

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…and I’m not gonna turn down cheap (25-cent!) copies of so many other Bronze Age issues…I have zero illusions of ever going all the way back to #1, but I expect I’ll eventually settle on a specific year or somewhat-reasonably-attainable number to work to fill in from–whether it’ll be MY “earliest” issue to current, or some number even if I have several earlier issues.

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Even snagged several post-Byrne issues, because why not? #700 is truly “iconic” to me, and the others…well, I have a mental image of my first personally-owned issue but didn’t know if maybe I was picturing something else, and went ahead and tossed these on the stack.

Of course, this week, I have every intention of sticking “just” to the Rebirth books and anything else already on my pulls…the past week’s acquisitions are not a sustainable pace!

Nearly 200 25-cent books and some great finds at a couple Half Price Books stores ultimately yielded a haul that far surpasses most anything I could (reasonably) actually imagine from a convention!

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