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Thoughts on Pérez and Processing on Losing Dad

When George Pérez let the world know in early December that he has been diagnosed with an inoperable, terminal cancer and that he’d been given 6-12 months to live, it obviously rocked the industry. At least the various news/rumor/etc. sites. And fans who have loved his work across several decades.

It was a big thing for me, as well…such a "modern legend" (albeit going back to the ’80s at LEAST)…a "legendary artist" of my own time in comics…though I didn’t know much about him at the time.

I know I knew the name, but he wasn’t the first artist whose work I could recognize from one project to another as a kid (that goes to Alex Ross). And not having had access to back issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths (I barely knew of the event for awhile and then it was such a dividing point between "Grandpa’s comics" and "current comics") that I never bothered to seek it out.

In looking at the Wikipedia article, I see that I was actually exposed to his art very early on in my earliest issues of Action Comics. I missed Infinity Gauntlet’s original go, only "discovering" that for myself in the late-’90s through a friend; and it’s amazing to see all these comics that he DID work on that I know/remember, albeit not necessarily having remembered it was him/his art.

While he didn’t "matter" to me at the time, another early "exposure" for me was Ultraforce in 1994; some great-looking issues that had a lotta hype behind them, and I do remember and still to this day kinda hold as THE standard for those characters’ appearances.

And of course I remember the hype and such when JLA/Avengers finally saw publication back in the early-2000s or so; and one piece of "comic art" I’ve always wanted is that large poster of Pérez/Ross’ cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths that (if I recall) shows over 500 characters.


But what I think REALLY hit me was mentions in articles of his being born in 1954. My Dad was born in 1950. And with all of my Dad’s health issues the last few years, it was too easy to empathize cuz I had asked myself what I would be doing/feeling if I got that sorta news about MY Dad? And horrible/guilty as I feel to even admit to it, I even at one point had the half-baked thought/question of wondering if we’d lose Pérez or I’d lose Dad, first.

(All of my writing here is absolutely selfish. I’ve never MET Pérez, I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me, and since I can only speak to my own experiences and have my own reasons for writing this right now anyway, it is what it is.)

Pérez discussing (via interviews/posts, apparently) making the most of time left, and some phrasing to soften the obvious definitely "got to" me a bit, and affected some of my thoughts/expectations of stuff in my own life, with Dad.

As part of the Super-Blog Team-Up group, I was gonna do a post going in-depth discussing Pérez and his impact on me (sort of like I just did above) and I was gonna focus on Ultraforce. Dig out the covers, re-read the issues, etc.

But then Dad went into the hospital on Tuesday December 29th, and I lost him a little before 2am Thursday December 30th. Despite the hospitalization, it was sudden and very unexpected, and not that ANYone can EVER be "ready," I sure as heck was not REMOTELY ready. I have so many regrets and hurts and frustrations from the suddenness; the inability for people to really gather or for us to safely hold a proper memorial service yet; stuff I was planning on talking to Dad about, stuff I wanted to ask him, even having been starting to think that "soon" I should start writing stuff done and talking to him on stuff.

As horrible as I thought it would have been, I guess I always figured that with Dad’s "declining health," eventually (EVENTUALLY) (and ideally at LEAST several YEARS into the future!) we’d someday wind up with him in hospice. That we’d see the final days coming and however traumatic and heart-wrenching as it’d be, that we’d GET that. That we’d get an actual, more proper "goodbye" or something. Closure?

Based on what ultimately went down in that hospital room a few weeks ago, I do believe I was holding Dad’s hand when he passed. I hadn’t said any sort of goodbye, had not "made peace with" the idea, was on my knees holding his hand and praying for his survival and recovery. I didn’t GET "goodbye." I didn’t get a conscious, knowingly-final ANYthing.

And of course, now…I’m muddling through. Going through motions. As I type this on MLK day, I’ve spent several hours this weekend sorting "current year X-books" and getting them bagged and boarded as part of a larger sorting/filing project. And while there’s SOME "satisfaction" to FINALLY getting to this…it just feels so empty and hollow. Comics mean NOTHING compared to Dad. I’d chuck every comic I have here upstairs down the stairs, then close the basement door and seal off the entirety of my 32+ year "collection" to have Dad still here.

But this sorting project "needs" to be done, because I’ve had PILES in the one room for months…over a year, really. Going back to the March 2020 shutdowns and such. And Dad had been increasingly anxious and "on me" about getting stuff dealt with and out of the main space there. But I kept putting him off, all that time…because I HAD TO "do it RIGHT." I "couldn’t" just throw stuff into boxes and onto shelves off to the side somewhere–then they’d just be boxes of random comics, right? So I had to do it right and get them properly sorted so I’d KNOW what was where. And even though we butted heads on it a number of times, he mostly let me be, though he convinced me to get some shelves to at least get the comics off to the side more, and I was actually working on that by early December. And had PLANNED ON dealing with the room thoroughly between Christmas 2021 and New Year 2022 since I had the week off from work. I was also gonna tidy up the basement and get fresh, thorough pics and even do a video walk-through for him. But he was feeling so bad at Christmas that everything was subdued, and then with my anxiety I was just "around," "existing," trying to be "available" at a moment’s notice. And THEN when he went into the hospital, it was ALREADY all I could do to "function normally" while being so worried about him.

And then LOSING him?

So now I have to do this project to honor some of his last wishes. To get that room dealt with and to a state that I can be confident he would have been glad for. And I have to sort and file those comics properly, or else there is no reason whatsoever that I could not have just chucked ’em into boxes months ago to make him happy, when he could have appreciated it!

Meanwhile, I FEEL all the more for Pérez and his family. I’m a bit jealous, too. That even with such horrible, dire, terminal news…they’re GETTING time. I had NO IDEA this was gonna happen with Dad, when it did, and so I never knew that Christmas 2020 would be our last "decent" Christmas. That December 3rd would be my last birthday with him. That joining him and Mom for a birthday dinner for him in October would be our last "out to dinner" experience together. I didn’t know at new year 2021 that we’d not make it THROUGH 2021 whole as a family.

So what am I trying to say? I don’t even know. I’ve written all these words, and on one hand I feel like maybe I should delete this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to. I don’t know if I’ll post this immediately, or give it a couple days; don’t know if I’ll wait and post this to coincide with the SBTU group and their more "proper" posts about Pérez.

This is all just stream-of-conscious rambling here, and I just kinda hope that it’s helped ME at least in the typing, and that maybe it has some meaning for anyone out there READING this.

I do NOT feel like this post is doing honor to anyone, not properly…but it’s selfish and me "processing" and justifying and….whatever.

But it’s ME, so whatever that says, I guess.

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Understanding Peter

spidey_cover_amazing_545Way back in 2007–15 years ago–we had One More Day.

I hated it. If only on principle.

Essentially, what I remember the story for, is this: Aunt May was dying, and it came down to Peter (and MJ) making a deal with MEPHISTO to save her.

In exchange for the life and health of Aunt May, Mephisto got "their marriage."

It was as if the marriage had never happened. So they weren’t divorced, neither was dead, none of that "baggage."

And I remember a lot of the argument against the story being that Aunt May wouldn’t have wanted them to give up their marriage over her. She’d want them happy. And she was "old," while they’re young. And so on.

But I never considered it from Peter’s side. Not REALLY.

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Yes, this is a fictional story, about fictional characters, etc; I am keenly aware despite how I’ll talk about the characters.

Because I now know that I would give so much, FOR "one more day."

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I now UNDERSTAND what one would be willing to give up to save a loved one, if they could. That I’d rather stay/be single, if I could have not lost Dad last week.

It doesn’t matter that he was 71, and I’m 41, and statistically I might have another 30 years in me. It doesn’t matter if Dad would have had another six weeks or another six years…I would trade so much to have him back.

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I cannot condone making a deal with THE DEVIL; so I can say that THAT part I cannot understand.

But Peter’s willingness (as I recall?) to sacrifice being married, and so much of the happiness he’d found….to give that up in exchange for whatever additional time he could have with May?

Yeah.

I get it now.

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Until all things new. "Get some good rest. Get some good sleep. I love you."

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Until then we’ll have to muddle through…somehow

This post–the one immediately following the Weekly Haul December 22, 2021 post–was supposed to be the Weekly Haul December 29, 2021 post. I went to the shop on Wednesday. I got new comics Wednesday.

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BUT…I was ALREADY going through the motions. Sick with worry over my Dad in the hospital. But he was in the hospital where they could give him fluids, ensure he (got) his meds, other stuff that Mom and I just were incapable of here at the house. She got to visit him Wednesday–she left minutes after I got back and I took the dog who haaaaates being apart from him. Or all of us at once.

We got a call from the hospital Wednesday night…

We rushed to the hospital.

I don’t know HOW long what I saw in those couple hours will be with me. Very often when I close my eyes and/or lose focus, I’m back in that hospital room, seeing what I saw. Experienced what I experienced. Or worse, I’m in the hall with the flurry of medical professionals rush into the room. I’m seeing what they would not have wanted me to see.

What no one should have to see.

And this scene..these scenes…from Superman: New Krypton Special #1 that were moving and hit me hard in 2008 at even the CONSIDERATION of the thing, albeit (then) being FICTION…these are now all too real.

For me.

Except I don’t have a Lois.

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Whether he knew I was there, or heard me, or heard Mom…

I got to say goodbye.

I was holding his hand.


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Once upon a time, I could only "imagine."

Now I know.

Now…I understand.

And will have to muddle through.

SOMEhow.

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Harper Convention: October 2021 & CNJ Consolation Haul

While I’d made it to the Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Show last October (2020), I missed out on the February 2021 edition due to it being far too crowded. This year’s October edition–October 3, 2021–I had no trouble getting in…was actually there and part of a small crowd there for when the doors opened.

Unfortunately, it was a rather "disappointing" show for me, in terms of finding stuff I was looking for.

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I ended up buying several Marvel Milestone Editions of some X-stuff. But no luck on other stuff I was actively looking for.

Perhaps the most notable thing for ME was while I was fishing the MMEs out of a box, someone right next to me dropped about $2k cash on an actual Giant-Size X-Men #1! The seller sold 2 copies in as many minutes, albeit one for $2k, one for about $5.

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I also stumbled across this display pack of vintage ’90s X-Men figures from Toy Biz. I was shocked at the low price! ONLY $20, for 10 figures! So….$2/figure! And this was still intact as a box unit.

Well….the figures are basically screwed into the plastic bases. However…given I’d want to display them anyway, and for the price, I’m plenty-ok with that!

What I was less "ok" with was going to the trouble of going to a show and not really finding anything else of interest, just frivolous-ish stuff that didn’t really MATTER long-term/overall.

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So with time on my hands and money in my pocket, I decided to visit Carol & John’s since I was relatively close by, and snagged a big chunk of missing Generation X issues that I needed.

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They also had a bunch of random $1 comics including some Alpha Flights; I ended up grabbing these two issues, figuring their condition’s rough enough I can have patience and find better condition copies OR a larger "run" some other time.

Plus I had my eye on another issue I spotted…

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They had this issue of the original Mirage run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Considering I am STILL kicking myself mentally for passing up a 3rd print of #1 several years back that they had for something like $125, I jumped on this. With their everyday 25%-off-marked-prices discount, this was significantly less than marked…but STILL well above what I’ve paid for ANY OTHER SINGLE ISSUE in my 33-some years of buying comics! (surely pocket change, though, for someone that drops $2k cash on a single issue some Sunday morning..!)


While I forget the exact phrasing, I remember years ago hearing on a podcast someone talking about how essentially, 90% of one’s collection costs 10% of what they pay for the collection. That’s certainly looking valid to me for TMNT stuff. All the more as I’ve also snagged the Raphael and Michelangelo covers of IDW‘s #1 from 2011 this year and am now looking for the Donatello cover. I’d intended to try to get the wraparound cover (a la X-Men (1991) #1) but as a retailer-incentive cover or such, figured if the REGULAR covers are so hard to find these days, I’d better snag those when I CAN. I’d bought the Leonardo cover when it came out, and (in retrospect) SHOULD have sucked it up and bought the other 3 at the time just to have them. Deffffffinitely paying for it now.

But that’s another story for another time!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 22, 2021

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Closing in on the fiiiiiiinal haul of the year! Here’s a look at yet another huuuuuuge week’s haul!

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The Trial of Magneto #5 wraps up this mini-series jusssst shy of the new year. Wolverine #19 and SWORD #11 I believe ALSO wrap the current volumes, with renumbering/relaunching with stuff in 2022.

New issues this week for Amazing Spider-Man #82 continuing the Beyond thing; Phoenix Song Echo #3 continuing the theft/plundering/appropriating of X-stuff to the Avengers side of things. And Wastelanders Hawkeye is….there. (Still hunting down the Wolverine issue from the previous week!)

Rounding out the Marvel stuff, I happened to look at the Venom #3 cover and saw that it lacked a certain NAME on the cover. Ok…so, if that name was JUST on the #1–that I already bought when I mixed it up with Hulk a few weeks back–then I’ll give in and give the series a few more issues since I’m not avoiding it for the social media practices of its writer. And I’m not even sure why I’m getting Black Panther except to "support" a title that does NOT feel like its writer is overhyped or "stunt"-assigned.

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I love that we have a whole family of Spawn books now…though I’m curious as to just how long McFarlane & co. will keep it up. I’d have to "research" to see what the longest-running other "side series" was for a companion piece to the main Spawn, but I have a feeling these are already putting a decent-sized dent into things.

Radiant Black continues to get by on strength of its writer’s name for me, and supporting his NON-Boom, non-MMPR work.

Walking Dead Deluxe continues; as does IDW‘s TMNT; and managed to get the second issue of the new Haunted High-Ons mini.

While I’m mentally "OVER" DC at this point, I’m already "invested" in this Batman Catwoman series for better or worse; ditto the Batman Scooby-Doo Mysteries. Total "obligation" or "OCD" buys both…and I’m not even sure about reading either at this point! Yet again, rather sad to note that a mere 5 years ago I was basically all-in on DC and now it’s just my own OCD finishing out limited runs on a couple books that has me buying ANYthing AT ALL from them.

The Conan the Barbarian facsimile edition #1 is from a week or two back; had to get it online as it was unavailable locally.

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I also hit back-issue bins and came up with a "random" issue of the ’90s What If..? series…the cover grabbed me. I’ve long been a fan of this iteration of the Iron Man armor, with those cables in the neck…not sure WHY, it’s just always grabbed me! And I’d swear I already had the X-Men ’92 issue, but it was still on my list, so I figured fine, get it (again, maybe) just to make darned sure so I can get it OFF my "missing issues" list!

And of course, Comic Shop News…amazingly still going, and at this point the ONLY still-published, continuously-numbered periodical in North America that actually goes back to the early-’90s…


One more week’s haul to go to complete 2021. And that’ll be the usually-small week falling on the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 15, 2021

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Heyyyy…finally a less-than-18-books-in-one-week week!

Extremely Marvel, heavy, though…but that’s come to be a new-ish "normal" for me as well.

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X-Force #26 and Excalibur #26 mark what I believe are the final issues for both series, as well as the totality of Krakoan X-content for this week.

Hulk #2 gives me a second issue of the title…something that has my attention PRIMARILY for it NOT being the writer of the Immortal Hulk series. I’m already well on my way to being better off waiting for collected volumes, but c’est la vie, I guess.

Amazing Spider-Man #81 is another "just the next issue" for me; while Miles Morales: Spider-Man #33 is an issue I didn’t even realize was gonna be tying in to the Beyond stuff currently in the main Amazing title. Since I thankfully was made aware of it before visiting the comic shop I was able to grab it!

Demon Days: Rising Storm #1 is one I should have passed on, but I THINK I have all the other Demon Days issues so far, so until I figure out what I’m doing (or not) with them, better to "keep up" than have to "catch up" later, I suppose.

Marvel Voices Comunidades #1 came out some other week recently, but I’m just grabbing it this week…and that’s to follow along with/keep along with Chris Sheehan‘s X-Lapsed podcast and as close to "complete-Krakoan-X as I can get.

TMNT #124 is apparently a Christmas issue; I’ve been starting to reconsider on this title…deffffffinitely "just" getting it at this point outta HABIT as opposed to any actual enjoyment of the title. I can’t even think what the last issue was that I read, and marks at least a couple years since I’d last REALLY enjoyed the title and been excited for it–back with the run up to and actuality of #100.

King Spawn #5 is another "latest" issue…interesting and cool having a "family" of Spawn books…though kinda scary already being at a 5th issue here and I haven’t read any yet.

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I’ve been enjoying these "binge book" comics of which Super Sleepy #1 is the latest: about $5 for a nice thick issue seems a great value and plenty worth "supporting"!

And having backed it on Kickstarter, my copy of the Silverline Christmas Special arrived this week along with its companion SIlverline Signature Series book (modeled after the old Malibu Signature Series).


So only 10 books–really–for the week; the Silverline issues don’t "count" as they weren’t comic shop purchases of stuff newly out this week. Baically a week only HALF the size of the previous couple…so hopefully I’m getting stuff wrangled back down a bit.

Intentionally skipped a couple issues I’d have otherwise bought; missed at least one or two issues that I’ll likely seek in the near-future; and….time will tell!

Even though this is the third New Comic Book Day of the month, there are still TWO MORE yet for the month…and the YEAR.

2021 is nearly done, and 2022 technically will be the third year involved in all this pandemic stuff and ramifications. This time rather than "hiatus" stuff it’s delays and shortages as well as newer/changing distribution stuff.

Not sure if I’ll try to do a post on those topics or not, but we’ll see.

For now…here’s hoping for another small-ish week for the 22nd!

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Not at Comic Con X-Haul 2021

Another "catchup from summer hiatus" post! Back in July or very early August–whenever SDCC was–Cleveland-area shop Carol & John’s had their annual "Not at Comic Con" sale. Among other things, that includes a small room of longboxes of comics for $1 each…but if you buy 50 or more, they drop to 50 cents each!

I wound up going out that Friday after work, figuring what the heck, I could spend $50 or so and either get a handful of issues for under $50, or certainly add 50-ish random issues if I got particularly close to 50 where it’d cost the same either way, 50 or 100!

Well…I wound up getting a FEW more than that.

JUST…a few.

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But filled in a lotta holes in the collection, and while my preferred bargain-bin-sweet-spot is ’90s comics…over the past couple years or so with the CNJ sales, I’m actually able to extend the target scope of my collection beyond ~2003 all the way to the present.

To where–at least for the likes of Uncanny X-Men–I’m pretty close (relatively speaking) to having the entire run going back to my birth month. Alas, #141 in particular’s a problematic one to acquire, as are a few earlier ones. But as of this TYPING I believe I have #s 142-500 at least, and a number of post-500 issues; as well as much of the post-Schism run, a bit of the 3rd one after that, and the 2018-2019 pre-HoX/PoX run.

ANYway…I could ramble a lot more, but rather than that randomness and such, I’m just gonna present a photo gallery below of the issues laid out…if only as a personal record of stuff I’d snagged. (Also as of this typing, I’ve now duplicated on several of the Generation X issues because I stupidly did not check this stack prior to seeking those out and was over-eager to "complete the set.") More on that in another post, I think!

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I’d made it to the shop whatever Friday night that was, a little over an hour until closing. I honestly had not expected to find MUCH, but then found quite a bit. I was watching the time, though, and with just a few minutes til closing, had to grab what I had and get rung out, which was still pretty expensive despite everything being 50 cents!

As of this typing (Thanksgiving Day) I believe they have another sale coming up for Black Friday that I may stop over for. Time will tell!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 8, 2021

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Yet another HUGE week! Ugh…and I think there are still a couple/several issues I was interested in that I’ve not found. Combine that with getting a couple of wrong covers and having to double up to get the proper cover, and I’m all the more frustrated with variants this week, too!

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I definitely go in waves, it seems…and lately, I’m on a huge Marvel wave. I’m "all-in" on the X-books, treating those like their own publisher…like a Valiant or such, except Valiant has been on my shi crap-list for more than half a decade now. So Inferno and Hellions and X-Men Legends have their "next issues" out this week. Final issue, sadly, for Hellions…but we’re winding down the Hickman-helmed stuff and heading into post-Hickman stuff, albeit hopefully a more graceful such shift than Morrison back in 2004!

I’ve also stuck around on Amazing Spider-Man out of curiosity, but ALSO to support the notion that I WILL ABSOLUTELY BUY A SERIES that (gasp! shock! horror!) has a creative team change and status quo change but KEEPS ITS ONGOING NUMBERS. And a few weeks back I let myself snag a couple issues of the Death of Dr. Strange and so had to grab the tie-ins and…here we are. I find it easier to justify the gradual, "payment plan"-like bit on getting an event a chapter or couple chapters at a time rather than a huge, expensive collected volume…and since I’ve NOT been using the likes of DCBS and won’t "just" pay full cover price for most collected volumes…singles it is!

And with the Death of Dr. Strange and the Darkhold "mini-events" on my pickups, I figured what the heck, I’ll give Devil’s Reign a shot. And I’ve been getting Fantastic Four stuff lately….and THEY have an event coming up, so….guess I’m very much a Marvel guy right now (while really ONLY buying Batman/Scooby-Doo from DC, and that solely on basis of "supporting" the $2.99 price point!) But maybe more on that with the weekly haul post for 12/15…

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New TMNT stuff. The Best of Shredder is–like the Best of April a few weeks back–sorely lacking in terms of including excellent character stuff from the TMNT Adventures series. In the case of Shredder, surely they could have used TMNT Adventures #25 or #36! This one reprints the colorized TMNT Color Classics #1, which reprints the original Mirage #1 from 1984…admittedly solid-ish as the first appearance of the character, but why not #10? Given there have been a number of reprints of that #1, seems like a wasted slot here!

GI Joe: A Real American Hero #288…sounds lately like IDW might be losing the Hasbro stuff (GI Joe and Transformers, anyway)…I sincerely, totally hope whoever takes ’em up keeps this series going, INCLUDING THE NUMBERING as well as keeping Larry Hama. I will probably avoid the GI Joe stuff on principle if they drop Hama and/or renumber to #1. Here’s hoping IDW at least gets to squeak along to an issue #300, so whoever gets the license next at least doesn’t get to screw that "honor" up.

Spawn and Walking Dead Deluxe have their "latest issues," as does Warhammer 40,000: Sisters of Battle. While technically a Marvel issue, this is not Marvel continuity so–like say, the Ender’s Game/Shadow stuff, I’m not lumping it in with general Marvel stuff.

And then just because the whole mini was available and I’m 90% certain I don’t have the issues (could be wrong, and then I’ll have wasted the $10 or so) so now I do.


I managed to force myself to skip several non-big-2 titles and skipped or missed a (couple?) #1s, but since I’m NOT a speculator, not a reseller, not a dealer, etc…and I’m literally not even actually reading most of what I’m buying lately (YET), I’m passing on that stuff in favor of the X and other Marvel stuff that at least maybe/sorta/kinda/slightly "matters" more and isn’t JUST something to be a 4-6 issue mini-series to get optioned for some streaming-exclusive and be the next big speculation/scalper deal.

Here’s hoping the week of the 15th is a littttttttttle  "smaller" than the last few huge weeks have been..!

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Chris Claremont Signing

Falling amidst my lengthy hiatus from blogging, back in August for Free Comic Book Day, Cleveland comic shop Carol and John’s was able to have Chris Claremont out for a meet & signing!

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Plenty of loads of other pieces online can fill you in on Claremont and his importance in a more formal way. But here’s my "story."

I was introduced to the X-Men in 1992. While specific dates and numbers may be slightly off–we’re talking nearly 30 years ago and plenty of life since then, after all–I remember a friend having me borrow an issue of The Uncanny X-Men from him. I don’t remember the story, I don’t remember all the characters…but I do remember his "quizzing" me on the characters after, and as I recall it right now, three of them were "Wolverine," "Bishop," and Storm. As this was likely earlier-’92, and Bishop wasn’t in that first October 1991 issue, this was PROBABLY Uncanny 285 or 286 or so. Move ahead a few months and there was some new cartoon debuting on Fox Kids. Along with watching the couple of episodes there (Night of the Sentinels), this same friend sat me down and we watched an older cartoon episode–Pryde of the X-Men.

…which gave me a bit of deja vu, even then. I recognized it! Turned out that I had seen that one before–some (presumably Saturday-morning) or such, it had been on and I caught it, there was never anything else, so I forgot it. But I clearly remembered that theme song proclaiming "X-Men! X-Men! …come-ing-your-way!"

ALSO in there among stuff, another friend was following the The X-Cutioner’s Song event–the polybagged-with-a-card crossover event in the various X-books. So I was aware of the titles, even though I wasn’t getting them myself. (also late-1992 saw The Death of Superman, Vengeance of Bane and Batman: Sword of Azrael, dabbling in speculation with Bloodshot #0, getting in "at the beginning" with the likes of The Batman Adventures #1, Spider-Man 2099 #s 1-3, Guy Gardner #1, early issues of Batman: Shadow of the Bat and so on. A friend was getting The Infinity War and had some other Marvels so again, I was aware of that side of things.

Probably thanks to Wizard magazine and other promotional stuff as well as friends being interested, plus the cartoon and such, 1993 saw me start getting X-Men comics myself…my first X-Men comic being Uncanny X-Men #300. I initially missed #s 301 and 302 (filling the gap in not long later) but managed to snag each issue from #303-onward. By then had also dabbled in other titles with the Fatal Attractions event (X-Factor #92, X-Force #25, then Uncanny 304 before some time later getting X-Men #25 and Wolverine #75 on the same night….that’s another story).

But by 1994, the X-Men were a "thing" for me, though it was NINETIES’ X-MEN that were my thing. Despite those issues of Uncanny, I’m pretty sure the first issue of X-Men "adjective-less" for me was #24–the Rogue/Gambit date issue. (If you know it, you definitely know the cover!). It wasn’t long after X-Cutioner’s Song, BUT it WAS a couple years removed from the Claremont era.

Fast forward a few more years, and I’d definitely learned OF Days of Future Past. I still have a kids’ chapter-book version of a "novelization" of the story…the only way I got to read the story for a time! Somewhere over the years I got that skinny 2-issue "prestige format" "collection" of Uncanny 141-142. Otherwise, I think my introduction to Claremont‘s stuff was his Sovereign Seven from DC, though I got into that for it being a #1 and a new team…I had no conscious connection of him to X-Men. Ditto later for his run on Fantastic Four in early 1999 or so.

Yet somewhere, somewhen over the years, I made the conscious connection. And came to recognize his run for what it was, and its grand import to comics, and the X-Men, and so on. And some of that probably runs up right to the last few years or so. I’m far more aware OF his work than familiar with it. I’ve yet to read the vaaaaast majority of his X-Men stuff, or really any of his New Mutants (I read the original graphic novel in college 20-ish years ago from the university’s library), or his X-Treme X-Men and such.

And while I hadn’t realized it until a couple years ago…he was in rarified air for me, on the "bucket list" of "people I’d want to have ‘met’" or such. Up there with Stan Lee (‘met’ in 2012), Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Jim Lawson, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens


So a couple years ago–I don’t remember exactly when, but I think it was December 2019–when Carol & John’s announced that they’d have Claremont out for Free Comic Book Day 2021, I knew immediately that I’d "have to" be there. I knew by then that he doesn’t make many appearances, I had the impression he was rarely in the US at all (I’m probably highly wrong, there), but to have him at a signing at a store less than an hour’s drive from me…it was an exciting no-brainer!

But then 2020 happened. So the event was pushed off. I won’t get into assumptions/thoughts.

I was glad to hear earlier this year that it was "on" again and made plans to be there.

I didn’t know details or logistics. Floated plans, made tentative plans, but ultimately ended up there by myself.

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Claremont being who he is…I had to go beyond my usual "couple token issues" to get signed. Up until the evening before the event, I wasn’t absolute on what I wanted to get signed.

While I was happy in 2012 to pay the $40 for a photo op with Stan Lee, I’d otherwise never paid more than $5 for a signature…while I may budge on it some, overall I don’t like paying for signatures when it’s stuff for ME or for friends. I get why creators charge, but that’s where I typically fly by "live and let live." If they’re charging what I don’t want to pay, then their signature and meeting them obviously isn’t "worth it" to me for that.

I believe with this signing, the first signature was free, with subsequent ones being $10. Hearing stories of other creators charging upwards of $50+ per…that sounded absolutely fair to me!

I knew I wanted to get Uncanny #142 signed. I’d hunted for–and failed to find–an original #141, so went with a Marvel Legends reprint edition I’d managed to get. Not as good as the original, nor as good as a "facsimile edition" would be, but fit my purposes. I’d acquired #142, and as part of the 2-part Days of Future Past, that was a given…same reason I wanted 141. Then there was #266…Gambit’s first appearance. And while I was at it for Gambit, I’d also snagged Avengers Annual #10, so wanted to get that signed…first appearances of both Gambit and Rogue. But plenty of other stuff. I decided Uncanny X-Men #274–the Savage Land issue with Rogue and Magneto–was a "key" to me with some fair bit of sentimental value. And while I doubt I’ll ever get to, with the possibility of someday also meeting Jim Lee, decided on 1991’s X-Men #1.

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I ended up arriving right about 8:57am or so…noted the time because of some health stuff I was dealing with and having to be sensitive to the time. I believe "the event" was to "start" about 10 or 10:30 and had known going in that getting there early was gonna be important. Even that early, there was already a significant line…but nothing compared to what soon built up behind me!

One of the workers handed me a sign–I was the back of the line, and requested I hand the sign back as others showed. I had the sign for a few seconds before getting to pass it to another, and he to someone else, and no longer a concern to me. Wound up spending the ~3 hours in line with the guys that showed up behind me–Mike and Rob–also there solo. While I wasn’t overly talkative–as an introvert, the entire thing took a lot out of me–it was enjoyable, and interesting, and quite memorable. Just being surrounded by other people whose lives were impacted by the work of one man’s writing!

We got to the head of the line right about Noon…and it was sounding like Claremont was gonna be getting whisked off for a lunch break and such, and I was suspecting that was gonna happen after the family that was juuuuust ahead of us/me. That ended up not being the case, though. I think I’m thankful for that–but caveat being that I certainly hope it was NOT to Mr. Claremont’s detriment!

In the foyer, CNJ had a huge poster/mural up based on the cover of Uncanny X-Men #141, and I was able to get one of the guys to take a couple photos of me with it.claremont_signing_friends_books

Also got to get a photo with the man himself! While not a professional/portrait type thing (as with Mr. Lee in 2012) still a "key" photo of me, for me!

Back to the issues I was getting signed: I had my 6, but also had several issues for friends! As a fellow X fan and friend, while I’d been unsure of what issue to get, I ended up getting a copy of a facsimile edition of Uncanny X-Men #266 signed for Chris (find him at chrisisoninfiniteearths.com, @acecomics on twitter, etc.!). Also had acquired an ‘extra’ Avengers Annual #10, so got that signed for Bridgett (knowing Rogue to be just about her favorite character) and another facsimile Uncanny #266 for her husband Stephen (knowing Gambit to be one of his). (you can find them at Seraphim Entertainment, Bridget at Euphoria).

I had several other friends who were unable to make it…and I feel bad not having been able to get stuff signed for them. Had I known they weren’t gonna make it, would have made those arrangements!

That said…going in, I had sticky-notes on the issues with names, intending to get the signatures "personalized" (remember, I’m not in it for reselling and such!). However, came to realize Mr. Claremont was just doing straight signatures, so I let it be…MUCH more interested in hearing anecdotes and other such than trying to be annoying about requesting personalization if he didn’t seem concerned about it. I do remember that he commented on the Uncanny 266s, something about if anyone had any extras, he’d be glad to have ’em. (Which, coming after a tease from that site that bleeds coolness) seemed to be to confirm he’s got something going on with Gambit…


And…well…that was that. 3 hours in line, 9 books signed, and a memorable experience (for me) on the whole!

I defffffinitely preferred this to a convention…while I’d have been way happier with NO LINE…that’s just not gonna happen! But for spending 3 hours in line for a couple of minutes of time with the guest of honor…this whole thing sure beat spending a similar time/line/etc. at a convention with paid admission and skipping other events while in line.

This post is a good 4 months or so LATE, so I do apologize for that, as well as being SO all-over-the-place. Much of this has been stream-of-conscious writing…I’m not going back through to edit overall, and if I second-guess myself TOO much I’ll NEVER get this posted.

So feel free to chime in in comments, here on the blog itself, or on twitter if I’ve posted a link, or on facebook with the same. I’ll gladly follow up on some half-finished thought, clarify where I’m clear as mud, etc.

Otherwise…bringing this post to a close, for now!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 1, 2021

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Another week, another post, and…holy crap was this another ridiculously-huge week!

Let’s get into it…

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Three X-books. Trial of Magneto, Marauders, and New Mutants. All in one week.

Then the nearly-weekly Amazing Spider-Man, which despite a major shift in status quo, creative team, frequency, and even logo somehow managed to keep its "original numbering" for THIS volume. (Probably cuz someone at Marvel has their eye on the first #100 in YEARS!).

Speaking of "someone at Marvel," the Phoenix seems to have been "stolen" from the X-Realm…but I’m still getting this Phoenix Song Echo because of the Phoenix being an X-thing, even though I SHOULD–by rights–ignore it as an Avengers family title. But speaking of the big A…giant issue. And with some others of late…and getting much more back into Marvel in general as I’m increasingly disgusted with DC…well, I bit with the huge anniversary #50/#750.

I’ve got high "hopes" for The Marvels despite not having actually READ any of the issues yet. I tracked down the early issues "recently" so now it’s a "keep up and wait" game.

And somehow I got myself tangled up in Darkhold as well as The Death of Dr. Strange, so a couple tie-ins there.

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…and STILL another Marvel in Darkhawk, which I’m getting solely because of Kyle Higgins‘ name.

While I should just cut my losses, I still wound up grabbing the Hardware issue. Maybe I’ll just finish out these "season one" minis and let that be that. Of course, that assumes they even come out reliably with all the shenanigans with DC and Lunar and the whole printing/paper and supply chain crap at present.

New issue of Spawn. McFarlane publishes this title A DOLLAR CHEAPER than pretty much any other American comics publisher (outside of a couple of DC Scooby-Doo and maybe Looney Tunes and such titles). Not only that, but accompanying titles I believe are all $2.99. AND the Spawn titles all have these quality cardstock-y covers! I continue to vote with my dollar(s) buying these on principle for the price point!

IDW gives us a new issue of TMNT as well as some sort of one-shot behind-the-scenes Snake-Eyes: Deadgame thing. I’d gotten the mini in the Long Ago so grabbed this as well for completionary value.

New issue of Fire Power (I need to catch up on my reading). Snagged "the next issue" for The Magic Order 2, which means I have followed this second series an issue longer than the first. And while thinking of it like that, I’m kinda kicking myself for grabbing this issue. But being in a hurry on a lunch break…well, there ya go.

Also grabbed first issues for whatever King of Spies is (I think I grabbed this for Millar‘s name) and Maniacs of New York was snagged on strength of the publisher name. With my feelings against Boom and Valiant I’m glad to let Aftershock take their place…at least in MY buying. Even if I haven’t totally figured out what they’re all about, if they have a shared universe or if they’re just an Image "clone" or sorts.


This was a single-shop week; a one-shot purchase, with no collected volumes, no holiday spirit, nothing particularly special…but EIGHTEEN BOOKS..! That is absolutely NOT "sustainable" even for me, so I’ve GOT to figure out what I’m doing on that. Especially as I "try to support" some titles. I’m just one person, and weeks like this leave me (re) contemplating DCBS at least for some stuff. Current distribution/supply-chain woes being what they are, though, it’s hard to figure out which would be the better way to go.

December is a 5-Wednesday month…but one of those falls between Christmas and New Year which is traditionally an "off week." BUT as that STILL LEAVES the "normal" FOUR Wednesdays…this sure seemed like an awfully big one. C’est la vie I guess.

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