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My Last Comics Purchase of 2013


Another Hour’s Come

“We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be…”

lifeofwalt1to100smallI’ll admit it: watching this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special nearly brought on tears. Had I been watching alone, I imagine it would have succeeded. But that’s not the focus of this post.

Of all the poignant things said, from Eccleston to Tennant to Smith and supporting characters throughout…this hit really close to the heart.

Who hasn’t felt like different people through the years? All the phases of life, the periods of trials, tribulations, joys and frustrations. Not so much the randomish ups and downs, but those extended periods of time.

If life were accurately represented in a comic book series–that is, one’s life individually given a comic book publication analogy of sorts–it’d be like all the Marvel and/or DC reboots and such. lifeofwaltbgsustudent061The continuity might remain the same, but the numbering is new/different, and the creative team might shift.

I was one person through maybe 4th/5th grade. Another those years through the end of junior high. I was another person in high school…maybe 2: one most of freshman year, with a transformation that began in the final weeks that year hitting that summer between freshman/sophomore years.

I was another person the summer between high school and college, and by halfway into freshman year of college I was yet another person. The summer between my sophomore and junior years I was another, and then Autumn 2001 saw me become yet another person for most of that academic year and into the summer after. lifeofwalt100I was a ‘new’ person from the week before my senior year began on through the next autumn before a short time as yet another person in early 2004.

There was another life from going off to grad school in late August 2004 through to 2007/2008; and I’ve felt like a different person these last few years.

Truthfully, lately I’ve begun to think that it’d be rather ideal to be able to “regenerate”–to maintain memories of everything that’s come so far, but to have a new start, a new/different personality, etc. Yet much as I might desire certain things to change…I suppose I’m afraid of what must happen to usher in such change. And who I am now, whoever that is–“I don’t want to go.”

Superboy: A Blast From the Past

Tonight while seeking a couple other movies (non-comics-related), I came across this “Complete First Season” of Superboy for $10 at Best Buy.

Sure beats the heck out of the $40ish it was when it first came out a few years back!


Now, if only I could find the REST of the series similarly-priced!

But this came along at a good time…with all the “mid-season finales” and such basically over, I was looking for something “new” to get into for a few weeks…this should do quite nicely.

Checking Out Superman/Wonder Woman

supermanwonderwomanissue03It’s kinda interesting at times, the way I’ll “bargain” or “make deals” with myself. Such as recently at JC’s in the Falls. I walked in looking for Amazing X-Men #2 and some 25-cent comics. Happened to see Superman/Wonder Woman #3. Remembered Michael Bailey posting something on facebook recently about it being a good title (in such a way that–to me–served as an endorsement if not outright or personal recommendation).

So I made a deal: ok, if BOTH issues 1 AND 2 are ALSO in-stock, withOUT my having to ask about ’em, I’ll give the series a try. And sure enough, both were, and so I did.

I’m pleasantly surprised. I don’t know how long I’ll stick around–I enjoyed reading these first three issues, having ALL THREE to read AT ONCE. But I certainly enjoyed even just the first issue a lot more than I did Batman/Superman #1. I can tell this is rooted within generalized current continuity, and I feel like I’m getting enough from what I’m reading to not be concerned about tracking down other issues.

I don’t feel lost or left out, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something for lack of internet “research” or such. I’m just getting…a story.

And after all those Villains Month issues back in September?

Throw Doomsday and Zod into the mix, and not seem gratuitous or watered-down? Yeah, ok, Mr. Soule…you’ve got my attention.


On This Valiant Journey

xomanowar001.jpgIt’s occurred to me that, at last, I may have found a ‘winner’ outside of Marvel or DC.

See, it seems like more often than not, I’ll give new series a try…but eventually (like, within a year) I lose interest and let the title go. Or whether I’m digging the book or not, it gets cancelled. Or I simply switch to following it in collected volumes. So outside my various stints of following certain books/families of books to one degree or another from Marvel and/or DC, it seems anything else is merely a short dalliance.

Valiant has broken that mold. X-O Manowar #20 is due out in the next week or so. I’ve bought every single issue since #1 hit the stands back in May 2012, a couple days before Free Comic Book Day. I’ve also bought every issue thus far of subsequent series: Harbinger, Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, Shadowman, Harbinger Wars, Quantum and Woody, Eternal Warrior, Unity. With the #0 issues, that’s about 100 issues combined now, across the board.

xomanowar019.jpgAnd things are still going strong. None of the initial books have been cancelled. There’ve been some creative shifts, but nothing’s been rebooted or renumbered. Bloodshot was retitled Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D.Corps, but maintains original numbering. Shadowman just got a new creative team and new direction, yet maintains original numbering. As far as I noticed, when there was a #0 issue it made sense in that point of the continuity and served as a fill-in issue of sorts rather than forcing a double-purchase for that title for the month.

The Harbinger Wars stuff made sense, seemed organic, and gave us the core story by itself, with tie-ins between only two titles. Now with Unity, we’re getting tie-ins with X-O Manowar, but while things affect a lot of characters, it’s not some line-wide crossover.  And though with Unity we’re up to 8 books, that’s it. That’s the ENTIRE VALIANT UNIVERSE. With only 8 books, I get to read EVERYTHING. I get my monthly X-O story, my monthly chapter of Harbinger, etc. And I can enjoy them by themselves, but I also get to enjoy that ultimately they all fit together. (Granted, I haven’t quite figured out where Quantum and Woody fit, but whatever).

20120904valiant02.jpgI could certainly do without all the constant variant covers. But since they tend to advertise the “regular” cover on house ads and promotional posters and such, I’m quite happy to strictly stick to those “regular” covers. And I could do without the “clumping” of books: typically there are 4 New Comic Days in a month, so I would “expect” at 8 titles’ output, 2 per week, and if there’s a 5th week, maybe a couple weeks with only 1. But new Valiant every single week. Unfortunately, it seems there’ll be a couple weeks with 3 books, a skip week, then another cluster. Now that there ARE 8 titles, my main complaint is when there’s a skip week and then a cluster, as it seems to me there oughtta easily be able to be 1-3 in a given week.

But I don’t find the frustration that I do with other publishers. I gave DC‘s New 52 about 2-3 months on most of the titles I tried, a couple I stuck with for 7-8 issues, and I think Animal Man and Swamp thing made it a little further. I’ve dipped back in here and there for a random issue or two, but haven’t actually followed a regular, non-digital-first DC book at any length in awhile (and even Legends of the Dark Knight and Injustice: Gods Among Us are a few months “younger” than several of these Valiant books).

allnewxmen004.jpgLast year I jumped in on a handful of the Marvel Now titles, settling for a couple months on All-New X-Men, X-Men Legacy, and Thunderbolts. I found new excitement in the dawn of the Superior Spider-Man. But within a few months I’d dropped ’em all. All-New X-Men and Superior Spider-Man were $3.99 apiece and it seemed there was another issue every time I went to the comic shop, often one of each, adding a quick $8 on top of whatever else I was looking to get that week.

Part of the appeal–to me–of Valiant is that, sure, there are 8 titles (and I’m hoping a Rai title makes 9 sometime earlier than later in 2014), but they only come out once a month. And while they work together, fit together, they’re each their own thing. They have their own feel.

But the point of all this–20 months! 20 months I’ve kept up with an entire line, a “family” of titles, a publisher. And I’m still enjoying the output. I’m appreciating what they’re doing that other publishers aren’t…and what they’re not doing that others are. And I feel like there’s finally some staying power, that this universe isn’t just gonna disappear overnight.

Though even if it did…I’ve still got that “’90s Valiant” collection I’m working on and have yet to read, that I plan to.


All-New Marvel Now Checklist #1 (December/January)

December 2013
Avengers #24.NOW

January 2014

All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1
Avengers World #1
Black Widow #1
All-New Invaders #1
All-New X-Factor #1
All-New X-Men #22.NOW
Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW
Thunderbolts #20.NOW
Savage Wolverine #14.NOW
Avengers A.I. #8.NOW

Source: Promotional Postcard (pictured below)


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More Marvel Digi-Code Annoyance

annoyanceThe other week I posted about some frustration with finding some of my AvX comics’ digital codes had expired. Last Monday I followed up with even further frustration at discovering INSIDE my AvX Hardcover a notice that the code expired…3 weeks before!

But I’m following up NOW because…even though I emailed in prior to that blog post…I have yet to even RECEIVE A RESPONSE. (I heard back from Comixology‘s Support almost immediately–not even two hours after my email–letting me know that unfortunately, they don’t control this–I’d have to contact Marvel).

I ordered a $75 hardcover, marketed (and printed on the cover itself!) to be a print + digital pack, but having just recently read the entire AvX story itself (not the crossovers) and having to return my original copy of the book due to shipping damage, it was nearly December before I had my copy, and I didn’t open it right away. When I did get around to opening it, the code had already expired. (There was nothing anywhere on the outside of the book, on the wrap, on the stickers on the wrap mentioning anything about an expiration). One year may be acceptable for a single-issue/”floppy,” but not so much a book…especially considering I saw a copy of this same print+digital edition at full retail price, two weeks after it turned out the code apparently had “expired.”

I mean, ok, I email Sunday evening right after the Thanksgiving holiday…I’m going to cut ’em some slack. I didn’t expect a response Monday morning, would’ve been surprised at Tuesday, even. But as of Tuesday morning, 8 1/2 days (six of them Business Days) later? Still nothing.

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!


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…


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

The Entire Collection In One Space Again


Response to Recent Readings

So, I’m catching up on my Bleeding Cool reading (haven’t bothered with Newsarama in ages and seems Bleeding Cool–whatever its faults–has more that interests me, and more “discussion” than CBR).

And today, several stories have caught my attention. So for lack of other thoughts for a post tonight, I offer some thoughts on stuff I’ve read tonight:

Subscription Sadness for Detective Comics #27

I’m absolutely in the camp that–had I received this letter telling me that I would be denied the next issue of a series I’d already bought the subscription to, I’d be cancelling and demanding a refund. There is no good reason I can see to pull this. I hadn’t really been planning on buying the issue anyway, but unless I stumble across “news” that this has been reversed, I’ll avoid the issue on principle.

All-New Marvel Now – Buy One Comic, Get Five Free (Kindle Update)

Well, all this Kindle stuff is meaningless for me–I’m a Nook guy, and even then, not so much these days as most of my reading’s been comics…for which I use Comixology on the digital side. I might be tempted to spring for a couple issues, as–if nothing else–$3.99 for the print issue is cheaper than the price of the digital collected volume. I’m not all that interested in any of the specific issues, though.

All-New Marvel Now Kicks Off Retailer Promotions

Of all of these, I might check out All-New X-Factor. I’m not particularly interested in the others…ESPECIALLY as these are undoubtedly $3.99 double-shippers, and I’m just not keen on what I’ve learned of these so far otherwise. Only other one I might be tempted to try would be X-Force…but I’m wondering if that’s a THIRD X-Force title (alongside Uncanny and Cable And)?  Again, the main thing that’s gonna keep me OUT is the $3.99 price tag. The likely double-shipping just makes things worse on top of that.

Magneto Gets an Ongoing Series in March from Bunn and Walta

…But I’ll probably suck it up and check out Magneto. I’ve long been quite fond of the character, particularly since the original Age of Apocalypse story back in ’94/’95. Not quite sure what to make of this one, but I’ll at least grab the first issue, and go from there.

Bryan Singer Announces X-Men: Apocalypse Film for 2016

Um…ok, great. But isn’t it weird that this is getting announced…oh…five months BEFORE the release of Days of Future Past? I mean, I get tired of hearing too much about films before they actually come out, but now to start hearing of a followup to a film that’s half a year from debuting? Ugh.

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