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Recent Omnibii Acquisitions

Last December or so, or maybe late November, I ordered the Trial of Captain America omnibus. And I recently threw in and got the Age of Apocalypse Companion volume…and then Onslaught.

omnibii_this_year

While I don’t like the pricing (and have only gone in with significant discounts online)…I have a number of Marvel omnibus volumes…but thus far have only ever bought one DC omnibus. And I have never bought an Absolute Edition despite a couple somewhat having my interest.

I’m a sucker for nostalgia. For the ’90s.

Brubaker‘s Captain America being a bit of an exception. And the Marvel volumes fit much better in with other volumes on the shelf…they’re just significantly thicker.

I’m thinking the Onslaught volume hopefully caps a bunch of large purchases for a bit. Outside of a handful of out-of-print X-Men volumes…I’m largely content to wait–as far as omnibii–for the actual Age of Apocalypse volume next year.

Meantime, some thicker paperbacks have my growing attention on the DC side.

Blast From the Past: How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

It’s been quite awhile since I bought what I would consider “Comics Reference” books…but I saw this one on a bargain table for $3, and couldn’t talk myself into passing it up.

how_to_draw_comics_the_marvel_way_book

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. It’s an old book–one I remember from my earliest days being into comics, and checking out from the library numerous times just to look through and consider making my own comics.

I certainly couldn’t “afford” it as a kid using limited allowance on comics themselves. But now as an adult…for less than most contemporary comics cost themselves, it was a well-worthwhile purchase, to me.

And despite being marked as “used,” I’d flipped through (have not yet gone singly page-by-page) and it didn’t seem to be marked up, just some shelf wear/fading and such (that I would expect of a book this age).

So I’m happy with it. Certainly FAR happier than what I recall of the library edition the last time I’d seen it, where someone had drawn in it (remember, it was a LIBRARY COPY still belonging to the library and still in CIRCULATION at the time) and otherwise basically ruined the thing.

I may not like to draw or be anything of an artist…but this is a nice addition to my collection…

My Marvel Digital Journey, Month #2

uncannyxforce026When I first decided to try the Marvel Digital app, I justified it to myself on cost of print counterparts. Read a couple stories and that’d pay for itself, compared to buying the collected volumes.

For that first month, I ultimately read about 50 issues, working out to everything being like having read a bunch of 25-cent bin books. For “only” $10 spent, I was quite pleased with myself.

But getting into Month #2, I found myself devouring issues, and REALLY found myself taking advantage of the content-to-price ratio.

First, I decided to read/finish the final part of the run of Uncanny X-Force I’d dropped after frustration with the shipping frequency and art changes and general bad attitude toward Marvel and $3.99 books.

uncannyavengers001Finishing that, I followed a story thread into Uncanny Avengers; then followed stuff from that into the “core” event mini for Axis. Then I backtracked on Magneto’s story…and then decided to backtrack further to get the context for him going off on his own. But knowing the books had run side-by-side, I decided to pair Uncanny X-Men with All-New X-Men.

And in the reading I tried to include Annuals, which led me to the Arms of the Octopus “Special” issues; I also read all the tie-ins of the Battle of the Atom crossover.

Amidst all that, I also took about a week and a half “off” from the comics to read two full-length books: A Street Cat Named Bob, and The World According to Bob.

avengersxmenaxis001All in all, for what amounted to just under 3 weeks of reading, I breezed through nearly 120 issues, all from within the last several years; well over $400 had I bought the issues in-print as they were coming out, and still significantly cheaper than even a 25-cent bin.

All that X-reading has me looking at my third month definitely including the entirety of the first Wolverine & the X-Men, probably the middle Uncanny X-Men run, and the female X-Men title. I might throw in the core AvX series as a re-read. I also find myself interested in reading stuff because I “can,” that I would not otherwise have any real interest in…though some of it I’m content to save for another month or two, when the app catches up to immediately pre-Secret Wars continuity.

Skeptical as I was to start…the way it’s played out–having a tablet I like and plentiful wi-fi (at home and at work)–this has been amazing for my getting back a “joy” in (Marvel) comics.

My list of comics read:

  • xmen_battleoftheatom001Uncanny X-Force #25-35
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 #1-25
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 #8AU
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 Annual #1
  • Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1-9
  • Magneto (2014) #1-14
  • All-New X-Men (2012) #1-26
  • Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1-22
  • X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1-2
  • X-Men (vol4) #5-6
  • Wolverine and the X-Men vol. 1 #36-37
  • All-New X-Men (2012) Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 1 of 3)
  • Indestructible Hulk Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 2 of 3)
  • Superior Foes of Spider-Man Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 3 of 3)

Remember Early-’90s Speculation on Image Comics?

Remember when Image was so brand-new it was a company having its comics published by another (Malibu)?

Remember when those #1s were supposed to be so “hot” and “valuable” in the future?

Remember how $1.95 was quite a hefty price next to DC and Marvel‘s $1.25(-ish) cover prices of the time?

Remember that supposed notion that a comic’s “value” could only go up?

wildcats001x16

These 16 copies of WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams cost me a whopping $4. Basically the cover price of two copies of the issue…at its original, August 1992 cover price. With the bound-in card thingie still intact/present.

Maybe these aren’t “mint” and wouldn’t get anything close to a “9.8” if I “slabbed” them (shelling out far more than any copy is “worth” for the price of getting ANY “graded”)…but for a guy who collects for completion and story…the chance to read the entire story (or as MUCH of it as I’m able to get access to)…25 cents is not at all a bad price for this #1 issue.

It’s actually the later issues that would be more of a problem to find. “Everyone” has #1. How many people followed the series itself? How many followed for more than just the first year? Or after the cartoon didn’t last? Or…whatever else. How many saw the bright flash in the pan mature into something with any staying power?

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"Upgrading" and beyond: Priest’s Black Panther

black_panther_old_and_newOne key comic series for me during college was Priest‘s Black Panther. I’d first tried the series because of its part in the launch of Marvel Knights in Fall 1998, and kept up with it for a few issues. I was nearly ready to let it go–and posted something about that on an old usenet forum–and was convinced to try a couple more issues. The way I remember it, the very next issue was “that” one with the big revelation about why T’Challa actually joined with the Avengers…and I stayed with the series through the end of its run and even followed the short-lived The Crew that followed it.

While I have the entire series in single issues, I remember being thrilled to find the series in paperback (though I don’t remember these early volumes being QUITE so early–2001 based on the indicia). And I was QUITE disappointed when nothing else got collected beyond the first 12 issues, and when this series was basically ignored and “forgotten” for everything that’s come since.

black_panther_book_stack

black_panther_one_volume_thicker_than_two_oldNow, in one single volume, we get 17 issues…five more than the previous two volumes combined. Which really makes this quite an “upgrade.” The two prior volumes collected 5 issues and 7 issues each. Though my photo doesn’t show it very effectively, the new volume IS thicker than the previous two, even with the extra set of covers. The old volumes are also noticeably of their time-period, as they’re from when Marvel tried to save money by shaving 1/8 inch black_panther_new_taller_than_both_oldoff the height of their publications to use less paper or something to that general effect.

This new volume also stands out as being another where after all those years, Marvel switched to a red box with white text for their logo instead of the red text on white box.

While I was left hanging with only the first twelve issues collected, with 17 issues or so per volume, three volumes would get us through the first 50 issues or so, and a fourth would be able to include The Crew as an extension of this series.

I’m definitely hoping the cover/title of this edition holds true: Black Panther: The Complete Collection by Christopher Priest.

Though an Omnibus or other hardcover series of collections would be preferred…I’ll gladly take this over nothing, and it sure beats the skinny little 6ish-issue collections.

black_panther_old_prices

Despite the decade or so waiting, the price of this new volume is surprisingly well in-line (if not better value) than the originals. $15 and $17 got me 12 issues for $32; another $3 adds five more issues (the same quantity as the first $15!). Of course, I don’t recall what I paid for these originals, whether it was full cover price or a discount; given I’d’ve sworn I got them during grad school as they came out, but they seem significantly older.

black_panther_new_price

And of course, I paid significantly less than cover price by pre-ordering this from Amazon this time around.

black_panther_new_book_back_text

I doubt I’d care whatsoever about the Black Panther character if it wasn’t for this series. So while I’m shying away from Marvel‘s print products lately…stuff like this gets through on the nostalgia factor.

And being able to have the contents of two books in one with even more content, I’m actually glad to “upgrade” to have–hopefully–the entire series in nice-looking paperbacks that actually look like they go together, on the shelf…and AS a series, having numbering. Perhaps I’m odd, but I prefer the numbers, as it makes it more obvious this isn’t just a single contained story or volume…and the publisher has more “confidence” in it to give a number rather than just one skinny volume at a time with no apparent intent to go beyond the current.

Still…a  Black Panther by Priest omnibus would be quite a volume–even as two volumes–to sit on a shelf with the Classic Quantum and Woody volume.

Cover Gallery: Weapon X

Amidst all the reviews and such, for me (at least) sometimes it’s just really fun to look at a bunch of comics’ covers together, whether it’s admiring a run of a series, or seeing a full story, or some other ‘theme’. Here are the covers to the Weapon X issues from the original Age of Apocalypse event in 1995 (and as a shameless plug, click on the cover and that should take you to my Age of Apocalypse Revisited coverage of the issue).

 

weaponx001 weaponx002
weaponx003 weaponx004

Recent Acquisitions

It’s been an interesting week with several things ‘converging’ for me: a forgotten pre-order item, a purchase substituting for a convention, and my largest single “back issue” purchase ever.

First off, last weekend I happened to to see a link on Facebook to some group called Something Valiant. I clicked through, and found some stuff involving classic Valiant stuff, so did not immediately click away.

I noticed a post offering Harbinger #s 2-5 for a very reasonable price, shipped–and messaged the poster to inquire if they were still available (not seeing any comments on the post). They were, so arrangements were made.

harbinger_90s_2thru5

Easily my biggest “back issue” purchase in this regard–for what I paid for “only” 4 issues. However, considering I’d expected to pay significantly more per issue and not get them all but dropped in my lap from one source, I’m very happy with the purchase, and will certainly reach out to this seller again in the future as I whittle down my “missing” list of classic Valiant.

Another surprise arrival this week was the new Hellblazer volume.

hellblazer_tpb_11

This is the 11th volume in this incarnation of the series, reprinting it from its start including key tie-ins and such, and incorporating a numbering so it’s not just a bunch of random volumes.

hellblazer_tpb_thicknessIt turns out that I apparently had pre-ordered this from Amazon several months ago and forgot about it. So when it showed up, it was a very pleasant surprise.

I continue to be quite impressed with the size of these volumes, particularly for the cover price. Though this would easily be a $40+ volume from Marvel, this one carries a $24.99 cover price…and thanks to Amazon I got it for less than $12.

Though I grouse about Marvel‘s pricing, they make up a significant chunk of my graphic novels collection due to various clearance and blowout sales and such through the years, as well as having a lot of stuff I’m truly interested in.

A couple years ago, I was quite impressed when I came across the X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse Omnibus at Carol and John’s. It was very far out of my price range, though more recently I’d lamented realizing it was out of print, and so had been jacked up astronomically beyond my price range by “third party sellers.” So when I more recently learned of the Age of Apocalypse Companion I didn’t even consider pre-ordering it from anyone…no sense having the companion volume without the main.

age_of_apocalypse_companion_omnibus_01

I was listening to a recent episode of the Collected Comics Library and learned that there’s to be a new printing of the main omnibus in the first part of next year, in time for the new movie. So, rather than beat around the bush and put it off, I found a mostly-reasonable price online and bought this volume, knowing I’ll be able to pair it up in the spring (and for what that’s gonna cost me, I certainly would not want to be trying to buy TWO omnibii nor “risk” this one going out of print!).

Plus, I had decided that I was not going to be attempting to attend a particular convention I had been considering, so with gas money and admission I would not be spending, as well as other random purchases I would not be making…I was able to justify (to myself) this rather large singular purchase.

age_of_apocalypse_companion_omnibus_02

If you look to the right in the photo above, you’ll see a quarter leaned up against the volume–showing just how thick this companion edition is.

And below, it currently has a place on a shelf with the last Omnibus I’d bought, as well as the recent TMNT by IDW hardcover.

tmnt_cap_aoa_hardcovers

TMNT Amazing Adventures #1 [Review]

tmntamazingadventures001Story: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Chad Thomas
Back-up Story by: James Kochalka
Colors: Heather Breckel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover: Jon Sommariva
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: August 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

We open on the turtles out in the city following up on a rumored sighting of Doctor Cluckingsworth. They’re soon surprised–and defeated by the same. Enlisting Splinter’s aid, they soon learn they were (and are) actually facing an old entity known as Zodiac. The turtles and Splinter find themselves forced into an alliance with the Shredder (after an obligatory fight) but soon find themselves at the mercy of a number of familiar antagonists under the control of the Zodiac and face the loss of one of their own.

Perhaps that all sounds a bit dramatic–and it is. Yet at the same time it’s also a bit simplistic…especially as I’m not much of a fan of the “mutant of the week” theme that seems to run with this particular incarnation of the turtles (compared to the ongoing serialized continuities of the 2003 tv show and the current “main” IDW series).

But this isn’t exactly aimed at me. This seems very much aimed at younger readers, and fans of the current Nickelodeon tv show. However, as with its predecessor (TMNT New Animated Adventures), this plays a bit on my nostalgia factor. This is a separate series from the “main comics version” of the turtles, based on the characters as they appear in a still-putting-out-new-episodes animated series. Where the old Archie-publilshed TMNT Adventures quickly diverged into its own continuity entirely, this seems to hold closer to tv continuity.

Given that…I dig the art on this issue. The characters are all clear, consistent, and are definitely comic-book-characters. This looks like a comic book, and not some adaptation. The visual style is its own thing, though the character designs are obviously the current tv versions, with certain key things about the various characters apparent. That’s to be expected given what the series is, and I consider that a very strong positive that everything is obvious while not trying to be something it’s not.

The story is relatively simple, but quite solid. As a new #1 and thus introductory point, I rather enjoy that so many familiar characters were pulled in (if only as cameos) while also seeming to introduce an entirely new character in Zodiac. I suspect this will make the issue that much more accessible to existing readers and fans of the tv show, as well as–this being a first issue–serving to quickly show off a number of the colorful mutant characters that are part of this universe.

The voice of the characters rings true and I like having an apparently-new antagonist not given a goofy name by one of the turtles.

Unfortunately, the story is cut dreadfully short at a mere 16 pages, apparently to make room for a very uninteresting-to-me backup story. This basically involves Mikey trying to volcano-roast a pizza, and the turtles then conveniently discovering an actual volcano underground, and generally acting (to this mid-30s adult) overly childish and stupid.

The backup story’s art does not look at all like “professional quality” art, and standing strictly by and for itself looks absurd next to the main story. There’s nothing to contextualize the piece, to say if the artist is a kid, or if they’re going for a certain look, etc…and while I usually am rather welcoming to alternative artistic interpretations of the turtles, I feel like losing 1/3 of the content pages to this was a waste of space and cover price.

All in all, Walker‘s lead story is good, and I’m interested to see where it goes (and whether it is only a 2-parter or something a bit longer). For a younger reader, this would seem to be an excellent jumping-on point, and certainly worth and adult buying them a copy.

The price and loss of story to the backup gives me serious pause in regards to this title, though I’ll give it another issue or two to see if the backup thing is a regular part of this series and where that quality goes. I’ve enjoyed Walker‘s work in the past, so that’s going to be the core draw for me on the series…it just sucks to consider paying $4/issue to “only” enjoy a lead feature instead of having the entire issue be up to the lead feature’s quality/interest.

As a first issue, definitely recommended.

Plus, hey…it’s TMNT. More fun than plenty of other stuff out there.

The Weekly Haul – Week of August 19, 2015

As new comics go, this was a very small week, with only two new TMNT books:

weekly_haul_20150819a

I also hit the quarter-bins, where along with far more X-Men books than I’d had any intention of buying in one shot, I also snagged a couple of key Superman issues:

superman01s_and_aos424_quarterbin

Being what they are, and for the price, I wasn’t gonna leave these sitting in the bin. I have tentative plans for one of the Superman #1s and Adventures of Superman #424 for sure.

Hard to believe TMNT is about to hit its 50th issue. I’ve been keeping up with it since #1…

Finishing the Story: A Redeeming Price on DC’s Convergence

The other day, I very nearly walked out of the Mentor Half-Price Books empty-handed. Several collected volumes caught my attention on the shelf–but each was priced ABOVE cover price. A used books store, named HALF-PRICE Books, and they just randomly price books ABOVE cover price because it’s “out of print.” Yet, isn’t that the POINT? It’s a bunch of USED, old books, that probably are NOT just available walking into the local BAM, B&N, or even Walmart/Target.

But that’s more a topic for another post.

HPBhaul_convergence_0_to_8

This HPB location has a $1 default price, unless specifically priced with a higher price on a bag or bag/board.

BUT…they also had several “sets” in a box, and I flipped through, curious about what OUTRAGEOUS prices they’d have, if they’re already considering 25-cent comics $1.25+ individually.

I noticed this set, and pulled it out, VERY curious…and was rather surprised to see it priced ONLY $15. DC‘s Convergence…#0 and #1-8.

Three of the 9 issues were cover price $5 ($4.99). That’s $15 right there. The other 6 issues were $4 ($3.99), so that’s $24. $39 in cover price, for a series from only 3-4 months ago, complete set in one place…no hunting through multiple stores and paying full price all the while.

Less than half-price. Best yet, the full set CHEAPER than it would cost me to buy the single issues I was missing. And I held off on ordering the collected volumes, because the main thing I wanted was to actually finish reading the full “core” story…but if I’m getting that, I want it to match the other collected volumes…which means a much longer wait for the hardcover to be swapped out for a paperback edition.

Now, I”ll just get to read the story, and the heck with the Convergence collected volumes for awhile.

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