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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of December 16 and December 23, 2020

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Well…here we are again, closing in on the end of another year. And covering only TWO weeks of new comics instead of 4+!

I’m typing this on Christmas Day 2020…probably gonna let this post go "live" day after just to be relatively timely. Who knows?


Week of December 16, 2020

An odd sort of week…even with a couple of DCs, mostly non-DC…and no Marvel..!

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The Walking Dead Deluxe shouldn’t appeal to me. I got into the series via the collected volumes back when TPB vol. 5 was new. So I shouldn’t care for single-issue versions of those issues. But this is a colorized version…and very much in the vein (to ME) of TMNT Color Classics or the Usagi Yojimbo classic reprints from IDW. And at least for the moment, it’s more enjoyable getting and reading each of these issues than it is most others. And the physical quality of the book seems to be pretty good, too, making its $3.99 seem a better value than most other $3.99s!

Batman #105 seems to conclude an arc and set stuff up for a new arc. But now we first get 8-9 weeks of Future State before #106…and I’ve seen solicitation stuff that suggests (again, to ME, I haven’t properly/fully researched yet) that with #106 the title goes to $4.99 as a REGULAR price point, albeit with an added "backup" story…but the BACKUP STORY will be multiple-part and cross over with Detective Comics, and so I’m feeling REALLY disenfranchised with it and DC in general on the matter.

These Tales from the Dark Multiverse things are not as enjoyable this time around as the first…though even the first wasn’t some total success for me. But for a cross between Marvel‘s What If..? and DC‘s own Elseworlds of years past, I’ve been getting them. How you can do a full such story retelling an alternate version of year-long and dozens-of-issues-long events is beyond me…and probably part of why they haven’t been holding up fully to potential (though the Flashpoint one has probably been my favorite of this year’s specials).

Commanders in Crisis I’m getting because of getting previous issues and not wanting to miss out. Though I’m also torn as I saw something indicating this is to be a 12-issue series. Do I really care to follow along for that many issues without it being an actual ongoing? And I have to wonder how similar (or not) it’s going to be to Crossover.

Then there’s Stillwater which is a similar thing–I got and read and was curious on the first issue, and getting subsequent ones though I’m behind on the reading. Probably ought to stop while I’m ahead, but as long as i’m not snagging loads of DC and Marvel, might as well get other stuff?

Pile Second Coming onto that list/reasoning, too, I suppose. I wasn’t gonna chase after the series, but being able to get the issue last-second off-the-shelf…yeah. Got it.

Finally…after putting it off from the previous week, since the Adventureman hardcover was still available, I went ahead and snagged it. I think it only contains 4 or so issues–so fairly expensive for its content…BUT it’s a hardcover, and oversized, and seems much more worth the price FOR it. All the more against generic Marvel or DC fare.


Week of December 23, 2020

…annnnnd we’re caught up to current week already!

And actually quite a small week for NEW stuff, at that! And it’s NOT EVEN the week BETWEEN Christmas and New Year!

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New Spawn (STILL HOLDING THE LINE AT $2.99!) and GI Joe: A Real American Hero #277. Funny, such high numbers when other publishers SHUN anything double-digit, let alone triple.

Some other stuff sorta interesting, but like the JLA: Winter’s Edge or whatever…with Death Metal still going on/lotta tie-ins, now this event, and Future State in the wings…it’s just event on Event on EVENT and it’s all going on at once but they’re separate…and thus semi-meaningless to me.

So I dug through back issue bins looking for Wolverine #1000. No luck on that, but did find this Exit Wounds issue that caught my eye, so why not? And only $5.25 or so, putting it well in line with current issues…but it’s a bit more rare and "special" because it’s a (gasp!) back issue! Yet it’s new enough to not reek of being a bloat-priced 25-cent-bin-book. (Though with recent "speculation" and such, how long are quarter-bins gonna hang around?)

Then, as with Adventureman the week before, I snagged Reckless a week after its initial release.

AND adding to the price for the week, a couple other THICK volumes for under-$20 each (a good half-or-so-off) caught my eye. So snagged them, cuz I’d rather get 12+ issues’ content for the price of 4-5 single issues.

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Draaaaastically inflating the price for the week as well was this new Gallery statue of Superman. I don’t think I realized this was coming out. I saw it, and decided to get it. It’s Superman, he’s got the trunks.

AND it’s available. Right there. No "hunting," no "chasing," no frustration trying to get it, no "luck" involved, etc. Just a SIMPLE MATTER OF: "here’s a product and its price" and "I will pay that price" and voila! Transaction’s done!

Something that toy company NECA and Target do NOT seem capable of grasping with their various TMNT figures.

So if they don’t want my money, since I have no real chance of getting say, April O’Neil with a generic battered footbot…I CAN get this Superman statue, farrrrrr less fuss and hassle!

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Since Comixology did away with its origins as a pull list thing, I’ve been using League of Comic Geeks to keep track of my weekly plan-to-buys. They showed this Sham Comics 80-Page Giant for this week. Buuuut it’s Source Point Press…which apparently broke ties with Diamond, so I wasn’t going to be able to get the issue at the shop.

So I went to the SPP website to see what issues were available and such. I wasn’t about to pay shipping for just one issue. Turned out all previous issues of the series were available, and at cover price. So…for interest piqued on ONE NEW ISSUE, I ordered all 7.

AND where I expected them to SHIP sometime NEXT week…they not only shipped but ARRIVED this week. BEFORE Christmas!

The issues were just the issues in a box. No bags/boards, no simple bag around all the issues…so I’m not impressed with the PACKING. But the shipping speed impressed me. And since none of the issues were particularly damaged…I’m happy enough with ’em.

This "go to the site and find what issues exist AND they’re all ACTUALLY AVAILABLE thing is REMARKABLE…and something other publishers (especially small-press/indie stuff) should look into. And/or make stuff print-on-demand. My qualms with MODERN not-first-print issues is the way everyone feels this need to make 2nd-or-later print issues with a different cover entirely, or inferior (i.e. "sketch") cover, or otherwise make it see like some dumb afterthought "consolation prize" if you were so unfortunate as to discover a series a few issues in, but too late to get the original printing/Kickstarter/etc.

Anyway…none of that frustration in getting these so I’m a happy camper on ’em!

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At a Walmart, found these guys. And I’m impatient, so I was happy enough to get them now rather than waiting for an online order. They’re not the cartoon versions…but at least they’re REASONBLE on price and affordable. Not the second hand $169 and $237 and such people are charging for the cartoon versions!

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I also went back to the comic shop after verifying which volume(s) I already had for The Complete Clone Saga Epic.(I had volume 1 already). So now I have 1-2. Maybe stupid of me–3-5 are probably long outta print and $300 apiece on the secondary market now. But whatever.

And the Ghost Rider volume has 19 issues, so…not a bad buy. And I’m very much a sucker for these nice, fat volumes instead of piddly tiny ones that fit in a bag and board same as any single issue.

These also fall into the above rant on NECA: they don’t want my money, I’ll spend my money where it’s appreciated and I can simply walk in and get something.


Just a few more days and 2020 is over.

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SBTU: Gold – What If…The Ultraverse had Continued?

sbtu_wi_goldWelcome once again to Super-Blog Team-Up! This is a blog ‘event’ where numerous blogs team up to present posts together on a particular theme or prompt, but done so in the individual blog or podcast’s own style, topic, and so on. For general such content, check out the Twitter hashtag #SBTU!

Whether you stick around for my topic or want to see what else there is–there should be a section of links at the bottom with links to the other SBTU posts this week, and you can follow any of those to a number of other high-quality blogs and podcasts!

This time around, the group topic/theme is split…with several looking at particular Creators, while others are asking the question "What If…?"

After juggling several ideas, I decided to look at the notion of an alternate reality in which the Ultraverse had continued.


The Ultraverse was an imprint of Malibu Comics, launched in 1993. It was a new superhero universe, and for 12-year-old me was quite the exciting thing. I’d juuuuuust missed the launch of Image Comics. And at age 12, I was certainly far too young to have been around for any of the launches/relaunches of what came to be the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe. While there were a number of other new comics universes popping up in the early/mid-’90s (or gaining notoriety), the one that really grabbed ME was Malibu‘s Ultraverse.

The line launched with 3 titles: Prime, Hardcase, and The Strangers. One of the "side elements" that had grabbed me was a promotional "Ultraverse #0" comic you could "only" get via a mail-away offer once you’d collected specific "coupons." There was one coupon each in those 3 launch-titles, another in Malibu Sun (a house previews publication) and I believe the fifth/final coupon was in an issue of Wizard. By tracking down and purchasing all five publications, mailing your coupon and a check in, you’d get the exclusive #0-issue. A good sort of promotion at the time; though I don’t believe the first such promotion. It played into collectability, exclusivity, as well as "encouraging" one to buy more than they might otherwise. (And in 2020 I find it quite tame compared to many modern marketing things).

ultraverse_future_shock_01_feb_97Over subsequent months, the initial 3 series continued, while new 1-2 new titles premiered in most of the subsequent 7 months or so. In mid-1994, Ultraforce teamed up several of the characters like Prime, Hardcase, and Prototype as a new official team (in addition to the Strangers, Freex, and The Solution). In 1995, the Godwheel event series brought Thor and Loki into the Ultraverse; Loki remained for awhile. Shortly after, Rune crossed into the Marvel universe, where he stole the Infinity Gems from the Infinity Watch. The Gems were then lost into the Ultraverse for a few months. Eventually they were re-assembled, Ultraforce faced the Avengers, and reality was changed. "Black September" saw several titles get #Infinity issues and then begin with new #1s. These dropped off after a few issues leaving Prime and Ultraforce; and when those ended, February 1997 saw one last publication in Ultraverse Future Shock.

mantra_0001While I’d jumped on immediately with the Ultraverse, my following the titles was a bit spotty; and overall, the primary titles I wound up more or less catching up with/keeping up with were Prime, Mantra, and Rune. I sampled other titles over time and was aware of the various books, but at the time I couldn’t begin to collect everything. In the years since, I’ve gone back and to the best of my knowledge, managed to collect every single story-issue for the Ultraverse, minus ashcans, promotional/preview things, and a Sega CD Prime comic.

All this is a rather too-brief bit covering my experiences with the Ultraverse…but I felt a bit of background was appropriate, as to my approaching the topic. I was a fan at the very beginning of the Ultraverse, followed to varying degrees through its run including Black September and beyond; and have since gone back and acquired all the issues I missed originally.

And preparing for this round of SBTU was not the first time I’ve "crunched the numbers" and considered the fact that–had the Ultraverse continued uninterrupted–it COULD have titles in the 300 range in present-day.


Disclaimer: All details/info about anything ULTRAVERSE after February 1997 IS MY WORK OF FICTION and wishful thinking. What I present below is one instance of what I could imagine COULD have been, and is part of MY answering the question of "What if the Ultraverse had continued?" It is in no way based in any sort of fact, rumor, inside information, anecdote, creator interviews, etc. whatsoever and should not be taken as such.


What if the Ultraverse had continued?

So, in SOME alternate/parallel universe out there, the Ultraverse continued. In that world, behind the scenes a deal was struck that saw the Ultraverse properties sold off from Marvel, with a new company/publisher created. Going with the branding, it became simply "Ultraverse Comics." Said deal worked out such that June 1997–the fourth anniversary of the original Ultraverse launch from Malibu–saw the re-launch of the Ultraverse as a publisher and a comics universe.

Prime, Mantra, Nightman, and Ultraforce headline this relaunch. All-new #1s, incorporating prior continuity while taking some things in new directions. Double-sized first issues with detailed Marvel XXXXXX Saga styled recaps of prior relevant details, so the titles were grounded in continuity but any new reader would have all the relevant info drawn from before.

In addition and a bit ahead of the times, this alternate-reality Ultraverse was determined not to mess with numbering. Its universe was on its THIRD iteration, its SECOND relaunch/renumbering, and would not sacrifice its numbering again. As the years wore on it would result in the Ultraverse having–next to Image‘s Spawn and Savage Dragon–a body of titles with the highest numbering in North American-published comics.

In this alternate reality, the Ultraverse would have loads of crossovers with other publishers, with numerous mini-series featuring said crossovers. Seeding events from early 2004 to Fall 2005, a Crisis on Infinite Earths type event took shape, led by the Ultraverse titles. Only instead of Infinite Earths it was Numerous Publishers. Various threads begun by Thanos accessing the Ultraverse in 2004 would lead to titles across Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Ultraverse, and others showing signs of something much larger going on that would bring things to ahead affecting all participating universes. (Think a mix of COIE, Zero Hour, the 2003+ run up to Infinite Crisis, etc.)

Culminating for the Ultraverse in September 2005 with Ultraforce #100, a new reality was created, and all regular Ultraverse titles went on hiatus for six months. In place of those titles, a weekly Ultrasupes book premiered that ran for 25 weekly issues, detailing the Ultraverse‘s participation in the huge, new reality made up of a mixture of all participating publishers’ characters. Such an effort involving so many publishers and properties from mainstream publishers was a feat not to be repeated, though it would be referenced in continuity for many years to follow.

Flashing forward 14-some years to December 2020, the Ultraverse would celebrate four titles hitting their 275th issues; numbers second only to Todd McFarlane‘s SPAWN which had put out its 300th issue the year before.

It would be absolutely foolhardy for me to try to envision every last issue (and in detail) published across 23 years in a single post, so I won’t even try. Instead, I will present a year-by-year sampling of issues published by this reality’s Ultraverse, beginning with its June 1997 premiere and concluding with December 2020.


Once again: All details/info about ULTRAVERSE comics after February 1997 IS MY WORK OF FICTION. Sit back and enjoy a textual/conceptual glimpse into 20+ years of Potential History That Never Was.


June, 1997

  • Prime #1
  • Mantra #1
  • Night Man #1
  • Ultraforce #1

June, 1998

  • Prime #13
  • Hardcase #11
  • Strangers #12
  • Mantra #13
  • Freex #12
  • Prototype #10
  • Firearm #9
  • Solution #11
  • Night Man #13
  • Solitaire #4
  • Wrath #8
  • Warstrike #6
  • Ultraforce #13
  • Strangers vs. Stormwatch #6

June, 1999

  • Prime #24
  • Hardcase #23
  • Strangers #24
  • Mantra #24
  • Freex #24
  • Firearm #21
  • Solution #23
  • Night Man #25
  • Solitaire #16
  • Wrath #20
  • Warstrike #18
  • Ultraforce #25
  • Exiles vs. Exiles #4

June, 2000

  • Prime #36
  • Hardcase #34
  • Strangers #36
  • Mantra #36
  • Freex #36
  • Prototype #17
  • Firearm #33
  • Solution #35
  • Night Man #37
  • Ultraforce #37
  • Strangers vs. Wildcats #1

June, 2001

  • Prime #47
  • Strangers #48
  • Mantra #48
  • Freex #48
  • Solution #47
  • Night Man #49
  • Wrath #28
  • Warstrike #23
  • Ultraforce #49
  • Prototype vs. Darkhawk #4

June, 2002

  • Prime #59
  • Hardcase #44
  • Strangers #60
  • Mantra #59
  • Prototype #35
  • Night Man #61
  • Sludge #17
  • Solitaire #28
  • Ultraforce #61
  • Siren #13
  • Freex vs. Azrael #3
  • Firearm vs. Spawn #3

June, 2003

  • Prime #70
  • Hardcase #56
  • Strangers #72
  • Mantra #71
  • Prototype #44
  • Firearm #49
  • Night Man #73
  • Solitaire #40
  • Ultraforce #73
  • Prime vs. Deadpool #1
  • Solution vs. GI Joe #5

June, 2004

  • Prime #82
  • Strangers #84
  • Mantra #83
  • Freex #59
  • Night Man #85
  • Solitaire #52
  • Warstrike #41
  • Ultraforce #85
  • Solution vs. Thunderbolts #2
  • Strangers vs. Ghost #2

June, 2005

  • Prime #94
  • Strangers #96
  • Mantra #94
  • Freex #71
  • Solitaire #64
  • Ultraforce #97
  • Prime vs. Justice League #3
  • Prototype vs. Iron Man #1
  • Ultraforce vs. Avengers II #2

June, 2006

  • Prime #100
  • Strangers #102
  • Mantra #101
  • Freex #77
  • Solitaire #70
  • Ultraforce #103
  • Solitaire vs. X #1
  • Prime vs. Justice League #9

June, 2007

  • Prime #113
  • Hardcase #71
  • Strangers #114
  • Mantra #113
  • Freex #89
  • Solution #64
  • Night Man #99
  • Ultraforce #116
  • Ultraforce vs. X-Men #1
  • Prime/Spider-Man #7

June, 2008

  • Prime #123
  • Hardcase #83
  • Strangers #126
  • Mantra #125
  • Freex #101
  • Firearm #66
  • Night Man #111
  • Wrath #48
  • Ultraforce #128
  • Solitaire vs. Predator #6

June, 2009

  • Prime #136
  • Hardcase #94
  • Strangers #138
  • Mantra #135
  • Freex #113
  • Firearm #78
  • Night Man #123
  • Ultraforce #140
  • Siren #27

June, 2010

  • Prime #148
  • Strangers #150
  • Mantra #147
  • Night Man #135
  • Rune #25
  • Ultraforce #152
  • Mantra vs. Dr. Strange #6
  • Firearm/GI Joe #1
  • Night Man vs. Batman #1

June, 2011

  • Prime #159
  • Hardcase #110
  • Strangers #162
  • Mantra #159
  • Firearm #82
  • Night Man #147
  • Ultraforce #164
  • Freex vs. New Mutants #6

June, 2012

  • Prime #171
  • Hardcase #122
  • Strangers #174
  • Mantra #172
  • Freex #129
  • Prototype #73
  • Firearm #94
  • Solution #79
  • Warstrike #55
  • Ultraforce #176
  • Ultraforce vs. The Authority #5
  • Prime vs. Shazam #2
  • Night Man vs. Aliens #2

June, 2013

  • Prime #183
  • Strangers #186
  • Mantra #185 & # 186
  • Freex #141
  • Solution #91
  • Ultraforce #188
  • Mantra vs. Captain Marvel #5
  • Firearm vs. Batman #3

June, 2014

  • Prime #196
  • Hardcase #132
  • Strangers #198
  • Mantra #197
  • Freex #153
  • Prototype #76
  • Firearm #105
  • Night Man #163
  • Solitaire #91
  • Ultraforce #200
  • Firearm/GI Joe II #6
  • Strangers vs. Justice League #1

June, 2015

  • Prime #208
  • Hardcase #144
  • Strangers #211
  • Mantra #209
  • Prototype #88
  • Firearm #110
  • Night Man #175
  • Solitaire #103
  • Wrath #60
  • Freex vs. Teen Titans #2
  • Freex vs. Spawn #2

June, 2016

  • Prime #221
  • Strangers #223
  • Mantra #221
  • Freex #168
  • Night Man #187
  • Solitaire #113
  • Warstrike #67
  • Ultraforce #221
  • Siren #40
  • Firearm/GI Joe III #6
  • Strangers vs. Prometheus #3
  • Ultraforce vs. JLA #4

June, 2017

  • Prime #233
  • Strangers #235
  • Mantra #233
  • Freex #180
  • Firearm #121
  • Night Man #199
  • Sludge #38
  • Solitaire #125
  • Ultraforce #233
  • Strangers/Thunderbolts #3

June, 2018

  • Prime #245
  • Hardcase #161
  • Strangers #247
  • Mantra #245
  • Freex #192
  • Rune #38
  • Ultraforce #245
  • Siren #43
  • Night Man vs. Midnighter #4
  • Strangers vs. X-Men #4

June, 2019

  • Prime #257
  • Strangers #259
  • Mantra #257
  • Solution #98
  • Solitaire #138
  • Ultraforce #257

June, 2020

  • Prime #269
  • Hardcase #177
  • Strangers #270
  • Mantra #269
  • Prototype #109
  • Sludge #59
  • Solitaire #150
  • Wrath #64
  • Ultraforce #269

December, 2020

  • Prime #275
  • Hardcase #183
  • Strangers #275
  • Mantra #275
  • Freex #200
  • Prototype #115
  • Solitaire #156
  • Rune #51
  • Ultraforce #275
  • Siren #53


I absolutely ran out of time to even BEGIN to do all the pretty covers and such I’d envisioned when settling on this topic. Logos and trade dress and the like across various titles. However, in mapping out this fictional, parallel-universe Ultraverse line, I have plenty of fodder for future posts, and to come back to this topic with those covers and such. Especially for the big/round number issues…the 50s, 100s, and so on.

But…

Returning to real-world present-day Earth in 2020:

It’s been 27 1/2 years since the premiere of the actual Ultraverse.

Had Prime, Hardcase, or Strangers proceeded 1 issue per month for all this time, uninterrupted, we’d actually see them at #300+ each.

At 27 1/2 years old, the Ultraverse would be as old now as the Marvel Universe was around 1989 (counting from 1961/62).

Consider how deep and aged Marvel continuity and titles were in the early-1990s, and the Ultraverse would be approaching a similar point!

Remember the 30th anniversary of the Fantastic Four?

What about the 30th anniversary of Spider-Man?

I myself consciously recall the 30th anniversary of X-Men in their Fatal Attractions crossover.

In a modern age of comics where continuity matters little and comics’ numbering is a joke, where variant covers seem to drive the industry and even DC Comics seems to be backing away from emphasis on monthly comics…it’s interesting enough to me to consider what a different world it would be with an Ultraverse still producing new content.

What might the industry look like had it continued? What creators would have continued or built careers there rather than other publishers? What characters and stories might we have gotten as a result…or NOT gotten, as the case might be?

And what of all the gimmicks that we saw with the original Ultraverse?

ultraverse_premiere_0000The primary "gimmicks" I think of with the original Ultraverse is the initial coupons thing for Ultraverse Premiere #0, the full-cover hologram covers for several titles, and the frequency of a #0 issue being what a #1 should have been. Occasional variant covers–the one that most stands out to me in memory is Prime #4 which had a fight between Prime and Prototype…one cover shows Prime victorious while the other shows Prototype victorious.

During the Black September stuff, the #"Infinity" issues sported bright neon-colored logos on all-black covers. There was an image on the back cover, though. Alternate covers provided the logo and trade dress on the image. Whichever "variant" you got, you still got to see the image to associate with the issue. With the #1 issues the next month, variants’ variance was more subtle, with covers carrying a painted look or a standard look.

sbtu_chromium_eraofexcess_hologram_04

But even with a wealth of stuff like this…it was a FARRRRR cry from every single title from every single publisher carrying at minimum "A" and "B" covers, let alone "retailer incentive" covers or "theme month" covers and all that.

I suppose that gets into other topics, though.

As 2020 has itself been a far cry from what I’d planned…perhaps this very post will get me back into gear actually covering the original Ultraverse. I had a good burst a couple years ago with my Ultraverse Revisited run, and DO aim to pick that back up in the near future, real-life-permitting (though I’ve said that since leaving off in 2018!)

ultraverse_revisited

As an abrupt conclusion jumping off from the Ultraverse but holding to the "What If" theme: back in 2016, I did a post looking at the question What If Superman #75 had come out in 2016? Basically, showing off dozens of mocked-up cover images I did to represent the ridiculousness of modern variant covers that totally dilute the market and make any given cover rather generic and unrecognizable.


Super-Blog Team-Up Continues Below!

  

Between The Pages Blog – Scrooge McDuckTales Woo-oo!

Dave’s Comics Blog – Blue Devil Creation

Magazines and Monsters – Comic Book’s Unsung Heroes! Steve Gerber!

In My Not So Humble Opinion – Kurt Schaffenberger, The Definitive Lois Lane Artist of the Silver Age

Comics Comics Comics… – Sergio Argones

SuperHero Satellite – What If Peter Parker became Speedball instead of Spider-Man?

Pop Culture Retrorama – What If The Sinister Dr. Phibes Had Been Produced!

Source Material – What If Captain Confederacy

The Telltale Mind – Arak: Son of Thunder – A Lost Adventure

Comic Reviews by Walt – What if the Ultraverse Had Continued?


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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of November 18, November 25, December 2, and December 9, 2020

weekly_haul_header

Despite much intention to the contrary, wound up at the point that I’m covering another 4 weeks at a time here/now, rather than keeping up week to week! To a certain degree, I think I’m counting myself lucky I’m doing this much and that this blog isn’t completely "dead"…

This week, getting into comics bought as "new issues" over the past few weeks…


Week of November 18

weeklyhaul_20201118a

GI Joe: A Real American Hero gets to its 275th issue with the conclusion/10th chapter of the 10-part Snake Hunt story. #275…and the numbering dates back to the 1980s; having begun with a bridging issue #155 1/2 before picking up with #156 and continuing for an additional 120 issues now under IDW. 2 1/2 more years and THIS run will match the original Marvel run!

The newest issue of Batman (#103) and the newest The Walking Dead Deluxe (#3) add to both of those series.

The newest issues of Usagi Yojimbo and Catwoman; and the second issue of a new (mini?)-series Commanders in Crisis. I apparently neglected to finish the first issue, but on the likelyhood of enjoying it well enough, snagged the next issue.

Several $1 comics with the True Believers reprints for the first appearance of the Thunderbolts, and another symbiote thing with Venom. And hey…DC actually still put out a $1 reprint with a Sandman issue!

weeklyhaul_20201118b

Comic Shop News, and I couldn’t resist snagging an extra copy of the Thunderbolts/Hulk issue. I love that cover…soooo much nostalgia. AND hey…I support $1 reprints, and all the more like this. I’d rather this than modern variants…as usual!


Week of November 25

Thanksgiving week was an odd week of sorts.

weeklyhaul_20201125a

New Spawn, new Snake-Eyes: Deadgame, new (and final, I think!) Sandman Universe: John Constantine, Hellblazer issue in #12. I also snagged available back-issues #s 8 and 11. I need to figure out where exactly I originally left off to see what I’m filling in from to just have the single issues.

And of course, several $1 True Believers reprints.

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And the usual Comic Shop News, plus the CSN Christmas Special 2020.

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While out ‘n about, snagged this Rogue Figpin at Target. I’m a sucker for the character.

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Backtracking slightly…at a "Black Friday Week" sale, I snagged about 260 bargain-bin issues…the vast majority of them being X-Men and related issues, largely bringing me to having a bunch of stepping-stones leading my collection ahead from where I was going to let stuff peter out at AvX at the latest (2012) to the pre-Hickman Uncanny X-Men volume.

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And then I went back on Black Friday itself and wound up with another 296 bargain X-books, which I spent ages thoroughly going through and organizing at the shop to avoid duplicates. Even bargain-priced, at this quantity I was NOT keen to add a bunch of duplicates WITHIN THE SAME PURCHASE, let alone same-week and such. The Star Trek/X-Men issue hit a certain nostalgia for me conceptually and by the cover…I WILL READ THAT SOMEDAY!

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Also while out on Black Friday, I found these two "retro" Marvel Legends/Hasbro figures on a standalone cardboard display at Target. I’d seen posts earlier in the week about them being due out, and was actually IN Target specifically over Walmart or such because I wanted to look for these, in whatever VAIN attempt it’d be by late-afternoon BLACK FRIDAY.

But they had them.

So, having these in my cart I went ahead and did my other grocery-shopping (the very reason stores like Target DO these stupid EXCLUSIVES to begin with!).

However, APPARENTLY these had a "do-not-sell-until" notice of 11/29–a SUNDAY. (WHAT toy-drop is SUNDAY rather than say, Friday?!? What the heck…really?!?) While I "get" release dates and such, not being STEEPED in the stuff and knowing EXACT DATES and all that, it was EXTREMELY ANNOYING. They wouldn’t sell the thing, despite someone putting street-dated materials out (how does THAT even happen?!?). They wouldn’t even HOLD the things for me (Don’t they do layaway? Don’t they do online pre-ordering? If they were not allowed to take my in-hand cash or in-hand debit card on 11/27, couldn’t they at least put these things that I came into the store for, that I had in-hand, that THEIR people had put out, so that I could return to buy them "guaranteed" in 38-40 hours or so?)

As they refused…I let them know they’d need to void the rest of the sale, and gave them my cart…and walked out of the store empty-handed.

"But Walt, you have a picture of the figures…didn’t you actually get them?!?"

While I had no alarms set at any other point in the week, not even for Black Friday itself…I did for that Sunday. I was in the Target parking lot at 6:55am and walking in with several others at 7am on the dot. One person went straight to the Hot Wheels while I found the cardboard display…which had had at least 4each of Rogue and Gambit 36-38 hours earlier. Now only had ONE each. (So, if they COULD NOT and WOULD NOT sell them or hold them…where’d all the others go?!?). Semi-grudgingly re-grabbed a couple grocery items, bought everything, and got out by 10 after 7.

…the pork chops I bought were expired and we got snowed in before I could return them. Ugh.


Week of December 2

And all that catches us up to "current" with the week AFTER Thanksgiving and such! With being snowed-in for a few days…it turned out that the previous week’s shopping was the last time I would buy comics in my ’30s.

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Newest issue of Fire Power…and I’ve read up to #5, so I can read it without problems. Newest issue of The Walking Dead Deluxe. Also up to previous issue on reading, so can dive in. Batman #104? Yup…read 100-103 so "up to date"…can dive on in. TMNT: Jennika II #2? Read the first issue, can dive on in.

E-Ratic #1…it’s a first issue, so free to dive right in. Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Wonder Woman/War of the Gods…one-shot. Free to dive right in.

I can’t remember the last time I had a week’s worth of new comics that were NOT tied up in stuff I’m behind on reading. THIS is how it should always be.

THIS is the way.

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I spotted Dawn of X vols 9 & 10. I already had up to 7. Asked after 8 and we found it, so I was able to snag all 3 to again be up to date on these paperbacks. Farrrrrr better, to me, than trying to get individual titles’ volumes.

I’m gonna be monumentally ticked-off if Marvel discontinues these. But as of now, I have MORE FAITH in them continuing these, than I do in DC of ANY particular "line," be it imprint, collected volumes, graphic novels, or even group of titles. So Marvel‘s got that for the moment.

Though this means I have 10 of these stacked up waiting to be read in their entirety.

Can’t read what I don’t have, though.

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AND I figure these SHOULD be more affordable at this point than trying to gather first prints (aka "actual real regular cover editions") of the single issues. $17.99 for 6 $3.99 issues’ worth of content…that’s like gett 25% off even at full cover price. $3 an issue…beats the heck outta $3.99. And having ‘everything’ collected together lets one follow along with ‘everything’ rather than getting lost or having to jump between umpteen volumes.


Week of December 9, 2020

Wow…December 9th proved to be a really large week of new stuff for me!

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I definitely feel like Donny Cates is vastly over-hyped…and the backmatter ads in Crossover #2 did nothing but reinforce that for me. That said…I’d tried Crossover #1 and enjoyed it and decided to snag #2. (Enjoyed it well enough, also).

Newest issue of TMNT–#112 here–means this concludes the first YEAR’s worth of issues post-#100. In a world where it seemed like Marvel was largely unwilling to have books go much past #12, TMNT has topped that by 100! Of course, I don’t feel like there’s been much of INTEREST in the title in ages. Been sorta curious on some stuff, been some nice panels, but 12 issues now and it’s like…."everyone’s a mutant, Hob and Mutanimals are bad!" No Shredder, not MUCH of stuff with Splinter…overall I feel like this is a whole different title and that the title I was reading and enjoying as much as I was ceased last year!

Alien: The Original Screenplay concludes here with #5. Also MAY be THE last Alien publication from Dark Horse. So, how about THAT, speculators?!? Go buy this thing in large quantities becuause everyone’s waiting for Marvel to take over the property, who gives a darn about this? Besides ME, that is?

Then GI Joe: A Real American Hero #276…we begin the final march to #300! As touched on above with #275, this is the 121st issue of the series from IDW. And even at ONLY 121, that’s still above every other legitimately-numbered, North American-published title!

Two issues of Usagi Yojimbo; #15 of the current ongoing series, and #1 of a new Color Classics run. I cannot say I’m pleased at the format of "only" 6-7 issues and a gap, then another 6-7 issues and new cycle of 1-whatever. But if it gets stuff republished and all, I’ll live with it.

That’s six issues for the week already. Finally, an actual DC book in Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint. It’s a TFTDM issue, so…yeah. Why not? Though the conceit’s largely wearing off and I haven’t been quite as thrilled with these as I (think?) I was last year. They seem like TOO MUCH of a tie to Death Metal, which I’ve specifically avoided in and of itself.

I noticed Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #3, and realized I’d completely missed #2! And it primarily caught my eye because of having recently come across my #1 and wondered how many issues I’d missed. Checking "recent back issues," I found #2, and so–DESPITE these being a whopping $4.99 each!!!–I snagged #3 and #2. These displaced Dark Nights/Death Metal: The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 that I’d actually picked up and had in my pile. $9.98 for 2 issues or $8.99 for one issue tying into an event I’ve been avoiding? Where other specials are such speculator-fueled things that I won’t ever easily be able to snag the singles anyway? Yeahhhh…that’s enough that even otherwise being "interested" in the issue, I was willing to put it back.

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And then there’s Amazing Spider-Man volume whatever #54. Standard, NON-variant cover…grabbed my attention. It’s generic enough, but when you’ve got thousands upon thousands of Spider-Man issues out there over 50+ years, they blend together anyway. But this reminded me of a holographic issue from the ’90s, and of a scene from the 2002 film, and something about it reminded me of classic early-2000s Ultimate Spider-Man. And darned if Bagley isn’t credited on the issue, so that was DEFINITELY a well-founded, nostalgic reaction on my part for good reason! So for being a REGULAR cover and grabbing my attention as it did…against otherwise "better judgement" I bought the issue. NOT some giant-size anniversary special. Not some over-hyped speculator-fueled thing. Just a great cover. We’ll see if I even get around to READING it and what that does.

Finally, snagged the Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Future Imperfect for $20…an EXCELLENT price for such a thick volume! (50% off cover price). The volume collects issues in the early-400s, so a rather nostalgic period for me back in the ’90s. Where the Marneus Calgar issues trumped Last Stories of the DCU…this trumped the Adventureman hardback that I was also considering. Such is the week-to-week and a good deal at the same time as something well-priced, etc.

And Comic Shop News has a story on Marvel doing a "variants theme month" for the Marvel Masterworks line; as well as a Winter Preview.

$44 for new issues and a $20 tpb + tax…oof. And I used to think $20/wk was huge. I’m counting on this being a matter of the month being front-loaded with stuff ahead of the week OF Christmas and that infamous week between Christmas and New Year. Incidentally, I see that December 2020 is a 5-Wednesday month,so…c’est la vie.


Hard to believe we’re already nearly halfway through December. Three more Wednesdays in 2020. Who knows what 2021’s gonna hold?

So much for me having much to say to wrap up this post. Considering this post comes from at least 3 different typing sessions…everything’s disjointed anyway.

Later this week, should have the final Super-Blog Team-Up of the year.

And other than maybe a couple more of these Weekly Haul posts…who knows if/what else I’ll get posted before the year ends.

IF the year ends.

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Ziggy…3 Years Gone

Yesterday marked 3 years since that horrible day I had to say goodbye to Ziggy.

The "eulogy" of sorts that I wrote the day after is here:

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Lotta thoughts and feelings and reflection and tears last night as I assembled this collage, having dug through some clusters of Ziggy-photos I had on facebook the last few months.

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One of my coping mechanisms and processing of the loss the first year was weekly posts of photos of Ziggy. Reminding the world he lived, he was here. Celebrating his life.

That has continued the last two years, but with monthly posts.

And now it’s been 3 years.

And this collage represents photos from throughout the 7 1/4 years Ziggy was a part of my life. Most of these have become their own sort of "iconic" to me…certainly favorites.

Ziggy will certainly never be forgotten.

28 Years since Superman #75

Hard to believe it’s been 28 years since Superman #75 came out. 1992-2020.

Another couple years and we’ll be at the 30th anniversary. Whether there’ll be a DC Comics that even cares to recognize that at that point remains to be seen.

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Just tonight in working on this post, I’ve decided I need to add the "Platinum Edition" of Superman #75 to my Grails List. It’s certainly a grail–an issue I’ve been aware of and interested in since 1992, and which has eluded me to this day. I don’t think I’ve even seen a copy in person. (If I have, I’ve forgotten it for the moment).

As it is…I finally have the editions in the photo above all together in one place and where I know where they are TO be able to photograph ’em at the anniversary date of the issue!

The Black Bagged edition; a loose copy of the issue unbagged; all 4 original printings of the original newsstand edition, and then two reprints–one from 1999/2000 when DC was doing their Millennium Edition reprints of key issues from their history, and a DC Dollar Comics reprint of the issue.

With the way comics’ distribution was back in 1992, and my possibly faulty memory, I usually tend to think of November 19th as the date the issue came out, but have seen stuff indicating other nearby dates.

I’m choosing this year (2020) to observe the 28th anniversary as November 19.

And with a number of things going on in personal life right now and not really feeling up to a full-fledged/thought-out post (I’m surprised to have typed out as much as I have!), I’ll leave off with several links to posts I’ve done in the past about Superman #75!


The Covers of Superman #75 – a 2016 post showing the distinct original covers to the 4 newsstand printings and collector’s edition from November 1992.


Superman #75 Revisited – a 2017 review I wrote of the issue.


Old-School Variance: Superman #75 – a 2016 post on the multiple printings of the issue and maintaining the iconic cover image.


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What If…’The Death of Superman’ Happened in 2016? – Probably one of my favorite posts in this blog, where I mocked up dozens of variant-style covers to point out the difference between the ICONIC original covers (2 of them!) and how the comics industry was 24 years later (and now 28 years later just as bad or worse!)


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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of October 28, November 4, and November 11, 2020

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Been a few weeks…again. But hey…this time around, while having the no-post-gap of several weeks, I have pics of the hauls OF the several weeks!

So, let’s start with a couple weeks ago–October 28.


Week of October 28, 2020

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The long-awaited and MUCH-OVERHYPED TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 finally came out. Within the issue itself, there are several gallery pages of covers in addition to the usual/standard "gallery" on the inside cover with the usual variants shown off. I count no less than 65 covers. And counting the story pages of the issue…40 pages. So there are 25 more COVERS…than there are STORY PAGES in existence for this issue. I intentionally got the STANDARD cover. Not about to play the variants game with SO MANY variants, let alone this is a $9 issue. For the oversized format (an apparent callback to the size of the ORIGINAL 1984 TMNT #1 dimensions) and 40 story pages, prestige format/no ads, that’s not a horrible price, and IDW could easily have just shoved the price on up to $9.99, but didn’t. However, 10 different covers would be $90 AT COVER PRICE, but with so many covers apparently running $40+…yeah. Even MY "TMNT Exception" doesn’t go that far. At $40+, three covers that are just gonna get filed in some "current year comics" or "overall TMNT" box, or I could get a quarter-scale NECA figure (though I’m not keen on NECA at the moment).

Batman: The Three Jokers #3 is out. Three issues to be a sequel to the single-issue The Killing Joke. But being what it is, and by Johns, and my not being keen on DC distancing itself so much from even Johns’ stuff in general, I had given in on the first issue, so had to get the 2nd and third. And something about this project made it one I was willing to grudgingly get, and actually read ,and while it was rather extended and didn’t really GO anywhere, it worked well enough for me. (Yet just a week after the final issue, I saw an ad for the hardcover single-volume edition…ugh!)

Spawn #311. Nothing much to say for this issue; I’m ridiculously far behind on READING the title…but continue to simply "support" the title DESPITE the spike in variants, for the $2.99 value pricing in an overwhelming sea of $3.99-$9.99 single issues.

Then because I’m a total sucker, and despite the inflated $5.99 cover prices…I snagged the 50th issues of Batgirl and Red Hood Outlaw. Largely on the characters’ involvement in Three Jokers and the combination of coming out of that as well as The Joker War in Batman #100.

Though I have the original edition of the issue introducing the new Black Widow from Marvel Knights, snagged the $1 reprint, cuz as usual, I’m supporting cheap reprints of stuff since generally the reprints are from a time I enjoyed Marvel’s output far more than current-year stuff.

And then speaking of back issues/older stuff…latest issue of Back Issue magazine from TwoMorrows. This is another publication that I’ve been pretty glad to "support." They do high quality, well-researched stuff and the $10 is still a FARRRR greater time-value for the reading than any 2.5 $3.99 comics. Read one article and you’ve probably gotten more reading time than for 2.5 current-year comics, so anything else is just bonus for the money. I’ve probably missed an issue here and there of BIM, but between the cover story and whatnot, unlike comics, the content issue to issue isn’t what I’d see as serialized; it’s more the cover/topic that’ll grab me initially; as well as depending on how large a week on regular issues it might be.


Week of November 4, 2020

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Batman #102 is one I’m looking at sort of like the early 50s of this iteration of the title: it’s like a new #2, but I’ve decided to keep on PRIMARILY to "support" the high issue-numbering. If this WAS merely a new #2, I’d have passed on it and the previous issue. I need to catch up on reading around #s 91/92-99, but I think that’d make this "Ghostmaker" character make a LITTLE more sense to me…though I get slight "Hush" vibes as yet ANOTHER "new" character from Bruce’s PAST from his training is causing issues. Given rumours I saw on BleedingCool about DC essentially saying the heck with ongoing "continuity" come March…I gotta wonder just how far past #100 this iteration of the title will even go…or MATTER. My OCD would hate for me to have ultimately "kept up with" it for 102+ issues just to see it end a mere 4 issues later or something.

Firepower #5 means we’re one issue shy of "completing" a 2nd paperback. And with the "Prologue" tpb and FCBD edition of #1…we still have NOT matched in subsequent content what was initially available at once for this series. Which is both good and bad. I’ll likely be double-dipping, though. I’m not overly keen issue to issue on this book, but expect I’ll enjoy re-reading the first 6 issues in one go as I read the Prologue. And with my increasing avoidance of Marvel and DC, I’m willing to "throw in" with this title along with Walking Dead Deluxe as "regular" titles to replace what I’m not buying from those.

And speaking of…#2 of Walking Dead Deluxe. Once again, I hate the variant covers, and am starting to see this putting the issues out in color as an EXCUSE to do numerous variant covers. I’m specifically looking for the "A" cover (standard) cover. I initially had thought I might go for the one with the classic cover, but 1. that’s technically a VARIANT and 2. new iteration of the book, new cover. At least for these first few issues, I’m glad to give it a shot in color. And as said with Firepower…I’ll "enjoy" and appreciate this more than most new content out of DC and Marvel.

I was surprised to see Avengers #57. It’s a facsimile edition, but I think probably just about THE best one I’ve seen! They kept the original 12cents price on the corner box and simply updated to current with placing a modern barcode on the bottom corner of the cover. I actually wish they’d do this for ALL such editions–reprint the original cover price and all, but make sure the barcode is accurate. (Sure, you’ll get some folks who don’t realize what these are grousing "But it says $1.25, why is it $3.99?!?" but I’d argue that facsimile editions are intended for that middle-ground: the buyer/reader/collector who knows it’s a reprint of something classic, but not someone willing to pay the high prices for the originals. It’s not for casual buyers unaware of such things…if they’re out there.

TMNT: Jennika II #1 is an issue that gets in by virtue of technically being TMNT, and my OCD for keeping up with the IDW stuff (thus far I believe I have one of every single actual issue they’ve published, but not necessarily variants, ashcans, or promo pieces that aren’t full issues). Considering the first Jennika was interrupted by the Spring Shutdowns and #3 didn’t come out til…May? June? [according to IDW’s own site, June.] we’re barely 5 months since that mini. And the character is virtually starring in the main book. Even the other turtles have only had solo one-issue "micro series" outings…so why does Jennika deserve two different mini-series so close together within basically a single year?

I don’t think I even knew about this second round of Tales from the Dark Multiverse…but in a rare case of "advertising" via early-reviews I found out, and decided while I’m NOT getting any of the Death Metal stuff, I got last year’s round of TFTDM books, so might as well get this second round as well. Plus, since I already have the first round and haven’t double-dipped for the collected edition, getting this round also as ‘singles’ will keep to the same format without me double-dipping for OCD’s sake. I’m led to believe this HUSH issue is a retelling/alternate in name only, but…whatever, I guess.

I’m not sure WHERE I left off with the current, about-to-end Sandman Universe Black Label-not-Vertigo Hellblazer title. But for getting a couple of the other oversized/magazine-sized Black Label books, giving this Hellblazer one a chance. PLUS, as I’m a broken record…getting it to "support" the NON-BATMAN, NON-JOKER, NON-HARLEY QUINN such books.

Finally…Cross Over #1. I was NOT going to get this. In fact, I’d specifically decided not to. I feel like Cates is vastly over-hyped lately, since bursting onto the scene (I guess?) with God Country several years ago. I wasn’t going to CHASE this book, wasn’t going to seek it out, etc. But saw a bunch of copies there, and changed my mind. I can give it a look-see. After all…it’s Cates…but it’s NOT Venom or Thanos or Cosmic Ghost Rider/Galactus-Punisher-Old-Man-Wolverine-in-a-Black-Widow-Costume Marvel book. Best I can tell I was able to get the standard/basic/A/non-variant cover so I can simply read it for myself and judge it for myself.


Week of November 11, 2020

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And now catching up to "current week," and it’s a small one! Actually probably could have done without, but I thought there were a couple other issues out this week that I wanted.

Punchline I only got because it’s the same writer from Batman, and as I’ve yet to catch up on reading that run-up to #100, I don’t honestly know if I’d care for this or not. But I’ll be darned if I’ll leave it to have to chase it down later! And I’ll likely–ultimately–file it as an annual with the title. Not sure WHY it does not have "Batman" in the title…seems EVERYTHING ELSE published from DC even SLIGHTLY related to the character does. So why not this direct (apparently) spin-off special?!?

And as always, I’m a sucker for these True Believer reprints. ALL THE MORE when EVEN dropping much of the trade dress, the cover is STILL iconic and recognizable for what one single issue it actually is. The original edition of Thor #337 is from 1983…37 years ago, and still recognizable in and of itself. So many variants these days that you need a freaking ENCYCLOPEDIA and searchable online databases just to know what any given cover is from the cover alone.

Given the relative lack of anything else worthwhile…I picked up another pack of "top loaders" that I’ve been using for my personal "wall book" or "display book" comics. They’re like trading-card holders but sized to hold comics, typically including bag-and-board.


No real idea what else is coming out soon, other than subsequent issues of TMNT, Spawn, Batman, and….GI Joe: A Real American Hero.

Funny…triple-digit numbering all around! Must be something TO that, I guess???

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A Week’s Haul: Week of October 21, 2020

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I’ve long since given up the notion of accounting for every week of new comics in 2020. But for lack of posting lately, it’s time to get something new up, and what better than to fall back onto a simply “topic” of the current week’s haul of new stuff?

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So, I dropped Batman about a year ago or whenever it was—with the end of King’s run. End of a lengthy run, the title obviously would tread water and MAYBE only get to #100 before yet another renumbering ,blah blah blah. I felt vindicated after Punchline blew up. But when I found first print copies of several issues including “that” Punchline issue, I figured screw it…so deep in, why not just go to #100? Buuut….here we are with #101 this week. And I’m incredibly annoyed with DC at this point, with so much this year, but…I feel like I almost “have to” “support” their keeping a title going into TRIPLE DIGIT numbering. I mean…when was the LAST TIME that ANY modern DC or Marvel title crossed into triple digits LEGITIMATELY. And I do NOT count Action or Detective in that. So here we are with ostensibly an altered status quo…and legit FUNCTIONING AS a new #1, though actually being #101. We’ll see how it goes, and how long til I drop the title again after all.

Speaking of triple digits…TMNT #110. After #50, issue 51 had felt like a new #1 with the monumental events of #50…but still the series continued its numbering. All the more with TMNT’s #101 feeling like a whole new series. While it took awhile after #50 for my interest to really rebuild, I’m not getting that this time around. All the more with a Jennika mini-series having just finished and already a Jennika II announced…no other character/mini has gotten TWO goes in just a few months. While I have no real SOLUTIONS myself, this “mutant town” thing is getting old REALLY fast—it doesn’t feel like it’s actually, honestly GOING anywhere. Sure, there are a bunch of new mutants, sure the Turtles are now running a dojo to train new mutants (huh…sounds like an X-thing). But 10 issues in…where’s stuff with Shredder? Where’s more/actual fallout of stuff with Splinter? Of the TMNT that’ve been around for 34 years more than Jennika AS “ninja turtles”?

Stillwater #1 caught my attention somehow…and unlike too many other #1s I’ve bought intending to try, it was one that I actually read. And it was enjoyable enough, I figured I’d watch for #2 and if I caught it without it selling out/without my missing out on #2 casually/easily from the LCS, I’d get it. So…here we are. And hey…it’s not something annoying from DC nor Marvel, so it has that going for it as well.

Ah, but then Marvel—we have a True Believers issue featuring Taskmaster. And honestly…it’s the cover that got me. I can’t actually place the cover image…but I recognize it. And for “only” $1, it was easy to just add it to my stack.

Finally, Catwoman. Added to my pull list because I wanted to support the writer…when I thought Blake Northcott was THE new writer. Turned out she only had a 2-parter. But hey…because of that, goosed the numbers a bit otherwise.

And then, because it was a value-priced at less than the price of certain Marvel anniversary-ish issues, and at the price of only two bare-bones regular “floppy” Marvel single-issues (while containing TEN ISSUES’ contents), snagged Deadpool Classic vol. 1 finally. Honestly, for the price, I bought it because I couldn’t remember if I owned the thing already or not. Turns out I did not, and thus, it’s an even better value as being a new volume to me! And I’m leaning toward the Deadpool Classic line being my next series to kinda dive into. I’m stalled out on the "Classic" GI Joe: A Real American Hero (vols. 9 to 11 yet missing) and had my eyes on this series years ago. And since the various volumes are all out, it’s not like most DC series where there’s a fixed, finite run to BE collected, but having to wonder how many volumes the series will get this time before being cancelled withOUT collecting one whole run. I’m quite put off from modern Deadpool (and Venom, and Harley, and Joker). But ‘90s stuff? THIS is where it’s at! All the more for bargain pricing…

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Comics "Grails" Update: Early October 2020

2020 has certainly been a heckuva year. While I believe it was spring 2019 that I acquired Uncanny X-Men #266 in "my price range," I feel like it’s really been this year that I found myself much more proactively seeking out "grails."

That is, specific comics that I’ve wanted for a long time, and/or that I canNOT "simply" go to mycomicshop.com or such and place an order when the localest shops don’t have the issue(s).

Whether it’s that online shops and sellers I know of don’t have the issue(s) period or that they’re not in my price range, at the start of the year, I made a list of grails I planned to seek through the year at the various shows and conventions…having no idea (obviously) of what 2020 would be.


It’s been years, I think, since I’d made it to one of the Harper shows in the area. But things fell into place and I was able to attend the Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival on October 4th at the Westlake Hilton.

It was about what I remembered; I went in knowing it would basically be a "dealer room," and got what I expected. However, it seemed a bit more open, and much less crowded than shows past…which was obviously a good thing.

Ohio, so masks required; AND for the first time in everything this year, a place where my temperature was taken before admission. Apparently I was slightly cool–so be it! No fever here.


Once in, I loosely scanned the place. I had zero intent of squeeeeezing in between people or crowding/being crowded. I spotted a booth/table with some open space and checked stuff out.

I noticed a box with a tab for TMNT, and browsed. Not much selection…more TMNT Adventures than I’d have expected, and I nearly let it go at that, but did a second flip-through…and spotted a cornerbox referencing Fall 1994. Thinking there’s no freaking way… I pulled the issue up…to see that image. THE TMNT Special #10 cover I’ve been looking for! My top/#1 grail book. The issue that–to the best of my knowledge–completes my collection of every TMNT issue published by Archie.

And it was only $10!

Browsing a bit further, I found a Spawn issue–#135–for a decent price, and snagged that.

After browsing a few more booths–mainly checking for Uncanny X-Men #141 for a decent-to-me price or Avengers Annual #10 for same–I found a good-looking copy of Avengers Annual #10…and was shocked to see it priced at $10! I’ve had $30 in mind for awhile…so $10 was absolutely worthwhile to me!

AND…that was TWO GRAILS in short order at one single show!

I even got to thinking how "freeing" it felt to be "able to" consider some of the higher-priced books. Even though I’d still topped out at $10 for any given issue at the show…I was actually looking at "wall books" and considering issues!

Yet further into the show, browsing for the facsimile edition of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (the wedding issue), I’d come across a few copies of the original edition. $30 for the newsstand "Spider-Man and MJ" cover. $25 each at another booth for my choice of the "Spider-Man" or "Peter Parker" cover. I wanted the "Peter Parker" cover. $22 for the "Spider-Man" cover at another booth. And then…jackpot, Tiger! A copy of the "Peter Parker" cover…for $8!

Considering I went into the show prepared to (grudgingly) pay $10 for the facsimile edition…$2 less for an original was ABSOLUTELY fine-by-me!

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At that point, I was ready to call it a day overall. I wasn’t seeing Uncanny X-Men #141 at all to even price-compare; and me being me I prefer to browse without questioning if dealers have an issue–I go with face value WYSIWYG. At shows like this, I’m going for impulse-buys…not extended deals, possible phone calls and such. Either it’s there and in my price range or it’s not; end of story.

I found a booth with a mix of issues that somehow caught my attention. Spotted a copy of the Superman issue with a familiar cover from my youth…Must There Be a Superman? For $5. And as I’m getting to be a broken record about…considering a meaningless 1 of a dozen covers latest issue of WHATEVER is often $5 nowadays, $5 for a decades-old back issue doesn’t phase me anymore. (Not to mention depending on the issue and condition, being willing to go higher than I ever dreamed as a kid…and as I think I’ll get to below). Also snagged a copy of Superman Adventures #1. I am not sure if I already have the issue or not, but it seemed well worthwhile to me, and again…good for the price!

As I was paying, I noticed a wall book–Uncanny X-Men #158…for $10. With #s 141, 143, and 158 being the three issues I was missing between #141-421…I’d been mildly curious as to why no one seemed to have #158. This copy was marked with a note of being the first appearance of Rogue (as Avengers Annual #10 has always been that to my understanding, I take it 158 is the first Uncanny X-Men appearance of the character!). But if it’s at all a first appearance or second appearance or whatever…that explained its scarcity for casual browsing and the like.

Though I’d had the $5 in mind on the Superman issues, they were actually discounted a bit. As I was pulling out my wallet for the extra couple dollars to add the X-Men issue to my purchase, the guy paused on grabbing my change…and said we’ll call it even! So, actually got the issue for a little less than the $10…which made an EXCELLENT capping-off point for the show for me!

Including admission, I spent less than $65. While I hadn’t had Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 on my "grails list," it was absolutely a "grail" going in, or rather, the facsimile edition was.

The TMNT issue, the Avengers issue, and the Spider-Man issue were all issues I’d resigned myself to being in the $30 range each…but $28 scored all three of them for me.

Having several other issues I’m very satisfied with to own were welcome bonuses; as well as checking off another X-Men issue before it gets to the point of being elevated to an individual-issue "grail" status

All that said…it’s time to update the grails lists.


Default text==no change
Green==change/addition
Grey Strikethrough==acquired

Individual-issue ‘Grails’

  • TMNT Adventures Special #10 (Fall 1994)
  • Prime #1 (hologram cover, silver OR gold)
  • Uncanny X-Men #141 (~$30-40)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #1 (~$100; 3rd print)
  • Avengers Annual #10
  • DC Comics Presents #26 (~$20-30)
  • Dreamwave TMNT #7 ($5-10)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #44 ($5-10)
  • Uncanny X-Men #143 (~10)
  • TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #1
  • Wolverine (1988) #145 (foil edition)


High-interest Multis:

  • Spawn #s 132-134, 136-256
  • Uncanny X-Men #s 422, 455, 460, 464, 465, 467, 481, 482, 489, 492, 493, 494, 501, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 511, 513, 514+
  • Archie C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa (vol. 1) #s 1-3
  • Archie C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa (vol. 2) #s 1-3
  • Mirage TMNT #s 3-5
  • Mirage TMNT vol. 2 # 10
  • Mirage Tales of the TMNT vol. 1 #s 1-5
  • Mirage Casey Jones/Raphael #s 2-4
  • Mirage Donatello: The Brain Thief #4
  • Image TMNT #s 1-18, 21+

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Remembering Kayla on the 30th Anniversary of Her Birth

When we got Kayla in January 1992, she was 15 months old. She was a purebred–and she had "papers"…so her birth date was documented: October 4, 1990.

While she was never a showcat, or anything of the sort to me, to the family…it was always cool (to me) that we had an exact date of birth for her. An actual bonafide birtrhday, and so we knew her exact age all her life.

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We lost her in May 2010…on mothers’ day. She was just over 19 1/2…we’d had her over 18 of those years.

Today–October 4, 2020–is 30 years since this kitty joined the world. And having that exact birthdate makes it that much easier to celebrate that, than to "observe" the anniversary of her loss. And certainly NOT to at all trivialize what she means to me–what she was, how she was, the part of my life she played for nearly half my life–making it to 19 1/2, it wasn’t such a shock to me losing her. But I don’t really wanna get into that here, now, on a post celebrating her life.

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She was always such a curious cat. You couldn’t put a paper bag or a box anywhere without her checking it out. Even if she’d been asleep…it was like she had a homing beacon for boxes…she’d wake up and go right TO a new-to-her box to check it out. And even if it wasn’t new, she’d often be found on or in a box.

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I always remember going through my comic boxes the one time and I heard a certain noise and looked over to find her hunkered down, madly pawing at a bunch of comics…a box whose lid I’d left off. It was adorable, and I rushed to get my camera to get a photo of her going at ’em…never occurred to me her damaging them.

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This is one of my favorite photos of her…it was in the kitchen at the old house, a case of water bottles on top of another box. It was her pedestal/throne. I wish the camera had been higher quality…but such is the changes in technology over the years!

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Here she is curled up on an ottoman we used to have. I remember taking this photo because of the added cuteness of her being curled up as she is, on the round ottoman!

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Here’s an even rarer photo…where I’m actually IN the photo with Kayla, holding her. Unlike all the other cats we’ve had…she was always so mellow AND enjoyed being held. I could simply pick her up–even cradling her onto her back like a baby like this–and she’d just chill in my arms. Christy never tolerated that, and Ziggy never cared for it, and Sarah doesn’t. Chloe sorta puts up with it briefly, but never the way Kayla did!

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Another photo I remember the moment of taking (if not the date now)…It was hilarious to me at the time cuz I was trying to get a pic of her sitting there but she walked up and swiped at the camera–my face!

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Queen Kayla on her throne! I forgot that we’d had that chair this long…still have it, though it’s nearing the end of its time.

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Typical "weird-kitty" pose…

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Comfortable kitty sprawled on a sheet…

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This was a pic of Kayla with a frame of photos I’d put together after we lost Christy. This would be from sometime in 2009…we lost Christy in September 2008.

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Kayla chilling by her feeding station–in front of the pantry to the right of the fridge, against a chair-slash-stepladder thing we used to have.

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One of the few photos I have of Kayla "sitting pretty" and catching a lot of the blue to her eyes!

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Here’s Kayla with the ceramic bowl that her original owners gave us when we got her. I think there’d been two, but we’d wound up being down to the one, and eventually something happened to it or it got put away or such.

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Kayla on a toweled corner of the large rectangular ottoman we’d wound up with; that was more "coffee table" than ottoman.

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Another rare photo with me actually in it with Kayla. This is a cropped photo from Christmas Day 2007; that’s Dad with me; Mom and my sister are also in the original photo.

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After we lost Christy, I found this poem–Weep Not For Me–by Constance Jenkins, and it REALLY hit me…and along with Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, helped me process my grief after losing Christy. And it has been something I’ve tried to have with Kayla, and with Ziggy.


This past spring marked 10 years she’s been gone. She’s far from forgotten, though. Even my parents still sometimes slip and say "Kayla" when referring to Chloe or Daisey. And I still think of her, miss her, and so on.

And I’m ever so glad for the 18 years I got to spend with her a part of my life–from middle school into high school, through college, through grad school, and deep into my longest-held job. She was part of my life through some of my most formative years.

So…30 years now since she was born…

Happy birthday, little cat…

Thank you for all your years of love. And someday I’ll see you over the bridge.

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33 Months vs. 10 Years: Ziggy

The other day–Monday, I believe–September 7th–marked 33 months since losing Ziggy.

At the same time…it marked 10 years since he was brought into my life.

I’ve posted before–"Happy Birthday" posts, observing his birthday as the day Dad adopted him.

As well as others since losing him almost 3 years ago.

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I’ve marked the passage of time. For the first year after losing him, each week I posted photos of Ziggy to my personal facebook profile.

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From the first year, I backed off to monthly…and many of the photos have become "repeats" and favorites for me, reposting different ones different weeks…overall, and assemblage of memories of this special cat.

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It’s not that I want to celebrate the loss…I don’t "celebrate" his death. But on the anniversaries of the loss, to visibly, beyond myself, remember Ziggy. Celebrate Ziggy. That he lived. That he was such a part of my life.

And I wonder, perhaps, at future guilt…I know a day will come when I’ll lose Chloe. Sarah. Even a parent. And I don’t know that I’ll process the same way. It won’t be something to TRULY be able to "compare" or such.

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Over the last few months, I’ve had what I’m considering "anxiety episodes" or "anxiety flare-ups" just considering mortality, recognizing mortality.

Of my cats.

My parents.

Friends.

Myself.

Though I didn’t know him well, Reggie’s death earlier this year hurt more than I may have expected. Seeing others hurting in the loss also hit me hard.

Losing a family friend a few weeks ago–and the zero "closure" I’ve had on that, while seeing others hurt as well–has hurt.

Being grateful and thankful to still have both my parents is certainly a blessing, but as I see friends and people I know losing parents, it drives home all the more what I will inevitably one day face.

And maybe that’s part of what’s hit so hard in losing Ziggy, in the way I’ve had to process.

I’d had 9 years (of 13 1/2) without Christy in my everyday life when we lost her. Nearly 11 (of 18 1/2).

But Ziggy was a DAILY part of my life from mid-July 2016 until early December 2017; and part of my coping with the loss of a job, a move, health stuff with Dad, and so on.

While no longer with me in-person, Ziggy has impacted a quarter of my life so far.

And in facing other depressions and distractions, it was a punch in the gut this afternoon when I "realized" I’d missed his birthday this year.

So here I am.

Whatever this post is.

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