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Bought it For the Cover: Amazing Spider-Man #54

I don’t know how "regular" a "feature" this’ll be, but decided this was an appropriate sort of post to do. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I have a definitely dislike of most "variant covers." And thanks TO variants, I’ve largely felt that covers are near-meaningless now because any issue that SHOULD have an "iconic" cover has it FURTHER diluted from 2-3 covers every. single. issue. to umpteen extra covers such that there are more covers than there used to be for TWO YEARS OR MORE of any given single title. The "heat" is on the VARIANT, the CHASE, etc. Making the "regular" or "NON-variant" something "common" or "less than" or "basic" or "undesirable" or whatever.

But for Bought it For the Cover I want to highlight an issue that I bought for the cover–only, it’s the REGULAR cover.

Today, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man (vol. whatever…6? 8? 12?*) #54…ostensibly the penultimate chapter of Last Remains.

(*at this point I just figure EVERY Marvel title is at LEAST half-a-dozen volumes in, with all the reboots. Maybe sarcastic, maybe tongue-in-cheek, maybe just snarky or whatever.)

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This was an issue that grabbed my attention seeing the cover. It may be fairly generic–"just" a closeup of Spidey’s face…but rather than white eyepieces, we see a reflection of his hands as he’s shooting webbing out at the city, preparing to swing out.

spiderman_050_1994_stockimageAnd there was just something "familiar" to me about the image, that turned out to be that it’s Mark Bagley art! I’m most familiar with Bagley thanks to his stints on Ultimate Spider-Man, but apparently also on Amazing back during the ’90s.

Anyway, the image grabbed my attention, maybe also reminding me of Spider-Man #50 with a holographic/foil/shiny cover in the ’90s.

(As you’ll notice by the image being present here, I pulled the image of the aforementioned Spider-Man #50 for comparison!)

While not quite as zoomed-in/close-up, should be pretty obvious on the similarities. Prior to googling the old cover, though, I was thinking the holographic eyepieces were simply reflective…I totally forgot about (Kraven?) being visible…but having something "reflected" in the eyepieces certainly lends itself to why I "automatically" or "subconsciously" drew the comparison seeing the issue on the rack.

And being such a fan of ’90s comics–especially ’90s Marvel and DC (as well as Malibu‘s Ultraverse, and Image and such)…it was definitely the nostalgia that helped prompt me into buying the issue even though I knew it was not an opening chapter of a story; it’s by a writer whose work I’ve really not much cared for, and is the 54th issue in a run I’d NOT bought ANY issues from prior.

But that’s actually all the more the IMPACT I want to call attention to, of this simple, basic, "A", "###11", non-variant, cover.

54 issues in, zero context to the story, no particular hype that I was aware of over this issue (plenty for the NEXT issue, though with the newly-coined "webhead" cover), latter chapter of a story, not a writer I care to follow. TOTALLY the ART of the COVER prompting me to pay the $3.99.

No advance hype for this cover reaching me, I wasn’t aware it was gonna be out, I wasn’t looking for it, and even though it caught my attention, I wasn’t even going to BUY it.

But I wound up doing so.

And thanks to this REGULAR cover, I wound up getting the entire Last Remains arc and two issues of epilogue/fallout after the official story itself.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 06, 2021

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Another week, another batch of books. And actually a mix that INCLUDES both Marvel and DC "current issues"!

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I am absolutely NOT a "Cates Cult" person. I haven’t DISliked Cates‘ stuff that I’ve actually bought/read, but like Hickman, I find his stuff to be vastly over-hyped in general. That said, I’ve definitely been enjoying Crossover. So much so, that as a piece of extreme rarityI bought a variant cover. Spawn on the cover…and she’s reading Spawn#1. I justify this getting a "pass" because it’s NOT Marvel or DC, and I’m actively collecting Spawn, and I intend to display this issue rather than pack it away in a box or letting it languish in a stack somewhere.

Fire Power, like Walking Dead, seems to be better in chunks of issues. But with the way the series was rolled out last year, I’ve been snagging each issue as it comes out and reading/keeping up with it. It’s follow-able and NOT gory or ultra-violent in the way Invincible was, and there’s just something about it that I simply LIKE. It’s a "comfort food" sorta title that I’m glad to get each time a new issue comes out.

Walking Dead Deluxe is another Image book this week, and another Kirkman book, at that. This issue presents the concluding chapter of the first arc in color, and I can definitely say that I’m presently on-board for the long haul…as long as I can continue getting the "A" covers with no real hassle. I don’t approve of the NUMEROUS variants every issue. HOWEVER, I absolutely love that the variant cover IMAGES seem to be in a gallery of full-page presentations in the back of the issue–additional "Deluxe Content," I guess–but it allows me to HAVE the standard/"A" cover but still get to see the "full size" alternate art/images commissioned for the series. The back cover showing off the art from the ORIGINAL edition is also wonderful. New cover art original to the current deluxe/color edition; show off the original edition’s cover; and a gallery of new art by other artists; AND the entire issue is colorized instead of being a mere reprint of the black and white…THIS is the way such books should be handled, in my opinion.

I continue to snag the "facsimile edition" reprints when I can. This Captain America #117 one is an anomaly for me, though: I also have a copy of the original printing. This gives me a clear, clean, modern copy to READ, though…and to have a comparison for once. (Offhand, prior facsimile editions of issues I already owned have been much more modern and so far less difference for comparison).

It appears that I’m on the Amazing Spider-Man train for a bit…this being the third issue in 4 weeks or so that I’ve picked up new off the rack. We’ll see, though. I think I just "miss" Spider-Man, and the Bagley cover for #54 certainly points to that, as it was the blissful familiarity that prompted me to get that issue!

And then, though I’m pretty much resisting the Future State stuff, I wanted to give the Swamp Thing book a look (and may extend the same to whatever the one Robin thing is that I think I saw something about). Swamp Thing is a weird one for me…I’m not terribly INTO the character/titles, but there’s been a certain nostalgic fondness on my part going back to a comic in a 3-pack I got as a kid. Probably ALSO helps that the character isn’t exactly over-exposed…and yet has quite a history.

Finally, The Next Batman: I wasn’t planning on getting this one, but it was in with my pulls and I realized yeah, I’ve got Batman on my pull list, so it makes sense to have the ‘main’ Batman title from Future State. And it’s bi-weekly, too, so…c’est la vie! However…the thing is $7.99! I probably should have paid more attention a month or two back…and need to determine pretty quick where I’m actually officially gonna stand on Batman going forward. And if this was put in my stack so I could choose if I wanted…well, obviously I bought it, so ZERO complaint from me. Let’s just see how the story itself holds up/worthwhile.

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Here’s my actual edition Captain America #117 next to this week’s facsimile edition.

I accept "branding" stuff but not so keen on the modern Marvel logo being added, and would sorta appreciate the barcode being on the back cover. That being said…at the same time it’s good to have the modern touches like that…since many back issues are bagged/boarded and such, the barcode hidden on the back and the lack of modern Marvel logo could make it all too easy to pass the facsimile off as the original.


Over the first weekend of the new year, I was able to snag half a dozen Dragonlance RPG books. I’d swear I typed up something about the whole thing, but I’m not sure where, so now i’m "re-typing" about these!

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These were found at Half-Price Books for…well…half-price. However, they had several other volumes for something like 150% to 200% cover price, which drives me bonkers. Suffice it to say that I’m interested in the main campaign setting book, as well as the other main hardcover books…and definitely Dragons of Winter (paperback, though).

I spent more on these than I would have preferred, but I passed on several a few years ago and swore to myself that I would not miss out on them again.

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I also snagged this oversized hardcover gallery-ish volume collecting a bunch of Kevin Eastman art.

And the Booster Gold figure was a good price, and looks excellent, so got it as well. That its packaging is falling apart will likely be incentive to just open the sucker and display the figure loose.


I’d also come across Final Faction toys at Dollar Tree…I’ve detailed that in another post over the weekend already.

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Final Faction

Seems to be getting to be an annual tradition for me, unexpectedly "discovering" some new toy line in January of a new year.

In 2019, it was Lanard’s Primal Clash line of dinosaur-riding soldiers.

Last year, in 2020 it was again Lanard but with an Alien Collection.

Now in 2021, it’s Dollar Tree‘s Final Faction.


During the first weekend of the new year while browsing a local Dollar Tree store, I happened to notice some generic "GI Joe-like" figures. I’m not sure what actually caught my attention…perhaps the packaging, perhaps the logo alone, perhaps the sheer quantity of figures on pegs. Maybe it was the Mech character. Whatever the case, I ended up flipping through figures on the pegs to see what the assortment was like, and noticed that the back of the cards showed several characters.

While there were none of the alien/villain characters…they had all 5 of the "good guy" Alpha Team 1 characters, so I figured for the whopping $5 to get one of each figure, not bad…and bought ’em.

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There was a QR code on the back of the cards referencing some cartoon–and maybe that was also a selling point for me?–but the overall packaging was a definite draw.

Each character has a unique card front, which seems like a definite rarity in "dollar-store toys." Even better, each card has a unique back with a "profile" and the classic "clip and collect" note…hitting a huge nostalgia point for me.

The scale of the figures is great, too–3.75"/4" so they’re right on-par with most other figures, and likely could fit right in with modern retro GI Joe or even Star Wars figures.

Another bit of nostalgia/classic-ness is that in addition to the basic figures themselves, there are multiple accessory packs. Most of the characters come with accessories as-is, but these packs let you outfit the group with even more weaponry or add onto the A.C.R.M. and such.

While the A.C.R.M. profile indicates it’s a singular unit piloted by a single specific character…I see it as something cool for a "good guy army-builder," which seems a bit of a rarity to me.

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Here are the five unique "good guy" (Alpha Team 1) figures out of their packaging.

They’re not overly-articulated…you basically have the classic 5 points of articulation–arms and legs move, and head rotates. You also have holes for pegged accessories…particularly on the ACRM.

In watching some YouTube review of the figures, someone compared these to Happy Meal toys, and I think that’s a great point/comparison. These aren’t heavy figures by any means, and definitely DO seem to be well on-par with (if not significantly surpassing MODERN HM toys)…but they’re ONLY ONE DOLLAR EACH.

I’m not ever sure you can buy "just the prize" from McDonald’s for $1.

And the lack of articulation–to me–is a benefit. Less articulation is less points for the figures to break. Less moving parts to destabilize the figures in displaying them. Less for whatever meager paintjobs to gum up and incite the individual into accidentally breaking their figure while trying to get an articulated joint to move.

And below are the "profile cards" for these Alpha Tea 1 figures:

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And what line of toys is complete without some cool villains?!?

We have five "hero"/"good guy" characters…but only three unique Kharn/alien/villain figures.

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However…these seem to be generic alien/villains. None of them are named characters. So it’s basically three classes of alien invaders. The basic Drone…the much beefier Brute…and then the mechanical Synthoid.

And considering the mere $1 price point per figure…these are excellent to "army-build!"

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I’m content with the Brutes and Synthoids…but I feel like the Drones should at least match, if not outnumber the Brutes and Synthoids combined, quantity-wise…which means I’ll be interested in getting at least 9 more Drones.

The Brutes and Drones come with handheld blasters, while the Synthoids don’t come with any additional accessories.

That’s definitely where the accessory packs will come in–adding onto the Drone and Brute, but interchangeable alternate arms (literally!) for the Synthoids.

Below are the "profiles" of these:

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I’ve assembled this quick collection with a visit to a whopping six different Dollar Tree stores. I particularly wanted multiples on the Kharn, BUT even as cheap as these are and plentiful if in stock at all…I didn’t want to "clear the pegs" at any of the stores, so snagged several from each store, to leave stuff to be further discovered by others.

Though one store only had the heroes, another only had the aliens, and only a couple had the accessory packs.

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Considering the price of even ONE modern GI Joe Retro figure ($12.93 at Walmart IF even in-stock there at all and being ‘scalped’ online for up to $40-something), or the price of a single larger figure (Marvel Legends in the $20-25 range up to $30+ each or $50+ for 2-packs) or NECA singles ($27-30+ for single figures, $50-$53+ for 2-packs, etc) my entire 26-figure collection of Final Faction for under $30 is extremely gratifying. Even allowing for an additional $10ish for 9 more Drone figures (in time) isn’t bad. And a bunch of accessory packs aren’t bad.

Especially considering the sheer quantity and bulk of the collection as a whole vs. merely getting UP TO FOUR figures for any other line.

And while these are Dollar Tree exclusive…based on looking the up on the chain’s website, figures are something like 40 to a case. Forget that 6 to a case or 12 to a case nonsense of stuff at Target or such. These may be exclusive but they don’t seem RARE, and they’re certainly not one-per-store or something that’s disappearing in SECONDS to MINUTES from the store with crowds of people hanging out waiting for the store to open to get in and get ’em etc.

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I saw some $5+ individual figures listed by third-party sellers on Amazon, but that’s somewhat to be expected…being on that platform at all IS going to be third-party and marked up, since these aren’t just available for ANY store to order. (Though $5 + s/h while knowing these are $1 figures is rather steep and DOES technically constitute 500%+ markup from retail price).

But "scalping" and such is a topic for some other post.

These figures are apparently pretty new–from what I can tell, they’ve only been out since November 2020 or so. If your local Dollar Tree doesn’t have them in-stock, presumably they’re coming (or already sold through?). That said…if their site actually FUNCTIONS (it did not, for me, initially, and I’m actually glad it didn’t) apparently you can order certain quantities or full cases of the figures.

I "assumed" there was some whole "season" of multiple episodes out there…but from what I’ve found/seen, there’s really only 1 episode and then a gallery of the figures, and a gallery of the characters.

The episode is listed as "episode 1" suggesting more, but…time will tell.

For price, product, etc…even just a week’s novelty of hunting down these figures in these quantities and a random (if cheesy/laughable) mini-movie as made them VERRRRY worthwhile to me, and I’ve gotten MY money’s worth…even if I get no further Drones…or any more figures for the line, period.

But two particular characters from the cartoon that are not represented are Churro–the dog with a dog-mech, and the Kharn’s specific big-boss. Part of the appeal of these figures is they’re $1/each…but for a larger boss and a dog-with-mech, I’d certainly gladly spend $5 each!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 30, 2020

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First post of the new year…but the last weekly haul of the old year!

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With an otherwise small-ish week, I opted to go for Wolverine #8 of the current iteration of the series (6th series? 7th?) for the legacy #350 aspect, figuring hey..maybe it’d be standalone-ish and worthwhile. It wasn’t as "historic" or reminiscent as I’d’ve hoped, though its prologue short was sorta in that vein. As a one-shot (for me) I’m NOT totally disappointed with the purchase, though at $4.99 it won’t be a regular thing…nor will hunting previous issues due to numerous printings AND variants.

Batman Annual #5 mayyyy be my last issue of the run. With #105’s conclusion of the current story recently and discovering that post-Future State the price is getting jacked up to $4.99/issue (not sure if it’s staying biweekly or going monthly) with backup stories continuing in another series that I’m not buying, I might have to let the title go as I will NOT pay $4.99 an issue for that crap.

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #2 is the second issue of the second "color classics" "run" of the series from IDW. I’d much rather simply a 1:1 colorized reprint run to go alongside the new series, but…whatever.

I wound up with this Last 52 issue…I think I’d meant to get Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Metal, but…again, whatever. Maybe I’ll read it, maybe I won’t. Winding down on DC anyway.

And I decided to give in on the hype with Amazing Spider-Man #55, having bought #54 already, and wanting to be able to "judge" stuff for myself.

Then for $15ish, I couldn’t pass up The Complete Clone Saga Epic vol. 3, especially after just last week getting vol. 2. Unfortunately, seems vol. 4 is gonna be a major PITA to get ahold of for anything even resembling cover price, let alone a "discount" price.

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Taking advantage of a sale, snagged a bunch of Marvel Comics Presents issues that were already really (comparatively) cheap anyway.

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Ditto for X-Men Adventures and X-Men Adventures Season II. Also snagged several X-Men: Legacy issues.

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Then at the other shop, further sale stuff, including splurging on a couple of "the" Carnage ASM issues (#361 is apparently going on the GRAILS list). Then for the sale and heckuvit, grabbed the Marvel Milestones edition of Giant-Size X-Men #1. And a highly-pleasantly-affordable Giant-Size X-Men #2!

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Then a bunch of X-Men Forever and X-Men Forever 2 issues for less than the price of two "regular" modern Marvel issues.

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And a couple more Wolverine (4th series? 5th series?) issues and more X-Men: Legacy issues.


As some added stuff just because of grabbing a screenshot tonight before deciding to get this post written up…

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Looking up that Amazing Spider-Man #361 issue…I was rather "shocked" at the prices from Lonestar/mycomicshop.com! Alllll these (and MANY MORE not in the image!) consignment copies of CGC and CBCS graded issues at such high prices!

I’ll be happy for a very low-grade copy just to have the issue at all and "raw" at that!

But with there being THIS MANY copies available in these higher GRADED conditions…and SO MANY on "consignment"…I gotta wonder if the market is a bit "off" or OVERLY OPTIMISTIC?

Then again, I’m certainly NOT the target demographic/market for stuff like this. But it’s like so many people have the issue–and graded–but are trying to SELL it. And with this many available, it’s NOT like the issue’s being snapped up just for BEING LISTED.

It’ at least looks to me like there are way more copies like this at these prices than people actually buying.

But what do I know?


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