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A Speculator’s Guide to Marvel’s Alien (2021) #1

Marvel recently released an Alien #1, after Dark Horse had the license for 30-some years. In fact, outside of a single graphic novel/album adaptation of the first film, I’m pretty sure that every Alien/Aliens/Aliens vs. Predator/AvP, etc comic published until March 24, 2021 had been published by Dark Horse.

To go along with this Bold New Enterprise and such, I’ve put together a Speculator’s Guide to highlight some of the "key" firsts and why you should absolutely stock up on and hoard this issue and alllllll its variants.

After all…that’s what comics are all about*, right?

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Consider the following my bonus "Speculator Guide" to Marvel’s Alien #1:

  • First Alien comic published by Marvel
  • First appearance of Gabriel Cruz
  • First appearance of Danny Cruz
  • First appearance of the Movement
  • First appearance of Epsilon Station.
  • First ("cameo") appearance of some sort of Xenomorph variant in dream sequences
    • First Marvel appearance of any Xenomorph variant
  • First cover appearance of some sort of Xenomorph variant (variant covers)
  • First Marvel Alien #1
  • First Alien cover by InHyuk Lee
  • First Alien cover by Steve McNiven & Laura Martin
  • First Alien cover by Peach Momoko
  • First Alien cover by Ron Lim & Israel Silva
  • First Alien cover by Todd Nauck & Rachelle Rosenberg
  • First Alien cover by Patrick Gleason
  • First Alien cover by Skottie Young
  • First Alien cover by David Finch & Frank D’Armata
  • First Alien cover by Salvador Larroca & Guru-eFX
  • First Alien comic written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
  • First Alien comic edited by Jake Thomas and Shannon Andrews Ballesteros
  • First $4.99 Alien comic not part of an event series
  • First ongoing Alien #1 at $4.99 price
  • First appearance of Facehuggers in Marvel
  • First facehugging in Marvel
  • First Alien comic with Captain Marvel (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Spider-Man (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Spider-Woman (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Venom (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Nightcrawler (ad)
  • First Alien comic with The Mighty Valkyries (ad)
  • First Alien comic with the Champions (ad)

I may have missed a few things, but there you have it! Feel free to chime in on what I’ve missed. I imagine we’ll see plenty of other "key" things about #2 in a few weeks, but that’ll be a Whole New Cycle of Key-ness after this issue’s been milked for all it’s worth…right?

(*This post is tongue-in-cheek but with a point to be had.)

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As random art or "prints" go…I like a number of these covers. But even for comic cover-sized prints $5 is a bit much. And since they’re basically all generic images…this really could be a year and a half’s worth of covers!

Put ’em in an art book…do an Alien Gallery by Marvel issue or something. (With so many covers just for #1, they’ve already got a full Gallery issue’s contents!)

Here’s hoping that the series develops something worthwhile and works out to more than JUST a TON of VARIANTS and being "not-Dark Horse." Let’s get some substance and such! Beyond hype, beyond mere "speculation."

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Alien (2021) #1 [Review]

alien(2021)_001Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Color Art: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: InHyuk Lee
Variants: [Too Many]
Design: Jay Bowden
Assistant Editor: Shannon Andrews Ballesteros
Editor: Jake Thomas
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: May 2021
Story Pages: 30
Info Pages/Credits Pages: 2 (double-page spread)
Cover Price: $4.99

There’s a lot to unpack here, mostly cosmetic and comparison.

They very first thing for me is that–as always–there are TOO MANY DARNED VARIAN COVERS. Do a pin-up gallery or something! Give us bonus art pages–the back cover, the inside covers, I don’t know. Knock it off with all the ****ed variants, though!

Secondly but still surfacey…what a freaking BORING logo. Basically just a spaced-out generic FONT. In my (surely vast) ignorance on the matter, I do not "get" the shift in branding to ALIEN (singular, with boring/generic font as "logo") away from the more dynamic, attention-grabbing ALIENS with the glowy effect and such. Same sorta problem I have with the novels from Titan. Maybe it differentiates a bit from Dark Horse-published stuff, but….I’m rather irked at all the crap regarding the licensing and such anyway, so this does nothing to endear this to my heart! While I know that the logo for the original 1978 film was basically just this "boring/generic font as ‘logo,’" the logo for the 1986 film was much more interesting, so in terms of using a logo from the series, it’s not like that one isn’t available (as far as I am aware, as just some dumb customer).

Thirdly and (also still surface stuff): yet another $4.99 #1. I pay $5/issue for a LOT of stuff lately, and generally without complaint (I’m looking at current-day X-BOOKS stuff in admitting that). But then, those are things I’ve been buying en masse and not sitting down to "analyze" and specifically, singularly discuss as a single-issue item in a relative vacuum. $5 gets you 5 things from Dollar Tree. You can go more upscale and get something at Five Below. But a mere 2 $5s is $10; 4 is $20, and that $20 might net you a "fine" condition back-issue (even a "key"!) decades-old that will be more memorable and appreciated than SEVERAL generic modern issues flocked by oodles of generic variant covers.

So, getting back to the cover: While on a technical level, this cover’s not bad….it’s very, very generic. It’s nothing but a pin-up image of a lone Xenomorph on a black background, with generic white text denoting several creators and the title. Nothing about ANY specific characters, or the world of the franchise, not even any sort of creepy background or something to be atmospheric beyond a lone creature coming out of the darkness with enough light glinting off of it that–the more I think on it–the more it seems there should be SOMEthing visible besides the creature.

We open on flashback/dream stuff of someone in some sort of capsule with "Alien Inside" painted on it from the outside (with spray-paint? With blood?) and come to find one Gabriel Cruz talking with his therapist–a Bishop-model synthetic. He’s retiring from his position as Security Chief on Weyland-Yutani’s Epsilon Station to go back to Earth and try to rebuild a relationship with his son. We then briefly meet a couple, conspiring on something…and find that the male is Cruz’s son, Danny. He’s feigning his part of patching things over to get ahold of his dad’s old W-Y badge. After they split, we get more insight into Cruz and his background and this dream sequence thing in a Xenomorph hive, seems to be about another son since lost. Back to Epsilon Station and the son, girlfriend, and others bust in, murdering indiscriminately, and find that they’ve breached a laboratory rather than a server farm. They find scientists still present, and before they can all be killed, a lockdown is initiated, destruction ensues, and facehugging commences. To Be Continued…

The flashback/dream stuff here is obviously present to have the Xenomorphs make an appearance in the issue for an issue that is part of a Serialized Graphic Novel that does not feature the titular creature(s) in its first quarter (sixth?). The comic IS titled ALIEN, after all, and I’m sure Marvel would hope loads of "new readers" would flock to their iteration of the title just for that word "MARVEL" on the cover and buy into the thing. This is Marvel, but this isn’t 2001 Hide-The-Hero Marvelright? And other than these bits, this is basically just a comic about normal humans with typical-ish (albeit 200 years in the future) human technology. No superpowers, no gaudy costumes, no hopeful musical montages.

The art itself is good quality; I like the appearance; and there’s nothing "bad art" about this thing in and of itself. Between the glimpse at the Xenomorphs/nest and present-day stuff, just flipping through this it looks like an Aliens comic. (Oops. Sorry. ALIEN. Singular. Darn that "s"…)

Story-wise…I’m neither impressed nor disgusted. This in no way reads as anything new or spectacular; there’s nothing revelatory or really…anything different whatsoever from pretty much any other Alien/Aliens comic published by Dark Horse. The story is a couple hundred years in the future from us as readers; it’s set after Alien and Aliens (preserving the film canon/timeline) but otherwise is a bit nebulous and indistinct. We have some arbitrarily-chosen human protagonist, haunted by something horrible that happened in the past either to him directly or to someone close to him that involved creatures in darkness that he may or may not know what they are–while we (the reader) know (by the title on the cover, at least) exactly what they are. Yadda yadda yadda, Weyland-Yutani is evil, misguided people accidentally wind up loosing facehuggers to begin an outbreak, etc…blah blah blah.

We do have 30 story-pages (as opposed to a standard 20) so the extra 10 pages for $1 are a better value than a standard $2 per 10 pages. We also get a double-paged spread of 2 pages "infopage"/"credits pages" with dramatic placement, going for a cinematic presentation. Cold open, slight development, bam! Credits, scene cut…comics. Nothing special or original. Despite my annoyance with Almost Every First Issue Must Be An Oversized Five Dollar Thing Heaven Forbid First Issues Just Be First Issues, the TECHNICAL "value" is there, so…yeah.

While by no means a "bad issue," this lacks anything significant–to me, at least–for being a NEW #1, fro a "NEW" publisher, etc. 30 years of Dark Horse publishing Aliens comics, and then Marvel gets the license due to the Disney buyout. And a bit of a gap from DH trailing off and nothing at all for a few months. And now "the big debut" from Marvel (my phrasing, not Marketing) and the property is not even given the Star Wars RUSH/deluge of publishing (as I’m recalling from 2015, Marvel had an omnibus AND first issue of new Star Wars ongoing published the very first week of 2015 when their license went officially active, followed either that same month or immediate months after with multiple other series.) These were directly, overtly placed in a singular, known timeline, building a new/additional canon.

Alien, however, does/did not get this. No, this is a new series launched practically FOUR MONTHS into  Marvel having had the license. That Omnibus? It’s not even due til sometime later in April. And…but for the title on the cover (ALIEN singular) and the publisher logo (MARVEL)–there is really no difference…no new or exciting feel, no particular tone (whether internal or external/meta) to indicate this is any sort of a new era, nothing about new/rebuilding canon, just nothing at all that there’s anything that Marvel brings to the table that Dark Horse did not.

Except that Dark Horse never did umpteen variants on a single issue.

speculators_guide_marvels_alien_001a

By and large, this issue could certainly just be the first issue of the next Dark Horse-published mini-series. The art is good, but nothing new for the property. The story is good, but nothing new for the property. The (main, ignoring variants) cover isn’t bad, but nothing new for the property.

If you’re already a fan of the property and were regularly buying the content from Dark Horse, this should be right in line with any of that and thus no reason not to buy Marvel‘s #1. If you’re newly interested in Alien/Aliens/etc. in comics, this is just as decent a jumping-on point as any other #1 with the title on the cover. I suppose the only real difference is that where so many "firsts" were already exhausted by Dark Horse, this provides a Marvel Modern Reset to stuff, dragging a 30-year-old comics property into a New Age for New Speculation.

alien(2021)_001_blogtrailer

Lanard Aliens Collection 2021

It was right about a year ago–1/28/2020–that I happened across Lanard‘s Alien Collection figures for their 2020 output. They had a 12" Queen, 3 Xenomorph packs, a Xeno + power loader, and a vehicle. But that was then.

[I’ve titled this post with Aliens plural. The named branding on the boxes is singular, but I go interchangeably with the plural for the general historical branding that came out of the films and such. The Alien vs Aliens semantics as a sweeping/universal brand is–to me–a subject for some other post another time.]

I never really had use for nor cared about the human characters in the Alien playsets last year. I bought them FOR the Xenomorph figures. And in a world where a similarly-scaled figure is routinely $13 or more, $10 for a Xeno, a human, AND accessories…I was always more than happy to pay $10.

lanard_aliens_7inch_drone_front

Now we get significantly larger Alien figures–7" or so–with accessories–and we’re STILL at the $10 price point!

This also certainly beats the $26-$30+ for NECA Aliens figures. (All the more given that–at present–I’m personally refusing to buy any NECA product EXCEPT what TMNT I can actually find until I have "completed" my set of the basic TMNT releases.)

lanard_aliens_7inch_drone_back

Having fun Aliens with good sculpts from Lanard absolutely scratches the "Aliens itch" for me and at a price point I’m much happier with!

Plus at the lower price point and basic sculpting…there’s a lot more room for me to do some decent "army-building" and "customizing."

lanard_aliens_7inch_warrior_front

Thoughhhhh thus far the extent of my customizing is essentially "aim black spray-paint at a figure." I spray-painted several dupes last year including a Queen and have been pretty satisfied with the end result.

lanard_aliens_7inch_warrior_back

That said…I’ve also appreciated the brighter colors in large part for the nostalgia of the old Kenner figures. Said nostalgia also led to me purchasing a couple of the vintage figures last year to add to my shelf of Xenos.

lanard_aliens_7inch_runner_front

Unfortunately, I’ve more or less run out of space on the Aliens shelves…especially with the inclusion of Predators in the mix.

Though I should be able to squeeze these 7" figures in without TOO much trouble offhand.

lanard_aliens_7inch_runner_back

Fitting multiple additional Queens in are a whole different matter–given their bulk…and their tails!

lanard_aliens_7inch_red_queen_deluxe_12inch_front

This new deluxe Queen being red works on MULTIPLE levels!

Firstly, it’s a new color to differentiate from last year’s purple Queen. Secondly it’s another brightly-colored figure like the rest of this line. And thirdly, it works given the ALIENS: GENOCIDE comics & novel history with the Red Aliens developing and fighting with the typical Aliens.

lanard_aliens_7inch_red_queen_deluxe_12inch_back

I’m not particularly impressed with the sound effects of the figure and don’t really get the "light up" purpose. But considering the price point is EXACTLY THE SAME as the no-electronic version, and I’m basically just DISPLAYING the things, it doesn’t bother me! I’d much rather "have to" ignore sound effects that are manually-activated than having to "ignore" something visually-displeasing.


While the Queen alien is basically a slightly-enhanced re-issue of the purple; and these other 3 are essentially just scaled-up versions of the smaller ones from last year: I’m quite happy with them, and look forward to getting a few more.

I’m also VERY happy with them seeming like they’ll be quite plentiful/available in general DESPITE being Walmart-exxxxxxxclusive. Until the 2020 stuff was clearanced out, I feel like throughout the year I rarely–if ever–saw the Lanard Alien Collection pegs bare. Which is QUITE the opposite of other lines such as the Retro GI Joe where I think I’ve only 3 times seen ANY figures whatsoever present.

Even better than just these Alien figures is that Lanard ALSO has Predator figures! (Which I’ll likely be covering next!)

lanard_aliens_7inch_blogtrailer

SBTU – Expanded Universe: Aliens and Predator

sbtu_expanded_universe_aliens_and_predator_header

It’s Super-Blog Team-Up time again!

This time around, the group is tackling the notion of the "Expanded Universe"–with many different topics, as always!

Please check out the list of links at the bottom of this piece for the other entries in this team-up of blog-posts…or skip on down their now, as my piece here is rather lengthy, rambly, and not exactly what I’d had in mind when I began!

With a big thanks to Chris Bailey (@Charlton_Hero) for the graphic below:

sbtu_charlton_hero_image

In recent years, the terms "Extended Universe" and "Expanded Universe" have meant a couple different things to me. They also tie in to the term "Cinematic Universe," in terms of movies. Namely, the Marvel "Cinematic Universe" and the DC "Extended Universe." (Or "Expanded," I’m rarely clear on what’s (semi-)"official" with the "MCU" and "DCEU.") I’ve never liked the "EU" in reference to the DC movies when used alongside Marvel‘s "MCU," because to me it should be "DCU" same as we have the "DCAU" (DC Animated Universe) and such.

What? I’m getting critical and negative and that’s DC and Marvel when you’re expecting Aliens and Predators?

Ok.

Outside the aforementioned DC and Marvel movies, I see the terms Expanded Universe and Extended Universe as fairly interchangeable/synonymous and I don’t expect to be 100% consistent in my use throughout this piece. (So please take them as interchangeable and synonymous within my writing here.)

DEFINING "EXPANDED UNIVERSE"

To me, an EU is a property that begins in a fairly-specifically limited (if not one-off) format. For example: you have an original movie (singular)…it universe-builds, it sets a context, it tells you a story…and that’s that. Beginning, middle, end. In and out and done. Look at The Terminator, before any sequels. Or Highlander, before any sequels. And so on.

Perhaps we don’t start with a movie…perhaps we start with a novel. Emphasis on "a." Singular. You get this self-contained story, and that’s that. The whoooooole thing is that one book. It’s a good book, an enjoyable book, a memorable book…but still AAAAAAAA book. (For example: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay)

Where "EU" comes in is with that singular thing cropping up in another medium with new content sharing elements from the original…building on or (you guessed it!) expanding and extending what was found in the original. The Terminator got a movie sequel as well as comics. Then other comics, even a tv series, along with multiple sequels. Highlander had sequels, a tv series, original novels, an animated series, comics, etc. Kavalier and Clay had Escapist comics, and a comic sequel of sorts (The Escapists) where present-day creators got the rights to the old Escapist character and the story followed their journey. I’m not sure if there’s a tv show in the works, but it’d certainly be ripe for an HBO miniseries or such at the least, which would be further expanding.


In today’s case, I’d figured I’d look at Aliens. But that really necessitates bringing Predator into the conversation. Both properties started as singular films…got a sequel…were continued into comics, then video games, further sequels, novels and novelizations, more videogames, toys, and so on. Both universes expanded and intermingled, even sharing universes ahead of more famous and/or contrived attempts at cinematic shared universes that would follow.

As I’ve tried to figure out how I want to cover this, I finally decided that there are Wiki articles out there that’ll tell you plenty about the properties and the expanded stuff. (Alien, Predator, Prometheus, and so on.)

But this being a personal blog, maintained by me (just one random guy)…why not my personal journey into the franchises? After all…it’s what I know. Recounting stuff is from my own memory, my own experiences, and it’s ME. You want clinical facts about the properties? Use those Wikipedia links. If you’re willing to indulge my rambling on the topic, you’ll get my conscious experience, my conscious memories of Alien(s) and Predator that began with Alien3 and expanded to where I am today.

And if you’re still with me some 500+ words into this thing…here’s where we get more to the point.

PROLOGUE

As a kid, I loved to read, and read every chance I could, and would read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. So much so that I’d read many books within a day, and was constantly getting books from the library (and losing many, which is a topic for some other time). I especially remember stuff like The Boxcar Children and The Hardy Boys Casefiles (I’ve yet to read original Hardy Boys stuff…the Casefiles series had the characters a bit older and more action-oriented. Again, a topic for some other time). I’d read plenty of fiction–most I can’t even remember. I also read a fair bit of sci-fi from early-on before I truly knew what a "genre" was. I also read plenty of comic books and whatever comic-related prose I could get my hands on. I recently was fondly recalling high school and how much time I’d squeeze in for reading, especially freshman year–from reading on the bus to/from school to reading in homeroom, squeezing in a minute or two of reading between classes when able; reading at lunch, reading in study hall (preferring to read than work on homework).

Somewhere in the earliest days of middle school, perhaps, I’d read Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of Alien as just any other sci-fi novel and nothing about it really stuck out to me at the time. Separately, Dad had fallen asleep with the tv on and I’d wandered out–at this point I remember it as during the day, but could have been late at night; I’m not really sure. What matters is, I was curious about what was going on in whatever was on, and I wound up watching to its end, whatever it was. The horrors I saw included some monster ripping a guy in half (and he bled white instead of red!) as well as the lady fighting the monster and saving her daughter.

I wouldn’t make the connection on these–That they were Alien and Aliens–until I finally saw the films intentionally.

THE BEGINNING

alien3_bookSome time in 1993 or 1994, I ended up finding/reading the novelization of Alien3. Having read this book that was clearly based on a movie, I wanted to see said movie, and eventually convinced my parents to rent it/let me see it. Then, since that was the 3rd film, of course I "had to" see the others. I vaguely recall there being some delay to getting to see Alien and that I wound up seeing the films in reverse order, that Alien was the big finish for me.

It was in finally seeing Alien that I recognized the story–particularly the scene with Kane exploring the pit of eggs–and realized I’d read the book some time before.

I’m not sure if I have yet ever re-read that novelization; if I did, I know I haven’t in the last 20+ years! I just recently–June 2020–learned via a YouTube video purporting to reveal X # of "things you didn’t know about ALIEN" that the creature itself was apparently kept secret from all…including Foster, who wrote the novel of the film! So in possibly-faulty memory and that new "fact learned," I could see not immediately having linked that novel(ization) with the film by title and such…there probably was not a detailed enough description of the creature itself to lock in my memory initially. And, as said earlier in this piece, at the time I was a voracious reader and wouldn’t begin to be able to recall by title everything I’ve read. (It took me ages a few years ago to finally discover an old sci-fi novel I’d enjoyed as a kid, that I’d thought was called The Manhattan Project but turned out to be The Manhattan Transfer). hero_illustrated_002_predator_came_with_ashcanI have other "mini-memories" of "moments" from books I’d read that I’m certain I’d ONLY be able to positively link to their source by somehow managing to find AND re-read in near-entirety the same novel(s) again.

I very clearly remember a cover to a magazine–Hero Illustrated–that featured a Predator cover, the creature fighting a bunch of Aliens. The issue had come with an "ashcan" for a then-upcoming or recently-begun series involving both the Aliens and the Predator.

Somewhere around this time, I came across Aliens: Earth Hive by Steve Perry. I read it, and it fascinated me. I recall–among many other things–noticing some parallels in a couple of the main characters…particularly Billie and Wilks. Their story seemed similar to that of ALIENS. This eventually wound up making perfect sense when I learned that in the original comics, these WERE Hicks and Newt!

aliens_novels_trilogy

One of the key things I took away from the movie novelizations was that sense that if even ONE Alien made it to Earth, that was it. It could not be allowed to happen, or that’d be the end. And with no Ripley, the story of Earth Hive played out where that happened–the Aliens overran Earth.

A second novel picked up from there, following Wilks and Billie to a space station where some guy thought he was training Aliens to help him take back the Earth. By the third novel, Ripley had come back into the picture and led the characters to a distant world to catch a super-queen, possibly the source of the Aliens. They ultimately got it to Earth where they left it in a valley to draw the majority of Earth’s infestation to it at which point bombs put on a months-long timer would go off and eradicate the majority of the creatures. One of the subplots of The Female War involved us coming to find out that Ripley is herself a "synthetic," though she initially did not know that (Someone not knowing they were synthetic was established as possible in the first novel of the ‘trilogy’ in Bueller). As Ripley had died in Alien3 and yet appeared here, that seemed a reasonable explanation to me. As I think about it now, that was probably one of my earliest real experiences with a "retcon" or "retroactive continuity."

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Somewhere in that mid-’90s time, I came across some Aliens toys at a store while out with Mom; if it was not Kmart, I have no conscious idea what store it was, as I know it was not Hills, and I don’t think Target or Walmart were in this part of Ohio yet. While possibly just deja-vu, I’d also swear I’d seen at least one commercial for these toys around then. Regardless, despite finding these toys, Mom was unwilling to let me get any of them; so it’d be a good 20-some years until I’d start my foray into Aliens toys. Despite not getting any of the toys as current things, I do recall noticing later that I’d seen them, and realizing there were several toy lines for kids that were based on "kid-ified" animated things, themselves based on hard R-rated films! (Several examples offhand including the likes of Terminator, Robocop, Highlander, Toxic Avenger, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes…and I’m sure there are plenty of others I’m not thinking of!).

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I was vaguely aware that there were comic books with the Aliens as well as another creature–the Predator. There was that August-1993-cover-dated Hero Illustrated #2 (see earlier image) featuring a Predator on the cover and the issue having come bagged with a mini-comic featuring Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species–a then-new series beginning soon.

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Flipping through that issue and not finding any prominent article on either property–but a bit of info about the comics and an ad for the home version of an Aliens vs. Predator videogame–I suspect it was just a "given" to me that Aliens went with Predator. Add to that an arcade machine at the local skating rink and I just don’t think I really ever took the properties as being completely separate things. (Much likeStar Trek: Generations was my main intro into Star Trek and to me there’s never been an either/or on TOS vs. TNG–they’ve "always" been a single continuity).

I’m pretty sure my first experience with Aliens in comics was the Superman vs. Aliens prestige-format mini-series. I was already deeply into the Superman comics at the time, and loved that even as a random inter-company crossover, the miniseries seemed to have consequences on the Superman side at least, including giving us an in-continuity Argo City or such and a "Kara."

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Despite always simply accepting Predator and Alien(s) as existing in the same universe, I was never all that into the Predator side in and of itself. I have some memory of a friend describing a scene from Predator in which the titular character had skinned someone (and that you saw the skinned body on screen) from awhile before seeing the film myself. I’m pretty sure I saw the films–Predator and Predator 2–prior to college, but I’m not absolutely sure. They never stuck with me quite the same way (especially Predator 2 that I hardly remember except knowing that I saw it at least once). Predator came back a bit to me during grad school and has stuck with me since for some of the cheesey "Arnold stuff" (particularly the "Get to the CHOPPAH!" line).

By the time I saw the films, I’d read at least two Aliens vs. Predator novels. I was most interested in them for being Aliens stories; that they were Aliens vs. Predator/included Predators was incidental to me at the time.

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As pertains to our topic at hand…they continued to EXPAND the universe, to me.

SETTLING IN AND MOVING FORWARD

By the time Alien Resurrection came out in late 1997, I was pretty well steeped in stuff. I was very disappointed in the film, though, for jumping some 200(?) years into the future after Alien3 rather than using the Ripley-as-Synthetic plot point from the books. While I still didn’t take it as such at the time, I now (in 2020) realize that was my first real experience with the difference between "the films" and an "Expanded Universe." Great stories from the books that had expanded my knowledge and understanding and the appeal of the property to me…but they weren’t even acknowledged by the movies!

During college, much of my "main" reading of a "universe" had gone to Magic: The Gathering, as well as continuing with Dragonlance from the mid-’90s and Aliens had kind of fallen off for me.

mtg_bookshelves

alien_novelizations_oldBut then in 2004 while I was working the overnight stocking shift at Meijer (think a Walmart/Target hybrid) when I was browsing the books section, I came across a novelization of AVP…there was a new movie, this time featuring the Aliens AND Predator(s) in one film! I bought the book immediately…though to this day, I don’t actually recall if I ever got around to reading it. Those few months working overnights were part of an interesting period of my life as I struggled to make sense of being out of college and yet still being absolutely clueless about what life was supposed to be. As with many things…a topic for some other time.

I remember the makers of Heroclix giving us a new game–Horrorclix–and the line included several things with Aliens and Predators with the AVP branding. Though interested–in particular to have Aliens in scale with Superman–I never got any (and a June 2020 internet search shows them as being well outside any reasonable price range for me now!)

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In 2005 or so, DH Press (DH for Dark Horse as in the comics publisher) began publishing new Aliens and Predator novels. I was thrilled to get new Aliens novels (though sadly, I passed on the Predator ones at the time, and those are absolutely stupid-ridiculous prices online now in 2020, which is highly frustrating). I suspect this was probably around the time that I finally made the connection or otherwise learned that Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum, The Female War, Genocide, and so on–those novels I loved as a "kid" that really got me into the property(ies)–were novelIZATIONS. Of Dark Horse comics.

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In 2007 I learned that Dark Horse Comics would be publishing a collection of some of those original comics. A friend actually gifted that volume to me; and thus, I got to read the comics version of the stories I remembered reading as novels. That year also brought the second AVP film, Requiem.

2009 or so brought some new Aliens and Predator comics, led off by a shared Free Comic Book Day issue.

2010 brought AVP: Three World War which once again had the creatures in one series. That year also brought us a new Predator film that took a cue from Aliens and simply added the "s" to pluralize the title: Predators.

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2012 brought the film Prometheus. I recall seeing a movie poster for it, at the theater I frequented in Kent; as well as a couple different trailers for the film. Rumor had it that the film would somehow tie in with Alien or be a "prequel" or some such. It was also when I think I consciously began to recognize Ridley Scott as a specific name, as well. That said, once I saw the film myself, I was NOT particularly impressed by it the first time through…but it’s grown on me on repeat viewings.

In 2014, Dark Horse gave us a huge "event" of sorts…a massive-seeming story involving four different 4-issue mini-series that linked into an overall story: Fire and Stone. This encompassed a Prometheus series, a Predator series, an AVP series, and an Aliens series. Each 4-issue mini-series was technically its own thing, but with a larger story to be gleaned by reading all the minis and a one-shot that followed.

There were also new novels from Titan; though they were branded on the Alien (singular) name rather than Aliens plural…which has always felt a bit "odd" to me, though admittedly distinctive, if only to be separate from the plural branding of the Dark Horse stuff. Alien: Out of the Shadows, Alien: Sea of Sorrows, and Alien: River of Pain kicked things off.

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2015 brought us Aliens/Vampirella which marked the first time I’d ever bought anything Vampirella.

2016 brought a lot of new material. Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens; another 4-series event in Life and Death (Prometheus/Predator/Aliens/AVP); The Rage War (new novels, each branded under Predator, Alien, and Alien vs. Predator, respectively, from Titan). Along with the multi-series Life and Death event, we also got the start of one of the largest series for the Aliens comics in Defiance; matched in length (I believe) only by the 13-issue Colonial Marines story in the ’90s and the 12-issue Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species by Christopher Claremont in 1993-1995).

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2017 gave us the first new "solo" Alien film in 20 years with Alien: Covenant as a follow-up to Prometheus and again by Ridley Scott

2018 gave us a new Predator film with The Predator.

There were also a couple of anthologies of short stories published–Bug Hunt for the Alien franchise, If It Bleeds for the Predator franchise.

There have also been several more comics mini-series for both franchises over the last couple years.

IN THE END

What started out as just another sci-fi/random book for me in the early 1990s "expanded" as I discovered the expandING universe of Aliens/Predator. One novelization…(actually three novelizations in the end). Multiple original novels. More movies. Comics. Toys. Videogames. Audiobooks.

Alien and Predator seem to be things that originally "ought" to have begun and ended with their original singular-titled films. But they expanded into larger universes with books, toys, videogames expanding stuff. They blended, further expanding both franchises’ scope.

Both of the "shared universe" films AVP and AVP: Requiem were out before Iron Man–the first film of Marvel’s "Cinematic Universe"–saw release.

Even though this post took on a different shape than what I think I must’ve thought or planned it to…my own personal collection has expanded quite a bit in the last few weeks as I’ve made a point of tracking down other collected volumes I didn’t have, and a definite focus on single issues.

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I’m learning of comics I didn’t even know existed for either property, both singularly and as crossovers.

I look forward to some imminent expanding of my firsthand knowledge of Predator comics in reading single issues as well as a couple of collected volumes of recent minis. I plan to finally read the original Aliens vs. Predator mini-series…and several weeks ago spent a lot of time finally reading Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species. I’d known THAT was a 12-issue series begun in 1993. Though I did not realize it took two years to get all 12 issues out and that it wrapped in 1995. I remember the initial marketing for the first issue in 1993, but not much beyond that.

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I also neglected to get into much about the toys other than their existence in the ’90s. THOSE were the Kenner toys and included a bunch of different types of aliens, based on various hosts. A gorilla alien, a rhino alien, a snake alien, a scorpion alien, etc. In recent years, NECA has been producing a bunch of high-quality "adult collectible" figures based on the Aliens stuff–movies, comics, etc–and same for Predator.

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Lanard has even gotten in on the toys with some basic figures for kids. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover these back at the beginning of 2020!

My personal Aliens library is one of the more significant subcollections of my overall collection, particularly as toys, graphic novels, and novels.

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As it stands now, the Aliens and Predator comics have become a key "focus" for me, boosting my collection and pulling various comics together from the scattered abyss that is the bulk of my comics collection at present. With this eventual post in mind, and amidst boosting the collection, I acquired and read Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species as well as re-reading the original trilogy of Aliens mini-series; I have a collected volume of the original mini, and single issues for the 2nd and third. I also decided somewhere amidst it all that I’m interested in the various books, even in multiple editions…where I’d once thought to merely "upgrade" or keep to a single edition.

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I also have several volumes set to come eventually but they haven’t been shipped…apparently being held up (as of this writing) by Archie vs. Predator and Archie vs. Predator II.

Though I’d already long realized this stuff was important to me, it’s been interesting recalling just how much so that is, as well as how much more I’ve yet to track down and actually read!

THE END (FOR NOW)

I’m never good at ending these huge, lengthy posts. And even in this final typing, I keep thinking of stuff to add or that I forgot to get into/go over…and eventually a writing project like this just has to be put to bed.

I welcome any comments, thoughts, shared stories, etc. relating to what I’ve shared above. It’s possible that I’ll do some posts in the future covering individual issues or minis as I get to reading them…but I’ve got some other projects that’ve been on the back burner for awhile that are ahead in the queue, so who knows.

If you’ve made it this far, I do thank you for your patience and indulgence.

And I encourage you to check out the rest of the Super-Blog Team-Up by considering any of the links below!


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Super-Blog Team-Up: Expanded Universe

Super-Hero Satellite: M.A.S.K.: The Road To Revolution

Between The Pages Blog: Fantastic Forgotten Star Wars Characters
Comics Comics Comics – The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones
Comic Reviews By Walt: SBTU – Expanded Universe: Aliens and Predator
Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Logan’s Run Marvel Movie Adaptation
The Telltale Mind: Archie Andrews – Superstar
Radulich In Broadcasting: Flash Gordon Universe
The Source Material Comics Podcast: TMNT/Ghostbusters
Unspoken Issues: Mad-Dog (Marvel Comics, 1992)
Bronze Age Babies: Seven Decades of Apes-mania, and We’re Afflicted!
Echoes from the Satellite – Tales from the Forbidden Zone – The Pacing Place
Black & White and Bronze Comics – Beast on the Planet of the Apes Review
The Daily Rios – Little Shop of Horrors
Lost N Comics Youtube – Expanding the Medium: Motion/Audio Comics
Pop Culture Retrorama: The Phantom Universe
Cavalcade of Awesome – Jumper Universe
MichaelMay.Online: Treasure Island Universe
DC In The 80s: The TSR Universe

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The Alien/Predator Shelves as of 2/8/2020

I posted a couple weeks ago about discovering the Alien Collection toys from Lanard.

I had not initially bought the APC vehicle, but did wind up going back for that. I also purchased a $10 MegaConstrux egg thing shaped like an Alien egg that came with a packet of slime/ooze with pieces to build two "minifigure" Xenomorphs.

I also came across a couple online listings for classic Kenner Aliens figures, and got a "regular-sized" Alien Queen as well as a Gorilla Alien and a Bull Alien.

All together, my once rather sparse shelf filled up fast to the point of nearly overflowing. Such that I may end up moving the Predators off just to have a little more room for the Aliens…but time will tell!

Anyway, though I’ve shown off the collection in the past, here’s the most up-to-date version of my Aliens/Predator shelves!

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The figures and such get the top of the shelving unit for the maximum amount of space and to accommodate the rather large size of the Queens.

While I’m pretty sure I’m missing a couple books, I do at least have most of the Alien/Aliens line of novels, and most of the Predator ones, though I’m missing the Dark Hors Press (DH Press) novels as well as the most recent anthology and film adaptations.

Though for the moment Mage Knight and MechWarrior: Dark Age still share the shelf…a major MW acquisition last year means that series is going to have to get its own space…which will also allow a little more space for the Alien/Aliens books and such.

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The graphic novels have their own space on a different, larger bookcase to allow for the size of the Library Editions (and even the regular-sized graphic novel editions).

Adding purchases from the latter part of last year in, there’s no longer room for the films to all share the shelf, so I had to move the individual Alien films and a couple misc. items elsehwere. (Perhaps they’ll help replace MechWarrior on the novels’ shelf?)

As it is, I left the Alien Anthology blu-ray set and the newer films.

I’m not sure if Dark Horse is going to continue their full-size collections of the older Aliens material, so I’m not at all in any hurry to replace the omnibii.with those…though I’d prefer the newer format. Time will tell!

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The Alien Collection Haul 1/27/2020

I’d known Walmart was clearing a LOTTA stuff out. And I’d been a bit annoyed that they’d so quickly cleared out the Primal Clash line that had so quickly captured my attention. All the more when they apparently got rid of all of the Lanard branded stuff I’d come to recognize.

Last night, though, simply checking for the black-suited Superman figure from Spin Master, I noticed some new stuff in the Walmart toy aisle that I had not seen before.

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Some things bearing a remarkable resemblance to Aliens. As in Xenomorphs. But no…that couldn’t be…could it???

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Xenomorph SwarmAlien Queen…ok, maybe. But what the heck were these brightly-colored things???

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"Alien Collection," apparently. OK. But really?!?

These things have nothing on NECA and their high-end $25+/each highly detailed line.

But what these DO have?

NOSTALGIA!

I started to walk on by. Brightly-colored xenomorphs? Just this past weekend I’d yet again lamented (to myself, of course) the bright-colored "arcade"-coloring from the old Aliens vs. Predator game and how not-fond I am of the bright colors.

And then it struck me.

One of my earliest memories of the Aliens franchise. What I now know were the Kenner toys. That Mom took one look at and would not buy. And yet I wound up getting into the property anyway via the novelizations of the third movie and the Dark Horse comics and eventually the movies themselves.

And the price of these things…

$20 for the Alien Queen. $15 for the APC and Power Loader sets; and a mere $10 for each of the 3 Xenomorph Swarm boxes (with an Alien and a Colonial Marine plus accessories). I’ll almost certainly get more as time goes on…these things are just too cool to pass up and army-build, particularly the Xenomorphs!

I passed on the APC as I’m not much of a vehicles guy when it comes to toys, and I know I can at least make room for the Xenos on and around my shelves, a vehicle might be needlessly bulky and take up more space that could be better-taken by another Alien or two. Of course, I might change my mind later…I also had the fact of grabbing five sets where I hadn’t even known these existed when I walked into Walmart.

Anyway…here’s my initial haul, showing the sets I got (front and back) as well as the Alien "profile" cards closer-up.


Alien Queen

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Front of the package…

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Back of the package…

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"profile" of the Queen…

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A handy-dandy chart showing the life-cycle of the Xenomorphs.


The Power Loader

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Front of the package…

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Back of the package…


Runner Alien 

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From the front…

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Back of the box…

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…and the "profile."


Alien Warrior

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Front…

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Back…

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Profile.


Alien Drone

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The front…

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The back…

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The profile.


As I touched on above…these are fairly reminiscent of the old Kenner line of Aliens figures. Though like the books from Titan the last few years, it seems the brand has moved back to the Alien designation moreso than the plural.

Though as a casual but very interested fan, it’s easy enough to just go with the Aliens title. If you’re reading this, you’d know what I’m talking about OR not really care, I suspect.

While the Primal Clash line was basically one wave and done (that I could tell) I really hope that these are NOT all that get put out for this line. I’d LOVE to see some "army-builder" packs of the various Xenomorphs, even if they were just different colors swapped around the existing molds.

I’m looking forward to getting the time to sit down and get all of these unboxed, and certainly go from there!

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Weekend Acquisitions: Weekend of September 6-8 2019

Over the weekend, I wound up with a lot of "extra" purchasing that’s a bit beyond "normal." In addition to weekend comic shop visits, I had an InStockTrades order come in, as well as having gone to Cleveland Comic Con 2019 (that’ll be detailed in another post).

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I jumped on the chance to get Savage Sword of Conan #1. As this was a "regular-priced back-issue" (and not a 25-cent/50-cent/$1 bargain-bin issue) I had no qualms with "just" getting #1 since it was available. Plus, it’s from a time when #1 MEANT something and was "special"–in this case kicking off an over 200-issue series! (Whereas modern Marvel seems to MOSTLY max-out at 50 issues before a new #1, if not multiple #1s for the same title (renumbered/new volume) within a single year (or 12-month span).

I also snagged Deathmate: Black, having seen something recently noting it as the first appearance of Gen13. And then at another shop, snagged 2 copies of Gen13 #1. These are for the ongoing series, and not the original mini-series of the same title…but still, for the novelty of it, I was happy to spend the $1.25 (total!) for the 3 issues (again).

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Being on an Aliens kick recently, I’d ordered some recent-ish collected volumes. Though I have the single issues for all but Aliens: Resistance, I was willing to pay the discounted online price, where the full price was not worth it to me. I’ve also been a bit resistant to these "skinny" paperback volumes in light of the various omnibus volumes and library-edition oversized hardbacks and such.

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I was, however, quite willing to pay full price for Spawn: Origins vol. 1 as it was already one of the "Image $9.99 vol. 1s" and so a bargain at cover price.

And Classic G.I.Joe vol. 15, which I believe is TECHNICALLY out-of-print and unavailable online except for massively over-jacked-up third-party scalper prices. This still leaves me missing vols. 10-14.

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#HPBQuest 2019

I have a very mixed relationship with Half-Price Books. Many, many books and graphic novels and such that I own come from the chain. But much as I find great stuff at times, they drive me absolutely nuts when it comes to their trying to be too much all at once, instead of just a diversified used-books-and-such store. But that’s a subject for other posts.

This past weekend, I finally took the plunge and took a years-old idea and made a reality of it.

While I’ve been somewhat aware of their being at least 5 Half-Price Books locations in the Columbus, OH area in addition to the two that I’m aware of in the Cleveland, OH area, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to more than 2 stores in a given day: Either both that are still around here, or a couple of the Columbus ones when I’m in the area to visit a friend when she’s in town.

But what if I were to take a day, and simply make it my goal to visit as many of these as I could? No particular visitation, not meeting up with anyone…not the passive “I’m in the area, might as well stop by the nearest HPB location.” But a specific attempt to visit all 5 of the stores.

As I’ve mentally dubbed it after the fact…it became my #HPBQuest. (Something more than “merely” a typical #HPBHaul).

And then after I actually made it to all 5 of the Columbus-area stores…I realized it wouldn’t be a significantly different timespan, so I decided to add the Cleveland ones into the mix on the way back, so made a sixth stop. Unfortunately, though, traffic I’d hit between the 4th and 5th Columbus stores (due to an OSU game) delayed me long enough that I’d have gotten to the 7th store about 5 minutes or less until closing, and I never want to be that guy.

So for good measure, after hitting 6 in one day, I hit that seventh on my way to another engagement the day after, just for good measure. (After all, what if they had something fantastic-awesome-amazing and I missed out solely for not taking a few minutes to stop in?)

Anyway…after such a “quest,” here’s the “haul,” what I have to show for such a random, crazy stunt.


Half-Price Books #1: NorthPointe Plaza, Lewis Center

I’m not sure what I expected to find first, but I wound up getting three books at the first HPB I stopped at.

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I snagged the updated Titan printing of the movie novelizations of Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection; though it turned out that I already had the latter. Oops.

I also grabbed MechWarrior Dark Age: Pandora’s Gambit, adding the first new MechWarrior book to my collection in probably 13-15 years.


Half-Price Books #2: Carriage Place Plaza, Columbus

While a bit underwhelmed at the first store, I found a fair number of MMPBs at the second. And probably my best find of the day in a Highlander complete TV series on VHS set (and just a few days after my Super-Blog Team-Up entry on Highlander and TMNT!)

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I’ve occasionally thought back to some years ago seeing at least a couple of the Highlander seasons at a now-closed HPB in Mentor. Though I have the series on DVD, I’d always liked the way the series was done on VHS with the spines of the tapes all making a single image. There was also something to it for the series being available like that at all, in the late-1990s, when it was rather rare for any tv series to have more than a few episodes or a “Best Of…” selection.

Being the type of person I am, seeing all six of these seasons available grabbed my attention. When I realized that each was the price of a single issue of a modern comic series I knew I was absolutely buying these, if only to HAVE them.

I’ll have to research a bit to see if the DVDs are supposed to have the same content, or if there’s something unique to these VHS that will warrant getting a player to actually try watching some of these!

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Since I’d already pulled them from the shelves, I also got several Dragonlance novels. The Legend of Huma is an old favorite, and in this case a duplicate…but as a favorite, I wanted to get it so I have a copy to perhaps gift to a friend or such!

The Battletech book was part of a hope of finding a number of books in the series, and GI Joe is GI Joe.


Half-Price Books #3: Lane Ave., Upper Arlington

The third HPB was the single largest I think I have ever seen!

Of course, when I first walked in, I thought it was the smallest. But the first room gave way to a hallway which opened into a massive room.

Unfortunately, despite being huge, they really didn’t have much that I was looking for or that I opted to buy, given what I’d already bought and might buy at other stores, with at least 3 more to go at the time.

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While I may wind up kicking myself on it, I opted for a 10-episodes-only He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD over a 2-box-set of the entire first season. #1, this was 1/5 the cost of the other and #2, just being practical, I don’t know when I’ll get around to actually watching even these, let alone binging–and sticking with it–an entire season!

I had never seen or known the Warmachine: Prime Rules Digest to exist, so bought it as a curiosity. I’m sure the full-size rules books that I own are VASTLY out of date as it is (ditto for Hordes), but for “only” $2.99 over $20-40, a curiosity was in order, here.


Half-Price Books #4: Shoppes At East Broad, Reynoldsburg

The fourth HPB was significantly less impressive after the size of the third. I did find the 4-issue Icons: Rogue series. I may already have this, but I’m equally likely to be thinking of a friend having bought the series for another friend. And while these ought to be 25-50 cent comics, they’re not something I’ve come across repeatedly or anything, so for $1 apiece, I figured that’s the price (or less) for anything Marvel publishes at present, and certainly worth spending for a full story like this.

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I’m not quite sure what to make of the covers…I’m not used to seeing Rogue illustrated this way, with an almost photorealistic appearance clearly based on the actress from the 2000 X-Men film (hard to believe that was 19 years ago, and this comic series is 18 years old now!)

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I normally am not much of a fan of oversized items, but I recall some hype over Molly Danger back in the day, and figured a collected edition would be over $10 now. And as a hardcover treasury-edition-sized thing for that price, this wasn’t bad.

I also scored the 4th and 5th seasons of Boy Meets World on the clearance shelves…which add nicely to the first 3 seasons I already have!

Finally, I actually found a copy of the live-action Masters of the Universe film that I’ve been keeping an eye out for.


Half-Price Books #5: S. State St. Westerville

By the fifth stop I was definitely getting rather worn down. I’d also hit some major traffic leaving the fourth store and at one point realized I’d wound up circling back completely to the store just trying to get away from the area.

A lot of intersections were coned-off as closed or turn-a-certain-way-ONLY and I ended up just following several roads for awhile (ignoring my phone’s GPS instructions) until I was far enough away to begin following the device again.

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This HPB I consciously remember visiting a couple times previously. Alas, no amazing Further Adventures of the Batman finds this time or such.

I’ve gotten away from omnibus volumes as they’re generally just too large and unwieldy to me. But I opted to get this Brightest Day one, thinking it didn’t seem too thick or heavy, but at 25 issues a decent size–larger than an 18-issue volume, but not a ridiculous 50-60-issue volume.

Snagging The Boys Omnibus vol. 1 for 50% off beat prices I’ve seen looking on Amazon or such…and was in-stock and available in-person in much BETTER CONDITION than anything Amazon would bother to deliver.

I’m pretty sure I have Chew vol. 1 from ages back. Seeing vols. 2-3 on clearance at $3/each (cheaper than a single issue of a modern comic), I snagged them.


Half-Price Books #6: Great Northern Blvd, North Olmsted

Despite “completing” my goal of all 5 Columbus-area HPBs, I decided it wouldn’t add much to my return trip to aim for a more local one to cap off the trip.

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This is one of the HPBs I’m most familiar with, that I probably get to every few weeks/couple months or so.

Having listened to the William Gibson Alien3 audiodrama from Audible and being deep into the Audible audiobook of Alien: Isolation, when I saw The Book of Alien, I was keenly interested.

I also found the best-condition copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets hardcover I’ve seen in years (even the dustjacket in better-than-Amazon-Prime condition!) so snagged that to complete my hardcover set of the series.

The Wonder Woman Anthology was a bit of a curiosity.Seems it was available exclusively through Costco, and contains the first Wonder Woman (New 52?) volume as well as the first volume of the New 52 Justice League and I think the first volume of the Rebirth Justice League. For $10, for such a thick volume, I figured why not?

Finally, saw the Zombies!!! base set (I think that’s what it is) and decided to get it rather than regret passing it up later. I’m looking forward to trying Zombicide with some friends in the near future, but with a new edition of that coming out next year, I’d rather wait. And I believe this game is the one that you can buy a “bag o’ zombies” and just seems a fun novelty to me and possibility for an interesting game, coming off the ending of The Walking Dead this summer and my 70-issue binge of the latter part of the series.


Half-Price Books #7: Golden Gate Plaza, Mayfield Heights

I could have just made it to Mayfield, but it would have been about 5 minutes until closing if I did…hardly time to go in and look around more than a cursory glance at a couple things. I’d wonder what I missed in such a rush-through of the store, plus I hate to be that guy in a retail place rushing in right before closing and holding everyone up.

Especially as visiting the next day would be a brief, convenient deviation from a straight point-A/point-B route to where I was going anyway!

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Alas, nothing of significant interest that I had to see or pick up.

I did find an acceptable-condition-to-me (and almost certainly better-than-AmazonPrime condition) copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Which, as I’d mournfully realized the night before, I was also missing from a complete set of the hardcovers.

For taking the time, I decided to get a “replacement copy” of Aliens Book 1: Earth Hive. My copy has been read several times over, and the spine is quite the worse for wear. This copy has a nice, clean spine that looks a lot better on the shelf with the other novels. I may also eventually “replace” books 2 & 3, but time will tell on those.


The Forgotten Amazon Orders

I also had a couple of Amazon orders arrive over the weekend.

One I’d intentionally had in addition to the HPB stuff, and the other I’d totally forgotten about.

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I think it was only a couple weeks ago I discovered the Alien: Isolation novel would exist (I think it just came out?). In half-assedly putting together an order for it, I came across Alien: Echo, which seems to be a YA novel set in the Alien universe. Definitely an oddity, but being in-brand, it’s something I was very interested in!

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While I feel the series was vastly over-hyped and opted not to get it at the time, I did finally decide to get Batman: White Knight. I also was not thrilled about it being a retroactive addition to DC‘s Black Label branding. But c’est la vie and all that.

I also had looked up–initially to put on a list to look into it more at some later point–the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection hardcover. But for its price and the size of the thing, went ahead and ordered it along with the White Knight volume.

I’m far from being a particular fan of the He-Man/Masters of the Universe stuff. But with a new series recently announced, having watched the Toys That Made Us episode on Netflix semi-recently-ish, and a couple YouTube videos about the toys, and seeing the size of this hardcover at a store, I realized it’s an excellent sort of volume, collecting all the vintage mini-comics and such into one neat volume, rather than one having to hunt down all the individual pieces as rare artifacts with individual vintage toys. They’re just all here, together, in one item, quite fit for the shelf.

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I’m pretty sure that this is essentially an “oversized hardcover” to the minicomics as a regular “oversized hardcover” is to regular comics. It’s a bit larger than digest-sized, but not quite full comic-book dimensions. Still a great volume, and sure to be an excellent resource!


All told, I don’t expect I’ll particularly want to undertake such a “quest” again as this weekend. It was an idea that’s rattled around the back of my head for years, so now having actually done it…that idea and curiosity has been more than satisfied.

It was definitely something to do, got me away from home, and was maybe the first real trip I’ve taken in years, so plenty of positives despite no desire to do it again anytime soon.

That said, it’s primed the idea to me of another similar idea I’ve had with a friend, or visiting a number of comic shops in a single overall trip. Though I’m pretty sure the “Comic Shop Crawl” would need to be a full weekend thing, or started much earlier in the day.

Time will definitely tell, though!

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NECA Aliens: Alien Queen Deluxe

This shows just how far behind I’ve gotten in producing content for this blog! I got this about FIVE WEEKS ago! But only just now getting around to sharing/posting about it!

I’d seen this several years ago in a Toys R Us, but at the time it was wayyy outta my price range. Of course, I spent much of 2018 contemplating stuff in the price range, and finally pulled the trigger on the most expensive toys I’ve ever bought: the NECA Baby Turtles, a (non-NECA) Power Rangers Legacy Megazord, the NECA 1/4-scale Raphael, the Gamestop-exclusive 7" 1990 movie turtles, the 1/4-scale Leonardo & Michelangelo, the 1/4-scale Donatello, and the ’80s 2-packs.

And so it just made sense to (finally) get this Alien Queen, as well!

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Like the other figures, this one has a window on the front for you to see (part of) the figure itself, and a nice dioramic image on the rest of the box.

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One side of the box is another window to see in to the Queen, while the other side shows the typical photo/rendition of the figure…in this case, with another figure for some scale, though that figure is not actually something included in this box (and that fact is noted: "Marine Figure Sold Separately").

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The back of the box is the Queen herself and a brief overview of what she is.

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The figure is very "top-heavy," and in many poses–especially at her most "natural" and menacing, she won’t stand on her own…so a base with two rods is included to allow for various poses and balancing. The TMNT Donatello figure is a standard Ninja Turtle figure for size comparison…it was what I had handy when I was taking these photos back in March!

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I like the Queen raised up a bit more to show her height. She TOWERS over the other figures…as she should! While the 1/4-scale TMNT figures are amazing…they’re really only "in scale" with themselves (and the baby turtles). This Alien Queen is in scale with other NECA Aliens products, so they can all stand together and look awesome in the same scale!

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And here’s–as of this writing–my Aliens shelving. The Queen and other figures are on top of a bookcase, with the books on the shelves immediately below.

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The Aliens/Predator comics stuff doesn’t fit the newer shelving the figures are part of, so the comics and such are still in the midst of the graphic novels collection area…which is definitely plenty appropriate!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 27, 2019

Last week was both a small week and a HUUUUGE week!

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On the "HUUUUUGE" part, we have the 1000th issue of Detective Comics! My very first issue of the series was #604…which to some reckoning makes this the 396th issue I myself have been around for. (398 if you count the two #0 issues, over 400 if you count whatever other titled out of sequence issues).

Then there’s the latest issue of TMNT: Urban Legends, guest starring some of the Savage Dragon characters. After all, this is the series that was originally published by Image, and I believe instigated at the time by Erik Larsen, creator of the Savage Dragon and associated characters.

And there’s the second issue of the latest iteration of IDW‘s Transformers. Can’t say I’m all that impressed after reading the first two issues. Maybe it’s not bogged down with intricate continuity, but it’s not engaging me all that much.

Next is the latest Action Comics, which I’m sadly a few issues behind on reading. I’m not terribly keen on stuff with this "Leviathan" branching out to a bigger event…overall, I’m just sick and tired OF events!

Which brings us to Heroes in Crisis #7. I’m pretty sure this was supposed to originally BE a 7-issue series. While it obviously, literally has PAGES that prove its length, I feel like there still hasn’t been any significant STORY developments or forward movement. It’s like something that might be better suited for–I don’t know–a "web comic" series or something, with each of these one-page "interview sequences" serving as a "strip," and EVENTUALLY they all get collected into some print edition.

I’ve thrown in with the Wonder Comics line…the latest premiere of which is Dial H For Hero. I’ve never particularly read any iteration of this title before, but do recall having an old ’80s issue, back in the early ’90s in my earliest days being "into" comics significantly.

Where I’d figued the William Gibson Alien3 thing to be four issues, apparently it was 5 issues. Longer story is good…now to find 1-4 and read the whole thing in one sitting! Fitting in a way as the latest Alien thing for me to read. In 1992 or so, it was the novelization of the film that "hooked" me on the franchise, and that’s lasted 27-some years now!

Finally, Mr. & Mrs. X #9…reminding me yet also once more again that I’m far too "behind" on reading, but quite enjoy Rogue & Gambit and so wanted the title. At this point I believe I can catch up on some reading even without locating all my single issues, thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

I have some small hopes of getting a review of Detective 1000 up in the next week or two. In short, it was a nice, thick issue with lots to read, and took me several sittings to get through. I passed on all of the "decades variants," due to the price, primarily. The ’80s and ’90s covers would’ve had me just for nostalgia of the classic "DC bullet" as well as the title logos themselves. But the image on the ’90s cover just wasn’t distinct enough or interesting enough to me. And the Frank Miller image has got to be one of the single UGLIEST cover images of a Batman I have EVER seen!

I’m still trying to locate the Walmart Detective Comics 100-Page Giant issue…and it might be my "breaking point" on those, as I enjoy having EVERY issue. Miss one, break "the streak," and why bother with the others? But I also refuse to pay $15-20+ for a $5 comic…especially with the many Walmarts around here and the frequency at which I’m able to visit said stores.

Though this post is for the March 27, 2019 books…here’s to the first week of April 2019–April 3rd–being a good week of new comics!

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