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

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

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


Week of October 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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


Week of November 4, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Week of November 11, 2020

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 10, 2019

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Heyyy…look at that! I’ve been forgetting to use, re-use, and/or re-design this handy little logo for this Weekly Haul "feature" I try to do!

Anyway…medium-sized week for April 10, 2019. And for the first time in awhile, I think, it’s straight "big two" in DC and Marvel…though as-is-normal for me these days…Marvel‘s on the short end of things.

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First up, the new Superman and Supergirl issues. It seems rather odd to have Supergirl at such a (relatively) high number compared to Superman, but that’s what you get when you have renumberings/reboots/whatever shenanigans!

Detective Comics is "back" ALREADY…quite a bit of difference from last year’s Action Comics #1000 with a 3-or-so-month gap before #1001. For that matter, Action–which has long been "ahead" in numbering (thanks particularly to its Action Comics Weekly days)! (As an aside–check out Chris’ blog Chris is on Infinite Earths for a run-down in great detail of the Action Comics Weekly period of the title!)

So, by the end of this year…Detective Comics will be "in the lead" in terms of numbering! This issue also sports a new logo! I’m not enamored with it–like a lot of other comments I’ve seen online, it reminds me of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon logo, and does look like it’d be more at home on a line of toys and/or animated tv show than this comic series. That being said…I think it ALSO seems rather out of place against the current Batman logo, which I may be "used to" but still don’t overly like. To me, the new Detective Comics logo would look a lot better if it better-matched the Batman title…and I’m more than ready for (I say this now, anyway) a new logo for that title.

Next, we have the aforementioned Batman title. I’m not sure if this issue was "late" or what, but I’d swear the two titles were alternating weeks. And here we’re "already" at Wonder Twins #3…and I still need to read the first 2 issues as well!

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On to the Marvel titles…I suppose in my opening comment I neglected to mention that where Marvel has THREE issues I picked up on Wednesday…all three are reprints! Nothing "new!" The Marvel Tales issue features Thanos and reprints Warlock #10 (his original series), Silver Surfer #45 (an issue that I covered a few years ago), and Warlock and the Infinity Watch #8.

Incidentally, going from that, the True Believers Thanos and Gamora reprints Warlock and the Infinity Watch #9…the very next issue. And finally, True Believers Stormbreaker reprints Thor #339.

While I’m getting rather tired of the True Believers heading (I’d much rather $1 "facsimile editions" of these various issues), they continue to show (me) that Marvel is perfectly capable of putting out cheap(er) comics. AND that I overall really care very little for stuff they’ve published over the last 10-15 years (pretty much Avengers Disassembled to present). So reprinting stuff from the ’90s especially, as well as the ’80s and such…that’s where the bulk of my interest seems to be.

Finally, the week’s Comic Shop News features Second Coming. I’m not really sure what to make of it…it’s certainly gotten hype, and I might give it a try; though like most such projects, it strikes me as something probably better gotten as a collected volume rather than single issues. Time will tell!


I’ve found myself "gearing up" again with a couple things. I mentioned Mortal Kombat with last week’s post, and that interest continues. The same week that Mortal Kombat 11 is due out, the first new Magic: The Gathering novel War of the Spark is also due out. I find myself really hoping that even if they don’t "self-publish," that Wizards of the Coast gets back into doing regular novels for their various properties again…at least "core story" things. Maybe there don’t have to be new books every month delving into every side-character’s sibling’s personal history, but at least get a couple new books each year! I’d even settle for published versions of material they’ve released online!

And there’s the Force of Will card game. I loved what I saw with it last year, but it fell to the side due to "real life stuff" getting in the way. I’m not really sure what "sparked" it THIS time around, but I’ve found myself getting some new stuff for it including a couple of "playmats" and such, and even impulse-ordered a "crate" of stuff thanks to seeing it on several YouTube videos. And when I read a description of another item a bit closer, realized that where I thought it included 72 cards, it actually includes 72 booster packs…which is basically two boxes‘ worth. For only a little more than twice what I paid for a "cheapo box" last year, and not much more than what I paid for another box (also last year). So while I may not have much of anything overly "special" from the game…definitely bulking up on cards, and hopefully will be able to get friends to play it with me.

Though I’m also starting to re-consider my outright "boycott" of local gaming store(s). (Been refusing to do business with WPN gaming stores over their pricing of the Jace’s Spellbook product last year). However, even if I "give in" and seek out being able to play Force of Will at a game store, I fully intend to hold to NOT buying Magic: The Gathering product from the game store.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 06, 2019

February starts out with a medium week. Not huge, not tiny. Though it’s another with an issue missing from the week before, picked up amidst the bunch!

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While I despise the $3.99 price point AND that DC is NOT doing digital codes with the books regularly/predictably, I think I’m pretty much ‘sold" on the Wonder Comics stuff, at least for checking out the first issue or two for each of the titles. This week had Young Justice #2, which was a no-brainer for me, given the way I enjoyed the first issue. This one didn’t hit me quite the same way, but was still enjoyable in itself!

We get the first chapter of The Price [of Justice] in Batman #64, beginning a 4-issue 2-per-title crossover with The Flash, written by the writer of The Flash (rather than Tom King, the regular on Batman).

From the previous week is the $9.99 Mysteries (of love) in Space, a giant-size special playing off the classic Mysteries in Space title. As a sucker for these giant-size issues, I snagged it. Where I’m "ok" with DC doing $10 issues and NOT OK with Marvel is that DC has the decency to have them be standalone issues and NOT part of a regular series. Get the special, don’t get the special…one isn’t "penalized" by a gap in their collection or feeling "forced" to buy the issues!

Adventures of the Super Sons is over the halfway point of its run; GI Joe: A Real American Hero sports one of THE highest-numbers in American comics (coming behind Spawn‘s #294 or so) and I’m giving these Marvel Action books a chance, if only for the "novelty" of being major Marvel properties published by IDW (and thus semi-immune to gated/ratioed/EXCESSIVE variants and crappy continuity stuff).

Finally, I tend to follow Blake Northcott‘s work, so of course snagged her Aspen Visions: Fathom issue. I think this is a one-shot, but time’ll bear that out, I suppose.

I missed the Man and Superman giant-size special, but hopefully it’ll be back in stock this upcoming Wednesday.

…Which will itself hopefully not be too huge a week, as I’ve had a couple other huge non-comics purchases within the current paycheck, and another planned for the next!

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of December 19 & December 26, 2018

Final post of 2018!

Let’s catch up on the final two "Weekly Hauls" at least as comics go.

(I had planned to do a more introspective/retrospective post to end the year, but time’s gotten away from me…so perhaps I’ll do something early-ish in the NEW year. Time will certainly tell!)


December 19, 2018

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The Wednesday before Christmas was a pretty small week, at least for me. We had the newest issues of Batman and Nightwing. I’ve unfortunately fallen several issues behind on reading both titles again, which is definitely a bad sign for Nightwing. And after stuff with shifting creative teams apparently, conflicting intended arcs/direction and so on…where I’d viewed #50 and the post-shot-in-the-head stuff as a jumping-ON point…I’m leaning toward letting the title go and see where it "winds up" and backtracking via collected volumes "eventually" or some such. Batman itself should be a decent mini-binge-read early in the new year.

I also need to catch up on GI Joe: A Real American Hero reading again. With the multiple continuities/reboots/etc since the Marvel series, but this picking back up from the Marvel #155 and being the continuation of that, by the original creator Larry Hama…I truly view this as THE actual, real, true GI Joe series. The fact that IDW has now put out at least 103 sequentially-numbered issues speaks to a willingness to actually allow the longevity, as sell as respect for the legacy of this particular "run" and the creator and such…and actually gives me hope that TMNT might also be afforded a similar thing. Tie-in specials, mini-series, etc. give plenty of chance for #1s, and the Hasbro-verse rebooting/renumbering/whatever (I’ve not been following closely) would seem to do the same.

Then there’s the latest issues of TMNT and TMNT: Urban Legends. The TMNT issue is a "Christmas" issue, both set within ongoing continuity and yet a somewhat standalone issue, a Christmas special within the regular, actual numbering. I don’t remember if they did one last year, but I believe it was two years ago that they did…and I’m liking that. Urban Legends continues to be cool because it’s old/"classic" (-ish!) TMNT material that I’ve long been aware of but never had a chance to check out myself firsthand. Having it in color is cool, though I’d still like to someday track down the originals.


December 26, 2018

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December 26th being the day after Christmas, and being the Wednesday between Christmas and the start of the New Year, made for a very small week. I ended up just getting the Marvel Action: Avengers #1 and Die!Die!Die! #6. As with the previous issue of the latter, I need to pull my issues together; I should have checked to see what the first collecgted volume would contain, at least.

On the Avengers issue, I have the same logic as the Marvel Action: Spider-Man: I’ll support this IDW-published thing in part for being "only" $3.99 for a first issue, as well as NOT having a ton of variant covers! Also, it’s a bit of a curiosity.


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Ollie’s apparently got more shipments of cheap cast-offs from Marvel and DC (January 2018 started with a big haul, and expanded into February just before I was laid off. Now we’re ending the year with even more.

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Not quite the haul the year started with, but still quite the haul for the prices! In typical fashion–even away from Diamond, though–the Marvel stuff was "premium-priced" several dollars each over what similarly-sized DC books were!

A bit discouraging, though, as the prices are great, but this non-Comics-specialty-store chain gets stuff at prices that actual comic shops can’t really touch in most cases. And comic shops likely would NOT be putting permanent stickers on the volumes. Buuuut you get what you pay for!

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Avengers Hot Wheels and Shelf Displays Update

This comes a couple weeks later than intended, but that’s just how things are!

At a Walmart, I’d come across another bin of Hot Wheels cars. Much as with several previous Marvel waves, I was able to find the entire numbered series, and given the small price point each (all 8 for less than the price of two Marvel comics), I went ahead and bought them.

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These were numbered 1 through 7 of 7…and then the Infinity Gauntlet car was unnumbered. Of course, had I only bought one, I definitely would have gone with that. Only two, and I’d’ve gone with that and #4; three I’d have gone with that and #s 4 & 5.

As usual, these are kinda neat, spotlighting the Avengers through history. As I was primarily into them for Heroes Reborn and Heroes Return, #s 4 & 5 are my favorite here because of the cards!


And with this as a bit of a filler post–new content weekdays–here’s an update to the toy shelves/displays!

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On top is the bulk of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers collection.

Then the TMNT (’80s/’90s) villains; then TMNT (’80s/’90s) "good guys" (non-turtles).

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On the other side, the Power Rangers extend on over at the top, joining an AT-AT and Fin Fang Foom.

Below that’s the Superman shelf.

And finally, the newest shelf, with the Doomsdays and then mostly ’90s-ish miscellaneous figures.

I’d intended to do a similar display for my Marvel Legends, but they won’t fit, doing the three-tier, so I’m going to have to figure out something else!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 4, 2018

Well, this proved to be a small week for new comics!

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New issues each of Superman and Batman; sadly, I believe this run of Superman is being cut off in another issue or two, not EVEN making it to #50; and who knows on Batman?

While I’m highly annoyed at the early-release at a convention, and at the constant variant covers…I decided to check out the first issue of IDW‘s Sonic the Hedgehog series. I passed over 20 years ago on the Archie-published premiere, so here I am with a likely-near-"worthless" one now. But hey…nostalgia. (Sonic the Hedgehog was the first videogame I ever "beat" with no cheat codes or "Game Genie" and so on!)

Then we have the second-to-last issue of the Rogue & Gambit mini…I’m pretty sure as "regular" "full price" issues go, that leaves me with only 2 more "planned" Marvel issues (#5 of this series, and the final issue/epilogue of Mighty Thor since I already have the 6 chapters I do, might as well finish out the last issue before Yet. Another. Renumbering). And while I was aware of a Kickstarter thing, I’m verrrrry glad to see Demi-God get a regular, actual, real release…and I’m happy to support it this way, having access to the "A" cover vs. a variant, and it actually having regular distribution and not being limited just to some Kickstarter thing!

And finally, the first of another wave of True Believers issues, this time featuring Thanos…because hey, there’s a movie coming out in just a few short weeks! I do definitely prefer when these True Believers issues are basically a straight up "reprint" of a particular issue–a True Believers Edition–rather than being made out to be a whole other thing–Thanos: The First is a reprint of Iron Man #55–the first appearance of Thanos (and another short/early story from an issue of Logan’s Run). I’d much rather a True Believers Iron Man #55. For a less-iconic singular issue like the Thanos vs. the Avengers I’m ok with it as it’s not the same sort of "key" issue like a first appearance, "death," or "return."

Overall, a nice small-ish week that didn’t leave me with "sticker shock" or such!

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The ’90s Revsited: Captain America #12

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captain_america_(1996)_0012Heroes Reunited part 4 of 4: Let It Be

Story: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Joe Bennett, Ed Benes
Inks: Homage Studios
Colors: Nathan Lumm & Wildstorm FX
Letters: RS & Comicraft/Albert Deschesne
Editors: Mike Heisler & Mike Rockwitz
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: October 1997
Cover Price: $2.99

Here we are with Captain America #12. An "anniversary" issue, double-sized (and extra-priced for its time), yet it is "only" $2.99…cheaper than something HALF its size even twenty years later. This is chapter 4 of the 4-part Heroes Reunited arc that spanned Fantastic Four (1996) #12, Avengers (1996) #12, Iron Man (1996) #12, and this issue.

We open on Rikki Barnes–a girl that’s apparently been Cap’s partner of late, a new "Bucky"–as she discovers a mess of a break-in at her grandparents’ house. This turns out to be Dr. Doom, who goes on about her being some chronal anomaly that shouldn’t exist. Captain America arrives and saves her, confronting Doom, as things start to come out. The Fantastic Four are currently battling Terrax in Central Park (presumably from where Fantastic Four (1996) #11 had left off…or one of the #11s); there are other heralds as well, and the FF WILL perish. Doom has already seen the Earth destroyed three times, and now his time-travel device is damaged and can’t be counted on for a fourth trip. Galactus prepares to consume the Earth after his heralds soften things up a bit…and only by trusting Doom and the information he brings to the table can the heroes hope to prevail. While the "Knights of the Atomic Round Table" work on a solution and build on Banner’s idea that they find a way to "overload" Galactus, Rikki ponders her place and the personal idea of how she’s not supposed to even exist. The Silver Surfer arrives and tries to get her to convince the others to evacuate what people they CAN from Earth before its destruction. When he flies off, she manages to grab his board; Cap gives chase and pleads with her to let go (mirroring what we know of his facing the original loss of Bucky in WWII). Galactus blasts her, apparently perturbed that a human would dare to touch the Surfer, and thus something that belongs to Galactus. Of course, this becomes some poignant bit that makes the whole thing PERSONAL for the heroes, prompting them to want all the more to take down Galactus (as if the entire WORLD being at stake wasn’t enough). So, too, does the Silver Surfer join in, seeing the injury of one human where he was ok with billions being not just injured–but killed. The Surfer becomes the key, bearing the heroes’ devices and artifacts, betraying Galactus, and though he dies, Galactus is destroyed as well. Doom refuses to stay with the heroes even in friendship; and a brief epilogue, Cap meets James Barnes and Peggy Carter Barnes, with Fury explaining that he knew them but can’t be told how/when…and as Cap prepares to take off, The Watcher talks about how all this has been only one of many tales of heroes reborn.

I felt like more than the previous three chapters of this story, this one had a lot of "splash pages" and "double-page splashes" and such…a bit of a "cheat" regarding the page count, propping that up to a higher count but not really increasing the "value" of the amount of story contained in the pages. The art itself is quite good, and I enjoyed it…once again, despite multiple pencilers I didn’t notice any overt, clear shift from one to another…I simply read the issue, followed the story, and nothing wonky or weird jumped out screaming "this is a different visual style here from that last panel/page" or such. One can do a heckuva lot worse than to have Ed Benes art in an issue…and for my not noticing any stand-out difference, I’d have to say that at least here, the same goes for Joe Bennett.

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The cover is part of a 4-part image…something I’ve pointed out in the previous chapters’ write-ups; and something I far, far, FAR prefer to contemporary practices that would see something like this done all on one single issue, forcing one to buy 4 copies of just one issue to get the full image. Here, the buyer is rewarded: buy all 4 chapters of Heroes Reunited, get this bigger 4-piece image.

Story-wise, this was a mixed issue for me. It felt a bit choppy and bigger on ideas while constrained by space: we have a bit of "subplot" of Rikki contemplating her existence just because a supervillain claims she shouldn’t exist…and there’s not much room for that to really be explored and all–for the character, for Cap, for anyone. For the story essentially picking back up with the Fantastic Four facing Terrax, it seems like we get to a resolution with Galactus being destroyed a little too easily and conveniently; though we have the "shorthand" of being able to just be SHOWN different heroes facing different heralds, and "assuming" that (if one’s read the previous three chapters of Heroes Reunited) we’ve already seen the action/details, we don’t have those details actually within this issue itself. It also hasn’t entirely felt like we’ve had any real focus on Doom gathering pieces of information through the previous chapters in a way to fit stuff…more like he gleaned a bit of extra info from SHIELD in the Iron Man issue and now put it to use (though we don’t really get clued in on the exact data).

As a whole, though…this caps off the four part story with Doom bringing what’s needed after several failed attempts, that allows the heroes to destroy Galactus withOUT destroying Earth. We get a rather arbitrary/sudden turn of the Silver Surfer for this being a new iteration of his seeing the heroes, rather than a continuation. But the issue ultimately stands somewhat alone; one gets context of what’s gone on, so you don’t NEED TO have read the previous chapters. You’ll just "get" more out of this issue if you have, and appreciate the overall story a bit more, I think.

I guess I feel like this is like far too many epic stories: the setup in the first chapter can be great and full of potential…but fails ultimately to live up to the potential in MY mind. That we get an epic story on this scale in only 4 issues (though they’re the size of 8 regular-sized issues) with no other tie-ins and such is something that would be completely "impossible" today, and so even a "choppy" issue is preferable to avoid umpteen tie-ins and expanded chapters and such.

I’d bought this originally when it was a brand-new issue; but the copy I read this time is one I got from a quarter-bin; and certainly is well worth the 25 cents if only for the amount of time it took to just READ the issue (even WITH double-page splashes!). And to get all 4 issues of this Heroes Reunited arc for $1, for the reading experience, I definitely enjoyed this stuff…maybe a little more for the art than story, but I hadn’t realized quite how much this story had stuck with me, of seeing the heroes lose–die–multiple times before achieving victory.

There were 13th issues for all four series, as another 4-part story, with the Marvel characters and this Heroes Reborn universe merged with the then-Wildstorm Universe; and then there was the 4-issue Heroes Return mini-series that bridged the characters from these series back to new series in the main/actual Marvel Universe.

But on the whole, this story served to "end" this iteration of the series, and works well enough on its own to be well worth reading for a bargain price (25 cents, 50 cents, $1-ish). I’d say if you find it for 25-50 cents it’s definitely worth reading Captain America #12 on its own; but it’s best read along with the other #12s, and a real treat for $1 or less an issue (making for a reading experience 8 times as long as a contemporary regular Marvel issue for the same price as the contemporary issue!)

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Dollar Sale Haul: Comics & Friends March 25th, 2018

This past Sunday, Comics & Friends (a comic shop in the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor, Ohio) had a $1 sale, with a bunch of longboxes of books for $1 each! I almost didn’t go, but figured I hadn’t been there in awhile, it was an excuse to "get out" for a bit, and maybe I’d luck into something especially cool.

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I ended up snagging a number of #1 issues. I’d usually "feel bad" about just grabbing a #1…but these were basically "orphans," where it was just the #1, if not multiple copies of the #1. And where I saw the X comic on its own for $1, the entire issue of Hero Illustrated that had a copy bagged with it was available, so I went that route. And though I have an intense dislike of contemporary Valiant, I still enjoy the classic ’90s stuff… and a Rai paperback for $1 is well worthwhile!

I don’t think I ever snagged The Demon #1 before; I’m all about Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1’s "Collector’s Set" for the posters and such; Elfquest #1 here is in better shape, I think, than a previous copy I’d gotten at one point. Amidst a bunch of other Image #1s, I’m not certain if I already had Youngblood #1, and while several of the other early-Image #1s seem pretty common in bargain bins, I don’t often see this. I’ve long been aware of the Dinosaurs for Hire series, but pretty sure I never had this #1. I’m also not certain off the top of my head with The Ferret #1…though I would not be surprised either way (having or not already having) it.

And just because I remember Wizard magazine overhyping Gen13 #1 and claiming it into the $40 range at one point, I take a certain satisfaction in continuing to acquire copies of this issue and still not being anywhere near that sort of price range as a total.

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I snagged a random Myth Adventures issue (it caught my eye as something right outta The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu!); a Hero Illustrated promo comic of Concrete (I don’t recognize or remember it offhand…it may be from an issue I have yet to acquire); a "spare" copy of the promo Zero issue from DC (from its original Zero Month that followed the Zero Hour event). And then several "special" Marvel issues in Iron Man #300, Incredible Hulk #400, Avengers #375, The Secret Defenders #12, Incredible Hulk #418, and Fantastic Four #381. Anniversary issues, oversized and fancy foil/shiny covers or die-cut, and the "death" of Mr. Fantastic for a couple years. I’d typically consider these all to be 25-cent bin stuff, but I’m occasionally willing to go up to $1 or so like this "in the moment" and such.

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$1 each for "recent" New 52 issues with $5.99 and $4.99 cover prices is not bad. I didn’t buy into the blind-polybag-cover crap for the #50s at the time…but for $1, snagged Batman #50 and Batgirl #50; neither of which I owned before Sunday, offhand. And knowing I’ll eventually be wanting to fill in the ancillary Superman titles (Superman/Wonder Woman, Superman/Batman, Batman/Superman, etc.) snagged the first Batman/Superman Annual. I also snagged several "classic" ’90s Valiant issues that I think I probably already own, but they’re still in my phone as ones I was looking for, so I figured I’d get ’em just to be sure.


All in all, it was a bit more of an expensive purchase than I’d planned…but still kept it under $30. And a lot of these are ripe for potential/imminent The ’90s Revisited posts, so there’s that as well!

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The ’90s Revisited: Iron Man #12

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iron_man_(1996)_0012Heroes Reunited part 3 of 4: Matters of the Heart

Plot: Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee
Script: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ed Benes, Terry Shoemaker, Mike Miller
Inks: JD & Homage Studios
Colors: Wildstorm FX
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Editor: Ruben Diaz
Inspiration: Special Thanks to Scott Lobdell
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: October 1997
Cover Price: $2.99

[ Heroes Reunited part 1 of 4 was in Fantastic Four (1996) #12  |  Heroes Reunited part 2 of 4 was in Avengers (1996) #12 ]

This felt like the most "standalone" issue of this 4-parter so far, and felt a lot more tied to previous issues than the other chapters. This issue has several references to the previous issue, beyond simply THAT a conflict had begun or stuff come before.

We open on Tony Stark being brought into a meeting involving The Fantastic Four and the "Hulkbusters." As he gets up to speed on the overall situation, a fight breaks out between the Thing and Hulk, eventually interrupted by Invisible Woman separating them in invisible force-shield bubbles. Cosmic readings are picked up, and the group finds several entities headed to Earth. Tony cuts out–leading the others to think maybe he hasn’t changed as much as thought…but we find that he’s actually checking in on Happy and Pepper–actually caring about others beyond himself. The FF went into action against the heralds of Galactus while Tony’s (separately) kidnapped from Happy’s hospital room by Dr. Doom…while Pepper frets over this, Happy seems fine, figuring it’ll all be resolved within the day. Doom takes Stark to the Helicarrier; meanwhile, Liz gets past security and interacts with Hulk–who reverts to Banner. On the Helicarrier, Stark suits up as Iron Man and confronts Doom before they’re joined by Fury, who lays things out before assembling other heroes, and breaking the news that the Fantastic Four have been (by then) killed in action. The remaining heroes head out to make true their name as "Avengers" and engage the heralds in battle, before Hulk and Iron Man attempt to take on Galactus himself. As he sees them fail, Doom activates his device, and armed with the new knowledge of this latest go-round, disappears back in time for another attempt at stopping Earth’s destruction.

As said, this issue feels the least connected to the overall story/pattern. Doom is there, and we have reference to stuff, but that’s almost incidental. This feels like it probably could read pretty well without the first two chapters, and only earlier issues of this very series (Iron Man) for context. I both like that and yet don’t at the same time. The story title of the issue and the title/credits page don’t even have any reference to Heroes Reunited, unlike the first two chapters; almost like this story was written with a few story-beats required but otherwise completely independent of the overall 4-parter.

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With the art, there are multiple pencilers…but that again didn’t bother me as nothing really seemed to jump out at me or have any jarring differences in appearances. Simply reading the issue, I’d only know there were multiple pencilers because of looking at the credits. I’m a reader-first, so when the art is at least "similar" enough that I don’t really notice it change–that is a good thing. I suspect at least part of that is also due to the consistent inks, colors, and lettering; perhaps heavier handed inking and no huge variation of colors can well hide the different pencils. All that said, I enjoyed the art on this issue! I don’t know how I’ve gone all these years without noticing it, and I didn’t notice it on the interiors, but the EAR on Iron Man on the cover just looks extremely odd and "off" to me and is really the only thing that totally "threw" me off with the visuals. Also as said with the previous two chapters, I’m quite glad the cover can work as it does on its own, yet is part of a 4-part image; as opposed to any one of the chapters having 3 extra variant covers to make up the singular image. Get all four chapters of this four-chapter story and have 1 full image; get any single issues and you have a cover that has the characters in the issue and can be its own thing.

As with the Fantastic Four and Avengers issues of this story, this works well enough as a one-off issue…it’d be worth getting even by itself if you found it for 25-50 cents or so; even up to $1ish. Any more than $1-$2 and I’d recommend definitely getting it as part of a set of the four issues of Heroes Reunited. Despite working alone, I’d recommend this more as part of a set for the "experience." I’m glad to have read it, and somewhat surprised at the details I remembered from whenever the last time I read this was–possibly only back in 1997!

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