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Not at Comic Con X-Haul 2021

Another "catchup from summer hiatus" post! Back in July or very early August–whenever SDCC was–Cleveland-area shop Carol & John’s had their annual "Not at Comic Con" sale. Among other things, that includes a small room of longboxes of comics for $1 each…but if you buy 50 or more, they drop to 50 cents each!

I wound up going out that Friday after work, figuring what the heck, I could spend $50 or so and either get a handful of issues for under $50, or certainly add 50-ish random issues if I got particularly close to 50 where it’d cost the same either way, 50 or 100!

Well…I wound up getting a FEW more than that.

JUST…a few.

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But filled in a lotta holes in the collection, and while my preferred bargain-bin-sweet-spot is ’90s comics…over the past couple years or so with the CNJ sales, I’m actually able to extend the target scope of my collection beyond ~2003 all the way to the present.

To where–at least for the likes of Uncanny X-Men–I’m pretty close (relatively speaking) to having the entire run going back to my birth month. Alas, #141 in particular’s a problematic one to acquire, as are a few earlier ones. But as of this TYPING I believe I have #s 142-500 at least, and a number of post-500 issues; as well as much of the post-Schism run, a bit of the 3rd one after that, and the 2018-2019 pre-HoX/PoX run.

ANYway…I could ramble a lot more, but rather than that randomness and such, I’m just gonna present a photo gallery below of the issues laid out…if only as a personal record of stuff I’d snagged. (Also as of this typing, I’ve now duplicated on several of the Generation X issues because I stupidly did not check this stack prior to seeking those out and was over-eager to "complete the set.") More on that in another post, I think!

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I’d made it to the shop whatever Friday night that was, a little over an hour until closing. I honestly had not expected to find MUCH, but then found quite a bit. I was watching the time, though, and with just a few minutes til closing, had to grab what I had and get rung out, which was still pretty expensive despite everything being 50 cents!

As of this typing (Thanksgiving Day) I believe they have another sale coming up for Black Friday that I may stop over for. Time will tell!

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Chris Claremont Signing

Falling amidst my lengthy hiatus from blogging, back in August for Free Comic Book Day, Cleveland comic shop Carol and John’s was able to have Chris Claremont out for a meet & signing!

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Plenty of loads of other pieces online can fill you in on Claremont and his importance in a more formal way. But here’s my "story."

I was introduced to the X-Men in 1992. While specific dates and numbers may be slightly off–we’re talking nearly 30 years ago and plenty of life since then, after all–I remember a friend having me borrow an issue of The Uncanny X-Men from him. I don’t remember the story, I don’t remember all the characters…but I do remember his "quizzing" me on the characters after, and as I recall it right now, three of them were "Wolverine," "Bishop," and Storm. As this was likely earlier-’92, and Bishop wasn’t in that first October 1991 issue, this was PROBABLY Uncanny 285 or 286 or so. Move ahead a few months and there was some new cartoon debuting on Fox Kids. Along with watching the couple of episodes there (Night of the Sentinels), this same friend sat me down and we watched an older cartoon episode–Pryde of the X-Men.

…which gave me a bit of deja vu, even then. I recognized it! Turned out that I had seen that one before–some (presumably Saturday-morning) or such, it had been on and I caught it, there was never anything else, so I forgot it. But I clearly remembered that theme song proclaiming "X-Men! X-Men! …come-ing-your-way!"

ALSO in there among stuff, another friend was following the The X-Cutioner’s Song event–the polybagged-with-a-card crossover event in the various X-books. So I was aware of the titles, even though I wasn’t getting them myself. (also late-1992 saw The Death of Superman, Vengeance of Bane and Batman: Sword of Azrael, dabbling in speculation with Bloodshot #0, getting in "at the beginning" with the likes of The Batman Adventures #1, Spider-Man 2099 #s 1-3, Guy Gardner #1, early issues of Batman: Shadow of the Bat and so on. A friend was getting The Infinity War and had some other Marvels so again, I was aware of that side of things.

Probably thanks to Wizard magazine and other promotional stuff as well as friends being interested, plus the cartoon and such, 1993 saw me start getting X-Men comics myself…my first X-Men comic being Uncanny X-Men #300. I initially missed #s 301 and 302 (filling the gap in not long later) but managed to snag each issue from #303-onward. By then had also dabbled in other titles with the Fatal Attractions event (X-Factor #92, X-Force #25, then Uncanny 304 before some time later getting X-Men #25 and Wolverine #75 on the same night….that’s another story).

But by 1994, the X-Men were a "thing" for me, though it was NINETIES’ X-MEN that were my thing. Despite those issues of Uncanny, I’m pretty sure the first issue of X-Men "adjective-less" for me was #24–the Rogue/Gambit date issue. (If you know it, you definitely know the cover!). It wasn’t long after X-Cutioner’s Song, BUT it WAS a couple years removed from the Claremont era.

Fast forward a few more years, and I’d definitely learned OF Days of Future Past. I still have a kids’ chapter-book version of a "novelization" of the story…the only way I got to read the story for a time! Somewhere over the years I got that skinny 2-issue "prestige format" "collection" of Uncanny 141-142. Otherwise, I think my introduction to Claremont‘s stuff was his Sovereign Seven from DC, though I got into that for it being a #1 and a new team…I had no conscious connection of him to X-Men. Ditto later for his run on Fantastic Four in early 1999 or so.

Yet somewhere, somewhen over the years, I made the conscious connection. And came to recognize his run for what it was, and its grand import to comics, and the X-Men, and so on. And some of that probably runs up right to the last few years or so. I’m far more aware OF his work than familiar with it. I’ve yet to read the vaaaaast majority of his X-Men stuff, or really any of his New Mutants (I read the original graphic novel in college 20-ish years ago from the university’s library), or his X-Treme X-Men and such.

And while I hadn’t realized it until a couple years ago…he was in rarified air for me, on the "bucket list" of "people I’d want to have ‘met’" or such. Up there with Stan Lee (‘met’ in 2012), Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Jim Lawson, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens


So a couple years ago–I don’t remember exactly when, but I think it was December 2019–when Carol & John’s announced that they’d have Claremont out for Free Comic Book Day 2021, I knew immediately that I’d "have to" be there. I knew by then that he doesn’t make many appearances, I had the impression he was rarely in the US at all (I’m probably highly wrong, there), but to have him at a signing at a store less than an hour’s drive from me…it was an exciting no-brainer!

But then 2020 happened. So the event was pushed off. I won’t get into assumptions/thoughts.

I was glad to hear earlier this year that it was "on" again and made plans to be there.

I didn’t know details or logistics. Floated plans, made tentative plans, but ultimately ended up there by myself.

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Claremont being who he is…I had to go beyond my usual "couple token issues" to get signed. Up until the evening before the event, I wasn’t absolute on what I wanted to get signed.

While I was happy in 2012 to pay the $40 for a photo op with Stan Lee, I’d otherwise never paid more than $5 for a signature…while I may budge on it some, overall I don’t like paying for signatures when it’s stuff for ME or for friends. I get why creators charge, but that’s where I typically fly by "live and let live." If they’re charging what I don’t want to pay, then their signature and meeting them obviously isn’t "worth it" to me for that.

I believe with this signing, the first signature was free, with subsequent ones being $10. Hearing stories of other creators charging upwards of $50+ per…that sounded absolutely fair to me!

I knew I wanted to get Uncanny #142 signed. I’d hunted for–and failed to find–an original #141, so went with a Marvel Legends reprint edition I’d managed to get. Not as good as the original, nor as good as a "facsimile edition" would be, but fit my purposes. I’d acquired #142, and as part of the 2-part Days of Future Past, that was a given…same reason I wanted 141. Then there was #266…Gambit’s first appearance. And while I was at it for Gambit, I’d also snagged Avengers Annual #10, so wanted to get that signed…first appearances of both Gambit and Rogue. But plenty of other stuff. I decided Uncanny X-Men #274–the Savage Land issue with Rogue and Magneto–was a "key" to me with some fair bit of sentimental value. And while I doubt I’ll ever get to, with the possibility of someday also meeting Jim Lee, decided on 1991’s X-Men #1.

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I ended up arriving right about 8:57am or so…noted the time because of some health stuff I was dealing with and having to be sensitive to the time. I believe "the event" was to "start" about 10 or 10:30 and had known going in that getting there early was gonna be important. Even that early, there was already a significant line…but nothing compared to what soon built up behind me!

One of the workers handed me a sign–I was the back of the line, and requested I hand the sign back as others showed. I had the sign for a few seconds before getting to pass it to another, and he to someone else, and no longer a concern to me. Wound up spending the ~3 hours in line with the guys that showed up behind me–Mike and Rob–also there solo. While I wasn’t overly talkative–as an introvert, the entire thing took a lot out of me–it was enjoyable, and interesting, and quite memorable. Just being surrounded by other people whose lives were impacted by the work of one man’s writing!

We got to the head of the line right about Noon…and it was sounding like Claremont was gonna be getting whisked off for a lunch break and such, and I was suspecting that was gonna happen after the family that was juuuuust ahead of us/me. That ended up not being the case, though. I think I’m thankful for that–but caveat being that I certainly hope it was NOT to Mr. Claremont’s detriment!

In the foyer, CNJ had a huge poster/mural up based on the cover of Uncanny X-Men #141, and I was able to get one of the guys to take a couple photos of me with it.claremont_signing_friends_books

Also got to get a photo with the man himself! While not a professional/portrait type thing (as with Mr. Lee in 2012) still a "key" photo of me, for me!

Back to the issues I was getting signed: I had my 6, but also had several issues for friends! As a fellow X fan and friend, while I’d been unsure of what issue to get, I ended up getting a copy of a facsimile edition of Uncanny X-Men #266 signed for Chris (find him at chrisisoninfiniteearths.com, @acecomics on twitter, etc.!). Also had acquired an ‘extra’ Avengers Annual #10, so got that signed for Bridgett (knowing Rogue to be just about her favorite character) and another facsimile Uncanny #266 for her husband Stephen (knowing Gambit to be one of his). (you can find them at Seraphim Entertainment, Bridget at Euphoria).

I had several other friends who were unable to make it…and I feel bad not having been able to get stuff signed for them. Had I known they weren’t gonna make it, would have made those arrangements!

That said…going in, I had sticky-notes on the issues with names, intending to get the signatures "personalized" (remember, I’m not in it for reselling and such!). However, came to realize Mr. Claremont was just doing straight signatures, so I let it be…MUCH more interested in hearing anecdotes and other such than trying to be annoying about requesting personalization if he didn’t seem concerned about it. I do remember that he commented on the Uncanny 266s, something about if anyone had any extras, he’d be glad to have ’em. (Which, coming after a tease from that site that bleeds coolness) seemed to be to confirm he’s got something going on with Gambit…


And…well…that was that. 3 hours in line, 9 books signed, and a memorable experience (for me) on the whole!

I defffffinitely preferred this to a convention…while I’d have been way happier with NO LINE…that’s just not gonna happen! But for spending 3 hours in line for a couple of minutes of time with the guest of honor…this whole thing sure beat spending a similar time/line/etc. at a convention with paid admission and skipping other events while in line.

This post is a good 4 months or so LATE, so I do apologize for that, as well as being SO all-over-the-place. Much of this has been stream-of-conscious writing…I’m not going back through to edit overall, and if I second-guess myself TOO much I’ll NEVER get this posted.

So feel free to chime in in comments, here on the blog itself, or on twitter if I’ve posted a link, or on facebook with the same. I’ll gladly follow up on some half-finished thought, clarify where I’m clear as mud, etc.

Otherwise…bringing this post to a close, for now!

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Life During Quarantine: Venturing Back Out

After two months, I was finally able to venture out to a comic shop again.

Three, actually.

Observing recommended and mandated rules as applicable.

Not sure when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from IDW will be back (if it comes back?), but a couple more weeks til Batman is back, I believe. Other than the next issue of those, or TMNT/Power Rangers or certain reprint editions…not much that really interests me in the way of new/modern 2020 comics, all the more after the shutdowns.

That said–having finally more or less gotten my X-Men and X-Adjascent collection collated and sorted, I finally have a large, solid list of specific comics I’m definitely "motivated" to hunt down.

So with comic shops finally allowed to be open again and armed with a mask I could physically tolerate for short times, on Saturday I ventured back out to comic shops for the first time since March.


Comic Heaven

First off was Comic Heaven, my weekly comic-shop-home and where I go each week.

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I’d forgotten about the Secret Origins of Super-Heroes replica/facsimile edition being out. Moreso, nothing about DC Super-Stars caught my attention so I hadn’t bothered to message ahead to have it pulled. Or rather, "DC SUPER STARS #17 FACSIMILE EDITION" as it was listed on shipping lists.

And for the heckuvit, I grabbed an extra copy of Uncanny X-Men #266 cuz why not?

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Then I dug into the back-issue bins. I didn’t really think there’d be any new Spawn, at least not from the range of issues I’m looking for. But there was #101…which plugs a hole so that NOW I have #s 1-131 or so, leaving me #s 132-256 (a "mere" 125 or so issues of over 300!).

Also snagged a couple issues from the ORIGINAL Aliens series from Dark Horse.

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From there, managed to score some issues on my X-list. Three X-Force issues and an annual; 1 of 2 X-Factor issues missing, and 4 Wolverine issues!

I have to say…after so many years of sorta randomly buying issues, it felt extremely good to finally be working off a specific (and finite!) list and to chip away at several series I’m specifically seeking to fill!

Of course, there are plenty of other issues I’m also after, but with so few NEW comics, and preferring to spend moderately per purchase even when it obviously adds up over time…that was that for this week, with probably some Generation X, X-Man, and Uncanny X-Men to follow in the near future!


Kenmore Komics and Games

Next was Kenmore Komics and Games, where I’ve been a regular since 2007, but after being laid off in 2016 has been more or less a monthly visit; with far more between visits thanks to the shutdowns.

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An announcement email had let me know there was a restock on the Marvel Champions game several weeks ago, so I’d PayPaled an order for the Captain America and Thor hero expansion decks. Seeing it on the shelf, I grabbed the Black Widow deck as well.

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I’d also jumped on the opportunity to snag several issues of Xenozoic Tales including the first issue! I hadn’t fully thought that through, so made for more of an expenditure than I’d planned, but I told myself I hadn’t been to a comic shop in ages, and would’ve spent way more had I been getting new comics all along, so c’est la vie!

And then for the 33rd anniversary sale, back issues had various discounts. I snagged a couple issues of Batman/Aliens.

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And most of the back-half of Red Robin. I’d followed the series for about 12 issues before losing track ahead of the Flashpoint and New 52. While I’m pretty sure several issues are duplicates, I’m pretty confident this leaves me maybe 1-2 issues short of the complete series…so going all the way back to the original Robin 1990 mini-series!

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Not much luck on the X-list, but I was able to get several issues of NEW X MEN, and then delved down to the third tier or so of my list for a Cable issues from the Cable & Hope post-Messiah Complex series.

Also got another issue of Warlock, bringing me one issue closer to having that complete 15-issue series!

I grabbed a couple random issues that caught my eye as well, and significantly discounted…so not quite 25-cent books, but the next best thing!


Carol & John’s

Finally, swung by Carol & John’s on the way back.

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Unfortunately, Free Comic Day didn’t happen back at the beginning of the month…and this year’s CNJ FCBD event would have been epic…with them bringing Christopher Claremont out! I’d been looking forward to that for months, but maybe it’ll happen yet in some form.

Meanwhile, in lieu of their annual FCBD print, they had a "Free Comic Book Day Cancelled Until Further Notice" print for present, free with any purchase.

I also noticed a remarkable (to me!) price on the vintage-ish (if not vintage, then close TO vintage…) Marvel Legends figures. I quite appreciated the Scarlet Witch/Wonder Man relationship in Busiek‘s Avengers run, and being able to get both characters here together for the price of ONE contemporary Marvel Legends figure was too good to pass up!

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Some weeks back, I’d "won" a couple of livesale/auction issues as well as a "gallery sale" issue; and had claimed a couple of low-priced bulk issues, so picked all those up. A solid haul for stuff I’d basically ordered-and-forgot!

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Picking through some $1-bins, I found a few things to get.

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Getting to actual back-issue bins, I went ahead and snagged X-Factor #5…COMPLETING THE ORIGINAL SERIES in my collection! I’d been missing two issues when I woke…and between CNJ and Comic Heaven I completed the original 149-issue run of the ’90s series!

Also snagged a couple more X-Force and Wolverine issues…including the ELUSIVE Wolverine #96, that–despite keeping up with the title at this point back in the ’90s, post-Age of Apocalypse–I missed back then and somehow KEPT ON MISSING in all the years SINCE!

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And finally, grabbed a few issues of Uncanny X-Men from the X-list.

I also got some "supplies" in the form of several treasury-sized bags and boards, a few silver-age bags and boards, and a well-priced "Stor-Folio" that beats the heck outta the prices I see online.


All told, quite a haul for one weekend…one day!

I doubt I’ll be hitting 3 shops in 1 day frequently…but after the shutdowns, I wanted to make the circuit to support their being open again.

And I definitely look forward to more back-issue bin-diving in the near future as I seek to close the gaps in my ’90s X-Books collection, Spawn, and so on.

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Halloween ComicFest 2017

Over the weekend, we had Halloween ComicFest. Basically like a Halloween-themed Free Comic Book Day with participating retailers. Same sorta thing–publishers put out specific comics that retailers can order, that are intended to be given away. Retailers, of course, can opt to do other stuff as well.

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Since I was not in costume, I was part of the crowd that qualified for picking 5 of the "free" issues. I’m definitely in a Thor mood lately, and Ghostbusters and The Tick caught my eye. I rounded it out with Darth Maul and Hellboy and the BPRD. I also snagged three "back issues" of Action Comics from the New 52-era (#s 37-39), which MIGHT leave me "only" missing #s 36 and 40 or so from that run, and thus effectively means I’m a mere 2 or so issues shy of having every issue of Action  Comics from #583 to #990!

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Along with the Halloween issues, Carol & John’s also had several bonus things to choose from with a purchase. I opted for the Thor by Walter Simonson vol. 1.

Later in the day after some non-comics personal stuff, I was able to stop by Comic Heaven, where I picked up Atomahawk #0 to try, and the fourth volume of Criminal (I think there are 7 volumes). I was also able to get the Walking Dead reprint of #1, Wizard World edition from 2013. Pretty nifty.


Thanks to a couple friends, I learned that Dollar General had some sort of pack of skeleton miniatures. Took some hunting (and finding multiple DG locations) but combined with figures I already had, I was able to take the following photo (done up meme-style at another friend’s suggestion).

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After all…this week (I believe) we get the first issue of a new (and this time weekly) TMNT/Ghostbusters comic series. And this would be a scenario (sorta) the Ghostbusters might just be able to help with, no?

The Weekly Haul – Week of April 26, 2017

This week involved QUITE the feline-centric New Comics Day!

I swung by Carol & John’s, and was greeted at the door personally by Winston himself, who quickly led me into the shop to show off the pint-glasses. (Or he was watching birds outside, and I just got in the way). Whatever the case, he let me scratch his head and pet him, and then he wandered off to attend to his other duties around the shop.

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Here he is…the Master Greeter himself…though he wouldn’t look right at the camera for me. I guess that’s where I should point y’all to ComicCatWinston on Instagram.

Loads of great pics!

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Then, while getting situated for this week’s post, my own cat, Ziggy, played the photo-bomber role again. Often I’ve just shown these on this blog’s Facebook page, but thought I’d include it here as well…’cuz hey, why not?

His butt is planted on this week’s Action Comics issue, while his paws are digging into the lenticular cover of Flash #21, while Streaky looks on curiously from the background.

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…and now to the standard, static photos for the week!

I bought one of the Carol & John’s prints for Free Comic Book Day 2017 in support of the shop and their annual shindig. I have no idea if I’ll get to make it out for any official FCBD festivities, but with getting to visit the shop a lot more frequently since starting the current job, I can definitely display such a print without feeling "off" in doing so!

While it was actually another shop–Hazel’s Heroes Comics and More–that had a post this week about Super-Pets in stock, that reminded me of the existence of the plush critters. While I wouldn’t mind getting Krypto and Dex-Starr, I was more interested in Streaky the Super-Cat. And guess who I saw peeking out at me from a shelf?

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As I keep on saying, I love that there’s a new Superman comic each week now that I look forward to. Of course, as with last week, the Superman titles have taken a slight back-seat to the Batman/Flash crossover The Button.

As I’m a sucker for nostalgia, the Splitting Image book caught my eye…I’m pretty sure this is reprinting some classic ’90s issues from early in the Image days. Whatever the case, I figured it’s a fun collection.

Then as New Comic Day fell on Aliens Day (or Alien, singular), we have the first issue of the new series Aliens: Dead Orbit as well as the finale to the mega-arc Life and Death that’s been going since March 2016.

And since I’m double-dipping for immediacy on the TMNT Universe issue, I opted for the "B" cover, though I don’t care for it as much as the actual regular cover.

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Then there were several more of the True Believers reprints. This time, Uncanny X-Men #281, Generation X #1, and I passed on Astonishing X-Men #1, as they utilized the ridiculously-stupid Wolverine-Claws cover instead of the team-image (for the FIRST ISSUE of a TEAM BOOK).

There was also a free handout of a reading chronology of Marvel stuff. I flipped through it briefly and found most stuff unrecognizable or uninteresting, but there may be a gem or two hidden in there.


Hard to believe we’re already at the end of April 2017. We’re 11 months into DC‘s Rebirth initiative, and I don’t think a week’s gone by since that first special issue that there hasn’t been at least one DC book (typically a Superman issue) I’ve been looking forward to. And the last few weeks with Superman: Reborn and now The Button, they’re really ramping things up, so that I hardly care what else is out next week–I’m looking forward to the next chapter of The Button, and quite curious as to where else stuff will unfold in the mega-arc of the universe-wide tapestry.

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Winston World and the Weekend Haul: Weekend of March 17-19

winston_world_weekend_haul_blogtrailer1While this weekend was Wizard World in Cleveland, I never had any intention of attending that. I’d attended a Wizard World convention in Columbus a few years back, and decided that it’s not a convention "brand" I care to deal with (long story’s another post someday; short story is that it’s too expensive for too little comic-content, and it seems unlikely that the brand can possibly ever get back to the Chicago edition of the con I attended in 2007).

Fortunately, Carol & John’s opted to hold a sale for those #NotAtComicCon: Winston World!

Along with that, Half-Price Books had a week of coupons beginning last Monday, with two days of 20% off your most expensive item; two days of 30%; two days of 40%, and culminating in the final day’s 50% off your most expensive item. While 20% didn’t mean much to me, I jumped in, taking advantage at the 30% and snagged a few things, as I showed off in last week’s Weekly Haul post for Wednesday and Thursday.

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My primary interest in the Winston World stuff was the 75%-off graphic novel bins. There’d been several books I’d had my eye on that weren’t quite justifiable to me even at 50% off (and/or just didn’t have room in the "budget" weeks I was there) that would certainly be more than worthwhile at 75% off!

While one of the main books I was interested in was no longer there, I did find the three above that I couldn’t quite talk myself into passing up for the price. (Namely, each was cheaper than 3 current Marvel single issues!)

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The Ultimate Comics: Divided We Fall, United We Stand was still there, so I snagged it. Then I started poking through back issues, and snagged the Peter David Supergirl #1, which puts me one issue closer to a complete run on that.

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The 50% off back issues brought the cost of these issues to around or under half the cost of a current DC issue, so I snagged the three Superman Specials and the actual Superman issue that had Superman meeting Destiny for the first time (and reprinted in the DC Retroactive – Superman: The ’80s).

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I also picked up several Batman issues post-Death in the Family/pre-Lonely Place of Dying that I’m missing (or pretty certain I’m missing). A bit more expensive than I’d’ve preferred, but they’re issues I don’t tend to see in quarter-bins, and for 50% off, it brought them into the price-realm of "no worse than buying a current comic." And kept me well under $10 an issue!

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For convenience’s sake, snagged most of the The Day of the Krypton Man arc, likely to join with Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite as nostalgia reading in the near future. Unfortunately, they did not have the second Adventures of Superman issue (Chapter V) but I was pretty sure I’d be able to snag that without much problem later.

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Along with the Winston World/St. Patrick’s Day edition of the shop’s sticker that was being given away with any purchase, I also opted to buy one of the regular ones. I haven’t decided yet where to actually stick them, but I’ll try to remember to post a photo here or on Facebook once I do!

All in all, I got out for around the cost of 12 current Marvel issues!

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I then ducked into Half-Price Books to use a 40% coupon. Despite the spine damage (which I’m hoping I can at least somewhat repair with some glue) I opted to snag the Five Years Later Omnibus, as I can’t imagine finding a copy anywhere near this price elsewhere/when. This completes my "set" of New 52 "event-Omnibus" volumes (already having the #0 issues volume from 2012’s "event" and the 2013 Villains volume).

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A friend visited over the weekend, and while we were out and about, we stopped in at a vintage toys store in the Cleveland area–Big Fun Toys. Loads of great toys new and old to see, plenty of classic games and books, too. While I have my eye on some figures that were in a display case and thus more expensive…I picked up these four TMNT figures at the excellent price of $3 each or 4/$10! I was going to get three, but on learning of the 4/$10, I went back to the bin and grabbed the Fugitoid figure! I’d had a Fugitoid back in the day, but it disappeared over the years, so this one will (for now) serve as replacement. Genghis Frog, Groundchuck, and Scumbug are new-to-me characters that I’d never owned.

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At HPB again, using the second day’s 40% coupon, I snagged the Dungeons & Dragons boardgame Tyrants of the Underdark. Way above my price range at full price…but far more reasonable at 40% off! Not quite as cool as a couple of the other D&D games, but still a worthy addition to the games shelf!

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Sunday, I drove out to a third HPB location, hoping to snag a hardcover I’d seen some weeks back. Unfortunately, it was no longer there…someone apparently was more determined than me to get it, taking advantage either of opportunity, the week’s coupons, or both.

On my way back, I swung by Comic Heaven and found that Adventures of Superman issue I wanted! Also snagged some card boxes to use for shelf displays, having found them to be excellent, cheap "risers"!

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I stopped back into the closest HPB, determined to go ahead and use the 50% off coupon. I hadn’t seen/"left" anything at the one I bought the D&D game at, so went back into this thinking of getting the Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years that I’d been eyeing. While it would have made for an excellent purchase…I figured it’s a sort of "anthology" volume, I’ve no clue my likelihood of getting other _____: A Celebration of __ Years editions beyond the Superman and Lois Lane ones I already have, and it seemed a shame to use 50%-off on such a low-priced item that’s well worth its marked price.

So, since they still had it, I opted for the "set" of Impulse #s 1-89 plus Annuals 1 & 2.

With the coupon, they became 25-cent books…these 91 comics cost me the same as what SIX current Marvel issues would.

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All in all, a VERY expensive weekend (compared to usual). But, no money out of pocket solely for the privilege of walking around and then giving dealers cash for product. No significant lines, no major miles or gas costs, no lodging, etc. Yet the weekend’s "haul" is certainly on-par with a solid convention’s haul…but without the general hassles OF a convention.

Now I’m really counting on the upcoming "new comics day" being a small one!

#NotAtComicCon (So I Visited Winston)

not_at_comic_con_logoComic Con is going on right now, but I’m not there. I’m cool with that, as there is plenty of comic stuff for me locally, and I truly prefer it to the sort of travel/etc that would presently be required for me to ever be at SDCC.

But because I’m not there, I was free tonight to pay a visit to Carol & John’s in Cleveland and see Winston (something that’s been on my mind since the other day).

With hours actually conducive to making the trip and such after work Friday, I drove up to Cleveland to visit the shop briefly.

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Once there, I browsed momentarily and then discovered the extent of their #NotAtComicCon sale. Rather than a handful of Dollar Bins…they had a Dollar ROOM set up.

Once I’d browsed many of the boxes and found some neat stuff and even some specifics I was looking for, I returned to the main area, and asked about Winston.

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There he was, just  curled up comfortably, napping on a chair by the counter. He woke up a bit and stretched, then watched me ring out, remaining on his seat, one paw stuck out, seeming to enjoy being the king.

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I usually avoid dollar books in any kinda bulk…they’re sure cheaper than $4/issue, but man do those $1s add up in a danged hurry! Along with a handful of Ultraverse issues, some Valiants, and several X-books…I also found the complete Dead Again arc from the Superman titles from 1994 (though it took a bunch of digging through the titles’ sections in the bins). I also bought the Robin magnet, as I’ve been snagging a bunch of magnets lately, and the Tim Drake Robin (up to about Flashpoint) is one of my all-time favorite comic characters.

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Quite unplanned by me, Ziggy made himself at home on a comic box, and I managed to get this photo of him. My own comic book kitty!

#SaveWinston Ends On a Happy Note

winston_on_comics_carol_and_johns_comic_book_shopI was quite dismayed early on Monday to learn that Winston, a Cleveland-area comic shop’s shop-cat, was missing.

I’ve been to this shop (Carol & John’s) a handful of times, and even if I’ve only caught a glimpse of the kitty, that’s made me smile, and justified the visit. (And I once drove out there specifically hoping to see Winston…something I’m contemplating doing this weekend again).

For me, there’s just something to there being a “shop cat” around…particularly given the way I’m such a “cat person.” I’d encountered a shop cat at a comic store in Pennsylvania about 6 years ago that I’ll always remember–he followed me around, stuck his paws down between issues while I flipped through a longbox, and even decided my head was a plaything while I knelt to flip through a box on the floor and he was stretching down as far as he could reach over the edge to swipe at me, trying to get me to play with him. I had also once “discovered” a book/comic/something shop when I moved for grad school back in 2004…the cat curled up in the window caught my attention, or I wouldn’t have even noticed the store.

There’s also the story of Dewey, chronicled in the book Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World that gets to me.

I ‘discovered’ Dewey barely a week after I lost my first cat, Christy…and reading the book had a huge impact on me, was truly cathartic and really helped me, in its own way, to deal with that loss.

And aside from that, it’s just fascinated me ever since, to consider there being a library or a shop or such with a resident cat that I might see every time I went there.

Even as I type this, a memory’s just surfaced that when I first “discovered” Carol & John’s, I researched the place online, their web page, before I went out, and it was the notion of Winston, their shop cat, that “sold” me on driving out immediately, and the inward thrill of actually seeing him briefly (it was late and he’d probably had enough for the day–I recall him going behind the counter away from the main part of the shop).

So when I saw the top edge of a “Missing Cat” poster in my Facebook newsfeed early Monday afternoon, I had that immediate thought I always have–feeling bad for whoever has lost a cat, but was shocked and then dismayed to realize it wasn’t “just” Carol & John’s page sharing a local missing kitty, but it was their own kitty–a kitty I’ve met, that I “know,” and it was a gut-punch I don’t usually get from such postings.

I’d shared a couple of the posts on social media myself, doing what I could to get the word out so anyone local-ish would know and could keep an eye out, all the while dreading what seems to be the “usual” horrible news.

winston_found_screenshotSo when a friend shared a post to my newsfeed last night, I was first curious about the post…but my heart truly leapt with a beat of joy when I saw what the post actually was:

Great news!

He’d been found, he was safe, the story had a happy ending.

And I’ve thrilled tonight looking at the Carol & John’s facebook page, reading all the comments, seeing several recently-posted photos, and generally seeing just how well-loved this cat is, by so many in the community.

I’d commented to a couple friends last night that I’m sure Winston’s gonna have extra visitors this week, and as mentioned above, I myself am really thinking I want to take a trip out there to see him (regardless of a Not-At-Comic-Con sale the store is holding this week).

And obviously the situation touched me in such a way that it’s what I chose to write about tonight, superseding any other posts I might’ve written.

If you’re in the Cleveland area, it’s well worth paying Carol & John’s a visit. Great service, amazing stock, plenty of bargain-bin ($1) comics, lots of new stuff, a kids’ play area…and of course, Winston the cat.


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Photo (above): Winston laying on some comics, back home again after going missing for a couple days. This particular photo was posted as the profile picture of the Carol & John’s Facebook page Tuesday evening 7/7/2015. Please visit their page, check them out (enjoy photos of Winston at least!), and all that.


You can find them at 17462 Lorain Ave / Cleveland, Ohio in Kamms Plaza.

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