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2020 Grails Update: March 29

As the year began, I listed several "grail" issues for the year. With a couple of those acquired (plus a couple of "unlisted" grails in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 and Avengers Annual #7), it’s time to update the ‘grail list’ going forward.

And I’ve added my current price range that I’m willing to spend offhand (ideal max $…recognizing that condition plays a huge part!). If you have (and want to sell) at the price, or see these in the wild for the price and would want to help a blogger out…feel free to give me a holler and we could maybe see what we could work out.

(Of course, plenty of variables including how much I’ve otherwise spent recently, plan to spend imminently, and everything associated with the current COVID-19 crisis! AND I’m not looking to "lowball" anyone–I’m aware of the rarity/scarcity of the issues…as I’m aware of what I’m personally willing to pay to acquire a copy at present. This is also as of March 29, 2020 and may very likely no longer apply–PLEASE consider searching my blog for "grails" or "Grail Comics" and see what newer/more recent entries I may have pertaining to these!)


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2020 ‘Grails’

  • TMNT Adventures Special #10 (Fall 1994) (~$10-15)
  • Prime #1 (hologram cover, silver OR gold) (~$10 silver, ~$15 gold)
  • Uncanny X-Men #141 (part 1 of Days of Future Past) (~$30-40)
  • Avengers Annual #10 (~$30)
  • DC Comics Presents #26 (~$20)
  • Dreamwave TMNT #7
  • TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #1
  • Wolverine (1988) #145 (foil edition)

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And some high-interest series-seeking:

  • Spawn #s 101, 132-256
  • Archie C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa (vol. 1) #s 1-3
  • Archie C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa (vol. 2) #s 1-3
  • Mirage TMNT #s 3-7, 27, 44
  • Mirage TMNT vol. 2 # 10
  • Mirage Tales of the TMNT vol. 1 #s 1-5
  • Mirage Casey Jones/Raphael #s 2-4
  • Mirage Donatello: The Brain Thief #4
  • Image TMNT #s 1-18, 21+

Of course, a lotta this stuff would be stuff to look for at conventions. But such gatherings are presently on hold indefinitely.

And as I’m quick to order comics I want online, part of what elevates stuff to ‘grail’ status is NOT being able to "just order it online." Whether that’s the issue not being available AT ALL in any online place I have checked…or not available for what is a reasonable price to me.

As I am NOT a reseller and am interested in issues to own for myself, there’s just not the same "value" to issues, and I’m not willing to pay nearly as much as others might.

As of this typing, that TMNT Special is probably my highest-interest grail as it would (to my knowledge) complete my collection of every TMNT comic published by Archie! And the Prime hologram would do the same for my Ultraverse holograms.

The X-Men and Avengers issues being the keys that they are, I’m in less of a hurry, especially for my desired price range. I know they are keys, I know they’re typically far more expensive than what I’m willing to pay. But years of patience paid off and I got Uncanny X-Men #266 for my desired price-range last year (and just months before Marvel did a facsimile/replica edition!). So…hope springs eternal!

I’m also looking to fill in my run of DC Comics Presents, that being a series I was aware of early-on in my comics collecting and considerations of hunting for back issues…though I never did get to much of a hunt and am still missing about half the series. With the New Teen Titans insert (see Chris’ post over at Chris is on Infinite Earths) making the issue a major "key," the series looks to be one of those where 90% of the series is 10% of the cost, and the final 10% of the series carries 90% of the cost!

I’ve already largely lapsed from my initial interest in hunting down the classic Marvel 2099 stuff; time will tell if that fire gets relit.

Considering how crazy the last 3 weeks have been, who really knows?

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SpawnQuest #7: Spawn 102-131

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I’d certainly figured that 2020 would be a slow burn on acquiring any more missing issues of Spawn. With about 150 issues to go, having filled in 1-100, and the most recent 50 or so…it’ll be a matter of finding the issues where I can.

So last week when I saw a post from Comic Heaven on Facebook that they’d just added a stack of Spawn issues to the back issue bins…I decided to check it out!

Knowing so many had a small print run, and it seems "everyone" has a spattering of issues and rarely any "runs," I wasn’t sure what to expect, just that it was a gamble.

I wound up walking away with 30 issues almost perfectly aligned with my 2019 buildup.

I was able to get #s 102-131, which also keeps it a bit simple for me to remember off the cuff without having to consult my list of missing issues in my phone. I know 101 and 132-onward.

Along with knowing I’d regret it if I only bought a few and dragged out the purchasing over several weeks and missed out, I also reasoned that I’ve gotten my "new pulls" down quite a bit, and not one of these issues was priced above $4…which meant that outside of modern Spawn issues (which are back to $2.99!) the issues were really no worse than getting a bunch of brand-new comics…except I have a much higher appreciation for these!

So…2020 started with acquiring about 20% of what I was missing for the title already!

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102-110…

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111-119…

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120-128…

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129-131.


And as much for myself as anyone following along from home…here’s a more visible representation of the significance of the purchase:

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Although #116 isn’t on the list…so either I somehow missed it when I built the list, or I missed it while pulling the run. Still…I’ll take a 1/30 accidental duplicate over a much higher duplicate rate!

Though I know that I have several issues in the 185-190ish range as well as #200 lurking in my accumulation collection…I’ve no idea where they are specifically. As such, they’re "Schrodinger’s Run" to me…I know they’re somewhere, but until I have them back in front of me/immediately accessible, I’m not counting them as present/accounted for.

While I hesitate at some admission prices…I’m looking at several local-ish conventions in the first parts of 2020 here. Though having specifics (Spawn, ’90s Marvel 2099, DC Comics Presents, and grails) to seek will help me avoid more expensive random purchasing.

As always…time will tell!

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Spawnquest #6: The First Hundred…Completed!

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After a 7-week dry-spell (and about 10 weeks since my last "Spawnquest" post) I have another update as 2019 draws to a close!

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Back in November, I’d snagged these 5 issues of Spawn at Kenmore Komics after a disappointing Akron Comicon.

#s 70, 74, 81, 92, and 96. At $4 each, that’s no worse than buying issues of any modern/current comic series. And as such, it feels a lot easier to buy numerous issues at once!

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Again, it was a good 7 weeks or so of nothing, after that, and I’d somewhat sort of given up for the time-being.

And then at at the Carol & John’s annual Christmas party (seemed just a couple weeks after their Black Friday event!) I talked myself into stopping out, where they actually had a box of Spawn issues, all 50%-off! Now, I might regret it in the near future, but I did not buy everything they had; I’ve been spending a LOT of money lately on all sorts of stuff and justifying the purchases to myself in and of themselves…but they add up.

So I opted to stick with (almost certainly) wrapping up the year with just plugging holes to #100.

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So I snagged #s 68, 71, 72, 77, 88, 93-95, and 97-100.

$4-6ish isn’t bad on a per-issue basis here and there; but add up FAST when multiples are involved.

Issues 93, 95, 98, and 99 were tagged $8 which is rather steep, even though that’s "only" the price of TWO random modern 2019-comics. But half off brought them down to $4.

#100 was $12, so came down to $6…no worse than an opening or closing HoX/PoX chapter, a Last Knight on Earth chapter, or a Doomsday Clock opening/closing issue.

But for the longest time, I’d only broken the $10 barrier once or twice, so $12 would be stretching without the discount.

$15 would be all the more a stretch–such as for #s 77 & 97. But 50% off brought those down to $7.50 which isn’t quite 2 modern issues. But in their favor was also the fact of being amongst some $4 ($2 with the discount) issues, AND that collectively the purchase would fill in the gaps and let me end 2019 with about half of the series’ entire run.

#s 1-100 and #s 257-304…plus I know I have some of the issues from the Endgame arc around #185ish-190-something.

All in all, I’m pretty certain this "Spawnquest" thing is going to be relatively high on my 2020 "goals" along with Marvel‘s 2099 line from the early-mid 1990s and a few other things. But I’ll likely detail–or have detailed–that train of thought in another post!

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SpawnQuest #5: Batman & Spawn

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Around 3 years ago, in 2016, I’d discovered some comics at Dollar Tree. $1 for a comic, a collector’s guide, etc. Not a horrible price, though most of the comics were what I’d consider 25-cent books. Freex #1 particularly caught my eye; as did another.

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One that seemed well worth the $1 price was Spawn/Batman by Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane.

And then recently at the Hall of Fame City Comic Con, I snagged what I consider a "convenience copy" of Batman/Spawn: War Devil.

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And last week as part of the regular Wednesday haul, I grabbed Spawn #91.

Not as keen this week to charge ahead. It’s actually sorta discouraging to realize just how spotty the rest of the series is going to be to get, and what a long haul it may well be.

And all the more how I’m particularly interested in getting my run filled in up to #100 for the near-future, even if the rest of the series ends up being a long slog.

And #301 came out this week…so I suppose I haven’t done horribly for the month between the issue that kicked off the excitement and the few weeks til its next came out.

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#SpawnQuest #3: Beyond 50

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After having snagged a bunch of issues online, the next part of my hunt turned to a comic shop I hadn’t been to in awhile that has a lot of backissues.

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I was thrilled to discover that–a perfect fit for having just filled in to Spawn #50–they had issues 51-55! The very next issue I’d need, and it was five issues in sequence!

(I suspect that before long, instead of being able to get "runs" of issues I’ll be forced to go piecemeal singles and more gradually fill in gaps, and have far more gaps in general!)

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On my way back from that shop, I realized that while I’d thought I’d checked another, I hadn’t…so I stopped in, and was able to get some more issues…and introduce several tiny "gaps" into things with them having a bunch of issues, but not every sequential issue.

As such, this expands the bulk of my collection to issue 69, albeit missing 4 issues (56, 63, 66, 68) from that.

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I also opted to go ahead and bag ‘n board the series so far. I’ve a feeling I’ll be moving the collection around over time as I add to it, and over the past year or so I’ve been bagging-and-boarding new comics for that same reason. Stacks "slide" a lot more this way (unfortunately) BUT issues can stack, be stood upright, and generally handled a bit less delicately without having covers getting creased or crunched, and so on.

I may not be fanatical about condition, but that doesn’t mean I want to "destroy" my own comics!

So this stack in the photo is Spawn 1-69 (minus 4 issues) and 257-300, as well as the modern/recent Medieval Spawn/Witchblade mini, the Spawn Kills Everyone one-shot and Spawn Kills Everyone 2 mini, as well as a couple Fan Edition issues, a couple issues that originally came with action figures, the first (only?) issue of Stupid (with a Spawn on the cover!), and couple issues of a Spawn/Wildcats mini.


I’m definitely in danger of over-committing, I think…at present, my official intent with this "SpawnQuest" is the main, actual Spawn series. #s 1-300+, period. NOT all the one-shots, spin-offs, tie-ins, crossovers, etc.

I believe there have been at least a couple iterations of Curse of the Spawn or some such, a couple of Sam & Twitch series, and numerous one-shots, annuals, specials, crossovers, tie-ins, and so on.

While I may (likely) wind up getting some of those as I go along, this "quest" definitely, specifically the main series. If I can get a bunch of those others, cool.

That said, I know I have–and I think from quarter bins, at that, as well!–the crossover issues with Batman. If I recall correctly, there were two. One was Spawn/Batman published by Image while the other was Batman/Spawn published by DC Comics. I believe the Frank Miller/Todd McFarlane one was Spawn/Batman, and that one I recall being a particularly "big deal" back in the early days of my being into comics, and was one of my earliest forays into Spawn, though I couldn’t tell you a darned thing about any "story" to the thing.

I do recall getting another copy of the issue back in 2016 or so in a pack of comics from a Dollar Tree, which I got specifically FOR that issue, as it was well worth the $1 by itself.

While this is a second "SpawnQuest" post in a week and my 5th or so Spawn post in 2 weeks, I can’t imagine I’ll be able to keep up quite such a frantic pace of acquisitions as I have. And it’ll be all too easy to–like with Savage Dragon a couple years ago–get distracted and leave off.

But I’ll probably take the opportunity–as this is also giving me "stuff" to even post ABOUT and get back into posting a bit after virtually nothing for a few months this year–to post photos of the other issues I do have, as–at least for me myself–I’d sort of like to be able to have shown photos of every issue from 1-300whatever by the time I "complete" the series to whatever then-present.

Time–as always–shall tell!

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#SpawnQuest #2: Issues 31-49

spawnquest

I guess I could have titled an earlier post as "SpawnQuest #1," but I don’t think I was quite as "committed" to the thing at that point. Though I used the phrase "SpawnQuest" in it, and since it technically was the first post for this, I’m starting here, now, with #2! There IS no actual #1. (or perhaps I’ll retroactively go back and re-title the post…though I don’t really like doing that!)

But with several recent posts on Spawn, I suppose I’m making it a bit more official, if only for a few weeks.

I suppose the convention that weekend was like "testing the waters" or some such. But that was also "filling in a gap" in my collection. I forged ahead after that with a couple of online orders, to fill in the next gap in my collection, created by buying Spawn #50.


SpawnQuest #2

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Though I don’t believe I’d ordered from them in years, I remembered a site I’d ordered comics from in the past without any problems–NewKadia.com. I decided to check their selection, and found that they had a number of Spawn issues in stock. They also had a handy feature where I could type an issue number or range and add all to my cart; ALSO specifying best condition OR lowest price.

As I’m definitely going for a "reading copy" collection–I’m happy to have great-condition issues, but I just want the issues and for them to not look like they’re in horrible condition or such.

Since my next "immediate goal" after the convention last weekend was issues 31-49, I keyed in that range, selected "lowest price," and let those get added to my cart. I checked out, and that was that for NewKadia.

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For the remaining issues, I was able to use LoneStar Comics (aka mycomicshop.com).

Both orders arrived on the same day, which was even better…especially as I’d placed the order on a Wednesday and had them Saturday!

spawnquest002_31to49b

While "just" ordering online certainly takes some of "the hunt" away, when I get "all about" something like amassing many issues quickly, I can be quite impatient and more "for" the "immediate gratification" than ever being able to say I hunted every issue down from bargain bins or such.

Especially as I saw from the Cleveland Comic Con, dealers that HAD Spawn at all had them clearly marked–a sort of "sub collection" or such, a specific "category." While I’ll be happy to grab any random issues in a 25-cent bin or such, the series is still going at #300 and beyond, has never been renumbered/relaunched and all that, and so has never just ENDED or been "dead" or such…so its issues are all still relevant and less likely to be "dumped" en masse or whatever.

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Along with filling in the #s 31-49 gap, I’d previously ordered Spawn: Resurrection #1…beginning from the other end of the series. I’m pretty sure (at the moment) that this one-shot fits between Spawn #s 250 and 251; that it goes with 251-256 as an arc; where I "joined in" with #257 and have kept up since.

And as I’ll likely show off existing issues as I go about this #SpawnQuest, here are several of the reprints of #1. The Image Firsts edition; the 25th anniversary edition (Ultimate Spider-Man #1 homage cover). And the 2019 Free Comic Book Day reprint.


I’m probably going to be a total broken record over the course of these posts, but I’m just amazed at the series being at #300, and that despite multiple different reprint editions OF the original, I actually own the original, as well! Particularly as I remember my friend Zack getting/having The Amazing Spider-Man #365 back in 1992 or early 1993–along with at least one of the other Spider-Man 30th-anniversary issues with the large hologram on the covers. Granted, that represents another 5 or so years’ worth of issues after the series’ 300th issue (1988?). But it was just absolutely unfathomable to me at the time that I’d ever be able to go all the way back to #1, say, on that series. (And all the moreso now in 2019!)

But with filling in this 31-49 gap, I already (now) have the first 50 issues of the series, as well as the latest 44 issues (257-300). With knowing I have a few issues from the 185-190ish range and #200, that means I have at least 100 issues out of the 300…so a third of the series!

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