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A Weekend Haul: Week of August 5, 2020

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Well…six weeks with no actual posts. Tons of partially-typed up "drafts" and such, but…my heart’s just not in it these days.

I’m (as I think I’ve mentioned in the past) fortunate enough that I was NOT laid off–at the start of things back in March, nor in the time since. It’s amazing how much more draining it can be, though, when it seems like "everyone else" is laid off and suddenly has weeks and months of spare time, and my schedule’s stayed the same or been a bit more demanding.

And recent shakeups in comics have hardly been encouraging to me.


Among other things, since the state started "reopening" I’ve not gone back to Wednesdays. DC has screwed that up, trying to force Tuesdays. They’re within their rights, sure, but doesn’t mean it’s a good look and all.

And with state-mandated restrictions forcing stuff…I just haven’t had the heart to "bother with" stuff during the week.

So I still haven’t had a New Comics Wednesday since sometime back in March. And with other life-stuff going on, never got around to weekly-ish posts to "keep up" with these "Weekly Haul" posts and had to intermix stuff to clean up "piles" and trying to read stuff and all that…lost track of what was from which week and all, so…screw it. Documented 2019’s new comics purchases basically in full, but 2020 has had its share of crap and I’m foregoing any beginning-of-the-year goals.

Blah.

On to the weekEND haul, officially stuff for the week of August 5.

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Fire Power has been THE new title for me. It even hit in such a way that I arranged for several friends to also get the first OGN. I loved that we got such a big chunk of story starting out. UNfortunately, it makes the first issue after the "wait" something that doesn’t begin to live up to that. Buuuut…in addition to snagging another copy of the FCBD issue (to now have copies for the friends I gifted the OGN to) I also snagged the "regular" #1 issue. Yeah it’s basically a duplicate of the FCBD edition, but my OCD insisted I get it anyway. "But Walt!" you might be thinking "Don’t you HATE/LOATHE/DESPISE variants!?" These are wholly different editions rather than "variants" and though the content is basically the same, there’s also the events of 2020 screwing with stuff such that I’d rather give Kirman & Co. a bit extra like this than get some random DC or Marvel book that’s just gonna annoy me.

So…FCBD edition, regular #1, and regular #2 of Fire Power. #2 was about half a silent issue which was disappointing to me…but I’m invested enough I’ll be back for #3 anyway, and go from there.

Dark Horse losing the Aliens and Predator licenses is another of the aforementioned discouragements…so you bet I’m gonna support Dark Horse while I can with this Alien: the Original Screenplay adaptation.

Batman #96…I think this marks six issues that I’ve accumulated again but yet to read. Thanks to missing some initial release of Nightwing tying in, I’m flat-out not getting ANY tie-ins for this Joker War thing. And this far, I’m basically finishing out to Batman #100 in a couple months and planning on walking away from there. Satisfy my OCD on the series, but even though DC changed course and apparently is NOT gonna relaunch/renumber to a new #1, I’m still ready to be done. I’m tired of the overhype (perhaps it’s more a certain rumor site’s crap than DC‘s but DC shoulders plenty of blame in my general frustration with them lately).

The newest issue of Usagi Yojimbo–#11–though I’ve lost track of where I left off reading. I’ve sorta folded UY in with TMNT and so it gets a "pass" where other titles wouldn’t.

Finally, snagged the FCBD reprint edition of The Boys #1 to check out.

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Then, seeing that I’d barely crack the $20 mark for the week, figured I’d grab something else, and saw this Marvel-Verse Thanos digest-sized book. I decided if it was $14.99 I’d leave it…but if it was $9.99 I’d get it. Since it’s pictured here and I’m talking about it, I’ll let you figure out the price.

It’s got a handful of random Thanos issues it it; stuff I’ve mostly got in other editions (except a reprint of a Ka-Zar issue from 1998 or so). But whatever…something like 5 issues’ content for basically $2 each rather than the $4/$5/$6+ Marvel‘s pushing for nowadays.


Looks like the coming week is gonna be another "light" week of comics. I suppose that’ll make up for stuff a bit, and for other recent expenses and such.

And I’m definitely increasingly willing to spend more on single back-issues…particularly when they’re issues I’ve known about and/or been "interested in" to some degree for a number of years…or just see that I’d flat-out APPRECIATE them much more than "just some new issues" released any given week.

More on that sooner or later, I suppose.

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SBTU – Expanded Universe: Aliens and Predator

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It’s Super-Blog Team-Up time again!

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

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

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

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

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

Ok.

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

DEFINING "EXPANDED UNIVERSE"

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

PROLOGUE

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

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

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

THE BEGINNING

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

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

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

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

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

aliens_novels_trilogy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SETTLING IN AND MOVING FORWARD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 gave us a new Predator film with The Predator.

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

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

IN THE END

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE END (FOR NOW)

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

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

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

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


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Super-Blog Team-Up: Expanded Universe

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

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

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The ‘90s Revisited: Magic the Gathering: Gerrard’s Quest #1

90s_revisited

magic_the_gathering_gerrards_quest_001Gerrard’s Quest Part 1: Initiation

Written by: Mike Grell
Pencils by: Pop Mhan
Inks by: Norman Lee
Letters by: Michael Taylor
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Separations by: Lisa Stamp, Stu Hiner, Brian Gregory, Harold MacKinnon
Cover by: Mark Harrison
Editors: Peet Janes and Ian Stude
Cover Date: March 1998
Cover Price: $2.95
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

I’ve been “aware of” this series for over 20 years. The original MTG comics were published by Acclaim, under their Armada imprint. Those lasted a couple years with a number of mini-series and specials. This, too, is a mini-series…but by late-1997/early-1998, the license had moved to Dark Horse. Also by this point there was a move toward a unified “whole” in the MTG continuity/story, rather than everything being a mash up of fantasy tropes and generic fantasy-style stories.

Here we begin “Gerrard’s Quest.” Despite that being the story title (even in the indicia!) it is NOWHERE on the cover of the issue. While the “issue’s chapter” IS “Initiation” that is what’s on the cover…where usually it would be interior-only, or in addition to the series’ subtitle. This is solely billed (cover-wise) as Magic the Gathering #1 of 4. Nothing to indicate anything came before…nothing to indicate (now long after the fact) that this is the first chapter of Gerrard’s Quest (as the long-outta-print collected volume is titled and the story referred to in general).

Without even looking back, I’m quite sure that even the Armada books had subtitles on the covers and/or the subtitle logos of whatever set the issue(s) contained stories for. So that’s a huge dislike of this to me from the start. Having only the MTG logo and the title “Initiation” at the bottom of the cover, it suggests to me that the issue is ABOUT some initiation. Into what, though? Is it the reader being initiated into the “I-read-Magic-the-Gathering-comics” portion of the comics audience? Is it about someone joining some group of planeswalkers banding together to save the multiverse? By the cover alone, the ONLY thing really of interest to me would be the MTG logo. The rest of the cover just looks like some generic fantasy-ish thing and even knowing the broad strokes (having read loads of the novels and re-read a bunch of the novels in the last 17 months or so) I’m not immediately sure who any of the characters/entities on the cover are supposed to be, outside of Gerrard.

The story in the issue is choppy and all over the place. It’s rather loose, and really seems little more than hitting bullet points. I’d have to practically re-write the issue to give it a proper summary here. Suffice it to say that it picks up with Gerrard lamenting others dying for him, and the burden of the artifacts that are his birthright, the “Legacy.” The ship he’s on gets to Rath, a lotta fighting happens, someone he apparently knew dies, other stuff happens and…yeah. Having read the anthology/novel Rath and Storm at least twice now (once back in 1999 or 2000, once back in late 2018 or early 2019) I have a vague idea from memories of THAT as to who THESE characters are and what’s going on.

Early in the issue I get the sense that the crew is on their way to Rath and the Stronghold to save Sisay. And then there’s some scene with people related to Crovax and then suddenly the Weatherlight and its crew are there…and after Rofellos dies, Sisay is with them.

What the heck did I miss?!?

This feels like little more than a generic visual review/overview of a prose story. And sure, it ends on a cliffhanger-like note with a to-be-continued promise…but strictly in terms of this issue, I’m not invested in any of these characters. I don’t KNOW who any of these characters ARE from this issue. (I only know the characters because I’ve read the prose novels!) Other than the clear sense that Gerrard’s upset about involvement with his “Legacy,” it’s just…pictures and dialogue.

I like the art well enough despite my clumsy attempt to describe it ahead: the layouts get sorta interesting and creative. The inks and colors work well. The overall visual experience seems a bit rough and angular and almost “gritty,” if that’s the word I’m looking for. It’s not awful, but it doesn’t have the smoother, sleeker sense of shiny wonder and just SOMETHING I can’t find the words for.

I finally tracked this mini-series down recently via a site I didn’t realize I COULD order comics from. Pulling this issue to read, I had visions of covering this whole mini-series…but assuming the subsequent 3 issues are on par with this one…I’m gonna be floundering for words and repeating myself and it’ll generally be a mess! The only REAL reason I would even suggest anyone track this issue/series down is if you’re a COMPLETIST on MTG comics.

Seriously.

In place of this, I would recommend tracking down the book or ebook of Rath and Storm, edited by Peter Archer, and read that instead. And that’s disappointing enough to say, given this is written by Mike Grell. But if you like his writing in general…find something else he’s written and read or re-read that and you’ll probably appreciate it more. I may yet read the rest of this mini, and maybe I’ll change my mind. But as of just this issue alone…it’s a disappointment and far more in the vein of “early MTG” than the far more epic, storied stuff that would come not long after in the novels and such.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of 2/19, 2/26, 3/4, and 3/11/2020

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Another month, another "weekly" haul-update. I actually had planned on doing this post earlier in the week, but figured if I was gonna be behind and play catchup, might as well make it another 4-week post to match the last one.

But in a real rarity for me (and this blog!) of late, I actually had two full single-issue posts earlier in the week.

  1. First, I had my first non-Ultraverse ’90s Revisited post in ages, covering Uncanny X-Men #303.
  2. Then I had a (late to post, having written a couple weeks ago) review of the "new" comic TMNT: Jennika #1 (from the Week of February 26, below)…my first review of a newer-than-2010 comic in 14 months or so!

Anyway…onto the point of this post you’re reading…my documenting for myself (at least) what I’ve picked up in the way of new comics for the last few New Comic Day Wednesdays.


Week of February 19, 2020

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New post-#100 TMNT; new Spawn (we’re 6 issues in past the big #300!); and third/last American Jesus for this round. 3-issue mini originally, and this followup is also a 3-issue thing. Maybe we’ll get a new paperback with all 6 issues?

DC Dollar Comics brought a New Teen Titans reprint; and Marvel had some sort of (FREE!!!) Wolverine thing. I won’t turn down free Wolverine, even though I hate the "new logo" and refused to spend $7.99 on a #1 issue.

And since it was a relatively small week, I opted to splurge on the $9.99 DC: Crimes of Passion giant-issue; having developed a bit of a sub-collection of the squarebound not-quite-TPBs DC issues that actually go on the shelf.

(*come to think of it, if they’re not gonna do out-and-out trade paperbacks monthly as anthologies, why can’t publishers just do squarebound COMICS that contain the materials of single-issue titles as anthologies and see which sell BETTER? I’d gladly pay $9.99 for one of these with 4-5 X-books’ content rather than $3.99 apiece for 20-page batches of infographics + a few pages of stories!)

Finally for the week, having snagged Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 a week or two before, I’d ordered the Avengers Annual to cap off that arc, and check off another "minor grail" for myself.

And as almost-always…the weekly Comic Shop News.


Week of February 26, 2020

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The final week of February finally brought the first issue of TMNT: Jennika. I don’t know that I was looking forward to it, exactly, but I think it was late and I’d begun to "wonder" about it. See my review (linked above), though, for the issue in and of itself.

Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #2 brings another (color) installment of early UY. While I understand the TMNT Color Classics to have rather limited material to pull from (especially as they focused specifically on Eastman/Lairdcentric TMNT) I a really hoping that this UYCC is an indefinite ONGOING thing that lasts for a lotta years. I’ll happily keep buying both this and the "new" ongoing.

I don’t even remember now why I’d wound up grabbing Dark Horse‘s The Little Mermaid mini, but I think this was the final issue? OCD/completist since I had the earlier issues. I’ve yet to READ any of them to determine if they’re a new adaptation of the film, or some sort of re-imagining, or what. But congratulations to Dark Horse: this is what CAN happen when something is put out that is NOT over-hyped, NOT sold on the quantity of variant covers, NOT some huge event, NOT begun with an over-priced first issue, etc.!

New issue of Hellblazer, which is yet another that I (sadly) need to catch up on reading before I have to kick myself for not just waiting for collected editions. Or perhaps to just decide TO wait for the collected editions and take my hit now.

Then the week’s "facsimile"/"replica" editions: Wolverine #1 and The Flash #123 (easy to remember as 1-2-3!). Though I already have an original edition of Wolverine, I’m glad to keep supporting these reprints! And the Flash issue is a great addition as well as what it is. (Though I did discover a day or two after buying it that I had a Millennium Edition reprint of the issue. I prefer this new one for being closer to what the original would look like…but the ME reprints are a good bit of nostalgia to me some 20 years later!)


Week of March 4, 2020

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March starts off with a bit of a whimper, with "only" 5 issues…two of those (40%!!!) being reprints. Mystery in Space is not honestly one I’d really care for or likely even be all that interested in from a bargain bin. But as said above…I’m happy to "support" these sorts of reprints, as I find far more VALUE in them than modern comics. And of course, $1 comics can hardly be beat as "new" comics, such as the DC Dollar Comics: Swamp Thing issue, reprinting an Alan Moore story.

Having heard a lotta good stuff about King‘s Vision series and Mister Miracle; and despite having bought the entirety of the latter without having yet read it…on the strength of 85 issues of Batman, I figured I’d give Strange Adventures a try. My primary complaint is the "dual" covers that could easily have been flip-book covers or doubled-up covers and gotten a similar effect withOUT making me have to choose one OVER the other. That’ll likely be the primary deciding factor in my picking up #2-onward…how cheesed-off am I at the nature of the existence of "basic" variants for this title?

Speaking of Batman… I’ve repeatedly pointed out (or meant to) my dropping the title with the end of King‘s run. Multiple reasons, varaints, likely pending reboot/relaunch, Something Generation with DC, and then over-hype and speculator/scalper crap with #89. BUT while out of state visiting a friend recently, happened across a copy (first print) of #89. For cover price. Despite all the hype and apparent sell-outs and over-priced flippage and such. I was NOT going to buy it in and of itself, though, even for cover price…not to leave a gap of 3 issues. So I checked. They also had issues 86-88. So in one fell swoop, I was able to catch up on the title (which I already had 1-85!) and as of then was fully caught up. So I emailed the local shop and added it back to my pulls beginning with this 90th issue, figuring fine…I’ll buy Batman and keep the run going, and so I can take stuff in for myself without having to "hunt" or play the "speculator game."

Finally, we’re getting to the tail-end of the TMNT Urban Legends run, reprinting the old Image TMNT series. I had two issues from later in the run that I bought back around 2000 or so; I’m not sure offhand but pretty sure at least ONE of those has now been reprinted in color in this series, and if this issue isn’t the other, then the next issue should be. And then we’ll get the first-time-ever published ending to the series (though how that jibes with a fan-produced ending, I don’t know, and that’s not a game I’m getting into on ridiculously-limited-edition completionist stuff).


Week of March 11, 2020

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And now we’re caught up to the current (as of this typing) week’s haul. And I’ve been halfway waiting for something like this to happen…here, it finally did.

Nothing but reprints for me.

Two DC Dollar Comic reprints of key Robin issues: the death of Jason Todd, and the first issue of the first TIm Drake mini-series. (More fitting would have been to reprint the final chapter of Lonely Place of Dying, where Tim first-ever dons the Robin costume) but for $1, whatever. And of course, I have both of the original issues and I’m still happy to buy these reprints, if only to "support" the reprints program. While I likely would have passed on Robin #1 as such, I still, repeatedly-to-be-said, would somewhat prefer these be done ALL as facsimile/replica editions. More on that below!

The definite gem of the week for me is the facsimile/replica edition of Detective Comics #38, the first appearance of the original Robin (Dick Grayson). I don’t recall now if there’s been a reprint in these recent replicas of #27, but this really makes me want one to go with it. Of the two, I think this is most appealing for me as such a fan of Robin.

Finally, we have a Thor replica/facsimile edition that again…I’ll buy to support the program, even if not every single individual issue is of specific singular interest or significance to me .

And Comic Shop News shows off some DC thing with the multiverse and maybe generations. I barely care at this point, with my only real interest in "new" DC being these reprints, and even Marvel isn’t getting me with non-reprint stuff (even though I SHOULD be an easy mark for their Marvels X and other upcoming Marvels stuff…I refuse to go in on the $4.99 pricing!)


Anyway…there we go. Another month in my "new comics" buying. I’ve bought some other stuff in the time, but those have been non-Wednesday purchases, stuff I consider to be "off" from the standard/regular/weekly "hauls."

As to my earlier-mentioned "idea" on the reprints:

For DC Dollar Comics, have a plain-color blank cover of some appropriate color; either say, standard black for all, or white for all, or something appropriate to the title/cover’s look. And have a small-ish image of the actual original cover (logos, pricing, blurbs, and all!) Whether it’s a small centered image, or nearly-full-size but with a distinct "border" for the flat color base.

Then for actual replica/facsimile editions, do as they’ve been doing with having then look as close to the original as possible.

I just don’t like the way the DCDC reprints are some weird mutant hybrid of original and new appearances. Familiar art, but the new DCDC trade dress, and weird numbers/number-placement on stuff. Like it more or less tells you what it’s reprinting, and yet you still almost have to know to be sure. Reprinting a New Teen Titans #2 with the new trade dress and a #1 on the cover.


This almost works out better doing these posts like this than feeling like QUITE so random/arbitrary as actual weekly things…especially buying so few comics every week.

Maybe I should try to aim for doing one more for March for the 18th and 25th…and then adjust to The Weekly Hauls and just go by month. Hm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekend Acquisitions: Weekend of September 6-8 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Complete Life and Death

I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time. It’s been well over a YEAR since the individual comics finished and it seems like forever that the individual skinny paperbacks have been out…and even a paperback edition collecting the entire series has been out for awhile.

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But this oversized hardcover "library edition" version of The Complete Life and Death is finally out.

This collects the entire Life and Death mega-arc, that spanned four mini-series, each touching on a brand: Prometheus, Aliens, AvP, and Predator.

Even the first issue of the story had comparison to/reference of the previous such mega-arc Fire and Stone…and it’s great to finally have this volume to add to my growing library of these beautiful hardcovers!

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Here’s the book with the other hardcovers and paired with Fire and Stone.

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…and here’s my entire Aliens shelf. Assuming I discovered the Aliens vs. Predator novels in 1995 (I don’t recall for sure as of this typing nor do I feel like looking up copyright dates), that’s less than a decade after the first Predator FILM. And it’s been 23 years SINCE then…so for the majority of the time I’ve even been aware of either property, they’ve been a "shared universe," particularly in the comics.

For me, they just go together.

This shelf is the comics/graphic novels shelf…I have several shelves of novels (I believe I most recently showed those off back in April for Aliens Day 2018.)

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New Aliens Books (March 2018)

I’ve updated my Aliens novels collection with four new-to-me volumes.

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Apparently I neglected to get either of the novels last year for Alien: Covenant…the "prequel" novel Origins and the novelization of the film itself (by Alan Dean Foster!)

And two more of the The Complete Aliens Omnibus series came out, each collecting two more older/out of print novels. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the fifth volume moves into the DH Press series of novels. I wasn’t sure if they were going to do those up, as they’re a bit more recent (albeit a good 13 years old now). And horribly out-of-print.

This gives me higher interest in the Predator side, that even if I can’t track down the older single editions, I can at least have the novels in my collection for that series as well.


Unfortunately, Amazon completely sucks at packaging stuff, and though I ordered all 4 books together, they sent them to me as two separate shipments. One shipment was just one of the novels, and the cover was horribly damaged (huge crease). The other shipment had the other novel and both omnibus volumes…crammed into a container about a half-inch too small for the width of the books’ combined width, side-by-side…which resulted in all three being damaged for shipment (and the package with two points open to the elements as it tried to be wide enough).

Amazon has also gotten even worse than before about the packaging, feedback, etc–removing the ability to leave packaging feedback without Googling a page or tweeting at them and being given a link: you can’t do it from the orders interface the way you used to. They’ve also apparently decided that if they damage your order twice they’re not gonna bother with replacing, and will simply want to refund your money, even though you pay $100/yr or whatever for Prime membership and they’re the ones using zero protection in shipping and even damaging the books TO ship them.

But I suppose that gets into another post complaining about Amazon

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TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo (2017) One-Shot [Review]

tmnt_usagiyojimbo_oneshot_2017Story, Art, and Letters by: Stan Sakai
Colors by: Tom Luth
Collection Design by: Shawn Lee
Edited by: Bobby Curnow, Philip R. Simon, Megan Walker
Published by: IDW/Dark Horse
Cover Date: July 2017
Cover Price: $7.99

I’ve looked forward to this since it was announced, whenever that was–a couple or a few months ago, perhaps. "Knowing" this was going to be a more expensive issue, I just naturally "assumed" it would be a "prestige format" book–squarebound and such–like the two annuals or the big 50th issue! Instead, for the steep $7.99 price point, we get a slightly-thicker-than-usual standard-feeling issue, staples and all. So that was an immediate bit of disappointment format-wise, and a bit of a shock.

Another initial, pre-story immediate complaint I have is one that’s usual for me: there are TOO MANY DARNED COVERS! Instead of having UMPTEEN different covers, all for the same single one-shot single-issue, why not have a "gallery" included in the issue as a true, actual, real BONUS to those buying the comic, with extra pages by whatever artist(s) showing the characters involved? Instead, we have a number of variants and "exclusives" that are REALLY getting very "old" and extremely off-putting to me as a guy who just wants the entire content-story and iconic, singular covers, not generic incentive chase covers all the darned time!

The story of the issue is fairly basic: increased earthquake activity rocks the land, and we come to find out that everything could be destroyed if a piece of rock isn’t replaced from where it was broken off. Because of the rock’s brokenness, a giant catfish named Namazu is no longer properly held, and HIS movement underground will tear the land apart. Usagi meets Kakera-Sensei and knows what must be done. He gathers four turtles at the river, and Kakera-Sensei works his magic, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are summoned–into or replacing or in place of the four regular turtles. Usagi immediately recognizes them all…but they fail to recognize him. The group sets off, with Kakera-Sensei explaining the situation as they go. Despite a terrible battle with Jei and the forces he’s rounded up, they all manage to save the day. The Ninja Turtles are sent home and the regular turtles returned, and Usagi and Kakera-Sensei go their own ways.

The most noticeable thing for me about this issue–beyond the price and umpteen covers–is the art. This is Stan Sakai working on both his own long-running character (introduced roughly the same time as the TMNT themselves, back in 1984!) and the TMNT for the first time in quite a number of years. At first, the visual style was a little bit off-putting for being different–notably the turtles’ teeth–from what I’m used to of late on the main/ongoing TMNT comic. But after just a few pages, I settled right in and enjoyed the art. I loved some of the "symbolic"-ness of art, showing where someone’s killed on-panel, but it’s far from gratuitous violence and such, and more fact-of-the-matter without being graphically so or gory, etc.

Story-wise, though I had expected this was to be more a story with Sakai‘s Miyamoto Usagi being brought to the Turtles’ world, it was the other way around with the turtles brought to Usagi’s. As I realized this, the art grew on me even more, for being that much more "authentic," given Sakai‘s continued involvement on the main Usagi Yojimbo title. That this felt like what I expect such a story would feel like with just that title, the inclusion of the turtles is like a bonus. The story is rather timeless–at least as far as the turtles–and though it can be pretty safely "assumed" that these are "our" turtles, the current IDW turtles–there’s no particular reference or anchoring point to the current TMNT continuity to bind this to any particular point. There also did not seem to be anything overtly binding this to any fixed point for the Usagi Yojimbo title, either. As such, this would seem like a prime sort of special for fans of either property without needing any particular familiarity with the other…and also one that fans of either could get in on without having to worry about being "up" on any of the other comics of the last few years.

The main hurdle, perhaps, would be that pesky, premium price point. For me, personally, I ultimately will give TMNT stuff a "pass," of sorts that I won’t any other series/property, carried over from the Mirage days, and this would be little exception. That the crossing-over of TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo has been essentially a "tradition" dating back to the earliest days of the properties, of which this is (hopefully) "just" the latest iteration makes this issue that much more of a special thing, worthy in its way of the higher price point.

In the end, if you can get past the price point and the variant covers, I’d highly recommend this to fans of Usagi Yojimbo, fans of the TMNT, fans of both properties/series, and even to "lapsed" fans of either. I’d also recommend it to anyone with any interest in either property, looking for a truly one-shot experience. There’s no "continued FROM" for this, there’s no "To Be Continued," this is just truly a done-in-one, singular stand-alone issue…and a mighty fine one at that.

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Newer Books I’d Been Looking Forward To

While a lot of books and such that I get are relatively spur-of-the-moment, there are certain volumes that I’ll know exist(ed) or learn will be coming out sometime in the future that I’ll particularly look forward to. Several of these converged into just a couple days last week, though several more days were involved in terms of spacing of orders placed.

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Awhile back, Bleeding Cool and their “glitch watch” had a piece up about a number of volumes heavily discounted on Amazon, including 50% off the then-upcoming Batman: Knightfall Omnibus vol. 1. With their “pre-order price guarantee,” I figured I’d jump on it for this one, as the price (for me) then had nowhere to go but down, and at a starting point of 50% off, anything else would be icing on the cake. Of course, I seemed to have gotten in at the lowest price, and though a week after comic shops, my card was charged and the book came, so it’s now a part of my collection.

Though it’s got some slight dings/dents…with stuff going on in “real life” right now, I do NOT have the “heart” to fight Amazon over the condition of the thing! Especially as it’s the sort of stuff that I’d honestly “expect” or “accept” buying such a volume in a comic shop or certainly at a used-books shop.

Plus, I’m hoping that this will truly be a definitive edition, and sturdier than the thick paperbacks I’ve been afraid to use for re-reading for fear of killing the spines.

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Then, in the Aliens side of things, I hadn’t expected either of these volumes out until the 26th of April–“Aliens Day,” (LV-426). However, I realized that the hardcover of Aliens: The Original Comics Series Nightmare Asylum and Earth War was already out/available; so I ordered that through InStockTrades. A few days later, checking up on the exact release date and price for the anthology volum Aliens: Bug Hunt, I learned that it, too, was already available on Amazon.

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Along with the Aliens original series, I also ordered The TMNT 100 Project. At the same time that I was checking on the Bug Hunt volume, I saw that Amazon had TMNT: The IDW Collection V2 back in stock and for as steep a discount as I could expect from InStockTrades…though the latter did NOT have it in stock, so I placed the order through Amazon.

Despite some 5 days’ difference in placing these two orders, all four volumes arrived on Friday.

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The Knightfall volume doesn’t actually have room on the shelf at the immediate moment. I’m hesitant to ditch the paperbacks entirely until the 2nd Omnibus is out this summer…and my entire collection has grown enough in areas over the past year-plus that I need to do a mix of weeding and adding a couple additional bookcases to hold stuff and spread things out so it’s not all crammed together.

aliens_on_the_shelf

It’s sort of amazing to think that the two “Original Comics” Aliens hardcovers’ content is crammed into the Aliens Omnibus vol. 1…but the size difference is also amazing, and far preferable in the larger format. That said, until or unless all the other stuff would get reprinted in this format, I’ll settle for the larger “library” with some doubling-up of actual content with the different editions.

I’m also looking forward to/hoping for another volume like The Complete Fire and Stone volume for the concludes-this-week Life and Death mega-arc from the past year or so.

tmnt_idw_on_the_shelf

I believe that, at last, I’m actually up-to-date/current with IDW‘s releases on the TMNT Adventures volumes as well as the TMNT: The IDW Collection volumes. The IDW Collection volumes–as only 4 volumes–surpass where I’d left off with getting the paperbacks of the ongoing series, the Micro-Series, and the various other mini-series they’d done. And these hardcovers are far superior as they reprint stuff in more of a story-order, where one does NOT have to switch back and forth between multiple volumes to get the proper experience of developments in continuity.

This is the point I’d looked forward to getting to a year and a half or two years ago or whenever it was they started these editions–stopping me in my tracks on the paperbacks.

I suppose I’d also like to note that apparently the TMNT: The IDW Collection V2 had managed to either go outright out of PRINT or at least out of stock… whatever the case, it was enough for third-party Amazon sellers to jack the pricing up to ridiculously astronomical prices. Several weeks ago, I saw something from Diamond with the volume on a list of “Back in Print” stuff, so simply waited for it to show up at a reasonable price again.

This reprinting/re-availability of a “middle volume” is something that it seems like Marvel in particular does NOT do: if something from them goes out of print, it STAYS out of print, at least until they do a whole new trade dress/presentation of something…which then means that even if the story is available again, the volume no longer “fits” into a series on a shelf.

This is one of the primary reasons I’ve NOT continued with the Cable & Deadpool paperbacks, nor gotten into the Deadpool Classic books: I’d love to get them, but I simply DO NOT TRUST Marvel to keep/have them in print long enough for me to actually get the entire series…and I absolutely do not want to get 6 or 7 or even 9 or 11 volumes in, just to suddenly have the final few only available to me for quadruple-or-more the cover price (when cover price itself is far more expensive than I’ve any interest in for the books)…or worse, have a random volume here and there out of print where I can’t even GET more than 3-4 volumes in a “run”.

But I suppose that gets into stuff for another post sometime.

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