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Comics "Grails" Update: Early October 2020

2020 has certainly been a heckuva year. While I believe it was spring 2019 that I acquired Uncanny X-Men #266 in "my price range," I feel like it’s really been this year that I found myself much more proactively seeking out "grails."

That is, specific comics that I’ve wanted for a long time, and/or that I canNOT "simply" go to mycomicshop.com or such and place an order when the localest shops don’t have the issue(s).

Whether it’s that online shops and sellers I know of don’t have the issue(s) period or that they’re not in my price range, at the start of the year, I made a list of grails I planned to seek through the year at the various shows and conventions…having no idea (obviously) of what 2020 would be.


It’s been years, I think, since I’d made it to one of the Harper shows in the area. But things fell into place and I was able to attend the Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival on October 4th at the Westlake Hilton.

It was about what I remembered; I went in knowing it would basically be a "dealer room," and got what I expected. However, it seemed a bit more open, and much less crowded than shows past…which was obviously a good thing.

Ohio, so masks required; AND for the first time in everything this year, a place where my temperature was taken before admission. Apparently I was slightly cool–so be it! No fever here.


Once in, I loosely scanned the place. I had zero intent of squeeeeezing in between people or crowding/being crowded. I spotted a booth/table with some open space and checked stuff out.

I noticed a box with a tab for TMNT, and browsed. Not much selection…more TMNT Adventures than I’d have expected, and I nearly let it go at that, but did a second flip-through…and spotted a cornerbox referencing Fall 1994. Thinking there’s no freaking way… I pulled the issue up…to see that image. THE TMNT Special #10 cover I’ve been looking for! My top/#1 grail book. The issue that–to the best of my knowledge–completes my collection of every TMNT issue published by Archie.

And it was only $10!

Browsing a bit further, I found a Spawn issue–#135–for a decent price, and snagged that.

After browsing a few more booths–mainly checking for Uncanny X-Men #141 for a decent-to-me price or Avengers Annual #10 for same–I found a good-looking copy of Avengers Annual #10…and was shocked to see it priced at $10! I’ve had $30 in mind for awhile…so $10 was absolutely worthwhile to me!

AND…that was TWO GRAILS in short order at one single show!

I even got to thinking how "freeing" it felt to be "able to" consider some of the higher-priced books. Even though I’d still topped out at $10 for any given issue at the show…I was actually looking at "wall books" and considering issues!

Yet further into the show, browsing for the facsimile edition of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (the wedding issue), I’d come across a few copies of the original edition. $30 for the newsstand "Spider-Man and MJ" cover. $25 each at another booth for my choice of the "Spider-Man" or "Peter Parker" cover. I wanted the "Peter Parker" cover. $22 for the "Spider-Man" cover at another booth. And then…jackpot, Tiger! A copy of the "Peter Parker" cover…for $8!

Considering I went into the show prepared to (grudgingly) pay $10 for the facsimile edition…$2 less for an original was ABSOLUTELY fine-by-me!

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At that point, I was ready to call it a day overall. I wasn’t seeing Uncanny X-Men #141 at all to even price-compare; and me being me I prefer to browse without questioning if dealers have an issue–I go with face value WYSIWYG. At shows like this, I’m going for impulse-buys…not extended deals, possible phone calls and such. Either it’s there and in my price range or it’s not; end of story.

I found a booth with a mix of issues that somehow caught my attention. Spotted a copy of the Superman issue with a familiar cover from my youth…Must There Be a Superman? For $5. And as I’m getting to be a broken record about…considering a meaningless 1 of a dozen covers latest issue of WHATEVER is often $5 nowadays, $5 for a decades-old back issue doesn’t phase me anymore. (Not to mention depending on the issue and condition, being willing to go higher than I ever dreamed as a kid…and as I think I’ll get to below). Also snagged a copy of Superman Adventures #1. I am not sure if I already have the issue or not, but it seemed well worthwhile to me, and again…good for the price!

As I was paying, I noticed a wall book–Uncanny X-Men #158…for $10. With #s 141, 143, and 158 being the three issues I was missing between #141-421…I’d been mildly curious as to why no one seemed to have #158. This copy was marked with a note of being the first appearance of Rogue (as Avengers Annual #10 has always been that to my understanding, I take it 158 is the first Uncanny X-Men appearance of the character!). But if it’s at all a first appearance or second appearance or whatever…that explained its scarcity for casual browsing and the like.

Though I’d had the $5 in mind on the Superman issues, they were actually discounted a bit. As I was pulling out my wallet for the extra couple dollars to add the X-Men issue to my purchase, the guy paused on grabbing my change…and said we’ll call it even! So, actually got the issue for a little less than the $10…which made an EXCELLENT capping-off point for the show for me!

Including admission, I spent less than $65. While I hadn’t had Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 on my "grails list," it was absolutely a "grail" going in, or rather, the facsimile edition was.

The TMNT issue, the Avengers issue, and the Spider-Man issue were all issues I’d resigned myself to being in the $30 range each…but $28 scored all three of them for me.

Having several other issues I’m very satisfied with to own were welcome bonuses; as well as checking off another X-Men issue before it gets to the point of being elevated to an individual-issue "grail" status

All that said…it’s time to update the grails lists.


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Green==change/addition
Grey Strikethrough==acquired

Individual-issue ‘Grails’

  • TMNT Adventures Special #10 (Fall 1994)
  • Prime #1 (hologram cover, silver OR gold)
  • Uncanny X-Men #141 (~$30-40)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #1 (~$100; 3rd print)
  • Avengers Annual #10
  • DC Comics Presents #26 (~$20-30)
  • Dreamwave TMNT #7 ($5-10)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #44 ($5-10)
  • Uncanny X-Men #143 (~10)
  • TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #1
  • Wolverine (1988) #145 (foil edition)


High-interest Multis:

  • Spawn #s 132-134, 136-256
  • Uncanny X-Men #s 422, 455, 460, 464, 465, 467, 481, 482, 489, 492, 493, 494, 501, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 511, 513, 514+
  • 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 3-5
  • 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+

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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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Welcome to 2020

Welcome to a new decade. Yes, I consider 2020 the start of a new decade–it’s the start of the ’20s. One doesn’t refer to the ’80s and 1990, or the ’90s and 2000, etc. When I turn 40, that indicates I’ve completed 40 trips around the sun, but it will still be the start of "my ’40s."

ANYway…

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I’ve written several drafts of stuff as a year-start post and I’m not all that keen on any of those the way I’d envisioned as I started writing. So here I am, day-of, doing a bit of a stream-of-conscious(ness?) piece.

2019review_1_actual_review2019review_ultraverse_revisitedIn 2019, I only wrote ONE true REVIEW (covering a current brand-new issue). I only wrote 2 new posts of older issues (‘__s Revisited). I posted several stockpiled/not-yet-formatted Ultrverse Revisited posts written in 2018. I posted several entries on adding NECA TMNT (and 1 Aliens) items to my collection. A Super-Blog Team-Up post on the Shredder Redeemed. Some excitement for Spawn #300 and launching my #SpawnQuest. Getting a nearly 100-issue run of Uncanny X-Men allowing me to decide to begin my personal collection with Days of Future Past-forward. And I’m pretty sure I managed to document the entire year’s worth (52 weeks) of NEW-new comics (albeit with a number of posts covering multiple weeks’ worth each).

2019review_shredderOf course, after periods of having (week)-daily posts for extended times including over a year into mid-2017…that makes 2019 seem like one of my least-worthwhile blogging years, looked at as a whole.


2020 Blogging

  • I want to get back into my Ultraverse Revisited project. I believe I have Ultraverse Premiere #0 and Firearm #0 to cover between the November 1993 issues and December 1993’s Break-Thru linewide event.
     
  • I want to get back to covering some further issues of TMNT Adventures, and having decided several years back that I could see "seasons" in the title, I believe I’d be covering "season 3" with 26-38 + Mutanimals 1-6.
     
  • I want to get back to some regular-ish ‘__s Revisited posts.
     
  • I also have a couple other tentative projects shaping up to participate in with others that I intend to have posts for here as well.

2020 Comics

  • I’m beginning the year with the intent of working on hunting down Spawn #s 101-256; 156 issues. I’m pretty sure I have 8 or 9 from #185-193 or so, which means I’m only hunting about HALF of the series in its entirety.
  • I’m also beginning 2020 with the intent of seeking out the "classic" 1990s Marvel 2099 stuff; with several specials and then later issues of the 4 "OG" titles (Spider-Man, Ravage, Doom, Punisher) and a handful of X-Men, and the back half of Ghost Rider, and then whatever other misc. issues I’m forgetting.
  • Beyond stuff I’m interested in acquiring that I don’t already (know I) own…I’m also hoping to get some significant sorting/purging done on my accumulation and get it to being more of an actual collection again than a random "warehouse" of "stuff."

2020 ‘Grails’

  • Uncanny X-Men #141 (part 1 of Days of Future Past)
  • TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #1
  • Prime #1 (hologram cover, silver OR gold)
  • Wolverine (1988) #145 (foil edition)

So we’ll see what actually comes to pass over the next 365 days or so. I believe it’s also a "leap year," with 29 days in February, so…bonus?

Time will tell!

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A 100-Issue Goal Extension and a Grail

Last month with a rare day off of work, I was able to dig into some quarter bins at a shop outta my usually weekly reach. And had a few good finds that led into a HUGE (for me) find. And then just over a week later, got a Grail comic that I’ve been after for years.

Let’s dive on in…

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I’m a sucker for older TMNT stuff. I need to get my list(s) re-updated to be sure of what I do and don’t still need. I’m pretty sure this Turtle Soup issue is a duplicate, but for 25 cents, not one to pass up. I also hadn’t realized how damaged the TMNT Adventures issue was…but it’s a newsstand edition of one of the first issues I ever got, off a spinner rack in Waldenbooks. A couple of Atari Force issues caught my eye…as did Invasion! #s 1-3 and the Wonder Woman tie-in.

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Then G.I.Joe/Transformers 1-4 (the complete mini-series) for only $1 was a no-brainer. Ditto the Contest of Champions mini and Thor #400.

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Though not quite in order, I realized there was a run of early Marvel Comics Presents, and rather than "cherry-pick" the #1, I snagged the "run." 8 issues…

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…and then the next 8. For less than the price of an issue of the new iteration of the title in 2019, I snagged the first 16 issues of the original.

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One of my earliest #1 issues back in the ’90s–one that was a point of "pride" to me–was Classic X-Men #1. Back when a #1 was actually a fairly big deal and really meant something. It was how I first read the introduction of Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and so on. Finding several of the earliest issues, I figured I’d grab ’em–I’m pretty sure I’d gotten another small run of the title recently, whether this duplicates or enhances that, I’m not sure offhand. And then the two-issue X-Men/Alpha Flight mini is a great find for only 50 cents!

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Continuing on, I thought it was cool to find the 4-issue X-Men and the Micronauts series. And the X-Men/New Teen Titans special! Then a small run of several of the old Annuals. #s 5-7…

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…and on up to #12.

But then I happened on one of the more significant finds (for me)…

A huge run of Uncanny X-Men itself. Beginning with #144 (only a couple issues off from the infamous Days of Future Past from #s 141-142!) and short only 6 issues from giving me 144-238! And I already knew I had #239-onward into the 400s, maybe early 500s, minus #266 (the first appearance of Gambit). So with this 90-ish issue run, I’m only a handful of issues off from being able to push all the way back to Days of Future Past–something I never really considered (Since pulling together all of my X-stuff back in 2012ish, I’ve been aiming for a complete run of Uncanny X-Men from Inferno-onward to the end of "volume one"!)

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And then, after a lotta years’ patience and being determined to find the issue at a certain price point and being completely unwilling to pay "top dollar" for it, since I just want the issue as part of this run…when I walked into the shop only a week after the huge haul, I was informed that a copy of #266 in my price range had (finally!) shown up.

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Then another week later, at an evening "pre" Free Comic Book Day event, I was able to get three of those missing 6 (albeit at a "premium" but still half-off their marked price)!

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$3.50/issue for "key" issues that I specifically wanted, that "mean" more to me for filling in this particular run was a very good price! AND also significantly (to me) cheaper per issue than "just any" brand-new issue I’d get off a new comics rack! #s 171, 198, and 200.

So now, short those other three issues–#s 158, 201, and 221–I’m pretty sure I now have #144-500ish. Which means it’s high time I pull stuff again and get my X-books sorted out again so I can be sure of what I’m still missing from that Uncanny run and decide what my next "grail" book(s) will be to hunt down that may actually be attainable. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1–at $3000+ is significantly out of my reach, though it’d be an amazing acquisition. With the earliest issues of the Mirage series, I’m content with later printings to plug the gaps.

Perhaps the original Image edition of the actual Image run of TMNT–though those are largely a moot thing with IDW publishing the series again; and using the "original" covers, even.

I do think I’ve largely decided that I’ll likely push back to Days of Future Past itself–certainly the 2nd half–as I believe THAT was even where the title "officially" went from the words "The Uncanny" being a tagline to being part of the title itself (a distinction that allowed for the 1991 and umpteen other "adjective-less" #1s of X-Men.)

Time shall definitely tell!

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