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Life During Quarantine: Savage Dragon, the Anniversary of Marvels, and the Walking Dead

A couple weeks ago, I got it into my head to see what Savage Dragon Archives volumes were available to order. InStockTrades actually had volumes 4-9 available…which–when added to 1-3 that I’ve had for years–would take me all the way to Savage Dragon #225 content-wise! Which for me is basically "the entire series," though I’ll probably "give in" and get #250 later this year when that comes out.

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I also remembered that the 25th anniversary edition of Marvels was supposed to have been out, so I looked for that, and decided to add it on into the order as well…and was curious about its size, "assuming" it would be "oversized" but not for certain.

I was definitely thinking about the 10th anniversary edition, and wondered if they’d be the same size.

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Lo and behold…they are! Which is most excellent! I’ll need to do a deeper dig later, but I know primarily a huge difference is the 25th anniversary edition has the "annotations" from the Annotated Marvels re-release from last year, and I believe also contains the Marvels Epilogue issue.

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I remember being flabbergasted at the cover price of the 10th anniversary edition…and it was quite awhile after it came out before I acquired my copy (at a significant discount, though I don’t remember offhand what I paid for sure). The 25th anniversary edition is priced a mere ONE CENT higher than the 10th anniversary edition. (And to think…that was the 10th, but this 25th could be the 15th of the 10th…)

I’m a sucker for this series, though, and may have to do a post specifically looking at it, sometime later.

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Those Savage Dragon perfectly fit on the shelf (well, having displaced some miscellaneous color editions of the series). I really like having the "entire series" like this…it’s very satisfying compared to so many other series that I’m missing volumes.

Part of pulling the trigger on these is still being ticked-off at missing out on a bunch of GI Joe: A Real American Hero volumes by about a week last year. Saw that IST had all the ones I was missing, and "had to" just order them so I wouldn’t "miss out" again!

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While these don’t exactly show off the "over the years" piecemeal sort of collection the various existing TPBs are…I don’t have a full run of those, even; and I’d rather have a single version.

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Where does The Walking Dead come in? Just so happens that the shelf my Savage Dragon volumes were on share with The Walking Dead.

Here are several of the hardcover novels from over the years. I’m sure I’m missing at least a couple, but I’ll either find ’em or I won’t…maybe I’ll specifically hunt them later. Maybe I’ll happen across them somewhere.

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And here’s the complete run of The Walking Dead in paperbacks. The BKV(?) special from last year; all 32 volumes of the series; the Walking Dead Survivors Guide, and the sticks-out-like-a-sore-thumb-hardcover-ONLY Here’s Negan.

I went through a "shark-movie" phase quite awhile back, and from there into zombies. When I finally gave Walking Dead a shot, the 5th paperback had just come out. I started with volume 1, and VERY quickly breezed through acquiring/reading all 5 volumes. I then waited several months, having by then missed an issue or two after volume 5, figuring I’d get volume 6, and then jump on with the single issues.

Following the singles didn’t work all that well for me, and I went in and out getting them. I remember getting singles to the early-50s at least (a little over a year of singles) and feeling like #49 was almost a whole new series. I went TPB-only for awhile, but got back to the singles for the story leading up to just past #100. Then back to the TPBs…but dabbled with digital for All-Out War…and then left the series altogether for a few years.

Last year with hype over a questionable cliffhanger with Rick, I hopped back in and quickly filled the gap from the previous few years, and followed the singles to the end of the series (later getting the TPB for the sake of "completing" the series.


And now I have a nice little shelf of two (for me) complete series…plus some novels.

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New Hardcovers! JLI, Darkseid War, and The Button

I think this may have been my single largest (or at least expensive!) purchase of collected volumes in one go!

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I’d been particularly waiting for the Justice League International Omnibus (oops, it’s "only" vol. 1!) and was eager to get it. The book is one of the thicker omnibus volumes, and a bit unwieldy at its size, but for all it contains, seems well worthwhile!

Then there’s the Justice League: The Darkseid War Saga Omnibus, collecting the Darkseid War from a couple years ago. I’d balked at the "skinny books" collecting it in multiple parts–I’ve grown really sick and tired of specific, finite stories being broken up into numerous skinny editions JUST for the sake of having "standard 6-issue collected editions." I was curious about the story and interested enough to want it…but not in multiple volumes. Finding out it was getting an omnibus solved that–it’s a nice, thick book and having the entire storyline is a huge plus!

Finally, the Batman/Flash: The Button deluxe hardcover…there’s just something to it for me, the Batman and Flash teamed up, and being the "next step" of sorts from the Rebirth special…and given how much I was already spending, tossing it on was virtually negligible (and cheaper than 2-3 Marvel single-issues!)

Now, we just need a Thy Kingdom Come omnibus of that 12-issue story and 4 specials! (And if they need to pad it out to be thicker, include the original Kingdom Come itself. And if they want to totally go for broke, include The Kingdom along with the New Year’s Evil: Gog special!)

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Interestingly enough, I’m still really not a fan of Darkseid, and DC has gotten me to triple-dip on several things since Rebirth started. I’ve got a couple of JLI skinny hardcovers from awhile back, but missed vol. 2, and was annoyed so didn’t get any of the later ones that there may have been. Now, this way, I’m getting those and more in one volume! (and we’ll see on a volume 2, hopefully not too soon!)

TMNT Artisan Edition–Finally!

I’ve been looking forward to the TMNT Artisan Edition for a number of months now! I was looking forward to it, and thought I might’ve missed it, back in March or April, and then thought it was due out around the end of April, and it kept not being on the week’s shipping list, and on and on til now.

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I’d eventually ended up pre-ordering it via Amazon, just to make certain I wouldn’t miss out on it, and was quite surprised recently when I got a notification that my order had been "upgraded" to get the book day-of-release, August 8th. Of course, given that it seems like most of the time anymore, Amazon gets "access" to stuff a week or two AFTER comic shops, and this is from IDW, I just "assumed" then that I’d be able to get this from a shop mid-late July, but it wasn’t.

Then this week, I find out it WILL BE in shops…this week. But my copy, from Amazon, has already arrived.

This is a huge book, and quite the attractive volume! It contains original layouts and notes and such on the original first TMNT comic, as well as the finished version, and some extra art and such (a couple original ads for the first issue and sketches and such). Not a huge quantity of material, but enough to pad this out and make it highly worthwhile, at least to me.

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As said, this is a huge book…it’s even larger than the TMNT Ultimate Collection volumes IDW put out a few years ago, and this book will not fit on the shelf with these–it’s too tall! So it’ll perhaps get some special display spot, be relegated to laying on its side on top of the books on the shelf, or perhaps I’ll move all the TMNT stuff to a shelf with a bit more space when I next reconfigure my ‘library’.

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Here’s one of my favorite double-page spreads, and (to me at least) one of the most iconic images of the issue! Interesting how recognizable it is even in the sketch/layout stage…

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…and yet how much more detailed the finished version is! (pardon the compressed/curve in the photo, the pages didn’t want to stay quite as open).

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Here’s the rough layout of the origin/introduction of the turtles…

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…and the finished.

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Shredder’s introduction in rough…

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And flipped for the final version in more detail.

I still really dig that this original issue was only ever intended as a one-shot thing, and that Shredder–the real, actual, not-a-clone/etc Shredder–had his first and last appearance in present-day here.

At the same time, I have come to really dig the IDW Shredder across a 50-issue run and appreciate that sort of longevity to that version of the character. But that’s a post for another time.

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Here’s the book next to the latest issue of IDW‘s run. Fitting…a version of the original issue, with what is now the highest-numbered-ever TMNT issue. 1984 – 2017 and still going!

New Comics Outnumbered by Bargains This Week

Having decided not too long ago to let FF and X-Men: Legacy go when they were the ONLY new comics due out that week that I would buy, and neither was officially on my pull list. I found myself in a similar position this week, but this time, didn’t want to pass up the new TMNT issue, and the Hardbacks sale was incrementing to 80% off this week.

I totally forgot that I was going to stick with digital for Batman, Inc. (d’oh!), but still found several new hardcovers…and a vintage box of TMNT trading cards still in their original packaging.

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All told, this week’s haul cost me less than the cover price of the Ultimate Comics Doomsday volume.

The local comic shop–Kenmore Komics–started off with these various hardbacks at 50% off cover, and the discount’s been increasing 10% each week. Next week–assuming anything other than Ultimate Human is left–I may snag a few other volumes.

But for now, I think this sudden huge influx of new hardcovers is about done, though I’ve got a short list of books I’m after that I’m probably going to have to pay a lot more for individually.

“Packaging” is important, too!

It’s certainly not a new topic by any means. But it re-occurred to me today as I was leaving Borders just how much the “packaging” of a product (specifically book or comic/collected-volume) matters.

I went in planning to purchase The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks with my 40%-off coupon of the weekend. The volume, however, seemed both too skinny for its retail price, and too small in dimensions overall–larger than, say, the Zombie Survival guide itself, but smaller than a standard (Marvel or DC) graphic novel. For $17 and flipping through and seeing it more flash than substance (more art than words) I actually decided I’ll hold off on it for now. Sure, it’s still on my want-list, but it can definitely wait.

I also noticed a couple of Marvel books in particular where the “Premiere Hardcover” was next to the TPB. With Captain America: The Man With No Face, the paperback is $15.99 while the hardback is $19.99. Now, I know as well as ANYone that $4 can be quite a bit. But these days, for the price of an average Marvel comic, I’ll pay the “upgrade fee” and get the hardcover when there’s so little difference in price! (when available/able, of course). But there’s something discouraging (for lack of better word) about seeing a nice hardcover with a paperback next to it…and realizing they’re practically the same price despite the price differences. (For that…I’d like to see the paperbacks go to a standard digest-size and be about half the price of the hardcovers.)

I happened across a Zombies anthology (different from the Living Dead anthology)…massive paperback. Granted, it’s all prose…but $20. And for page count, it DWARFS the average Marvel/IDW (and even DC) $20 paperbacks. For sheer size, it would certainly beat out a number of other books for the price.

I listened to a Comic Geek Speak podcast today where they talked about the TMNT Collected Volume One; the content’s good, obviously…but the packaging is very minimal…no text/pictures/description on the back, the spine is just text on a background, and the cover is simply a closeup of one of the Turtles’ faces…no logos, even on the cover.

Now, granted, in bookstores or even at home, the spine is probably what’s gonna be seen most…but still…it’s always nice when a book’s entirety just looks good as well as containing good quality content.

As a book person, I also prefer when things look good TOGETHER on the shelf…and for a series to look like a series…that is, a common trade dress and size. I have actually opted AGAINST buying books because they don’t fit with others or otherwise waited til I could get a different edition that WOULD fit. (I also specifically AVOID the extra-tall mass-market paperbacks…I mean, what’s the POINT of these? I suppose that’ll be a topic for another post).

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