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The Infinity Gauntlet Keepsake Collection

This is an interesting artifact I stumbled on at Kenmore Komics the other week. It’s apparently from wayyyy back in 1991 (when the original The Infinity Gauntlet was published), and I’m not sure offhand how one would have acquired it back then, but it’s "officially" numbered as 1909 of a 5000 print run. So for the ’90s…kinda "limited edition"?

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Anyway, the envelope containts 6×9" prints (black and white) of all 6 issues’ covers (AN ENTIRE EVENT SERIES and there were ONLY SIX COVERS. Total. Not per issue. But total.) There was also an "uncut sheet" of "6" trading cards featuring the covers’ images in color.

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Here’s the "trading cards" sheet.

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I realized that two 6×9" prints will fit perfectly side-by-side in 9×12" frames, so these can be 1. protected and 2. displayed, hanging simply on a wall as I display plenty of other comics, posters, etc.

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While in a way there’s nothing particularly special about these prints…they’re exactly the sort of comics-based "ephemera" that I really enjoy.

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And coming across this as I did, while perhaps a bit pricey, for the novelty of it, I was glad to buy it. I get more enjoyment out of this than several generic "modern" Marvel comics. And knowing how the original Infinity Gauntlet issues have taken off price-wise in a Marvel Cinematic Universe world, something like this was rather reasonably priced!

There was also a Gen13 thing like this, but I don’t have nearly the nostalgic attachment to Gen13 that I do to Thanos, Warlock, and the Infinity Gauntlet stuff in general.

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Alien (2021) #1 [Review]

alien(2021)_001Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Color Art: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: InHyuk Lee
Variants: [Too Many]
Design: Jay Bowden
Assistant Editor: Shannon Andrews Ballesteros
Editor: Jake Thomas
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: May 2021
Story Pages: 30
Info Pages/Credits Pages: 2 (double-page spread)
Cover Price: $4.99

There’s a lot to unpack here, mostly cosmetic and comparison.

They very first thing for me is that–as always–there are TOO MANY DARNED VARIAN COVERS. Do a pin-up gallery or something! Give us bonus art pages–the back cover, the inside covers, I don’t know. Knock it off with all the ****ed variants, though!

Secondly but still surfacey…what a freaking BORING logo. Basically just a spaced-out generic FONT. In my (surely vast) ignorance on the matter, I do not "get" the shift in branding to ALIEN (singular, with boring/generic font as "logo") away from the more dynamic, attention-grabbing ALIENS with the glowy effect and such. Same sorta problem I have with the novels from Titan. Maybe it differentiates a bit from Dark Horse-published stuff, but….I’m rather irked at all the crap regarding the licensing and such anyway, so this does nothing to endear this to my heart! While I know that the logo for the original 1978 film was basically just this "boring/generic font as ‘logo,’" the logo for the 1986 film was much more interesting, so in terms of using a logo from the series, it’s not like that one isn’t available (as far as I am aware, as just some dumb customer).

Thirdly and (also still surface stuff): yet another $4.99 #1. I pay $5/issue for a LOT of stuff lately, and generally without complaint (I’m looking at current-day X-BOOKS stuff in admitting that). But then, those are things I’ve been buying en masse and not sitting down to "analyze" and specifically, singularly discuss as a single-issue item in a relative vacuum. $5 gets you 5 things from Dollar Tree. You can go more upscale and get something at Five Below. But a mere 2 $5s is $10; 4 is $20, and that $20 might net you a "fine" condition back-issue (even a "key"!) decades-old that will be more memorable and appreciated than SEVERAL generic modern issues flocked by oodles of generic variant covers.

So, getting back to the cover: While on a technical level, this cover’s not bad….it’s very, very generic. It’s nothing but a pin-up image of a lone Xenomorph on a black background, with generic white text denoting several creators and the title. Nothing about ANY specific characters, or the world of the franchise, not even any sort of creepy background or something to be atmospheric beyond a lone creature coming out of the darkness with enough light glinting off of it that–the more I think on it–the more it seems there should be SOMEthing visible besides the creature.

We open on flashback/dream stuff of someone in some sort of capsule with "Alien Inside" painted on it from the outside (with spray-paint? With blood?) and come to find one Gabriel Cruz talking with his therapist–a Bishop-model synthetic. He’s retiring from his position as Security Chief on Weyland-Yutani’s Epsilon Station to go back to Earth and try to rebuild a relationship with his son. We then briefly meet a couple, conspiring on something…and find that the male is Cruz’s son, Danny. He’s feigning his part of patching things over to get ahold of his dad’s old W-Y badge. After they split, we get more insight into Cruz and his background and this dream sequence thing in a Xenomorph hive, seems to be about another son since lost. Back to Epsilon Station and the son, girlfriend, and others bust in, murdering indiscriminately, and find that they’ve breached a laboratory rather than a server farm. They find scientists still present, and before they can all be killed, a lockdown is initiated, destruction ensues, and facehugging commences. To Be Continued…

The flashback/dream stuff here is obviously present to have the Xenomorphs make an appearance in the issue for an issue that is part of a Serialized Graphic Novel that does not feature the titular creature(s) in its first quarter (sixth?). The comic IS titled ALIEN, after all, and I’m sure Marvel would hope loads of "new readers" would flock to their iteration of the title just for that word "MARVEL" on the cover and buy into the thing. This is Marvel, but this isn’t 2001 Hide-The-Hero Marvelright? And other than these bits, this is basically just a comic about normal humans with typical-ish (albeit 200 years in the future) human technology. No superpowers, no gaudy costumes, no hopeful musical montages.

The art itself is good quality; I like the appearance; and there’s nothing "bad art" about this thing in and of itself. Between the glimpse at the Xenomorphs/nest and present-day stuff, just flipping through this it looks like an Aliens comic. (Oops. Sorry. ALIEN. Singular. Darn that "s"…)

Story-wise…I’m neither impressed nor disgusted. This in no way reads as anything new or spectacular; there’s nothing revelatory or really…anything different whatsoever from pretty much any other Alien/Aliens comic published by Dark Horse. The story is a couple hundred years in the future from us as readers; it’s set after Alien and Aliens (preserving the film canon/timeline) but otherwise is a bit nebulous and indistinct. We have some arbitrarily-chosen human protagonist, haunted by something horrible that happened in the past either to him directly or to someone close to him that involved creatures in darkness that he may or may not know what they are–while we (the reader) know (by the title on the cover, at least) exactly what they are. Yadda yadda yadda, Weyland-Yutani is evil, misguided people accidentally wind up loosing facehuggers to begin an outbreak, etc…blah blah blah.

We do have 30 story-pages (as opposed to a standard 20) so the extra 10 pages for $1 are a better value than a standard $2 per 10 pages. We also get a double-paged spread of 2 pages "infopage"/"credits pages" with dramatic placement, going for a cinematic presentation. Cold open, slight development, bam! Credits, scene cut…comics. Nothing special or original. Despite my annoyance with Almost Every First Issue Must Be An Oversized Five Dollar Thing Heaven Forbid First Issues Just Be First Issues, the TECHNICAL "value" is there, so…yeah.

While by no means a "bad issue," this lacks anything significant–to me, at least–for being a NEW #1, fro a "NEW" publisher, etc. 30 years of Dark Horse publishing Aliens comics, and then Marvel gets the license due to the Disney buyout. And a bit of a gap from DH trailing off and nothing at all for a few months. And now "the big debut" from Marvel (my phrasing, not Marketing) and the property is not even given the Star Wars RUSH/deluge of publishing (as I’m recalling from 2015, Marvel had an omnibus AND first issue of new Star Wars ongoing published the very first week of 2015 when their license went officially active, followed either that same month or immediate months after with multiple other series.) These were directly, overtly placed in a singular, known timeline, building a new/additional canon.

Alien, however, does/did not get this. No, this is a new series launched practically FOUR MONTHS into  Marvel having had the license. That Omnibus? It’s not even due til sometime later in April. And…but for the title on the cover (ALIEN singular) and the publisher logo (MARVEL)–there is really no difference…no new or exciting feel, no particular tone (whether internal or external/meta) to indicate this is any sort of a new era, nothing about new/rebuilding canon, just nothing at all that there’s anything that Marvel brings to the table that Dark Horse did not.

Except that Dark Horse never did umpteen variants on a single issue.

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By and large, this issue could certainly just be the first issue of the next Dark Horse-published mini-series. The art is good, but nothing new for the property. The story is good, but nothing new for the property. The (main, ignoring variants) cover isn’t bad, but nothing new for the property.

If you’re already a fan of the property and were regularly buying the content from Dark Horse, this should be right in line with any of that and thus no reason not to buy Marvel‘s #1. If you’re newly interested in Alien/Aliens/etc. in comics, this is just as decent a jumping-on point as any other #1 with the title on the cover. I suppose the only real difference is that where so many "firsts" were already exhausted by Dark Horse, this provides a Marvel Modern Reset to stuff, dragging a 30-year-old comics property into a New Age for New Speculation.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 24, 2021

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This is a mixed week of stuff. Not a whole lot, so…I’ll just dive on in!

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Cable #9 and Excalibur #19…as the latest X-issues.

IDW‘s latest TMNT: Best of _______ issue, this time spotlighting Michelangelo. This reprints the original Mirage Michelangelo one-shot ("micro-series") issue from the ’80s; the IDW Michelangelo "micro-series" issue from early in their run; and then their more recent Michelangelo "macro-series" prestige-format/deluxe thing in the build up toward #100.

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Unfortunately, someone at the publisher did not correct/change/update some text properly, and so the issue actually claims on its title page to have a TMNT: Leonardo Macro-Series issue instead. And it was just a few weeks ago that IDW also printed a GI Joe comic with "$3.99" on the cover, despite it being a $5.99 book.

Semi-sorta-finally, Amazing Spider-Man #62 as "just the next issue of a series I’m buying out of habit, really"…at this point.

And then as I’ve jumped back into the X-books in a big way, I definitely wanted to snag the preview catalogue thing, all the more featuring the upcoming Hellfire Gala and such.

I spotted the Millennium Edition Superman #1 reprint on display…and the display worked! $5? Not bad at all for such a thing, especially at this point, over 20 years later! I remember when these were first coming out new and have more recently been starting to track some of them down. Kind of stupid how expensive some are for being reprints. But as part of that huge series of Millennium Edition reprints DC did…they’re their own thing there, separate from modern replica/facsimile editions, and from a very specific time!

I’ll end now with Comic Shop News…I quite enjoy Alex Ross‘ art, and this is a relatively cool-looking piece on the cover. No clue about the Cap title(s) itself/themselves lately…been years since I’ve been interested in an actual, modern/"new"/"current week" Cap comic. I think I even missed some anniversary issue this week or last, but it doesn’t actually bother me all that much.

Actually got outta the LCS for under-$30. Unfortunately, no Alien #1, so that’ll get its own post some other time, I guess.

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A New Grail: Ultimate Spider-Man #1!

A couple weeks back, more or less on a whim, I decided to check mycomicshop.com to see what Ultimate Spider-Man #1 was going for these days. I remember at some point back in the early 2000s seeing it listed in some guide (probably Wizard) for something like $160!

Considering at the time I balked at $2.99 an issue…yeah.

But there was a copy listed for significantly less than that–and I decided that as an issue I was frustrated to miss out on back in 2000, and lamented umpteen sub-standard reprints and such, and yet otherwise stayed with the series for several years…I’d go ahead and order it.

I think I may also have had a bit of a "feeling" about not making it to the March 7th show, too…so this helped make up for that, for me.

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But for better or worse…this issue ALSO pushes me into new territory again. It is now THE single most expensive single-issue comic I have ever (to date) bought…especially factoring tax and shipping on top of the listed price. And having spent this much on an issue…it continues to push my willingness TO spend more on a single issue. All the more when I rationalize it against that price in arbitrary new comics, with basically everything except Spawn being $3.99 as a base price, but SO MANY comics being $4.99-$5.99…and more!

By the time I buy a week’s worth of "this week’s new comics" and spend whatever on 7-10 comics…by the time I realize that I have several weeks’ worth of unread comics…and eventually give up and file stuff away…I’d get much more enjoyment out of a singular issue–like this–that I display on a wall and IS a single, special, "key" issue that I appreciate far more than a bunch of already-forgotten single issues.

This one is definitely what I’m considering a "forgotten grail," in that it’s an issue I’ve wanted for more than 20 years, but really until the other week, had simply left as some issue I just was settling with cheap reprints on.

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Another Example of the ’90s Doing Gimmicky Covers Better: Avengers #s 379-382

While I don’t have sources to cite/link offhand, nor do I feel like digging for any…I can still say that I frequently "hear" (read) the notion that "the ’90s" were SOOOOO horrible with VARIANT COVERS. Or the comparison made of modern "variants" and ’90s’ covers and such.

I make a huuuuuge distinction, though. For as much as the ’90s are known for all sorts of gimmicks and shiny foil holographic die-cut bullet-shot covers…even the most egregious and "aggressive" such programs did not even touch every single issue of any single series. And for as frequent as they appeared, they were NOT so incredibly prevalent as to be able to suggest that every single issue of every single title from every single publisher every single month had some gimmick!

In the ’90s, typically even IF there was some gimmick cover…it was either simply a "gimmick cover" or it was a SINGLE variant…more a different EDITION with one version being a "newsstand" edition and the gimmicked one being the "Collector’s" edition or such.

(I lay out a bunch of such covers in a post from early 2020 displaying the "era of excess" with Super-Blog Team-Up)


ANYway….

I recently came across a 4-issue block of the original Avengers title…issues 379-382. All were billed as a "double feature" with a Giant Man feature as a "flip book."

That is…you had the main/regular issue…but if you flipped it over, the back was another cover image, and you’d read from that side like the other and it’d be like reading two comics, but they’re a single unit!

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So, what really caught my eye with the issues is that the flip-cover is a 4-part image….when you put all four together you get a larger singular image. Fitting both for it being a GIANT image as well as being a "fun" gimmick if you happen(ed) to get all four issues!

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Nowadays…these would absolutely be VARIANT covers. There’d be NO "flipbook" aspect–it’d just be extra-sized with a "backup" feature, and multiple variants covers per issue, with ONE being this.

Or even more egregiously…I would NOT put it past modern Marvel to have all four of these be variants on the SAME ISSUE, incentivising the purchase of no less than four copies of the exact same issue…and they’d do this for multiple characters or costumes. Getting one to buy 16+ comics for a four-issue story.

But back in the ’90s? The price of the given issue was increased fairly proportionately to the increase in content, with the added bonus of the flip-book to let it "feel" even more like a bonus/extra issue, and all that.

Which–if one is already paying an extra price for an issue at all is far better than chasing variants and multiple variants PER extra-sized & extra-priced issue.

These particular copies of the issues?

I paid $1 for the 4-parter. 25 cents per issue…and incidentally, 12.5 cents per cover!

I would gladly welcome back the ’90s and the ’90s sort of covers over this modern deluge of variants. And heck…at least the way MY memories are…it’d even be preferable to the MODERN speculation bubble that’s been bubbling up more and more the last several years, too!

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X-Men Legends #1 [Review]

xmen_legends_001The Burning Blood Part One: Shattered Crystal, Scattered Dreams

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Adelso Corona
Colorist: Guru-EFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Lauren Amaro
Editor: Mark Basso
X-Men Senior Editor: Jordan D. White
Cover Date: April 2021
Cover Price: $4.99

Possibly my earliest conscious memories of X-Men comics are the X-Cutioner’s Song event/crossover issues polybagged with a trading card…because a friend was collecting that crossover. It didn’t mean anything to me at the time, personally…though I wasn’t too far behind getting in thanks to the then-new XTAS, and Fatal Attractions event/crossover. There’s still the nostalgia for me for those ranges of issues as such. Two of the earliest issues I can remember owning for myself are Uncanny X-Men #300, and X-Men #24. I do NOT remember "Adam X" nor much of anything about a "third Summers brother" at the time despite whatever issues I was reading…anything I DID know or think surely came from trading cards and/or Wizard Magazine. When Brubaker got to tackle the definitive answer to the question of that brother in 2005’s Deadly Genesis it also didn’t mean too terribly much to me for not being all that invested in there being or who was "the third Summers brother."

Anyway…X-Men Legends #1:

We open on Erik the Red directing his minions–the Crystal Claws–to attack Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. After much destruction and death, they find the people they’re after: Philip and Deborah Summers. The scene then shifts to find Cyclops and Havok–Scott and Alex Summers–back to back opposing a different wave of these Crystal Claw folks. Once victorious, they seek out Xavier for answers, given his relationship with a certain Shi’Ar. Before they get any, the brothers are called to Alaska where they learn of their grandparents’ kidnapping and ransom. The scene changes again to some flashbacky stuff of the childhood of a character calling himself Adam. He’s meditating in a field and when confronted, gets to show off his abilities with throwing weapons by killing a snake. Cable shows up and talks before giving Adam’s location to the Summers Brothers. While Adam deals with more memories, he finds himself set upon by Hepzibah and Raza of the Starjammers. Their fight is interrupted by Cyclops and Havok, and Adam fights them as well. When the three find themselves at a questionable stalemate, a ship decloaks to reveal Corsair–father of Cyclops and Havok. While he notes the confusion on their faces, Corsair reveals that he knows more than they do, and fires his weapon at them. To Be Continued…

There’s something refreshing and yet challenging about this issue. It’s refreshing to have an issue that has so much packed into it…rather than the decompressed, semi-cinematic, un-captioned, un-narrated, dialogue-less nature of too many modern comics. It’s refreshing to have a first issue start out right into action, rather than being all setup for the next five issues or so, as a mere 1/6th of a singular story. It’s refreshing to have editor’s notes and footnotes. And it’s darned refreshing to this fan of ’90s comics and ’90s X-Men to see Cyclops, Havok, and Xavier in their early-’90s look, not to mention an adult/older Cable, and various other touches that feel very reminiscent of the ’90s. It’s a bit challenging, however, coming 26-27 years after the comics it’s meant to fit around, and though familiar with the general time-frame, I’m not steeped enough in conscious memory of 1994 continuity, "Adam X," and the finer details of that. I don’t feel like I knew Erik the Red prior to Uncanny X-Men #350 in 1998 or so, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the Shi’Ar and such. I’ve also been conditioned especially over the past 20+ years to the decompressed format of modern comics, so found it a bit jarring to have so much going on in this single issue, jumping all over the place. For a new-in-2021-comic, it feels very out of place and a bit choppy/clunky.

The art team manages to capture a ’90s feel in addition to simply depicting the consistency of a ’90s-era "house style" of the characters’ costumes and such. It’s by no means a perfect fit, as it is still a comic actually published in 2021 with seemingly contemporary art, carrying with it a modern aesthetic I can’t quite put to words. The visuals are clearly intended to evoke the colorful, dynamic, over-the-top-ish frenetic action that I, at least, tend to associate by reputation with ’90s comics. This isn’t Jim Lee art by any means, but I liked it and found it rather enjoyable, particularly in the moment as I read this issue. At the minimum, the visual style helps the issue to show us this is a ’90s-era-style story, rather than just telling us the fact.

Nicieza‘s name was a huge selling point for me–he was one of the main X-writers when I first got into the X-Men in 1993 or so. Getting a new story from him that’s meant to fit right into existing continuity and that is not further-ballooning out modern elements was extremely appealing to me. I mentioned earlier that this issue felt very out of place and choppy/clunky. That’s in the context of being a comic published in 2021, based on modern 2021 comics tropes, generalities, and conditioning over much of the past several decades to the fairly strict, rigid decompression of every 6 issues being a single story, rather than having multiple core stories and numerous plot threads woven across 6 issues. The Summers brothers’ interactions; the quick shift to Xavier for information, the convenience of plot elements falling into place within pages…it worked for me.

If this was a modern issue, I’d expect a multi-page sequence of a mysterious ship approaching a planet that turns out to be Earth followed by multiple pages of attack and double-page spread(s) of the devastation left behind and a cliffhanger of two people with the surname SUMMERS being found. Instead, that’s just several pages’ prologue. In that regard, this issue could pretty easily–by modern standards–be broken out into 3-4 issues. At 30 pages of story in a $4.99 comic…it (grudgingly) actually seems worth its price compared to most same-length/same-priced comics.

This felt like a much longer read than I expected, and I enjoyed the details and captions and such…it’s not that the reader is spoon-fed, but the reader gets to read a story–they don’t have to participate, they don’t have to nitpick and think-deeply and pick stuff apart from subtle visual clues that lack any sort of dialogue or caption reference for key parts of the story…and the only "homework" the reader would need to do–if so chosen–is follow the editor’s notes to check back to X-Men #39 (immediately prior to Legion Quest and the Age of Apocalypse) and a Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell, I presume) issue. There are no "infopages" nor "infographics" interrupting the flow of the story, and really what you see is what you get.

This is by no means a perfect issue, and it is $4.99. But it’s an issue that I was looking forward to for awhile, based primarily on the concept and the cover; and that $4.99 gets you 30 pages of story rather than merely 20ish for $3.99; an extra 50% of story for only an extra 25% of price. The cover sports the "classic" bold, blocky 3-D-ish X-MEN logo certainly associated with the ’90s comics (and then some!) with "Legends" and "#1" worked into it…much the way the ’90s Superman comics fit "Action Comics" and "The Man of Steel" in against "Superman." The cover image of the main/standard/non-variant cover (pictured above) strongly evokes the ’90s to me and lent itself strongly to my sense of nostalgia and thus interest in checking this out…as a series, and certainly as a first issue.

Given that this is a story by a prior writer, meant to fit into a point of continuity nearly half the property’s existence in the past, this certainly won’t be for "everyone," nor will it appeal to everyone. It absolutely appeals to someone like me that grew up with the ’90s X-Men and looks fondly upon that period of the property. While likely a curiosity to readers brought in by Hickman‘s House of X Powers of X, Dawn of X/Reign of X/X of Swords and such…this is absolutely non-essential to what I understand of the current books, and more a chance for older, lapsed readers to get something new. Or for newer readers to get a taste of something out of the past that is actually new.

I’m certainly not keen on a comic’s being $4.99, but I definitely feel I got my money’s worth out of this issue and am really looking forward to #2 and beyond. Honestly, a telling point should be that I so thoroughly enjoyed this issue that it prompted this review at all, marking my first review of a "current issue" in maybe a year or more!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 10, 2021

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Another week, another haul…made particularly large this week by including some recent back issues, and a couple of back issues. The Dawn of X single-issue collection is coming along a bit…

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So we have a new issue of TMNT–#114–and I’d have to check, but I think this one lines up more with the description of the previous issue. And hey…Tokka and Rahzar!

Radiant Black #1 hit this week–I feel like I thought it was going to be a couple weeks later, but not complaining! I enjoyed it well enough on a quick read, and do think I’ll give it a few issues. Something about it also reminded me of Hickman and the current X stuff…just without the info pages.

Robin Eternal #2 (of 2!) should be my last DC Future State book. Then I think outside of $1 reprints and/or facsimile editions, Batman/Catwoman will be about the extent of my DC for awhile.

Two GI Joe: A Real American Hero issues this week. #278 of the ongoing, and a reprint of GI Joe Yearbook #1 from the classic Marvel run.

I’m less-keen on Amazing Spider-Man post-Last Remains but apparently going a bit further. Since I had #58 and #59 was out this week, I figure that’ll at least give me fuller context for #60, which had caught my attention for its cover that I saw somewhere online.

Annnnnd jumping onto the X bandwagon, X-Force #17 and Excalibur #18. I’m in the midst of reading X of Swords as of this typing, so at least going to wait til I finish that and catch up reading from there…as well as having a lot of pre-XoS to catch up reading!

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Morrrrrrrre Batman with Comic Shop News. I am so thoroughly sick and tired of sooooooooo much Batman. I’m wavering on Batman/Catwoman but the upcoming 3rd issue’s cover is a huge part of what sold me on the series outside of it being the continuation of King‘s run. But outside of that–because it’s (to me) THE continuation of what I’d been buying for the last few years–it just feels to me like the character is so vastly over-used. But DC being AT&DC at this point, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to be doing much other than Batman, since apparently Batman’s what sells.

And with B/C…even to me.

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Snagged a bunch of additional X books from the recent-back-issues…and even a couple of bagged-and-boarded-filed-away actual back-issues that–once combined with what should be coming soon in the mail–will leave me with mayyyybe one issue to chase down of Marauders. (Which for starting at the beginning with reading the Dawn of X stuff was definitely my favorite of the #1s!)


And there we go…another week of getting this "Weekly Haul" post up as an individual week, and another week of (week)daily posts. That makes 3 5-day weeks and a 4-day week before that. About how I got rolling about this time in 2016 and rolled through to late summer 2017.

Personal life is not allowing for that again…so we’ll see what shakes out in the near-future schedule/regularity-wise!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of December 30, 2020

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First post of the new year…but the last weekly haul of the old year!

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With an otherwise small-ish week, I opted to go for Wolverine #8 of the current iteration of the series (6th series? 7th?) for the legacy #350 aspect, figuring hey..maybe it’d be standalone-ish and worthwhile. It wasn’t as "historic" or reminiscent as I’d’ve hoped, though its prologue short was sorta in that vein. As a one-shot (for me) I’m NOT totally disappointed with the purchase, though at $4.99 it won’t be a regular thing…nor will hunting previous issues due to numerous printings AND variants.

Batman Annual #5 mayyyy be my last issue of the run. With #105’s conclusion of the current story recently and discovering that post-Future State the price is getting jacked up to $4.99/issue (not sure if it’s staying biweekly or going monthly) with backup stories continuing in another series that I’m not buying, I might have to let the title go as I will NOT pay $4.99 an issue for that crap.

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #2 is the second issue of the second "color classics" "run" of the series from IDW. I’d much rather simply a 1:1 colorized reprint run to go alongside the new series, but…whatever.

I wound up with this Last 52 issue…I think I’d meant to get Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Metal, but…again, whatever. Maybe I’ll read it, maybe I won’t. Winding down on DC anyway.

And I decided to give in on the hype with Amazing Spider-Man #55, having bought #54 already, and wanting to be able to "judge" stuff for myself.

Then for $15ish, I couldn’t pass up The Complete Clone Saga Epic vol. 3, especially after just last week getting vol. 2. Unfortunately, seems vol. 4 is gonna be a major PITA to get ahold of for anything even resembling cover price, let alone a "discount" price.

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Taking advantage of a sale, snagged a bunch of Marvel Comics Presents issues that were already really (comparatively) cheap anyway.

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Ditto for X-Men Adventures and X-Men Adventures Season II. Also snagged several X-Men: Legacy issues.

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Then at the other shop, further sale stuff, including splurging on a couple of "the" Carnage ASM issues (#361 is apparently going on the GRAILS list). Then for the sale and heckuvit, grabbed the Marvel Milestones edition of Giant-Size X-Men #1. And a highly-pleasantly-affordable Giant-Size X-Men #2!

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Then a bunch of X-Men Forever and X-Men Forever 2 issues for less than the price of two "regular" modern Marvel issues.

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And a couple more Wolverine (4th series? 5th series?) issues and more X-Men: Legacy issues.


As some added stuff just because of grabbing a screenshot tonight before deciding to get this post written up…

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Looking up that Amazing Spider-Man #361 issue…I was rather "shocked" at the prices from Lonestar/mycomicshop.com! Alllll these (and MANY MORE not in the image!) consignment copies of CGC and CBCS graded issues at such high prices!

I’ll be happy for a very low-grade copy just to have the issue at all and "raw" at that!

But with there being THIS MANY copies available in these higher GRADED conditions…and SO MANY on "consignment"…I gotta wonder if the market is a bit "off" or OVERLY OPTIMISTIC?

Then again, I’m certainly NOT the target demographic/market for stuff like this. But it’s like so many people have the issue–and graded–but are trying to SELL it. And with this many available, it’s NOT like the issue’s being snapped up just for BEING LISTED.

It’ at least looks to me like there are way more copies like this at these prices than people actually buying.

But what do I know?


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Vexed by Variants AGAIN! The Weekly Haul: Week of December 26, 2019

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I am so sick and tired of VARIANTS! And of course, this time it’s gonna be all the MORE memorable because it’s with an event, it’s the final week of the year, etc…it’s not "just" a random week during the year.

It’s ALSO reminding me to STOP GIVING MARVEL A CHANCE.

So, let’s get into it…the final week of the year for new comics…albeit, I have no NEW-new comics, due to the week between Christmas and New Year being a small week of remnants and all that.

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So having ventured to the comic shop and soundly deciding AGAINST Marvel‘s Incoming ($9.99 and they couldn’t even squarebind the thing to go on a shelf?!?) I noticed the 2099 Omega issue from last week that no one seemed to have had.

And there next to it was the latest issue of The Amazing Spider-Man…picking that up to look at, I saw a checklist for the whole event, listing it as the last ASM issue involved.

Ok, I’ve got nothing else for the week…FINE. Let’s see what other issues are available. 33…34…is that 35? Pull out a couple copies…sure enough, yeah. 35…cool. All 4 issues. Plus the Omega issue, as I had bought the Alpha issue a few weeks ago.

Well…let’s see if they have the Doom issue? Yup. Spider-Man? Yup. Ok…what about Punisher? There it was. Ghost Rider? There as well. Hmm…Fantastic Four? Check. Ok…Conan? Sure enough…there. What was missing? Venom. Oh, look…there it was.

I was gonna wait for a collected volume, but with not having any luck finding any reference to an event collected volume online after all, and not having other stuff for the week…AND EVERY ISSUE OF THE EVENT AVAILABLE (to buy all at once, in-person, one place, one purchase, INSTANT GRATIFICATION)…and the shop was about to close for the night.

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I get home, pretty pleased with my buy, despite it being a clear exception to my intent as recently as earlier in the day.

Amazing Spider-Man #34 is a VARIANT!

I grabbed issues in a hurry. Looking at the TITLE, looking at the ISSUE NUMBER. Marvel HAD–to my knowledge–been putting the word "VARIANT" in the box with the Marvel logo and issue number. So having looked at that box on all the issues, I figured I was good. No variants. Just the standard, regular, basic, non-variant covers.

Because of the [bleep]ing THEME, apparently the thing was put ELSEWHERE on the darned cover, where even though I was looking for it with the issue number and Marvel logo, I failed to see it was ELSEWHERE.

Because I was in a rush, and not studying the covers in their entirety and all that. Just taking logos and numbers at face value.

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And thus even the random, against-my-better-judgement satisfaction of snagging an ENTIRE EVENT all at once, is tarnished by stupid frustration.

And that is NOT what comics should be.

To the notion of "it’s just a cover," I argue that IF it’s JUST a cover, then STOP WITH THE [bleep]ing VARIANTS! Let the cover BE THE cover!

I should NOT HAVE TO STUDY every part of EVERY cover of EVERY ISSUE that I buy, hunt for indicia in the issue, spoil the contents of the issue itself for other indication, pull up web pages on my phone, have memorized covers before going to the store just to AVOID VARIANTS.

When I am specifically, ACTIVELY, consciously TRYING TO AVOID variants and I STILL CANNOT avoid them all…there are too [bleep]ing many of the things!

It’s NOT the comic shop’s fault…it’s the publisher.

And my feeling my own stupidity at this.

I dropped all Valiant comics in the summer of 2015 over one 4-issue stunt. And I did the same with Boom Studios in January 2016 over ONE ISSUE’s variants.

Marvel is in rarified air, and by rights, I really SHOULD just drop them entirely, on the principle.

This’ll certainly teach ME to not do any impulse-buys or quantity-buys from Marvel for sure. And reminds me to just stick with BACK ISSUES from the BARGAIN BINS. Stuff I actually KNOW and/or that is inconsequential at a price point up to 90% cheaper than a single new issue.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of October 2 and October 9, 2019

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Well, let’s try to NOT get a full month or more behind as several times earlier this year already! Alllllllmost two weeks behind, but c’est la vie. That’s one of the things, I guess, about having one’s own blog and not making any money from it or such–far more freedom of schedule and such!

Several quick, random shout-outs to start things off!

Sadly, far too many great bloggers out there to shout out without being an entire post. But all of the Super-Blog Team Up folks are fantastic and always worth following and reading!


Week of October 2, 2019

The first week of October brought what really is a small-er-ish week, though it felt a lot bigger!

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New Batman, new Young Justice, and the last House of X (really "just" chapter 11 of the 12-part HoX/PoX foundation-laying world-building whatever for the relaunching X-Men family of titles).

The 2nd issue of the 2-issue Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium; the final issue of Batman/TMNT III round out the truly "new" stuff.

We then have the facsimile/replica edition of Batman #251, the Dollar Comics (DC‘s version of Marvel‘s True Believers reprint line) edition of the 1970s’ The Joker #1 (apt timing, obviously intentional, for the new film Joker).

And speaking of Marvel‘s True Believers stuff, two of those, reprinting the first appearances of Bishop as ell as Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost. The Bishop issue in particular is more of a 25-cent book to me…but I’m willing to pay the $1 for the True Believers in general, and definitely want to support the reprints, as I get more out of them than most new stuff the publisher puts out the last few years.

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…And the week’s Comic Shop News stands alone by virtue of the way I do photos for these posts. Since I’ve taken to including it each week, didn’t want to be overly lazy and leave it out.   


Week of October 9, 2019

And then for the most recent week…we lead with multiple $4.99 comics! Which is rather disgusting in its own way. Also a reminder of how absolutely shameful Marvel has gotten with its numbering!

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While a local comic shop (as of this past weekend) has a copy of the original Amazing Fantasy #15 (for only $8,000!)…I am quite happy enough with this $3.99 facsimile edition of the issue. Then we have the final issue of Powers of X, which is also the overall finale to Hickman‘s HoX/PoX saga. And then Spawn #301. #300 a few weeks ago was a big deal for the huge number, matching Cerebus as a creator-owned title reaching such a number, and so on…but now with #301, Spawn exceeds that record (it’s even earned McFarlane a Guiness World Record…a record which I was glad to see the creator acknowledge would never have been reached without all the other people who have also worked on/with the title over the 27 years!). That the series launched after the artists left Marvel which at the time had a 30+ year history of their then-titles, but is now 250 issues beyond any numbers Marvel is publishing 27 years later?

IDW gets the next couple of slots for the reprint series of the Image TMNT series as well as what may (now) be the 2nd-highest-numbered comic series of its obvious category in GI Joe: A Real American Hero. The fact that they’ve successfully published some 112+ issues picking up from #155 some 15+ years earlier totally blows the notion that only low numbers sell! We have another $1 True Believers issue from Marvel, this one reprinting the first appearance of Pyro, I guess? More importantly, it reprints the key Uncanny X-Men for only $1. Even with this edition, I would happily pay $3.99 or so for a replica/facsimile edition of the issue!

Then we have new issues of Superman, Supergirl, and Detective Comics, all of which I feel like I’m woefully behind on reading. And if rumours are to be believed for stuff DC may have coming up, it makes me feel all the more like these have a short lifespan ahead in my buying.

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Finally, we have the latest issue of Event Leviathan, which I’ve been getting–continuing to get–on the notion (now vain!) that I’d catch up on Action Comics and Superman and this title itself and not want to have to THEN chase down issues or such. At this point, 5 of 6 issues in and not having read any, I’d have been far better off just waiting FOR a collected volume! Ugh.

And this week’s Comic Shop News features Vampirella; with the very sorta cover that makes me feel dirty at seeking the title out at all, ever. That the title’s publisher insists on umpteen covers per issue makes it extremely inconsistent to even find issues and though I’d bought the first issue, I’ve missed subsequent issues for either not recognizing a cover, or seeing multiple covers and just not feeling arsed enough to decipher which would be the "A" cover vs. C or E or whatever umpteenth cover.

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