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26 Years of Marvels

Marvels came out in 1994.

While I don’t recall the exact date of getting #1…I do remember being in Comics & Collectibles with Dad, and chatting with Chris (the owner), and he showed us this absolutely stunning/beautiful issue with a painted image of the (original) Human Torch and some sort of clear cover piece with the title.

It was an expensive issue–$5.95 cover price! (at a time when most regular comics were $1.50-$1.95).

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I managed to get all four issues, and though a lot of the nuance of the series was lost on me at the time, I still loved the art, and remember Alex Ross was the FIRST artist–by name–whose work I could recognize/name at a glance.

Not terribly long after the original issues, there was a new #0 issue published. Sadly, this one did not have the fancy cover/deluxe format. However, it fits very well in with the second print editions of the main series.

And then last year we got the Annotated Marvels or Marvels Annotated, with #0’s content covered in the first issue. And following the four issues, a new Marvels Epilogue was released.

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I’m almost certain that I had a paperback edition of Marvels, for awhile. As of this typing, I was unable to locate it, so half wonder if I gave it away at some point.

Otherwise…I have the 10th Anniversary Edition deluxe oversized hardcover; the recently-acquired 25th Anniversary Edition deluxe oversized hardover; the Platinum Edition oversized slipcase edition; and the Monster-Sized hardcover.

For scale, the smallest books in the pic above–the deluxe oversized hardcovers–are larger wide/tall than a standard comic book!

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It’s sort of odd to consider that my original editions are now vintage comic books! They are definitely unique artifacts in my collection…in part as I’ve had them so long AND I’m relatively certain I have never even seen these editions in a quarter-bin or fifty-cent bin…probably not even a dollar bin. The first two issues’ covers are particularly "iconic" to me; and there’s a scene that must be in #3 of the Silver Surfer and a field of asteroids that always stuck with me.

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I’d also gotten the #0 issue while it was still new, along with the "2nd print" of #1. I only in 2020 got the "2nd print" of #s 2-4. These were regular-format issues with standard covers and interiors without the cardstock/acetate deluxe treatment…and were half the price of the deluxe originals.

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In 2019, the series was reprinted again for its 25th anniversary, this time with a bunch of extra material/annotations regarding the originals. Of course, while the originals are singular, iconic covers…OF COURSE Marvel had to do multiple variant covers on each issue. I, of course, went for the standard covers–showing the original-style logo (up the left side of the cover this time instead of across the top) and new images. There were other new images for the variants…as well as near-"virgin" editions of the original covers with virtually no trade dress. (And to me the trade dress–the solid color and border with the image otherwise showing through the title–is an iconic part of the series and its covers; a ‘virgin’ cover looks to me like just some "print" or like someone ripped the acetate layer off!

Like the 1994 #0 issue, 2019’s Epilogue issue is a standard-sized comic, regular cover without any cardstock/fancy upgrades to it.


Before the pandemic/shutdowns, Marvel was publishing Marvels X that I’ve "thought of" as a Marvels-style take on the X-Men side of stuff but have come to realize might have more to do with the Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X trilogy of projects.

I believe there was also some sort of Tales of the Marvels thing in the works.

I’ll have to (later) verify on Marvels X; I’ve never gotten into that series nor found collected volumes of the trilogy affordable with matching trade dress and such.

I’d been pretty dead-set against Tales of the Marvels or whatever it was to be, on principle and the use of variants and pricing. Having brought all my classic Marvels stuff together now, I think it likely that I’d make an exception.

Obviously I have a thing for this classic project, having three editions of the single issues, and at least four editions of the collected editions.

In the end, I suppose time will tell!

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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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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of March 13 & 20, 2019

Personal life once more got in the way of even a simple, weekly haul post…so here’s a double-up from the last couple weeks! As such this also includes some Walmart, Half-Price Books, and Mac’s Backs books!

Week of March 13, 2019

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New Superman, Supergirl, and Wonder Twins.

I decided to try the new Transformers series. If IDW is rebooting the continuity and such and starting wholly fresh…fine, I’ll check stuff out. I’m not interested in following a ton of spin-offs and tie-ins or gigantic shared-universe stuff. But a contained universe, starting small, and seeing how much/if it grabs me…that I’m open for.

$4.99 for 100 pages of The Maxx is certainly worthwhile on principle…I’m more than happy to support such huge issues at great price points!

And speaking of…$7.99 for Annotated Marvels is still a great price and quite worthwhile to ME for my own nostalgia with the series. To get the cardstock covers, the reprint of the original issue (which I want to say–someone can correct me if I’m wrong–were $5.99 25 years ago) and the annotations for "only" $8 new is perfectly ok by me!

Then we (finally!) got the SECOND issue of the IDW Spider-Man series…I’d begun to think I’d flat-out MISSED this (and maybe the 3rd issue as well)! Not sure why it’d be so long since the previous issue, but it’s definitely something that if I miss an issue, that’d be that–I’m not gonna go way outta my way to hunt it down, but I’ll support it for several issues to check out and treat as its own relatively self-contained thing (I hope!)

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Then there were the release of the new issues of the six Walmart-exclusive (apparently only exclusive for a bit longer) 100-page Giants. I definitely dig the Superman cover most of all…the "iconic" Flash/Superman racing thing is quite nostalgic for me, going back to a 1989 issue of Adventures of Superman and its cover (which I eventually learned was itself an homage to a silver-age issue).

Though these are out, apparently there’s a "surprise" Detective Comics #1000 100-Page Giant due, but I’ve yet to find that one…and these six issues pictured above have probably been THE most spotty I’ve seen for the issues since last summer in availability–like the vendor cleared out all the previous stock and is only sparingly stocking these.

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Along with the Walmart comics, Half-Price Books had another one of their week-long sales via coupons, with Monday & Tuesday 20%-off-one-item coupons, Wednesday & Thursday 30%, Friday & Saturday 40%, and Sunday 50%-off coupons. I went to HPB on the Friday and snagged these Dragonlance novels.

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On the Saturday, I was in the area and visited a used-books store called Mac’s Backs, and scored a couple of Highlander novels I was missing, as well as 3 of the early Myth books by Robert Asprin.

I also visited another HPB location and wound up getting a pack of Justice League: New Frontier figures with a comic…alas, I neglected to get a photo of it, so perhaps that’ll be another post later.


Week of March 20, 2019

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Batman, Nightwing, and Naomi hit this week. The Batman issue is probably THE most disappointing issue I’ve read in ages–VIRTUALLY a "silent" issue that can be flipped through in moments and summed up as "Batman chases someone, and the identity might be a surprise." It includes a scene that references the Batman/Elmer Fudd issue from a couple years ago if you know what you’re looking at…but that’s hardly worth $3.99 on its own!

TMNT has its 92nd issue–we’re a "mere" 8 issues away from the first-ever TMNT #100 at this point! The new issue of Criminal is out. And I was juuuuust curious enough about Spider-Man: Life Story to get it…and it’s by far THE single best Marvel comic I’ve read in ages! A lotta personal stuff to it with personal nostalgia and such, but even so…I’d highly recommend it despite the $4.99 price!

I gave in on some "hype" over the Immortal Hulk issue and decided to check it out…it’s #15, and it’s the first Hulk comic I’ve bought as a new issue in YEARS and it wasn’t actually all that bad. It has be curious about the series, and maybe I’ll check it out via Marvel Unlimited…and maybe I’ll get the next issue. We’ll see.

Finally, the IDW iteration of Avengers has its 3rd issue–now an issue ahead of Spider-Man despite starting after that one.

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And since I was getting a splash of Marvel and didn’t hate the Captain Marvel movie, snagged the preview thing of CM stuff. And the usual Comic Shop News stuff with a spring 2019 preview I may or may not actually page through.

Depending on what personal life holds, I’ll hopefully "catch up" and actually get stuff posted for several other recent acquisitions in the toys-arena…as well as some new shelving arrangements.

And though I’ve been saying it for years now, perhaps this spring I’ll actually, finally get around to a full showing-off of my "comic cave." Though the space has come to resemble a cramped comics/dvds/games/toys store.

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Death in Fantastic Four, and Why I love my Local Comic Shop

ff587cover_marvelstockimageI was home in this apartment tonight when it occurred to me: I didn’t even LOOK for the “death issue” of Fantastic Four. All this hype and such about it…and it wasn’t even—in the actuality of standing in the comic shop—worth my attention, apparently.

I ranted a bit about the issue from an ad a few weeks back in my post Fantastic Four, death and the return of the polybag. I would add to that list of complaints the way the publisher spoiled the story/leaked it to media on Tuesday, when ostensibly they were encouraging (“allowing?”) comic shops to sell the issue on Tuesday to allow fans and readers to get and read the issue withOUT having the story spoiled for them. Also the supposed “bonus” of random signed copies that seem to be cropping up—with a certain limited number of copies inside the polybags being signed by the writer. As if to add a further level to falsely inflate the “collectibility” of the issue.

On a much more positive side, my local comic shop was having an incredible sale on hardbacks (mainly Marvel). $10/pop. I wound up picking up Magneto: Testament (been interested in that for ages) as well as Marvels: Eye of the Camera, which I’d read the first issue back when it came out, but opted to wait for the collected volume. What better time than now? And, after going the library route to catch up on nearly HALF of the original Ultimate Spider-Man series, I’ve been morbidly interested in Ultimatum, but the libraries I frequent haven’t had it. Saw it here, figured what the hey?

So…$75 in books for only $30. And I have friends who’d be interested in reading these volumes as well, so they get increased value for multiple readers…

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tmntatundra01Sales like this are why I love my comic shop. For lack of better phrasing…they often have “convention-level sales” at least once a month—whether it’s freshly-stocked 25-cent bins (yeah, 25…not 50!), random bargain runs ($10 for 45 of 50+ issues of the original X-Force or $15 for 60 issues of JLA, and other such deals), 50-90% off collected volumes. Sometimes these sales seem ongoing…to the point that on the “deals” side of things…I never seem to get a chance to miss going to conventions.

Also, a TMNT book I ordered from Mirage a couple weeks back came in today. Disappointed there’s no text on the spine, but it’s otherwise a great collection of the Archie Adventure Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #s 5-10 from Tundra, from 1991.

Justice Society of America #25 [Review]

Black Adam & Isis part three: Family Feuds

Story: Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway
Pencil art: Jerry Ordway
Ink art: Bob Wiacek & Jerry Ordway
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Jerry Ordway)
Publisher: DC Comics

We resume the story with “Black Mary” asserting influence on Billy–creating “Black Billy” and illustrating an interesting point of the nature of the Marvel Family’s use of the power that flows through them. While the Marvels clash with the JSA, Jay Garrick accompanies Billy’s father as things race toward pivotal “Marvel family” events.

The art on this issue is fantastic, and for me works perfectly with this story. In addition to being high quality art, the fact that it is Ordway–who has more than just passing familiarity to the Marvel family–is icing on the cake.

The story itself is accessible to me as a reader who never paid much attention to any of the Marvel family characters until relatively recently, and yet it is so obvious that this draws on continuity put down over the past couple decades (Ordway’s involvement is testament to that!)

As part three of an only four or five-chapter story, this isn’t the best point to simply jump in exactly, but as a whole if you’ve any interest in the Marvel family, this is a story you ought to be reading. And if you’re looking for a crash course or playing some wikipedia-catchup and the cover intrigues you, give this a shot!

Highly recommended.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9/10

Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1 [Review]

Just One Little Thing

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Jay Anacleto
Colors: Brian Haberlin
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Associate Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover: Jay Anacleto
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I’ve been looking forward to this series for years. I mean, we’re talking at least a decade. It’s been rumoured for many years, with apparently a couple of false-starts, and now after all this time, this series is here. Now what?

From the cover we immediately see this is different from the original. Different artist, different look…separate entity. No real attempt is made to have the cover evoke the feel of the original series–the “cover dress” with the black border/negative space over a full single image might have worked very well here, with the subtitle Eye of the Camera along the bottom.

The first page is an introduction by the main character, Phil Sheldon; and the issue’s creator credits somehow make me think of some “event” ticket, indicating who is involved for the night and all that. Not bad–I don’t think I’ve seen/held a ticket like that…well, ever–so it helps to indicate this story is not set during my lifetime.

The story follows Sheldon in the opening of the 1960s as he begins to realize that some of his “marvels” may be monsters, unlike the heroes during the war. He also considers that as a family man, perhaps he needs to lay down the freelance photography in pursuit of a steady/full job so that he knows he’s got provision for his family and isn’t still playing at his youth. Through this, we also see the arrival of the Fantastic Four on the scene and the “man on the street” reaction to the super-team’s unveiling.

The art is a very clear departure from that of painter Alex Ross from the original series. I’m not familiar with this artist at all offhand–ntohing comes to mind and I have nothing prior to compare the work to. In and of itself–and I’m sure credit must be given to the colorist in tandem here–has a look that while apparently not painted, has just the right feel to suggest painted, and very nicely captures the look of the characters I recall from the original. By itself, I’d deem this very good art; I honestly think the only thing that may keep it from that is the unfortunate fact that as a sequel, this has got to be compared to the original…and as such, the comparison to Ross must come up.

That said, I found this to be an excellent issue. It seems to be “sequel” in that it is a follow-up; though time-wise, it seems to be coming between the pages of the original story. As the first of six issues, I have no idea how the other issues will play out in that regard–are these meant to be taken as “between issues” stories from the original, between pages, or just another story from the same period, much as one could tell two independent stories that both follow the same life, the difference simply being the events chosen to focus on and unpack in each story.

Without Ross, I can think of no artist who would have done better than Mr. Anacleto; and I trust Busiek–who wrote the original series–with whatever he’s choosing to do here.

A very worthwhile issue…though with about a decade and a half of having the original story available in full under a single cover, I can’t help but wonder if this sequel will read better in the same way–as a whole, rather than split into six segments across half a year.

If the rest of the issues hold up to this one, this could be one of those rare sequels that at least matches its original.

Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8.5/10

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