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The Weekly Haul: Week of March 25, 2020 – The End

weekly_haul_header

The End…for now?


"The Shutdown." COVID-19. "Corona Virus." Whatever.

Life during quarantine.

No more new comics for the foreseeable future, hence March 25’s comics marking "The End" for now.

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Two new TMNT comics: the main ongoing series’ 104th issue…and the recent ‘companion mini-series’ Jennika (2nd issue of 3) giving our newest turtle the spotlight. Also from IDW is the latest Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics issue.

Then there’s the newest Spawn issue–#306. Hard to believe it’s already been (over) 6 months since the big 300th!

So that’s IDW and Image

What of DC (that just under 4 years ago I went all-in on with their main "DC Universe" titles)? What of Marvel (whose X-Men are some of my favorite characters, whose Age of Apocalypse in 1995 holds to this day as one of my all-time favorite comics events 25 years later)?

Well, from Marvel there’s the facsimile edition of Incredible Hulk #182 and from DC there’s their Vertig…er…Black Label / Sandman Universe dual/sub-imprint whatever Hellblazer #5.

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Then there’s the newest issue of Back Issue from TwoMorrows Publishing. Even just reading a couple articles in any given issue is high quality and provides more value:time ratio for the price than a single issue of a comic! So always glad to get an issue, and support the publisher!

Along with the week’s new comics, I was given a copy of the newest Previews (and its assorted accessories) with the acknowledgement that it’s probably "worthless" now with the shutdowns, but it is what it is. (The catalog).


Plenty of thoughts on all this real-world stuff. Several major fictional parallels I’ve recalled or been reminded of. But those are for some other post, perhaps.

For now…figured I’d get this posted, and that’s that for 2020’s The Weekly Haul posts for the foreseeable future.

May find other content to post. Haven’t shared newest shelves, or configurations of all my junk. Actually getting some The ’90s Revisited posts done lately (probably none this week, though). And who knows?

Depression’s barking at my heels, exhaustion’s been a near-constant thing lately. I saw that explained somewhere today or yesterday as being that there’s nothing to specifically, physically FIGHT, but neither is there any true running away from all this–FLIGHT–and so supposedly it’s natural to be more exhausted with the fight-or-flight reaction jammed up.

Who knows?

Life during quarantine, though.

More later in some fashion.

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The ’90s Revisited: TMNT Adventures: The Year of the Turtle #3

90s_revisited

tmnt_adventures_year_of_the_turtle_003Year of the Turtle Chapter Three: Story’s End!

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Hugh Haynes
Inker: Elman Brown, Phil Sheehy
Colorist: Chia-Chi Wang
Letterer: Jeff Powell
Cover Artists: Ron Lim, Elman Brown, Heroic Age
Interior Separations: Graphic Colour Works
Production Manager: Caryn Antoniuk
Production: Joe Pepitone, Pat Spaziante, Frank Gagliardo
Editor: Freddy Mendez
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: March 1996
Cover Price: $1.50

While I’m pretty certain I’d read this issue once before (over 20 years ago, though) other than a couple of broad, key details it didn’t see all that familiar; it was more like reading it for a first time after having read ABOUT it or some such.

We pick up with Splinter (no mention of Hamato Yoshi?!?) in "man form" (human) getting reacquainted with his human specs and realizing the turtles are in trouble, so rushing to their aid. The turtles, meanwhile, reel over the shock of Michelangelo’s transformation while trying to keep the villains from getting the final piece of the amulet. Long story short ("it’s comics") they wind up teleporting to Shredder’s lair and fighting the villain, having realized that the only way to save ("restore") Michelangelo is to see that the amulet is put together, but that they get to use it instead of Shredder. "Chaos" ensues and at the appointed time and place, the amulet is literally on Michelangelo…and its phenomenal, cosmic power is used to enlarge a slice of pizza. Shredder is so angered that he goes catatonic, while Splinter and the other turtles are able to use the amulet to "restore" Michelangelo…albeit without his memory. So we see that it IS Mikey who is the "child" Splinter has been telling the stories to. And while it was the "last" turtles story…we see that it should have been tempered with "so far" all along.

As with the previous issues, the art works well enough. It’s not great but not horrible. It certainly fits the characters and story in general, even if it’s fairly generic design-wise. As I’m not overly-engaged or thrilled with the story, my lack of enthusiasm carries over to the art, perhaps unfairly. I’ll take it readily over certain other designs for the turtles…especially thinking of the more recent Rise of the TMNT character designs that I do not care for.

Story wise I feel like this was a bit of a waste…like a failed pilot or some such. Rather than even being left with the idea of Michelangelo having to re-learn everything and who everyone is and his part of the group dynamics…we see Splinter revealing that his arms are getting hairier as the effects of the artifact wear off and thus implies he’s going to revert to his mutated form again…so we’re left to assume the same for Michelangelo (Which makes me wonder why Splinter and the turtles had to act to restore Mikey if the changes wrought by the artifact are wearing off on their own?) It’s tied up TOO neatly, and as only a 3-issue thing with no follow-up (ever, that I’m aware of) it goes from something with huge promise and potential impact on the characters should its continuity be used to a forgettable 3-part story of all of 70-ish pages.

Granted, some of my feeling on the thing is the past 18+ years of having "decompressed storytelling" as the "norm" and the rise of the rigid 4-issue and 6-issue arcs for convenient "graphic novel" packaging. In 2020, 3 issues seems way too short, like there should have been a lot more space for exploration of characters, situations, and so on…and like this should have been the start of something longer with the turtles having to adjust to a new status quo of Splinter as a man, and protecting(?) Mikey while he re-trains and relearns everything…and perhaps see personality stuff for him in being TOLD what and who he WAS vs. who he now IS and such.

As a whole, this Year of the Turtle mini is an interesting curiosity while not having anything crucial or lasting. It’s more a "footnote" in the history of the TMNT property.

I don’t recall how much I had paid for #3 here; certainly no more than $10 and almost certainly quite a bit less as I’d remember a significant price. I know I paid $5 for #2 at some point last year (the price sticker was still on the bag/board), and $8 for #1 earlier this year (recency/email receipt for that detail). Essentially, I  paid probably under $25for the 3 issues, putting it well on-par with just any 4-5 issues of a present-day series. I’m also a completist and want to have every TMNT issue published by Archie.

I’m not aware of this story being REPRINTED anywhere, so the actual, physical single issues are–I believe–the only way to read this. But if you’re a casual fan or otherwise not interested in "everything," you can definitely pass on this without truly missing anything significant. If you’re a fan of Dan Slott and want to read some of his early stuff, that’d be another reason to track these down. Overall, I’d recommend some of the later IDW collected volumes of the Archie stuff for more depth and weight of story…or perhaps some of the actual IDW TMNT content that "counts" and "matters" in the present ongoing TMNT continuity.

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The ’90s Revisited: TMNT Adventures: The Year of the Turtle #2

90s_revisited

tmnt_adventures_year_of_the_turtle_002Year of the Turtle Chapter Two: Snow Way Out!

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Hugh Haynes
Inker: Elman Brown
Colorist: Chia-Chi Wang
Letterer: Jeff Powell
Cover Artists: Ron Lim, Scott Koblish, Heroic Age
Interior Separations: Graphic Colour Works
Production Manager: Caryn Antoniuk
Production: Joe Pepitone, Pat Spaziante, Frank Gagliardo
Editor: Freddy Mendez
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: February 1996
Cover Price: $1.50

Even as this issue opens, I know more than I "should," as I remember having read the 3rd issue two decades or so back. It’s interesting to notice the fact that we never actually see the child Splinter is interacting with. Already knowing that takes some of the wonder of it away, but isn’t a huge deal kicking the issue off.

There IS a "previously" page that sums up the previous issue…but with far more specific detail and context than was even conveyed IN the issue. Basically a TELLING rather than SHOWING, that lends a bit of (1) weakness to that issue in retrospect and (2) influenced my (retroactive) understanding of that issue, that I’m sure influenced my write-up. I’m not too keen on that fact, but…hey. Comic books.

Story-teller Splinter (the man) finds the child’s room a mess, but being a man of his word, continues his telling of the last Ninja Turtles story. Shredder has 2 of the 3 parts of the artifact, so it’s a race to the final piece. After his ambush of Splinter, Shredder has scrolls that detail the hidden fortress the piece is in, meaning that his hench-people know where traps and such are, while the Turtles are seeking blindly. Though they survive some surprises and locate the final piece…T.K.O. uses telekinesis to liberate it from the turtles. All have to escape the ninja-monks guarding the facility. Once outside, trying to show off, the villains go to add insult to injury, which gives the turtles an "extra" chance at retrieving the artifact…when an explosion happens. The turtles check in with each other but can’t find Michelangelo at first. Then, amidst ninja gear (a familiar orange mask and dual nunchakus) they find…a turtle. An ORDINARY non-mutant turtle. (Remember the artifact piece Shredder had undid SPLINTER’s mutation last issue). And speaking of…story-teller Splinter tells his child that that’s enough of the story for now, and if the room is cleaned, the final part of the story is next.

Even though the characters are turtles, I can’t think of MANY examples of them overtly utilizing their shells in any creative fashion. Leo and Mikey pulling into their shells while Raph and Donnie use them as snowboards makes sense in a way, though can’t be comfortable (and one MIGHT wonder at a broken shell if they hit a rock or such!).

The villains are cheesey ’90s-themed characters in names and abilities. I ought to leave it at that. I suppose I appreciate them a bit more than Waster, Fist, Dead-Eye, and Lynch–the "EXTREME!" villains that did in the Mutanimals during their backup run in TMNTA 48-54. They’re still dumb and cheesey, very dated as of 2020 (granted, this is from 24 years ago!), so whatever.

I don’t really care for this Shredder. He doesn’t come off as much of anything from before–comics or movies, despite having the look of the 1990 film Shredder. We also have a fair bit of having to take stuff at face value with the hench-folks…though their ease of getting the artifact and then blowing their advantage to try to do in the turtles does seem like the stupid, bone-headed move Bebop and Rocksteady would do in the cartoon that would allow the turtles escape/survival when they otherwise would not have done either.

For my memories of the original cartoon (especially the early episodes) I recall the turtles straddling the line between Splinter’s mutation (Hamato Yoshi stuck as an animal) being a curse while their own (regular turtles to sentient humanoid turtles) was a blessing, and the "threat" of ever coming in contact with Mutagen again as that would turn them "back" into ordinary turtles. Seeing Michelangelo thus reverted is a new/original development for an actuality in the story; and holds great potential. At least, in the sense of opening a lot of possible stories and ongoing development. The character was not KILLED, but was unexpectedly and suddenly removed from the equation, and opens a load of questions.

As with the previous issue, the art’s not bad…though it lacks the charm of the ongoing TMNTA series. I do look forward a bit to (re) reading the third and final issue to "close the loop" with this series, even though with reading THIS issue, I believe I’ve now technically read the whole thing.

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The ’90s Revisited: TMNT Adventures: The Year of the Turtle #1

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tmnt_adventures_year_of_the_turtle_001Year of the Turtle Chapter One: Go, Go Mutant Turtles!

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Hugh Haynes
Inkers: Harvey Mercadoocasio, Phil Sheehy
Colorist: Philip Lynch
Letterer: Jeff Powell
Cover Artists: Ron Lim, Harvey Mercadoocasio, Heroic Age
Interior Separations: Graphic Colour Works
Production Manager: Caryn Antoniuk
Production: Joe Pepitone, Pat Spaziante, Frank
Gagliardo
Editor: Freddy Mendez
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: January 1996
Cover Price: $1.50

I’m not CERTAIN when I discovered this mini-series. I have some vague memory of reading the third issue "back in the day," most likely from the library…so it’s likely been at LEAST 20-22 years (it came out in late-1995/early-1996). I only just (early-2020) acquired this first issue, and though I’m years behind in writing up my TMNT Revisited posts on the Archie series, I decided to dive into this one as something pretty much all-new to me.

This came after the ongoing Archie Adventure Series TMNT Adventures, and is functionally "volume 3," as there was a 3-issue mini-series, then the 72-issue ongoing series, and then this. I expected this to be a continuation/follow-up…perhaps like a "tv movie sequel" to a long-running series. However…expectation didn’t match reality!

We open on a man telling his child(?) about the last story of the Ninja Turtles. We find Shredder seeking some mystical artifact, and though his Foot Soldiers have failed against the defenses arrayed before it, he single-handedly takes down the defenders and claims the piece. Meanwhile, Splinter and the turtles are seeing another piece, and realize that one of the Mighty Mecha Power Raiders on tv seems to have it in/as his belt buckle…so they head to Radio City (where the MMPR actors are performing) to claim it before Shredder does. Shredder has some new hench-people includig Cyberius, and T.K.O. that he sends to get that next piece of the artifact, while he personally descends into the sewers and sneaks up on and catches Splinter unaware. The two battle, and while Splinter manages to escape/survive, he is by no means victorious over the villain. The hench-folks manage to get the piece of the artifact…not a good day for the turtles and Splinter! On returning home, the turtles find Splinter has been transformed! Somehow due to the artifact, his mutation has been undone…leaving him a man once more! Closing out the issue, we see that the storyteller from the opening of the issue is indeed Splinter…

From the cover, I knew there was some sort of reference to the Power Rangers. In the issue itself, within the turtles’ universe, these are the Mighty Mecha Power Raiders. Obviously meant to represent the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers…only without being anything official, and drawing on the popularity of that franchise and its notoriety in popular culture…especially for the time! What ESPECIALLY drew my attention with it was having JUST a couple days before reading this issue read Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers/TMNT #4–the 4th issue of 5 being published in 2020 by Boom and IDW!

Story-wise, this issue quickly reveals itself to not be a continuation or follow-up to the long-running series. For one thing, it’s an entirely different creative team. It also uses rather bland, generic versions of the characters…particularly the Shredder. The villain is shown with a look more akin to the 1990 film than the ’80s/’90s animated series, further separating from the TMNTA ongoing; and is back to evil for evil’s sake–no real or apparent motivation other than BEING evil.

There’s no real depth to any of the characters, though some weight is added in the storyteller’s reference to the "last" Ninja Turtles story, as if this WAS the FINAL ADVENTURE or such. Certainly the throw-away of the bested, defeated Foot lends to that. They could be slaughtered, if there’s no need to have them available for later stories! April is relegated to a tv news reporter ON TV without even interacting with the turtles; after her evolution throughout the ongoing series. And though we do find that the storyteller IS Splinter, we’re left hanging as to who the apparent child is he’s telling the story to and how they came together. Biological child? Adoptive? How much time has passed since Splinter was with the turtles? Are we to think this is another reality where Splinter and his turtles are just a series of stories being told to a child?

I do NOT know if this is Dan Slott‘s first writing gig in comics…but it’s certainly an EARLY gig. It’s not truly bad or anything, and structurally works pretty well (despite my questions in the paragraph above). Framing sequence that plays into/comes back out of the main story; we’re introduced to the villains, the heroes, the situation, and see some movement through the situation (gathering the artifact), etc.

The art is also by no means horrible, but lacks something from the ongoing series. Even though this is a completely separate series, creative team, etc.–it came after a 72-issue run with lots of characters and development, and being ONLY 3 issues (a mere 4% against the ongoing) would have a LOT to "live up to," especially without even the built-in depth of adapting episodes of the cartoon.

All in all, while the issue wasn’t particularly enjoyable to me, it was interesting to finally read. It’s also very possible that I’d built it up in my mind over two decades and so "expected" a lot more from it. Ultimately…it’s a TMNT comic book. I don’t believe it’s ever even been reprinted (IDW hasn’t even reprinted the TMNTA Specials, and also skipped most of the Mighty Mutanimals issues as well as 5 issues of TMNTA itself) so there’s some incentive to tracking the issues down as a completist or out of curiosity. Story-wise, it doesn’t seem to be anything significant, and its generic-ness and timing doesn’t do it any favors.

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TMNT: Jennika #1 [Review]

tmnt_jennika_0001The Cure for You
Story, Art, Cover, Letters: Brahm Revel
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Cover Date: February 2020
Cover Price: $4.99

I was barely aware of Jennika as a character a year ago. In retrospect after she came to prominence about 10 months ago, I REMEMBERED the character…but in her first appearance, she was "just another character," a random face for some exposition or plot or whatever. At that time–TMNT #51–I was taking in the whole new status quo and marveling at a series firstly actually making it to #50 and secondly NOT being renumbered back to #1 to reflect the status quo shakeup and such. The "hype" and "speculation" around the issue where Jenny mutated (TMNT #95 or so) has been a frustration to me, having bought every issue of TMNT that IDW has published within the month it was released (single-issue-wise). Suddenly having "competition" just to get a "regular" issue is annoying and rather off-putting to me and detracts a fair bit from the characters and story; the "meta" imposing on the continuity and such.

That said…

This mini-series looks to be a solo focus on Jennika herself as she is adjusting to her mutant-turtle form. Though the issue carries the TMNT logo foremost and prominently, that seems basically for branding purposes, as the ONLY mutant turtle in this issue is Jennika herself–and as a mini-series and all, I’m absolutely ok with that!

We have two stories in the issue. The first/primary sees the eponymous Jennika going about her usual day in "mutant-town" when she sees someone make a break for it, leaving the area. She gives chase, concerned about a mutant putting themselves in harm’s way outside the safe zone. They soon run into the Purple Dragons and Casey Jones, giving Jennika an awkward pause, reuniting with her former would-be partner. Leaving with Vincent (the mutant rabbit she was pursuing) she’s invited to his gig, where she enjoys some nostalgia and return of the past in the indy/live music club scene. When a couple other mutants start some trouble, her ninja side kicks into gear, getting the attention of yet another mutant who she quickly recognizes as someone out of her past. History crashing into her, she is also blindsided when this mutant suggests that with her help, there might be a cure for mutants to be had. (To Be Continued…)

If you’re just checking stuff out in the TMNT books with this issue or the last several of the main title, you’ll notice that much of the action centers on this "mutant-town" full of mutants, despite much of TMNT being about four mutant turtles, their sensei/mutant rat Splinter, and a handful of other mutant allies and enemies. In the run-up to and major events of TMNT #100, events led to a mass-mutation of the populace of part of the city, and they’ve been separated off into "mutant-town," at least for present and the Mutanimals have been serving as "enforcers" keeping mutants IN, while the WORLD PROTECTION FORCE THINGY GROUP keeps mutants in from the outside. Dynamics there are unfolding as it’s a recent (end of 2019 comics) development and part of the new status quo.

The story is pretty good, and I appreciate its slice-of-life nature. It’s not specifically tied to current issues of the main title so stands alone quite well. It’s obviously rooted in the "present" of the earliest post-#100 TMNT issues time-frame of continuity, but other than basic context (above about "mutant-town") it doesn’t seem like TMNT is required reading for this, nor does this seem likely to be intrinsic to the TMNT story. This builds onto the Jennika character and likely will leave the character better fleshed-out and add depth that will be appreciable in reading the main TMNT title, while hopefully this mini will be its own whole as a story/arc.

I’m not overly keen on the art here…Revel‘s style is rather stylistic, and though I recognize the manga influence and visual shorthand for stuff (and some of it certainly comparable to the 2012 TMNT animated series) it’s not my ideal. In particular there’s a panel where Jenny is angered, and we see a comically open mouth with pointed shark’s-teeth essentially, despite the main appearance of the character being clean, even, normal-sized teeth. It works for the story, it’s not unheard of, but it’s also just not to my personal liking.

Time and Again
Story, Colors: Ronda Pattison
Art: Jodi Nishijima
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow

This second story is a small vignette that gives us another glimpse into Jennika’s past. We see her in prison, encountering and befriending a rat. When she and another prisoner escape, the rat flees from her. We also see her in an early moment with Splinter juxtaposed with a moment with another mutant in "mutant-town" as she Splinter reminded her of an old friend, and this new mutant reminded her of Splinter.

At only 4 pages, this story is nothing drawn-out or deep, but it conveys a lot, and is definitely a "slice of life" moment…and a good one at that.

I much prefer the art in this story to the main…probably because it’s a lot closer to the main art I’ve been used to for awhile, and without a side by side/immediate comparison, my mind says it’s reminiscent of Santolouco‘s art, which I love.

All in all, this is a relatively strong first issue. As something to draw in newer readers, it definitely could have used some notes to contextualize the setting ("mutant-town") and such. At the same time, as a $4.99 issue with most of a year’s hype around the character, one probably already has some of that context if one is choosing to buy this (with speculation stuff being centered on the TMNT issues).

If this was any other property than TMNT, the art in the main part of the issue (and the cover) would have seriously put me off. I bought this as I buy/read every single-issue TMNT-and-directly-related thing published by IDW, and read it for the same…and though the art is largely off-putting to me, I enjoyed the story and vignette, so it’s not a waste of my time or money, particularly as a mini-series.

I would encourage anyone interested in the character to at least consider the issue–flip through and glance at the art to see how it fits your personal tastes. As mentioned above, this does not seem essential to the main TMNT book nor vice-versa. If you’re an all-in reader of the ongoing TMNT saga, though, you’ll definitely want to get this.

I do look forward to the next issue–despite pricing. I continue to feel that I’d be rather content with 4-5 TMNT books if they were kept on a weekly cycle and didn’t "cluster" or double-up one week while leaving another week empty. There’s a LOT to dig into in the TMNT universe, as IDW has developed, expanded on, and generally incorporated aspects from a number of previous iterations of the TMNT property, creating the richest and deepest TMNT continuity yet. This continues that developing/expanding/building.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, and 2/12/2020

Well…so much for those intentions of actually keeping up with these posts week-to-week!

Two or so weeks, and then nothing for the last 4 (almost 5!) weeks. Go figure.

Well, let’s jump in and look at the main hauls for the past 4 Wednesdays ahead of this week’s new stuff for the 19th.


Week of January 22, 2020

January 22nd had several interesting books, as well as a "lingering habit" I’m having a bit more trouble breaking than expected.

weeklyhaul_20200122a

New Hellblazer; I enjoyed the one-shot and first couple issues well enough…and definitely want to support the title as something as close to the old Vertigo version as we’re gonna get.

DC Dollar Comics are $1, so…yeah.

Superman #19 because I kept thinking I’d actually READ the reveal stuff, but it turns out I am just so against it and think it’s stupid, repetitive, unneeded, and totally NOT what I’m interested or looking for in Superman comics. C’est la vie.

IDW‘s color reprints of the old Image TMNT title has–I think–finally caught up to the two issues I got back in 1999/2000 or so. Which means it’s time for me to dig everything out, catch up on reading and prepare for the endgame of the title with the never-before-released ending.

Ghostbusters Year One was an interesting enough premise…and it seemed a small-ish week, so I bit. Guess what I’ve yet to read, though?

And the second issue (of 3, I believe) of American Jesus, following Millar‘s Chosen from back in the day. As of this writing, I believe the 3rd/final issue is due out this week, so looks like I’ll be reading the entire thing in one go as single issues where I could have simply waited for a collected edition.


Week of January 29, 2020

Final week of January was an interesting one for me…and a rare situation I’ve not had in probably more years than I care to consider.

I did not go to the comic shop. My parents had errands to run, one of which put them literally about 5 feet from Comic Heaven, so I was able to message ahead for issues I was interested in to be pulled (in addition to regular pulls), and Mom was able to go in and get my issues for me!

weeklyhaul_20200129a

We had the debut of IDW‘s color reprint series of Usagi Yojimbo in Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #1. I’m hoping this is a rather indefinite series that will simply run on and on and on. It’s certainly worthy of it, reprinting a strong, long-running/STILL-RUNNING series but in color so it’s both reprint and new. And I’d much rather buy it than most other $3.99 books, and though I have most of the series in collected volumes I’m happy to get the this way to read individually in much smaller bite-size doses!

TMNT seems like a whole new book again, though I haven’t decided if that’s good or not. It’s got good art, though, and it IS TMNT. I’m VERY glad that IDW has at LEAST had the sense to NOT repeatedly renumber this series. As a whole new continuity kicked off in 2011, it obviously more than deserved its #1 then–new title, creative team, publisher, continuity/universe–but it’s been refreshing that it did NOT renumber after the events of #50, and yet again did not renumber after the events of #100…both of which saw seismic shifts in the story that then played out across quite a number of issues eventually growing familiar. Even if the property was NOT a personal "exception" on stuff, I definitely am glad to "support" the title for the numbering. And here’s another way to look at it: #100 is a mere 1/3 of Spawn, which has a brand going back to the early 1990s!

Criminal is on #12 already which means I’m probably about 8 issues behind on reading again. As I understand, the "back matter" of the title adds reading-time (aka "value") to its price, as well as unique material one only gets that way and not in a collected volume. (Leaving the collected volumes to collect the actual Criminal STORY).

Then for Marvel and DC, reiterating the fairly steady point of late wherein I’m not much interested in their NEW content but am glad to buy even extra-priced gimmickey REPRINTS of old material. Starting to seem like Marvel has some new replica edition out practically every week! I’m ok with that, though, as long as they don’t "double up". That said, they may HAVE for this week, in which case I’ve "missed" a replica edition. But AS a replica edition, not like it’s some "hot new" comic being speculated on or sporting umpteen different tiered variant covers, so I may eventually get around to it. I’m amused at the "old style" 3-D gimmick and though $8 is a bit overpriced for an issue, I’ll accept it as a rare/occasional gimmick. It’s not like it’s a trial issue of some new series, a premiere of a new series, and since it’s nostalgic (for me) material, so be it. Finally, apparently Black Canary’s modern costume’s debut is worthy of a reprint edition. For $1, though, I won’t complain much.


Week of February 5, 2020

…and another week of "indy" comics for new stuff and reprints for Marvel and DC! And contrary to my language above (*left in for my writing on each week based on the photo and memory rather than all 4 weeks as a whole) I "made up" that missed replica edition from Marvel here.

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As I repeat ad nauseum…the Ninja Turtles are a MAJOR "exception" for me in comics. I’ll tolerate far more with that property than any other property. Ditto on pricing, variants, etc. Though my patience has been tried a bit more lately, it’s that "exception" that overrides my blanket condemnation of Boom! Studios as a publisher (*See my 4-year-old grudge over MMPR #0 and variants) and "allows" me to buy something with their logo on it in MMPR/TMNT #3.

Then the newest issue of the ongoing/new content/main Usagi Yojimbo title from IDW. Just a week apart from the Color Classics issue. I definitely hope they keep these titles separate–with "only" 2 titles, it makes absolutely NO SENSE to me to cluster them on a single week, especially with the publisher having output all the other weeks of a month. That clustering is another factor that drives (people like me) to drop stuff. Expensive as comics are, one can rationalize/justify them when the per-week expenses are kept down…but even one or two "extra" issues can either blow a budget OR call attention to a budget one’s regularly exceeding and promote sticker shock, which in turn promotes dropping of titles.

I’m woefully behind on GI Joe: A Real American Hero to the point I’ve been considering letting it lapse. Of course, I tell myself I’m just one good binge-read away from catching up. However, I think I let a bit of another "exception" creep in these days with the title…that is, even when IDW started it, they kicked off with #155 1/2 as a "#0"-type issue and their first "proper" issue that usually would have been a #1 was actually #156. And they’re a good 114 issues into this run. First, 114 issues without a renumbering; second, 114 issues on a numbering from a previous series that had ended a decade and a half earlier!

Then Marvel‘s other replica edition in a Fantastic Four annual. An extra $1 to the cover price but it IS an extra-sized issue, and an annual, and a far superior value time-wise on reading than MODERN annuals full of full-page and double-page splash panels and few words and other "cheats" to pad out an issue’s page-count while reducing the time it takes to read any given issue. Like the DC Green Lantern replica edition, I really dig these sorts of reprints where they’re close enough to the original to be able to slot them in as that original without much problem (and for $4-$5 instead of $50-$1000s). There’s something to DC‘s Dollar Comics line–the trade dress, I think–that seems a bit "off" to me. It’s like they do this weird hybrid of taking the look of the original, but changing it to not be "overly-close" to the look of the original and to carry the "branding" of the DC Collar Comics. So they’re sort of iconic and yet not…at the same time.

Moving beyond the week’s new-printed comics…my first "grail of the year" acquisition!

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It "only" took me a bit over 20 years to get this foil edition of Wolverine #145. Back in (October?) 1999, when Mom went to the comic shop for me to get the issue, she got the "regular" non-foil edition ($2.99 vs. this edition’s $3.99). Once I went back and tried to track down this edition, I’ve either not found it whatsoever, or it’s been astronomically priced. EVEN the ONLINE regulars have not had the thing in-stock, and I’ve not found it at any shops in-person nor at any conventions where I’ve looked.

I "discovered" a new (to me) online selling site (online fleamarket of sorts) and someone had it on offer for $8 or so. With shipping, it hardly cost me 3 modern Marvel comics that (thanks to variants, over-frequent shipping, generic covers, generic stories to be undone in a year and/or by short-term creative directions, etc) made it a real steal for what it is!

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Of course, it’s a definite "wall book" for me!


Week of February 12, 2020

And here we come to the "finally caught up"…for a day, or so.

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Again with "supporting" some format, I am definitely very much behind stuff like what these Dawn of X volumes appear to be: 6-issue collections…but not of individual titles. These volumes are collecting sequential issues of ALL 6 TITLES that made up the Dawn of X "initiative" following HoX/PoX last year. This one has the #1 issues of all 6 titles in an "anthology" format. $24.99 for 6 issues that were $4.99 apiece. So even though I already did get X-Men #1 last year, that still means that I’ve basically paid $30 for all 6 total…breaking even, even WITH that issue being doubled-up with this collection.

DC Dollar Comics reprinting the first appearance of Cassandra Cain; and a replica edition of the first issue of the Claremont/Miller Wolverine mini-series. Sorta interesting that in paying $3.99 for this edition, that’s 16 times what I paid for the copy of the original that I own.

The Vampirella magazine is a replica edition as well–I believe this is the first 3 issues now reprinted like this.

And while I really haven’t had or taken the time to read cover-to-cover any of the TwoMorrows magazines, I do find it’s often one or two (or a few) articles that are of particular interest. And really, if I spend 20 minutes on an issue, it’s certainly matched the time-"value" of virtually any modern $3.99-$7.99-$9.99 comic!

Sort of goes to show how much I’ve managed to cut back lately that I actually had NO NEW COMICS ISSUES (content-wise) for the week. Nothing but REPRINTS and a magazine ABOUT comics (creators)!

While checking out, I glanced over at the display case with "priced" significant back issues, and recognized something I’ve only seen digitally or as reprints: the Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2.

For $20.

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Now, this thing has seen better days. It’s creased, worn, beaten…overall in pretty crummy condition. As much as I’m all FOR buying umpteen duplicates of an issue as "convenience copies" from 25-cent bins, generally this condition would get even a 25-cent comic left in the box.

Except this is an issue I’ve been interested in for 22-some years or so. And with last year having broken my "$10 or less" thing for single issues, I’m now willing to pay more than $10 for a single issue…IF it meets certain criteria (that might be accumulated "in the moment"). In this case: it’s THE issue. It’s one I’ve known of and been interested in for over 20 years (over half my life!). At $20…that’s "only" 5 modern $3.99 issues, or 4 modern $4.99 #1 issues…or 2.5 modern $7.99 #1 issues. And let me tell y’all, I’m far happier with having this book than I’d be to have a random Fallen Angels #1, Darth Vader (since 2015, vol. 3) #1 and Wolverine vol. (what are we up to? 8? 9?) #1.

As I am NOT a collector to resell, but collector to HAVE…I’m MORE than happy to have this in this condition!

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And it fits quite well on "the wall" with other similar type issues. Older keys, just lacking in that "NM+" grading condition and such. But it has sentimental value for me for its content and notoriety and memories it brings up…and that puts it on a level that FEW (if any?) modern (2005-present, let’s say?) comics attain.

So…there we go. Four weeks of new-comics-days’ hauls, plus 2 "grails" acquired. Factor in that huge Spawn acquisition in early January and it’s been a much more productive back-issue year than new-issue.

I also–for the week of February 12–resisted the temptation to buy the Superman: Heroes (late!) issue dealing with (MORE) of the ditching-of-the-secret-identity crap. A $5.99 issue that reinforces how 20-year-old non-quarter-bin comics for $4 and $5 and $6 are an EXCELLENT value by comparison…at least to me.

And after the speculation and speculators and whatnot blow over, I would not be surprised to find the issue (the main, non-variant regular basic un-special cover) available in $1 bins this spring/later this year at conventions.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 8, 2020

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Another week, another batch of new comics…and a toy from Amazon.

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This week’s new comics are basically all IDW. New TMNT, TMNT/Power Rangers, and GI Joe: A Real American Hero.

DC only gets in with a $1 comic, reprinting an issue of Brave and the Bold, though I’d considered the new Batman issue. But with King‘s run being shorted, and DC getting into Marvel‘s renumbering games, and rumours flying about a universal reboot (and assumably if true, a renumbering as well) and thinking I saw something about this new run being maybe 14 issues or so, and I figure I’m just better off skipping it.

I’ve had a heckuva time getting around to reading much in any issues of Back Issue but for sheer content I’m happy to support the print magazine. It always seems to be high-quality, so…yeah. AND with other stuff being sparse, it’s "only" like adding 2 1/2 issues to an already small stack.

And then Marvel had nothing of enough interest to me for the right price point. I might have checked out Marvels X #1 but I’m NOT keen on continuously, repeatedly "supporting" the $4.99 price point, especially the way THEY seem to do that for all their #1s and then wonder (?) why more people may not try them(?) By not getting #1, I won’t be getting subsequent issues, so…hopefully oodles of variants and that $1 higher price point serves them well, I suppose.

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Comic Shop News continues to be a weekly thing…and worth showing here since I got it, even though I didn’t cram it into the main photo.

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Over the previous weekend, I’d come across this X-Men Archangel figure at a Booksamillion and REALLY liked the way it looked. I passed on it, though–already spending more on other stuff, and not wanting to buy it on an absolute impulse.

After thinking on it for a few days and finding it for a lower price via Amazon, I ended up ordering it after all, and it arrived Thursday.

I’ve got some version of Angel from back before 2010 or so, I think, from the old-style Marvel Legends (that came with comic books!). But this version–Archangel–is just so bright, colorful, and flat-out cool-looking (to me!) that I decided I’d definitely like it in my collection!

I continue to REALLY like the "modern" take on figures in that they’ll come with "alternate" heads that you can swap out depending on personal preference for display/play and all that. Where I swear I remember some early Marvel Legends having "variants" where the only difference was…a head swapped out.

I’ve definitely appreciated the last couple weeks being pretty small on new comics, and hope to keep to that for awhile.

Meanwhile, I’m leaning into focusing on tracking down (cheap "reader copy" condition!) issues of DC Comics Presents that I’m missing, along with Marvel‘s classic (1990s) 2099 line, and of course, Spawn with my #SpawnQuest.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 1, 2020

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The new year started out with a pretty small week.

An issue. TMNT: Urban Legends #20.

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Not much for the week in the way of new comics. Which is–I think–pretty much what I’m leaning toward lately.

I’m a few months–at least–behind on reading TMNT Urban Legends, but as we’re into the latter part of the series as a whole, I just need to figure out where I left off, and binge-read and get back to keeping up with it issue-by-issue.

Comic Shop News features yet another Hawkeye series…How many different series/minis has the character had now, since 2003 or so?

While the new comics were sparse…I did make a sizeable Spawn purchase, but will be detailing that purchase in an upcoming SpawnQuest post.

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The Weekly Haul Catch-Up: Weeks of November 20, 2019 to December 11, 2019

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Once again, it’s been a few weeks since a "Weekly Haul" post. Though I did get a random post up the other day with some bare-bones random brief thoughts on Marvel‘s 2099 stuff…and a path-to-500 for DC to give us a Robin #500 (semi-tongue-in-cheek, using "Marvel Math.").

So let’s play catch-up on the last few weeks’ hauls. Or rather, the "main" hauls…as I have partial plans for a couple other things from recent weeks as well!


Week of November 20, 2019

Having dropped some titles, I’ve been finding my regular weeks a bit more manageable, and even been willing to "try" a bit of randomness with other titles for whatever reason(s).

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Batman has long been a pull; I believe this may be the single longest run of the title I’ve had, at least for issue quantity. I have the entirety of King‘s run thus far, and though I’ve planned to "finish out" the run, since I think they’re shifting to monthly from biweekly AND there’s no sign yet of the promised Batman/Catwoman series, I may go ahead and continue along. With rumours of yet another relaunch next year anyway, It probably can’t hurt too much to get a few more issues and simply have a complete run.

He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse is just an interesting premise to me, mixed with a bit of would-be-nostalgia, that I decided to get the first issue in a slight bit of "support," slight bit of gambling. I had/have no intention of subsequent single issues, though I may watch for reviews to pick up a collected edition.

I’ve settled pretty firmly into enjoying/appreciating the various "Facsimile" edition reprints, so the Green Lantern/Green Arrow drug issue was a no-brainer.

I need to catch up on reading TMNT Urban Legends, especially as we’re getting close to the couple of issues I’d had in college that showed me how much the characters had been changed and solidly impacted a paper I wrote about the Turtles.

Doom caught my eye along with the classic "font" for the title 2099 so I gave in and bought the first issue for the sheer nostalgia of the thing. I opted NOT to pick up subsequent issues…though my interest in the ORIGINAL 2099 stuff has been rekindled.

I snagged the Death of Superman: The Wake tpb because…well, Death of Superman. This collected a digital-only (or digital-first?) mini-series and I was interested for its title and concept, thinking it’d give some insight to the "current version" of the infamous now-27-year-old story. (Unfortunately, I was highly disappointed and found the thing to be something better-suited for distribution in cereal boxes!)


Local Comic Shop Day (November 23, 2019)

I’m not very keen on "Local Comic Shop Day" in general. I’m fairly accepting of "Halloween Comic Fest" but LCSD isn’t much of a "thing" to me.

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That being said…there were a couple issues I wound up picking up. The Walking Dead: The Alien one-shot, and a Super DInosaur reprint or whatever it is. I am pretty sure I have the original Super Dinosaur issue(s) from back in the day…somewhere. And given the nature of the Walking Dead issue–new story, not by Kirkman himself, and not previously available in print, and with the final volume of the TPBs out MONTHS ago, seemed like a decent companion piece to the series.


Week of November 27, 2019

Having decided in 2015 that it was officially my "next Grail," I was ‘officially’ on the lookout for an in-my-price-range copy of Uncanny X-Men #266 up until finally scoring a copy earlier this year.

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So hardly six months after finally getting my genuine, actual real Uncanny X-Men #266…Marvel puts out a facsimile edition of the issue. Not that I wasn’t going to buy the thing, but it kinda figures, on the timing. I can’t be sure if the facsimile edition would have satisfied me in terms of my personal collection, though. C’est la vie.

We also got the final (for now) issue of Hope, which I look forward to binge-reading/catching up on.

I’d picked up the Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer issue a few weeks earlier, and decided to also get the first issue of what I BELIEVE is an ongoing new Hellblazer series. I enjoyed both issues well enough and they definitely have the general feel of the original 300-issue series, while being a different version of the Constantine character. I may well grab the 2nd issue if I notice it when it’s out, and go from there.

Continuing their pattern, along with the Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis, we also got a DC Dollar Comics reprint of the first issue of the original Infinite Crisis #1.

I’m pretty sure I have all the earlier issues of Second Coming so grabbed the latest issue. It’s one that I really need to get around to READING to decide whether I genuinely want to be getting it…though at this point I’d likely have been much better-served just waiting for a collected edition.

And finally, I decided to grab a recent-back-issue in Dark Horse‘s The Little Mermaid. It’s a mini-series, but being from Dark Horse I was curious how it’d stack up to the IDW stuff as well as how it’ll wind up in collected format, as well as being curious if it was actually a reprint as I’m fairly sure we already had a comics adaptation of the film.


Week of December 4, 2019

And getting into December…

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New Batman issue.

And the fifth/final issue of the 5-issue TMNT: Shredder in Hell mini-series. A mini-series that saw its first issue come out in January 2019. And I’d believe the series to be monthly, that it was due to wrap up by May or June…yet it only JUST made it ahead of TMNT #100…and I believe MAY have caused the apparent delay in that issue.

The latest Spawn issue. At #303, it’s my 47th issue in a row for the series…coming up on MY 50th as such!

The newest Usagi Yojimbo gets us to #7 of the latest series. And having just picked up the first issue, I decided to get the second of The Little Mermaid.

I swore off all Boom! Studios books nearly four years ago.However, my primary "exception" in comics is the TMNT. So a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers/TMNT book was an interesting quandary for me. In the end, I opted to allow my "TMNT Exception" to OVERRIDE my refusal to get single issues from Boom! Studios…though I ALMOST reconsidered when I saw the variant cover (or one of them, anyway) was a turtle’s hands holding a Power Ranger helmet…like it was just being insulting at that point.

Finally for the week, a facsimile edition of the "death of Flash" issue of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths; as well as a facsimile edition of Marvel‘s original Star Wars #1. And for good measure, a DC Dollar Comics issue of Birds of Prey.


Week of December 11, 2019

…and now we’re up to the most recent week and (perhaps) back on schedule! I’m also a bit unsure of what the remainder of the year holds, with this week’s December 18 being the last non-holiday Wednesday of the year, with the following Wednesday being December 25th–Christmas Day; and the very next Wednesday will be New Year’s Day (also, January 1st, the first day of a new year!)

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IDW‘s ongoing TMNT title finally hits its 100th issue! This also marks 100 issues that I’ve kept up with the series, buying every single issue, from #1 to #100, as it came out. Which is also a record for me, I’m sure, for ANY single run of ANY comic series in all my 30-some years of being into comics.

Then, despite dropping the Superman books, I ended up grabbing a copy of #17 off the rack while waiting in line at a Black Friday sale, so went ahead and–against better judgement–picked up #18 as well. I suppose it says ENOUGH that I didn’t immediately read either issue. And I guess we’ll see if I pick up any of the specials further dealing with "the reveal." As of this typing, though, I’m ready to wash my hands of the thing, though!

I would not have bothered with the Defenders issue except for it being a facsimile edition, so I went ahead and got it for the sake of having it. I’m highly confident that it’s GOTTA be better and a much superior time-value than any MODERN Marvel $4.99 issues!

Finally, the Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Teen Titans – The Judas Contract as well as the DC Dollar Comics reprint of the ending of the original Judas Contract story (as I believe it’ll be the ending of the story that diverges things for the Dark Multiverse).

I think there was an "off" week for Comic Shop News, and I’d’ve sworn we just had one of these previews, but maybe not? Either way…a cheery sorta Hembeck image of the characters ready for 2020!


Neca, Target, and Turtle Two-Packs

Along with the Wednesday comic shop visit on the 11th, I also ducked into a Target across the street, in a vain attempt to find a certain two-pack of figures.

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I was rather shocked to actually find them…as I’d been in Target stores well over two-dozen times across the four weeks ending with December 11th (and at least 7 or 8 different Target locations amidst those!)

But I finally scored the only 2-pack I wanted from the new wave of classic-TMNT figures, and for retail price, rather than the 2X-3X pricing of scalpers.

‘Nuff said.

While I’m interested in Leatherhead coming up for the line, I have no particular interest in Slash, nor a pixelated Shredder. So if these waves continue to be the turtles themselves, re-issues of Foot Soldiers, and a pack of new characters, I would just hope that Leatherhead could be his own thing, or come paired with a Foot Ninja and that the 3rd wave is something that would NOT require such frustration and effort to track down.

I found this Bebop/Rocksteady pack the very day after I’d more or less officially decided to "give up" on the line, at least until after the new year, but since I was across the street from the Target figured what was ONE MORE try after so ridiculously many for the previous several weeks?

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The Weekly Haul: Week of November 6, 2019

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I’m pretty sure this was the cheapest Wednesday I’ve had in MONTHS…and that INCLUDES buying an Image Compendium volume!

Let’s get to the week’s books..!

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I’d totally forgotten about the "acetate covers" or whatever they’re called. DC has really lost me overall, so the only thing redeeming about it is…even WITH this "fancy cover" on Batman #82 (or is that City of Bane #82???) it still carries a $3.99 price point. Small "wins," right?

New issue of TMNT: Urban Legends…we’re well past the halfway-point for this series, and just a couple issues shy of where I’d gotten in on the original Image run of TMNT for a couple issues. Looking forward to catching up on the reading and getting to that point…as well as the series finally getting a proper ending of sorts. The primary drawback to me is that I still want to get the original Image issues…but ALL anyone ever seems to have at conventions and such IS the IDW stuff, be it the current ongoing, color classics, or whatever.

Spawn #302 puts us 2 issues past the big one, and we’re back to the regular price point of $2.99 that got me onto the title a few years ago. I’m getting REALLY sick of the variants even on this title…but at least with it "only" being $2.99, even if I get a variant, I can still get multiple copies for the price of a single Marvel.

We have yet another DC Dollar Comics release in Flashpoint #1. This one seems rather RECENT to me to be reprinting, even though–scarily enough to think about–it’s been 8 1/2 years since it first saw print! I suppose it’s fitting for this week with the City of Bane issue, given the Flashpoint Batman’s involvement in the ongoing stuff.

And the CORRECT-PAGE-ORDER edition of the DC Dollar Comics Batman #497 is out. I didn’t bother to try to exchange the original. I still had bought a $1 comic, and for "only" $1 I’m willing to buy it again, still for the nostalgia and all that. Of course, it’s gonna be a crappy time for back-issue buyers with no indicator on the cover that anything’s different or amiss about the issue.

The biggest surprise of the week for me was this Image Firsts Compendium vol. 3. I saw it and picked it up to look at–a curiosity. It’s been several years since I’d seen one of these as a new publication. I recalled having the first volume, so for "only" $5.99 I figured I’d add it to my collection. It reprints 8 or so #1 issues from Image, in a handy single volume and cheaper than even the Image Firsts $1 editions if you want "everything." AND when I got home and checked my existing collection…I DO already have both earlier volumes, so I’m adding vol. 3 to my collection without any gaps!

Finally, we have this week’s Comic Shop News, this time spotlighting Captain America: The End, which I believe is one of a bunch of pending one-shots giving more characters the The End treatment–a limited story to provide an "ending" to the character(s) in question. This is capitalizing on series from YEARS back like Hulk: The End, Wolverine: The End, and the 18-issue trilogy of 6-issue arcs making up X-Men: The End. Of course, these are sure to be $4.99+ an issue with too many splash pages and such…over-hype and under-delivery that turns me off to so much of Marvel‘s fare.

I’m not their target audience, so I just won’t buy what I don’t care for…more power to those who want the stuff and get what they pay for.

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