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Dollar Sale Haul: Comics & Friends March 25th, 2018

This past Sunday, Comics & Friends (a comic shop in the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor, Ohio) had a $1 sale, with a bunch of longboxes of books for $1 each! I almost didn’t go, but figured I hadn’t been there in awhile, it was an excuse to "get out" for a bit, and maybe I’d luck into something especially cool.

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I ended up snagging a number of #1 issues. I’d usually "feel bad" about just grabbing a #1…but these were basically "orphans," where it was just the #1, if not multiple copies of the #1. And where I saw the X comic on its own for $1, the entire issue of Hero Illustrated that had a copy bagged with it was available, so I went that route. And though I have an intense dislike of contemporary Valiant, I still enjoy the classic ’90s stuff… and a Rai paperback for $1 is well worthwhile!

I don’t think I ever snagged The Demon #1 before; I’m all about Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1’s "Collector’s Set" for the posters and such; Elfquest #1 here is in better shape, I think, than a previous copy I’d gotten at one point. Amidst a bunch of other Image #1s, I’m not certain if I already had Youngblood #1, and while several of the other early-Image #1s seem pretty common in bargain bins, I don’t often see this. I’ve long been aware of the Dinosaurs for Hire series, but pretty sure I never had this #1. I’m also not certain off the top of my head with The Ferret #1…though I would not be surprised either way (having or not already having) it.

And just because I remember Wizard magazine overhyping Gen13 #1 and claiming it into the $40 range at one point, I take a certain satisfaction in continuing to acquire copies of this issue and still not being anywhere near that sort of price range as a total.

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I snagged a random Myth Adventures issue (it caught my eye as something right outta The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu!); a Hero Illustrated promo comic of Concrete (I don’t recognize or remember it offhand…it may be from an issue I have yet to acquire); a "spare" copy of the promo Zero issue from DC (from its original Zero Month that followed the Zero Hour event). And then several "special" Marvel issues in Iron Man #300, Incredible Hulk #400, Avengers #375, The Secret Defenders #12, Incredible Hulk #418, and Fantastic Four #381. Anniversary issues, oversized and fancy foil/shiny covers or die-cut, and the "death" of Mr. Fantastic for a couple years. I’d typically consider these all to be 25-cent bin stuff, but I’m occasionally willing to go up to $1 or so like this "in the moment" and such.

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$1 each for "recent" New 52 issues with $5.99 and $4.99 cover prices is not bad. I didn’t buy into the blind-polybag-cover crap for the #50s at the time…but for $1, snagged Batman #50 and Batgirl #50; neither of which I owned before Sunday, offhand. And knowing I’ll eventually be wanting to fill in the ancillary Superman titles (Superman/Wonder Woman, Superman/Batman, Batman/Superman, etc.) snagged the first Batman/Superman Annual. I also snagged several "classic" ’90s Valiant issues that I think I probably already own, but they’re still in my phone as ones I was looking for, so I figured I’d get ’em just to be sure.


All in all, it was a bit more of an expensive purchase than I’d planned…but still kept it under $30. And a lot of these are ripe for potential/imminent The ’90s Revisited posts, so there’s that as well!

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The Weekly Haul – Week of December 3rd, 2014

This was a decent-ish week, if a bit clustered on the Valiant side…

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Three $1 books, three Valiants, and three DC weeklies.

Sadly enough I have a lot of catching up to do, so it was really hardly worth hitting the shop today, and I think I did so out of habit.

Three Valiant books in one week, in a five-Wednesday month…even without the extra week, if that were consistent it’d suggest 12 monthly books instead of 9ish. Perhaps this is the odd week, though.

The Weekly Haul – Week of August 27th, 2014

A fairly small week. I think I’ve dropped Batman Eternal, passing on it this week. (or at least, maybe I’ll be done with the weekly buying and catch up every few weeks or so).

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Given Valiant has about 9 titles, two in one week is a nice balance: Rai by itself, and X-O Manowar as the week’s Armor Hunters tie-in.

New issue of TMNT: Turtles in Time, and newest Letter 44 address the rest, with Superman as the lone DC/Marvel representative.

All in all a good week’s worth of comics. Best of all, kept things in the $20 range…

Rai #1 [Review]

Rai #1 Plus EditionWelcome to New Japan

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Clayton Crain
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Associate Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99 ($4.99 “Plus Edition”)

This is–even more than Unity–probably my most-anticipated new release title from Valiant. And while I normally avoid variant editions like a plague, I wound up picking up the “Plus Edition” when I found it a couple days after having bought/read the regular edition.

On the whole, I mostly prefer the regular edition…the only really worthwhile (to me) part of the “Plus” material was the map of Japan 4001 A.D. that gives a lot of detail to the various levels of the future country that can’t possibly fit in-story (at least not in a single issue). I really don’t care whatsoever for the “bonus” Spylocke stuff, and would have been quite content leaving that to what it was in the regular edition. The “selling point” of the “Plus Edition” is that these 16 pages of material won’t be reprinted in the collected edition…though somehow, I can’t see the map going for long without inclusion, as it could prove a very useful bit of information to have (at least in the eventual deluxe edition hardcover). I groused last year about DC‘s “poster” fold-out from Superman Unchained #1 and how that seemed pointless…seeing this map, this (again, to me) is exactly the sort of thing worthy of being a poster fold-out!

The bulk of the issue itself is focused on the fact that for the first time in a thousand years, a murder has been committed. This leads to the involvement of Rai–a guardian of Japan. Our viewpoint character is someone curious to see Rai “live,” to see this legendary figure, and we get a fair bit of context from her narration before we shift to getting the same from Rai himself.

This issue felt rather immersive, as I just sort of got lost in the reading and the exploration of this futuristic Japan. I was certainly influenced by knowledge of the classic version of Rai from the ’90s Valiant universe and what I’ve come to know of that version of the character. It’s that knowledge that made me all the more curious about what I’d find here, and to see what would be done with the character. As with many first issues, I found myself taking this in much as I would a tv show I was checking out–I recognize where we may have been introduced to supporting characters, though with only a single “episode” there’s little telling what will last and what’s just setup outside of the title character himself.

The story certainly interests me–I’m very much looking forward to the next issue–but I can’t just rattle off names of characters or anything on the initial read-through and re-perusal.

Visually, this is a beautiful issue–I really like the character designs, and nothing stood out to me as distraction. The art just fits the story and has something about it that just fits the title, the character, and the overall concept. It’s got a realism to it that I like but it still manages to be recognizably a comic and not something trying to be a photonovel or anything of that sort.

I don’t touch on covers (other than grousing about variants) as much as I ought, but this cover is–to me–possibly the most “iconic” of the Valiant issues this year, and probably for the entire current run of the publisher. The title logo is properly familiar yet simple and new; the cover image is really only about half the cover, but is nicely offset by the white bar with the logo (regular edition) and offset by black on the plus edition (which I like slightly better). The cover design itself is eye-catching and shows all the issue’s information clearly (publisher, issue #, title, creators) with a striking image of the main character.

Rai #1 Regular EditionTo me, this is the best of the Valiant launches–the title catches the eye from the cover, the interior is great visually, the story is engaging with a solid balance between divulging necessary information to hook me as a reader while leaving plenty of details to the imagination or future exploration, and simply leaves me quite interested in the next issue. Further strength lies in this being officially set in the Valiant universe, in the same time-period (4001 AD) as the most recent Eternal Warrior arc, and yet you don’t have to have read ANYTHING else from the publisher to “get” this story and its characters. This can be read entirely by itself, as nothing more than a sci-fi story set in a futuristic Japan.

While my ultimate preference would like in a singular edition with no variance in covers and content (even at a $4.99 instead of $3.99 price point), this is about as good as it gets when it comes to first issues these days. Whether you’ve read anything else from Valiant classic or present, if you enjoy sci fi or futuristic stories, or just something with a legendary guardian figure wielding a sword, I highly recommend checking this out, whichever edition you’d find.

A Haul Worthy of Comic Con

Hand in hand with “panels,” comic conventions–to me–mean cheap comics and from sources outside my usual stomping grounds. Yet, more and more lately I find that what dealers bring to local cons just can’t hold up to “everyday bargains” I find at local comic shops: whether it’s 75% of HCs/TPBs when Marvel blows stuff out, the plethora of cheap “sets” and “runs,” or just (what I consider to be) high-quality quarter-bin stuff.

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Right now, aside from wanting to fill out my TMNT collection, I’ve been working on my Ultraverse, Classic Valiant, ’90s Bat-books, and ’90s X-books collections. However, along with stuff for those “main” target areas, I’m a sucker for random single issues–especially with a shiny cover that would’ve cost $3+ 20 years ago but is now just 25 cents–as well as the random “run” of pretty much anything. (Say, 25 of 26 issues of Doom 2099 or 21 of 24 issues of Thunderstrike).

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I’ve loaded up on some great bargain-bin fare the last few weeks from three local comic shops: Kenmore Komics in Akron, JC’s in Cuyahoga Falls, and Comic Heaven in Willoughby (local when I visit my parents).

Above I show some Valiant stuff, including my $1/ea copies of Rai #6 (Leaves me with only one chapter of Unity to track down) and Rai #0.

comicsgreatestworldissues

I’m missing one single issue from having a (new) complete set of the Comics’ Greatest World original saga, and may research how long each of the spin-off ongoings went; though those series aren’t nearly as plentiful in bargain bins that I’ve seen.

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I grabbed Ultraverse Premiere #0 because…well, it was a mail-away, so not nearly AS common as other early Ultraverse books from this time. Hawkman and Universal Soldier I grabbed for shiny-ness.

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I grabbed the Freex issue as a cover I didn’t recognize off the top of my head. The Green Lantern issue I recall being a “hard to find” issue back in the day, so am quite amused at being able to get (yet another) copy for only a quarter. And Darkwing Duck? Darkwing is just awesome!

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I know I’d had at least one copy of Rune vs. Venom years back, but since officially beginning my Ultraverse quest, for the life of me I have NOT been able to locate it. Stumbling across it–a lone, random Ultraverse issue in a collection of primarily Marvel and some DC was quite a welcome bit of serendipity!

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X-O, Superman, and Doom just for the sake of shiny-ness. Especially X-O…I’m a sucker for these “chromium” covers!

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Detective Comics is going to be one of the harder series for me to fill in due to sheer longevity. Other series have come and gone, but Detective and Batman have 2-3 times as many issues to track down from the 1990s-2000s as any other single related title.

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…Of course, snagging 135 issues plus several annuals for Robin in one go is absolutely FANTASTIC, if only for convenience alone!

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The week after I’d bought the Robin 1-135 stack, I was given these: they’d been destined for that stack, but just hadn’t made it out. I would have gladly paid the $4ish for these, but welcome the “bonus” to what was already a great price for such a tremendous run in one go.

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A couple years ago I assembled a set of Eclipso: The Darkness Within. I’m presently intending to also build a set of Zero Hour, Armageddon 2001, and Bloodlines.

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…and thanks to this set, DC One Million, as I believe this is probably 2/3 of the entire ‘event’.

Wednesday, I’ll plan on showing off the more plentiful Marvel and X-Books bargain bin finds of late.

Officially on the Valiant Journey

valianttpbsI suppose it was official when I bought runs of Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, and Ninjak a couple weeks ago…but I think some part of me at that point was still thinking “just these series and maybe a couple more.”

BUT, with a deal at the local comic shop and a Fill-a-Longbox Sale at another nearby shop, I’ve jumped fully in: I want to track down a full reading copy of the Valiant Universe from the 1990s. I’ll settle for reprints/collected volumes if needbe–In 20+ years I’ve managed to never pay more than $10 before tax on any single comic issue…and I’d prefer to keep to that. Especially since I want to READ all the stories.

I feel like I’ve already learned a great deal about Valiant just in the past few days–both in-continuity stuff (Rai #0 in particular) as well as the comics themselves (thanks to listening to old episodes of a podcast: Only the Valiant).

While it would be interesting to try to chronicle my Valiant reading issue by issue (like my recent review treatment of Bloodshot #0 last week), I think that’d be folly–and I’d almost certainly “burn out” on it. So instead, I’ll probably just post here and there with random thoughts about the Valiant reading, and the occasional “coverage” of what I’ve been reading.

To that end, on the current journey thus far, I’ve read:

Bloodshot #0
Bloodshot #1
Bloodshot #2
Rai #0 (in the Rai TPB)

Valiant Comics FCBD 2012 Special [Review]

It wasn’t all that long ago that I got pulled in to the revival of Solar, Magnus, and Turok from Dark Horse and their Free Comic Book Day special that year. I credited (if only to myself) some of that to the retroactive nostalgia I had for the old Valiant titles, though these revivals were far closer to their original incarnations than the licensed Valiant versions from the early 1990s.

Now this year, Valiant is back, launched this very week with X-O Manowar #1. This FCBD issue proves something of a supplement to that, and while I was predisposed to at least try out X-O Manowar, this issue has me “sold” on trying the other titles as well.

This issue provides several pages from X-O #1 and next month’s Harbinger #1, and then moves much more into preview/promo material for the various pending Valiant titles. There’s a “dossier” with plenty of redactions (making the read rather frustrating) for Bloodshot. We also get single-page mini-interviews with Joshua Dysart (Harbinger), Duane Swierczynski (Bloodshot), Fred Van Lente (Archer and Armstrong), and Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar). The center of the issue is a double-page spread of the Valiant Universe (I’m tempted to pull it out and use it as a poster), and we also get teasers for two titles (Eternal Warrior, and Rai) to follow this first wave later this year in “Winter 2012” and “Spring 2013,” respectively.

As a Free Comic Book Day issue, this does a decent job–new fan or old, this is a new launch of Valiant titles, and this issue touches on the four launching this summer and successfully has me “sold” on the universe. However, I’m not all that impressed with its content in general, as this feels more like something that would have been put out ANYWAY, and I would have much preferred to see at least a half-length original story for FCBD instead.

But all in all, if you’ve any interest or curiosity in the Valiant stuff this is well worth snagging. Just be aware that it’s geared more toward selling you on other comics than being a truly stand-alone/independent issue of its own.

Rating: 6/10

The Return of Valiant (again)

image002Several years ago, I passed on pre-ordering a hardcover of the first X-O Manowar book from the “new” Valiant. I did get the Archer & Armstrong volume, and wound up picking up most of the singles in the months after that. I thought about them recently, though, idly, figuring it was another initiative that had shown plenty of promise, but fell by the wayside.

Then this press release showed up in my inbox this morning.


image003VALIANT COMICS TO RETURN; FORMER MARVEL CEO BECOMES CHAIRMAN

Company Announces Investment and Expansion of Management Team

New York, NY – June 2, 2011 – Valiant Entertainment, the character-based entertainment company with more than 1,500 characters in its library, announced it will reintroduce the critically acclaimed Valiant Universe in print and digital comics in 2012.  Valiant has hired accomplished industry executives and creative talent to expand its management team.  The first announcement is that former Marvel CEO and Vice Chairman Peter Cuneo has assumed the role of Chairman of Valiant.

Valiant Entertainment, co-founded by Jason Kothari and Dinesh Shamdasani, has received a capital infusion from private investment company Cuneo & Company, LLC.  Peter Cuneo, Managing Principal of Cuneo & Co., recently concluded ten years of leadership at Marvel Entertainment, which achieved one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in entertainment history during that period.  His tenure with Marvel concluded with Marvel’s sale at the end of 2009 to The Walt Disney Company for over $4 billion. Gavin Cuneo, Principal of Cuneo & Co., was an investment banker with Bank of America Merrill Lynch prior to the founding of Cuneo & Co.  He has spent over ten years working in investment banking and investment management and has been appointed to Valiant’s Board of Directors.  Peter and Gavin Cuneo are working closely with Valiant’s expanded management team to usher in the new era of Valiant.

“I am excited to be partnering with Peter and Gavin,” said CEO Jason Kothari. “Peter’s decade of leadership at Marvel, Gavin’s decade of experience on Wall Street, and their highly active roles with Valiant will be integral to our expansion.”

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