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A (solo) Birthday Trip and Haul

Getting older is a mixed thing. On one hand, I feel "old" and "older every year." On the other hand, I gotta count my blessings–especially that I still have both my parents, even at MY "old age" and grateful for THEIR continuing-to-increase old age.

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Without getting too deep into the "weeds" on stuff, I took a day off work and set out for some "distraction" to keep busy and not let myself "think" too much ABOUT another solo birthday and all that.

So I set off for Columbus, OH for the day. My plan was more or less a "mini version" of my "HPB Quest" from September 2019 where rather than trying to hit ALL of the HPBs I was aware of, I figured maybe I’d shoot for 3 and a comic shop or 2-3, a comic shop, and a couple Walmarts for some "toyhunting" or such.

BUT I’d also been thinking about trying to hit IKEA while I was down that way to hopefully score 2-3 Detolf display cases.

THEN I totally forgot to even plot out a route/note addresses and such, so I ultimately wound up picking the northernmost HPB and setting GPS for that one, planning to figure out the rest once I got there.

On the way, I actually had to go past Ikea Way, so plans changed a bit on the fly.


I went to the Half-Price Books and ended up scoring a few comics. More expensive than I wanted, but better pricing than I feel the HPBs in northeastern Ohio have.

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Found a handful of Uncanny X-Men 500s issues that the list I have in my phone indicated I was still missing. (although several seem really darned familiar so hopefully it’s just that I’ve seen them in the past and/or passed on them in the past due to price!

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And I could not pass up the Amazing Adventures issues.


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I decided to duck into the Walmart in the same plaza, and happened across a Raw10 figure I hadn’t even known would be out! "Hoof."

They also had some red "chase variant" of the character, but this thing’s too large for me to be bothering with odd-colored variants, "chase" or otherwise.


Since I was already really close to IKEA, I decided to go there next. And realized that it wasn’t as big as I’d imagined…yet soon found out it was more labyrinthine than I had.

And long story short, ultimately despite several COLORS existing, they only had ONE single Detolf letf in stock that I was able to buy…and I’d pretty much decided I was going to get at least 2, maybe 3, prior to discovering that last, lonely, single unit that remained. I couldn’t very well pass on it after so much time and such, so got it…but "only one" necessitates a return visit some other time…hopefully with "pre-ordering" a couple units ahead of time!

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So I’ve got my one…not sure if it’s gonna get put together today or not, but at least as of this typing, it’s still in its 2-box packaging to await assembly.


By this point I was a bit discouraged and decided I didn’t "have the heart" to run around to a bunch of HPBs. I remembered that a friend had recently posted about Big Fun Columbus where she’d gone with her kids, so I decided that I’d try that instead.

After a bit of an adventure trying to find and figure out parking (what ever happened to classic, MECHANICAL simple parking meters???) I was able to park and get into the store.

Where I found what I’ve been missing for close to 4 years since the Cleveland Big Fun closed in February 2018!

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One key purchase was this Cyber Samurai Mike. These came out "after my time" collecting the TMNT figures as a kid (though I have fond memories of the Archie comics 5-parter featuring these!) While a bit pricier than I’d prefer, the novelty of one of these now in my collection is well worth it…all the more when stacked against the novelty of a mere 6-10 new comics these days.

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I was going to get the Raph one but it was more expensive…AND had a tag on it that it was "incomplete." This one had no such note, and was $10 cheaper so I opted for this one. I don’t know that the other was missing much of note, but I do really dig this one! And bonus: it came with this "clip and collect" profile card! (already clipped and collected).

birtthdayhaul_marvel_legends_shikah_to_get_jeffWhen I’d first walked in, I found several "cheapo" loose figures that I was going to buy–some old Toy Biz X-related characters (I think I had a Gladiator and Weapon X at least). But I eventually decided to put those back, in favor of some other finds.

While looking (only intending TO LOOK) at the loose Marvel Legends figures, I noticed a little figure that really caught my eye. Did a double-tacke: nahhhh….couldn’t be! When the heck would they have made a Jeff the Land Shark figure?!?

But given the way they had the thing standing between another figure’s feet, I figured they probably came together, but asked anyway.

Sure enough, Jeff was not a "solo figure," and was part of a "package deal" including the character he was with.

Now, I’d had a price in mind, that I was willing to pay just for the little guy.

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And all the more as I had absolutely no clue who the character was that he came WITH, I was thrilled that the PAIR were a mere $10! (Which was cheaper than what I was prepared to pay for JUST Jeff!) Some post-trip internet sleuthing (aka "Googling") tells me the character is Shiklah, and was released in a wave of Marvel Legends back in 2020 or so. I remember seeing that wave in stores…I’m sure I even SAW this one, including Jeff! But that was BEFORE I was consciously aware OF Jeff or had any interest at all in the character.

The figure came with a small wire "doll stand," which also added value for me…even discarding Shiklah, that leaves me a figure stand and Jeff for less than what I would gladly have paid just for Jeff!

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There was an old card catalogue unit that–rather than cards–had a bunch of small figures and accessories. I spotted one drawer labeled "minimates" and decided to peek. Spotted what had to be–and indeed turned out to BE–Steel. Not a horrible price….but BONUS! That price INCLUDED a Cyborg Superman! So…not a bad purchase at all! And I added the bag to my basket.

birtthdayhaul_vintage_ish_aprilWhile still having the Cyber Samurai turtle on the brain, I found a bin of classic loose figures for $5/each. Not bad, but they were mostly early non-turtles figures that I already had…mostly from my own ORIGINAL childhood collection.

I did find a variant April O’Neil that I don’t think I had, so I grabbed that.

I also found two Triceratons and was all set to grab those, too, as army-builders…but then noticed they had no tail.

That explained the $5, I guess. And not caring to bother with online prices and hassles for "replacement" tails, I opted to pass on those.

The lack of "finds" here solidified my intent to get the Cyber Samurai Turtle, so this was when I decided to put back the other bagged/loose figures.

I was also going to get a Batman Beyond/Batman 2-pack but cool as it was, I only really wanted the Batman Beyond and otherwise find myself–overall–so sick and tired of BATMAN at this point with the dozen or so (seemingly!) Batman comics out every single week that it was not hard to talk myself out of getting it.

I’d also spotted some figurines that appealed to me…and while they ratcheted me way above what I wanted to spend for the day, I knew I’d be kicking myself if I "passed" on them.

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Rogue, and Gambit. Especially with both figurines being present, and these being older units…I figured it was not likely I’d come across them again, so might as well suck it up and buy ’em while I could.

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While I was willing to pay what I did for them–about 4-5 comics’ price each–there was an unexpected bonus!

They had the "books" that the figures came with! They were filed away, so I had a few minutes to continue looking around while the store employee went to pull those. Since I was willing to pay for just the figurines themselves (knowing that as "originals" they’d have come with the books) I was not about to turn down the books….and I really like these, too!

While I had those few extra minutes looking around…I found some old Wolverine and Wolverine and the X-Men figures from back in 2008 or so, when the first X-Men: Origins movie hit, and that animated series. I still have a bunch of those figures–loose–somewhere but I need to dig them out.

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Considering Marvel‘s (Hasbro‘s) 3.75" figures are about $10…seeing this 12-13-year-old figure still in packaging for $5, I decided I might as well snag it as well as part of my purchase, if only because I like the yellow on this a bit better than my (memory) of a 3.75" Wolverine I already have from around this time.

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So all in all….an expensive, frivolous, but fairly satisfying "haul" for my own birthday.


And between the drive to and from Columbus, between stores, and time IN stores…it was definitely a full day’s trip, which kept me busy/occupied and distracted for the day.

Not exactly what I’d had in mind or intended going into the day…but can’t really complain much with the outcome.

Especially as the haul rivals that of any convention, minus the admission cost and other convention frustrations.

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Rogue Two

Ok, ok…so that post title is a little off. Rogue One, Rogue Two…whatever.

Wholllllle different Rogue.

I (finally!) got around to getting my retro-style Marvel Legends Rogue out of her packaging. AND I had a spare stand, so I’m able to have her in flight/levitating rather than just standing pretty or such.

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Not the greatest of backgrounds, but had the photo from sharing with a friend. There’s a stereo speaker back there, as well as the Lightning Collection Red Ranger helmet and White Ranger helmet. And bonus points if you recognize the poster!

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I’d also recently received the Iron Studios Rogue Art Scale 1/10 statue. Apparently I had pre-ordered this all the way back in 2019, and it finally arrived.

Particularly compared to the Legends figure, this one seems a bit subdued color-wise, and a lot more "detailed," where the Legends figure is brighter and more comic/cartoon-based.

This statue is definitely not a figure–and cost at least 6 times what the Legends figure did–and is impressive in its own right. I believe this one is part of a numerous-character set that along with a $1200+ Sentinel can make up a huge diorama.

Unfortunately (but fortunately for my wallet!) I wouldn’t begin to have room to properly display such a full set, so I’ve stuck with Rogue here. Though I suppose a Wolverine and Cyclops wouldn’t be out of the question; nor Gambit. Except for the price. (Though I’d rather pay the price for a Cyclops statue in this line than a similar or greater price just because the Legends figure is "out of print"!)

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of November 18, November 25, December 2, and December 9, 2020

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Despite much intention to the contrary, wound up at the point that I’m covering another 4 weeks at a time here/now, rather than keeping up week to week! To a certain degree, I think I’m counting myself lucky I’m doing this much and that this blog isn’t completely "dead"…

This week, getting into comics bought as "new issues" over the past few weeks…


Week of November 18

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GI Joe: A Real American Hero gets to its 275th issue with the conclusion/10th chapter of the 10-part Snake Hunt story. #275…and the numbering dates back to the 1980s; having begun with a bridging issue #155 1/2 before picking up with #156 and continuing for an additional 120 issues now under IDW. 2 1/2 more years and THIS run will match the original Marvel run!

The newest issue of Batman (#103) and the newest The Walking Dead Deluxe (#3) add to both of those series.

The newest issues of Usagi Yojimbo and Catwoman; and the second issue of a new (mini?)-series Commanders in Crisis. I apparently neglected to finish the first issue, but on the likelyhood of enjoying it well enough, snagged the next issue.

Several $1 comics with the True Believers reprints for the first appearance of the Thunderbolts, and another symbiote thing with Venom. And hey…DC actually still put out a $1 reprint with a Sandman issue!

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Comic Shop News, and I couldn’t resist snagging an extra copy of the Thunderbolts/Hulk issue. I love that cover…soooo much nostalgia. AND hey…I support $1 reprints, and all the more like this. I’d rather this than modern variants…as usual!


Week of November 25

Thanksgiving week was an odd week of sorts.

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New Spawn, new Snake-Eyes: Deadgame, new (and final, I think!) Sandman Universe: John Constantine, Hellblazer issue in #12. I also snagged available back-issues #s 8 and 11. I need to figure out where exactly I originally left off to see what I’m filling in from to just have the single issues.

And of course, several $1 True Believers reprints.

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And the usual Comic Shop News, plus the CSN Christmas Special 2020.

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While out ‘n about, snagged this Rogue Figpin at Target. I’m a sucker for the character.

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Backtracking slightly…at a "Black Friday Week" sale, I snagged about 260 bargain-bin issues…the vast majority of them being X-Men and related issues, largely bringing me to having a bunch of stepping-stones leading my collection ahead from where I was going to let stuff peter out at AvX at the latest (2012) to the pre-Hickman Uncanny X-Men volume.

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And then I went back on Black Friday itself and wound up with another 296 bargain X-books, which I spent ages thoroughly going through and organizing at the shop to avoid duplicates. Even bargain-priced, at this quantity I was NOT keen to add a bunch of duplicates WITHIN THE SAME PURCHASE, let alone same-week and such. The Star Trek/X-Men issue hit a certain nostalgia for me conceptually and by the cover…I WILL READ THAT SOMEDAY!

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Also while out on Black Friday, I found these two "retro" Marvel Legends/Hasbro figures on a standalone cardboard display at Target. I’d seen posts earlier in the week about them being due out, and was actually IN Target specifically over Walmart or such because I wanted to look for these, in whatever VAIN attempt it’d be by late-afternoon BLACK FRIDAY.

But they had them.

So, having these in my cart I went ahead and did my other grocery-shopping (the very reason stores like Target DO these stupid EXCLUSIVES to begin with!).

However, APPARENTLY these had a "do-not-sell-until" notice of 11/29–a SUNDAY. (WHAT toy-drop is SUNDAY rather than say, Friday?!? What the heck…really?!?) While I "get" release dates and such, not being STEEPED in the stuff and knowing EXACT DATES and all that, it was EXTREMELY ANNOYING. They wouldn’t sell the thing, despite someone putting street-dated materials out (how does THAT even happen?!?). They wouldn’t even HOLD the things for me (Don’t they do layaway? Don’t they do online pre-ordering? If they were not allowed to take my in-hand cash or in-hand debit card on 11/27, couldn’t they at least put these things that I came into the store for, that I had in-hand, that THEIR people had put out, so that I could return to buy them "guaranteed" in 38-40 hours or so?)

As they refused…I let them know they’d need to void the rest of the sale, and gave them my cart…and walked out of the store empty-handed.

"But Walt, you have a picture of the figures…didn’t you actually get them?!?"

While I had no alarms set at any other point in the week, not even for Black Friday itself…I did for that Sunday. I was in the Target parking lot at 6:55am and walking in with several others at 7am on the dot. One person went straight to the Hot Wheels while I found the cardboard display…which had had at least 4each of Rogue and Gambit 36-38 hours earlier. Now only had ONE each. (So, if they COULD NOT and WOULD NOT sell them or hold them…where’d all the others go?!?). Semi-grudgingly re-grabbed a couple grocery items, bought everything, and got out by 10 after 7.

…the pork chops I bought were expired and we got snowed in before I could return them. Ugh.


Week of December 2

And all that catches us up to "current" with the week AFTER Thanksgiving and such! With being snowed-in for a few days…it turned out that the previous week’s shopping was the last time I would buy comics in my ’30s.

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Newest issue of Fire Power…and I’ve read up to #5, so I can read it without problems. Newest issue of The Walking Dead Deluxe. Also up to previous issue on reading, so can dive in. Batman #104? Yup…read 100-103 so "up to date"…can dive on in. TMNT: Jennika II #2? Read the first issue, can dive on in.

E-Ratic #1…it’s a first issue, so free to dive right in. Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Wonder Woman/War of the Gods…one-shot. Free to dive right in.

I can’t remember the last time I had a week’s worth of new comics that were NOT tied up in stuff I’m behind on reading. THIS is how it should always be.

THIS is the way.

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I spotted Dawn of X vols 9 & 10. I already had up to 7. Asked after 8 and we found it, so I was able to snag all 3 to again be up to date on these paperbacks. Farrrrrr better, to me, than trying to get individual titles’ volumes.

I’m gonna be monumentally ticked-off if Marvel discontinues these. But as of now, I have MORE FAITH in them continuing these, than I do in DC of ANY particular "line," be it imprint, collected volumes, graphic novels, or even group of titles. So Marvel‘s got that for the moment.

Though this means I have 10 of these stacked up waiting to be read in their entirety.

Can’t read what I don’t have, though.

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AND I figure these SHOULD be more affordable at this point than trying to gather first prints (aka "actual real regular cover editions") of the single issues. $17.99 for 6 $3.99 issues’ worth of content…that’s like gett 25% off even at full cover price. $3 an issue…beats the heck outta $3.99. And having ‘everything’ collected together lets one follow along with ‘everything’ rather than getting lost or having to jump between umpteen volumes.


Week of December 9, 2020

Wow…December 9th proved to be a really large week of new stuff for me!

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I definitely feel like Donny Cates is vastly over-hyped…and the backmatter ads in Crossover #2 did nothing but reinforce that for me. That said…I’d tried Crossover #1 and enjoyed it and decided to snag #2. (Enjoyed it well enough, also).

Newest issue of TMNT–#112 here–means this concludes the first YEAR’s worth of issues post-#100. In a world where it seemed like Marvel was largely unwilling to have books go much past #12, TMNT has topped that by 100! Of course, I don’t feel like there’s been much of INTEREST in the title in ages. Been sorta curious on some stuff, been some nice panels, but 12 issues now and it’s like…."everyone’s a mutant, Hob and Mutanimals are bad!" No Shredder, not MUCH of stuff with Splinter…overall I feel like this is a whole different title and that the title I was reading and enjoying as much as I was ceased last year!

Alien: The Original Screenplay concludes here with #5. Also MAY be THE last Alien publication from Dark Horse. So, how about THAT, speculators?!? Go buy this thing in large quantities becuause everyone’s waiting for Marvel to take over the property, who gives a darn about this? Besides ME, that is?

Then GI Joe: A Real American Hero #276…we begin the final march to #300! As touched on above with #275, this is the 121st issue of the series from IDW. And even at ONLY 121, that’s still above every other legitimately-numbered, North American-published title!

Two issues of Usagi Yojimbo; #15 of the current ongoing series, and #1 of a new Color Classics run. I cannot say I’m pleased at the format of "only" 6-7 issues and a gap, then another 6-7 issues and new cycle of 1-whatever. But if it gets stuff republished and all, I’ll live with it.

That’s six issues for the week already. Finally, an actual DC book in Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint. It’s a TFTDM issue, so…yeah. Why not? Though the conceit’s largely wearing off and I haven’t been quite as thrilled with these as I (think?) I was last year. They seem like TOO MUCH of a tie to Death Metal, which I’ve specifically avoided in and of itself.

I noticed Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #3, and realized I’d completely missed #2! And it primarily caught my eye because of having recently come across my #1 and wondered how many issues I’d missed. Checking "recent back issues," I found #2, and so–DESPITE these being a whopping $4.99 each!!!–I snagged #3 and #2. These displaced Dark Nights/Death Metal: The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 that I’d actually picked up and had in my pile. $9.98 for 2 issues or $8.99 for one issue tying into an event I’ve been avoiding? Where other specials are such speculator-fueled things that I won’t ever easily be able to snag the singles anyway? Yeahhhh…that’s enough that even otherwise being "interested" in the issue, I was willing to put it back.

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And then there’s Amazing Spider-Man volume whatever #54. Standard, NON-variant cover…grabbed my attention. It’s generic enough, but when you’ve got thousands upon thousands of Spider-Man issues out there over 50+ years, they blend together anyway. But this reminded me of a holographic issue from the ’90s, and of a scene from the 2002 film, and something about it reminded me of classic early-2000s Ultimate Spider-Man. And darned if Bagley isn’t credited on the issue, so that was DEFINITELY a well-founded, nostalgic reaction on my part for good reason! So for being a REGULAR cover and grabbing my attention as it did…against otherwise "better judgement" I bought the issue. NOT some giant-size anniversary special. Not some over-hyped speculator-fueled thing. Just a great cover. We’ll see if I even get around to READING it and what that does.

Finally, snagged the Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Future Imperfect for $20…an EXCELLENT price for such a thick volume! (50% off cover price). The volume collects issues in the early-400s, so a rather nostalgic period for me back in the ’90s. Where the Marneus Calgar issues trumped Last Stories of the DCU…this trumped the Adventureman hardback that I was also considering. Such is the week-to-week and a good deal at the same time as something well-priced, etc.

And Comic Shop News has a story on Marvel doing a "variants theme month" for the Marvel Masterworks line; as well as a Winter Preview.

$44 for new issues and a $20 tpb + tax…oof. And I used to think $20/wk was huge. I’m counting on this being a matter of the month being front-loaded with stuff ahead of the week OF Christmas and that infamous week between Christmas and New Year. Incidentally, I see that December 2020 is a 5-Wednesday month,so…c’est la vie.


Hard to believe we’re already nearly halfway through December. Three more Wednesdays in 2020. Who knows what 2021’s gonna hold?

So much for me having much to say to wrap up this post. Considering this post comes from at least 3 different typing sessions…everything’s disjointed anyway.

Later this week, should have the final Super-Blog Team-Up of the year.

And other than maybe a couple more of these Weekly Haul posts…who knows if/what else I’ll get posted before the year ends.

IF the year ends.

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Comics "Grails" Update: Early October 2020

2020 has certainly been a heckuva year. While I believe it was spring 2019 that I acquired Uncanny X-Men #266 in "my price range," I feel like it’s really been this year that I found myself much more proactively seeking out "grails."

That is, specific comics that I’ve wanted for a long time, and/or that I canNOT "simply" go to mycomicshop.com or such and place an order when the localest shops don’t have the issue(s).

Whether it’s that online shops and sellers I know of don’t have the issue(s) period or that they’re not in my price range, at the start of the year, I made a list of grails I planned to seek through the year at the various shows and conventions…having no idea (obviously) of what 2020 would be.


It’s been years, I think, since I’d made it to one of the Harper shows in the area. But things fell into place and I was able to attend the Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival on October 4th at the Westlake Hilton.

It was about what I remembered; I went in knowing it would basically be a "dealer room," and got what I expected. However, it seemed a bit more open, and much less crowded than shows past…which was obviously a good thing.

Ohio, so masks required; AND for the first time in everything this year, a place where my temperature was taken before admission. Apparently I was slightly cool–so be it! No fever here.


Once in, I loosely scanned the place. I had zero intent of squeeeeezing in between people or crowding/being crowded. I spotted a booth/table with some open space and checked stuff out.

I noticed a box with a tab for TMNT, and browsed. Not much selection…more TMNT Adventures than I’d have expected, and I nearly let it go at that, but did a second flip-through…and spotted a cornerbox referencing Fall 1994. Thinking there’s no freaking way… I pulled the issue up…to see that image. THE TMNT Special #10 cover I’ve been looking for! My top/#1 grail book. The issue that–to the best of my knowledge–completes my collection of every TMNT issue published by Archie.

And it was only $10!

Browsing a bit further, I found a Spawn issue–#135–for a decent price, and snagged that.

After browsing a few more booths–mainly checking for Uncanny X-Men #141 for a decent-to-me price or Avengers Annual #10 for same–I found a good-looking copy of Avengers Annual #10…and was shocked to see it priced at $10! I’ve had $30 in mind for awhile…so $10 was absolutely worthwhile to me!

AND…that was TWO GRAILS in short order at one single show!

I even got to thinking how "freeing" it felt to be "able to" consider some of the higher-priced books. Even though I’d still topped out at $10 for any given issue at the show…I was actually looking at "wall books" and considering issues!

Yet further into the show, browsing for the facsimile edition of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (the wedding issue), I’d come across a few copies of the original edition. $30 for the newsstand "Spider-Man and MJ" cover. $25 each at another booth for my choice of the "Spider-Man" or "Peter Parker" cover. I wanted the "Peter Parker" cover. $22 for the "Spider-Man" cover at another booth. And then…jackpot, Tiger! A copy of the "Peter Parker" cover…for $8!

Considering I went into the show prepared to (grudgingly) pay $10 for the facsimile edition…$2 less for an original was ABSOLUTELY fine-by-me!

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At that point, I was ready to call it a day overall. I wasn’t seeing Uncanny X-Men #141 at all to even price-compare; and me being me I prefer to browse without questioning if dealers have an issue–I go with face value WYSIWYG. At shows like this, I’m going for impulse-buys…not extended deals, possible phone calls and such. Either it’s there and in my price range or it’s not; end of story.

I found a booth with a mix of issues that somehow caught my attention. Spotted a copy of the Superman issue with a familiar cover from my youth…Must There Be a Superman? For $5. And as I’m getting to be a broken record about…considering a meaningless 1 of a dozen covers latest issue of WHATEVER is often $5 nowadays, $5 for a decades-old back issue doesn’t phase me anymore. (Not to mention depending on the issue and condition, being willing to go higher than I ever dreamed as a kid…and as I think I’ll get to below). Also snagged a copy of Superman Adventures #1. I am not sure if I already have the issue or not, but it seemed well worthwhile to me, and again…good for the price!

As I was paying, I noticed a wall book–Uncanny X-Men #158…for $10. With #s 141, 143, and 158 being the three issues I was missing between #141-421…I’d been mildly curious as to why no one seemed to have #158. This copy was marked with a note of being the first appearance of Rogue (as Avengers Annual #10 has always been that to my understanding, I take it 158 is the first Uncanny X-Men appearance of the character!). But if it’s at all a first appearance or second appearance or whatever…that explained its scarcity for casual browsing and the like.

Though I’d had the $5 in mind on the Superman issues, they were actually discounted a bit. As I was pulling out my wallet for the extra couple dollars to add the X-Men issue to my purchase, the guy paused on grabbing my change…and said we’ll call it even! So, actually got the issue for a little less than the $10…which made an EXCELLENT capping-off point for the show for me!

Including admission, I spent less than $65. While I hadn’t had Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 on my "grails list," it was absolutely a "grail" going in, or rather, the facsimile edition was.

The TMNT issue, the Avengers issue, and the Spider-Man issue were all issues I’d resigned myself to being in the $30 range each…but $28 scored all three of them for me.

Having several other issues I’m very satisfied with to own were welcome bonuses; as well as checking off another X-Men issue before it gets to the point of being elevated to an individual-issue "grail" status

All that said…it’s time to update the grails lists.


Default text==no change
Green==change/addition
Grey Strikethrough==acquired

Individual-issue ‘Grails’

  • TMNT Adventures Special #10 (Fall 1994)
  • Prime #1 (hologram cover, silver OR gold)
  • Uncanny X-Men #141 (~$30-40)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #1 (~$100; 3rd print)
  • Avengers Annual #10
  • DC Comics Presents #26 (~$20-30)
  • Dreamwave TMNT #7 ($5-10)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) #44 ($5-10)
  • Uncanny X-Men #143 (~10)
  • TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #1
  • Wolverine (1988) #145 (foil edition)


High-interest Multis:

  • Spawn #s 132-134, 136-256
  • Uncanny X-Men #s 422, 455, 460, 464, 465, 467, 481, 482, 489, 492, 493, 494, 501, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 511, 513, 514+
  • Archie C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa (vol. 1) #s 1-3
  • Archie C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa (vol. 2) #s 1-3
  • Mirage TMNT #s 3-5
  • Mirage TMNT vol. 2 # 10
  • Mirage Tales of the TMNT vol. 1 #s 1-5
  • Mirage Casey Jones/Raphael #s 2-4
  • Mirage Donatello: The Brain Thief #4
  • Image TMNT #s 1-18, 21+

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Showing Off the Shelves: Kotobukiya X-Men ’92

Earlier in the year, I discovered the Kotobukiya line of X-Men ’92 figures/models/statues.Where I’d originally only intended to get Rogue and Gambit, that quickly expanded until finally, I wound up with the entire line (that I’m presently aware of)!

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Professor X and Phoenix/Jean Grey were the only figures to come as single-characters, all the rest came in packs of 2. Jubilee came with Wolverine, and Storm came with Bishop.

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Gambit and Rogue came together, which is what set me off on this entire line. Cyclops and Beast make up the final pair.

The Bishop/Storm set was the most expensive for me, and I paid more than I’d have preferred–still a bit of buyer’s remorse there–but after missing one heckuva sale price at Black Friday, I decided to splurge and order them from BigBadToyStore just to HAVE them and not have to worry about them becoming even MORE extremely-exspensive if they’re "out of print" or such.

Despite that/leaving the cost off to the side…I really dig the set, and would certainly prefer to see more releases for it.

Most immediately, a "regular" Jean Grey, perhaps paired with a Morph (possibly with an "extra" head for "Dark Morph"); and then of course, some villains.

Magneto and Mr. Sinister would be definites for me, along with Apocalypse, perhaps Mystique, Blob, Pyro, and Avalanche. Perhaps swap Juggernaut for Mr. Sinister if we’d keep to the first season, though Jean in her Phoenix form is from beyond the 2nd season, even, so…yeah.

It’d even be great to see a sentinel, perhaps…though for the price of these-sized figures, I hate to consider what a Sentinel would cost from Kotobukiya!

Despite wanting more…this present set pretty much perfectly fits on two "floating" wall shelves I bought on Amazon; it wasn’t until I was mounting the shelves to the wall that I realized they’d be good for these figures.

I may look into getting some more of these shelves in the new year when I do some re-arranging of the basement space; I have a number of ideas there (plus thoughts toward some alternate shelving as most of my shelves have bowed significantly, and I reconfigure the overall space a bit to accommodate the last couple of years).

Time will definitely tell, though…as always!

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of January 02 & January 09, 2019

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Despite my best intentions, starting 2019 out with doubling up on the "Weekly Haul" posting. Some planned changes/updates with logos and such also hasn’t happened yet for the blog, so rather than a hard break with the year, stuff’ll just roll out as it rolls out! Even this post’s "logo" above is not the final version, but I was messing with stuff the other day and decided I’d toss it up, whether it gets used just this once, or becomes a regular. If you’ve any thoughts on it, feel free to leave a comment!


Week of January 2nd, 2019

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The first week of the year started out pretty small, with only a handful of issues. I don’t recall, nor do I care to check back, but I’m not sure if we had an issue of Heroes in Crisis in December, even–of course, this is only by a week, so negligible, but whatever. Much as I’ve liked this writer’s Batman stuff, I’m really not caring for this event…it doesn’t feel like anything’s really HAPPENING. Or not enough per issue. But 4 issues in, and it NOT being $4.99, nor has it slipped to some bi-monthly (or less-frequent) schedule, so I’m probably in for the entire thing at this point…if only to see what comes of it.

It also seems that Action Comics slipped slightly…with #1001 having come out in July, January should see #1007.

While it’s fitting that Marvel (in particular!) honor Stan Lee…it appears to me that they’re only doing so by removing the logos but keeping regular images for covers. To me, that just makes these look like DC variants, and since the cover images don’t incorporate his likeness in any way or such, and it’s not like they’re putting the black memorial band OVER a logo. And given his own large/over-the-top/grandiose-ness…it seems to me a disservice to hide the big, bold logos and such of the characters that directly or tangentially are here because of him.

And Marvel sure wasted NO TIME rushing a ton of Conan stuff out. Much as they did four years ago with Star Wars. And frankly, that really puts me off quite a bit; as well as apparently having a couple more series debuting soon, and just…flooding the market. I opted to get this first issue just to try, but haven’t gotten around to reading it, and have yet to hear anything all that good about it.


Week of January 09, 2019

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This week was definitely a bigger week with more stuff out…though it also annoyed me to a certain degree.

Firstly, we get the premiere of the new Young Justice series with the new Young Justice #1. I quite enjoyed the issue, and look forward already to the next!

This is a Batman week, with both Batman and Nightwing out. I need to catch up on READING Nightwing OR just cut my losses and drop the title. Time’ll tell on that.

We’ve got the premiere of the new iteration of Brubaker and PhillipsCriminal title. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of this title in the past (and particularly remember the 10th anniversary issue!) so definitely giving this issue a shot…though I’ll likely trail off and wind up going with the collected editions. Again…time’ll tell.

The week had TWO issues of Aliens stuff. The conclusion of the 4-issue Dust to Dust mini. and the 3rd of (I believe) 4-issue adaptation of Gibson‘s screenplay for Alien3. I’m pretty sure I’ve wound up with variant covers for both series, just trying to get issues, and Dark Horse is back to the seemingly-rigid 4-issue cycles, so I’ve pretty much decided that for the multiple variant covers every issues and preferring the full(er) stories I’ll get the final issue of this Alien3 thing and then I’m done with the single issues. "Nostalgia" might prompt me to go against this if they do another Fire and Stone or Life and Death-style saga, but otherwise, at least collected volumes don’t USUALLY come with a bunch of variants!

And finally, we’re halfway through Adventures of the Super Sons now, and I have got to get the previous series and all 6 of these pulled together to get caught up on my reading.


I’m really looking forward to the new TMNT: Shredder in Hell mini that starts with the week of January 16th; as well as getting Bendis‘ "backstory" filled in on Jon Kent’s missing time between the end of the Rebirth stuff and his run (or the flashbacks, technically, from Bendis Man of Steel).

And depending on how the week shakes out, I may do a couple other posts soon for some other acquisitions of "stuff." As I’m repeating through this post, though…time will tell!

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of November 28 & December 5, 2018

Despite the sincerest of intentions to get this blog back into a more regular schedule…time just keeps getting away from me. AND I’ve been keeping vague due to some stuff in my personal life that I haven’t opted to put out in "public" just yet–despite time flying on it all!

So here we are, doubling up again on two weeks’ worth of weekly hauls…the day before a new one!


Week of November 28, 2018

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This bunch of issues includes the newest Action Comics and Heroes in Crisis. I "gave in" and bought the Nuclear Winter Special as a giant-size issue. It’s "only" 80 pages (compared to the Walmart 100-page issues) but still, it’s like a small paperback…and I’m often a sucker for these issues with a title on a spine.

I’ve yet to read the thing, but decided to try the IDW-published Marvel Action: Spider-Man issue. I don’t pretend to totally "get" Marvel "farming out" stuff like this, but I’ll take it as an IDW comic…and it’s a #1 but at "only" $3.99 instead of Marvel‘s "preferred" $4.99+ for #1 issues. And I need to sort through and figure out what I do and don’t have now for Die!Die!Die!…I may have missed an issue, and at this point probably should have "just" waited for the paperback.


Week of December 5, 2018

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Starting off December, we get Batman #60 and Nightwing #54. Also a new Shazam! series. The second issue of which apparently is already running somewhat late, and I believe this issue is itself "late," which does not bode well to me. But I’m curious about the character and where things are going, and I am a Captain (DC) Marvel fan to a certain degree, so…yeah.

I was willing to get The Merry X-Men Holiday Special as it’s a one-shot, and I’m curious about the series of single-page stories/vignettes. And much more willing to pay a bit more for a one-shot than a bunch of mini-series or simply #1 issues of supposed ongoings.

Adventures of the Super Sons is a habit-buy. I probably shouldn’t be buying it…I don’t think I’ve actually read an issue since the first couple of the previous series…but I keep telling myself I’m going to read the things (and having had some issues, was not going to double-dip switching to paperbacks, nor be "missing" a volume).

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Then there’s Die and Self Made….

Here’s Sarah, who spotted me getting photos real quick for this blog post.

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I’m not sure what it was for the week, but I decided to also grab a couple of new Image #1s in Die and Self Made (or is that Self/Made?). I should probably "know better" than to do that, but c’est la vie and all that.

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As a birthday present to myself last week, I got this Rogue pvc statue from the Marvel Gallery line from Diamond Select. I really like this one…and while I wish there were more X-Men characters available (Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Gambit, a ’90s costume Rogue, etc) I’m happy at least to have this one.

For more about it, check out FigureFan Zero‘s review of it at his blog. I actually knew about this from something he had posted on Twitter several weeks ago, and credit that with me knowing to look for this!


As we’re nearing the end of 2018, I probably ought to start figuring out firstly the "state of the blog" given the last couple of years, as well as stuff going on in my personal life, and the seemingly completely-inversed matchup of intent vs. actuality and time and all that.

Perhaps I’ll get to some sort of year in review, maybe something at the start of the new year…time will tell. For now–for this week–only time will tell if I’ll be back with anything else.

Though my own output has waned of late, please feel free to check out the Facebook Page for links to all of my posts, as well as links to a number of fellow bloggers and other content creators! I also occasionally post random photos there, and mini-rants and such on links that could almost be blog posts themselves if I was so inclined.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of June 20, 2018

This was a mixed week, and included a rather unexpected purchase on my part!

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For one thing, I seem to have missed Executive Assistant Iris from Aspen twice. And where I’d meant to get the new issue of that, I actually bought the new Fathom #1 instead, because of getting the 25-cent Primer.

Then there’s X-Men Gold #30. I haven’t touched the series since #1, and had zero intent to–even with the wedding in question. But I’d discovered a major spoiler on Bleeding Cool that made me decide I very definitely wanted to get this issue. This doubles in the unexpected category for the cover: this is an extremely RARE example of my opting to buy a variant over a standard cover. Given the spoiler, it’s this bagged variant that has the image that I wanted. I may well talk about the issue later, but not passing the spoiler along for now.

Then there’s the new Man of Steel and Batman issues for the week…getting us ever closer to the end of Man of Steel and the return of ongoing Action Comics and Superman titles, and leaving us with the very next issue of Batman being the 50th…and "the wedding issue."

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I also opted to partake in a sale, with three $34.99-cover-priced books for $6 apiece. I don’t do much Marvel these days, but for this sort of pricing, and the material in question…very much worth it, ESPECIALLY considering each was a mere $1 more than a standard Marvel #1 issue.

Nothing huge beyond that…definitely a simple-ish week!

Next week looks to be a bit bigger…hopefully not in a major sticker-shock sort of way!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of May 2, 2018

The week of May 2nd was an interesting one for comics for me. Not that big a week in itself, but the week did provide a couple of "firsts" for me!

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This week had the release of DC Nation #0, kicking off 3 events. A Batman one, a Superman one, and a Justice League. I was also able to get a store-exclusive edition that I’ve been looking forward to…I’m a sucker for art like this featuring the shop-cat, Winston. I also snagged the Superman cover with an excellent shirt-rip, as it was "only" $3. I virtually never buy such variants, let alone one marked with such a high ratio…but while something 12 times the cover price is usually prohibitive for me…$3 was not prohibitive.

Then there’s the Action Comics Special, which gave Dan Jurgens a final issue to wrap stuff up before Bendis takes over the franchise. The new issue of Batman has the second issue of this Booster Gold arc. And the second chapter of the Batman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke.

I wasn’t sure if I was gonna continue with GI Joe: A Real American Hero, but like the look of this Special Missions arc focusing on solo characters. Being able to get the "A" cover was also a good thing.

The final issue of this Rogue & Gambit series I think finishes off my Marvel buying in terms of new issues for awhile. I passed on Avengers due to the renumbering, and am so sick and tired of renumbering that I just have near-zero interest in Marvel, period, at this point.

An exception to that is the True Believers $1 issues.

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I think the highlight of the week for me, though, is the Action Comics #1000 poster–in one giant sheet, it shows all 1000 standard/regular/"A"/basic covers from #1 to #1000. I promptly framed this, and mounted it to the door down to my comic space. The poster represents history of the "super-hero," of the longest-running comic book series, and Superman. It’s also extra-appropriate leading into a comic space, even though 1,000 comics are but a fraction of what I own.

It’s also excellent to be able to look at this thing up close, and visually track all these years, from my first issue at #651 to the latest in #1000. Recognizing covers from this event or that event; from when I was a kid, to a teenager; high school; college; grad school, beyond.

And I got this from Comic Heaven, the comic shop I have the most history with, period–going back to 1993 or so!

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Along with the Winston edition of DC Nation, snagged the four-issue Heroes Reborn: The Return from 50-cent bins. Though I own the series already, these are a convenience copy for reading. No clue when I’ll get my main collection organized, so this means that at least for a time, I know where these four issues are, so I have more chance of actually getting to them than if I had to dig through umpteen longboxes to find my existing copies.

And hey…for half the price of a cheap new Marvel issue, I get this complete 4-issue mini-series/event! Really can’t beat that, these days! And this series represented the start of my first real foray into attempting to follow a large chunk of Marvel, albeit 21 or so years ago!

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The ’90s Revisited: The X-Men Collector’s Edition #1

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Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Andrew Wildman
Lettering: Rick Parker
Inker: Steven Baskerville
Colors: Jim Hoston
Editor: Glenn Herdling
Published by: Marvel Comics & Pizza Hut
Cover Price: "$1.50 Value"
Cover Date: 1993

Back in 1993, the X-Men were an extremely "hot property." Their comics were at a definite high, they had a new cartoon series, they had trading cards, they had action figures, they had all sorts of merchandising going on…they were Marvel‘s Merry Mutants and all that. And one of those merchandising deals was with Pizza Hut. For whatever the price of a kids’ thing, you got a pizza, a plastic cup (If I recall correctly), and one of four comic books, commissioned specifically for this promotion. (I believe available for purchase separately were two VHS tapes, each with two episodes of the still-new Animated Series (Night of the Sentinels parts 1 and 2 OR Enter: Magneto and Deadly Reunions); both of which contained a brief roundtable interview with then-current creatives on Marvel‘s X-Men and Uncanny X-Men titles and such.

Where it would have surely been simple to just slap a new art piece and title logo onto something with a reprint of X-Men #1 or X-Men Adventures #1 or such, new cover, new art, and a new story was produced across essentially a 4-issue mini-series; an all-new original adventure exclusively for Pizza Hut.

We open on the X-Men in the Danger Room as Professor Xavier calls them to his meeting room. He explains that something’s happened with Cerebro (the computer that allows the X-Men to make first contact with new mutants before the villains can recruit them) that endangers the machine’s continued functionality. To repair it, various things are needed…which results in the X-Men being broken off into several teams to each get or accomplish something necessary to the whole of repairing Cerebro. Starting off, as X-Men Rogue and Gambit attend to dealing with in-house wiring, the Danger Room is activated with sentinels from "a dark future" (that many readers will recognize to be intended as the future revealed in Days of Future Past). After the two eventually overcome a trio of these killer giant robots (the scene powers down), we get a brief glimpse at a shadowy figure watching all the X-Men in their current endeavor…suggesting some secretive, behind-the-scenes operator working against the mutants!

The art for this issue is what I would consider typical 1990s fare. It’s not bad, but it’s not wonderful. The X-Men are all in their "Jim Lee costumes," the familiar outfits they were in (I believe) as of late-1991’s X-Men #1, also the looks used for the Fox animated series. Everyone is very recognizable as who they are, though the details of the art aren’t my favorite take. This definitely goes on the notion of a "house style" (as opposed to the artist of whatever book simply giving us "their take" on characters). Like a number of "fringe" titles/issues, this both looks like an actual Marvel issue while carrying a sort of generic feel that sorta/kinda/mostly fits with what was being published at that time without being entirely beholden to it nor affecting/impacting any of the "real" stuff.

Story-wise, this is pretty basic, simple stuff. Open on the X-Men in action. Show off one-liners and two-dimensional "character beats" to remind us of attitudes or such, "establishing" these as the characters that were being showcased in the animate series. Split the characters into separate groups to pad out several issues’ worth of content while allowing for "extended spotlights" on characters in manageable chunks. Showcase "key" expected stuff associated with the franchise/highlight all the characters and "locations" of the franchise.

So we get that–from Cyclops vs. Wolverine, to Wolverine’s random outburst, Jubilee’s snarkiness, Xavier having this dire situation but disappearing "to let" Cyclops and Storm handle stuff, to (particularly for this issue’s focus) Rogue and Gambit flirting, etc. The "characterization" in the issue seems generic and surfacey…but I don’t think it’s meant to be anything else. As something that would be reaching (primarily) kids for whom this might be their first/only experience with actual comics, it was important to give them stuff they recognized, both in the characters’ appearance and their behaviors. So the "character shorthand" stuff is prevalent; showing this mini time-capsule of stuff about them at the time, but not really building, changing, or directing anything new about them.

I fondly remember this period of the X-Men; and this promotion (I still have the VHS tapes and recall really enjoying the round table interviews, and those four episodes are particularly ingrained in my memory from this time). I even have one of the large promotional pieces that someone got ahold of for me some years back.

In and of itself, though, there’s nothing special about this issue, or this mini-series; it’s generic, surfacey stuff that doesn’t particularly draw from any deep continuity (despite the "references" to Days of Future Past), and it certainly doesn’t add anything TO the continuity. I certainly appreciated some of Gambit and Rogue’s flirting in this issue, and was surprised at one comment that certainly was "over my head" in 1993 that got a "Wow, they went there?? They said that ON PANEL?" reaction from me in 2018.

This is a fun novelty thing…hardly essential, but fun to have. I have the original copies I got from Pizza Hut in 1993, and I’m pretty sure I’ve come across these just a couple times over the years in bargain bins (maybe twice or so); the copy I read for this post came from a convention dollar-bin, I believe. So you’re not missing out on anything whatsoever in this issue or any of the other three, and I would not consider them to be "worth" anything much except for nostalgia. For that, they’re certainly worth $1-$2ish each. I don’t feel these are typical quarter-bin fare, not seeing them often…but they’re by no means anything high-ticket or worth $5+ an issue idly.

The cover states these are "A $1.50 value," representing the then-standard cover price of Marvel single issues. With a double-gatefold cover and interior cover, being full-sized issues both in dimensions and page count, written by one of the actual regular writers…this is a fun issue to have, and worth getting; though definitely most satisfying as part of a full set of all 4 issues.

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The cover is a double-gatefold; four "panels" including the front cover. When unfolded completely, this is the full image.

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And the flipside of the double-gatefold, viewed from the inside is this image, spotlighting Rogue and Gambit.

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