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A New Grail: Ultimate Spider-Man #1!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bought it For the Cover: Amazing Spider-Man #54

I don’t know how "regular" a "feature" this’ll be, but decided this was an appropriate sort of post to do. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I have a definitely dislike of most "variant covers." And thanks TO variants, I’ve largely felt that covers are near-meaningless now because any issue that SHOULD have an "iconic" cover has it FURTHER diluted from 2-3 covers every. single. issue. to umpteen extra covers such that there are more covers than there used to be for TWO YEARS OR MORE of any given single title. The "heat" is on the VARIANT, the CHASE, etc. Making the "regular" or "NON-variant" something "common" or "less than" or "basic" or "undesirable" or whatever.

But for Bought it For the Cover I want to highlight an issue that I bought for the cover–only, it’s the REGULAR cover.

Today, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man (vol. whatever…6? 8? 12?*) #54…ostensibly the penultimate chapter of Last Remains.

(*at this point I just figure EVERY Marvel title is at LEAST half-a-dozen volumes in, with all the reboots. Maybe sarcastic, maybe tongue-in-cheek, maybe just snarky or whatever.)

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This was an issue that grabbed my attention seeing the cover. It may be fairly generic–"just" a closeup of Spidey’s face…but rather than white eyepieces, we see a reflection of his hands as he’s shooting webbing out at the city, preparing to swing out.

spiderman_050_1994_stockimageAnd there was just something "familiar" to me about the image, that turned out to be that it’s Mark Bagley art! I’m most familiar with Bagley thanks to his stints on Ultimate Spider-Man, but apparently also on Amazing back during the ’90s.

Anyway, the image grabbed my attention, maybe also reminding me of Spider-Man #50 with a holographic/foil/shiny cover in the ’90s.

(As you’ll notice by the image being present here, I pulled the image of the aforementioned Spider-Man #50 for comparison!)

While not quite as zoomed-in/close-up, should be pretty obvious on the similarities. Prior to googling the old cover, though, I was thinking the holographic eyepieces were simply reflective…I totally forgot about (Kraven?) being visible…but having something "reflected" in the eyepieces certainly lends itself to why I "automatically" or "subconsciously" drew the comparison seeing the issue on the rack.

And being such a fan of ’90s comics–especially ’90s Marvel and DC (as well as Malibu‘s Ultraverse, and Image and such)…it was definitely the nostalgia that helped prompt me into buying the issue even though I knew it was not an opening chapter of a story; it’s by a writer whose work I’ve really not much cared for, and is the 54th issue in a run I’d NOT bought ANY issues from prior.

But that’s actually all the more the IMPACT I want to call attention to, of this simple, basic, "A", "###11", non-variant, cover.

54 issues in, zero context to the story, no particular hype that I was aware of over this issue (plenty for the NEXT issue, though with the newly-coined "webhead" cover), latter chapter of a story, not a writer I care to follow. TOTALLY the ART of the COVER prompting me to pay the $3.99.

No advance hype for this cover reaching me, I wasn’t aware it was gonna be out, I wasn’t looking for it, and even though it caught my attention, I wasn’t even going to BUY it.

But I wound up doing so.

And thanks to this REGULAR cover, I wound up getting the entire Last Remains arc and two issues of epilogue/fallout after the official story itself.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of January 06, 2021

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Another week, another batch of books. And actually a mix that INCLUDES both Marvel and DC "current issues"!

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I am absolutely NOT a "Cates Cult" person. I haven’t DISliked Cates‘ stuff that I’ve actually bought/read, but like Hickman, I find his stuff to be vastly over-hyped in general. That said, I’ve definitely been enjoying Crossover. So much so, that as a piece of extreme rarityI bought a variant cover. Spawn on the cover…and she’s reading Spawn#1. I justify this getting a "pass" because it’s NOT Marvel or DC, and I’m actively collecting Spawn, and I intend to display this issue rather than pack it away in a box or letting it languish in a stack somewhere.

Fire Power, like Walking Dead, seems to be better in chunks of issues. But with the way the series was rolled out last year, I’ve been snagging each issue as it comes out and reading/keeping up with it. It’s follow-able and NOT gory or ultra-violent in the way Invincible was, and there’s just something about it that I simply LIKE. It’s a "comfort food" sorta title that I’m glad to get each time a new issue comes out.

Walking Dead Deluxe is another Image book this week, and another Kirkman book, at that. This issue presents the concluding chapter of the first arc in color, and I can definitely say that I’m presently on-board for the long haul…as long as I can continue getting the "A" covers with no real hassle. I don’t approve of the NUMEROUS variants every issue. HOWEVER, I absolutely love that the variant cover IMAGES seem to be in a gallery of full-page presentations in the back of the issue–additional "Deluxe Content," I guess–but it allows me to HAVE the standard/"A" cover but still get to see the "full size" alternate art/images commissioned for the series. The back cover showing off the art from the ORIGINAL edition is also wonderful. New cover art original to the current deluxe/color edition; show off the original edition’s cover; and a gallery of new art by other artists; AND the entire issue is colorized instead of being a mere reprint of the black and white…THIS is the way such books should be handled, in my opinion.

I continue to snag the "facsimile edition" reprints when I can. This Captain America #117 one is an anomaly for me, though: I also have a copy of the original printing. This gives me a clear, clean, modern copy to READ, though…and to have a comparison for once. (Offhand, prior facsimile editions of issues I already owned have been much more modern and so far less difference for comparison).

It appears that I’m on the Amazing Spider-Man train for a bit…this being the third issue in 4 weeks or so that I’ve picked up new off the rack. We’ll see, though. I think I just "miss" Spider-Man, and the Bagley cover for #54 certainly points to that, as it was the blissful familiarity that prompted me to get that issue!

And then, though I’m pretty much resisting the Future State stuff, I wanted to give the Swamp Thing book a look (and may extend the same to whatever the one Robin thing is that I think I saw something about). Swamp Thing is a weird one for me…I’m not terribly INTO the character/titles, but there’s been a certain nostalgic fondness on my part going back to a comic in a 3-pack I got as a kid. Probably ALSO helps that the character isn’t exactly over-exposed…and yet has quite a history.

Finally, The Next Batman: I wasn’t planning on getting this one, but it was in with my pulls and I realized yeah, I’ve got Batman on my pull list, so it makes sense to have the ‘main’ Batman title from Future State. And it’s bi-weekly, too, so…c’est la vie! However…the thing is $7.99! I probably should have paid more attention a month or two back…and need to determine pretty quick where I’m actually officially gonna stand on Batman going forward. And if this was put in my stack so I could choose if I wanted…well, obviously I bought it, so ZERO complaint from me. Let’s just see how the story itself holds up/worthwhile.

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Here’s my actual edition Captain America #117 next to this week’s facsimile edition.

I accept "branding" stuff but not so keen on the modern Marvel logo being added, and would sorta appreciate the barcode being on the back cover. That being said…at the same time it’s good to have the modern touches like that…since many back issues are bagged/boarded and such, the barcode hidden on the back and the lack of modern Marvel logo could make it all too easy to pass the facsimile off as the original.


Over the first weekend of the new year, I was able to snag half a dozen Dragonlance RPG books. I’d swear I typed up something about the whole thing, but I’m not sure where, so now i’m "re-typing" about these!

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These were found at Half-Price Books for…well…half-price. However, they had several other volumes for something like 150% to 200% cover price, which drives me bonkers. Suffice it to say that I’m interested in the main campaign setting book, as well as the other main hardcover books…and definitely Dragons of Winter (paperback, though).

I spent more on these than I would have preferred, but I passed on several a few years ago and swore to myself that I would not miss out on them again.

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I also snagged this oversized hardcover gallery-ish volume collecting a bunch of Kevin Eastman art.

And the Booster Gold figure was a good price, and looks excellent, so got it as well. That its packaging is falling apart will likely be incentive to just open the sucker and display the figure loose.


I’d also come across Final Faction toys at Dollar Tree…I’ve detailed that in another post over the weekend already.

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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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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 23, 2019 & Halloween Comicfest Weekend Stuff

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The week of October 23rd wound up being probably THE smallest week I’ve had in ages, as brand-new-this-week comics go. But offset with some other stuff.

I officially pulled the trigger on dropping a lot of what I’d been getting. Though I still expect to get remnants from that for the next several weeks–stuff already ordered because it had been on my pulls at FOC–I probably won’t feature them here.

Let’s get into the stuff I am showing, though!

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The only real new comic for me this week was Criminal #9. Partly to make up for that–I can’t really fault the comic shop for the publisher(s) raising my ire–I picked up Spider-Man: Life Story. This is a DEFINITE exception to the USUAL for Marvel for me. I see this story much like Superman: Secret Identity and with that sort of nostalgia and such, absolutely wanted to get the collected volume. And getting it in-person, it is NOT damaged by Amazon‘s incompetence.

And a book I had backed on Kickstarter came in–Regards, Ditko–featuring correspondence between the creator and the author over a time. I figured this would be a nice addition to my "comics reference" "library."

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Then there were several $1 issues. Another DC Dollar Comics, this time featuring Swamp Thing #1. And a couple more X-Men-related True Believers issues.

Plus the Comic Shop News for the week.

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The weekend also included Halloween Comicfest–essentially Free Comic Book Day but for Halloween. Visiting with friends, I went to Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While understandable for "everyone" to have access to stuff, there was a strict limit of 3 issues, which meant I was not all that interested in "wasting" my 3 on unknowns. I knew going in I absolutely, particularly wanted The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1. And then I wasn’t gonna pass up the Usagi Yojimbo mini-comic/ashcan. Finally, though I wouldn’t pay for random Marvel, I opted for the Ghost Rider issue, over ’90s nostalgia and Danny Ketch.

In "support" of the shop, I bought Second Coming #s 3-4; I know full well I have #1 at least, and pretty sure #2…I could not remember if I had gotten (to) #3, and decided I’d pay its price in shipping special-ordering stuff online anyway, so if it’s a duplicate, it’s not the end of the world. I also grabbed the first paperback volume of Stumptown thanks to the new tv series.

At another shop, not finding anything of particular interest in stock (or for a price I was willing to pay) I did grab the facsimile edition of Incredible Hulk #1 that I apparently missed on the Wednesday prior.

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On Monday, my DCBS order of 100-Page Giants arrived. I’d swear I actually ordered a bundle of TWELVE of the things, of which only 6 came…so I’m assuming something screwy is going on with scheduling for the things, working around Walmart exclusivity-windows and such…or something. NOT a good start, and though I’d initially been figuring maybe I’d just order these for awhile–cheaper than Walmart and keep up my "run" of the things–I’m reconsidering. I’ve barely touched the Walmart ones thus far, though I amassed all but a Detective Comics anniversary special that apparently never even showed up in Ohio.

The oddness and irregularity and such combined with knowing there are different covers, but not knowing what’s actually coming with them all or schedules…it just makes it seem like a mess, and far more convoluted than simply having 4 titles or so each month with 3-4 issues’ worth of content for a bargain $5 cover price.


Despite all my grousing, passive-aggressiveness and grumpiness/sarcasm toward a lot of modern comics…

I have been reading and thoroughly ENJOYING the ’80s Marvel series Strikeforce: Morituri, thanks to Chris Sheehan and Chris Bailey and their Morituri Mondays podcast (over at ChrisAndReggie.com). I actually ordered all 31 or so issues of the series (plus all 5 issues of a follow-up mini-series), so I have the physical copies…though once I’d renewed my Marvel Unlimited subscription have found it far simpler to read the issues on my tablet without ads and without juggling loose issues.

As of this typing, I’ve read the first 12 issues…meaning I’m 1/3 of the way through everything; though I’m only a few minutes into the fourth episode (of 6 so far) of the podcast.

I can’t believe I’ve been "into" comics for over 30 years and I’m only now in late-2019 reading this series for the first time! I enjoyed the first several issues enough…but the sixth issue I think was the "I’m sold!" point, and left me eager to keep reading through the series.

Chris and Chris are doing an excellent job presenting the series, and as I’ve already listened to their analysis of the first 3 issues and started into the 4th and know they’ll be covering the rest, I don’t see even attempting an ’80s Revisited post on any of the issues myself…unless I do some sort of "response post" or something more limited.

But right now, theirs is THE podcast I’m prioritizing over any others until I’m "caught" up and then hopefully "keep up" awhile.

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Hall of Fame City Comic Con 2019

Comic conventions have come to be a fairly "mixed" thing for me. On one hand, they’re a place to meet creators, and get access to all sorts of back issues and deals and such that are NOT available at the comic shops I frequent usually (and whose stock I largely "know" as-is and take advantage of weekly). On the other hand, I’m not thrilled with large crowds and all the unpredictability that comes with them, unknown parking situations, added parking and admission costs just to get access to the con, certain long lines, etc. Especially when attending alone (whether no one else wants to go with me, or "life" gets in the way and I don’t decide 100% that I myself am even going until the day-of).

This past weekend, I attended what apparently was the fourth annual Hall of Fame City Comic Con (and my second attendance of the show). I’d last gone to the 2017 show two years ago. I’d intended to attend last year’s show, but "life" was not going well at the time, which combined with trying to go alone, parking, and a monstrous-looking crowd that saw me forego the whole thing.

Probably "the" guest for the year was David Yost, the actor who portrayed BIlly Cranston in the original seasons of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. I knew going in that I definitely wanted to attend his panel/Q&A…which was definitely a quick hour! Me being me, I wasn’t interested in coming up with any questions to throw out, and don’t REALLY think I learned anything particularly "new," but I enjoyed the time. There’s something about simply hearing stuff "live" from someone, and taking in their presence and impact on a crowd of people that has such a different impact from simple "facts" or information gleaned by READING (online or otherwise).

I took a small poster that I’d planned to get signed, and looked forward to a quick photo with the actor…waiting until later into the day for the initial line to die down, and still stood in line for nearly an hour.

Only to THEN realize that it was $30/signature, $30/photo op, $50/shout out (whatever that is–something for podcasts or YouTube channels, perhaps?). So, disgusted at spending so much time in a line but unwilling to spend $30 for a "signature of opportunity" or a random photo that would embody "this was a $30 commercial transaction" to me, I bailed.

Lesson learned: look up signing/autograph costs ahead of time, and remember that there’s a significant difference in such "celebrity guests" and comic creators.

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After 3-4 times around the block, I finally found parking nearby. Then had to stand in the 11am sun for over a half-hour. Which admittedly wasn’t as bad as it initially looked–at first, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be in by noon. Where other conventions would have several lines going–at least at the point of admission itself once you got up there–this one seemed to have one line for pre-ordered tickets and one for on-the-spot/at-the-door, which created a definite bottlenecking effect; as well as only one person checking bags and such (I was thankful my bottle-opener and mini-pocketknife (that I always forget I even have on me til I need it) didn’t raise any alarms.)

Once in, I was handed the ashcan-sized "program" for the con, which included a map of the floor’s layout with where the various creators and vendors were located.

The only actual back-issue purchase I made of the whole show was this Batman/Spawn: War Devil issue…which is itself a "convenience purchase" to have it immediately with my Spawn stuff…I’ll get into that eventually with an upcoming "SpawnQuest" post.

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Where I first walked in, I was greeted by the Toys Time Forgot booth, which was fantastic, as that–with Dirk Manning–was one of my primary "goals" for the show. I got the store-exclusive Hope #3, and signed. While I make no secret of loathing variant covers in general…I find that something like this works as an exception. I haven’t thought too deeply on it, but I think part of it is that it’s not DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, etc. And that it’s SO limited as to be negligible; it’s NOT part of the "marketing" of the title "in general," and that Dirk is present and signing the issues in-person, such that the thing being a ‘variant" is nearly incidental, as it’s another creator-owned title; as a store-exclusive, it’s benefiting a specific retailer, and it’s a great souvenir/artifact of attending a particular event (store signing, or in this case, convention appearance).

I also got my Tales of Mr. Rhee hardcover signed; and Dirk gifted me a glow-in-the-dark pin!

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I’m pretty sure that at this point, Manning is the creator I’ve met most frequently, as he’s local to the region, attends a lot of shows and such, and is such a friendly, personable guy and just great to catch at the various shows. He’s really set a high standard in my book, which I’ve certainly held others up to in a big way.

I went from getting Hope and Tales of Mr. Rhee signed to the panel room to be sure I got a seat for Yost‘s panel.

From that panel, my aim was Mark Texeira and Mark Bagley. I’d spent a couple hours going through my comic boxes the night before specifically to locate my original 1998 Marvel Knights Black Panther #1 to get signed, and had bought a Wolverine issue (to avoid having to dig through boxes) earlier in the week.

Unfortunately…I saw that Texeira was charging for autographs–it looked like $10 each. Which immediately nixed the novelty of it, of spending a couple minutes (if that long) at the table and all. Outside of the likes of Stan Lee, Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, I just don’t see paying for autographs!

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So I cautiously made my way onward to Bagley‘s table, and was disappointed to see that he was charging, as well! BUT…then I realized his charging was specific. Signature-only: $10. Personalized: free.

As I’d intended anyway to have them personalized, nothing on my part was changed.

I got The Amazing Spider-Man #375 and Venom: Lethal Protector #1 signed; both being "key" books to ME personally, as a couple of my earliest Spider-Man and Spidey-related comics, and fairly big deals at the time. Though admittedly in 1993, I could not have told you these were Mark Bagley and actually hadn’t even realized the connection when I was getting Ultimate Spider-Man junior and senior years of college.

One of my favorite memories of early Ultimate Spider-Man was the shared enjoyment of the series with one of my best friends. There was something to getting the new issues, reading them, talking about them "in the moment" and the shared enjoyment that went a long way. And I’m pretty sure that was one factor that helped get me into reviewing and eventually blogging, and those few months in particular of it remain a high-level standard unmatched in recent years for me.

My friend had spent some time in Italy one summer for school, and brought back an Italian edition of Ultimate Spider-Man for me. It has the cover image of the U.S. #13, though it has the contents of #s 12 & 13, I believe.

So a gift from a friend from a shared period of shared enjoyment of a series, and signed by the creator…makes that a particularly key, sentimental issue in my collection.

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As I browsed, trying to determine if anyone had any Spawn comics, I spotted a familiar cover…TMNT: A Fishy Adventure. (I detail that book’s significance to me in my 2017 Super Blog Team-Up post on the Mighty Mutanimals.) Seeing that this was in much better condition and without any ex-library junk on it, I stepped in for a closer look and saw that a couple of the other storybooks were also available.

While I’d have been thrilled to have had Fight for the Turnstone and The Magic Crystal present, I was happy to also be able to get Return of the Shredder and The Incredible Shrinking Turtles.

That I was able to get these 3 for a mere $2 total was fantastic! Half the price of a cheap/standard-price comic these days, for 3 long-out of print and (in my experience) rare (especially in such good condition!) storybooks. Definitely the "deal of the show" for me!

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I then made my way back to the "panel room" for Mark Bagley‘s panel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As someone else suggested when Bagley threatened that we’d just have to listen to him ramble if no one had questions…that’s one thing people enjoy with such panels. Just hearing the creator talk about their experiences and such, in their own words.

After the disappointment regarding bailing on meeting David Yost over the $30-$60 signature/photo op pricing, I ended up taking a 2nd look at a booth with some $6 ea/4-for-$20 books, and wound up getting the deluxe hardcover Marvel: Generations, Marvel Legacy, and Thanos: The Infinity Conflict. I also grabbed IDW‘s Saucer Country. Compared to the all-too-frequent-of-late $6 single-issues from Marvel, these oversized/deluxe hardcovers and OGN would actually BE worth $6/ea, and even better at functionally only $5!

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I then swung back around to Toys Time Forgot and caught Dirk again briefly, and then opted to "pull the trigger" on getting a couple of "exclusive" Pops (and hey, what convention’s complete without buying at least one of these little buggers, the last 8-some years?). I still have my eyes on the Swamp Thing one and possibly Lobo, but decided the TMNT branding meant more to me; especially as I do specifically still want to get Michelangelo, Donatello, Splinter, April, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady if I can ever find them for what I consider reasonable pricing (i.e. NOT $20+ apiece!).

I departed the con from there. Met/got stuff signed by Dirk Manning and Mark Bagley; got to attend the David Yost and Mark Bagley panels…truly "more success than not" for the show, disappointing as it was discovering prices for Texira and Yost and choosing as such to pass on them.


I was yet again not particularly impressed with "dealer stock" for comics at the show. Bargain collected volumes, but those are by and large skinny, non-sequential volumes in a longer series and clearly "overstock" without much in the way of being ‘special’.

Plenty of generic variant covers overstock; and plenty of isolated modern back-issues that (at surface glance/appearance) seem to be overstock and primarily Marvel, with a fair bit of DC. I did manage to find 2-3 instances with some Spawn presence…one of which was that Batman/Spawn issue pictured at the top of this post. It seems that "everyone" that has Spawn stuff at a show has the earliest issues, isolated or as a run; but much past #40 or before #270 is not present.

While it makes sense for dealers to bring overstock to shows to try to get rid of it with people that normally don’t make it to their shops; it’s disappointing for someone like me looking for stuff that isn’t "just" random overstock.

It’s also discouraging when I’m looking for very particular back issues that no one’s "bothered" to bring; while any particular "fun" to serendipity in $1 bins or 3/$1 bins or 50-cent bins is totally lost on realizing that stuff is not sorted in any meaningful way. DC? Marvel? Image? Alphabetical? With so many other people around and also flipping through such bins…and MY knowing darned well that any significant "keys" are NOT going to be in there (especially at a convention) it’s just not worth the hassle (to ME) of riffling through such bins on the off-chance of finding anything "worth" getting.

ESPECIALLY when I’m very specifically interested in particular back-issues (Spawn, cheap X-Men #141, non-shiny Uncanny X-Men #350, shiny Wolverine #145).

I suppose we’ll see what I come across at a couple of upcoming shows if I actually make it to them.

All this said…I’ve now been to 2 of the 3 iterations of the Hall of Fame City Comic Con that I’ve been consciously aware of. And as such shows go, it’s been enjoyable overall. "Too many people" for my preference in a way…yet NOT so many as to have choked aisleways and such.

Employment, finances, and timing-permitting, I’ll very likely attend next year’s show. All the more now having this second instance in my experience, I’ll be that much more ready for a third!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of September 18, 2019

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This week’s new comics wound up being relatively small, quantity-wise, but expensive (again) individually!

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The new Batman issue; seems these are on an irregular schedule. And the newest Superman and Supergirl, where it’s been barely a couple weeks since the previous issues, after the recall and reissue of both series’ previous issues.

The latest House of X, #5…so I believe there are "only" 3 more weeks of this Hickman prologue of stuff.

I didn’t even realize the Daredevil facsimile/replica edition was going to be out, so that was a pleasant surprise!

And then Spider-Man (vol. what?) #1 ("of 5"?). The (infamous?) J.J. Abrams & Son project. Fair bit of speculator buzz about it and discussion because of a "twist" to stuff in the issue. $4.99 (AGAIN–like House of X and the Darededevil issue) so it was a "grudging" sort of purchase. If it’s gonna have a lotta hype, introduce another new character, and so on…since I’ve NOT been keen on the "regular" Spider-Man stuff since One More Day (and that was what? 13 years ago, now?) I’m a bit more interested in stuff like what I "hear" this is supposed to be.

Finally, the new IDW GI Joe series. Yet another reboot/relaunch/whatever. I’ve lost track, honestly–is this the third iteration? Or the fourth?–since the license went to IDW. Buuuut with it NOT being part of some "forced" "shared universe" thing, I figured I’d check it out. And conveniently, a copy was in with my pulls, perhaps because of GI Joe: A Real American Hero. We’ll see if I go for a #2, but another that at least gets a first issue to impress me!

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And then the weekly Comic Shop News here, along with a supplemental Fall Preview.

The Raven preview/ashcan/whatever it is caught my eye. It’s thicker and has a MUCH better "look" to it than a lotta such things. Again–it caught my eye. I wasn’t sure if I actually cared for a copy, but flipped into it and decided yeah, I’ll check it out. And maybe I’ll go back for the full volume or such.

Time will tell.

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The Weekly Haul: Weeks of August 21 and 28, 2019

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Here we go…after months and months and months of virtually NO posting, I think this makes 3 posts in two weeks? That’s more frequent than once-a-week, even!

Still…two weeks’ worth of new comics to get to…but better than bunched up to 4, 5, or 6 weeks.


Week of August 21, 2019

Last week was a rather small week overall, though a bit more expensive with some extra-priced issues! It also spans 5 different publishers and within the same publisher, each issue is a different imprint/type of publication!

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The newest Batman was one of the comics of the week for speculators, apparently. Thankfully it’s on my pull list or I’d’ve missed out on the thing! Since it’s just part 3 of a 9 or so issue story–or there’s an interlude as a different story (City of Bane), I will wait until the entire City of Bane arc concludes before accepting any major change or such!

Then the new Powers of X issue…I’ve got generally mixed feelings on the whole Hickman relaunch of the X-line. I typically consider the writer’s stuff to be elitist, pretentious, and extremely off-putting for the apparent "need" to do "homework" to fully follow the stuff. I also dislike the cold, clinical visuals of so many "white pages" and massive white-space, to say nothing of just a few small-print words accounting for multiple entire pages of an issue, all the more on something costing $4.99+ an issue! I’m "invested" in the 12-issue House/Powers of X and likely to check out the first issues of the new X-titles, but we’ll see from there.

I’m a huge fan of the recent facimile/replica editions of stuff coming out. These are giving me a chance to own copies of the issues about as close to the original edition as I’m gonna get (or simply provide a certain nostalgia that I’m willing to pay for despite owning the originals). DC kicked off with this Batman issue reprinting the first appearance of R’as al Ghul.

Next was a Transformers #0, I believe intended to (story-wise) take place before Marvel‘s original #1 back in the ’80s. A new issue of Criminal this week…seems ages since the last issue, which may mean I missed #6 (or forgot about it over the last couple months). And I finally snagged an issue of Twiztid Haunted High-Ons on the day of release!

Finally, Superman: Year One #2, which is quite the anomaly for me, given my dislike of variants everywhere. I’ve been FAR preferring the B covers to the A on this series. Something to the regular ones just seem so entirely underwhelming to me.


Week of August 28, 2019

I’m pretty sure this week was about the most expensive week I’ve had, and REALLY stokes the flame of "I’ve gotta cut back!" as well as frustration at IDW for not spreading the TMNT stuff out more (even if some of it is late as heck).

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The new House of X…I don’t think I actually got around to reading last week’s Powers of X, so this’ll give me a bit more of a binge-read. Whether it’s collectively worth $10 I do not know…but I doubt it!

Speaking of $10…Marvel Comics #1000 is a hefty $9.99. I was absolutely going to pass on it, but decided to see for myself what the hype is all about. But that’s something I keep falling for, and eventually I’ll learn to quit!

Spider-Man: Life Story concludes with #6…I don’t recall reading #5, so that should be a definite treat to binge-read 1/3 of the series in one go, hopefully! Also relieves the "regular load" by $4.99/issue!

Despite being three different series with multiple creative teams…we have THREE different TMNT issues in one week! Shredder in Hell is several months late. I understood it to be a 5-issue series monthly…but here we’re at the end of the 8th month and only just now have the 4th issue. TMNT #97 is the latest chapter of City at War and continues the speculator-fire of a new female turtle; while we’re somehow "already" 16 issues into TMNT: Urban Legends, which is the 2/3 point for the series, I believe, including the brand-new issues due to cap off the run.

Even if I was not already getting the series, I’m certain this cover of GI Joe: A Real American Hero would have gotten me to buy it. I’d love a poster of this, even! There’s something to Cobra Commander on there, rolling a couple of dice with Snake-Eyes (both of them) showing. And likely dual-meaning of rolling two ones. This is another title I am ridiculously far-behind on reading. But I love that it’s a RARE series that began publication in the early-’80s and is STILL GOING TODAY (albeit with a 15 or so year gap between #155 and #156).

I was NOT going to get Batman Superman #1. But again with being something I’d probably want later, and somewhat wanting to give it a chance, and whatever other "excuses" I can make. I opted for this variant, though, because UNLIKE the MAIN covers, THIS one actually has BOTH heroes prominent on the first issue of their shared title! And even if I opt NOT to get #2 anytime soon, this one would be easily frameable as a piece of wall art.

Then a couple weeks late, Superman #14 with a different cover with no "battle damage" unlike what the original was gonna be, which is rather annoying, however unrelated or "red-skies"-ish the content might be to the far-too-many-comics Year of the Villain tie-ins.

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And speaking of those Year of the Villain tie-ins, the new Detective Comics has its freezing "battle damage" and is a tie-in. Yet another title I’m far behind on, but I’ve recently been convinced to continue a bit further by discussion with a friend…and assuming I catch up ON my reading!

Even more far behind stuff with the Wonder Comics line. Dial H #6 I believe was to be the final issue, but I think it’s been extended to 12 issues. I guess time will tell?

And I somehow got it into my head that Mark Bagley was the artist on Absolute Carnage so snagged #2. Turns out either he is NOT, or it was just one issue. I believe Stegman was the artist on Madrox and (maybe?) early issues of the relaunched PAD X-Factor series, and I recall liking his art, so…yeah. I’m interested in re-hunting Maximum Carnage and as long as it doesn’t get extra issues tacked on, see how JUST THE CORE MINI goes at this point.

Finally, two reprint/replica/whatever editions. A 3-D edition of Amazing Spider-Man #300…a bit of a novelty that struck the nostalgia buttons with me. PLUS I’m–at this point–quite happy to SUPPORT reprints and such, since they’re largely the best, most enjoyable stuff I’m finding from Marvel, at least, but largely also DC of late.

Annnnnd the week’s Comic Shop News.


I very seriously hope that next week’s haul is a bit smaller, at least by way of brand-new/new-on-the-rack issues. And considering I once swore that if "all" comics went to $3.99 I’d be done…there’s been a ridiculous number of $4.99 and $5.99 "basic" comics, which for me is even MORE likely to be UNsustainable.

I’m "old"–I remember 75-cent and $1.00 comics. And when I REALLY jumped in back in 1992, most comics where a whopping $1.25…4/$5 or 8/$10. We’re getting dangerously close to 1/$5 (or 2/$10)…which really puts comics into a HORRIBLE place, value-wise vs. say, spending $65 for a video game and only playing it for 3 hours or so.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of April 17, 2019

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Another mixed sort of week! Not huge, not tiny!

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This week has the new Batman issue…I’m pretty sure that makes 2 weeks and 2 issues! Perhaps the title is back on schedule?

Spider-Man: Life Story #2 puts us 1/3 through this series. The first issue was set during the ’60s…this one’s the ’70s and we find Peter in his early 30s.

Naomi #4 is suddenly some big huge Big Deal (stupidly so, it seems). Thankfully, Comic Heaven had no problem with letting me get my single copy for cover price (having already bought 1-3…I’m solely interested as the SERIES, not stupid speculation!)

Then GI Joe: A Real American Hero #261 and Silent Option #4.

And of course, the weekly Comic Shop News.

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The latest round of Walmart 100-page giant issues all hit. I can honestly say that the novelty is wearing REALLY THIN at this point…part of the "fun" is 1. getting the ALL and 2. having them spaced out across the month so they’re not some big, bulky, HEAVY purchase. $30 in one go is not so fun!

Add to that, there’s been NO SIGN at over half a dozen Walmarts across 6+ weeks of the Detective Comics #1000 100-Page Giant. And like Valiant…if I can’t get "ALL OF THEM," then suddenly there’s farrrrr less incentive to even keep up with these. While I might suck it up for the next couple months–get to the #12s for the Batman and Superman ones–if I’m not able to locate the Detective one for cover price, I mayyyy be done.

Time will tell!

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Guess I’m Getting Into HotWheels

Last year, I rummaged through a bin of Captain America: Civil War cars from HotWheels.

Earlier this year, I did the same for a run of Guardians of the Galaxy.

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And now, once more, for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

As with the others…it’s price point, and the entire "wave" being present to buy in one go, not having to visit multiple stores and put much effort into tracking them all down.

I’m a sucker for this sorta thing.

And of course, a lot of it’s the packaging. I don’t know the cars. They look cool enough, but I’m just not a car guy.

But the impulse-buyer/collector in me loves this sorta thing.

And someday, these’ll make for some cool display, icebreaker, or junk to add to someone else’s collection. Who knows?

I can say that this wave’s a little disappointing, having only the two cars for the movie look, and the other three being villains and this Spider-Man logo…rather than, say, the couple movie cars and then six more for the Sinister Six or such. And no display of the numerous Spider-Man logos from the 50+ years of the character…

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