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

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

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

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


Week of January 22, 2020

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

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

DC Dollar Comics are $1, so…yeah.

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

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

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

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


Week of January 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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


Week of February 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Week of February 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For $20.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 1st, 2017

This week proved to be one of the largest "cheaper" weeks for me in terms of new comics.

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The usual Superman issue, and The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom. And of course, not gonna pass on 25-cent new issues…even something like Vampirella that I’d normally avoid (except the Vampirella/Aliens crossover not too far back).

As part of a store promotion, snagged Jupiter’s Legacy (and hoping I don’t actually already have it!). Saw the low $1.25 price point on the Toy Chest thing and decided I wouldn’t mind looking through it…especially with now being on the hunt for a certain Robin statue.

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As a combination of Image-promotion and the Image graphic novel, got these issues and the book "free" (at least a $13 value at cover price).

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And perhaps the highlight of the day, got to see Winston briefly, having expected him to not be around with all the foot traffic of a Wednesday/New Comic Day. He was watching for potential customers, and doing an excellent job of it!

Vampirella/Aliens #1 [Review]

aliensvampirella001Writer: Corinna Bechko
Artist: Javier Garcia-Miranda
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Colorist: InLight Studios
Cover Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Cover Colorist: Jordan Boyd
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Date: N/A (September 2015)
Cover Price: $3.99

In twenty-seven years, throughout the entirety of the ’90s and the ‘bad girl’ craze and all that…I never bought even one single issue of Vampirella. That impressive run has now come to an end, thanks to a cover and crossover…with Aliens.

Some cloaked/hooded figures in some sort of underground temple on Mars are attacked by Aliens, and quickly revealed to be vampires. Even their enhanced abilities are no match, and they’re wiped out. Some time later, a ship arrives at the station on the surface, carrying an individual with special expertise…Vampirella. She and the station crew investigate stuff and–of course–encounter the Aliens. They also learn that vampires are not the cause of the strangeness but victims. After fending off an attack that left most of the group unconscious with creatures having attached themselves to faces…we see that even Vampirella isn’t immune to Aliens and their larval Facehugger forms.

I don’t honestly know what I expected from this. I’d known the series was coming up, probably even knew this first issue was due out, but I forgot about it all the same, until I saw it on the shelf.

Despite the presence of Vampirella…the cover looks like an Aliens comic. Aside from the ridiculously unnatural near-lack-of clothing on the female, this could be any Aliens comic, by the looks of it. And that suits me just fine, simply being interested in something new with Aliens. I also like the way the two publishers’ logos are…neither one seems out of place, and the way they appear with the issue number and creator names, if one didn’t know better it’d be quite possible to think that one’s an imprint of the other rather than two “competitors.”

I’m not familiar with the creative team, so nothing prior to compare this to in that regard. But in terms of being “an Aliens story,” this is pretty formulaic and familiar…which I actually appreciate and enjoyed as I read this. (That’s what Aliens crossovers ARE, too, to me: something entertaining despite formula…because it’s Aliens vs. ______ [insert character/property]!) So there’s not much story-wise, to me. I’m aware OF Vampirella but know basically nothing about the character or her past stories/continuity. Ok, so she’s a vampire? Cool…that means she’s at least “tougher” than “regular humans” (as we see in this issue). I don’t really “need” anything else…I’m entertained at “Aliens vs. Vampires” here.

Visually…I like the art. This looks and ‘feels’ like an Aliens comic. And that’s more than good enough for me. I’m especially impressed with the cover, though. Different artists, but the styles work well together–the interior art isn’t a match to the cover, but it’s not a jarring difference or anything. And surprisingly–almost shockingly–despite one particular glimpse of a “classic” look to Vampirella herself, we’re treated mostly to a far more feasibly-dressed female figure that doesn’t make me feel dirty for buying an issue with Vampirella in the title.

I’m not sure if this is 4 or 6 issues for the mini-series, but right now (particularly given the issue’s cliffhanger) I’m very interested in the next issue, and will be keeping an eye out for it next month, whether or not I stick with the single issues for the entirety.

Not being entirely familiar with Vampirella, I don’t know if fans specifically of the character will enjoy this (at least for this issue alone), though I can’t imagine (so far) that it particularly contradicts basic stuff with the character. As an Aliens fan, coming to this because of that side? I really enjoyed this.

The $3.99 for one story chunk is off-putting as ever, put I’ve been pretty much beaten into submission on the fact that all the comics I buy are basically $3.99. While this is certainly an issue worth picking up to try the series, to get to read the story now and as it unfolds, and whatever other usual motivations are present for buyiing a $4 single issue.

Based on this first issue alone, I suspect the eventual collected edition will be of definite interest to Aliens fans, and as we get further into the mini, I won’t be surprised if there’s more material with what will appear to be a distinctly Vampirella tone, for those fans.

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