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Life During Quarantine: Venturing Back Out

After two months, I was finally able to venture out to a comic shop again.

Three, actually.

Observing recommended and mandated rules as applicable.

Not sure when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from IDW will be back (if it comes back?), but a couple more weeks til Batman is back, I believe. Other than the next issue of those, or TMNT/Power Rangers or certain reprint editions…not much that really interests me in the way of new/modern 2020 comics, all the more after the shutdowns.

That said–having finally more or less gotten my X-Men and X-Adjascent collection collated and sorted, I finally have a large, solid list of specific comics I’m definitely "motivated" to hunt down.

So with comic shops finally allowed to be open again and armed with a mask I could physically tolerate for short times, on Saturday I ventured back out to comic shops for the first time since March.


Comic Heaven

First off was Comic Heaven, my weekly comic-shop-home and where I go each week.

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I’d forgotten about the Secret Origins of Super-Heroes replica/facsimile edition being out. Moreso, nothing about DC Super-Stars caught my attention so I hadn’t bothered to message ahead to have it pulled. Or rather, "DC SUPER STARS #17 FACSIMILE EDITION" as it was listed on shipping lists.

And for the heckuvit, I grabbed an extra copy of Uncanny X-Men #266 cuz why not?

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Then I dug into the back-issue bins. I didn’t really think there’d be any new Spawn, at least not from the range of issues I’m looking for. But there was #101…which plugs a hole so that NOW I have #s 1-131 or so, leaving me #s 132-256 (a "mere" 125 or so issues of over 300!).

Also snagged a couple issues from the ORIGINAL Aliens series from Dark Horse.

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From there, managed to score some issues on my X-list. Three X-Force issues and an annual; 1 of 2 X-Factor issues missing, and 4 Wolverine issues!

I have to say…after so many years of sorta randomly buying issues, it felt extremely good to finally be working off a specific (and finite!) list and to chip away at several series I’m specifically seeking to fill!

Of course, there are plenty of other issues I’m also after, but with so few NEW comics, and preferring to spend moderately per purchase even when it obviously adds up over time…that was that for this week, with probably some Generation X, X-Man, and Uncanny X-Men to follow in the near future!


Kenmore Komics and Games

Next was Kenmore Komics and Games, where I’ve been a regular since 2007, but after being laid off in 2016 has been more or less a monthly visit; with far more between visits thanks to the shutdowns.

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An announcement email had let me know there was a restock on the Marvel Champions game several weeks ago, so I’d PayPaled an order for the Captain America and Thor hero expansion decks. Seeing it on the shelf, I grabbed the Black Widow deck as well.

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I’d also jumped on the opportunity to snag several issues of Xenozoic Tales including the first issue! I hadn’t fully thought that through, so made for more of an expenditure than I’d planned, but I told myself I hadn’t been to a comic shop in ages, and would’ve spent way more had I been getting new comics all along, so c’est la vie!

And then for the 33rd anniversary sale, back issues had various discounts. I snagged a couple issues of Batman/Aliens.

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And most of the back-half of Red Robin. I’d followed the series for about 12 issues before losing track ahead of the Flashpoint and New 52. While I’m pretty sure several issues are duplicates, I’m pretty confident this leaves me maybe 1-2 issues short of the complete series…so going all the way back to the original Robin 1990 mini-series!

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Not much luck on the X-list, but I was able to get several issues of NEW X MEN, and then delved down to the third tier or so of my list for a Cable issues from the Cable & Hope post-Messiah Complex series.

Also got another issue of Warlock, bringing me one issue closer to having that complete 15-issue series!

I grabbed a couple random issues that caught my eye as well, and significantly discounted…so not quite 25-cent books, but the next best thing!


Carol & John’s

Finally, swung by Carol & John’s on the way back.

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Unfortunately, Free Comic Day didn’t happen back at the beginning of the month…and this year’s CNJ FCBD event would have been epic…with them bringing Christopher Claremont out! I’d been looking forward to that for months, but maybe it’ll happen yet in some form.

Meanwhile, in lieu of their annual FCBD print, they had a "Free Comic Book Day Cancelled Until Further Notice" print for present, free with any purchase.

I also noticed a remarkable (to me!) price on the vintage-ish (if not vintage, then close TO vintage…) Marvel Legends figures. I quite appreciated the Scarlet Witch/Wonder Man relationship in Busiek‘s Avengers run, and being able to get both characters here together for the price of ONE contemporary Marvel Legends figure was too good to pass up!

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Some weeks back, I’d "won" a couple of livesale/auction issues as well as a "gallery sale" issue; and had claimed a couple of low-priced bulk issues, so picked all those up. A solid haul for stuff I’d basically ordered-and-forgot!

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Picking through some $1-bins, I found a few things to get.

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Getting to actual back-issue bins, I went ahead and snagged X-Factor #5…COMPLETING THE ORIGINAL SERIES in my collection! I’d been missing two issues when I woke…and between CNJ and Comic Heaven I completed the original 149-issue run of the ’90s series!

Also snagged a couple more X-Force and Wolverine issues…including the ELUSIVE Wolverine #96, that–despite keeping up with the title at this point back in the ’90s, post-Age of Apocalypse–I missed back then and somehow KEPT ON MISSING in all the years SINCE!

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And finally, grabbed a few issues of Uncanny X-Men from the X-list.

I also got some "supplies" in the form of several treasury-sized bags and boards, a few silver-age bags and boards, and a well-priced "Stor-Folio" that beats the heck outta the prices I see online.


All told, quite a haul for one weekend…one day!

I doubt I’ll be hitting 3 shops in 1 day frequently…but after the shutdowns, I wanted to make the circuit to support their being open again.

And I definitely look forward to more back-issue bin-diving in the near future as I seek to close the gaps in my ’90s X-Books collection, Spawn, and so on.

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Life During Quarantine: Duplicates From Sorting X-Men Stuff

I decided to break this off into its own post, as my last one got rather lengthy.

In the course of sorting through all my X-Men and related comics, I came across plennnnnnty of duplicates. Some intentional, some just from lack of proper checklist of missing stuff.

While I’d initially had an accurate list I was working from back in 2012 or so; in early-2013 my phone at the time fritzed out, and the backup didn’t work, so I lost my list. Then I found something to restore from, but it did NOT include changes between initially creating the list and then, so I wound up RE-buying a lot of issues needlessly.

This was part of what FINALLY prompted me to get around to going through all this X-stuff; to get a newly-ACCURATE checklist to work from!

A few issues stood out as I went through, enough to take some photos; though I didn’t take nearly as many photos as there are issues that "mean something" to me; so what follows is a SMALLLLL selecting of notable issues I observed, but by no means is it comprehensive!

The first photo I took during sorting was a set of one of each X-Force #1 that I presently have.

Seven in total: 1 each of the original bagged-with-a-different-card #1s (one of each card, still bagged), 1 unbagged first print, and a "gold" second print.

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While these may have been "hot stuff" "back in the day," they’re less so now; and as I’ve obtained a number of copies from bargain-bins, I’ve no qualms about leaving copies of the issues bagged!

I should ALSO note that while I mostly despise modern variants…emphasis there is on modern variants. X-Force #1 has 5 "versions"? Sure. But it was a first issue, a new launch/"re"-launch, and as a #1, a definite rarity at the time (nowadays Marvel might as well number EVERYTHING #1!)

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I came across a variant cover of the 1997 Flashback Month "Minus-1" issue of X-Men, SEEMINGLY signed by Stan Lee! I feel it EQUALLY likely to be genuine as not; it may not have a certificate of authenticity/witness…but over the years, knowing just how MANY issues he had to have signed (and this being published 23 years ago), it’s perfectly likely that SOME issues he signed slipped through the cracks in notice when whole collections have been sold over the years. I’ll choose to believe this is a genuine signature; its validity doesn’t need to be proven. It’s not something I’m gonna be trying to sell, whatever the case!

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Turned out I had a couple of the old Marvel Legends reprints that came with the action figures filed in with the regular issues. This The Beast issue reprints X-Men #3…

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…while this Gambit issue reprints X-Men #4!

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Back in 2002 or so, I snagged the original Wolverine mini-series for 25 cents or so apiece along with the first issue of the ongoing!

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Since 2012,I’d finally acquired Wolverine/Gambit: Victims #4. I’d bought the first three issues as they came out, back in 1995 or 1996, but never got the final issue. So here that mini is, in my possession and finally complete after nearly a quarter-century!

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Apparently I’ve been snagging Onslaught: X-Men repeatedly from bargain-bins!

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Ditto for Onslaught: Marvel Universe! One of these turned out to be some sort of reprint, though…sort of akin to DC‘s Millennium Editions from around 2000, I suppose.

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And several X-Men: Primes.

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The issue immediately prior to the Age of Apocalypse, one of my favorite/significant issues is X-Men #41, which I’ve wound up with a number of copies. These in the photo; the one filed in the collection, and I have a "framed" one as well!

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Over the years, of ALL the issues in the series one could get, the ONLY Mutant X issues that I bought, apparently was #1. Repeatedly. Pulling stuff together, every single copy not from my original collection was #1! At least one of them was a variant of #1, that I was able to merge into the existing collection. And a bit of insult onto injury…despite having bought the series as it came out, start to finish…I found I’m missing a couple issues. The covers are familiar, so perhaps I misplaced them somehow. But thinking I had every issue otherwise would certainly explain "only" buying #1 as a novelty each time I did. (Obviously never recalling that I’d already bought an "extra" "novelty" copy).

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I had several copies of Generation X #1 (the chromium cover); and I have the copy filed away in the collection as well as one with a separate sub-stack of Chromium Covers! I remember the summer this came out, and the Phalanx Covenant crossover/event. I’ve actually been tracking down the NON-shiny covers for that.

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And finally, after its initial significance in 1996, I seem to have maintained a fondness for X-Men #54. This was the issue that finally revealed the secret of Onslaught, just before the event itself. If I recall correctly (as of this typing, having shelved/boxed everything and not now having the issue in front of my to flip through) this was the issue that resolved the "X-Traitor" subplot…hence being a Rather Big Deal at the time. The issue and the Onslaught stuff was a big deal to me as a kid. I’d followed the Age of Apocalypse in its entirety, kept on with the return to the 616 universe, and had read the issue with the first mention of Onslaught, so it was really cool seeing how all that paid off after the build!


I did not come across my Fatal Attractions duplicates stash, so I suspect I’ve got some more rogue (no pun intended) X-stuff around. That’ll be stuff for some other time, though!

Yesterday’s post and this have been a couple weeks in the making, overall. And with quite a few posts’ drafts I’ve found, I decided to go ahead and push these on out before they became yet MORE "dead content".

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Life During Quarantine: Organizing an X-Men Collection

I’m very fortunate in that I already worked remotely prior to all the pandemic/quarantine/lockdown/etc stuff. I’ve seen some disruption, but to a very large degree, work-life has not changed except for "more meetings."

THE main change for me has been suddenly comic shops were closed and so were pretty much all other casual-browsing stores and such that I’d frequent.

I have NOT had the sudden influx of time so many have; sometimes that’s been frustrating, but logically, consciously, I have to be thankful for that–I’ve been fortunate enough to have and keep a job; no cut in hours, pay, furlough, layoff.

That said…I did finally talk myself into taking a few days off several weeks back; just to have a couple "extra" days to do whatever/"not-work" and such.

I decided that as intimidating and overwhelming as its been, it was time to finally try to at least START going through my collectioaccumulation. 50+ longboxes, and nearly as many shortboxes. MOST of them virtually untouched for nearly half a decade.

I’ve long been content to buy countless duplicates as "convenience copies," because I tend to get those from 25-cent bins, sometimes 50-cent bins. But when I know darned well that I already HAVE (an) issue(s) it is just NOT "sustainable" to keep doing that. It should NOT be easier to order new copies from an online comic shop than to simply pull a box and an issue in my own collection.

But while I’ve managed to literally FIT everything into the space I work with, I have not had the space to do some wide spread-out sorting of the entire collection all at once.

So…I had to start somewhere.

X-Men.

Back in 2011 or 2012, I finally had gone through the longboxes I had at my parents’ at the time and pulled everything X-Men and X-Men-related (aka "X-Adjacent") and got those to my apartment at the time; and went through everything there and finally brought them all together, and made myself a checklist on the Notes app on my phone of missing issues I wanted to track down.

My goal was essentially complete runs of all of the ’90s X-and-adjacent books. Uncanny X-Men I’d go back as far as I could–for awhile, Inferno–and then forward to pretty much the then-present.

Now, in 2020, that remains basically the same–except I’m going back to Days of Future Past and basically going for as "complete" as I can with everything to maybe 2010-ish or so before all the especially-ridiculous renumbering crap started becoming so ubiquitous.

I’m not overly concerned with The New Mutants as I am the titles that were current when I got into Marvel in the 1990s; or moreso, X-stuff from the Age of Apocalypse.

Those being Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, Wolverine, Cable, Excalibur, Generation X, X-Man, and X-Men Unlimited.

Anyway…the task at hand: first step, gather all the X-Men and related comics in my collection! Stuff I sorted 8-9 years ago; stuff I’ve accumulated since then attempting to fill that initial "missing-X-stuff" checklist, etc.

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I had some boxes pre-marked from back then as well as a couple boxes friends gifted me of Excalibur  and X-Force. I otherwise had to go through MOST of my longboxes (that were not otherwise marked as other stuff–like my Superman Byrne-to-2005ish stuff). Pull the X-stuff and get it consolidated in other boxes and piles and whatnot.

Lug said boxes through the basement and up the stairs.

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And finally pile all together in one condensed space to prepare for the actual sorting. Which wound up having to wait til after I worked a few days again.

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I initially emptied the pre-sorted stuff from 2011/2012 and stacked those.

I’ve been keen on IDing as many of my "original copies" of stuff as I can–same as I was back in ’11/’12. So along with sorting, when I "merged" stuff, I gave priority to my "older" copies. They may not be in the best condition, but if I had it in 1993, that–primarily/hypothetically–should be the copy I kept in the "main" collection.

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With two cats who absolutely MUST sniff, check out, step on, walk on, lay on ANYTHING paper-like on the floor OR that I’m paying attention to that is not initially them, I wound up closing these initial stacks in with empty boxes, and then as I sorted the rest of the books by title, I piled those largely on top of these…but still ran out of room.

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Thankfully, neither cat was overly interested in settling on "piles" as they were "single issues," especially while I was standing/moving around sorting. Sarah was especially keen on keeping tabs, though.

Eventually I had stacks of accumulated back issues by title, with a separate stack (not pictured) of misc. single issues/one-shots/specials/mini-series/etc.

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Then the task was to sort the "accumulation" issues, within each title and merge those into what I already had.

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One series I was particularly keen to get sorted was the 1991-originating X-Men, as I’d gotten this nifty "art box" or whatever; a shortbox with the art from the first issue’s "deluxe edition" cover.

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EXcluding its stint as NEW X MEN and later as X-Men Legacy, this single shortbox almost perfectly holds the entirety of that X-Men series. And I don’t even have to label the box to know what it has in it!

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Sarah-cat was always nearby through the sorting/merging process.

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I was a bit surprised at what I wound up having with Uncanny X-Men. I had a few more "early" issues (pre-#141) than I remembered; and it turned out I’m still missing more issues than I’d thought.

However, as of this typing, from #s 142-454, I’m only missing 158, 359, and 422. Then another 26 issues between 455-514, and all of 515-544or so. So still quite a few to finish out the series. Ultimately, my aim is Uncanny X-Men (vol 1) #s 141-544, plus contemporary Annuals in that range.

Once I’ve managed those, THEN I may look into creeping backwards a bit. BUT I believe the infamous end of the Dark Phoenix Saga was only #137–and I’m still hunting for #141 in my price range; so that’s all of 4 issues to have another "key" in the way.

As-is, going back to #141 is "only" about 47 issues into Claremont‘s run (I believe he started with #94) and Classic X-Men/X-Men Classic suitably covers that era, while there are various reprint volumes and such to cover the original few years of the X-Men.

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X-Factor #92 was one of my earliest issues getting into X-stuff and kicked off the Fatal Attractions arc celebrating the then-30-years of the property. As I was getting into the titles back then, 1993 was "only" 30 years removed from the original silver-age X-Men premiere! And was "only" about 18 years removed from the start of Claremont‘s epic run. (As I type this in 2020, it’s been 27 years since X-Factor #92!!!)

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Not to leave Sarah as the only interruption, Chloe had to get some attention as well!

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I lost track of how many times Sarah knocked over a stack or shoved issues around. Not my first choice…but ultimately, the comics are just THINGS. I cherish these cats, and that they love being around me and my stuff!

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And a random(-ish) photo of Ziggy lounging on some longboxes, taken some years back obviously. He’d "helped" me sort through X-stuff back in 2011/2012 at my parents’ house. Sadly, losing him back in 2017, he never got to see the entirety of this collection of X-stuff unified.

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…and here is the entirety (as of May 11, 2020!) of my X-Men and X-Adjacent collection!

As I was going through boxes at the start of this project, I was able to consolidate a number of my shortboxes and shift stuff around to free up this rack FOR the X-stuff!

It also worked out that I’d just ordered a case of 10 new BCW shortboxes so I was able to put the bulk of the newly-properly-sorted stuff into those.

And I’ve also decided that while it’s going to ultimately be a huge expense…I have GOT to convert the ENTIRETY of my collection to shortboxes. I’m getting way too old to be slinging longboxes!

But as it’s gonna take a bunch of "sub-collections" to get eventually to having the ENTIRE thing sorted…I don’t have to go singular-lump-sum to do that.

I anticipate my NEXT major sorting project to be "Superman and Batman stuff," followed by "general DC", "general Marvel", and then whatever’s left.

I also need to start looking into some sort of inventory system. I failed to do that before shelving the X-stuff, but along with getting my "missing stuff to seek out" lists, I really need to also have a list of what I actually have as well.

Though I can envision the ultimate whole of everything…I have no set timeline in place. Depends on quarantine stuff, work stuff, family stuff…stuff-stuff.


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The Last of the Giants?

The last day of the month. (Possibly?) the last shipment (for me) from DCBS. The last of the DC Giants.

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And somewhere in there apparently I’d added a spare copy of the Uncanny X-Men #266 replica edition. And the Alterna Giants issue. Probably to go along with the Robin 80th anniversary issue and such. Trying to add stuff to the order to "justify" the DC giants and shipping, considering we went from what appeared like we’d be getting 10-12 per month down to the minimum number per month that Walmart started with a couple years ago.

As of tonight (3/31/2020) had an email from Lonestar/mycomicshop.com saying they’re closing down for the duration of the shutdown order in their state. Midtown‘s offering delays for any orders, despite pumping out emails of supposed sales on stuff (might sound good for some %percent sale but hardly matters if they don’t have anything or MUCH actually for that pricing).

With this DCBS shipment, I believe that’s all my "channels" cleared out and up to date.

More endings.

We’ll see what/if there are any new beginnings

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The ’90s Revisited: Uncanny X-Men #303

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uncanny_xmen_0303Going Through the Motions

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Special Guest Artist: Richard Bennett
Inks Pgs. 8, 14-18: Dan Green
Editor: Bob Harras
Cover Date: August 1993
Cover Price: $1.25

My first issue of Uncanny X-Men that I got off the shelf was #300…partly BECAUSE it was #300. Big, round number…shiny, foil sparkly cover…a group shot of a bunch of characters I recognized from the animated series…it was a great attention-grabber. (Even if right now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you 27 years later what that issue was ABOUT/what its plot was).

I then missed several issues, picking back up with #304 (Fatal Attractions) and found a newsstand copy of #303 (at least as I recall offhand).

And it was #303 that really stuck with me. I always remembered that it was an issue that actually moved me to tears…it hit hard. And it was a character death that then informed several key things going forward for a few years into 1999’s The Twelve and onward.

When I decided to re-read it as a random "grab an issue from a stack of recent quarter-bin hauls" I recalled the emotional impact…but figured since I knew what was coming, knew where things had gone, character arcs and returns…SURELY this time through would be a clinical thing for me to analyze and consider the issue in terms of reading as an almost-40-year-old versus having read at age 12 or so.

But wow, was I wrong on that front!

The issue opens on Jean Grey entering Professor X’s ready room to check on Jubilee, to see how she’s doing after what just happened. Jubilee puts on a tough front, but as she and Jean talk–and we as readers see the flashbacks–that front cracks, as we see Jubilee open up and begin to accept the enormity of what she’s just seen unfold. Namely, that despite the Professor and Moira doing everything they could…they were unable to SAVE Illyana. Meanwhile a squad of X-Men including Colossus–Illyana’s older brother–was on their way back. Jubilee had bonded a bit with the visiting Kitty Pryde, and through Kitty’s translating, found out that she–Jubilee–had actually been having a positive impact on the dying young girl. But then things ‘blew up’ as Illyana went into respiratory failure, and though they eventually were able to stabilize her physically…she was left comatose, unlikely to regain consciousness. Leaving consideration to be had of what the young girl would (have) want(ed). We get this from Jubilee’s self-deprecating point of view as she considers herself and how dumb it was to say, place Illyana’s Bamf doll in her arms, while "the adults" argued over what to do going forward.

And then she recounts Peter’s arrival after–his getting off the X-jet and asking why no one was looking after his sister and if they couldn’t be trusted to look after her, should he ever leave. Only for Xavier to break down, having to tell Peter that his sister was gone, that they did everything they could. She was alive when he left, and alive when the group had last communicated, but now, arriving home, his beloved little sister was gone (and he hadn’t gotten to say goodbye…he wasn’t there in time, he wasn’t able to save her, etc.)

Which is–there–some of my projecting. And I actually laid the comic down and pushed it away, failing to hold my own tears in check.

Because this one hit close to home. Really close to my heart. Easy to project, easy to put myself into the situation. To see from Jubilee’s side, her coping mechanism. To see the anguish in the others–in Xavier and Moira. To imagine being in Peter’s position, being told of the passing of a loved one when–even if it was expected as a chance coming up, wasn’t prepared for FOR THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT.

The writing is quite good. It carried a strong authenticity to it–from Jean going after Jubilee and just being there for her, to Jubilee and her reactions to events as they’d unfolded (in flashback) as well as her after-it-all tough front and eventually breaking down. While I don’t relish the death of a child or anyone…this left an impact on me 27 years ago and it ripped into my heart again this time. This is the sort of issue that made me a fan of the franchise. Not some big globetrotting adventure or 6-issue battle with or for Magneto, not some culmination of years of subplots and rumors of a legendary group destined to rise up and defeat a villain, nor the identity revealed of some secret traitor.

Just a (relatively) "quiet" issue involving the characters just being PEOPLE, being a family, being…"normal." Being RELATABLE.

And there was certainly some impact from the bulk of the issue being flashbacks. There’s a sense of trepidation as the issue opens, and as Jean and Jubilee begin to talk and it becomes obvious that something really important has happened. To become increasingly aware of what it was, and that it has already happened–there’s not that "will they or won’t they" wondering, and not even that "hope" of some last-second save. Just the details unfolding and dealing with the loss this family–immediate and extended–has suffered.

The art is good, but in a way, it’s almost forgettable. Not in a bad way, mind you–but in that it has no particular problems or such to distract from the story itself, and so the story is just experienced. For me, it’s also that the dialogue and the fact of what’s happened that drives the issue…the artwork is there because it’s a comic book, a visual medium. But it’s the characters’ interactions, what they have to say to each other about stuff that matters more. And there’s nothing for some big double-paged splash scenes missing dialogue. That the art "disappears" into the "story" makes it a strong positive to me.

The events of this issue come out of then-recent plot elements in the X-titles, particularly out of the crossover event The X-Cutioner’s Song. If I’m recalling correctly, Illyana’s death was the first from the Legacy Virus…before the virus had even been named. It heavily influenced immediate changes such as Colossus first defecting to Magneto for a time and then eventually spending some time overseas with Excalibur before ultimately returning to the X-Men and then dying himself to activate a cure for the Legacy virus…and later both brother and sister resurrected and so on to where-ever the X-books and all the characters are in 2020 preset-day.

The issue stands along pretty well the way it’s written. And as the cover proclaims–"If you read only ONE X-Title this month–this issue MUST be it!" If you find this issue in a bargain-bin: 25-cent, 50-cent, even $1 or so…it’s well worth the read, and without even really NEEDING much context. But having read it will lend contextual value to most anything else X-related to be read that was published from 1993-2000/2001 or so in particular…including the (in?)famous Age of Apocalypse.

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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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Redeeming Black Friday: The Haul

This year’s Black Friday was particularly frustrating and discouraging due to a number of factors. I feel most justified in my disappointment that after getting the newest Big Bang Theory season on DVD from Best Buy Online the last 6-7 years, this year there was no such deal.

In the end, for the first time in about a decade, I did not buy anything from Best Buy (online or otherwise) on/around Black Friday. For that matter, the only movie I remember buying was Bumblebee because it was a combo pack with digital for about the price of one weekend’s Redbox rental. I did buy my first Keurig for about 1/3 off–not bad, but not exactly grandiose or living up to the general "hype" of Black Friday as some wallet-melting sale-day. 

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So where I’d not been sure if I was going to go to the big Black Friday event at Carol & John’s in Cleveland–after all, I remembered last year‘s crowd and wasn’t planning on spending much, so the odds of winning any of the raffles–especially one of the Marvels Platinum Edition hardcovers–seemed highly counter to being worth braving the crowds.

But I was disappointed and discouraged from the day, and figured it’d do my mind some good to at least get out and get a few comics–my sort of "retail therapy." Plus, I had a bit of "FOMO" wondering if there’d be a treasure-trove of Spawn issues I could get on the cheap.

And it eventually occurred to me that the sale was ongoing–and figured I could "cheat" a bit and if I got there early, have more time in a quieter space to dig through boxes of comics, knowing I wouldn’t be checking out until the sale was in effect.

Little did I realize that I’d lose track of the time, and despite not finding one single issue of Spawn to buy, I’d more than meet the minimum to further halve the cost of the comics I was buying. $1 each, or 100+ for 50 cents each. Functionally, at 50, it would be the same price whether I bought 50 issues or 100 issues…so why stop AT 50?

And then after managing to get my precariously-balanced stack of comics to the checkout and adding several supplies and eventually a sticker to goose my final price to one more raffle ticket, I got stuff out to the car and returned for the first raffle.

Where I didn’t win anything.

So I wandered around the store awhile and ended up buying a book and a couple current single issues. Paid for those, got two more raffle tickets, and then read outside for a bit until the second raffle.

Where I actually won one of the "bonus" prizes–a slipcover/box set of DC’s Greatest Hits! I took my newest purchase and my prize out to the car, and listened to an audiobook for a bit. Then headed back in for the next raffle…and won a graphic novel from a curated selection. I chose the Joker tpb collecting the ’70s Joker series. I’d had my eye on the book for years (thinking as I type, it has the 2012-2016 DC logo, so I must’ve had my eye on the book since at least as far back as 2016 pre-Rebirth!).

Having not had dinner (I hadn’t actually planned to stay past the first raffle) by going-on-9pm it was definitely time to get some dinner, so I walked to Subway a few stores down in the plaza and got a sandwich that I took and dropped off in my car before heading back over for the next raffle–where I did not win anything.

Back out to my car, ate half my sandwich and listened to an audiobook, and realized I was exhausted and with the huge crowd and seeing people seemingly spending way more than me and having my odds of winning ANYthing falling further, it was time to get going.

BUT.

But being "only" about 15 minutes from the next drawing, why not go back in for one last one before getting the heck outta Dodge?

Surprisingly, I then ran into an old coworker from a job I had a couple years ago; so got to chat and catch up a bit. It was such a shock and pleasant surprise! That made it worth having stayed–having gone back in–one last time.

And then as we and others noticed/commented that no one had chosen either of the Marvels books (several of the other large prizes had been snapped up) I heard my name.

After verifying that it was indeed my name and that it was indeed for one of the large prizes…I chose the Marvels Platinum Edition.

All the more knowing there was a 3-prize-cap for the evening (and I’d definitely hit my 3!), it was a good time to call it a night.

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I’ve won occasional prizes in drawings here and there for various things. Even at comic shops–I’d won a $20 credit a number of years ago at Kenmore, and a $25 credit at Comic Heaven back in Fall 2016. But these three items–the Marvels edition, the DC’s Greatest Hits, and the Joker volume–make up the largest/most expensive I’ve ever won.

And absolutely "redeemed" Black Friday for me.

The comics I got were already more or less worthwhile for having gone out; but these made it more than worth having gone out–especially the Marvels book. (And, extra added bonus? The digital code that supposedly expired several years ago redeemed so I got the digital copy along with the physical…the FULL PACKAGE even though the book came out in 2013 or 2014!)


While the raffle prizes moooooore than made the evening for me…I also scored over 100 (what worked out to be) 50-cent comics, making quite the ’90s-riffic haul.

The crux of the sale was a room full of longboxes of $1 comics. $1 each…or 100+ for 50 cents each. 50 comics for $50, or 100 comics for $50. At 50, it just makes sense to get another 50!

And as my 2019 blogging has primarily been showing off the various hauls…why not show off the Black Friday haul as well?

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So, after determining no Spawn (that I could see, anyway), I kinda took a haphazard approach to my browsing. Top of my pile–several Wolverine issues. As far as I know, all are duplicates…making these very much "convenience copies." 48-50 to get TO #50 with that classic die-cut cover. And incidentally, a "sequel" to the classic BWS Weapon X serial that ran in Marvel Comics Presents #s 73-84 or so. And then the "classic" #104 where we found out Onslaught’s tie to the events of Fatal Attractions. And while I may very well never get to it (especially with my lack of blogging the last couple years) I’m willing to grab convenience copies for potential The ’90s Revisited coverage!

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Grabbed a handful of old Image issues (and 1 Eternity with Zen). And yeah, that was two copies of Youngblood #1. Because hey, get to show off both covers. BUT this being a variant DONE RIGHT: it’s a flipbook! BOTH covers on one issue. You only have to buy multiple copies of the issue if you want to DISPLAY both sides!

And both the Prophet and Knightmare issues sport nice, shiny "chromium" covers! I’m always on the lookout for more chromium in the wild. Turned out I already had the Prophet issue, but Knightmare is a new addition to my chromium covers collection!

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The Tim Drake Robin is one of my favorite characters, so for sheer nostalgia, snagged these. The ongoing Robin #1 is fairly iconic–at least to me. And I’m NOT actually sure offhand if I have any of the Robin II: The Joker’s WIld collector sets before this. I have the various single issues, and even a slipcase of the series with all covers (holograms). These remind me a lot of the Robin III: Cry of the Huntress bagged editions, which is part of what casts these into doubt in my mind as to whether I already had them or not…making them all the more cool to have/find!

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Snagged copies of several of the Superman #1 issues largely for the nostalgia and convenience. Ditto for the Action 600, Superman 100, and Adventures of Superman 505 (this latter is one of my all-time favorite Superman covers!) (THOUGH apparently it wasn’t one of my top 10 when I did a post on such covers 6 1/2 years ago. Top 11, or I think of Man of Tomorrow #1 moreso; the two are remarkably similar at a glance!)

And Blackhawk because hey, why not?

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A handful of Batman issues–largely nostalgia, and convenience-copies with Tom Lyle art. And for the heckuvit, Batman #500 for the sake of having it (yet again). Meanwhile, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #25 is one of my favorite covers from that series and the whole KnightQuest thing. Especially for basically having a really cool-looking cover celebrating 25 issues, while serving the ongoing overall story, and the "gimmick" being the silver color not usually found on comics.

Resurrection Man #1 for the "hologram" thing; and Phantom Stranger because I’m not actually sure I had the issue!

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Snagged a bunch of DC One Million tie-in #1,000,000 issues. I had a bunch already and couldn’t find a reference in my phone of which ones (ugh!) so I bought one of each that I could!  black_friday_haul_11292019hStill working on the set overall…but I’m pretty close to having the full DC One Million event in single issues!

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A new convenience-copy of the The Kingdom "fifth-week event" (I believe) from back in the day. Pretty sure this was where we got Hypertime; though pretty sure as well we’re a couple of such things further on now. Hypermulticrisisverses?

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I am STILL after all these years waiting for a SINGLE VOLUME collection of the Thy Kingdom Come saga. Maybe I’ll have to get a copy of the issues bound for that to happen?

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This makes for a good start on a second copy of the saga to (maybe) eventually get bound. Or for a convenience-copy re-read someday before I get my accumulation properly sorted.

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Snagged a bunch of Astonishing X-Men issues since it was most of the run!

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Highly glad I hadn’t tried to "catch up" on the single issues before, given the way of the X stuff the last couple years and finite-ness of the particular run, and here getting 8 issues for the cover price of 1!

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I picked up some X-Force stuff. Pretty sure I have all 5 cards’ editions, but snagged dupes of 4 of them; and the first 3 (of I believe 4) issues of a mini-series.

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Grabbed some 2099 #1s for the nostalgia, convenience, and just liking the pretty foil. Ditto on the Namor issue. And for cheap copies of gimmicky covers, grabbed the Punisher: War Zone issue. Also grabbed a couple further issues of Namor for the story beyond the shiny cover; and the Machine Man/Bastion annual as a giant-sized issue. And I may eventually accumulate a set of these team-up annuals yet.

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Grabbed a few Spider-Man issues for interesting covers and such; stuff that caught my attention in a "I might enjoy reading that or re-reading it" kinda way. The X-Men Unlimited #2 always catches my attention. And the Marvel Spotlight issue for Uncanny X-Men hitting 500 issues looks interesting.

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Found a lot of X-Men stuff. I tend to snag #40 when I come across it…it’s one of my all-time favorite/most memorable issues from childhood. X-Men: Alpha is another favorite (plus it’s shiny!). X-Men: Prime is similar, and pretty. And there’s also some serious nostalgia for me on the two main Onslaught issues, so snagging a pair together is quite cool.

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Then I’m starting to build up my Marvel Comics Presents collection; so with some recent purchases, I think these two extended my collection 2 issues further into the run from #1. And I have visions of destroying X-Men #1 to use the cover as a poster to hang. And the inside cover is also a poster-image…so I’ll have to destroy at least two copies. And if I can do that to 50-cent copies rather than tracking the issue down for $4-6, all the better!

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And thanks to some then-VERY-recent discussion of the issue and the variants and being able to get all 5 (6 total) I went for it. Here’s the comparison of the "deluxe" edition fully opened up compared to the 4 single-panel covers laid out.


Over 120 issues. It’s amazing how quickly they can pile up and add up. Plenty of random "junk" in there, but it was also a bit of "retail therapy" and all. But does continue to contribute to me eventually hitting a point where it’ll just make full financial sense to get my accumulation organized so that I won’t even be interested in buying "convenience copies" of anything!

THAT said…if I get to them, I’ve got a couple more large bargain-bin hauls to potentially show off…whether I get to that before the end of the year remains to be seen!

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Ringquest Update and the Weekend Haul (Weekend of 11/9/2019)

Hard to believe it’s been 10 years now since Blackest Night was going strong, and DC gave away a bunch of plastic rings as promotional items with tie-i issues of the event. And then a few months later they did a couple additional rings. If you search "Ring Quest" in this blog, you’ll find some entries from back then; and here’s one that shows most of the rings 9 1/2 years ago.

Well, after all this time, we have ANOTHER ring!

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With the launch of the 2019 umpteenth-iteration of Legion of Super-Heroes, we get a new, updated ring; with a slightly more angular design on the logo, making it look a BIT more sleek and "newer" than the one we had before.

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Here’s the old one. It really DOES look a bit clunkier than the new one.

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And here they are side-by-side. I like the gold coloring of the older one a bit better…it has a bit more "sparkle" in my eyes; while the new one is a bit "shinier" but also very cool. These put me in mind of a lot of logo redesigns I’ve seen where the bulk of the logo is kept, but stuff is angled slightly to be more angular than blocky.

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And here are all the "recent" (2009 to present) plastic promo rings that I’m aware of existing; at the least, they’re the ones that I myself own, as laid out here for this very photo!

These are by far my favorite promotional items. As fun as some of the various pins and buttons can be as collectible objects…these things are just a whole other level of awesome!

Long after I’ve forgotten which specific comic most of them came with, I remember the general time and obviously still have the physical rings, even a decade later!

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A weekend visit with actually having TIME to BROWSE at Comic Heaven, I wound up buying a set of these Comico issues. It’s a set of 8, and only s3…somewhere between 25 cents and 50 cents an issue. And the first two volumes of Edge. These are from Crossgen when they had two "anthology titles" that collected 4 of their ongoing/monthly books into these monthly tpb collections. I really do wish other/current publishers would do something like this. I’d probably pretty happily pay $10 or so (mayyyyyyyybe even $15ish) for something like this with at least 4 issues’ contents.

And the Previews Gift Guide Holiday 2019.

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On Sunday I went to Carol and John’s where I snagged the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (with the plastic ring!). I also got the Black Hammer 3 for $1 issue. 3 issues’ content for only $1…hard to beat that these days!

Then at Half-Price Books I snagged the Heavy Metal-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Quarter Century Celebration paperback from 2009. And using a 50%-off coupon, got Gambit: The Complete Collection vol. 1.

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They also had two of the Walking Dead hardcovers on sale for $3 apiece–these are the Jay Bonansinga novels from a few years back.

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Backtracking a bit–on Friday, lured in by a coupon for 40% off a single item, I visited a Half-Price Book in Mayfield Heights, Ohio…where I was pleasantly-ish surprised to find a significant collection of Mechwarrior: Dark Age novels.

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A couple months ago, I visited 7 Half-Price Books stores in 2 days, and one of my "goals in that was looking for Mechwarrior/Battletech books. Unfortunately, I’d only found a mere 2 that were worth getting.

But this shelf of books yielded 9 times that. 18 books in the series. Of course, my coupon–the reason I was there–was only good toward ONE item. So I saved a whopping $1.20.

BUT I added 18 books to my library, which takes me from missing more than two dozen to missing maybe a half-dozen in having the entire series. MUCH more manageable!

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Also finally snagged the X-Men promo trading cards from the "free stuff" counter at Carol and John’s. Missed these when I’d picked up X-Men #1 a few weeks back, and then where I’d seen them elsewhere, they’d still been "you have to buy X-Men #1 to get them." Having been a few weeks, now I have a set. Unfortunately, it’s after I’ve elected NOT to dive into the revamped X-line.

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Seven cards in the packet–one card each showing the cover of each first issue in the first "wave" of titles. On the back it lists the primary characters in the title; and the Krakoan language "key" is double-sided. This sure would have been VERY handy during HoX/PoX, but whatever.

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The Weekend Haul: Weekend of November 2, 2019

This past weekend yielded an interesting haul. It started with the Akron Comicon.

I believe the first time I’d attended the Akron Comicon was in 2012. I got to meet Norm Breyfogle, Mike W. Barr, and a couple other creators. Along with meeting them, I got copies of Prime #s 1, 11 and the Prime Time TPB along with Detective Comics #604 (my first-ever issue of the title) signed by Breyfogle. I got Mantra #1 and my Batman: Year Two collected volume signed by Barr.

In 2013, I went again, and got to meet Jon Bogdanove and got Superman: The Man of Steel #1 signed.

I don’t think I made it back again until 2018.

And now 2019.

Which proved to be quite a disappointment for me. Two creators in particular I’d looked forward to seeing at the show had to back out. Additionally, the "guest of honor" (I think that’s MY phrasing, not the official show-phrasing) was an old Cleveland, OH-area tv host from the 1980s–predating MY experiences in 1988-onward–so I had zero interest in his presence at the show as I obviously had no nostalgia/connection whatsoever.

The show was at yet another "new location," this time in Cuyahoga Falls–just outside of Akron proper. Certainly some quibbles on the name of the show tying to location and such, but whatever. Prior to arrival, I was picturing this rather small (for a convention) location from a friend’s wedding I attended years ago. My primary concern was parking. I cannot speak to the parking situation after Noon or so, as I actually got to the show around 11 or a little before. (I was leaving the parking lot shortly after Noon and there were a few open spots). But it seemed to me a rather small amount of parking for a show expecting a lot of people. I was burned a couple years ago by a different local show on the parking, which has made "parking" a #1 concern for me with plans to attend any convention.

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I had no trouble getting into the show. I essentially followed a couple in, following signage. I was rather surprised to find no line (having had a pretty good wait to get into the Hall of Fame City Comic Con a few weeks ago). Someone with a scanning rod or whatever those things are called–hand-held metal-detector scanners–was checking everyone on the way in. No problem there–just a few seconds, non-invasive, though I was momentarily worried that stuff on one of my carabiners would set it off. No issues, though. I was directed to a table where there seemed to be several stations–picking up pre-ordered tickets, buying tickets with cash, and using a card. I was using cash, so once I realized the stations, had no further wait.

I was then directed to another table for a "swag bag" (I got the term from the bag itself, I don’t recall exactly what was said to me–I was by then already getting some low-level anxiety from being in an enclosed, densely-populated space). A table had several posters I was going to look at, but I saw (volunteers?) putting them into bags and was handed a bag of my own, so I thanked the worker and went on in to get out of the entranceway foot-traffic. After the show when I inspected this "swag bag" I discovered two Netflix She-Ra posters…and a double-sided 5.5" x 8.5" flyer for some sort of bowling and/or restaurant. Nothing comic-related. Nothing listing comic shops in the area, nothing offering a show-floor layout or vendor list, no random trinkets or promo cards for geek/gaming/comic/hobby/etc stuff. If it was merely a "courtesy bag" (cuz hey, how many people necessarily think to bring bags in with them to hold stuff they buy?) that’d be one thing. As a "swag bag" it was almost insulting. BUT as I wasn’t there for any Akron Comicon items, no big deal.

I was primarily on the hunt for:

  • Uncanny X-Men #141 for $30 or less
  • Uncanny X-Men #350 "regular" cover (non-shiny) for under $10
  • X-Men #45 for ideally $4 or less
  • Wolverine #145 "shiny" cover for under $10
  • Spectacular Spider-Man #200 (for under $5)
  • Spawn issues for under $5 each

I did see a Marvel Legends reprint-edition of Uncanny X-Men #141 for $2.50 that I passed on (I have it already, somewhere, and we just had a $1 True Believers reprint in the last couple weeks, if I wanted anything other than the original). I did see a couple of "wall books" instances but as I’m just looking for low-grade $30 or less, I’m not interested in the $100+ wall-book copies.

I did find the Uncanny X-Men #350 regular edition, and it was only $5…so there was some definite satisfaction in that! The same dealer also had X-Men #45, also for $5; I figured for the convenience of taking it off my mental list and not having to hunt, it was worth the "premium." Plus I was able to simply hand over the $10 I got back from my admission $20.

Another dealer actually had Wolverine #145…albeit the NON-shiny version that I got 20 years ago. I’m interested in getting the "shiny" version since I was not able to get it back then. But for the nostalgia and such, and already having a sinking feeling on the convention, I was shifting into the mindset of wanting to at least buy enough to "justify" my $10 admission…so, $6 for that. Not exactly a waste as it’s a convenience copy now of a key (to me) issue AND it’s no worse than some modern $5.99 comic that I would not appreciate the way I do this one.

Finally, Another dealer had Spectacular Spider-Man #200 for $4.50; but he gave it to me for $4 since he didn’t have change (a pleasant surprise, and I thanked him for the discount!).

I browsed the dealers that had comics; I think I saw two with Spawn issues; but as "usual" they were early (pre-26) and/or 290+ with nothing I was missing between 62-256. I did find a couple with some TMNT comics, but of course they were IDW series or the IDW reprints for the most part; several Mirage issues but no prices and I figured I’d go back to them after I’d had a look around the rest of the show floor.

But I quickly had my fill of the place, and with other stuff planned, decided to cut my "losses" and just leave, rather than get to where I myself felt like I was wasting money on buying stuff and just accept the "loss" of "admission."

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I then went to Kenmore Komics and picked up some stuff; chief being Hope #5 (of 6).

I’d completely forgotten I was intending to look for Uncanny X-Men #325 along with 350 and the X-Men #45, but located it here, and for the same $5 I’d paid for the latter, so well worthwhile.

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I also found 5 Spawn issues for $4 apiece (so no worse than buying 5 random modern comics) to continue to close up the holes in my first-100 issues of the series; I’m now 12 issues away from having 1-100!

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Continuing my journey for the day, I headed to Hazel’s Heroes, which I knew thanks to Facebook was having a "Not at Comicon" sale. Unfortunately, by this point nature was calling, so I ducked into a Marc’s in the same plaza to use the restroom. While in the store I found this Justice League Chibis Complete Set for a whopping $3.99. Considering I’d paid half that a few years ago for a single packet with 3 of these, on that pricing it was well worth buying this set to get the rest. I’m quite certain I got Green Arrow and Superman from that packet and can’t remember the 3rd (Cyborg, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, or Batman, probably). I’m a sucker for Robin stuff, and while throwing money away for the day…why not?

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Once into Hazel’s Heroes, I found a treasure-trove of old Wizard issues for $1 apiece as well as some fairly beaten-up copies of tpbs for $1. Thankfully, I’d recently gotten rough photos of my Wizard shelves and was able to zoom in to the spines to see what issues were not presently…present. Though several are issues I know darned well I SHOULD have…they weren’t on the shelf when I took the photos, and for "only" $1 and rarely if ever coming across Wizard in bargain and/or back-issue bins…I snagged these.

Also for "only" $1, grabbed the Dawn of the Age of Apocalypse and the Twilight of the Age of Apocalypse books. These are the original editions from back in 1995 or so, and rather inferior books at this point. But I’m mildly interested in getting a complete set eventually, and as these fall out of apparent favor with newer, fatter editions, I’m not at all opposed to grabbing them for $1 each!

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Then for general back-issues, the sale was something like comics up to $8.99 were $1, $9-something was $3, and so on.

I found the TMNT Adventures: Year of the Turtle #2 which leaves me only missing the first issue of the mini from having the complete mini-series; and 5 or so of the quarterly "special" issues from the series.

I snagged a couple of the Uncanny X-Men issues from just before #350, thinking a re-read of those might go well with a re-read of #350 itself. I didn’t factor in having several more issues handy or not, so it leaves me still "missing" several for these "convenience copy duplicates." Perhaps I’ll just leave those for Marvel Unlimited.

Since they were functionally $1-books, grabbed a few more X-issues for the heckuvit/with meaning to me.

And as one of "those" issues I like getting just to get, a couple more of the deluxe edition of 1991’s X-Men #1 with the gatefold 4-part single cover. I still intend to eventually frame a couple copies of the covers–the exterior as the large 4-part image; and the interior cover is its own vertical 4-panel poster.

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I also got another copy of the Image Firsts edition of Spawn #1–I’m suck a sucker for that cover image!–as well as the DC Dollar Comics Superman #75 (for what the issue is, I’m happy to buy multiples. Plus, then I have copies to give to (a) friend(s)!) Also got another copy of The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1 for a friend.


I spent slightly more at Hazel’s Heroes than I did the convention, and I got a LOT MORE value out of it.

And I spent as much solely on Spawn at Kenmore as I did at the convention, where no one at the convention had issues of the title I needed.

I’m happy enough, really, with what I got at the convention…but that $10 admission brought the average price of the issues up to $7.50 apiece, essentially…and with a bit of shuffling on how much for which issue I probably would have been better (or just as well) served ordering the issues online and sticking to the comic shops.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of October 30, 2019

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Well…I was a week late posting last week’s edition, but here I’m essentially "early" for this week’s edition. Go figure, huh?

That’s what life does, though, I guess!

This was a large-small week. Relatively "small" in quantity. Small in quantity, but big in price.

Let’s get to it!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #99

This is the 99th sequential issue I’ve bought for this series, beginning a little over 8 years ago in August of 2011. This is by far THE longest single uninterrupted "run" with any comic series for me with no "breaks." Even though I followed 2004’s Tales of the TMNT to its concluding issue, there were months at a time where I wasn’t able to get (an) issue(s) and would have to catch up 3-6 issues at a time with online orders and such. So as the title heads to its 100th issue, it’s also a big deal for ME in tracking that length! That this issue–#99–is $7.99 was unexpected as I expected this for the 100th issue. If it means the 100th will be even bigger…great! I’m all for more content. THOUGH even as MUCH as I allow TMNT to be my "exception," variant fatigue is even seeping in HERE to me. As well as this being the longest I’ve followed any single series in one go…part of me begins to wonder if even this could use a "break." Get to 100 and take a break for a few months. But then, look how long it took me to pull the trigger on other stuff I lamented pricing/etc. before finally dropping.

 Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1

This is another $5.99 #1 issue. At least it’s squarebound so quasi-"prestige format." Despite having a large #1 on the cover, the code in the barcode box that tells which cover you have (regular or variant(s)) is 0211, meaning this is being considered a #2…if these are one-shots, I’d expect that code to be 0111. I got sick enough of $4.99/issue with X-Men stuff the last few months; $5.99 is really quite out of the question for a "series" for me. Perhaps it IS DC trying to be sneaky, a la Marvel by making it look like one-shots while actually considering it a series?

The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1

Then an issue I’d forgotten was coming: I believe this brings the John Constantine from the ’80s Books of Magic (back?) into canon; certainly a younger version of the character not being aged in "real time" from his first appearance. But I think I’d seen that this version may be a lot more Vertigo-esque than we’ve had since a version of the character crossed back to the main DC universe back in 2011 at the end of Brightest Dayin Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing. I was also rather surprised to see the Black Label…um…label on this. I thought it was Sandman Universe, not Black Label. Considering All-Star Superman was moved to Black Label and is not an "adult" or "mature readers" comic, it seems rather odd to me that BL would mean "adult" in and of itself. Whatever it means, I am truly growing tired of seeing it all over DC‘s output with their inconsistency and lack of clarity about stuff. So that’s a ding against this as well. Whether I’ll pick up and go with the ongoing series at the end of November remains to be seen. I’ll likely try the first issue at least, but more than likely will fall back to wait for collected editions.

DC Dollar Comics: Superman #75

This is one of THE more appropriate reprints, and feels like one of THE best-done for a DC Dollar Comics edition vs. a replica/facsimile edition. It’s $1, which is 25 cents less than the original issue was 27 years ago; and this comes out within 2-3 weeks OF the 27th anniversary of its original release! I was a bit surprised at DC keeping so MUCH of the classic cover intact…they even KEEP the original UPC box from the Direct Edition stating the creators, and put a NEW UPC box on the other side of the cover for the current edition. They also replicate part of the original corner box including the flying Superman image, and the cover dress/placement/font of the phrase The Death of Superman!. I almost feel like I would prefer this as a replica edition…I do not believe ANY reprint of the issue since the original 4 printings has had the gatefold back cover; so the effect has never been the same for the issue’s ending. I do find it odd that this reprint has a "To Be Continued in The Death of Superman" seeing as this is the end of that story. But much as with the Batman #497 a couple weeks ago…this is one of THE single issues I am absolutely MOST familiar with, and thus far more "sensitive" toward than most other reprints.

True Believers: X-Men: Moira MacTaggert #1

This one’s "just another" reprint to me. I believe it reprints X-Men #96; just a couple issues into the post-Giant-Size X-Men #1 era. I’m not sure when I thought the character had first appeared, but I would not have guessed it correctly.

True Believers: X-Men: Karima Shapandar, Omega Sentinel

This one’s another that I definitely recognized the cover image but would not have been able to tell you a number. I WAS pretty sure it was an X-Men Unlimited issue, and the indicia bore that out–originally published as X-Men Unlimited #27. As it was a quarterly title and #1 was in 1993 AND it took two quarters off during the original Age of Apocalypse for X-Men Chronicles…I’d place this as being an issue from 2000 if I had to hazard a guess. Which makes it relatively recent as True Believers reprints go.

Batman Annual #4

Not much in thoughts for this, except I’ve gotta catch up on reading the main title. I’m not sure how "between-the-issues" this one might be, though it looks like it may read well enough on its own…time will definitely tell!


One $7.99, one $5.99 two $4.99s and three $1 issues. $27 for 6 issues. When I got back into comics in a big way–particularly summer 1992–I could get 20 comics for $27, with a bit left over!

Next week looks to be decently-smallish…I’m tentatively planning on Legion of Super-Heroes solely for the stupid plastic ring, assuming one is available with it. I’ll pay $3.99 for the ring and a bonus comic…if I’m not enthused about a comic with a bonus ring.

And looking ahead…I’m not seeing anything offhand about more True Believers for November…I was starting to think these were basically weekly with a different theme each month. I guess not?

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