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Collection Maintenance and the Unintentional Valiant Haul

ziggyonxmenboxesAfter years of intentions, this year I’ve finally started to–at least in small steps–do some maintenance on my comics collection.

I’ve been getting comics for 23+ years now, and aside from giving away some duplicates and occasionally buying comics intended for friends, my collection’s simply grown. Compound that with having the oldest chunk of my collection at my parents’ house while I’ve lugged the last decade’s worth of comics around with me 20120904valiant01(and some absolutely incredible sales at the local comic shop and a full longbox purchase at a Free Comic Day sale a few years ago) and my collection is nothing remotely approaching ordered.

Last year I sped through several of my boxes to pull what Ultraverse comics I could find, and pretty much assembled a “what’s missing” list that I’ve sorely neglected for about a year now.

20120904ultraverseThe last several months I’ve been gathering my X-Men comics together, with thoughts toward a major reading project. Having scoured the old boxes at my parents’, and weeks later transporting the boxes of X-Men stuff to my apartment, I’ve finally begun going through the most recent of my longboxes, and found a great many of the X-Men comics I knew I had–including sizeable runs of X-Force, Cable, and Wolverine.

But I also found that–like I discovered when I pulled Ultraverse comics last year–that I’d been snapping up lots of Valiant comics from various bargain-bins.20120904valiant02

I’ve been referencing all these “classic” Valiant series that I’ve never read as I’ve reviewed the “New” Valiant stuff this summer…and come to discover (and I still have more than a dozen longboxes to sort through) that I have a pretty good stack of Valiant stuff–primarily Archer & Armstrong and X-O Manowar, as well as a couple early runs of Turok and H.A.R.D. Corps.

20120904valiant04And…there’s X-O Manowar #0. Turns out the thing’s apparently been one of my favorite bargain-bin pulls, as I know of a couple other copies I’ve snagged this year, and I found 2-3 other copies going through stuff tonight–though apparently I neglected to pull them, not realizing I was going to find so many other Valiant comics to justify pulling those together.

It’s amazing the way time flies when one takes such a trip down memory lane…and how hard it is to flip through a longbox of comics without stopping to page through the odd issue here or there, and wish there was more time in the days, to just sit and read everything.

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True Fresh Starts vs. Mere Rebooting of Numbering

archerandarmstrong001New #1s may work. In a way, they’ve worked quite well on me in the past year. If I recall off the top of my head, I bought around 30 of ’em last September/October with DC‘s New 52 initiative. Of course, I didn’t stick around very long on any of the titles, topping out around 8-9 issues of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. While I’ve largely kept up with Batwing, that’s been always a month behind for the “discount” on the digital, and I suppose another exception would be following up from Batman with a couple digital issues closing out the Night of Owls stuff.

extermination001cBut this summer, I’ve found myself fairly invested in and enjoying 7 new titles from #1, as well as the just-past-the-one-year-mark Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title from IDW.

Despite the $3.99 pricing, I’ve made exceptions for these for being non-Marvel/non-DC mainstream books.

And they’re all either completely new, original properties, or PROPERLY-done relaunches/reboots.

The Boom! titles (Higher Earth, Extermination, and The Hypernaturals) bloodshot001are all brand-new original properties that I’ve gotten in with on the “ground floor” from #1 (or the FCBD) issues, and thus far am following them with the new release of each single issue. As new properties, obviously these are fine being in the low numbers. They’re not mere continuations of existing continuity or new iterations of otherwise identical titles (and sometimes creative teams).

And then with the Valiant books (Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, and XO Manowar), the original titles have been gone more than 12 years, and the current company is ITSELF a whole new iteration, sharing only name and teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw001properties with the original Valiant. And since they’re not picking up with where the original Valiant properties left off in the late-1990s, it only makes sense to start fresh, with both new #1s and new continuity.

Even TMNT is forging a whole new universe from any of the prior-existing universes, and I’m enjoying the plethora of stuff that IDW‘s been pumping out there. With a year or two between the end of the “Volume Four” series by original TMNT co-creator Peter Laird and draining the last of the done-in-advance queue of work on the higherearth001aTales of the TMNT title, a whole new company in control of the characters, a new license…it makes sense there’d be a new #1, and new “history” for the characters.

It just does not sit well with me the constant renumbering that Marvel–in particular–does; such that it’s actually in itself on principle turned me off to everything post-AvX (and got me to drop all the tie-in AvX titles). DC has at least had the “guts” to hold to the new numbering, keeping the books on schedule, and giving in and having various “waves” of books–cycling titles OUT that aren’t working and xomanowar001cycling in new ones, such that there’s beginning to be a hint of numerical diversity rather than “everything” being the same number each month.

But having come through the 1990s and the 2000s, having followed many characters for nearly two decades, the new stuff just isn’t (as a whole/in general) sitting well with me, and I’m even more put off by the pricing. I’ve bought DC and Marvel since their output was $.75 to $1, and as the prices have crept (and LEAPT!!!) upward…it’s just so hard to “justify” $3.99 (even $2.99) on titles/characters I hypernaturals001aremember paying only $1.50 to $2.25 or even the more recent $2.50 for.

With the Boom and Valiant stuff…it’s starting at $3.99, and broken record though I am, I’m just somehow more “able” to accept the higher price for stuff that’s rooted in the present, with today’s prices, rather than paying today’s prices for yesterday’s properties.

I also don’t have lengthy backstory to try to catch up on at high prices or out of print collected volumes to justify paying high premiums for. harbinger001And rather than be told that continuity doesn’t matter because of the sheer volume of continuity…these are all young enough titles that the “continuity” isn’t even an issue yet any more than it would be for ANY self-contained story.

After 23 years of keeping up with comics, it’s sort of sad to realize that of the ongoing titles I’m keeping up with, I’m looking to bail on the only title in triple digits (The Walking Dead) in favor of the collected volumes, which leaves the highest-numbered issue to the TMNT at #13 (last week).

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