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About this journal

One man's journey to turn his lifelong collection hoard of comics into a streamlined, Superman-centric collection.

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tomo

So why December of 1978?

Well, there was a movie released that month called Superman The Movie, that's why!

A favorite complaint these days is that neither Marvel or DC has appropriate books on the shelves to take advantage of the heat that is generated by comic book movies.  So how did DC do back in 1978 at the golden age of superhero movies?

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Not too shabby!

All-New Collectors' Edition: Superman The Movie #C-62 was right there to take advantage of the hype, with an issue dedicated to the movie itself!

The FFE's had ceased publication a few years prior, but they revived the title for one more issue with Famous First Edition Superman #C-61.  How they neglected to print this issue back in 1974-1975 when they printed copies for Batman #1 and Wonder Woman #1 remains a mystery, but the timing worked out for them in the end.

As for the other books that month?  Pretty standard mid-to-late Bronze Age stuff.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

tomo

The Superbooks in November 1970

Yesterday we took a look at the dawn of the Bronze Age with the Superbooks.  It would be about another year, however, for the Superbooks to start hitting their stride with some classic Bronze Age goodness.  For me, the quintessential Superman Bronze Age book is Superman #233, so let's see what else was on the newsstands that month as well.

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Aside from having the most iconic of Neal Adams' Superman covers, this issue starts a year-long story of a de-powered Superman by Denny O'Neil.  While this was supposed to reset the status quo, it was largely contained within the pages of Superman and lasted only as long as Denny O'Neil stuck around.  Those eleven issues are now affectionately known as the Sand-Superman Saga.  It has its rightful place in Superman history, but honestly...80% of the reason is that cover!

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #107 has another Rose & Thorn back-up, and nothing screams Bronze Age like street-level vigilantism.

Superboy #171 has one of the better (and all too rare) Carmine Infantino Superman covers.  Great stuff!  I'm not much of an historian for Aquaman, but was Aquaboy ever really a thing?

Jack Kirby was just getting started on his Fourth World epic, and we get Darkseid's second appearance here in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #135.

...and is that another cover in the "people vs. Superman" theme on Action Comics #396?  Suddenly he's the Rodney Dangerfield of super-heroes.

Another decent month in the world of Superman!

 

tomo

The Superbooks in April 1969

Continuing on for the theme of the week, let's set the time machine forward a few years to April of 1969 to see both the end of one era, and the dawn of another.

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The end of the Silver Age is a hard one to pin down, and there's a ton of debate to be had.  I, myself, like to keep things simple and generally assume that the end of the 12¢ books also ends the Silver Age, and this is the month that it happened.

I sorted the books by release date, so you'll see that it starts with 10¢ books and ends with the 12¢ books.  Aside from Adventure Comics #381, which features the debut issue of the solo Supergirl stories, there is no real tonal shift per se.  It was more of a gradual shift as the civil rights movement started to shift the consciousness of the country forward.

We do get a great month of Neal Adams covers though!  Superboy #157 features another in the all time favorite "people vs. Superman" theme.  Superman and Batman duel it out gladiator-style in World's Finest Comics #185.  While not one of his most iconic covers, he gets the honor of doing Supergirl's first issue from her headlining run in Adventure Comics.  He's also credited with inking the Curt Swan cover for Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #120, but I'll be darned if I can see any of Curt left in the final project.

Superman #217 is a giant-size issue, featuring a great load of reprints with the first appearances of Brainiac, Metallo, Lori Lemaris, the pre-Kara Supergirl, and of course...Mala!

Four Neal Adams covers and a bunch of classic reprints?  I call that a win!

 

 

tomo

The Superbooks in June 1967

Yesterday I was a little surprised that I was able to go all the way back to November of 1959, with having a complete set of all the Superbooks on sale for a particular month.  I thought for sure that my oldest set would've been in the early 12¢ era.  I ended up being wrong twice, as not only could I go farther back than I thought, but the next instance of this happening is way into the second half of the Silver Age.  It takes another 7 ½ years for my collection to once again have all of the Superbooks for any particular month.

I give to you, the Superman newsstand of June 1967...

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There's two things to notice here.  First, we have three different cover dates for the books that were on sale during June of 1967.  The monthly books are all cover dated August, while the 80 Pg. Giants are dated September and October.  I don't claim to have a PhD in cover dates, but I do know enough that the month on the cover is supposed to be the month that the books were to be removed from the newsstand, and not the actual month that they were released.  Why they decided to give Lois' 80-pager an extra month over Jimmy's is curious.  I'm guessing it's because the Lois book was released during the last week of June.

For future newsstand months, I should probably put them in order of release date, rather than my typical fashion of ordering them by the age of the title (e.g. Action always goes first, then Adventure, World's Finest, Superboy, etc...)

The other thing that sharp-eyed readers may notice is that there is a book missing...Superman #199.  This book is the first Superman/Flash race, and a true key for any Superman or Flash collector.  So why is it missing?  Here's why...

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About 8 years ago or so, I finished up the small run of the Silver Age Superman/Flash races, which includes the following...

  • Superman #199
  • Flash #175
  • World's Finest #198-199

When I laid them all out in order, it was a perfect example of the linear storytelling we all enjoy so much.  The first book has the two heroes right at the start of the match, then Superman pulls ahead, then Flash pulls ahead, then to the last book where it is neck and neck over the finish line.  I loved the way they looked so much, that  I hired my sister to mat and frame them for me!  She ended up doing it for free as a birthday present, and they've been hanging up in my office ever since.

tomo

So I was ruminating on the state of my Superman collection the other day, as I am getting close to checking off all of the 12¢ books from Superman and Action Comics.  That made me curious as to how far back I could get in my collection, and have the entire month of Superman books represented.  I figured it would be early in the 12¢ run somewhere, but to my surprise it was late in the 10¢ era instead.

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Step out of the time machine, and welcome to the world of November 1959!

No key issues for this month, but the Superbabies are quite popular as we get both a Superboy and a Supergirl Superbaby story.  Since Supergirl only made her first appearance less than a year prior, I'm guessing that this is the first Supergirl Superbaby story?  See, there is a key here after all!

Now I know what your thinking..."Hold up, how can there be a story of Supergirl when she was a baby as she came to Earth as a teenager?"  Blame it on the fountain of youth she inadvertently swims through while rescuing a drowning native in a far off exotic island.

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And that is why Silver Age stories never get boring.  There's always a fountain of youth around when you need one to spice up a story!

While the cover for Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #14 teases a Batman appearance, it's not to be.  It's all a ruse by Supergirl meddling in her cousin's love life trying to make Superman jealous.

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This is Supergirl's first appearance in Lois' book and her third outside of Action Comics, after guest-starring in Jimmy Olsen's and Superman a few month's prior.

The Superboy #78 is the real winner from this month however, as not only do you get a great Jor-El cover, but all three of the stories inside are gems.  Since the aforementioned debut of Supergirl had just happened and proved a hit, I guess Superboy wanted to get in on the action as the opening story has Clark changed to Claire Kent, Super-Sister!

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Hey kids, look!  It's Supergirl as a brunette!

The second story gives us the origin of Clark's super-suit, while the last one gives us a view into the early life of Mr. Mxyzptlk and the origin of their longstanding feud.  Good stuff!

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All in all, a solid month, and it's especially great if you are a Supergirl fan.  I do wonder though, how this period played out if you were a Superman fan who was still of the age where girls had cooties.

tomo

Lastly for this week of low content anagram fun, let's see what we can do with this latest round of purchases from the wilds of eBay.

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A nice little run of high-grade Weird Western Tales featuring Jonah Hex!  Such good stuff.  I especially like this cover Weird Western Tales #25 from December 1974.

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Jonah Hex riding out on horseback from a pit of quicksand!  How badass is that?!

Anyways, anagrams...

     Jonah Hex = ?

I got nothing here.  Hex is an enigma even in the world of anagrams.

     Weird Western Tales = Tawdriest Newsreel

Newsreels wouldn't be a thing for another 50 years in Hex's world, but I can only imagine that if they were around in the wild west, they would've been quite tawdry!

Have a great weekend everyone, thanks for reading!

tomo

Yesterday I mentioned that I'll pick up lower grade 12¢ books to help fill out the run if the price is right, well on these the price was right!

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The focus of my collection is completing Action Comics and Superman, but I've slowly been filling out the secondary and tertiary titles as the opportunities present themselves.  After enjoying the heck out of @Silver's Superboy Complete thread over in the Silver Age Forum, I decided to bump the Superboy collecting up a notch as there are some great books in there.

Thanks to @SOLAR BOY for another killer sales thread that had some of those Superboy books I enjoyed seeing over in @Silver's thread.  And thanks for the freebie too!

With this haul, and yesterday's, that brings me pretty darn close to filling out all of the Action Comics and Superman 12¢ books, as I need only 12 more Actions and 16 more Supermans.  Hopefully by the end of the year I can finish off that mini-goal and be able to fully concentrate on the 10¢ books.

And what do the anagrams have to say?

     Superboy = Buy Ropes

     Superman = Man Purse

Not to much secret insight there.  Let's try the creators on these issues.

     Leo Dorfman = Elf Doorman

     Edmond Hamilton = Damned Monolith

     Al Plastino = Nasal Pilot

     Curt Swan = ...

Tread lightly on that last one, as there are some decidedly NSFW anagrams there.

tomo

I picked up a couple of early 12¢ Action Comics off of eBay recently to help fill out the run.

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Action Comics #290 from July 1962 and Action Comics #306 from November 1963.

I realized long ago that trying to fill out a run of both Action Comics and Superman was going to be a herculean task at best.  With that in mind, I settled on a minimum grade for the 12¢ books to be at least a nice presenting F/VF.  I'll obviously make exceptions, however, if I come across some beaters at a price I can't resist.

I love that cover for #306, as it tells a hell of a story with just one image.  It's got it all...Clark Kent in peril, kryptonite, a 3rd world generalissimo, a cigarette smoking mastermind, the secret identity in jeopardy, etc...  If I can't have world-shaking super-villain fist fights, than these are the type of stories that I really enjoy from the Silver and Bronze Ages.

Anyways, on to the anagram fun!     

     Clark Kent = Tank Clerk

Let's see...Clark is essentially the clerk that handles the routine duties for the tank that is Superman.  I'll buy that.  Fun fact (and  a peek behind the curtain): I use the internet to figure out my anagrams, and so far "Clark Kent" are the letters that have generated the least amount of anagrams, with only 3 total.  That man's in a class by himself!

     Lois Lane = Los Alien

My spanish is rusty, but that means the alien, right?

     Action Comics = Iconic Mascot

That makes a lot sense, seeing as how this title birthed the original superhero!

 

 

tomo

Low content mode week continues, as we delve deeper into the latest purchases for my collection, through the skewed lens of anagrams.

This next book I picked up off of eBay after a fellow boardie tipped me off that this is, in fact, the first use of the Supergirl masthead.

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From what I could turn up, it does appear that The Brave And The Bold #63 from January 1965 is in fact the first usage.  It predates Action Comics #334 from March 1966 by over a year, which I would have guessed previously was the first.

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All in all, a nice little bit of trivia that I was previously unaware of.

Now, on to the anagrams...

     Supergirl = pig rulers

     Kara Zor-El = kale razor

     Linda Lee Danvers = lavender denials or vanilla needs red

There's nothing there that gives us any secret insight into Supergirl, so let's try Wonder Woman...

     Wonder Woman = onward women

That's better, a nice feminine mantra hidden in plain sight!

Lastly, how about Multi-Face...

     Multi-Face = a cute MILF

I'm not so sure about that, but who am I to cast aspersions.  I journal, you decide....

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tomo

It's looking like a low content week for the journal, as I have a busy work week ahead of me, so I'll probably be spending it posting some pics of my newest acquisitions.

First up, I got this beauty off of eBay for a great price...

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Adventure Comics #267 from December 1959, featuring the second appearance of The Legion of Super-Heroes.  This particular issue only cost me $42 bucks, and it's a killer looking copy, although I'm sure some would balk at the ½" tear that goes through the entire book on the right edge.  I'll still keep my eye out for an upgrade, but I am more than content with this issue for right now, as it gets me one step closer to completing those early Legion appearances.  I'm now only missing 4 of their first 20 appearances, although that last one is going to be painful to the old wallet.

It's a shame though, that they didn't keep the original costumes, as the originals are so much better.

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And a big shout-out to @Marwood & I for unknowingly setting the theme for low content mode week!  I so enjoyed his anagramming of Legion members from my Nemesis Kid post last week, that I just have to try it for myself this week.

Here goes...

     Cosmic Boy anagrams to boy comics

That's not to shabby, if a little lazy.

     Lightning Lad anagrams to dangling hilt

That must be where he keeps his lighting rod.

     Saturn Girl anagrams to raring slut

Yikes, how dare the internet anagram maker impugn our beloved Legionnaire like that.  For shame!

tomo

Almost everything I've highlighted in my journal to date has been silver and bronze age books.  Granted, that's where my collecting focus is these days, but I do have my fair share of copper and modern books...especially when it comes to Superman.  My collection of the main Superman titles is 100% complete from this week, all the way back to 1966.  With that said, let's round out this week's theme with a book from 1997!

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Action Comics #730 from February 1997 features an appearance from The Superman Revenge Squad.  This team has never really been a formal group with membership cards like the Justice League, but more of a loose collection of whatever villains have been populating the Superbooks at any particular time.

For this incarnation, we have Maxima, and...umm...hmmm...

Let's put my old-man memory to the test and see what else I can remember, considering I haven't read this book since its initial release.

I know I recognize the skeleton guy as he showed up semi-regularly during the late 90's/early 2000's, but I'll be damned if I can remember his name.  Bones, maybe?  I know it was a short, one word name.

And since this is the 90's, of course there is a rock guy with a cyber hand.  He must be Cyberpunch?  Cyberfist?  Rockrobot?

I'm sure the guy with a gun for a hand is Blood-something-or-other.

The blond with the green nail polish.  The Emerald Empress, maybe?

So how did I do, let's crack this issue open to find out.  Thankfully, they provide a recap page for me relatively early.

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Unfortunately, I failed rather badly, as Maxima was the only one I was able to remember.  Barrage is the gun guy, who of course has been turned into a rabbit by page four.  Riot was the skeleton guy.  I was close with bones, right?  No?  All right, moving on.  The rock guy (now made of steel) is Anomaly.  Lastly, there is Misa, who is some sort of magic based character, as it was her who transformed Barrage into Bucky O'Hare.

Misa and Anomaly never made it out of the 90's, while Barrage and Riot would show up sporadically until the New52.  So while this particular incarnation of the Superman Revenge Squad never lived up to its potential, the name still lives on as the current story arc in Action Comics just wrapped up a Superman Revenge Squad story featuring Zod and Cyborg Superman, among others.

So what was the first appearance of the Superman Revenge Squad?  It was actually the Superboy Revenge Squad debuting in Superboy #94 from January 1962.

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And who made up the initial line-up for the Superboy Revenge Squad?  It was a bunch of aliens from the planet Wexr II, of course.  You remember them, don't you?

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And how about the first appearance of the Superman Revenge Squad?  Why it was in none other than the already highlighted Action Comics #286 that started off this whole theme week, so it all comes full circle!

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Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

 

tomo

Continuing along with our week-long theme of odd character inclusions, we come to 80 Pg. Giant #6 from January 1965.

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At first glance, it looks like I might have overthought this, as this whole cover is filled with nobodies.  But then if you look over up in the upper right, you'll see the decidely a-list villain, Bizarro!  In the end it makes sense, as of course Bizarro would be featured in a collection of nobodies.  As Bizarro would so horribly state it...

"Me am nobody."

Which means he's popular?  I think?  Damn, Bizarro makes my head hurt sometimes.

A quick look at the other "stars" of this issue reveals that they mostly debuted in the late 50's or very early 60's, and had just the one appearance.  That period is where my collection is what we'll affectionately call "spotty," as I don't have too many of these reprints in their original publication.  It's funny, as in every case I have the issue after their appearance.  The only exception is Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #47 from September 1960.

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And this isn't even the first appearance of Jimmy Olsen's Private Monster, but his second (and last) appearance.  I haven't read this one yet, but it's got a great robot cover.  Perhaps I've tripped upon my next wall display theme!

Anyways, back to Bizarro.  This issue reprints the first appearance of Bizarro #1, Action Comics #254 from July 1959.

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This issue is the first appearance of Bizarro #1, and the second appearance of the Bizarro concept overall, after it's debut in Superboy #68 from October 1958.

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While the Superboy issue has its place of honor in the Superman world firmly established, I do think that AC254 is a bit under-appreciated as this is the first appearance of the Bizarro that would go on to flesh out the whole Bizarro concept as we know it today.  My copy I picked up at one of my LCS' earlier auctions.  DC was dead with his customer base back then, so I regularly got deals.  This sharp looking copy I got for $80, which I think is a steal considering it's importance to the whole Superman mythology.

My copy of SB68 is one I picked up off of eBay about 3 years ago.  It's low grade, but I like to think that since it's Bizarro's first appearance, then it's high-grade?  I think that's how it works?

"Me hate my high-grade book"

...and that is enough Bizarro speak for the day.

You're welcome.

tomo

While I was thumbing through the collection, looking for more odd cover appearances by D-List characters, it turns out there was another one in the wall display that I highlighted a few days ago that started me down this path.

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In Adventure Comics #346 from July 1966, we are introduced to four new recruits for Legion membership.  But alas, one of them is a traitor!

Who could it be?

Karate Kid?  Princess Projectra?  Ferro Lad?  Or err...ummm...Nemesis Kid?!

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Spoilers from here on out for anyone who hasn't read this yet, but the only worse name that Nemesis Kid could have chosen would've been Traitor Lad.  This issue ends in a cliffhanger, with all of the super-obvious clues pointing at Karate Kid as the Legion traitor.

Now I don't have the next issue yet, so I don't know for sure, but I'm going out on a limb here to say that Nemesis Kid is the actual traitor.  I mean, it's right there in his name!

tomo

Yesterday we looked at a rather curious cover appearance by a super-villain wannabe.  Let's keep the theme going and take a look at another, this time from Superman Annual #2 from 1960/1961.

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This collection of reprints celebrates some the greatest super-villains ever featured!  Naturally, we see Brainiac, Bizarro, and Titano.  All three of these villains had been in about a half-dozen stories each, up until this book came out.  They've also gone on to more than stake their claim as iconic Superman adversaries.  Titano less so, but this was DC in the 60's, so of course a gorilla gets top corner billing!

More curious, however, is the inclusion of Metallo, The Invulnerable Enemy, and The Thing From 40,000 A.D.

In retrospect, the inclusion of Metallo seems like a no-brainer, but at this point his first (and only) appearance was overshadowed by Supergirl's first, as they shared the same debut issue with Action Comics #252 from May 1959.

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That's my newest holy grail book that I bought off the boards earlier in the year.  But that's not really what we are here to talk about.  Back to the nobodies...

Metallo would have no other appearances until his brother picked up the Metallo moniker in 1977 and proceeded to turn him into one of Superman's A-List villains.  Or at least a B+, if not an A.  In retrospect, they got lucky here with Metallo as he would go on to become a player.

So what happened to The Invulnerable Enemy and The Thing From 40,000 A.D.?

The Invulnerable Enemy had one, and only one, in-continuity appearance back in 1957 from Action Comics #226.  I don't have a copy of that issue yet, but it does sport a great looking cover if you get the chance to look it up.

The Thing From 40,000 A.D. had one more shot at notoriety, but alas he never caught on.  His first appearance was from farther back in Superman #87 from 1954.  That story was reprinted in Superman #196 from May 1967, with a new cover by Curt Swan.

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I love the Superman vs. Superman covers, and while this one is fun, it doesn't hold a candle to the original cover by Wayne Boring.  It's on my short list of books that I'm focusing on currently, so hopefully I'll find the right copy to add to my collection soon.

And that was the last we saw of The Thing From 40,000 A.D. for another two decades until he was featured in DC Comics Presents #89 from January 1986.

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He even gets a cover appearance, beating up the Omega Men!  Alas, he gets caught in a disintegrator beam before the issue's end, and winds up as some sort of repentant, sentient thought cloud...never to be seen again.

In retrospect, I guess you can never discount anyone.  While TTF40000AD (that acronym really didn't save me much time, did it?  Especially since I've now typed more letters in this parenthesis than I would've if I just typed out his full name to begin with.) would never capitalize on his second chance like Metallo, maybe there's hope for The Invulnerable Enemy yet....it's only been 60 years, there's still time...

tomo

When it comes to comic book storage, I don't really have a man-cave full of items on display.  I did build custom shelves fit to hold long-boxes that currently take up one wall in my office.

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I work out of my home, so my office is shared between my work and my hobby.  It's not the greatest of solutions, but I'll do the whole comic book room when I retire and move out to the country!

In the meantime, however, I did pick up a couple of picture frame shelves from Ikea that I use to display about a dozen books at one time.  I like to pick a theme and swap out the books on display every couple of weeks or so.  This is this week's selection...

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The picture is not the greatest, as this room doesn't get a whole lot of natural light, but you get the idea.  I decided to go with a Superman on trial theme, after realizing how many of those covers there were after looking for books for a previous journal entry.

My son doesn't really have the comic book collecting passion just yet, but he does enjoy trying to guess the theme every time I change it up.  This theme was relatively easy, but he did notice something that I didn't (aside from the shame of only having a reprint of Adventure Comics #247 so far).

Who the heck is Electro, the glowing frog skeleton?

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He must be pretty important, right?  He is, after all, a member of the Jury of Super-Enemies.  It turns out I haven't read this story yet from Action Comics #286 from March 1962.  I did, however, remember this guy from an earlier cover...

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This story from Action Comics #271 from December 1960 I do remember quite well, as it features a great Lex Luthor scheme.  Spoilers for anyone hoping to read this themselves one day, but there is no light ray creature from Dimension X.  In reality, it's one of Luthor's goons projecting an image of a man made from neon-tubes! It was all a ploy to get Superman trapped inside the fake "spaceship."  Thinking he was getting transported to Dimension X, he was instead trapped on Earth inside a lead sphere while Luthor attempted to swindle the world's governments out of their stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Superman eventually breaks free of his lead cage and reveals Luthor's scheme to the world.  So all this time, there never was a dimension X, nor were there any light ray creatures.  If that's the case, how did a figment of Luthor's imagination end up on the Jury of Super-Enemies?

It turns out that the cover for #286 was part of dream sequence caused by Red Kryptonite induced nightmares!  Makes sense.  Electro never speaks, nor is he ever addressed by name in the issue.  He does get to put a Superman doll in a bowl labeled "DOOM" (why not?) and he leads a shackled Supergirl to the arena where she will fight Superman.  If it wasn't for the cover of this issue, we would never be able to associate the name Electro to this type of rampant villainy!

It does beg the question, where were all the other actual super-enemies when they commissioned this cover?  It did get me to reread a classic Superman story from earlier in the run, so mission accomplished...I guess.

tomo

Finally, for this week, we're delving into the Justice Society of America!

I've always had a fondness for time travel and alternative universe storylines, so naturally the JLA/JSA stories from the 60's and 70's caught my attention when I started to collect DC back-issues.  I started out big, right out of the gate, with this one...

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...Justice League of America #21 from August 1963.

Aside from having one of the best covers from the Silver Age, this issue is the proper introduction of the JSA from Earth-2 into the modern day DC continuity.  This issue I picked up from the Motor City Comic-Con back in 2013 of $30, and it's a pretty sharp looking low grade book.

I don't really collect the Justice League of America title per se, but do pick up issues from time to time.  With that said, I'm not a stickler for condition on these, and would rather just be able to read the stories.

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These three I picked up just recently at my LCS' monthly auctions.  A great collection of covers all around, although that #46 is extra cool with the Batman '66-esque sound effects!  That issue itself is from the summer of '66...coincidence?

Naturally, I followed the JSA into the Bronze Age as well, with the relaunch of All Star Comics.

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Not only were the Justice Society back in their original title with All Star Comics #58 from February 1976, but it also features the 1st appearance of the Earth-2 Supergirl...Power Girl!  I picked up this issue about 10 years ago on eBay for a whole fourteen bucks.

Up until recently, the big hole in my collection of Bronze Age JSA were the Huntress issues.  Within the last year, I was able to rectify that, but I did have to pay up for them.  These were issues that I always said I'd get around to sooner or later, as they were more Batman issues than Superman.  Oops.  Oh well, they are mine now...

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The All-Star Comics #69 I got off of eBay, while the DC Super-Stars #17 I got from my LCS's monthly auctions.  I kinda felt bad on that last one, as I had to out-bid a father-son collecting team, but it's war out in the auction room...you do what you gotta do!

My favorite run of JSA bronze books are the short run of issues in Adventure Comics from #461-466 from 1979.  Such great stories in those.  In fact, the whole 1970's run of Adventure Comics features some great gems.

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Finally, we get the long awaited first appearance of one of my CGC slabs.  I was waiting for a time when I could get proper pics and scans of these, as they are a pain, but this will have to do.  But first, I must set the narrative...

About 5 or 6 years ago, a lady walked in to my local comic shop with a box full of books that her aunt was going to sell at their garage sale.  Lucky for he Aunt, she snagged them before the garage sale started and brought them to my LCS to see if they were worth anything.  Her uncle had passed some years prior, and these were his original owner book from the early 1940's.  Needless to say, it was a wise decision on her part, as they did a lot better with their books in an auction than they would've gotten at the garage sale.  I think they ended up getting close to $10k for her box of books that were underneath the basement staircase for decades.

Unfortunately for me, there were no Superman books in the bunch, so I had to set my sights elsewhere if I wanted a piece of this collection.  Included in the batch were some great early Batman and Detective Comics with the 1st Alfred and early Penguin issues.  There was also a Green Lantern #1 in sharp VG condition.  But what caught my eye was the collection of All-Star Comics that he had.  My memories a little hazy, and I seem to have misplaced my auction catalog from that event, but he had at least 5 different issues from #5-12.  There was no #8, or at least it was never made available in the sale if it was there...who knows, maybe my LCS owner is sitting on that one still?

For my money, I decided to go for All Star Comics #12 from August 1942, as it had a great cover.

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Seriously, look at that cover!  Great patriotic stuff, with Wonder Woman front and center, and the rest of the Justice League fanned out behind her.  I ended up subbing this one to CGC last year, and it came back a universal 4.0 grade.  The auction was packed and the bidding was fierce, so in the end I paid close to $400 for this one.  I probably overpaid at the time, but you know how auction fever goes.

I think in the end I'm going to come out ahead, as this is the issue where Wonder Woman is elected as the secretary of the Justice Society.  Word on the street is that Gal Gadot will be assuming the secretary post in the new Justice League movie...fingers crossed!

tomo

Continuing our look at the non-Superman titles that I still actively collect, we have the newest title that I've decided to fill out a run on...and that is Jonah Hex!

As far back as I can remember I've always been a fan of westerns, much to the chagrin of my wife and son who sigh and roll their eyes when I come across one while flipping through the t.v. listings.  Although I do the same to my wife when Grease is on, so I suppose it's all good.

Anyways, with as much as I like a good western movie, I never did really give the western comic book genre much of a shot.  I remember sampling the Joe Lansdale/Tim Truman/Vertigo mini-series from the mid-90's, and they were all right.  It wasn't until the Palmiotti/Gray run from 2006 that I really started to appreciate the beauty of the done-in-one, grizzled, morality plays set in the old west.  There is also something about this genre that brings out the best in artists, similar to the beauty that cinematographers are able to capture in their movies.  I also enjoyed the heck out of the New52 run, even when they went modern day and had Booster Gold along for the ride.  It was a nice nod the Hex series from the mid-80's.  I've since eBayed off those runs, and put the funds into putting together a collection of vintage Hex.

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All-Star Western #11 from May 1972, featuring the 2nd appearance of Jonah Hex, is my newest acquisition that I picked up earlier in the month.  Thanks to Hero Time Comics in Southgate, MI for this book.  It's rare when you have a comic book store that has a good selection of back issues for sale at a decent price point, so I usually try to stop by when I'm visiting customers on his end of town.

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Hex's third appearance in Weird Western Tales #12 from July 1972 I picked up on the boards a couple of months ago.  Thanks to @SOLAR BOY for the killer sales threads from earlier in the year, as he also helped me fill out my Doom Patrol run as well.

I was also able to pick up a lot of the first 8 issues of his solo title from the boards as well, but it's been a while and I can't remember who I picked them up from.

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Jonah Hex #1 from April 1977.  I could look at Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez drawn Jonah Hex all day.  Such good stuff!

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Classic Bernie Wrightson cover of Jonah Hex #9 from February 1978.  Unfortunately, after this issue, I have a big old hole in the run up leading up to issue #72.  I picked up a great high-grade run of the last 20 issues of this title from an auction at my LCS, and I ended up paying about fifty cents a copy for those.  Such good stuff for an insanely low price!

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I love the tag line at the top of the cover..."You liked heroes as a kid? Great! Now maybe it's time you grew up!"

Yeah, grow up a drink a couple bottles of whiskey, you no-good freeloading kids!

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...and since you're all grown up now, you should enjoy this cover of this nice lady getting dressed for work.

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A fitting final cover for the Jonah Hex series.

Since this is in theory a Superman-centric journal, how about this cover of Jonah Hex #91 from June 1985...

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...which is a classic homage to Superman #243 from October 1971.

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tomo

For the first two days of this week, we've had a look at the two Marvel titles that I still maintain a collection on, so let's take a look at a DC one now.

I've mentioned previously how I was a big fan of The Sandman back in the early-to-mid 90's as it was coming out.  Naturally, I sampled some of the other titles and quickly fell in love with the Grant Morrison and Richard Case run of Doom Patrol.  It's a helluva 40+ issue run, and definitely rewards repeat reading.  When I started reading this, I had no prior experience with either the Doom Patrol or Grant Morrison, so it was a bit of a baptism by fire.

Needless to say, they hooked me deep and I've been following every iteration of them since.  The back half of that volume with Rachel Pollack writing sorta peters out, but it was all right.  I was probably one of the only few who enjoyed the John Arcudi/Tan Eng Huat run, as I appreciated the unique visual look of the art.  The John Byrne run is typical past-his-prime Byrne.  I also rather liked the Keith Giffen/Matthew Clark run as I really enjoyed that post Infinite Crisis/pre-Flaspoint era of the DCU.  I think the DCU is just now getting back to the same cohesive universe feeling that made the books from that era a lot of fun, but that's a post for another day.

It wasn't until the last 4 or 5 years that I started to seriously address finishing out the Doom Patrol collection with the original run.

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I finally was able to secure a copy of My Greatest Adventure #80 from June 1963.  I picked this one up at a recent auction a few months ago at my LCS, and probably paid full retail for this nice-lookiing VG copy.  I've picked up enough bargains at their auctions over the years, however, that I don't mind occasionally paying up for the books I really want.

The majority of my DP collection also came from an auction at my LCS in 2015, as they were auctioning off a 30 issue lot.  I ended up paying about $200 for that lot, and did all right considering these two were in it...

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A nice looking copy of their first self-title issue with Doom Patrol #86 from March 1964...

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...and the first appearance of Beast Boy in Doom Patrol #99 from November 1965!

I'm down to missing only six issues at this point, and it's getting to the point that I just need to pony up and pay full retail to finish this run out, rather than waiting to stumble across some more bargains.  This title has been under-appreciated at large for too long, so I need to lock this one down while it's still relatively cheap.

Besides, this title has some of the greatest covers from this era.

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Great stuff all around!

tomo

Aside from The Avengers, there is one Marvel title that I still collect, and that is Dr. Strange!

I'm an old school D&D player from back in the day (started playing in 1982), and among my friends, no one ever wanted to play the Magic-User character.  That usually left me to play that character class by default as I was the only one who didn't mind the inherent weakness at the beginning.  So naturally, when I started reading comics I found myself gravitating to the magic side of the universe.

His original self-titled series had just about ended right when I started reading comics, so it would be a few years before I really became a fan of the character with the Sorcerer Supreme title that started up in '88.  I finished up the volume one run in the early to mid '90's with no problem, as most of those issue were pretty cheap and readily available.

I never really went any earlier than that until recently, however, as my collecting focus drifted a bit as the '90's went on.  I've since started filling out those runs, but it's moving at a snail's pace.  I'm not holding out for pristine copies at this point, so I pick up nice looking beaters as they present themselves.  I had the opportunity to pick up a Strange Tales #110 last year, but there was someone who wanted it more than me at the auction who was willing to pay above current market value.  This was also about 6 months before the movie, so the price was already inflated.

Dr. Strange is also the only Marvel title that I still currently read on a monthly basis.  Marvel pretty much killed whatever interest I had left in continuing to follow their universe with Civil War and the advent of the $4 comic book.  I still refuse to pay $4 for a new book, so it's a good thing discounted mail order services are a thing.

Enough words, let's look at some kickass covers.

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Strange Tales #150 from November 1966 has one of my favorite covers by Bill Everett.

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You gotta love that classic 1960's stance from Dan Adkins on Strange Tales #160 from September 1967.

My copy of Dr. Strange #169 from June 1968, featuring the first solo title for the doctor came rather recently, well after the price for these jumped dramatically.  My copy only cost me $20, and it looks it!

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It actually presents well for a $20 book, but it does have this arts and crafts project happening on the inside...

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It looks like the original owner had carefully clipped this picture of Dr. Strange from out of the letters column in the back and put it in a scrap book of some kind.  You can see where the adhesive he/she used discolored the corners of the picture.  I'm fascinated that they then carefully taped the picture back into the book, albeit without the missing right hand side margin.  That just makes me appreciate this copy even more, after getting a glimpse of how well loved this book was back in the day!

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I could look at Frank Brunner Dr. Strange covers all day long, and the cover for Dr. Strange #1 from June 1974 is one of his best.  I picked this copy up at the Motor City Comic-Con in the mid-to-late 90's for a ten spot, and it was the last issue that I needed to complete the run.

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Brunner doesn't get much better than this, with the cover for Dr. Strange #4 from October 1974.  It's too bad he didn't have a longer run on this title, but I treasure these and the Marvel Premiere issues just the same.

Gene Colan was a good follow up to Brunner, and had some killer covers himself.  The cover for Dr. Strange #14 from May 1976 is probably my favorite.

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Probably my favorite Dr. Strange artist of all time is Jackson "Butch" Guice, as his run is the one that I started reading Dr. Strange with, so I'm sure it has that emotional attachment going for it.  He had a nice, long 20-some issue run with Roy Thomas that pretty much turned me into a lifelong Dr. Strange fan.  Plus, he had some great covers himself...

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I'm sure the fact that he also drew a fine looking female form didn't hurt either!

 

tomo

Since we spent the last month pretty much firmly entrenched in the world of Superman, I thought it might be fun to look at some of the other non-Superman titles that I collect.  This will almost always be a Superman-centric journal, as that is where my main interest lies these days, but I'll allow myself the occasional diversion as I see fit.

As I mentioned way back in my first journal post, the first title I started collecting back in 1985 was The Avengers.  So the very first back issue I ever bought was The Avengers #138 from August 1975.

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The Vision soon became my favorite character, so I specifically started collecting his key issues and cool covers.  I remember I had to pay a whole $5 for The Avengers #134-135, featuring the revised origin of The Vision!  

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That was quite a princely sum back in the days of having to rely on allowances, and not summer jobs, for my funds.  Even so, I was soon able to fill out the run from issue #134 up to current.  I started buying off the racks at that same time with issue #256, so that was a solid 120 issues of back issue collecting that I set for my first goal.  I've since eBayed off #211-402 and the awesome Busiek/Perez volume three run.  The selling off was all post-Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I was able to get a nice price for a couple of runs filled with non-key after non-key.

I still have my run of #8-210, but it's pretty spotty for issues before #100.  I don't really actively collect the title anymore, but I'll still pick up the occasional issue if the price is right or it has The Vision standing tall with arms crossed in the upper left!

This issue cost me a whole $8 back in 1985.

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I vividly remember standing in front of the glass case at Reader's Comics in Westland, Michigan staring at The Avengers #57 from October 1968.  My friend and I were going back and forth on wether or not it was worth the eight bucks, or if I was going to be paying too much.  As you can see from the scan above I did buy it, and it has been a valued book ever since.  I've sold an awful lot of books over the last ten years, but this one will more than likely be one of the last to leave my collection.

The Avengers #16 from May 1965 was always out of my price range growing up.  I never did come across a copy until a few years ago when I snagged this copy for $5 at the Oddball: Emporium of the Weird show in Akron, Ohio in 2015.

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It's beat to hell, but I don't care...look at that cover!  That's a keeper in any condition, and I just wanted a copy for the collection.  The same goes for Kang's first appearance in The Avengers #8 from September 1964.

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This was one of my last purchases as I was leaving the Motor City Comic-Con in 2013 and cost me $10.

Something else that I just noticed while filing these issues away, this run also contains my first ever tape pull!

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Increasing the value of everyone else's comic book collection one book at a time since 1986!

So those are my personal favorites from my Avengers run.  Tomorrow, we'll take a closer look at the other Marvel title I still maintain a collection of.

tomo

Let's wrap up this week by looking at a few other highlights of the DCCP run.

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DC Comics Presents #1 from August 1978.  If I were to rank my all time favorite Superman artists, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez would absolutely be in the top three, and I got the chance to meet him last year at the Motor City Comic Con.  My wife is a photographer (that's her alien pic that is my avatar) and she usually does a festival in East Lansing that same weekend.  Last year, however they were a week apart so she actually had the chance to be a vendor at the con!  During some down time, I was able to go and chat with him for a few and thank him for his work, and I got this autographed comic to add to my personal collection!

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DC Comics Presents #2 (Whitman Variant) from October 1978.  This is part 2 of the Superman/Flash race and one of the nicer Whitman variants that I have in my collection.

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DC Comics Presents #8 from April 1979.  Hands down, my favorite cover from this title.  What I would do to get the original art for this one...

Earlier in the week, we looked at DCCP #26 which featured story and art by Jim Starlin.  He would actually keep drawing the book for a few more issues, helping to introduce (along with Len Wein) another classic cosmic villain, Mongul!

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DC Comics Presents #27 from November 1980.  For the next five years or so, he would be a semi-recurring villain for this title.

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Here he is again, looking decidedly happier in DC Comics Presents #28 from December 1980.  This issue is also the first appearance of the Warworld.

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DC Comics Presents #29 from January 1981 has my favorite cover from the Jim Starlin run on this title.  That's some classic Starlin...and that purple...love it!

Starlin would have one more crack at this title before heading back to Marvel to do a small graphic novel about the death of someone or other.

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DC Comics Presents #36 from August 1981.  Once again, it's cosmic and Mongul is in the mix.

After a few more appearances in this title, Mongul would remain little seen until he got pulled into the whole Reign of the Supermen storyline after the death of Superman.  From there, he was pretty firmly ensconced as a major Superman and Green Lantern villain.

tomo

This next book I just don't get.  I mean, I guess I understand it, I just don't get it.

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DC Comics Presents #47 from July 1982, featuring the first comic book appearance of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!  I understand how this being the first comic book appearance could be a big thing, I just don't get it.  It's not like the toy line had a successful or fondly remembered comic book run like G.I. Joe or Transformers did.

As a kid growing up in the 1970's, this toy line was before my time.  Although, now that I think about it, this book was from 1982 which puts me at 12 years old.  Why do I remember this being much later than that?

Hold on a sec while I do some quick googling...

So the toy line started in 1982, with the show following a year later in 1983.  So this issue is pretty early in the He-Man lore.  According to the editorial in the letters page, this issue also features the appearance of some characters who have not been publicly released toys yet.  I guess I can kind of see it now, especially since this issue predates the television show.  You learn something new every day.

I also managed to find another copy of this issue in the $2 bins from a vendor at last year's Motor City Comic-Con, so this is a good flying under the radar pick of a book to find out in the wild for a quick flip.  I just checked the sold eBay listings, and I thought the Overstreet prices were crazy!  With VG copies fetching upwards of $30-50 raw, I just might have to put up my under copy.

tomo

Continuing our look at the DCCP title, without a doubt DC Comics Presents #26 is the big dog of this run, featuring the first appearance of The Teen Titans.

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As it turns out, I don't think I've ever read it.  Call me a blasphemer, but I don't think I've read any of the Wolfman/Perez run.  It's not that I have anything against it, as I'm a big fan of George Perez in general (by way of The Avengers).  It's one of those runs that will one day fall into my lap, or not.  It's just that up until this point, it still hasn't.

In the meantime, give me five minutes, as I'm going to read this...live!

Things I learned...

  1. Who knew Beast Boy Changeling was a playa!  Is this the first use of the Changeling name?  I'm a fan of Beast Boy from the Doom Patrol books and don't recall him using that moniker there, or did this change happen in the interim between series?
  2. Cyborg is kind of a jerk
  3. This was definitely written in 1980, as the references to Jimmy Carter and The Empire Strikes Back reveal.
  4. I needed more than five minutes, as this is written in a classic Bronze/Copper style.  Definitely not decompressed.
  5. Perez is a beast of an artist.  Granted, I already knew this, but it bears repeating again.

Most important, I also never realized that this was an original story and had always assumed that it was just a preview of story and art from the first issue, pre-printed here.  I guess that makes more sense now why this issue is so sought after for Teen Titans fans.  And for first appearance fans in general, as this issue also covers Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven.  It's kind of a shame actually, as this preview robs that classic George Perez cover for issue #1 from being associated with the first appearances of some iconic characters.  

I guess iconic is a relative term, but I have a ten year old son, which means that I have probably seen every episode of Teen Titans Go! a dozen times each.  I couldn't help myself when reading the book from mimicking the voices from the show, lol.  It's the one "kids" show that I enjoy watching, as the writing is whip-smart and genuinely funny.  I do find it strange that my son knows who Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy are, and that knowledge didn't stem from me!  I'm sure there are a legion of ten year old's out there just like him.  If that isn't iconic, I don't what is!

Earlier in the year, I was trying to explain to my son that when I was in school the entire school had to share one computer.  The computer had its own room, and if you were well-behaved you could sign up for free time on the computer to play Oregon Trail.  I don't think I've ever seen someone so confused as I tried to explain to him how "fun" playing Oregon Trail was.  Anyways, two weeks later he comes running into my office to let me know that Teen Titans Go! was doing a whole episode satirizing the Oregon Trail!  It's such a good episode, and did a much better job of explaining it than I did.  "You have died of dysentery" has been a favorite call back line for us ever since!

Anyways, back to Superman...this issue's main story is plotted and drawn by Jim Starlin, but it's not really good Starlin.  Best to move on, before something drastic happens...

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tomo

Yesterday, I had mentioned that when I bought my almost complete run of DC Comics Presents from eBay, there was one issue missing that the seller had kept.  So what was the missing issue?

The obvious answer is #26 with the first appearance of the New Teen Titans.  Well, you'd be wrong.

Then, you might guess issue #47 with the first comic book appearance of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Well, you'd be wrong again.

I'll give you a hint.  I bought this collection in 2006, when Infinite Crisis was huge...and who was the big bad in that book?  None other than Superboy-Prime!  Suddenly, his first appearance in DC Comics Presents #87 from November 1985 went from quarter bin fodder to a $20-30 wall book.

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So yeah, I ended up getting my first New Teen Titans and first He-Man for a buck a book!  In the long-run, it was a bad spec bet for the original seller to keep the #87, but let the #26 and #47 go.  Oh well, his loss was my gain.  Besides, I had already pulled my copy of #87 out of the aforementioned quarter bins.  It would have been nice to get a cleaner copy at the time, but I had patience.  I finally did pick up a nice copy of #87 a few years later at the Motor City Comic-Con that I had to pay $5 for, which seemed like a fair price.

That's a great cover by Eduardo Barreto.  It's too bad he never was much more than a cover artist for the Superman books, as I definitely could have done with some more Eduardo Barreto interior pencils too.

But as great as that cover is, it doesn't beat the original by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye from Superboy #47, all the way back from March of 1956!

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Damn, I love that cover!  Special thanks to @skypinkblu for this issue, as I picked it up from her epic Superboy sales thread from earlier in the year.  So many good books were available!  I'm sure we'll see another one or two over the course of this journal, so stay tuned!

tomo

Back in the day, from 2009-2011, I used to have a blog called The Random Longbox.  The idea, was that I would let a random number generator pick a book at random from my collection that I would then have to read and review.  I had a lot of fun, and enjoyed the pure randomness of pulling a book out of the longboxes and reading with no prior context other than my (faulty at best) memory.

The old link is long dead at www.randomlongbox.com, but the the original blogspot link is still up and active if anyone is curious to take a look.  www.randomlonbox.blogspot.com

Seeing as how my buying has been in a bit of lull lately, let's dust off the old randomizer and pull a book out to see if that spurs any conversation for this week.

And the random book is...

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DC Comics Presents #54 from February 1983.

This was still two years before I started reading comic books full time, so I had to buy all of my issues after the fact.  This title is probably the first Superman title that I finished a run on when I decided to start refocusing my collection towards Superman.  I had about a dozen or so issues before I saw a listing on eBay for a complete run (minus one issue) for a hundred bucks.  At the time, I was cherry picking random back-issues from my LCS for $0.50 a book, but here was a chance to get nice copies all at once for about a buck a piece.  I jumped on it, and that is where this issue came from.  The books were in great shape, ranging from a 8.5 on up in condition.

There's nothing really special about this issue, as Superman and Green Arrow team up to battle a rogue industrialist harvesting a new type of "Z" energy.  Unfortunately, the creation of the Z energy emits a smog that covers the country from coast to coast.  Before everything is said and done, Superman has to take down a smog monster composed of "one part smog and five parts Z energy," while Green Arrow rounds up the industrialist's goons.  Pretty typical done in one for a DC book from this time period.  Story by Paul Kupperberg with art by Don Newton and Dan Adkins.  I do quite like the cover though.  And that's a great Commissioner Gordon mustache on Green Arrow!

Green Arrow also had an earlier appearance in the title in issue #20, again battling a rogue industrialist of sorts, this time in the oil business.

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Nothing like typecasting old Ollie, eh?  Be careful Green Arrow, if the boiling hot geyser doesn't kill you, the fall certainly will.

Black Canary appeared in issue #54 as well, and she also had an earlier solo appearance in issue #30, facing off against the dream villainy of Doctor Destiny!  

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I just reread the first year of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman last month, and it had completely slipped my mind that Doctor Destiny was a part of the first story arc!  It was good to see him here, after just recently encountering a decidedly more Vertigo take on him over there.  Man, that diner issue was brutal.