newshane's nerd-world problems...
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newshane   
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Hey Sean...

 

My first nerd-world problem was figuring out how to use the Journals. lol Perhaps the mod will feel sorry for me and my test will be deleted.

 

Hope you stick around.

 

 

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surfer99   
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Gotta give you props for effort...welcome to the journals!

 

 

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newshane   
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Perspectives change as the years rapidly pass in front of our eyes. Things that seemed enormous or special during the days of our youth may now seem small and quaint. I remember the wonderful awe I experienced gazing at the expensive Golden and Silver Age comics hanging on the wall of the first serious comic book shop that I ever remember visiting – The Great Escape in Nashville, Tennessee. Back in those days, almost 20 years ago, The Great Escape was neatly nestled in the western end of downtown Nashville. Fortunately, it was pretty easy to find and my friends and I had little problem talking our folks into driving us into the city. I loved the local comic shop in my hometown, about an hour away, but my friends had really hyped the place and I was especially excited when I found out that The Great Escape also sold used music; if the comic section was disappointing, I could always peruse one of the largest CD and Vinyl collections in town. There was no question where I would spend my 13th birthday.

Turns out, it was just as wonderful as I had imagined and in many ways, beyond my wildest imagination. Prior to my experiences of that day, I had never seen such a collection of antique books. My friend and I looked at wonder upon the first issue of The Fantastic Four. Our jaws dropped at the price tag. Our eyes followed the wall and there was another grail for us to behold – Amazing Fantasy 15. As a matter of fact, it could just be my imagination, amplified by the mania of that experience, but I distinctly recall a number of hard-hitting Silver Age Marvel Keys. My favorite discovery, however, was in the back room, which was largely jammed packed with current issues and video game memorabilia. Upon these walls was another impressive collection of comics – EC Horror and Science Fiction. Once again, I marveled at the price tags, but realized how much more obtainable they were than many of the superhero books. Still, for a teenager, they were far out of grasp. My father was too skeptical to understand the worth of the books, and I had no chance of talking him into making that sort of purchase…but one day I’d have my own means.

Fast forward a few decades and here I am as an adult collector. I heard tale that The Great Escape had closed. I couldn’t have been more disappointed; however, I also heard that the store was still operating in a different part of town. Sure enough, a quick Google search confirmed this news and I pledged to seek out the store in an effort to score some decent raws. I have to say, a very big part of me hoped that it was every bit as magical as I had remembered.

While the “new” Great Escape, located at 5400 Charlotte Pike near the west side of Nashville, is a very solid store, I’m sad to report that I’m not nearly as impressed as an adult. When you first walk through the store, you pass an enormous collection of used CDs and Vinyl. I enjoyed flipping through this media. After all, I’ve noticed that racks of CDs in stores are either shrinking or have disappeared altogether and the exercise was good nostalgia.

I didn’t tarry long. I went back to the comic section and was puzzled at the size of it. “This is not nearly as large as the old selection,” I thought. They had a number of Golden and Silver Age books on the wall, but nothing impressive in the least. Most of the issues were in Good to Very Good condition and were priced low enough to hopefully distort my girlfriend’s perception of exactly how expensive my little hobby really is. She took notice of some of the older Superman titles on display. “Those are neat,” she said. “Yeah,” I responded. “Not even all that expensive either, are they.” She shook her head in agreement and I flashed a wicked smile when I turned back to digging.

Honestly, I didn’t really dig deep. I had a very distinct purpose in mind. Some of you know that I’m quite dedicated to finishing my Spawn run. I’m at the point where it’s getting really difficult to track down a number of the less popular issues. I had my want list in my shirt pocket and used it to guide my dig. First, I pulled all the issues that I needed. I found around seven, which is honestly quite good. They had a nice little run assembled, actually. After this, I weeded out the obvious rejects. If the spine color was broken in the slightest, I placed the book in the return pile. I narrowed it down to 3 books. Being the polite and sensitive customer, I asked permission before removing the comics, but was denied. A girl up front wasn’t sure about the policy, and there were no signs stating that I couldn’t remove the comic, so she asked a co-worker and returned with the news that only employees could remove a book. I told her that I seriously doubted she would be as careful as me, but acquiesced of course. She didn’t do a bad job of handling the comic, but I quickly decided that I couldn’t risk her fingerprinting one of the darker colors. They were cheap enough where I didn’t mind taking the risk. I left with two books.

One of the books is probably a 9.6 and might press into a higher grade, but at this price point it might not be worth the effort. The other book had a perfect front cover, but I was seriously disappointed when I found FOXING, of all things. Just ruined the book. Oh well. 0-2 on good 9.8 candidates from the back section. Not surprised, but still disappointed that I’m having a hard time filling the holes in my registry.

After an indulgent lunch at Red Robin, my girlfriend and I visited McKay’s Used Bookstore, located at 636 Old Hickory Boulevard, which is practically just a hop and a skip down the road. It’s not a comic book shop, strictly speaking, but they do sell comics. Having heard a great deal of hype, I was anxious to check out this store.

First of all, this place is huge. Two stories of books, music, video games, DVDs, and any other sort of media you could imagine. It was a nerd’s paradise. Secondly, they seem to stay super busy when it comes to buying, selling, and trading used media. When you first go into the store, you dump your used media in a basket. They calculate your store credit or cash value as you shop. When your number is displayed, you go retrieve your credit. Give it to the checkout lady and you’re all set.

I wasn’t impressed with the prices. Everything seemed a bit higher in price than expected. I could definitely find better deals on Blu-rays. They were charging over ten bucks for a used Blu-ray when they are practically giving them away brand new at Target and Wal-Mart. Our library is already over 2K books, so I didn’t see the point of shopping for books. Besides, I can download most things on my Kindle. It really helps save space at this point.

I’ll be brief, for once, and tell you that the comic selection was horrible. I’d say they had about two dozen short-boxes, labeled by company. I noticed a huge pile of unorganized drek strewn about the area. I found the lone “Image” box and was very sad to say that there was nothing available except for the worst possible drek. While McKay’s is an AMAZING store of media, they have next to nothing to offer the serious comic collector. While I totally recommend a visit to this place, don’t come expecting to find any sort of value in their comic selection. This just isn’t a comic store. You can still go for a good time, as long as you enter with that single expectation. If you are a bookworm, however, then you will be in seventh heaven.

If you’ve managed to stick with me this far, I thank you. Stay tuned. I will be visiting other stores in the Nashville area and will attempt to give them a proper review. Hopefully, this will help those of you who plan on attending the comic convention here, which is right around the corner. In short, I still recommend a visit to The Great Escape, even though it’s a shadow of its former self. In all fairness, there was a sign posted that said “ask us to see more comics.” This leads me to think that there could have been some gems hiding behind the counter. I’ve spent quite a bit lately, so I didn’t want to be tempted. I walked out the door with most of my money intact.

 

Until the next time,

 

-Shane

 

GE1_zps53ccb420.jpg

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seanfingh   
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There is very little in this hobby that matches up to the feeling of a 12 or 13 year old comic nut walking into his (or her) first comic specialty store. :cloud9:

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newshane   
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Well, the el cheap eMachines desktop I keep in the "man cave" has finally crapped out on me. Started making some peculiar clicking noises. Then it froze up when I tried to open up a page in Explorer.

 

...I know...that's what I get for using Explorer. I don't think it's strictly software related but I could be wrong. The strange noises are telling me it might also be a hardware problem of sorts. Not sure, but I can tell you that whatever I did during the attempt to fix it has probably only made things worse. Adding to the mess is the fact that I can't find the recovery or boot disc. GREAT!

 

I'm currently using my girlfriend's MacBook Air. Fantastic machine, but I'm not a fan of the 13 inch screen. Going from 24 to 13 is a disappointment. I'm also not a fan of having to share computers. I don't really have the spare cash for another Apple product at the moment, so I'll probably end up spending a few hundred bucks on a refurb from Best Buy online.

 

My ultimate goal is to get a new iMac for the back room, but by the time I customize one to fit my needs...well I just have a hard time justifying it at the moment. Maybe in a few more months I can move towards getting what I really want. In the meantime I'll pick up a refurb Windows 7 machine to tide me over.

 

There are just too many things to buy and not enough money. NERD WORLD PROBLEMS...

 

Before my computer died, I picked up yet another 9.8 slab for the Spawn run. I also noticed that someone had requested adjustment to a couple of the books in the registry - issues 185 Sketch Variant and 222 Kudranski Variant. I noticed the point changes this morning and checked the thread to confirm that someone had requested the change. I chimed in to lobby for the 185 Sketch to receive an even greater adjustment, based on its rarity and demand, which has driven prices over $2K mark. The point change solidified my first place lead by an even greater margin, so I was pretty pleased to say the least. It was a bit of good news to balance out the computer problems...

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newshane   
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Took the risk yet again and dropped some cash on a few raw books off eBay. Disappointed yet again. When will I learn?

 

The books were in the advertised condition of NM, but I was hoping for a little better than 9.4 on these "unread" specimens. Looks like my gamble didn't pay off.

 

The problem with this order is that it took a few weeks to arrive. When I got the box, I anxiously opened it up to find that the wrong comics had been sent. I contact the lister and he explains that mistakes happen, especially when you are shipping out "thousands" of orders. He gave me the address of the other person involved in the mix up and we worked out a way to get each other our books without having the involve the lister. Seemed a little strange at first, but I agreed to the terms and the books arrived today. Not in 9.8 condition...so I'll probably...just...READ...them! :o

 

Also been involved in a little experiment regarding the "Mylar" bags sold by CGC Mylars on eBay. Turns out that they aren't Mylar after all. They melted much sooner than the true Mylar bags offered by E. Gerber. They are also far stretchable than they should be. This stinks because I've spent quite a bit of money buying their bags under the premise that they were made of actual Mylar. Should I file a claim?

 

NERD WORLD PROBLEMS...

 

PS - not every journal will have a complaint or be about PROBLEMS. I promise.

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Ogami   
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Good to see your journal, Shane!

 

:applause:

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newshane   
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Hey Ogami! Thanks for stopping by! Can't wait until everyone finishes God Emperor. I'll definitely be posting in your discussion thread. In fact, I've started reading it over again just to refresh myself! :)

 

See you here again hopefully, and over there again for sure.

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newshane   
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Ahhh...what to do with all those "worthless" 9.6s? Those rejects from all those "failed" modern submissions? Those books that just weren't "good" enough?

 

Options?

 

1. Put them up for sale at a loss and hope someone is interested enough to buy them.

 

2. Crack them. Sell them as raws or have them pressed and resubmitted, at a great cost of course.

 

3. Get them signed.

 

I'm now leaning towards option 3. These books just aren't worth the trouble and expense of a press and resubmission. Option 1 isn't really an option because I don't think anyone would buy them in a 9.6 slab. I've always hated signed books, so option 3 is kind of a recent thing. But why not? Why not add a bit of diversity to my collection with a few signed moderns here and there?

 

So I've launched an experiment. I have some duplicate 9.8s that are getting signed next week at SDCC. I'm also planning to have at least one book signed in Austin by Greg Capullo. My nerd world problem today is that I can't decide which of the following books I should have signed? Spawn 139 is a better piece of art and I think Capullo's signature in white or silver would look awesome against the dark background. Spawn 180 looks really cool in person, however. All the ink splashing reminds me of Jae Lee or maybe even Whilce Portacio. I haven't seen Capullo do too many covers like Spawn 180. I also think that his signature in black would look sick against the contrasting reds that overwhelm the cover. How would each book do on the resub? Well, I think the 180 has a much better chance at a 9.8. The 139 would grade at 9.8 after a pressing, but I already own a copy in 9.8 and fail to see the point.

 

I will never get anything signed unless I already own a copy in 9.8 Universal. That is my current rule. I prefer Universal grade books by a longshot. Just never been a fan of sig books, but maybe I'll change my mind when I hold a copy in my hands.

 

In the meantime, help me decide because I'm at a stalemate. Which issue would you get signed if you were me?

 

139_zpsee049a44.jpg

 

180_zps7aac1231.jpg

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seanfingh   
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I voted 139. That cover is just plain Bad-A.

 

Remember that a lot of straight 9.6 resubs will come back 9.8. If the 9.6s bother you, get rid of them. Take the loss and move on. When I blew out some of my earliest SS books, they were books that I wasn't happy with the grade on. They got into the hands of folks that love them, I made some great SS friends, and I recouped some (most) of my costs, which isn't too shabby.

 

Wringing your hands and worrying about the losses is a zero sum game. Either enjoy them for what they are or blow them out and get a little coin to go toward your core collection.

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Ogami   
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Hey Ogami! Thanks for stopping by! Can't wait until everyone finishes God Emperor. I'll definitely be posting in your discussion thread. In fact, I've started reading it over again just to refresh myself! :)

 

See you here again hopefully, and over there again for sure.

 

Anytime. Feel free to post there anytime.

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Ogami   
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I voted 180- very unique cover.

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newshane   
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Cracked my first CGC slab yesterday without any guidance or patience. The book inside was quarter bin material, so I wasn't too concerned with the ultimate condition of the comic. It was the perfect candidate for an experiment.

 

Found the little tab on the side and pried it apart with my fingers. The bottom seals broke rather easily but the top wouldn't give. I said :censored: it and pulled with even more force. The top still didn't break, but a giant split erupted down the front of the outer slab. Talk about a CRACK!

 

I expected this to damage the book inside of the inner well but it didn't. I was pretty fascinated by the inner well. I know the outer well isn't totally sealed, but it seems like the inner well is sealed all the way around the comic. It was hard for me to believe that the only way to remove the comic was by using a scalpel or a super sharp scissor, but that's exactly what I had to do. I cut right below the seal line on the top side of the comic. Extraction was a success and the comic wasn't damaged in the process. I'd be much more careful with a book that I cared about. Needless to say, my little experiment taught me one thing - LOTS can go wrong when cracking a book. People should take the utmost care. Some of the videos I've seen on YouTube makes me shudder. Maybe I'm the biggest dork in the world, but I'm the type of guy who grades comics while wearing non-powdered latex gloves...did I just admit that?

 

I always take the utmost care in handling books...unless I'm cracking out some sort of worthless drek, of course.

 

Well, here are the results! Next time I will take more pictures. I hope to set up some sort of simple tutorial for my fellow noobs...the blind leading the blind!

 

crack_zps05078903.jpg

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newshane   
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Let me preface this entry by confessing my hatred for most things loved by the population at large. Indeed, I might just be one of THOSE guys. I'm the metalhead in the back of the theater, beer in hand with a gaze affixed 1,000 yards away, shaking his head, screaming to the poor guy next to him. "These guys were way cooler when I saw them at the local dive back in the day." I'm the guy who never could get over Metallica selling out after Cliff died. I'm the guy who is proud not to own an iPhone, Facebook, or Twitter account. I'm also a man of self-contradiction from time to time. After all, I am starting up an Internet blog to discuss my nerdery with those who might appreciate the sharing on some intrinsic level.

I digress. Guilty of that as well...

But back to the point. Let's talk about the Zombie craze. I've always loved Zombies. In fact, I love any sort of terrifying concept that stimulates the adrenal glands. Anything that sits at the beach between waking reality and the subconscious, feet slowly burrowing deeper and deeper into the sands.

So, indeed, I've always been onboard with Zombies. Back in middle school, my morbid friends and I would troll the rental stores in search of horrific B-movies. The better chance for gore, the more we coveted a watch. We picked up a movie with a simple enough title - ZOMBIE.

Have you seen it? If not, skip to the next paragraph. This movie was fantastically cheezy. We expected to be overcome with terror, but instead we saw the worst gore effects in history. The best scene in the movie, and yes I will spoil it here for you now, is the underwater battle between a swimming Zombie and a shark. Priceless. The ending is also pretty cool - all the zombies staggering their way across the Brooklyn Bridge.

As you can see, I dug zombies at one point. I still do. I mean, I have to confess, I do enjoy watching The Walking Dead. I've even gotten my girlfriend addicted, and she is very meek - quite the opposite of myself. Funny how that works, isn't it?

But dammit, I really want to hate Zombies because they are now as ubiquitous as Justin Bieber and the Kardashian clowns and all the other vestigial organs of civilization! I guess you could say, however, that I'm suffering from Zombie burnout. I'm tiring of the same ole schtick - spreads by virus perpetrated through bite and an insatiable appetite for brains or flesh, people freak out and riot and run for the hills, have to kill them by shooting them in the head, have to burn the corpses to prevent further risks from the virus, etc.

All these factors were present in World War Z. I just got back from the theater. If you haven't seen it yet, you may want to skip the rest of my blog because I have a few things to say. First of all, it was an entertaining movie and I don't regret watching it. I just wish someone, somewhere, would come up with a truly unique twist. The aforementioned elements that are typical of zombie stories? Throw them out. All of them. Yeah, okay...so the solution in World War Z is to use other diseases as camouflage from the zombies. Wow.

Let's face it, you knew what to expect for the most part. I can't help but remember the RV the family used shortly after the SHTF. Remember how it wouldn't start? How typical. I kept waiting for Dale from The Walking Dead to come along with a role of duct tape. Problem solved! I'd venture to say that the coolest part of the film, and the most original, is the motion of the zombies - like a furious colony of killer ants overwhelming a towering bovine. The Kamikaze-like behavior of the zombies was also impressive. They were a robust threat to say the least.

But once again, I do look forward to something truly original one day. A real twist on things.

I also got to thinking about how violent we are as a life-form. We crave conflict and conquest. That violent desire turns in on itself...and we have war. Humans killing humans. An evolutionary remnant gone bad, putrefying...behavior we can't seem to shake.

Then notice all the SHTF movies. An asteroid tumbling towards our planet. Alien invaders. Deadly viruses. Zombies. How does humanity change in the face of larger challenges from superior forces? We band together. That's what we do. The USA doubles up it's nuclear arsenal by joining up with Russia. We forget about hating people from other races, cultures, or religions. We forget about who people are sleeping with. We forget about nationality. We unite as a species.

Any kind of outside threat...that's what we are built to respond to. That's what unites us. Americans may squabble, may even riot and take up arms against one another, but when we feel threatened, there is a sense of overwhelming unity, and perhaps even violent purpose, that binds us together. The same can be said about many other nations. It takes an invader to unite. Talk about a paradox.

I must leave now, but before I go, one last comment about The Walking Dead. I don't own a single issue. Haven't even read one (I know, HOW can I call myself a Zombie fan? Remember that tendency of mine to dislike things that are cool?). I can see the appeal. The show has certainly taken off. Given our society's current fascination with Zombies (mindless mirrors of the robots that take the morning commute to their 9-5s, myself included) it makes sense. There is a demand for the early issues. A demand complicated by lack of supply. It's the perfect chemical combination for causing the value of a comic to rise. It's a cool book, and I've heard it's a good read. Just look at all the listings on the modern sales thread!

But I'm not forking over the cash. That boat sailed right by me, to return never again.

 

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seanfingh   
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They have these really cool things called "trade paperbacks." They compile a series of single comic issues into a story arc or several story arcs. They are found at comic specialty stores or other venues such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon (which is an Internet based company). The Internet is a global system of communication characterized by interconnected computer systems.

 

Anyway, trade paperbacks of the Walking Dead will allow you to enjoy the zombie stories (Yay!) while avoiding the high cost of comic back issues ( Boo!)

 

 

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meshuggah   
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I used to be like that. I don't necessarily try to avoid whats popular but most of my likes still tend to be unpopular. I don't really worry too much about what others do anymore. I do love lots of metal by the way.

 

But I do agree the early walking dead issues are insanely overvalued right now. But if someones willing to buy it then theres not much we can do. I do collect the trades and try to grab early issues when I can. But I'm not paying $1000 for issue 1 or anything like that. Eventually those prices will come back down.

 

But we're in a time where things like comics in general are becoming more popular. From the latest comic book movies to shows like the Big Bang Theory, being a nerd is becoming cool. Hence all the movies and other media that are derivative. Whatever becomes popular gets done over and over until its been beaten to death. I don't get caught up in it too much and just do what I like to do regardless of its popularity.

 

Definitely get those early trades so you can enjoy those early walking dead stories. Keep it metal \m/

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