Lost in collecting- Om's Journal by oldmilwaukee6er
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The Lady Speaks. . .Superheroes, Fictional Damages, and SDCC

Okay, so today I saw this article "Politicians to address budgeting for superhero-damaged cities at Comic Con" on the political website, The Hill.  At first I thought it was just a clever attempt by local and state government to connect with the general populous through the comic con medium.  But the more I read the short article, the more I'm convinced that this is a panel designed to convince people that there are large-scale destruction action plans in place and that they're using contemporary super hero movies as examples.  And that the gubernatorial candidate is using this as part of his campaign.  Brilliant?  Shady?  Not sure. 

The panel is titled "Who Cleans Up the Mess?" and it is scheduled at 11am on July 22.  It will be facing competition from panels such as "Nerd Up or Shut Up," "Marvel Studios Theatrical Prop Development," "Comics Greats on Will Eisner's The Spirit," and a panel from CBLDF:  "Equipping Teachers to Defend Comics."

It's not like this is a new concept.  In 2012, the company Kinetic Assessment Corp was hired by The Hollywood Reporter to assess the amount of damage New York experienced in the first Avengers movie.  The total was $160 billion but there was little loss of life. One year later, the same company determined that Superman's battle with Zod had damages of nearly $2 trillion, a loss of life around 130,000 with another 1 million injured, and had an impact equal to that of an atomic bomb.  I have on an external hard drive the original memo they released on Superman and they actually stated they didn't feel comfortable doing a full assessment because the loss of life and injuries were so great.  You'll just have to trust me on that.  I used the memos (Avengers and Superman) in my Technical Communication class as examples of not just proper format but how to quickly convey important information.  That's besides the point, however.

Since then, it seems the amount of property damage in superhero movies has continued to escalate.  I know that Ultron's Sokovia is a fictional location and I know they did that precisely because they were getting criticism for continually trashing New York.   New York has born the brunt of several superhero movies, including Watchmen, Dr. Strange, Amazing Spider-Man 2, not mention its portrayal as Gotham/Metropolis in the DCU.  Even Sony/Marvel's Spiderman: Homecoming had an incredible amount of destruction at the levels of civilian, corporate, and national monuments. 

Again, though, I am reminded of watching Batman Beyond cartoons in the early 2000's and wondering how Gotham could afford all the infrastructure damage that Terry and crew managed to dish out episode after episode.  That being a cartoon, however, it was easy to logically rectify.   The Avengers takes pains to show rebuilding efforts, as did DCU's Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.  The more I think about it, the more I think this is a clever thing for politicians to do.  After all, what if something bigger than Hurricane Katrina hits the Eastern Seaboard?  What if the anticipated quake of the Pacific Northwest happens?  While these events are not superhero related, they are major catastrophic events and it is nice to know that there are people thinking and planning accordingly and that they are willing to share that information rather than hide behind closed doors.  Using superheroes as analogies may actually inspire people to not be so complacent.

Just another convergence of popular culture and the real world.


Edited by TheLadySpeaks

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Summer of Usagi Continues! 

These past few weeks the SDCC Usagi Yojimbo action figure has been fetching between $160-200 easy, with several examples of sales exceeding those marks...

I picked up two 2004 TMNT Usagi Yojimbo action figures during this spell, spending $100 total for a mint on card (MOC) example and a loose example.




I actually found a sweet loose example with only two longswords at a local Milwaukee show a long time ago for $5 and then gifted it to my littlest nephew before realizing how rare the figure was. :$

So it was a long time before I looked seriously at the figure again. Anyways... it is amazing (and somewhat fun) to see how quickly I went from paying $5 for figures to suddenly $60 for one (& $40 for many). Well played, Sakai/Playmates/'Tinternets 



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The Lady Speaks. . .Observations

Things I learned and/or noticed going through Previews:
1. Godshaper is ending with issue #6.  I had no idea it was only a six issue run.  I can find no information on the internet about whether it was always planned to be six issues or whether it's getting axed.


2. Assassin's Creed: Uprising is not being solicited in October's Previews.  There is a TPB labeled vol 2.  Again, I was under the impression this was going to be an on-going title because all the press told me it was going to be an ongoing title.  Going back to last month's Previews, I see it also not being solicited.  I was probably too distracted by the Dishonored 2-shot to notice. 


This is very frustrating because I'd like a heads up that they're ending a title that I thought was going to be ongoing.  Neither Boom! nor Titan have any press as to why the titles are ending, if they're truly done, or if it was intentional all along.  Harrumph! Perhaps this description of issue 6 should have been a clue, however; "Giving fans fresh insights into characters from the vast Assassin's Creed universe, including Juhani Otso Berg, Galina Voronina, Kiyoshi Takakura and Arend Schut!"  Not much information there.  

3. There is a new Dishonored video game coming out in September!  Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.  Now, I won't go into a huge description of The Outsider.  Suffice to say, if you've played the game you know he's the weird alternate reality guy who gives Corvo powers in both Dishonored 1 & 2 and Emily powers in Dishonored 2.  He's slightly creepy but very helpful.


Granted, I haven't finished 2 yet because my brain is working in overdrive and I keep doing stupid school preparation, fiction writing, and scholarship instead of loafing.

4.  There is a new Looking-Glass War Graphic Novel, UnderFire, coming out.  It's a sequel to CrossFire (2016).  UnderFire, like most of Beddor's works was funded via Kickstarter.  CrossFire was funded through Indiegogo.  The original novel trilogy The Looking Glass Wars (2006), Seeing Redd (2007), and ArchEnemy (2009) were published by Dial.  Out of that series was the comic spin-off Hatter M:  The Looking Glass Wars (2006), published by Image.  Those turned into 6 graphic novels on Beddor's own imprint, Automatic Pictures  Publishing and financed through Kickstarter.  Those titles are  Hatter M: Far From Wonder (2008), Mad With Wonder (2009), Nature of Wonder (2010), Zen of Wonder (2013), Seeking Wonder (2015) (actually a collection of webisodes), and Love of Wonder (2015).   It appears Hatter M is now appearing in a young adult series as a teenager.

The art was terrible in CrossFire so I have no idea how UnderFire will go.  But I will buy it because someday I will write the definitive book on this world, if I can get caught up on Hatter M, that is.


Anyway, those were the things I learned by flipping through previews. 

Edited by TheLadySpeaks

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The Lady Speaks. . .Wizard World Chicago 2017

This recap won't be nearly as extensive as prior years.  I will cover vendors and cosplay and general aspects while OM will cover the comics side of things.

We arrived at the convention center at 11:30am on Friday to queue for entry.  Right away we noticed the crowd was smaller, much smaller.  Even the VIP section was maybe half the size that it usually is on a Friday.  Listening to crowd chatter around us we learned two things: 

1) the late August date affected many people because school is in session so families weren't able to attend on Friday (remember, the con runs 12-7p on Friday so by the time the kids are out of school and everyone is ready to go to the con, you probably will only have a few hours on the floor.  At $50+ a ticket, that's not a good investment.) and

2) David Tennant pulled out of the con late Thursday night due to family problems.  Tennant marked the 8th celebrity to pull out of the con.  (WWE® Superstar Kevin Owens™, Elizabeth Olsen, Gaten Matarazzo,  Jon Heder, Lennie James, Dule Hill and James Roday also cancelled on Wizard World Chicago).  This is not to say that there wasn't still some serious star power on site, although the vast majority seemed to be affiliated with the WWE (this will be a discussion point later).  In order to placate outraged Tennant/Doctor Who fans, Wizard World was giving away the farm.  If you had purchased VIP tickets you got your money back (fair), still were able to attend the con as a VIP (also fair), were granted admission to all remaining WW cons this season (Nashville, TN; Madison, WI; Biloxi, MS; Montgomery, AL; OK City, OK; Austin, TX; Springfield, MO; Winston-Salem, NC; and possibly even NOLA), AND were even given weekend passes for NEXT YEAR's Wizard World Chicago.  A guy in line near us was joking that he might start gambling on VIP tickets for the future if they're going to give away that much.

So those are possible reasons the crowds were lighter this year.  I'm not exactly complaining.  For the first time in years I was able to move freely on the floor and there were hardly any lines anywhere (the autograph section being the exception to the rule).  Also, the serious cosplayers once again were in the atrium area which meant there was less photo opportunities gumming up the aisles.  And even though the crowds were smaller, almost everyone I saw had a plastic Weekend band on their arm as opposed to my paper Friday only band.  People were committed.

This was a strange crowd, especially at the beginning.  For the first time in years of con attending, I heard people openly mocking "nerds" and "geeks."  There was a strong contingent of people who didn't seem to understand what a con is and how to behave.  Luckily people rallied to protect one another.  I don't want to say this was directly related to the WWE celebrity presence, but there were more WWE stars than I remember seeing in the past.  Of course, it could also have something to do with Gene Simmons' presence.  I don't know.  All I know is that this the first con where I've witnessed men dressing as Harley getting harassed or an African American cosplaying as Star Lord being told "He had no right to dress like that."  But within a few hours the antagonists were no longer being vocal or had left, I don't know which.

(Pictures come from Popculture HQ, Midlifecrisiscrossover, and Gamestop).  At the beginning of the day there were far fewer cosplayers than I've seen in the past; however, by about 2pm the number of costumed individuals had increased substantially.  This year marked the second year where gender bending cosplay was really popular.  I saw a lot of men cosplaying as Harley Quinn, Sailor Moon, and Wonder Woman.  I saw a lot of women cosplaying as Assassin's Creed characters, Gambit, Star Lord, Link (Legend of Zelda), and the Joker. 


Bob's Burgers was incredibly popular as was Adventure Time but no cartoon was as popular as Rick and Morty this year. 

Some of my favorites:  A Dr. Kreiger and his holographic wife, Captain Marvel, the Maitland's from Beetlejuice, the little Dr. Pepper guy, someone in a Spider-Man Homecoming homemade costume, two people cosplaying as SIMS characters (regular clothes with green diamonds over their heads--so simple and so funny), and Glinda the Good Witch.

Glinda the Good Witch from MidlifecrisiscrossoverDr. Pepper Guy from PopculturehqThe Maitlands from Beetlejuice from Popculture HQSpider-Man Homecoming Homemade Suit from Popculture HQ

As far as video game cosplay, this was a good year of Assassin's Creed.  Many assassin's of all sizes were running about the con.  Fallout remains popular (at least the Vault costume).  Five Nights at Freddy's is incredibly popular.  The Mario Brothers and gang remain cosplay favorites as does their Nintendo colleagues, Link and Zelda.  Bioshock was not very visible this year.  Halo and Call of Duty both were rare sightings as opposed to prior years.  Overwatch has a decent showing.

Five Nights at Freddy's from GamestopOne of Many Mario Gangs from Midlifecrisiscrossover

Star Wars cosplay was probably the most common with easily 2 dozen various Jedi spotted.  Jawas, Yoda, Vader, Kylo Ren, Rey, and quite a few Han Solos (of both genders) were also common place.  Superheroes were not as prevalent in years past but it was nice to see the X-Men represented.  Of course DC's trio of Joker, Harley, and Bats were present. 

Most of the cosplayers had weekend bands.  The vast majority of them stayed in the atrium area.  While Wizard World is making money off the tickets, they're not making much else off the cosplayer community.  Not that I blame the cosplayers.  The experience they're after is vastly different than the comic hunter or the casual shopper. 

As for vendors. . . well, there were far fewer non-comic/pop culture vendors this year.  Dr. McGillicuddy's whisky was on site offering shots which, when I think about it, is nice considering that beers on site ranged from $8-13 and your choices were Bud Light, Stella Artrois, or Goose Island IPA.  Needless to say, I did not imbibe this year.  Wild Bill's Soda had two stations and using last year's cup, I had free soda refills for $5 all day long.  I didn't even need the free 5 Hour Energy I picked up from that booth.  The Lasik surgery people were there, the tens unit people were there, the contact lenses people were there, but overall there was less random stuff (like last year with the nail decals).  I do think I spotted a Lipsense (MLM) setup in Artists' Alley but I didn't get close enough to confirm.  A psychic was on scene but she wasn't doing much business.  The animal sanctuary from last year was set up again with animals for photos, but they'd been pushed to the way back on the smaller floor.  For once there were no Sugar Glider pimps. 

Weapon vendors were practically a no-show.  One booth had replica swords and there were two "light saber" booths but the plethora of knives, brass knuckles, and Air Soft rifles were nowhere to be seen.  There were quite a few empty booths.  I did spy a wild game booth and I bought a cookie from a specialty cookie vendor (it was a Watchman cookie, so totally appropriate).  There was also a booth called Moonshine Chocolate but I didn't check it out.  They were doing pretty brisk business most of the day.\

My favorite vendor was Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store.  I purchased a Black Widow in a vial and a giant Isopod (his name is now Alan).  The picture is from their website because he's all wrapped up for travel.  He will live in my office.  I won't include a pic of the Black Widow spider since some people really don't like spiders.


The merchandise that seemed to dominate (other than Star Wars and Doctor Who) was probably Bob's Burgers.  Game of Thrones had a strong higher end presence in terms of jewelry, banners, and leather working.  Harry Potter remains heavily merchandised, as well.  While the standard superheroes are still popular there was a definite decline in Archer, Firefly, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, and Simpsons gear.  Rick and Morty seems to be replacing Adventure Time when it comes to shirts, hats, belts, etc.  Teenage Mutant Turtles are all but forgotten, Pacific Rim is so two years ago, and even Transformers appeared to be struggling for representation.

Merchandise prices are out-of-control.  It used to be an expensive t-shirt was $20.  Now, that's a bargain.  InStylin' is charging basically $25.50 before tax for everything from hats to shirts to belts. 

Artists' Alley was pretty cool.  There were far more handmade items this year and fewer "I copy other artists' work and add my own twist."  People were also far less aggressive with trying to get you to come to their booth.  There were also a lot of empty booths.  I know one of my favorite artists, Nigel Sade, was not set up on Friday.


Obviously he's not responsible for the Wonder Woman covers, but the rest is Nigel Sade's work.

Wizard World a while ago started to venture into competitive gaming.  I went and checked that out.  It was not awesome.  There was some sort of tournament going on, Mortal Combat or some Capcom vs whomever deal.  About six people were in the audience watching it go down.  There was a second possibly PC-based competitive thing going on that had 4 people at it (it looked to be set up for 8-10 maybe).  I couldn't catch the game's name, however.  Then there was a large area with maybe 12 screens that looked like it could have been cool, but the only game they offered was Smash Bros.  I want to point out that there was really no advertising for this feature of Wizard World.  I'm guessing about 90% of the attendees didn't even know that this existed.

In addition to the video games they had a large area set up for table top gaming.  About half of the tables were in use.  I estimate they had maybe 14 tables with a decent library of games to choose from.  I did still feel bad for the one table top gaming vendor who was positioned near the gaming area.  It was a bit out of the way in a no-man's land, although it did allow for a pass through from one part of the floor to the other that didn't involve waving your wrist in the air while security made whooping noises.  This is significant.

One thing that seemed to be expanded this Wizard World was the entertainment areas.  There was a stage in the atrium that had rock bands and pancake artists.  On the smaller portion of the floor there was a children's area with another stage that had acts going all day.  The main floor had a stage toward the back where artists, writers, cosplayers, and I think I saw a magician were talking about what they do for a living and how to make it as a writer, artist, cosplay, or magician?  I didn't go up to the second floor, but there was a blood draw going on there.  Rumor has it there was an arcade area set up (which leads me to wonder why you need a separate gaming area, an arcade, and a vendor who offers people the chance to play video games for free).  That may have been where the magazine launch was, but I don't know for sure.  Much like the gaming area I heard absolutely nothing about the magazine launch outside of a Bleeding Cool article published on August 24.

I wish I had some grand assessment or proclamation to make about Wizard World, but I don't.  We bat around the idea of hitting up E2C2 every year.  It's a tough time for my schedule, but more importantly, C2E2 for me seems like it's for people with very specific agendas.  That's not me.  I make a list each year, but half the time I forget my list or I just decide it's not worth it.

This year my list had Pop! Funko BoJack Horseman and Dead Laura Palmer.  I found them both, so I was happy.  Happily, I learned my Sharknado Pop! goes for $40 all day long.  I also needed two of the Hatter M graphic novels.  That was a big strike out.  The few graphic novel sellers that were there focused almost solely on superheroes.  That meant anything independent was pretty much not going to happen.  Graham Cracker Comics had a lot of indie stuff, not what I wanted, but they also don't discount that much.  I also learned that X-Men Essentials 1, 3, & 9 are like unicorns and I may never actually find them.  I didn't even bother with my comics list because I've learned that most cons are only focused on superheroes.  It's getting a bit tiring.  I did buy a ton of Star Wars t-shirts, though. 


Life goals. 

Edited by TheLadySpeaks

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The Lady Speaks. . .Venomverse

As I've said before, I'm not much into superheroes these days.  I do still collect Batman Beyond and I'm sporadically gathering back issues of the X titles, but other than that, I don't care much about them.  One of my complaints about our new LCS, the Turning Page, is that their new comics literally consist of only Image, DC, and Marvel.  If you want anything else, you have to special order it because it won't be on the shelf.  That means I'm heading to Lost World of Wonders while my subscriptions are in between our old LCS and the Turning Page.

Anyway, I digress.  I'm not a superhero fan, but OM's been gathering the Venomverse comics.  I picked up issue #1 rather randomly and I found myself, dare I say, hooked?  It's a great science fiction plot.  The series only runs for 5 issues and we're on issue #3 but I find myself looking forward to the next issue. 

Basic plot: Venom gets sucked into an alternate world where a bevy of superheroes have been Venomized.


There's been quite a bit written about how Venomverse #1 pays homage to The Amazing Spider-Man #361.  The Venomverse cover depicts a Poison (white) and a Venom (black).

I imagine some of the fun for readers is identifying Rocket Raccoon, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, X-23, Wolverine, and others. But they're not the bad guys! 


The bad guys are the Poisoned superheroes and villains who have been taken over by a different type of symbiote that hunts Venoms.  The baddies have such heavy hitters as Dr. Doom, Bullseye, and Hulk.  I'm not listing all the characters because that might be considered spoilery.  But I will include a picture!


There's an urgency to this story that makes it fun to read and as I said before, the core story is very much science fiction.  I think I know what the big twist is going to be but I'll have to wait until #4 to see if I'm right.  If you get a chance, pick this one up.  It's worth it.


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The Lady Speaks. . .A General Update

So, Venomverse ended as I thought it would and it was a letdown considering how much fun the story was up to the final issue.


There have been a few rough spots migrating to our new LCS.  The new place, the revived Turning Page, really only carries DC, Marvel, and Image comics.  My pull list includes exactly two titles from those three publishers.  I collect Batman Beyond (DC) and No 1 With a Bullet (Image).  All of my other pulls are from smaller publishers.  So there's been a bit of a lag as the new place catches up with my pulls.  In the meantime, I'm missing two issues of The Damned (Oni) and two issues of Heavenly Blues (Scout Comics).  I'm sure I can find them at Lost World of Wonders or, if need be, online.


In other news, Titan is releasing a new 4 issue Assassin's Creed title based on the new game AC: Origins.  I actually preordered the game, but I haven't even unwrapped it yet.  I'm waiting for Thanksgiving Break to try it out.  I actually haven't touched my PS4 in three weeks!  :o  I still haven't played the newest Dishonored game, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. 


Before I stopped playing my PS4, I was playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for the third time.  Something about the fall makes me yearn for RPG's and high fantasy.  So I replay DA or Skyrim, I read books based on DA's world, and/or I re-read The Dragonlance Chronicles. 

In even bigger news--Strangers in Paradise is coming back!  For the 25th anniversary of the title, Abstract and Terry Moore are bringing SIP back!  I'm super excited for this title to return.  SIP was one of the first runs I completed and remains a favorite story of mine.  I met Terry Moore back in 1999 at Wizard World Chicago and was so dumbstruck all I could do was giggle when he talked to me. 


In general, I've slowed a bit with collecting which is natural for me post-Wizard World and at the beginning of the school year.  Although, I did pre-order this fellow. . .


He'll be released in February.  I think this will be the last of the Pop! Funko's I purchase.  It seems that between this guy and Sharknado, I've reached peak Pop!

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Stand Corrected




I wanted to take a few minutes to write down my experiences of the last several months. I sort of fell out of collecting comic books due to a variety of reasons that I I'm kind of been thinking through the last couple of days / weeks / months (man how time can fly at times). 

One of the reasons was that I landed a nice project at work. And work began to dominate the majority of my time as there was some necessary overtime. This is actually a good thing what they call eustress in the concept of wellness. However, it left me kind of drained at the end of the day and took quite a few weeks to adjust to a slightly different circadian rhythm. I'm actually looking forward to the end of the construction season and a shifting of my duties. In part, it is the balance of having a different rhythm during the holidays that attracted me to this job. And as an aside, I picked up an online class for early 2018 (yeah, that's me contradicting my balance). 
Another big factor was that are local comic book store closed down. This occurred in mid-october and kind of left us scrambling to establish a new relationship with another local store, the revamped Turning Page. And while they are very good at back issue comic books, they are still dabbling in a full Diamond Previews account. Therefore, some of our more independent titles were missed for a couple of months which left us both scrambling a little bit. Plus anytime you lose a local comic book store it's often a time for reflection about collecting in can be a point where a collector starts to build distance from the act of collecting. Harry Rinker, the prolific antiques writer, talks about how once the collector learns to live without, the passionate need to possess decreases.
I cannot deny the impact that Photobucket's ransom stunt had on my writing. The lady and I talked about how we try and add images to our postings because comic book fans are by nature visual. Therefore it sucked to lose that many images and to lose something that you built with both thoughts but also also with delivered images. Anyways I really appreciate that the lady kept the post going and I really appreciate a lot of the diligence that other collectors display on these boards and the discipline that they have in their own collecting. Therefore thank you for reading and keep writing your own escapades because I enjoy reading about those too.
Finally, one of my disc golf buddies was picked up on an old weed smuggling charge in the state of Montana. It was something he never spoke about (with any of us) and those that knew thought was settled. However apparently he had been doing nothing that he needed to and had an outstanding warrant. So he is facing some serious time / charges in Bozeman MT, which oddly is where the lady and I lived and schooled in the late 90s. His stay will be much different than mine. I haven't had a lot of loss in my life so I guess it kind of hit me kind of hard and put a lot of things in perspective quick. 
Okay first of all I still have been collecting modern comic books fairly regularly. I pull approximately six to eight titles per month and occasionally dabble in a speculative title. I like Paper Girls, Spawn, Usagi Yojimbo, Rock Candy Mountain (may fave pull, 'bo), and even crossover for the occasional superhero storyline or title like Venomverse. I have not speculated much these days and I have not attended any conventions regional or local other than Wizard World Chicago in August.
If I do spec, it tends to be on Star Wars comic books. I have added several appearances of Lumiya /Shira Brie in the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series (pay attention to NM copies of #56, 88, 95, & 96). And of course I still love Doctor Aphra and her droids (tho I have bought very little here).
I also pull Star Wars Poe Dameron and have by been buying multiple copies of #13 the first Captain Phasma cover and appearance of the converted battle droid Mr. Bones. Basically the common spec thread is cool canon characters that I feel are too cool NOT to do something with on the big screen.
I did submit underground Comics to CGC while I was at Wizard World Chicago and I received one shipment back. It was Zap Comix 16 both copies graded CGC 9.8 White Pages, but both books were qualified, green label. The reason for the qualification was that books that were received in the direct market had stickers added to them with UPC symbols and pricing. This was probably done by Fantagraphics. It should be noted that the copies that I received from Amazon Online did not have these stickers. However, they did arrive damaged in the box which is why I've been chilly sought out copies from Midtown Comics. This was just the result of sloppy work on my part when I submitted the books. I should have pre scanned my books better to make sure that I was submitting my highest potential unstickered copies. My other books are at CCS right now. And I do not have an update but am not worried. :)

In terms of back issues, things have been slow. I'll start with X-Men, which is where I've had the most success. I did pick up an X-Men #4 that was in my price range while at Wizard World Chicago (kudos GAtor). And I'm happy that I did that. I missed out on a copy of X-Men 11 locally that was within my price range, but I did pick up a really nice presenting, conserved copy of Strange Tales #151 1st Steranko signed by him. After adding it and removing it several times I have decided to pursue Strange Tales 151 to 168 in about VF, the Steranko run. No progress yet, but I am adding it to my Marvel Comics wish list. Also, and again this is for the really long haul on my time frame, is Fantastic Four #49 and 50, the Galactus trilogy. Sometimes I waiver on removing these books from my want list and selling my 48, and other times I look to complete it. Time will tell.

Hunting down Spawn comic books has been a real bear. I have not made any progress on my want list in 2017. And that sucks, because it appears that for the issues I need the prices are still Rising. I can maybe only knock off two issues from my want list before the end of the year at reasonable prices. For example, Spawn 221, an homage cover to Amazing Fantasy 15, is currently fetching $75 in near mint raw, and there are some completed listings at that price. I'm going to have to get lucky somehow at a local show or with a local collector. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the reality of collecting modern back issues is that the Direct Market is so efficient as to put a precise number of copies into collectors hands, that leaves very few on the secondary market. The lady is learning this the hard way too as she runs around and tries to complete two independent runs, namely volume two of the Damned by Oni Press and Heavenly Blues by Scout Comics. These books have print runs of less than 3000 copies and are next to impossible to find a lot times. In a way, modern comic books are collectible like never before.
What factors are transipring to make this jump to a $75 raw book nationally? 
Usagi Yojimbo has brought me a great lot of joy recently. However, I still need two issues from volume one and upgrade one issue from volume two to be completely current and complete. I also need a few oddball books and upgrades. After a hiatus, Stan Sakai is back to publishing Usagi regularly (3 issues now). Plus, this was the Summer of Usagi Yojimbo for me. I took immense joy in buying the new toys online and running around to local Walmarts trying to score them for regular prices. It was something that the lady and I shared together.
So that's all I have for now! Sorry for the abrupt end. I have six of the next nine days off of work and will try to maybe post a little bit more.  :hi:

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This past weekend was a good one for comics. 

SAT was the Turning Page's 1-year Anniversary sale... lots of 50% off back issues, 50c issues and deals on their video games.

SUN was Collector's Edge New Year Sale ($2 admission, basement back issue access, 25% OFF (incl supplies), & kick in the grab bag on the way out.

I will write more tomorrow, but I added two VGish X-Men to my run :grin:  ($120 for pair) , presented here with the 'summary' Ed Piskor page from X-Men Grand Design #2 (great read- recommend).


The tape pull is a real turnoff for many, but my run is only VG, so this book presents/flips/reads great for me








More to come! 

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Early X-Men stories are so great ! the story in issue #8 about Unus the untouchable and the way they reversed his powers was one of my favorites !

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Thanks for the information on what books you are collecting.  Really good stuff you are passing along!

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So I wrote before that this past weekend was a good one for comics. 
No local shows in the area until the end of the month, so the newly minted Turning Page's 1-Year Anniversary sale (50% off back issues, room of 50c boxes, and 25% off new books) and annual Collector's Edge Sale ($2 admission, 25% off everything, basement back issue access) looked tempting indeed.
Lately, I have been floundering in my collecting a little-  apathetic, disorganized, and making mistakes- and this looked like a chance to 'get back on the horse' as it were. A lot of energy into work, a new winter assignment, and sometimes snow duty. Money has been a little tight, as we reign in some freewheeling holiday spending and adjust to my new winter schedule (and bump down in pay). We have been successful, with much 'storming', in aggressively paying down some unsecured debt and planting the seeds of new habits (such as less dining out), while also working toward re-establishing mad-money for both. In part, my new work assignment has helped  ... a mixed bag... my commute is longer, up to the northside, so I spend more on gas, and I also work ADDITIONAL revolving snow duty shifts as support staff for the salt / plow trucks, which messes up my schedule. For example, SUN night I was called in 7pm to 3am, and then worked my normal MON 7am to 330pm. WED I was called in at 5am, and today sent home from my normal gig at noon, so that I could return and work 6pm to ?? (as I write). Long story short, this changing schedule has also helped. It gives me permission to say "no" or "i'll be a game-time decision due to snow duty" to offers from friends and family, which means when I am not working, I am at home (versus disc golfing or playing bar trivia). The lady loves this and has responded. This schedule also has put an artificial limit to my drinking too... more often I find myself looking maximize quality sleep in lieu of 'going out for a few beers to blow off steam.' So my focus has been on career, and more importantly on re-building a shared vision for our future in the Brew City... something that seems a little lost after so many years of marriage. 
I suppose it stands to reason that when this happens, the focus shifts away from hobby. Life, as it were, gets in the way. 
The New Year offers a fresh start and the lure of these two sales were enough to draw me right back in... with a budget of about $200. 
SAT was our day... we had a plan to shroom  and spend the day together (an annual exploration) and so timed our visit as to not interfere. The Turning Page was packed. I was not surprised. The guys at The Page have done a great job in the past year and the community is responding. They have the best revolving selection of back issues, actively scrounge new collections, run a new 'Comicverse' show, and have been improving on their burgeoning new comics subscriptions (they can continue to improve). Plus, they have carved out a nice niche in the vintage video games area, and have brought in movie poster collections, as well as several toy collections. Always something new to see, in the same building that Turning Page has occupied since the 1970s. Long live the stalwart on the East Side, Milwaukee. It is no small achievement that Turning Page drove Collector's Edge East out of business despite East having the best LCS manager on the planet. 
So I picked a few Star Wars Lumiya books off my list and enjoyed a leisurely but brief visit, being mindful of the lady's time and our looming psychedelia. I also took the opportunity to grab several new comics off the rack (extra copies of Spawn and fill-in issues of Dr. Aphra, $3ea), as well as a copy of X-Men Grand Design #2. I spent a smidge under $40. We enjoyed a lovely walk in the brisk sunshine and then the swirling comforts of home. The real shopping, I posited, would happen the next day. 
Aphra looking like our girl Leia. Also, I am a sucker for the covers that feature Aphra, her droids & Black Krrsantan.
This recalls an early Aphra cover appearance, Darth Vader #10, and the re-occuring theme of Vader looming over Aphra
SUN rolled around and some possible weather loomed. I anticipated getting called into work late in the afternoon, but also wanted to time the Edge's sale if possible. Typically, for the stuff I am looking for... I do not have to be the first one in the room, bumping into everyone, waiting in all the lines, cheek-to-cheek in the Basement Vault where the Silver Age is kept. So, I waited... until I couldn't anymore and FOMO got the better of me. About 2pm, with the sale closing at 5pm, we drove together down to the hipster Bayview neighborhood where the Collector's Edge flagship is located. The lady jumped into the Arsenal bar next door to kill time, having tasked me with looking for the final back issue she needs to complete Piranha Press' esoteric Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children (#27 for $5.25 with discount). I knew that book was in the basement, I knew I left it laying last year, and I was determined to buy it. After securing the #27, I then picked an upgrade to my Critters #3 (early Usagi appearance and cover; $4 with discount).
With those two books in hand I slowed down a little... checking the odd title here or there and (mostly) catching up with my former LCS manager and friend. We chatted for some time and I was buoyed to learn that his new position is rewarding him financially, and that he has not given up on his long-term job hunt. Actually we chatted for some time indeed, while watching the big boss check out one of his more loyal customers, a young OCD/spectrum picker who dropped approximately $2100 after discount on a giant stack o books. After that transaction was done, I dug in and priced some low numbered X-Men books quickly (#8, 2x #10, & 2x #11) before settling on the above X-Men books for $123 after discount. Upstairs I picked a few moderns, some Silver Age bags and boards, checked out and nabbed a grab-bag on the way out. 
All in all it was been a rewarding holiday season that was 'capped off' with a mix of new and old comic books. 
I have a table 'semi' reserved for the Comicverse sale on January 28th, the day before my birthday. I thought I might set up and rep for some Indy and underground comix, and that is the next time the high grade collection of Spawn books will be available for sale (FYI @newshane; the ones I mentioned from December... the hope of a 182 upgrade). 
I say semi-reserved because, well... I'm on snow duty that week and will be a game-time decision.   :-D
PS. Things I am enjoying...
The new Star Wars movie
iFanboy's "pick of the week" podcast-  http://ifanboy.com/podcasts/ 
Mad Men on Netflix. The lady and I binged it straight through; got to the end, sighed, and started again. To date, we have not tired of it. 
Dave Chappelle's Netflix comedy specials, laughing in general...
Ed Piskor's X-Men Grand Design (and scouring through my new X-Men books for where he got it wrong). I bought copies, read & loved them and now want to go back and pick up copies to have/hold. 
Liverpool football... a nice banger sausage and Krombacher dark
The last issue of Rock Candy Mountain is coming up too
Dreams of 'up Nort', Northern lights, a fire place, and seeing Lake Superior

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Here are two books I bought this week at the last remaining Edge satellite Collector's Edge North.

They are Star Wars Adventures #6 (1st Rose Tico) and Strangers in Paradise 25th #1.
The reason I bought these books at a store that isn't my LCS is because I was excited that they were out and figured that my LCS may not have them. We switched to Turning Page several months ago for our weekly comic books subscriptions. However, it hasn't been the smoothest in ordering new things from Previews magazine. For example, I was ordering Star Wars Adventures out of Previews each month, but it was intermittent and now we do not get Previews anymore. And the Turning Page does not really carry Star Wars Adventures since it is the slightly more obscure IDW publishing. They stick to the Big 3- Marvel, DC, and then Image titles of course. However even some of the deep-cut Image stuff does not make the new comics rack. So sometimes I have to venture out and try and find titles another way. One great option that is always available to me but is the farthest away (30min) from me is Lost World of Wonders. Another good option is Collector's Edge South. However, while they have probably the best selection over all of independent books they often run out of books really quickly, so it is often not worth it unless you are in the area on New Comics Wednesday. 
Collector's Edge North is near my winter job and has the cutest lil anime clerk you ever did see. So easy choice. Lately I find myself going there for the 'cannot miss book', such as a new Spawn character or the Star Wars Adventures with the Porg on the cover. I can't score high end variants at ANY of these stores because I'm not in that crowd, so it has to be something that's going to be relatively available but might sell out the same day.
Sometimes I miss Previews and the choice and the chance to spec/pick right; other times I am thankful that I have to fend off the racks, I enjoy the hunt/sport, and it provides built-in editing on what comes through the door. 

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The Lady Speaks. . .Update (of sorts)

A few days ago I had written a beautiful post about all sorts of things only to fat-thumb my way into deleting the entire thing.  It's taken me a few days to recover.  So I'm trying again.

As OM has mentioned our transition from the Collector's Edge East to the Turning Page has not been exactly smooth.  The Turning Page really only carries the big three--DC, Marvel, Image.  Most of my titles come from other publishers, Titan and Oni being the two I'm most likely to order from.  Of the titles I've been collecting, only two are from the Big Three--Batman Beyond (DC) and No. 1 With a Bullet (Image).  No. 1 With a Bullet is a grim comic about the evils of social media done in very bright colors.


As a result, my collecting energies have been put into video games.  Well, one game mainly.  Assassin's Creed: Origins has become my jam.  I bought it the day it dropped in November but it took a few weeks before I was able to actually play the game.  Since then, it's become my only game.  I don't know how many hours into I am, but I bet I'm only 25% into the main quest.  While I've always been an AC fan, I have to admit this one is just about perfect.  The setting and the fact that it is a huge open world with RPG elements make it pretty much my dream game.  When I say huge open world, I mean just that.  The map is massive and there are so many fantastic things to explore.  One really cool aspect to this game is that everything gives you XP.  Whether it's finding a new location, slaying enemies, fighting hippos, or finding synchronization spots (just to give a few examples), everything is worth some XP.

The setting is Ancient Egypt.  As all AC games are this one is gorgeous. 
For anyone who has ever wanted to scale the pyramids at Giza or mess around The Great Sphinx,  this game is for you.

I wish I could tell you more about the story line but to be honest, I don't even care about the story line.  All my interest is in leveling up at the moment and exploring through side quests.  Why do I want to level up?  It's really quite simple.  They've been running this limited time campaign called Trials of the Gods where you get to take on Anubis, Sekhmet, and Sobek.  But in order to do it, you have to be a level 40, the maximum the game currently allows (two new DLCs coming out next week and in March will allow you to reach levels 45 and 55, respectively).  When UbiSoft first ran the Trials of the Gods, it was about two weeks after the game dropped.  People were really upset because very, very, very few were able to reach level 40 in that amount of time.  UbiSoft heard the complaints and ran it again this month.  I'm currently a level 36 (about to hit level 37) so I missed out on the trials the second time.  According to online sources, UbiSoft will be running them again so my focus is on reaching level 40.

Anubis, Sekhment, and Sobek in the Trials of the Gods.  It looks so cool!

While I haven't been able to do the Trials of the Gods, I did accidentally finish a limited time quest that was a crossover with the Final Fantasy world.  For my effort I was awarded a special sword, shield, and a crazy new mount that is a feathered bird camel thing.


Some people have complained about the Ability Tree and the loss of Eagle Vision.  I have no issue with either of those.  The Ability Tree is similar to what was in Syndicate in the sense that eventually you will earn all the ability points and get all the abilities.  You just work on different branches--Warrior, Seer, Hunter.  As for Eagle Vision, this time you actually have an eagle!  Its name is Senu and you can call upon it at any time to reconnoiter the lay of the land.  Every time you find a synchronization point Senu's abilities improve.  My main quibble is that it took a bit of time to get the hidden blade; however, there isn't the super annoying tutorial level that one has to endure in the earlier iterations.  

The crafting is what it is.   Ever since they added the bombs to craft in Revelation that has been one of the weakest parts of the game.  I guess Black Flag made the best use of the crafting, but it's not that exciting for me.  Basically you kill animals and can dismantle weapons to get materials to upgrade your breastplate, hidden blade, quiver, tool bag, and bracer. 

My experience so far has been that the game plays is smooth and there were far fewer bugs than I expect in an AC game.  I guess UbiSoft did learn from the Unity fiasco.  It's still in the third person and you still can play full-on stealth if you want, but there is a sweet array of weapons if you're more of a melee assassin.  I like the bows quite a bit.  Fan favorite the sleeping dart still exists and now you have a fire bomb as well.  I love the different costumes one can either buy or earn through quests.  Currently I'm wearing the mummy armor. 

I love that this armor gives you red eyes.  Also, when you move, sand falls from the wrappings.  Such great detail.

While the mummy armor is cool, my favorite is the scarab soldier armor.


I also love that in AC:O I can buy all the horses and camels I can afford.  Unlike previous versions of AC, this one gives you a mount from the get-go.  Then you can purchase additional or win them through quests.  Each animal comes with a description and its own personality.  Some like fighting, some run away from conflict, some wait for you, others leave immediately.  The horses tend to be faster in non-desert settings while the camels cruise over sand.  (Disclaimer:  They may not really act all that different and it's just me anthropomorphizing them)  That's been fun. And unlike the horror show that is Skyrim, your animals can't die.  That's been fun.  Because it's Ancient Egypt, the towns are teeming with cats.  Thankfully you can't hurt the cats, but I do wish you could pet them like you could in AC:III.  While I hated AC:III in so many ways, I did enjoy petting the animals.

Basically, I don't see my love with this game ending anytime soon.  There's so much to see and do, plus Ancient Egypt is so cool.  The only two games coming out this year on my radar are the remastered version of AC: Rogue and Darksiders III.  Rogue I own for the PS3 but I never played it because I purchased the game after I put away the PS3 for the PS4. 

Darskiders III has a comic book connection.  I played Darksiders I on the PS3 and loved it.  The art is gorgeous, probably because it's the brain child of Joe Madureira.  Joe Mad! as he was known in the 90's is probably most famous for the comic book Battlechasers and his work on the Uncanny X-Men. 

Obviously not the X-Men, but you can get a sense of the art.

Darksiders is a series of third person games where you play as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  In the first one you play as War:


In the second one you play as Death:


And in the third one you will be able to play as Fury, the first woman main character:


After I play a time intensive RPG, I usually cleanse my palate with a good ol' button masher.  The Darksider games are excellent in this regard.  They're visually appealing and fairly straightforward, always a nice change of pace from an RPG. 

So, for the time being that's it from the world of The Lady.  Oh, I want to give a shoutout to OM for finding the last issue of Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children that I needed!


This was a title put out by Piranha Press, a DC indie imprint, from 1989 to 1992.  They are morbid, macabre, sick twisted little tales.  Not for the faint of heart.  The run consists of 30 issues.  I bought a bunch of issues back in 1992-93 from a dollar bin at the comic book store in Kalispell, Montana.  My hometown, Whitefish, didn't have an LCS so Kalispell was the closest.  It's taken 25 years, but now the collection is complete!  Thanks OM!



Edited by TheLadySpeaks

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Freak Brothers #14


Fifty Freakin’ Years with the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers


Today I received an early birthday present from the lady, something she bought me off Amazon.co.uk, what I am calling Freak Brothers #14 (1st UK edition)- the first Freak Brothers ‘comic book’ with new material in 20 years!   :headbang:

This Knockabout Comics book precedes the American edition, solicited in Previews and due out mid-April 2018, by about 4-5 months.




2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the hirsute trio in comic books- 1968’s Feds n Heads. 



Freak Bros. #14 List of Contents

Fifty Freakin Years (Foreword by Gilbert Shelton)

Phineas Becomes a Suicide Bomber (Shelton)… reprinted from the Complete Zap Comix box set and Zap Comix #16

Flora and Fawna- a roughly drawn pin up titled The Jailbait Twins (Shelton)

Franklin Got His Gun (Shelton, 2017)

Mr. Natural Meets That Fabulous Furry Freak Brother Fat Freddy (Shelton, 2013)

Fat Freddy Gets Religion (Shelton, 2017)

1 pg of Tall Toad beer labels drawn by Shelton

The Adventures of the Fabulous Fat Freddy (Shelton, 2009)

A series of parodies by various artists… including:

Geek Brothers by Jay Lynch, originally published in Bijou Funnies #8

The Feminine Furry Legged Freeek Sisters (Shelton under the nom de plume Herbert Sherbert)

Fabuleaux Furieux cover (apparently a collection of homages to Shelton et al that I have neither heard nor held)

Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (Hunt Emerson, 2003)

Scotland Yardie vs. The Freak Brothers (Joseph & Samuels, undated)

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Strut March, artwork for a flash animation (Shelton)

Lambiek Amsterdam 40th Anniversary illustration (Shelton, 2008)

12 pages of illustrations, posters, merchandise, etc.



One of the highlights of Freak Brothers #14 are the parodies by other artists, including Jay Lynch & Hunt Emerson (above)


I am pleased to see 1 of my 2 copies survived the 2+ week journey in at least NM 9.4 with just the faintest back cover corner bump. Bagged, boarded, and tucked in a box already. I will also pick up the American version when it drops… multiple copies to try for that elusive Amazon-originated CGC 9.8.


Overall, I am excited to read the book tonight and pleased with the production value for my 9 quid. Be well freaks, Om


The inside front and back cover replicate vintage LSD blotter paper. 

PS---> RIP Howard Greber, EggsAckley, I miss ya brother and wish we were talking excitedly over the phone about this book.  

#freakbrothers #gilbertshelton #undergroundcomix

Edited by oldmilwaukee6er

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that blotter acid paper reminded me of Cheech and Chong big bambu album with the full sized rolling paper (that many of us used in the day)...

Image result for big bambu rolling paper Image result for big bambu rolling paper

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On 1/26/2018 at 8:11 PM, AJD said:

A "trip" down memory lane there! lol


On 1/26/2018 at 8:56 PM, 1950's war comics said:

that blotter acid paper reminded me of Cheech and Chong big bambu album with the full sized rolling paper (that many of us used in the day)...

Image result for big bambu rolling paper 

Thanks for the responses lads!  I picked a Big Bambu a few years ago with the rolling paper for $15, but flipdipskied it at an antique show. 

Kinda regret that now!  It was funny, I held the giant rolling paper in my hand and for a fleeting moment thought "I could...."


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Sunday Snow Duty



As I sit down to write this, I am beginning a shift of my OTHER winter responsibilities- snow duty. Basically, I am primary support staff this week answering phones, chasing plows to make sure their routes are done, and to assessing the quality of work (curb to curb, no piles in the middle, no big piles blocking driveways, etc). Mostly, my role entails sitting around during ice control operations (AKA salting) and chasing / monitoring drivers during snow. At least that is how I understand it so far. It is not something I would volunteer for, me being motivated by balance and variety in my work life, but it is required and so I do.

So… starting at 6PM on Sunday until we “knock off;” this will be midnight if I am lucky and later if not. If it goes all night then (I believe) I have the choice of continuing with my normal duties tomorrow. And our plow drivers are the same crew that pick up the trash and recycling, so if we roll too far past midnight I believe they have the option of staying home (which then puts us a little behind on services for the week, though they catch up quick). I write this because I am still getting used to being tethered to my work phone those weeks when I am primary and back-up. Will I get called? Will I not? If so when? I am simply too new to understand the patterns.

So with these thoughts in mind I went to the LCS to beg out of the Comicverse Show at the New Berlin Ale House. The show organizer is one of my LCS managers / owners (The Turning Page) and a nice guy. He said no worries; he had slightly overbooked and if necessary was going to release one of his tables. Whew! That freed the lady and I to visit the show this morning and return in time for me to rest up ahead of tonight.

And what a show it was! After a morning round of icy disc golf, I took a small picking budget of $84 (after $3ea for admittance) and was damn near tapped out within 15 minutes. Firstly, the venue was nice and much larger than one might expect for an ale house, though it is also a bowling alley and has the small convention room. There is also the ale house, but I did not go in there and the lady stated that it seemed a little busy. The room was sparsely lit, narrow, but quite long. In fact, it struck me as dark after being outside all morning. The $3 admittance earned one a free comic book (I do not take these) and an entry into a raffle for a copy of Hulk #271 (2nd Rocket Raccoon). Traffic was solid, but not overwhelming when we arrived just after opening. And even though we did not stay long… there was steady incoming traffic the whole time. Immediately upon entry I struck up a conversation with a very kind, regular dealer by the name of Jim. It was perhaps 10:15am and he had already done over $1900! I picked through his boxes, looking for a couple of Spawn books I passed on during the December Burnham Bowl show and listening to the stories floating around the tables.

I pulled the following two Spawn books ($7.50ea). One is an upgrade (182) and the other fills a hole (156), and that means I am down to my LAST 2 ISSUES OF SPAWN before I am completely current.




I also picked the following underground comix- Bijou Funnies #1 1st printing, with the white paper guts and the overlap cover ($45).


Note the top staple placement. Many early undergrounds can be found with production errors due to hand assembly by stoners. In the case of this book, several wraps toward the end of the book are still folded uncut along the top edge. That sort of production error and the fact that the pages remain uncut / unripped likely means this book was read very little.

What a find! Bijou Funnies is Chicago’s seminal underground comix, and so has a good Midwest connection. The book has been valued at $175+ since Kennedy’s 1982 “The Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide” (one currently parked on the 'Bay for $400). Also, the manner in which this book was produced, especially with that cover overlapping by almost a half inch, means that CGC will not slab this book. Finally, the book is impossible to find in high grade. In fact, noted comics historian Jerry Weist had a small section on underground comix in his book “The Comic Art Price Guide (2000).” For Bijou Funnies #1 he listed no value above FN.

So there I was, walking on air, $60 gone, and just my first stop. And again I let a few books lay that I admired… including a possible upgrade to my Spawn 183 ($10), and an Image Blind Box virgin variant of Rock Candy Mountain #1 ($10)  <---  the land’s best kung fu hobo miniseries. Long story short, I used the remaining time to network a little with comic friends and dealers… pulled one good dollar book… including my first time finding this book in the wild:


Deathwind #1 by Artline Studios, published in 1991- first published work by artist Jim Mahfood AKA FOOD ONE when he was just 16 years old. Nobody, and I mean nobody, gives a damn about this book sans me. I bought my first copy, FN+, off Mile High for $2… and using a codeword discount, one can probably still find the book for that price. But in the wild!? No maam.

Finally, I purchased a wooden, laser cut, and hand colored Spawn coaster from a local craftsman for $7.


And with the prospect of snow looming over Madison, we beat feet back to the apartment for a little siesta before snow duty.

PS > I am finishing writing this at 700am, having been chasing routes and plows all night. I am tired, but the OT is cool and because I worked all night I can take the rest of Monday off (which BTW is my 44th birthday  :preach: ). 

Edited by oldmilwaukee6er

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