Been thinking about doing a recurring thing about comics lately.  I still get my newstands mailed to me every month, so might as well do some review type stuff.  Right now I’m collecting the following titles:

Marvel: Thor, Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Hulk, Star Wars, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra.  I’ve been cutting back on the Marvel a bit, mostly keeping the Star Wars titles.  I’ve really liked what Thor is doing lately and the first issue of Hulk was actually pretty decent.

DC: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Scooby: Apocalypse, All-Star Batman, Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and the Flash.   I’d collect more DC titles like Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Superman, but there have been some need to keep to a budget.  Scooby: Apocalypse is fascinating if only for the reimagining of the gang in a post-apocalyptic hell-scape.

Others (Image, Dynamite, IDW, Titan, etc.):  East of West, Sex Criminals, Doctor Who (4th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors), My Little Pony, My Little Pony: Friends Forever, Insexts, and James Bond.  Kinda kicking myself for not collecting the Torchwood series, but probably should cut back the number of books.  A lot of these are just odd ball series I collect because I’m intrigued by the creative teams, etc.  I used to get the MLP stuff for my ex, but I actually do like reading them and it is one of better all ages books out there.  Might try to complete the run and collect the series at some point.

 

I’ve collected others but there have been a few cuts of late.  Some were series that just came to their own conclusions–Darth Vader, Han Solo, A-Force, etc.–and others that just have lost me or had to be dropped for budget reasons.

The biggest one that’s lost me is Captain America.  I collected that book for a long time.  First there was Ed Brubakers run with the character and his spin-off work with the Winter Soldier, which was fantastic.  He did an amazing job of bringing the spy noir quality back to the character and much of his influence has been felt in the Winter Soldier and Civil War movies.  After that, the title was followed up with Rick Remender taking over as writer.  He brought it more to a traditional superhero story and played a lot more with the “Man Out of Time” aspect of the character.  That period also featured Sam Wilson becoming Captain America and a more team dynamic.

Which brings us to the present.  After the “Secret Wars” event, Remender concluded his work at Marvel and the Captain America title was turned over to a new writer, Nick Spencer.  Sam Wilson was still Cap, as Steve Rogers had been aged after his encounter with a supervillain called the Nail.  This led to a more interesting take on the character that started out with Sam Wilson trying to take a more socially aware approach.  This involved intervening when a number of illegal immigrants were being abducted by members of a terrorist group called Sons of Serpent.  His actions put him at odds with Steve Rogers who is a high ranking member of SHIELD and he finds himself a bit more on his own.  Then the events of Avengers: Standoff! unfold and Steve Rogers is restored to his younger self and we go straight into the secret agent of Hydra nonsense.

The basic premise of Avengers: Standoff! was that somebody leaked the existence of a SHIELD black site, called Pleasant Hill.  At work there was a sentient cosmic cube in the form of a little girl calling itself Kobik who is essentially brainwashing and altering villains to live peacefully in the idyllic little town.  When all the heroes go to investigate she loses control and the villains revolt, led by Baron Zemo.  As events unfold, elderly Steve Rogers finds himself face to face with Crossbones who begins to beat him to death.  At this point Kobik intervenes and restores Rogers’ youth and strength.  Later it is revealed that the Red Skull has made contact with Kobik and when she restored his youth, he is altered to believe he has always been a Hydra operative in service of the Red Skull.

Even before the obnoxius Deus Ex Machina aspects of Kobik and the Red Skull having Professor X’s mental abilities–a completely different storyline that annoys me–the storyline has fallen off the rails.  Steve Rogers would trust Sam Wilson.  He would trust his friend.  This is before Kobik and the Red Skull did their thing.  Rogers would trust the judgement of his friend.  He would not come down on his friend in the ways he did.  Not even Old Man Rogers would do that.  If he was not going to trust his friend and back him up, why give him the Shield?

So yeah, that’s why I stopped reading Captain America.  For something trying to be socially conscious in its own way, it does not seem will to push things like it should.

Also got my second round of CGC signature series books back  They are as follows:

Fantastic Four #46: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 5.0.  Came back a bit higher of a grade than I thought it would.  First appearance of Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans.

Fantastic Four #66: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.5.  Hoped for a wee bit higher.  First part of the two part story that Adam Warlock appears in.  Gives his origin.

Fantastic Four #67: Signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 6.5.  Hoped for a bit higher here too, but still a nice book.  Second part of the first Adam Warlock story and his first brief appearance.

Thor #165:  signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.0.  First full appearance of Adam Warlock.

Thor #193:  I had gotten this signed at NYCC in 2015, by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr.  Last issue of Thor that Stan Lee worked on in his original run on the character.  In 2016, I got Stan Lee to sign it.  Came back at a 9.4.

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Thursday of 2016 NYCC…

October 6, 2016

Not a bad day.  Just got back to the room.  Not much going on after 5PM that held my attention.  Got a lot done though.

Signings:

  • From Stan Lee, I will hopefully be getting copies of Fantastic Four #46, #66, #67 and Thor #165 and #193 signed.  Those are some key issues for one reason or another–First Black Bolt, first Adam Warlock, Last Stan Lee on Thor–so I’m pleased to be maximizing the value there.  Almost went and got Tales of Suspense #75 with that lot, but I decided to drop that one from the list.  Mostly cost, although I do acknowledge there could be a bit of subconscious exgirlfriend nonsense.
  • From Jim Starlin, I got Infinity Gauntlet #1-3 as well as Avengers Annual #7.  Thanos stories basically.
  • The rest were Star Wars variants.  I had a couple of Poe Dameron variant covers I got signed by Charles Soule.  I also had a Millenium Falcon variant for Han Solo #1 that I got signed by Mark Brooks and Majorie Liu.  I might move one or two of those fairly quickly, I don’t know yet.  Still thinking it over.

Panels:

  • Went to this Creators Unite thing hosted by Charles Soule and Jim Zub.  That’s good panel, I liked it.  Learned a lot about the years it took for them to get working at Marvel.  Kind of a good experience just to sit in on this.
  • Went to the Creator’s Meet Up.  Wasn’t quite as chill as I had hoped, maybe a bit too much pressure.
  • The last panel I went to today was a preview of an upcoming Hulu documentary called Batman and Bill.  Talking about the creation of Batman and how Bill Finger’s contributions were fairly known but not necessarily acknowledged by DC Comics until very recently.  This sneak peek was a bit of tear jerker without seeing it in its entirety.

Also picked up a couple of prints, three t-shirts and a folio for larger prints.  Tomorrow will be my Tenth Doctor Cosplay, so I’ll probably have more pictures.

Top Five Comics I Own

June 30, 2016

Got my ticket for NYCC all sorted out.  They definitely made more hoops to jump through, I’ll give them that.  Remains to be seen what affect it will have on scalpers.  Planning on flying solo this trip.  More of an adventure that way.  Anyway, I’m in a comics mood so I started going through some of my CGC Certified Comics to see what I might be ready to sell, what I’m going to hold on to…  I’m probably not going to sell many, but I might sell one or two to help fund the trip a bit more effectively.  Going through them, I found what I’m going to rate as my top five comics.

  1. Superman #233.  I own a 9.0 copy of this one, CGC Signature Series signed by Neal Adams.  This particular comic is full of stories for me.  When I was a small child, my grandmother would give me a few of the comics my dad and his brothers read as kids.  These comics were all beat and torn to hell, but I would read them.  One of them was Superman #233.  First issue in the Krytonite Nevermore storyline, also featuring a World of Krypton back-up feature.  It was the headliner of a major revamp for the Superman line of books.  Neal Adams, one of the top artists of all-time, did the cover.  Years go by and I get a much better copy of this book.  I bring to NYCC that year with the intent of having Neal Adams sign it.  When I do, he spends the whole time harassing my girlfriend.  Being as thin-skinned as she was, she took offense to it.  I didn’t think it was a big enough deal to chide a seventy-something living legend like Neal Adams, so I didn’t really want to worry about it.  After she broke up with me, I was at the Vermont Comic Con and bought a drawing Supergirl that was essentially a cover swipe of that.  The artist who did that print told me a story about how he was at a comiccon with Adams and got a list of faults with that cover.  Apparently Adams thought it was one of the worst covers he had ever done and went into detail about how badly he screwed it up–Looking back at the cover, I can see some of the faults he was talking about.  Still love it though.  And it did provide some explanation for the harassing of my ex.
  2. Thor #193.  Bit of a crossover story with the Silver Surfer, this book is famous for being the second part of a two-part story that was the last one for Stan Lee as the writer of Thor.  It is a high value comic.  I got it signed by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr, but didn’t get Stan Lee on it–he had raised his prices just before NYCC last year and it became a budgeting casualty.  I bought this comic on ebay for $200.  Getting it signed and graded cost me another $150.  That’s $350 I’ve invested in this book so far.  It comes back a 9.4, I’m just saying “Sweeeeet!”  Though pricing over 9.2 is considered to be too unstable to predict a value, 9.4 should at least earn back the $350 I’ve put in and then some.  I planned on holding onto it for awhile, maybe make another attempt to get Stan Lee to sign it.  I had a co-worker I’ve gone down to NYCC with over the last few years, and one of the focuses of his collection is Thor comics.  So I mentioned I had gotten a 9.4 on it with those signatures and he got jealous.  He offered to buy it off of me–he had a lower grade copy, but my nicer copy was too tempting.  We had a conversation about it where he offered me $300.  Then he tried to tell me he had no idea what it might be worth just before quoting the 9.2 value from the price guide.  At this point I realized he was trying to bamboozle me and I had enough.  To paraphrase my response in classic Luke Cage fashion: “Sweet Christmas!  What are you playin’ at fool?  Granny Cage didn’t raise no dummies!  You expect me to take a $50 loss and believe you don’t know what you could get for it?”  Which is part of the reason I’m not going to NYCC with him this year.
  3. Batman #13.  The one from the New 52, not the 1940s–probably be out of debt right now if I did have the older one.  Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have done something special with this series.  I have been fairly lucky to have put together a complete run of the title with a few variants on the side.  I intend to get as much of it signed as I can, then try to move it all in a couple of years.  This issue had a die-cut cover where you could turn the Joker’s “mask” away to reveal Batman’s cowl.  I got this one signed at NYCC last year by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion.  Came back a 9.6, pretty good given the cover.
  4. Warlock #10.  Bit of an under the radar book here.  The Infinity Gauntlet and Gems have been the underlying theme of the MCU since the first Avengers movie, I’ve been collecting a lot of the Warlock and Captain Marvel books that dealt with the early Thanos run in 1970s, as well as the Silver Surfer and Infinity Gauntlet stories of the late eighties and early nineties.  While there are books with a higher profile and more value, this one is something I’m proud of given that it has an origin for not only Thanos, but Gamora as well.  At a 9.6 while signed by Jim Starlin, I have some high hopes for this one is the coming years.
  5. Thor #337.  I got to stand in line for awhile for this one.  I had a certified CGC blue label that I got cracked open for Walt Simonson to sign.  9.4 copy, paid $50, probably another $50 to get it signed and regraded.  The big thing about this issue is that it is the first appearance of Beta Ray Bill.  Beta Ray Bill is an alien that becomes Thor for a couple of issues before Thor regains Mjolnir.  The character has had prominent role in Thor comics, even becoming a paramour of the Lady Sif for a time–might seem weird, but I guess it worked in the comics.  Anyway, the character has been anticipated to make an appearance in some form in either Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 or Thor: Ragnarok–He does play a role in the comics Ragnarok–so this is a hot book.
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