So, as has tended to happen with my efforts over the past decade or so, this is exceedingly late — but I didn’t want to miss one of these and turn this into yet another failed effort to get back on the regular writing train, no-sir. I figure at least getting this knocked out before I’ve had a chance to hit the longboxes again will work, and hopefully this coming Saturday we don’t wind up driving back to town super-late, I don’t buy another daunting stack of books, and I don’t crash early from sheer exhaustion. At least, that’s how I remember the night of the 28th, and I think as we go through the stack here, you’ll see at least one of those points is correct.
Let’s look through some comics.
Alpha Flight (1983) 4, 9-10, 18 – Four decent condition dollar bin issues of Byrne’s Alpha Flight. I see a lot of that late ’90s Steve Seagle run in the dollar bins, but the original run not so much, so into the stack these went. I swear at some point I owned a copy of issue ten there — was it a pack-in with a Marvel Legends figure, maybe? I did see a couple of later “guest starring Wolverine” issues as well, but I think of them turned out to be torn or water damaged or something and the other was a victim of my efforts to pare down the pile. I’d also really hoped to find one of the couple of issues I used to own from the big JC Penney catalog pack o’ comics I got for Christmas 1987 among the stacks, but no such luck.
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II (2007) 4 – I used to give anything Joe Casey wrote at least a look-in thanks to his run on Uncanny X-Men being one of my gateways back into comics and my strong affection for his Wildcats 3.0, but the two “stomping around old continuity” Avengers minis he did in the mid-2000s were the opposite of anything I wanted in my post-college, pre-cross-country-move days. Even today, for me most takes on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes just slide right off. That said, this was a dollar, I’ve got a little more time for this kind of book now under the right creator (see: last time’s brand-new mini with art by one of my faves), and … well, nothing on the cover indicates that this is part of the second one of these mini-series, I might have actually passed if I knew that.
Batgirl (2009) 8, 13 – Actually, the first of these two issues of Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl series, the one with Stephanie Brown in the title identity, turned out to have some water damage — unfortunately, not that uncommon when buying from Vintage Stock — so I’ll likely toss it after giving it a read. (It’s a team-up with her boring ex in his awful Kingdom Come-inspired costume that makes him like he’s older than Batman with art by B-tier Top Cow dude Talent Caldwell, so no great loss.)
Black Axe (1993) 1-6 – Someone was talking up old Marvel UK series on Twitter the other day, and here’s all but the last issue of one that looks daft, violent, and has rad John Romita Jr covers for the first three. Sure, why not?
Catwoman (2018) 51 – Tini Howard’s run on Catwoman is my current DC book I’m not preordering through the on-line shop. However, unlike the Captain America books, I’ve got all this piled up but haven’t actually read any of them yet …
Fantastic Four (1998) 59, 553 / FF (2011) 15 / Fantastic Four (2018) 43 – First, Adam Warren writes and Keron Grant draws the third issue of a three-parter that directly precedes my beloved Waid/Wieringo run, with — and this should tell you exactly when this came out — a Kia Asamiya cover. Then what I’m pretty sure is the last issue of the late, great Dwayne McDuffie’s short run that picked up immediately after Civil War. An especially dire Michael Turner cover on this issue as he tries and fails to draw the Invisible Woman in middle-age. Then, another Hickman/Dragotta issue of FF, and finally one of those Reckoning War issues from the Slott run drawn, in-part, by Rachael Stott — so, what I was looking for last time.
Invincible Iron Man (2008) 510, (2022) 2 – Fraction & Larroca’s RDJ-adjacent Iron Man run is one of those series I often find myself tossing an issue of into a stack, but then it’s usually one of the first things to get pruned when I’m trying to not spend over a hundred bucks on back issues. This one survived the cull. I just opened the cover to find that this comes right off of Fear Itself, which I had blissfully forgotten all the details of until glancing at that recap page. God, Marvel events are stupid. The other Iron Man issue is, of course, the new issue of the current run, which I’m reading for the moment entirely because Duggan is bringing characters from his X-Men run over.
Justice Society of America (1991) 6, (1992) 6 – I always see the two Len Strazewski Justice Society minis from the early ’90s in the dollar bins and fail to grab the issues I’m missing, so this time I decided to go for it … and wound up with issue #6 of each. The second one features the clean cartooning of the late, great Mike Parobeck, more famed for his work on the Batman Adventures cartoon tie-in comic, so one of these days I really want to finish that run.
Knights of Pendragon (1992) 6 – More Marvel UK, this time with an Alan Davis cover, but naturally no such luck on the interiors. That said, the first thing that greets you when you open that cover is a fine rendering of black-costumed Spidey, so I’m not gonna complain.
Lazarus Planet: We Once Were Gods (2023) – For the sake of my budget and sanity I decided I wasn’t going to buy Lazarus Planet (the “blowing up a Lazarus volcano screws up everyone’s superpowers” premise seems exhausting, the “mini-series that’s really a bunch of one-shots” setup is doubly exhausting, and all those one-shots being anthologies that are just trailers for other books makes me want to burn the Direct Market to the ground). But I did wind up with this one because one of the stories in it is the follow-up to the New Champion of Shazam mini-series I’ve been enjoying, written by the writer of of that series, Josie Campbell, so I guess they got me for five bucks at least. Oh well.
Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) 46, 61, 86, 1,000,000 / Legionnaires (1993) 18, 1,000,000 – Filling in some more holes in my Legion collection from the dollar bin. Issues 46 & 61 feature more Stuart Immonen art, while the DC One Million tie-in books (you find a lot of those in the dollar bins) are drawn by Keith Giffen in “loosey-goosey Kirby” mode and … hold on, that’s Sean Phillips of Sleeper and Criminal fame on the Legionnaires One Million book?! Funny the things you sometimes find in artists’ back catalogs.
Maverick (1997) – Again, one dollar, and Jim Cheung art.
Motormouth (1992) 2, 4, 6, 11 – Another Marvel UK series I tossed every issue I could find of into the pile; it’s been so long since I read it, but I could swear this was a series I wanted to go back and read after I grabbed a trade paperback of 2014’s Revolutionary War mini-event for cheap. Probably will see what I can find to fill in the gaps at the mall Vintage Stock on Saturday. Speaking of artist back catalogs, issues 2, 4, and 6 feature Gary Frank on art, apparently in one of his earliest steady gigs. Neat!
New Mutants (2009) 36 – A single issue of the Abnett & Lanning run during the post-Schism era, with David Lopez on art — which I almost said was just about the only X-book in the pile, except I forgot about a few I grabbed because, sing it with me, they were only a dollar …
Siege: Secret Warriors (2010) – I always grab issues of Hickman’s Secret Warriors when I see them because it’s another comic I missed at the time that I’d like to go back and read, and this crossover tie-in one-shot is, I presume, basically just an extra issue of that run.
Steel (1994) 3 – Great Bogdanove cover on this, and with his credit on the cover I thought he just might have drawn it, too, but apparently he just co-wrote it. Oh well. Still Simonson writing, so I’m sure it’s solid.
The Adventures of Superman (1939) 583, 627, 640 – Between the eye-catching Supergirl-focused cover and J.M. DeMatteis’s credit, I did have to grab the Emperor Joker issue, yeah … and then, two issues of Greg Rucka’s run on Adventures, which I swear I used to have — his first, which I’m pretty sure I bought new, and a much later major turning point issue with art by Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy, Isola) that’s not far before the book gets derailed with Infinite Crisis garbage.
Tales of Tellos (2004) 1-2 – The first two of three issues of a tie-in anthology set in the world of Todd Dezago and the much-missed Mike Wieringo’s fantasy adventure saga, rescued from the dollar bin.
The Mighty Thor (1998) ’99 Annual, 43 – A couple more chapters of the turn-of-the-century Jurgens run.
Thunderbolts (1997) 31, 62 – Two more issues of the original run of the classic “bad guys make good” title, working my way towards the middle.
Wetworks (1994) 26 – Yes, another dollar issue of ol’ Whilce’s golden special ops folks Vs. World of Darkness rejects book, long after dude left the book.
X-Factor (1986) 115, 118-119, 130 – Long have I said, no way am I buying any of those godawful Howard Mackie issues of X-Factor where it’s all Forge and Mystique and Sabretooth, except that … A. someone reminded me the other week that the early ones have razor-sharp Steve Epting art (and 118 here has Bryan Hitch!), and B. as I said above, these were all a buck a pop. I vaguely remembered having issue 130, with its rad Jeff Matsuda cover — and it’s a big issue for the X-books, being the climax of the “Graydon Creed runs for President” story, in which the asshole is assassinated. But good lord, is it a mess on the interiors — maybe penciler Eric Battle was rushed (he comes back for 134 and turns in much better work there), maybe inker Al Milgrom wasn’t the right finisher for him, but in any case it’s a bit of a mess.
X-Men Classic (1986) 61 – Slightly beat up, but it’s just the X-Men reprint book — albeit, with a rad Mignola cover featuring Nightcrawler and the Shi’ar aghast that Dark Phoenix has returned! No, not really — this was just a pretty typical trick in X-Men for a while.
Young Justice: The Secret (1998) – The first Young Justice story and part of the GirlFrenzy! fifth-week event. Weird that Todd Dezago writes this and the World Without Grown-Ups two-part mini and then the actual series is fifty-six issues of Peter David and his puns.
Zealot (1995) 2 – Found another issue of the WildC.A.T.s’ warrior woman’s mini-series among the dollar books — it’s The One Where She’s A Samurai, just like the next issue, which is the one I already have, is The One Where She Fights Nazis. Terry Shoemaker, who I remember only as a frequent X-book fill-in artist, draws this whole mini-series, and it’s cheesecakey in an awkward, slightly embarrassing way as opposed to a fun way.
And of course, the big pile of comics wasn’t all I got — just most of what I got. I also snagged the Marvel Legends Jimmy Woo from Wandavision, mostly because for some oddball reason Target doesn’t have a peg set up for the poor guy in their action figure aisle, and if you plan on finishing the Khonshu Build-A-Figure, you do need the left arm and staff that comes with him — so when I saw one of him at Walmart, naturally I snapped him up. The Randall Park likeness is a little soft, but close ’nuff. Not a stunner like the two from the other week, but as “regular guy” figures go it’s not one I feel I’ll regret having gotten.