Back Issue Haul Comics

This Week’s Comics Haul, 2/25/23

This was the week that I decided to partake of the Vintage Stock buy-one-get-one Batman back issue sale — but by the time I was digging in, I’d already amassed a sizable pile of other books, so I didn’t exactly go nuts on them, nor was I doing a targeted haul the way my pal David did two weeks ago. Mostly my decision-making process was, “oh, this is a Batman issue I could’ve grabbed off a grocery store spinner rack. Let’s toss it in the stack.”

Let’s look at what I got.

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (1989) 6, 11, 37 – Not a title I own a lot of; indeed, I’m positive until I bought/re-bought these three, the only one I still had was issue 38, Alan Grant and the late, great Kevin “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” O’Neill’s deeply weird & violent “Legend of the Dark Mite.” And yeah, the first one here — the first installment of Grant Morrison & Klaus Janson’s “Gothic” — is the one specifically that I re-bought. Heaven only knows where my original copy wandered off to. Might’ve tossed it in as a bonus in some eBay auction ten years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever read more than that first one. And moving on, issue 11 is the first installment of the next arc, Doug Moench & Paul Gulacy’s “Prey,” the post-Crisis first Dr. Hugo Strange story, re-framing him as a professional talking head. Finally, a one-off written by our old pals Abnett & Lanning (Guardians of the Galaxy) with terrific, expressive, and very British cartooning from Colin MacNeil (a 2000 AD guy; this appears to be his only DC comic ever).

Batman: Shadow of the Bat (1992) 6 – Likewise, this is currently my only issue of this title (not a big collector of Nth-tier Bat-books), but I couldn’t resist an Alan Grant story called “The Ugly American” with a rad Brian Stelfreeze cover and, as it turns out, Dan Jurgens on the interiors drawing the Batman I still see when I close my eyes and picture the guy, blue & gray with the yellow capsule belt.

Batman and Robin (2009) 17-22 – The six issues of Batman and Robin that immediately followed Grant Morrison hopping over to launch Batman Inc, two three-issue arcs that each feature a different writer/artist team handling Dick Grayson’s Batman & Damian Wayne’s Robin. The first has Paul Cornell & Scott McDaniel pitting the dynamic duo against the Absence, a woman with a mad-on against Bruce Wayne and a giant hole in her head. Then Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason, the team who would later write & draw nearly every issue of the New 52 relaunch of this title with Bruce & Damian, pit our heroes against a light-based villain called the White Knight. Nice to see the creators were maintaining commitment to giving Dick-as-Batman some new rogues.

Beauty and the Beast (1984) 1-4 – A Dazzler & Beast mini-series from around the last year of the disco-themed mutant’s solo title, shortly after she was outed as a mutant as promotion for the movie she made that ultimately remained unseen ’til the waning days of Claremont’s original X-Men run, and about halfway thru Hank’s stint as a member of the New Defenders. Ann Nocenti writes, Don Perlin pencils, and Bill Sinekiewicz provides razor-sharp covers. Never read this before.

Dark Angel (1992) 10 – The only Marvel UK book I came across during this trip, an issue of a title I didn’t see a single issue of during the last two go-rounds thru the longboxes. God, I’m gonna wind up making one of those big eBay orders sometime this weekend, aren’t I?

Defenders (2021) 1-3 – The first three issues of Al Ewing & Javier Rodriguez’s first Defenders mini-series; I bought the second, Defenders Beyond, as it was coming out last year on high recommendation from a pal, but my unfamiliarity with this one did leave me a little rattled reading the first issue. I think this means I’m just missing the last issue? Definitely sitting down with this sooner rather than later.

Detective Comics (1937) 608, 631 – The first appearance of Alan Grant & Norm Breyfogle’s Anarky, followed by Peter Milligan and Jim Aparo pitting Batman against a golem brought to life with the best of intentions.

Fantastic Four (1961) 548, (2018) 38 – Filled in another gap in Dwayne McDuffie & Paul Pelletier’s short post-Civil War run, then picked up one issue of Dan Slott’s run (this issue, joined by Francesco Manna on art) featuring a guest appearance by She-Hulk, because of course I’d like to read another Dan Slott comic featuring She-Hulk.

I Am Batman (2021) 17 – The penultimate issue of John Ridley’s story of Lucius Fox’s son acting as the other current Batman. Ironic that this book is going away while in the “proper” Batman title Bruce has been shunted into a parallel universe. A book I dropped, discovered was being cancelled, and thus jumped back onto to see it to its end, though I think I’m about a year behind in reading what I’ve got.

Invincible Iron Man (2022) 3 – Still not on my online order sub list — as I think I said last time an issue of this dropped, Duggan’s carrying over plots from his X-Men here, so I’m reading this ’til I decide it’s not clicking. Did do a quick thumb thru and was surprised to see Juan Frigeri drawing Tony in flashback with his ’80s mullet and the Silver Centurion armor, which has always been a favorite.

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 30 – Ooh, this has Howard Mackie writing Havok in it — that can’t be a good time. But it does also have a chapter of McGregor & Colan’s Black Panther in it, as well as another appearance by Moench & Gulacy in this pile, albeit spinning their post-apocalyptic cyborg yarn Coldblood, which I remember spotting a ripped-off Officer’s Battlepod in a chapter of two years ago.

Mephisto Vs. … (1987) 3 – Grabbed this because the logo on the front read “Mephisto Vs. the X-Men” and, hey, there’s the post-Mutant Massacre team lineup on the cover, but it turns out the mini is the devil pestering a different Marvel hero team every issue; the previous issue had him tormenting X-Factor and stealing away Jean Grey. Feels odd seeing John Buscema drawing this team lineup, like when I discovered the time Gene Colan drew Omega Red in a 1997 issue of Daredevil, though I do always forget Buscema drew the first, what, year-or-so of Wolverine’s first ongoing?

Nightwing (2016) Rebirth one-shot, 2-4 – Four of the first five issues (yes, those Rebirth one-shots were basically “zero” issues for the ’16 relaunches) of the still-current volume of Dick Grayson’s solo title, written by Tim Seeley with Yanick Paquette getting it off to a running start & Javier Fernandez drawing the first arc. I’ve read a smattering of Seeley’s issues at this point and I feel like he and current writer Tom Taylor are simpatico when it comes to the first Robin and how he operates as his own man. Turns out I’m now only missing two issues of this run that aren’t part of some crossover with another book, so it’s looking even more likely that this is all going to end in some big irritating eBay order.

She-Hulk (2006) 33 – A Secret Invasion tie-in issue from Peter David’s baffling run on She-Hulk. Hey, that’s the Skrull girl I just saw in David’s return to Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell version)!

Supergirl (1996) 36 – And here’s Peter David again, on a title I never see issues of at Vintage Stock, the Linda Danvers/Matrix Supergirl book — yeah, I just snagged the “one million” issue the other week, but as I was sort of saying then, all of those are weird crossover one-off issues that have gotten relegated to dollar bins. Regular issues of this book? Nowhere to be found. Was nobody buying this, leading to low numbers turning up in collections, or is this just a title fans hang onto?

Thunderbolts (1997) 154-155 – Two more issues from Jeff Parker’s run on the title, which I guess is starting to turn into another run I’m building out here. I almost grabbed another Nicieza issue, but then, there’s a lot of books I had in this pile that I turned around and went, “ehh, maybe next time” to.

Wolverine (1988) 28 – This was a slight surprise — it’s always a shock to find pre-Hama issues of Wolverine anymore; this arc, written by Jo Duffy, is the one immediately before he starts his seven-year run, with this issue featuring Barry Kitson’s first pencils for Marvel U.S. (he’d just come off of a year and a half of drawing L.E.G.I.O.N. at DC). Terrific stuff.

Wolverine and the X-Men (2011) 17 – The Mike Allred guest-art issue, in which Wolverine explains the vital importance of having Doop on staff at the Jean Grey School. A true joy.

Wonder Woman (2006) 26, 29, 34 – Three issues of Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman (with Aaron Lopresti on art) that were all two bucks apiece — so, not only issues of a run I’m actively trying to pull together here, but also far enough below cover price that I basically got one free. Terrific!

Young Justice (1998) 44 – Huh, the first issue of a crossover bookended by this title across the three core members of the team’s solo books (Impulse, Superboy, and Robin) in which Bart appears to have broken reality and given us a bleak new version of the team. This is the furthest out issue of the original YJ series I have now.

Alright, so on top of those I also snagged a few figures this week, as you can see below …

McFarlane Toys Super Powers Nightwing (a handsome throwback to the Kenner line it’s inspired by), Bandai Gundam Universe OZ-06MS Leo (just when I thought I was done with this line, we find its very first “grunt” Mobile Suit), and McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Gold Label Eradicator (who I wasn’t looking for, but couldn’t resist).

The Rangeline Wal-Mart had one of McFarlane Toys’s store exclusive DC Multiverse “Gold Label” figures, this one of the Eradicator — one of the four guys who claimed to be Superman in the wake of his death in ’92 — in his modern look. (I had completely forgotten that this version of the character first appeared in Peter Tomasi & Jorge Jimenez’s terrific Rebirth Superman run.) With McFarlane’s Kon-El Superboy figure currently on pre-order, I couldn’t resist adding another one of those guys to my collection. C’mon, Steel & Cyborg Superman!

They also had the latest wave of Gundam Universe figures, which includes a repack of the Wing Gundam, the GP-01 from Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, and the line’s very first grunt mecha, the humble Leo. Now, I actually gotten rid of the small handful of Gundam Universe figures I’d accumulated, but I simply could not resist the Wing series’s baseline enemy troop; it’s a design I’ve always liked, and maybe I’ll just wind up collecting whatever humble mass production units they find themselves adding to this range going forward.

Finally, on the way out of town, I picked up the Super Powers Nightwing for two reasons:

  1. Last Sunday I broke down and got the extremely classic-looking Super Powers Superman figure at the local Wal-Mart because he was clearanced out at four bucks, at which point, aw crap, now I’m committed.
  2. Nothing else was jumping out at me at either the 7th street or Webb City Wal-Marts, sooooooooooo, yeah, here he is.

I do find it amusing that this basic Kenner-style Nightwing comes with his escrima sticks while the recently-solicited Titans wave DC Multiverse figure doesn’t — and doesn’t even provide you with gripping hands to allow you to give him any you might have from other Nightwing figures!

Pretty sure from here I’m grabbing a Super Powers Wonder Woman (my sister & I had the original back in the ’80s), and I’m truly tempted now to snag one of the vehicles, though I’m not sure which one. The Supermobile’s ridiculous punching action looks like a lot of fun, but the way the Batwing’s dark blue hue & amber canopy evoke the original Kenner line’s Batmobile hits my nostalgia buttons just right. Decisions, decisions!

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