It’s shockingly rare that me and my pal David’s every-other-week trips to Joplin to poke ’round the big chain stores for action figures and the two Vintage Stocks for back issues and current comics that I failed to order via my usual mail order place actually coincide with the big holiday weekend sales, but it did hit just right this past weekend, so I came home this time ’round with one hundred and fifteen comics, many of which were buy-one-get-one dollar books. Bear in mind, once again, the weird way Vintage Stock handles these during the holiday weekend sales is that it’s buy-one-get-one per price point, so I find myself fishing around for one more $1.99 comic because I’ve got nine of them and dang it, I need just one more free one, c’mon!
Now that I’ve gone through all of these for the blog, of course, I now also have to stick these in their right & proper spots in the ridiculous piles I’ve got all around my apartment — or, to banish them to the short boxes ’til such point as I decide I’ve got enough of whatever run to actually sit down & read ’em. Why do I make this into so much work for myself? Ugh.
Action Comics (1938) 806 — A weirdly sexy cover for ol’ Action on this 2003 issue from Joe Kelly & Pascual Ferry featuring Traci Thirteen in her original “this what all the cool sorceresses dress like, Dad!” top and no pants. Thing is, I mostly know the character from that slight trade paperback of Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality by Azzarello & Chiang, so I had no idea what she was like when she first appeared only four years earlier — much more punk and as a Superman supporting character, no less. Ferry apparently draws more than a few issues of Action around this time, which means I should definitely be seeking these out.
All-New X-Men (2012) 13, 16, 23 — Another installment of “Battle of the Atom” plus one earlier issue and one later, all by Bendis & Immonen. Missing only ten issues of this series now. Could well get there.
Backlash (1994) 3-7, 11, 13, 16-19, 30 — A dozen dollar issues of the adventures of Stormwatch’s Marc Slayton, mostly drawn by his co-creator Brett Booth, though that last one has a surprising appearance by Pete Woods. Someone seemed to think these were worth money at some point, because some of these still have high-single-dollar price tags on ’em — hell, one’s got a ten dollar price tag on it. Crazy considering this is a character I couldn’t have picked out of a lineup maybe a year and a half ago.
Batman (1940) 451, 493, 606 — Two early ’90s Batman comics and an early ’00s: Wolfman & Aparo give us what feels like an early take on the “the Joker’s done really awful things to everyone, why doesn’t someone just kill him???” genre of Batman story; then, the third chapter of Knightfall, which I never got back in the day — and this was only a buck! And finally, Scott McDaniel drawing a Batman Vs. Deadshot story co-written by Ed Brubaker & Geoff Johns (?!). A neat assortment there.
Cable and X-Force (2013) 10 — Wondering if the reason I’ve not assembled a more complete run of this incarnation of X-Force is that it was under-ordered since ol’ Cable hasn’t been a hot commodity since the glory days of the “big guns and lots of pouches” early ’90s. Pretty-looking book, Larroca’s great when he’s not overly photo-reffing actors’ faces in a creepy way.
Captain America: Symbol of Truth (2022) 14 — Final issue of the Sam-as-Cap book, though this is the book that carried the original Captain America numbering and therefore the big “Captain America #750” that’s out next month is technically this title’s next issue. Still have yet to read the issue of this immediately preceding “Cold War” and the entire crossover.
Countdown to Mystery (2007) 2 — Saw this in the dollar bin and had to grab it; the Doctor Fate serial in this was the story Steve Gerber was writing when he passed away. The last issue features four different endings for the series by four different writers. I used to have the trade paperback; maybe I still do, in one of the book piles still sitting in my parents’ front room.
Detective Comics (1937) 612 — A Grant-Breyfogle issue featuring Catman and Catwoman. Interesting. Had anyone done this previously, I wonder?
Gen 13 (2006) 3, 5, 12 — The first sign that the Main Street Vintage Stock had refilled the dollar bins was that I know I would have grabbed these random issues of Gail Simone’s relaunch of Gen 13 if they’d been in there earlier. Hemmed and hawed about grabbing some from the regular longboxes for a while now, but at a dollar each? Yeah, gimme.
Generation X (1994) 49, Holiday Special (1998) — I just read the next few issues of Gen X after this one, so it was nice to spot this in a “random other back issues” box at the Main Street Vintage Stock location. Maggott guest stars, in his final appearance in the X-books ’til Frank Tieri offs him in Weapon X five years later. Also appearing for the last time are the nice crimson Generation X uniforms, replaced a couple of issues later with the awful yellow & red ersatz X-Men training uniforms with the masks. Then again, the book’s being drawn at this point by Terry & Rachel Dodson, so even the worst ideas look very pretty. As for the Holiday Special, I didn’t even know this existed; Joe Harris, who apparently wrote two other one-off Gen X stories before this (an issue of X-Men Unlimited and an annual where they fight Dracula), scripts and Adam Pollina, about six months off of X-Force and fresh from penciling the zero issue of the Spider-Man spin-off Slingers for Harris, lends his talent to this tale of holiday cheer featuring Nanny, Orphan-Maker, and — of course! — Santa Claus. Crazy.
Ghost Rider 2099 (1994) 5-6, 8, 10 — Was expecting to see Chris Bachalo turn up on at least one of these, but apparently he only stuck around partway-thru issue three. Mark Buckingham does breakdowns on issue 5, and then Kyle Hotz draws the other three I’ve got here, filling panels with grime, texture, and shadow. Actually pretty cool.
G.I. Joe: America’s Elite (2005) 17, 27-28, 30 — One issue from Joe Casey’s inexplicable run on Devil’s Due’s main Joe ongoing, and then three installments from the “let’s go out with a bang” final storyline, “World War III,” that, at the time, ended the original Marvel Joe continuity (until these stories were all de-canonized and original series writer Larry Hama begin his own, separate continuation run starting in 2010 at IDW). Another run I’ll be quite happy to sit down with one of these days.
Grayson (2014) 18 — Literally only missing two issues of Dick Grayson’s stint as an agent of Spyral now; this is one from that last little stretch written by the guys who are just now wrapping up their Cap run.
Green Goblin (1995) 2, 4 — Two bucks each, two issues from the Phil Urich Green Goblin title, written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by Scott McDaniel still very much in the Miller-inspired style he was using during his Daredevil run.
Green Lantern (1990) 0 — Another way early Kyle Rayner issue I was missing, the “Zero Hour” tie-in, which is only six issues into his run, but how would I have known that when I was buying a big stack of these books off of the Mile High Comics website twenty years ago? There was no way. A major story for the character, since this is him chatting with, fighting, and outfoxing Hal freakin’ Jordan, the character whose book he usurped.
Grendel (1986) 35-36 — I have a few Comico issues of Matt Wagner’s Grendel and I assumed that, like the original Hunter Rose stories, Wagner drew the subsequent ongoing, at least some of the time. Well, happy surprise, these two issues I grabbed for a buck apiece are drawn by Tim Sale. I guess I’ll find out sooner or later if they make any sense read in isolation, since fat chance I’ll trip over any other chapters of this, the final arc at Comico, in the dollar bins.
Grifter (1996) 3, 14 — Two one-dollar issues of Cole Cash’s second short-lived ongoing series, written by Steven Grant. The latter is, in fact, the last issue of the series; he’s never had a solo book last even a year & a half. These seem less fun than what I’ve read of the first ongoing, but we’ll see when I actually get to them in the Wildstorm pile.
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (1984) 4 — There were two copies of this Claremont-Milgrom classic in the dollar bin, so I came home with one of them. In terrific shape, too! As much as this used to be a punchline in fandom, it feels weird to have such a character-defining storyline sitting in a dollar bin.
Savage Wolverine (2013) 11, 21 — As I think I said another week, if I’d known this was basically a “Legends of the Dark Knight” or “Batman: Black & White”-style artist showcase book, I might’ve been grabbing some of these a lot earlier. Issue 11 is the last part of a Weapon X-adjacent storyline written & drawn by Jock, while issue 21 is part of a John Arcudi-penned, Joe Quinones-drawn (!!!) “Logan in World War I” story. Nifty!
Shadow Riders (1993) — Obligatory Marvel UK dollar-pickup #1 for this week. Guest-starring Ghost Rider!
Spider-Woman (1999) 2 — While going thru the X-books of 1999 as have been the past several weeks, I saw a few house ads for this title, a spin-off of the then-fresh very first relaunch of the Spider-Man books, by John Byrne and Bart Sears (whose art is nowhere near as grotesque here as it would be in a few years on Priest’s Captain America & the Falcon). Poor Mattie Franklin does suffer from that typical problem of being the third person to carry a superhero identity — with Jessica Drew getting the codename back, and Julia Carpenter having to get something else to do (she’s since become the new Madame Web), what do you do with Mattie? Well, Dan Slott just up & killed her off, and then teased bringing her back during Clone Conspiracy before turning her right back to dust. Oh, superhero comics …
Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow (2023) 3 — Contrast the above with Kon-El being back in circulation these days, with a small but consistent presence in the current run of Action Comics on top of his mini-series here. Good on ya, DC.
Superman: The Man of Steel (1991) 5, 7, 9-12, 14, 16, 50 — Was absolutely stunned to find pretty much every issue of the first year and a bit of Simonson & Bogdanove’s Man of Steel sitting in the Main Street Vintage Stock’s dollar bin. So of course I snapped up what I needed to fill out the run. Of course, the “problem” with the Superman books in the early-to-mid ’90s is that they’re kinda-sorta one big ongoing series — I’m pretty sure there are subplots that just live in the one book, but the main Superman narrative bounces from title to title — so there’s a lot of these I’m going to have to find the next or previous chapter of in Superman, Action, or Adventures, the creative teams of which just don’t hit like Louise & Jon (and inker/finisher Dennis Janke) in Man of Steel.
The Mighty Thor (1998) 11, 16, 19, 39-40, 45, 57 — Again with the Dan Jurgens Thor run, with art on these by John Romita Jr, Stuart Immonen, Michael Ryan, Tom Raney, and a huge cast providing illustrations for the tale Volstagg tells in issue 57. Mind-blowing to me that Jurgens managed to stick around for six solid years (missing just one issue!), taking Thor all the way from “Heroes Return” to the doorstep of (*shudder*) “Avengers Disassembled.” Would love to get this filled out and read all this beginning-to-end.
Thunderbolts (2005) 106, 109 — Two of Fabian Nicieza’s last issues on the ol’ T-Bolts’ book (indeed, 109 is the last issue before Warren Ellis takes over). I think I’m down to twenty issues missing between the original run and when they renumbered the book and took “New” off the ’05 relaunch? Another one it’ll be great to sit down with once I’m short a few fewer issues.
Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force (2011) 3 — Have I ever read anything Rob Williams has written? No idea. I just bought this because Simone Bianchi draws it, and that dude’s work is always pretty as all hell.
Uncanny X-Men (1963) 492, (2013) 10 — A chapter of “Messiah Complex” by Brubaker & Tan that I was missing — lord, issues of that crossover seem hard to come by, at least around here — and an issue of Bendis’s Uncanny with Frazer Irving. Less than a dozen issues of that run to go.
Warheads (1992) — Obligatory Marvel UK dollar-pickup #2 for this week. Guest-starring X-Force!
Wolverine (2010) 2-3 — The Jason Aaron-written relaunch (picking up from the ludicrous shuffle that had the regular Wolverine book become the Daken-starring Dark Wolverine while Logan featured in Wolverine: Weapon X, meaning there just wasn’t a title on stands that was just “Wolverine” for almost a year & a half) that opened with Logan’s soul in hell. There’s a lot of Wolverine comics I just don’t care about, but I would like to give Aaron’s solo work on the character a once-over here.
Wolverine and the X-Men (2011) 4-7, 12-13, 33-35 — After all, I did like this title quite a bit. Was surprised to find a handful of those early issues this time out, alongside some additional chapters of the “Hellfire Saga” and a couple of AvX tie-in issues I somehow didn’t have. Almost all drawn by the way-underrated Nick Bradshaw. Love that dude’s stuff.
Wonder Woman (1987) 164-167, (2011) 28 — The first four issues of Phil Jimenez’s run on Wonder Woman were just hanging out in the Rangeline Vintage Stock’s dollar bin. Baffling. Then a Cliff Chiang-drawn issue of Brian Azzarello’s ill-conceived but, as I understand it, very readable New 52 run.
X-Force (1991) 101, 105-106, 108, 115 — John Francis Moore’s last issue of X-Force is number 100, so here we’ve got a fill-in right before the Warren Ellis-run “Counter-X” stuff starts written by Joe Harris and dealing with the whole “High Evolutionary takes everyone’s powers” story that was happening in Uncanny X-Men and X-Men right then and there. Then, four issues of that run, including the final regular appearance of these characters as X-Force for some time (Rob Liefeld did a 2004 mini-series that began literally the same month the final issue of X-Statix shipped, but after that wrapped I think Warpath, Domino, and Cable are the only original members to turn up in any of the various X-Force books that followed ’til the short-lived 2019 ongoing where they joined the younger version of Cable in battle against Stryfe again). Whilce Portacio draws the first couple of these, which is cool; the big reason I grabbed these, though, is that I’m just about at this point in the X-books’ publishing history in my every-few-days read-thru, so I needed to have these on deck.
X-Man (1995) 67-70, 73 — Speaking of, there’s this stupid book, which at least at this point has Ariel Olivetti on art, and Steven Grant’s not a bad writer. Curious if the Ellis-run “Counter-X” flip makes this book/character any better.
X-Men Legacy (1991) 264 — An issue of Christos Gage’s run writing the Rogue-centric era of the book that Jim Lee launched oh-so-long-ago. I was feeling so-so about picking up Gage’s issues, and then by the time I started to actually grab ’em, suddenly they became scarce. Weird, that.
X-Men First Class (2007) 2, 4-5, 8, 10-11, 16 — The book whose name got swiped for Fox’s relaunch of the X-Men movies a few years later, in which Jeff Parker reimagines the Lee-Kirby years alongside a rotating cast of artists, including Roger Cruz, Craig Rousseau, and the always phenomenal Nick Dragotta, among others. Parker’s always a fun writer, so I just snatched up a few early ones, a few issues with fun-looking guest stars, and a couple where I couldn’t turn down any issue by such-and-such artist (again, Nick Dragotta).
X-Men Legacy (2012) 13-17, 19, 21, 23 — More issues of Spurrier’s original ongoing starring Legion, with art on most issues by either the underrated Tan Eng Huat or Khoi Pham. Looks like if I had the four even-numbered issues I’m missing at the end that’d get me to the end of the run.
Young Justice (1998) 52 — Oh god, it’s Peter David & Todd Nauck doing an “American Idol” riff with the Young Justice team. And with only three more issues after this, no less! Good grief.
This week’s action figure buying was pretty light by comparison; Target had some of the 2nd wave of the Indiana Jones Adventure Series in stock, and despite the fact that I just saw the movie and kind of wouldn’t mind a Phoebe Waller-Bridge action figure, I did have to go with my heart and grab Short Round. Haven’t popped him out of the box yet. They did also still have a few of the NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles items that David pestered the poor Target employee for two weeks ago, so I snagged a Mirage-styled Master Splinter, which I also still haven’t opened yet. Gotta do some major moving around of stuff before I get to those. Maybe later this week.
I also just realized I didn’t mention the Blu-Ray acquisitions from two weeks ago — a notable part of that week’s journey. The mood was set by the sudden discovery of Vintage Stock having a copy of Kino Lorber’s brand new release of Michael Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery, one of Sean Connery’s ’70s flicks I’d been looking to add to the collection for years now, and at less than twenty bucks the price was right. Wonder if there’s a good edition of Robin and Marian out at the moment …
Then we swung by Best Buy, as I think David was half-expecting some of their NECA exclusive Turtles figures might be there … but instead, I walked out with sale-priced steelbooks of The Matrix Resurrections, Lana Wachowski’s offbeat return to that world from a couple of years ago, and Kurosawa’s Ran, his 1985 King-Lear-meets-feudal-Japan epic. I’d really been looking to snag the Matrix legacy sequel for a while, but I could never find it for just the right price — while Ran was just a startling find, an addition to the Kurosawa collection I wasn’t expecting. Might need to keep Best Buy on the radar, as these 4K + Blu-Ray + Digital steelbook sets seem to tend to drop in price sharply much more frequently than their widely available standard-case counterparts.
Next up from me should be a look at the two theatrical flicks I caught last week, Wes Anderson’s latest and the aforementioned new and final Indiana Jones flick. Spoilers: I liked both of them quite a bit, though I do think I need a second viewing of Asteroid City to really nail down my thoughts.