So, this week I may have overdone things a bit. Funny thing, February’s buy-one-get-one back issue at Vintage Stock is Batman, but did I buy a single Caped Crusader-starring comic? No, actually how they got me this week is that after pal David grabbed all the Grant Morrison Bat-books he could find for himself, he pointed out to me, “hey, this box I found all those Morrison Batman comics in had a whole bunch of …”
Well, let’s just use that to segue into the list.
Action Comics (1938) 890-891, 893, 895, 897-899, 901-904 – Yes, that’s eleven issues of Paul Cornell’s run on Action (with Pete Woods, Kenneth Rocafort, Axel Giménez, and Sean Chen among others), which opened with a starring turn for Lex Luthor, accompanied by a robot duplicate of Lois Lane(?!). These are comics I used to have and foolishly let go of — and had replaced one or two of when I could find them, which is the reason for a couple of the missing even-numbered issues in this stack. Totally forgot that the delightful Nick Spencer/R.B. Silva Jimmy Olsen backup strip ran here for a bit before they dropped the Second Features to hold the line at $2.99! and then released the completed story as a one-shot. Anyway, this is a run I’m actually quite excited to dig back into, once I’ve worked my way that far down in the Superman pile, which will probably be sometime in 2026.
Astro City (1996) 1, 9, 11 – Several months ago I grabbed a bunch of Astro City back issues during a whole buy-one-get-one holiday sale, but as a general rule first issues are rare in the Vintage Stock longboxes, and for some reason those other two issues were scarce as well. But now, holes plugged, and I can start my journey through Busiek & Anderson’s modern classic at the beginning. Excellent.
Avengers: War Across Time (2023) 2 – Again, it’s Alan Davis on art, and I didn’t have it on order, so onto the stack it goes.
Backlash (1994) 2, 22 – Give me enough weeks and I’ll eventually have both Vintage Stocks wiped of dollar Wildstorm books. Funny looking over the pair of these, as issue two is typical early Image stuff — Savage Dragon guest appearance, Brett Booth on art doing his “what if Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee were somehow the same guy” act — while the latter barely has any heroes in costume and features the much cartoonier art of one Juvaun Kirby, who puts me in the mind of Ed McGuinness or David Lafuente. Almost came home with even more of this title, but I wound up pruning the dollar books from the Main Street location down to the bone to grab an extra Fantastic Four or two.
Batgirl (2009) 14 – Another Stephanie Brown Batgirl issue, this one from the dollar bin for some reason — and in good shape, so I really don’t know what it was doing there. Steph & Supergirl hang out and fight vampires. Thumbing thru this, it really struck me that I have absolutely no handle on who early 21st century Kara Supergirl is as a character — I’m pretty sure the only comics I ever read with her in them as more than a cameo were that godawful Loeb/Turner introductory arc in Superman/Batman (those six issues are my second biggest DC comic-buying regret of the 2000s, after Identity Crisis).
Captain America: Symbol of Truth (2022) 10 / Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty (2022) 9 – Continuing to buy the Cap titles off the shelf. Still haven’t read last month’s, but judging by these covers it doesn’t look like they’ve had a lot of forward movement since I read the December issues.
Cyberspace 3000 (1993) 2-3 – A Marvel UK sci-fi book, guest starring Galactus, with loose ties to the original Guardians of the Galaxy that turned out to be written by — surprise! — Gary Russell, author of so many mediocre Doctor Who tie-in novels. (His last book, in 2015, was a stunningly unengaging team-up between wildly popular novels-and-audio-only companion Bernice Summerfield and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.) The first issue of this was also in the pile, but the sturdy cardstock cover had managed to mask some serious water damage, so into the trash it went.
Death’s Head II (1992) Vol. 1 3-4, Vol. 2 2, 5-6 – Sure, fine, let’s just grab a stack of issues featuring Marvel UK’s very own Wolverine — perennial guest star of half the line, headliner of multiple books a month who’s teamed up with every popular character and also-ran of the two years-or-so he was regularly published. Despite happily buying the Marvel Legends figure of the guy, I’ve long harbored a bit of a grudge against him for replacing the original Furman & Senior-created character — but it occurs to me, which of the two has appeared in more pages of new comics in the last fifteen or so years? Seriously, the resentment doesn’t make any sense any more — the original dude has clearly won. So let’s see what this guy was really all about.
Fantastic Four (1961) 264, (1998) 55-57, 549-550, 573, (2018) 42 / FF (2011) 2 – A solid condition Byrne issue for two bucks with a cover that riffs on the cover of the very first issue of Fantastic Four and was therefore irresistible, followed by two issues with Stuart Immonen art, the first issue of that Adam Warren/Keron Grant three-parter I got the final issue of last time, two more issues of Dwayne McDuffie’s short run with the awful Michael Turner covers, a Jonathan Hickman issue (with a terrific Alan Davis cover) I am baffled to have found I was missing, the second issue of Hickman’s FF (with stellar Steve Epting art) for a dollar (it’s a little creased, but perfectly readable), and another Reckoning War issue, this one entirely drawn by the terrific Rachael Stott. Clearly I’m hurtling towards some kind of big Fantastic Four read-thru, even if it’s full of holes.
Gen 13 (2004) 11 – A $1 issue of the Chris Claremont run. No idea if this is something anybody likes, but it’s Claremont and it was a dollar.
Invincible Iron Man (2008) 503 – Another Fraction/Larroca issue, this with Fear Itself branding on the front, which — having just been reminded what the deal with that was last time, does not fill me with any excitement.
Killpower: The Early Years (1993) 1-2 – A cardstock, foil, and embossed cover for the first issue of this prequel mini-series circling back to the origins of the co-headliner of Motormouth & Killpower following that book’s cancellation.
The Knights of Pendragon (1990) 2, 9, (1992) 10 – Ah, massive tonal shifts across volumes, gotta love it. The first, a very stylish and very British comic with clear, inky art by Gary Erskine full of ordinary people; the latter, a pedestrian C-tier Marvel Superhero comic featuring an Invaders flashback.
Justice Society of America (1992) 3 – Another issue of the Strazewski/Parobeck mini-series. If I keep an eye out, I’m sure I can complete that set by summer with no eBay buying necessary.
Legionnaires (1993) 9 – Hang on, Adam Hughes jumps in for five pages at the end of this issue, and then the final two pages are by Brian Stelfreeze?! Crazy.
Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 109 – Pretty good score, as this series goes — Ann Nocenti and Steve Lightle do the Wolverine story (co-starring Typhoid Mary, natch) and in the middle there’s a Jim Starlin Thanos story with art by a not-quite-there-yet but still solid Shawn McManus.
Nightcrawler (1985) 3 – An excellent condition copy of an issue of the original Dave Cocrkum mini-series. A terrific find.
Runaways (2005) 19 – It’s been so many years since I read Vaughan’s original run of Runaways, but this terrific Jo Chen cover still stands out, and within a few pages of flipping thru I went, “oh, that just happened. Ouch.”
Savant Garde (1997) 1-7 – I’d see this in dollar bins over and over, but now having read enough WildC.A.T.s I’m like, “oh, it’s a spin-off starring Savant and Majestic with a silly pun for a title. That makes sense now.” So, into the Wildstorm pile it goes.
Shadow Riders (1993) 1, 3 – The logo makes it look like there should be a Kenner toy line and the art is charmingly ugly. I especially like the embossed cardstock cover on issue 1 that features Cable more prominently than any iconography that might be associated with the title itself.
Strange Tales (1988) 19 – Ah, the final issue of this run of Strange Tales, after which both Cloak and Dagger & Doctor Strange get their own books again. Grabbed it because of an eye-catching Mignola cover, opened it up and instead of Cloak and Dagger you get the Thing during his spiky phase plus some kind of phantom detective from the pages of C&D’s original title as rendered by Erik Larsen. Odd stuff.
Supergirl (1996) 1,000,000 – I swear, you can probably pull together most of the DC One Million crossover from the dollar bins. It’s like the Vintage Stock folks just don’t know what to do with these issues. Anyway, it’s part of the Peter David Supergirl run, so into the stack it went.
Thunderbolts (2005) 145 – Pulled this out of the dollar bin — a Jeff Parker/Kev Walker issue. Might wind up grabbing all of Parker’s run after I’m finished pulling together everything Kurt & Fabian wrote. Seems more in the “road to redemption” spirt of the original title than the “it’s just Marvel Suicide Squad” or “it’s just a nasty bunch of assholes” versions of the series that Ellis and those who followed in his footsteps turned it into.
X-Club (2012) 1-5 – I started off grabbing issues of Si Spurrier’s Legion-focused X-Men Legacy run, which I’ve never read, then noticed all five issues of this spin-off of Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men focused on Dr. Nemesis and his eccentric X-scientist pals were in the box, so I opted for the more complete read. I think I passed on this back in the day because Spurrier was more of an unknown quantity to me then.
X-Force (2008) 12, (2014) 15 – Doubt I’m ever winding up with a full run of the miserable “Cyclops’s kill squad” era of X-Force, but this was advertised as a prelude to Messiah War, so fine, onto the pile it goes. More interesting to me is the final issue of Si Spurrier’s fifteen issue run, which I’m only missing one of — which itself picked up right from Cable & X-Force and the second volume of Uncanny X-Force, all of which I’ve not read, and most of which I have at this point, just waiting at the bottom of the third of three giant stacks of X-Men comics to read.
X-Men: Hellbound (2010) 3 – “It’s part of the third Messiah-whatever crossover and it’s got Magik on the cover. Grabbing it.”
X-Nation 2099 (1996) 2 – For some reason I have the first, chromium-covered issue of this short-lived 2099 spin-off series, so knowing that Humberto Ramos was still on art for this second one, I fished it out of the dollar bin. Looks like his involvement with the book ended with the third issue, so maybe I’ll grab that if I see it.
Young Justice (1998) 26-27 – Two issues of Peter David & Todd Nauck’s strange and silly teen hero book. Why do I put it that way? This is part of an arc in space in which the expanded roster of Young Justice plays a game of baseball against alien robot monster dudes for control of a planet that looks like early 20th century New York. Meanwhile, Arrowette is involved in some kinda girls’ school drama involving Red Tornado’s adopted daughter.
As usual, I snagged at least one figure on top of the monster stack of comics — at long last, one of the area Walmarts put out the Transformers: Legacy wave two deluxes, so I managed to snag a Wildrider. Finally, two Stunticons down — three to go!