Sunday, July 7, 2019

TKO Presnets - Garth Ennis' Sara: A Review

 A few months ago I started seeing mentions of Garth Ennis' Sara on some comic book groups on Facebook.  I'm a huge Ennis fan and pretty much if it's got Garth's name on it I'll pick it up and give it a try.  I had never heard of TKO comics before, but they were easy to find on the internet.  They have a very nice website.  As I write this TKO only has 4 titles available, with another 4 due out sometime this summer.  All titles are offered in 3 ways. You can read them digitally, as a trade, or as individual issues.  For Sara I decided to pickup the individual issues, mainly for their collectibility.  Shipping is reasonable, but slow as they come media mail and living in Alaska means that can take 2 to 3 weeks, but the set arrived well packaged.  The individual issues come in a box set that is very nicely decorated.  The back of the box is a piece to a larger mural that can be put together with the rest of the TKO wave 1 box sets.
 First off Eptings covers are incredible as well as his interior art and Breitweiser's colors.  I won't spoil the story, but will say it revolves around a company of female Soviet snipers during World War II.  If you've read and like Ennis' other war stories you like this this series. I know I did.
 Here's a look at the cover art.

 This one's my favorite cover.

 The one thing I wasn't aware of when I ordered the individual issues was just how much larger they are than the standard size comic.  TKO doesn't hide the fact on their website I just overlooked it.  They issues measure 7 inches by 11 inches.  The only draw back is I have no way to store them other than in the box they came in.  Don't let that deter you from choosing this option the comics are printed on very nice stock and are absolutely beautiful.
 TKO recently had a BOGO event on their website so I took the opportunity to pick up both of co-founders Tze Chun's offerings.  This time I opted for the collected editions. They're a little cheaper than the box sets.  The only draw back is that the covers are not included in the trades.  So I'm glad I picked up Sara in single issue format, as I would have hated to have missed out on those covers.
I still need to sit down and enjoy these too, but I'll do a review of each after I do.  And I'll most likely eventually pick up the whole TKO catalogue especially if they keep doing BOGO's. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

1993 Marvel Annual Checklist Card

I'm kind of a pack rat.  Not a hoarder by any means, but I do have a few boxes a misc stuff from my youth.  While digging in one of  boxes I came across an old LCS giveaway card featuring the checklist for all the 1993 Marvel Annuals.  Each of the 27 annuals feature the introduction of a new character. The books came polybagged with the new character card inclosed.  From what I remember non of the new characters were all that memorable.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Digging for gold.

My local comic shop, Boscos, here in Anchorage, Alaska, recently had it's annual back issue sale.  The sale starts off at the begining of the month with all books at $4, then the next week $3 and so on till the end of the month when all books are 50 cents and the managers special is you can fill a short box for $50 or a long box for $60.  Last year I just filled a short box, this year I took advantage of the long box deal.  I didn't do a count, but I'd estimate I'd got well over 300 or so comics.  I was even encouraged to stuff more on the sides, so I did.  By the time the price get down this low, the sales area is in complete chaos, any order that existed is gone, piles of comics are everywhere.  Condition becomes a big issue, but if you dig and take your time there was still gold and deals to be had. I'll feature some of the other comics I picked up in future posts but the best book by far out of the deal was this one.
If you're wondering what the big deal was with a 90's Iron Man comic, well issue 304 just happens to be the first appearance of the Hulkbuster armor.  Not a bad pick up for about 20 cents and to my surprise this book is in really good shape, no where near 9.8, but definately solid low 9's.  I ended up picking up a huge stack of Iron Man for my collection lot's of Vol 1 fillers and a lot of Vol 3, with a bunch of variant covers, plus lots of modern mini-series and such.  Anyone have any luck gold digging?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Blue Ribbon Sunday

I love when I find something completely unexpected at my LCS, Boscos, here in Anchorage.  I actually was in the shop last week sometime for Topps' National Baseball Card Day giveaway and noticed a stack of these DC Blue Ribbon Digests out with the new comics.  I've heard of these before, but never seen them for sale anywhere other than online.  I sorted through the file and found one I couldn't leave behind.  In all there were 24 digests put out.  They all feature reprinted stories and some are harder to find than others.  I really would have loved to find some of the horror titles, but alas Bosco's only had superhero and a few of the war titles.  I also picked up one of the SGT Rock's when I went back in for new comic book day.  But as a colletor of the JLA Vol 1.  I couldn't pass this one up for a $3 bill.  Sure it's been well read, but it still looks great and will be reread by me eventually.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Superman Family #173 Giant!

Yeah it's beat up and missing a couple small chunks, but there's nothing like sitting down with a bronze age giant size comic.  Short complete stories that really are a lot of fun.  For those that don't know there were not 172 previous issues of the Superman Family.  DC renamed Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen after issue 163.

 November 1975 cover date.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mystik - Meh

I ended up picking up Mystik U last Wednesday and honestly I kinda regret not going for Batman Annual #2 from what I've been reading about it.  I picked it up because reading the preview got me interested and to be honest I love all the DC occult storylines and titles, especially from the 70's.  And while the book features lots of old bronze age horror characters from books like House of Mystery, House of Secret, the Witching Hour, etc the whole story really just felt like a badly done Harry Potter knock off.  Plus the book was pricey.  Maybe it's a little buyers remorse, but I most likely will not be picking up Book 2.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Punisher: The Platoon

 As I've matured, ahem alright let's say aged, I've found I follow artists less and writers more.  As a matter of fact I tend to follow the guys who are both artists and writers like Terry Moore, Sam Keith, and John Bryne.  But when Garth Ennis puts his name on a book there's a 100% chance I'm going to pick it up.  Ennis made his name on Preacher and quickly became a fan favorite.  He writes bold vivid stories and pulls no punches.  He's themes and scripts are not for the easily offended or the faint hearted.

When I heard he was putting out a new Punisher story it didn't matter what it was about I was all in.  I won't put any spoilers in the post. I will say if you love Ennis' storytelling it's worth picking up.  Issue 3 comes out today and marks the halfway point for the series.  You can already pre-order the collected edition if you want to go that route and wait. 

The story is a prequel to the 2003 Born series and almost a direct sequel to the Valley Forge, Valley Forge story line found in Punisher Vol. 7 issues 55-60.  That story arc would be Ennis' last on the Punisher. 

Platoon returns the team up of Ennis and Goran Parlov.  I absolutely love Parlov's art.  He has a great style for war comics and did a great job with Ennis on the Valley Forge and other Punisher story arcs.  I'm really hoping Parlov and Ennis team up on other works as well.  In my opinion Parlov is a natural successor to the late, great Steve Dillon.  So far I've really enjoyed the story and I'm sure I won't be disappointed in the end.  I'm getting a hankering to pull out some old Punisher and reread those old issues.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The return of Strangers in Paradise.

If you're a fan of Terry Moore, like myself, you should be excited.  Terry recently put to bed the last issue of his current series Motor Girl.  At the same time he also announced the return of his masterpiece Strangers in Paradise.  For me SiP was a mind-opening experience.  I was introduced to Terry's work when I was at the 1997 Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago.  I was with a small group of my fellow artists that got together and drew comics in college and Terry was recommended to me.  So I stopped by his booth and picked up Vol. 1 of Strangers in Paradise. That night I read the whole thing in one sitting and went back the next day and picked up volumes 2 and 3 and when I got back to school added it to my pull list. 

The first day of the con Terry's booth was pretty packed, but day two it was easy to get up to him and when I went back to pick up the next two collected volumes I got to talk with him for a good 20 minutes.  To emphasis how impactful that was on a young artist that was over 20 years ago and I still have fond and vivid memories of that meeting.  And while my art has moved away from comics I still think Terry had a big influence on my style.  If you've never read anything by Terry Moore I can't recommend him more highly.  After SiP, Terry moved on to his SciFi book Echo, then on to his horror book Rachel Rising.  I'm excited to see Strangers coming back.  I just realized I really need to dig my old issues and collected works back out and reread them.

If you don't live near a comic shop, Terry is offering a subscription service with a limited edition black sketch variant.  You should also be able to order individual issues off his website.  But help a brother out and add it to your pull list if you're lucky enough to have a LCS.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Venomverse #1 - no spoilers

I recently picked up Venomverse #1 it was an add on from my recent order from Midtown Comics.  I hopefully will have a post about that experience up soon.  I opted for this  Elizabeth Torque Hulk Poison variant.  Just a cool looking cover and hey why not 25%  the cover price!

So I was looking for something quick and easy to read last night and this was on my stack of too be read comics.  Well one of the many many stacks.  The comic takes place after all the events of the Edge of Venomverse and all the other tie-ins, but the best part about the book is that you didn't need to read any of that to enjoy the book.  Which is a nice change, since I hadn't read any lead ups.  Cullen Bunn does a great job with the script. Bringing the reader up to speed and jumping right into the story. 

Honestly I finished the book, sat back, and was pretty satisfied with what I had read.  If my budget wasn't so limited I'm half tempted to chase down issues 2-5, but I'll probably just hold off and see if I can find them in the bargain bin later.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Division on the Cheap -

I am waist deep in a massive organizational effort here at world headquarters. I just got another pack of 10 short boxes off of Amazon and finally think I'm ready for a big push.  The biggest issue is of course finding and collecting all the different issues of each title.  In the past I've invested in some of the high grade PVC comic dividers, but they are expensive.  I've also been recycling my old backing boards to make dividers, but I've run out.  So what's a frugal collector to do?  For many years I've been experimenting with various low cost options.  So far one of the cheapest I've found is using Manila file folders.  I bought this box of 150 file folders at Costco years ago for under $10.  
 Using one of my better PVC dividers as a guide I found a quick and easy way to fold the file folders in the to size I need.

 A little packing tape on the fold and bottom and you have a fairly stout divider.

 Then I print labels out using a 20 point size font.
 Another small piece of packing tape to affix the label and tada!
 While maybe not the most appealing dividers, they are cheap and do the trick.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

New Comic Book Day November 1st, 2017

While my tastes are generally more focused on my bronze age collection, especially horror, I still dabble in new stories and comics.  About 5 or 6 years ago I still had a pretty deep pull list at my local LCS, Boscos, here in Anchorage, Alaska.  But I was getting to the point that I had no time to read everything I was buying and prices for new issues just kept going up.  In the end I had to cut the cord and went cold turkey.  I focused my attention on my sports card collection, but occasionally picked up a few new books or back issues when I found good deals.  Fast forward to earlier this year and I joined a fun group on facebook called simply Comic Book Collecting and my interest started to be renewed.  I've since joined a few other comic book groups.  Factor in my general malaise in the sports card hobby due to lots of things, but mainly the industries exclusivity deals, the general trend of hit oriented higher end products, and that I'm a Brewers fan and the team really gets no love.  Add to that a dash of I just bought a new house with a room to call my own and I was able to break all my comics out of storage and have access any time I want.  Well lets just say I've hit my second collecting wind.  I decided that I would not be putting a pull list together.  It's risky, but I've been trying to get to Boscos when they open on Wednesdays to get the new issues I want.  It also helps that there are some great websites and resources for researching and tracking your collection.  Plus so many places to potentially buy from.

Ahem, but this was about new comic book day.  

I decided to jump on the Dark Nights Metal bandwagon a little late and missed issue #1 of Metal and the Forge, but I have them coming.  So I've been picking up the other issues and one-shots and tie-ins.  I like binge reading anyways.  Much like watching a good show on Netflix, being able to read a large chunk of a story line is what I like.  I'd rather save up 3 or 4 issues of a series and be able to sit down and enjoy an uninterrupted story.

Anyway, I picked up the new one shot: Batman - The Devastator and the Flash tie-in from last week.  I missed the Justice League tie in some how, but I'll grab that on my next visit.

I also picked up issue #2 of Batman: White Knight.  I doubt I'll pick up the full 8 issues, most likely I'll grab the trade when it comes out to complete the story.
 I have an addiction for first issues.  I also always loved Black Lightning.  I opted for the variant cover. 
 Deadman #1.  I doubt I'll pick up the full run of either of these as well.  It's hard to budget for 4 and 5 dollar comics continually.
 I also grabbed a couple Image #1's.  The Grave Diggers Union, foil cover.  So Comic Book Realm has this copy at $75 as a retailer incentive, Bosco's had a couple mixed in with the regular issues, so I think that pricing is unrealistic.  Plus every gold foil variant I've seen from Image is just an extra cover put on the book with the regular cover underneath.   But I'm a sucker for gimmicks.  That's also why I grabbed that Deadman #1 glow in the dark cover.
 The last book I picked up was the #1 No.1 with a Bullet.  Just an interesting cover and like I said I have a #1 addiction.
 I didn't get a chance to read any of the issues yet, with daddy duties last night and game 7 of the World Series, but I'm hoping to get a few in tonight.


Monday, October 30, 2017

The Mighty Thor Annual #13 (1985)

Every year my LCS, Boscos, has their annual back issue sale.  They have a big events room in their new location and part of it gets sectioned off to house all the boxes for the sale.  It's really a mixed bag of old and new comics.  The first week all issues are $4, which is slightly ridiculous, but you gotta start somewhere.  Every week the price goes down till the last week of August where I think everything is a buck or less.  But the manager's special is where it's at.  You can fill a short box up for $50 or a long box for $60.  And I think the big deal was 3 long boxes for $150 bucks.  That's a lot of comics.  The one long box is a good deal, but if my wife caught me bringing home a full long box I might get shot.  I opted to fill up a short box, much easier to sneak into the man cave undetected.  The whole point is I've got a box cherry picked back issues to share.  So let's start with The Mighty Thor Annual Lucky #13 from 1985.  I have a hard time passing up annuals, especially one's in decent shape.

I was taking a break and decided to pull something out of the short box which I have yet to fully organize into my collection and this Thor Annual popped out at me.  So why not?  I have to say the story is a little lacking, but it gave John Buscema a reason to draw Thor fighting Ulik and Mesphisto.  Basically the story shows just how big of a dick Mesphisto is.  It's a stand alone story that really has no effect on the Marvel Universe in any way.  But considering I paid less than a quarter for it, I won't complain too much.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

2017 Halloween ComicFest Haul!!

It's the second best time of the year.  Of course the best time of the year is Free Comic Book Day in May, but Halloween ComicFest is a very close second.  Not as many free comics to choose from, but the lines were a lot shorter.  I ended up talking my wife into accompanying myself and my son to the event.  We hit up both locations of Bosco's, my LCS here in Anchorage.  Their mall location only had the mini comics, but we loaded up on those for my son.  The main store had all the regular size issues.  All three of us were in costume so we got 4 comics each.  I ended up snagging only 6 regular size comics for myself and the picked up 6 more mini's for my son.  Luckily, or not, for me my wife isn't into comics.  While only picking up 6 of the 18 full size comics available I got the ones I wanted.  And my son now has a huge stack of mini comics to trash.    We also grabbed some of the 25 packs of minis to give out on Halloween.  Here are the one's I picked up.

Darth Maul #1 is a reprint, but that cover!

 The Hellboy is also a reprint.  And I would guess just about everything was a reprint of some sort.
 Although I'm not sure about this one.  I'm sure someone can correct me.
 I couldn't pass up a Ghostbuster comic on Halloween!
 Batman, a no brainer.
 I already had a 1st print of this book, but again just a cool cover.
 Here are most of the mini's we picked up too.