Lots to catch up on…

Sorry about that, folks. Life happened again for a minute. I’ve been sick for most of this calendar year, but I seem to finally be getting better, knock wood. I did some things other than play Skyrim for 260 hours this winter (I’m horrified and amused by this number), while I was convalescing. I’ve even managed to leave the house a few times this month, and of course got into plenty of trouble when I did, so let’s examine the trouble I found both from my house and out in the world!

I bought one more single pack of ’18 Topps on one of my Target runs. Anyone need either of these two inserts?


This may not look like a Holy Grail comic book to some, but this issue of Adventure Comics completed a run of issues 425-490 for me that I’ve been working on since childhood. In that run is every issue of the original Adventure Comics that happened post-Legion of Super-Heroes and post-Supergirl, but pre-the last 13 issues, which were done as reprint digests. There’s all kinds of great stuff in this run: among others, you’ve got Black Orchid, The Spectre, The Creeper, Deadman, Justice Society of America, The New Gods, Dial “H” For Hero, and all three of the gentlemen featured on this cover.

I got it in the damnedest way, too. I’ve been looking very pointedly for this book for a few years (since I realized it was the last one I needed), trying to get it for a price I felt reasonable (some of the bigger online comics dealers wanted a bit too much for it), especially in bins that flea market and comic show dealers had out, and whiffing on that. So, I’m reading a post on a Facebook comic group I’m in where a guy found a pretty early issue of Adventure (in the 30s numbers-wise), and some wise guy chimes in with “I’ve got #476 if anyone wants that”, totally figuring no one cared. I was instant messaging him so fast, it made his head spin. Because he didn’t want to gouge me too much on shipping, and because he had some other comics to unload, I grabbed a couple more from him…

Mmmmm, first Paul Smith X-Men. I don’t hear this from other people too often, but Paul’s probably my favorite X-Men artist. I’m giving thought to trying, very slowly, to put together a run of Uncanny X-Men from as close to #94 and Giant-Size #1 as I can get (my earliest right now is #107, but I’ve got a run from #128-143, and I’ve also got #109 and #121), through to maybe #200, because that would cover the first year I read it as new issues, during which I found that I didn’t enjoy the current book as much as I did issues #175-back. (I’m of the mind that X-Men started to lose its footing right around where most current fans started to love it, which would be post-#200, so I’m kind of an X-Men hipster. If any of you have ever read Uncanny X-Men #177, I would’ve ended the series right before Mystique gets to Nightcrawler.)

I also got this. In another collecting project (and to let y’all know in advance my comics projects usually go way, way more slowly than my card ones have over the past decade) I’m working on all 4 “team-up” books (The Brave And The Bold, DC Comics Presents, Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One), because they were really fun comics that I was always drawn to as a kid. Let’s see how Batman ends up hanging out with Black Lightning, before he ended up hanging out with him a lot! Superman and Sgt. Rock? How’s that work? Aunt May and Franklin Richards hanging out with Galactus? Sign me up! The Thing and The Sandman drinking in a bar? SOLD.

2 more games for if I ever finish Skyrim and don’t just decide to start over to beat the game “the right way”. I’ve been hearing about both Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus for close to 2 decades, so I snagged the first reasonably priced used copy of this collection that I could find. I don’t have a PS4 yet, so I can’t play the latest remaster of Shadow of The Colossus yet.

With Syndicate? I played the hell out of the Atari Jaguar version (an idea that probably horrifies people who played it on PC, but I think the 3DO version was probably even more of a nightmare to navigate), and while the reviews haven’t been great for this update, I’ve been curious, and it was $5 new.

From there, I hit a comic and card show, and while I passed on getting a pic and autograph from Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (who still looks great, and seemed to be a nice guy, especially to the kids he met), I did scour a bunch of cheapie bins for fun stuff.

These two finished my Top 10 run!

Can you tell that I’m an anthology book junkie?

I’m about two-thirds of the way through a complete All-Star Squadron run now. Earth-2 is also kind of a thing for me.

Onto the cards…

I liked everything I saw from this kid in the postseason. I always hesitate a little to add young, current players to my player collections, but I think he might end up sticking.

Another Dontrelle relic. Cool color scheme. Not the greatest condition, but it was a buck.


If only we’d all known, 5 years ago, that you’d be able to get Puig relics for $2! This is a fun one, too, from those winter cards.

I didn’t get Ricky Steamboat’s auto for $20 (or the $30 pic and auto package combo), but I got a friggin’ Homer Bush autograph for a buck!

Finally gettin’ on the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. board. (Yeah, I know what I said about Bregman, but he’s not second-generation from one of my favorite players of all time.) By most accounts, the kid has a very bright future ahead of him. Let’s hope it works out that way!

From a 5 for a dollar bin? Sure, why not.

Also from the 5 for a dollar bin. Can you believe these monsters vandalized what’s otherwise a pretty decent condition ’71 Topps card? Of course you can. This is available for trade. No, I’m not replacing the Ron Fairly in my set with this one.

Needed this for my ’70 set. To paraphrase Springsteen, it ain’t a beauty, but ‘ey, it’s alright…

I don’t know if I had any Inception baseball before this. Happy to start with a Scherzer.

I am such a sucker for these 2000s legends sets that were really just filler cardboard for autograph chances, but looked pretty nice while doing that. These got me over a third of the way through this one. Especially like Raines, Cey, Santo and Staub in this batch.

And, finally, I got the complete set of these (1991 Comic Images Silver Surfer cards) at my local comic book store. Scanning does absolutely no justice to how insane, psychedelic and 1990s-tastic these cards look, but I’ll show you 3 of my favorites, anyway.

First issue cover!

I still have a very run-down t-shirt with a version of this image on it.

You have to love psychedelic extreme close-ups of Thanos with shiny, shiny teeth.

That’s been my February so far. How’ve you all been?

2018 Topps is here! Yay, I think.

Let’s jump right in. Here is the first card of the 2018 season, for me, anyway…

Thumbs up to you too, Matt, though I’m not sure if you’re giving me the thumbs up because you did something in this game, because you got traded away from the Barves, because you figure there’s a good chance you’re gonna get paid a ton of money to sit on your ass, or because you just wanted a cool baseball card. Either way, this may be my favorite Matt Kemp card of all time (though it didn’t have a ton of competition).

Here are the card backs, for those curious…

They got me used to partial stats fairly quickly, in part because my vision’s taken a serious hit in the past year or so, but also because it sorta reminds me of Donruss. The fronts do, too. The designs are different, but something about the use of color and the full-bleed on the front reminds me of late-period pre-Panini Donruss, figure ’03-’05.

I am with all of you who think there was a better use of that dead space to the right of the social media and the factoids, but I don’t know if a QR code would’ve worked at that size, and there’d probably be some debate as to what site it’d go to, or what function it’d serve. Stats at mlb.com or Baseball Reference? If it gets you a Bunt card of the physical one, do they just give you white base, or is there some element of chance there? Speaking of, I don’t think the flagship design lends itself to the “10 parallels of the same base card” dynamic on Bunt, so we’ll probably see another season of divergent physical and digital flagship cards, bah. But yeah, if they’re taking away full stats, dead space is a bad idea. Even, from a graphic design perspective, if they’d widened the facts, and centered the social media box, I think it would have been better, but this reeks of “we were going to put something in that space, probably a QR code, and had to nuke it at the last minute”. Moving onto some more cards…

Springer was a lot of fun to watch in the Series. Not as much fun for me as Alex Bregman (who I think is gonna be an unbelievable player), but still a lot of fun.

Mookie looks like he’s simultaneously pulling a Carlton Fisk and dancing here. Mookie don’t care, though, because he won his arbitration case!

Well, I won’t have to worry about these being super-overpriced when it comes time to finish this set. Frazier’s got an RC logo on his card when he was first in Bowman in, what, 1994?

I won’t have to worry about these, either. Would you believe I got these back-to-back in my hanger box?

Here’s some ’18 base of other players I collect (I mostly limit my current players to my fantasy team, hence the Mookie above, but I have been buying Greinke’s cards forever, it seems). I really love the Realmuto card. It’ll probably be his last Topps Marlins card, but it’s a gem.

The box promised 2 Jeter highlights cards, and now that his name is mud, they gave me three! I’ll hang onto them, though. He may have a plan in Miami that doesn’t just make him look like a big jerk forever (one of the sports stories of the next decade’s gonna be seeing how that all plays out), and I have some good memories of watching him play. Plus, I finally live in a part of the country where people will part with Jeter cards without asking for vital organs.

Anyone want these?

The Arenado sorta-gold’s 755/2018, if that makes a difference. Really disappointed that they didn’t go with actual card stock for the ’83s, like they did with the ’87s last year. And yeah, I’m basically good on any of these insert sets, not building them. Pretty flat inserts this year, and for this, I am RELIEVED.

I should also mention, though they won’t be pictured here, that I got 14, count ’em, 14 horizontal base cards in a row in this pack. The reason they won’t be pictured is that they were 14 pretty uninspiring horizontal base cards, of players I don’t have much of a vested interest in. Still, that’s what they went with in this pack, after the inserts were done. Weird collation.

How do I feel overall about the pack and this year’s flagship? It’s a mixed bag, but a step up from ’16 and ’17 on the base design. I’ll be building it (damn it), so send me your base doubles. The inserts are pretty lukewarm, especially the ’83s, so I’m gonna pass on those and trade whatever I get that isn’t a player I collect. Still, I don’t feel like I actually wasted my time and money buying these, like I have for 3 out of the past 4 seasons (’15 was awesome, but it was the only truly awesome flagship set of the past 5 years).

So, here’s my want list for Series 1 base:

2018 Topps (Have 63/350): 2-3, 5-6, 8, 10-13, 15, 17-21, 23-51, 53-74, 76-78, 81-82, 84-86, 88-93, 96-104, 106-107, 109-116, 119-121, 123-126, 128-137, 139, 141-143, 145, 148-154, 156-160, 162-167, 170-178, 180-182, 184-192, 194-197, 199-202, 204-211, 213-220, 222-224, 226-233, 235-240, 243-247, 249-251, 253-254, 256-258, 260-262, 264-266, 268, 271-274, 276-285, 288-289, 291-304, 306-310, 312-316, 318-322, 324-325, 327-329, 331-333, 336, 338-346, 348-350

How’d y’all do?


Big-time “buy this and read it” heads up: BOOM! Studios’ Abbott #1 is a terrific, terrific book. Written by Saladin Ahmed (who’s been writing the terrific Black Bolt for Marvel over the past year), drawn by Sami Kivelä (whose other work I’m not familiar with, but I’m told he draws a book called Beautiful Canvas for Black Mask Studios, and the art in this preview looks equally terrific, so I’ll have to check that out), and colored by Jason Wordie (and yes, his colors are gorgeous).

If you didn’t end up following the publisher link above, here’s the elevator pitch they announced the series with:

“BOOM! Studios is excited to announce ABBOTT, a new, original comic book series launching in January 2018 from Hugo Award-nominated writer Saladin Ahmed (Marvel’s Black BoltThe Crescent Moon Kingdoms novels) and artist Sami Kivelä (Black Mask’s Beautiful Canvas) about a female journalist of color in 1970s Detroit named Elena Abbott who investigates a series of grisly crimes the police have ignored—crimes she recognizes to be the work of a dark magical force—the same force that murdered her husband 10 years ago. As she looks for clues, Abbott puts herself in the crosshairs of a mysterious power out for more blood, all the while navigating a harsh social environment that’s structured to protect the powerful, and prevent access to change.”

Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds, and then some. Go get it!

Some Recent Comics Stuff

As I’m sure some of you have noticed, I have a list of the the current comics I’m buying in my sidebar. It only tells part of the story, though, because it doesn’t include mini-series, one-shots or standalone graphic novels, all of which do play a role in my comics buying and reading.

Here’s a few of the books along those lines that I’ve been reading of late, all from DC, interestingly (though this is in no way reflective of my overall buying habits, particularly where mainstream DC books are concerned; I really don’t go near most of those, though I do read Batwoman because my partner picks it up).

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles

DC’s been doing some extraordinary things with their Hanna-Barbera properties in recent years, dating back as far as the first Ariel Olivetti Space Ghost series they did, but they’ve put a concerted effort into making a great line of books out of them for about the past 2 years. Mark Russell (who writes the Flintstones book that I’m sadly pretty behind on) is a big part of that, and his latest is the long-anticipated “Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles”. While the first issue is a very dark book (I’ll tell you very little about it beyond that, but it is grim), it begins a brilliant re-examination of the character, and continues on Russell’s path of poignant, biting societal criticism. Highest recommendation.

Wonder Woman/Conan
DC/Dark Horse

I’m really glad this one made the schedule before Marvel got the rights to Conan again. Gail Simone, who is a national treasure, it should be said, tells a terrific story here that’s faithful to both characters, and Aaron Lopresti’s art is gorgeous. They’re an issue from finishing (#5 came out on Wednesday), but if you’re a non-digital reader and have trouble finding single issues, or just prefer the collected format, the trade should be out soon enough.

Mystik U

Despite a lot of other attempts happening simultaneously, Mystik U is perhaps the most classic Vertigo-feeling and Chris Claremont’s X-Men-feeling book on the stands right now, and another nice re-imagining of some great characters. (We’re seeing a lot of that happening these days, including the next book I’m going to cover, but thankfully it’s more in the way of recontextualization, and less deconstructionism.) It’s nice to see Mike Norton art on this, too, as I enjoyed what I read of his Battlepug. 2 issues in (out of 3, I believe; it’s one of the few books in DC’s line that’s supposed to be a limited series, but doesn’t actually tell you how many issues it’ll be, I think because they may extend it if it’s selling well), so you may be able to get ahold of it in first run without paying SPACE GHOST RIDER prices for back issues. (Yes, if you missed it, Space Ghost Rider is a thing now. Don’t get me wrong here, a thing I enjoy, but a thing.)

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands

I’ve been reading Black Lightning (and, by proxy, his co-creator Tony Isabella) since perhaps the beginning, having bought at least one issue in first run at a very young age. (I’m on like my 3rd copy of Vol. 1 #1, and I *might* have gotten my first when it hit 7-Eleven in the ’70s.) This is a somewhat New 52-ish attempt to place Jefferson Pierce (who was very much a product of the 1970s, and has aged through other books in his fictional history) in modern continuity as a younger hero, with the issues of the modern world around him. That description makes it sound less appealing than it actually is, admittedly, and if you’re a long-time fan, don’t let it scare you off. I’m enjoying this, because Tony Isabella continues to write Black Lightning stories with a lot of heart, and you never feel, as you’re reading, that the character you’re reading is anything but Black Lightning (a problem that a lot of reboots, even sometimes ones by original creators, have). The stories are still being told in Jefferson Pierce’s voice, no matter how his surroundings or some of the details have changed. As issues with treatment of black people by police are so firmly on peoples’ minds in recent years, it’s a lot of the story here, just as it is on the television show that started airing this week (and while I don’t think the show’s perfect, and it ultimately does a different thing than this comic does, it should still be said that I am really excited that there’s actually a live-action Black Lightning television show). The handling of it isn’t ideal here, but I feel like Tony does his best, and with the best of intentions, on a tough subject for a mainstream super-hero book to cover. This isn’t genre-redefining stuff, don’t get me wrong (and I don’t need everything I read to reinvent the wheel, either; I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Captain America and Catwoman in my day, both of whom ran in place for decades at a time on occasion), and it has its moments of awkwardness because both the lead character and the writer wrestle a bit with the subject matter, but for someone who’s been with a character for probably over 40 years now, it’s good to have my old friend, who still sounds like my old friend, around in any capacity. It’s a few issues in now, but for better or worse, it probably won’t be too much trouble to track down, even with the TV show having launched. If you report back to me that you can’t find it, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, and you can grab the trade when it comes out.

Recent Poster Acquisition

Picked this one up a couple of weeks ago at the same store I got The Enigma Variations at. (I’d give ’em a plug, but I don’t think they do mail order, and I gotta keep some sources private. Come visit, and I’ll take you!) I don’t listen to a ton of Nina Hagen these days, but she and especially this album were strong formative influences on me. (Does that explain anything?)

It’s on pretty thin paper, so it’ll have to be framed (I have a spot in mind for it already, once a room’s painted), but it’s in remarkably good shape for being likely legit 32, 33 years old (it doesn’t seem like a reprint).

(Good use of the mix tapes as paperweights here, right?)