Wieners!

More specifically, Kahn’s Wieners, and their 1968 Tony Horton baseball card! The Kahn’s cards are a pretty tough regional issue, and Tony Horton, not really being on any Topps cards (he’s visible on the ’71 Indians team card, but that’s it as far as I know), is kind of a highlight. This card’s been in my Top 25 wants for a good while, and I think the last time one was up for auction was 2 1/2 years ago. I overpaid, and the bottom edge is not what you’d call the world’s best trimming job, but I’ve got it now, and just have to track down Tony’s card from the ’69 issue.

How To Enjoy Your Hobbies When The World Is On Fire, Part II

When we left off, I still had 5 comic books to read. I just finished reading ’em (and doing my Previews order for April), and here’s how I did…

Brilliant every month, and some of the best reading you’ll ever do in the super-hero genre. Ta-Nehisi Coates has done an amazing job on this book so far.

…but wait, there’s more! Coates is also doing this book with Roxane Gay, and right now, the story’s focused on the origins of the Midnight Angels from the main Black Panther book. It’s very good, but with this and a third Black Panther book coming in April now (The Crew, focusing on Black Panther’s team; Ta-Nehisi Coates is also at least co-writing this one, and Butch Guice is drawing it), I’m concerned that Marvel’s trying to make me broke in the short term, and in the longer term, that they’re going to get me invested in characters in books that they’ll cancel once the promotion of the Black Panther movie is done. (See also: Ant-Man.) If you’re not sweating all of that, and just looking to read a good story, this is a solid book.

Remember when I said there were three Jeff Lemire books in my pull? Thanos is the third. This started off slow, aside from the “hey, I haven’t seen this character in the supporting cast in a while” factor, but it feels like it’s building up some speed now. If you’re a cosmic Marvel junkie, you’re probably already reading this or at least waiting for the first trade. Mike Deodato’s on art here, and while I haven’t paid really close attention to his career, I enjoyed his Wonder Woman a bunch, and this is of the same quality, even if the feel isn’t exactly the same.

You’d think that, with me being a pre-Crisis DC nerd, I’d have been all over this book, but the “Give Gerard Way his own line and let him get weird with characters I love” factor made me a skeptic going in. When I read the title of the book, and the initial promo copy for it, it felt like a bad case of “trying too hard”, but that’s a pretty good argument for not reading ad copy, and that’s about it. I flipped through it after passing on it initially, and ended up grabbing it right away. The book itself has been a lot of fun. This wasn’t been the best issue of the book (kind of a “middle of the story” feel to it), but the characters have been fun, the art’s the right kinda weird, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes.

Last, but not least, Future Quest has been awesome. I was also really skeptical about this latest attempt by DC to do something with their Hanna-Barbera characters (to the point where I completely passed on The Flintstones, which was a huge mistake on my part), and while it’s true that some of the line (Scooby-Doo Apocalypse and Wacky Raceland) is a mess, this is not in that category. It’s an ambitious attempt to link most of the early Hanna-Barbera super-heroes (Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Birdman, Frankenstein Jr., The Impossibles, Mightor, and I’m actually probably forgetting a few in there), and while it’s a lot to keep up with at times, this is one of those issues where it REALLY works and comes together. There are 3 more issues after this one, and then I guess we’ll see what they do with the line in year 2 from there, but give this a look in trades if you missed picking it up initially.

So, I did it. I did a bunch of stuff I enjoy doing, despite the world being in the process of going to seed as I did it.

How do I feel? I’m still pretty distracted, exhausted and nervous all the time, and was even as I was going through the cards and reading the comics. Life is super unstable on a global level right now, so that’s understandable. I still think it is pretty important to keep doing the things you love at these times, even if you don’t get as much joy from them as you normally would, just to stay in practice on being a human being instead of a husk. So, even if I’m only half-enjoying what I used to fully relish, I’m going to try to keep at it, as should any of you reading this. The people who are doing the bad things want us to forget how to enjoy ourselves, and they’re pretty good at making joy difficult to access. This is just one more thing that we should not let them win on. They’ve gotten their way far too often already.

How To Enjoy Your Hobbies When The World Is On Fire, Part I

To tell you the truth, I haven’t had an answer for that one lately, but let’s see what I can do. I’m going to scan and write as I experience these things, and see where it takes me.

Oh hey, look, it’s 2017 Topps! Finally made it out to a store that had it, so I bought a hanger box (most base cards for your buck), and we’ll take it for a spin.

Upon pulling the cello pack out of the much-harder-to-open-than-I-remember hanger box (Did they switch to glue this year?), this was the first thing I saw. We’ll see how it turns out at the end of the pack.

The first new card of 2017! You know, last year, I liked the design way more before I saw it in person. This year, it underwhelmed when I saw pictures, but I think I like it better in person. At least on first impression! I would still like them to un-blur the crowds, though. I’m guessing someone sued Topps for being visible in a baseball card or something. But no, even with the amount of space the silly design takes away from the picture, this is an improvement over ’16 flagship, I think.

Baseball Reference killed the card back star!

Anyway…Arcia didn’t have a Twitter or Instagram handle at press time, so that’s some wasted space. Really, I see a lot of wasted space on the back, but it is colorful enough. I’ll also take that it’s legible and has a large card number on it. My eyes are going on me, and reading card backs can be a real chore sometimes.

Let’s look at some more cards…

Unfortunately, most of it is stealth advertising, but there’s a lot going on here. Ellsbury looks like he’s doing the crane technique from “The Karate Kid”, and it also looks like he’s got lightning comin’ out of both ends of ’em. Worth asking, since I don’t recognize the park: which spring training park is this? I don’t think it’s an MLB park.

These red Jays unis are whack. Good picture of Stro, though!

Y’all. Gaylord Perry’s supposed to be on “Then & Now” cards. Not Stephen Strasburg.

Sorry. I know that was a little melodramatic. Moving on…

Parallels! Parallels! Get your parallels, or they go in the “send to COMC” box!

Hey, Night Owl, look! (Yeah, it’s one of those ad cards. I should see how many reprints I have of ’56 Jackie, though.)

Goddamn it.

You’re gonna see his cards all over the place this year, with people saying about the same thing as I just did every time, but…goddamn it. Such a senseless waste.

OK, back to having fun and not spending as much time in the real world…

Whew. Got this out of the way.

And this.

 

Picked this kid up in fantasy late in the year. Came with good reviews from the minors, but he exceeded expectations, as I remember it. His team’s gonna be a mess this year, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

…and we’re at the end of the pack. These are weird. I mean, I have a long, established love-hate relationship with 1987 Topps cards, which I’ve owned more of than any other cards except maybe 1988 Donruss. The homage to the design looks sharp, save for the gloss (that’s just weird). The picture of McGwire they used makes his head look 3 times bigger than his body, though, and that’s not a great look. I’m probably not collecting the whole run of these, where I might’ve fallen for it in years past, but I will probably peruse the checklist and see who’s in it.

So, I’m through the box! (I should probably mention that my exclusive Silver Slugger cards were Trout and Trumbo, but they weren’t really visually interesting enough to scan.) I’ll probably do with ’17 Topps what I’ve done with ’14 and ’16 (and ’12 Heritage), which is accept them in trades, maybe pick up a pack here and there when I’m bored. They’re better than I thought they’d be, but they’re still not ’11-’13 or ’15. I’ll checklist what I got and put it on my want list sometime this weekend (it’s also officially time to move ’16 to the back catalog now).

Not a ton of players I was hoping to get (no Sanchez, which is kind of in the Bryant “gotta pull it so I don’t have to pay a premium” category), but I got a Story, I got Stroman, I got that Strasburg insert, and as depressing as it is, I got the Fernandez card. I haven’t looked at the main checklist yet to see who’s in Series One, though. Yeah, I’ve been that far out of the loop. Still, it’s good even as “get away from the news” practice to spend time doing something I enjoy.

Onto the next thing I enjoy…comic books! Had a big stack waiting for me at my local shop, as I had bills to pay in January and hadn’t been able to pick up for a few weeks. So, I’ll read ’em, and let you know what I think now.

I’ve gone back and forth on Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight a bit (this is the first of I think 3 Lemire books I have in tonight’s pile), but this is one of the good issues. If you’re not reading it yet, without giving away too much (I think they’re about 2 trades in on this run), Jeff’s exploring Marc Spector’s mental illness pretty deeply in the storylines. He’s using a lot of flashbacks, because that’s what Jeff Lemire does. He’s also used multiple artists along the run to visually differentiate Spector’s different personalities, which was hit-and-miss. He’s back to just Greg Smallwood on pencils for the current run, though, so it’s not as page-to-page jarring as it was for me. I’ll stick with it a while longer. As Moon Knight’s one of my favorite characters, it’s pretty hard to get me to bail on a book of his.

 I’ve really enjoyed the first 3 issues of Josie And The Pussycats, but #4, I dunno, maybe overreached? Could be that Marguerite Bennett finally took the references to “Scott doesn’t get it”-level (I got about 2/3 of them), could be that the story had too much going on and plot points that I thought would have a slow burn to ’em got rushed, but it all kinda came apart for me a little. One issue isn’t usually enough to tank a series (though a few have tried over the years), but this one was kinda rough.

Lemire book #2, and the one that I think has been his best for a while (he writes a LOT of books at the moment, but it feels like he saves the good shit for Descender). This issue was sorta chase-sceney, but still good.

It’s gonna seem like I’m grouchy about every book I’m reading (“decent, but…”, and “not quite as good as the last few” and “hit-and-miss” and such), but the Black Cat storyline they’ve been on for a few issues in Patsy Walker, A.K.A. HELLCAT! (“That’s me!”) was dragging on a bit. Thankfully, they did a really nice job of wrapping it up. Felt good to see a book that had me sorta on the fence for a few issues turn it around.

I have 5 more books to read, but I need a snack and a break from reading. I’ll do part II a little later. It’s been good so far, though, just focusing on one thing as I’m doing it.

Cards For Sale! Update: 10% Off For All Of Black Friday Weekend!

screenshot-2016-11-12-14-27-23Remember when I said I was going to have stuff for sale? Well, I’ve got some cards up on COMC now! I am, and have been open to reasonable offers, if you think any of the prices are kinda out there, but there’s lots of stuff up at a bunch of different price ranges, and I’ll likely add more after the winter holidays, including possibly some comics (Have any of you sold comics there? If so, how did you do?)

I’m also going to have some more stuff up on eBay eventually (definitely digital cards, but probably other things that’d make more sense for me to list there than elsewhere), and I’ll be selling things directly on here, too. Been juggling a lot, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, but I’m getting to where I can focus on things here a bit more, thankfully. Stay tuned for more!

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Hey, I went to a card show!

Yup, I’m still alive over here. Spent pretty much all of September on home renovations and sorting out cards to sell (more on that soon). Did find out about a card show within driving distance, though, so I stopped there today.

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Here’s what the room looked like, about an hour after opening. People were still moseying in, and it was a little quiet, but there were a good number of dealers there, and they all seemed to have someone or other going through stuff at their tables. A handful of the dealers at this show were coin dealers, but the rest seemed to deal primarily in cards of some sort. There’s a row of dealers to the right of the shot here, too. Really need to remember that things like panoramas and 360 degree photos exist nowadays.

I went in mostly to check out the show, see how much dealer space was available, and if it looked like there’d be enough foot traffic to justify setting up there. Didn’t have a huge budget today, and didn’t want to spend my entire day looking through boxes of cards, but I looked through some, though, blast it all, there were two nickel boxes (!) at one dealer’s table, and the guy who got to them first bought both boxes in their entirety!

I noticed that most of what was at the show in terms of vintage cards was higher end stuff, but I found one box in the corner of a dealer’s table with unpriced, lower end ’50s-’70s cards, and we came to an uneasy agreement on ’em after a little back and forth (I probably would’ve gone easier on him, but I have a buncha stuff to cover this month), while also debating the importance of Kyle Okposo to the New York Islanders. (I still say he was pressing this past season, and picked a bad time to do it…here’s hoping Buffalo’s more relaxed for him, and that he has some fun with Matt Moulson out there.)

Anyway, here’s some of what I got…

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First playing-era Brooklyn Dodger in a while, even if it’s a rough one! Also: ’60 Leaf! ’63 Fleer! Mudcat! Hondo! A near-high-number ’66!

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A ’67 checklist with floating head Frank! A buncha ’68s! (I cut 36 in total off my want list today. The Santo is rough, but the rest of the ’68 stars are pretty good, and these ended up being near-quarter-box prices, anyway.) A couple of ’69s! (NICE.)

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Some ’73 high numbers, bringing me over the 600 mark on the set! (Also: MOAR HONDO!)

I paid a *little* more than I’ve been spoiled into believing I should be paying for these kinds of cards today (I’ve been having some really nice flea market finds), but I’m happy overall with how I did. My ’68 and ’69 Topps sets are getting close to the 400 mark, where I never thought I’d be on a ’60s Topps set, and where they are probably going to stall FOREVER.

If you want to check the show out, the next 2 shows at the Chicopee, MA Boys & Girls Club are November 6th and December 4th, 2016, from 9 AM-2 PM.

Topps Bunt Physical Trading Cards

Yes, I’m doing a dedicated baseball card post over here! (For those wondering why this is a big deal at all, I have another site where I usually do this. I may eventually just move all that other stuff here.)

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After a false start yesterday, I found packs and blaster boxes of 2016 Topps Bunt! For those unfamiliar (I’ve written a bit about it on this site already), Bunt is Topps’ digital baseball card trading app. If it seems like a weird idea to you, trading JPEGs or PNGs or whatnot, you’re not alone, but that’s another conversation. Anyway, this week, for the first time, Topps has issued a crossover physical card product in the Topps Bunt line, and so far, I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s priced affordably (a buck a pack, or 11 packs in a 10 dollar blaster box), the cards (while a bit fragile) look nice, there’s good names in the set, fun insert cards, and you can also get code cards in the packs (I was promised 3 on the box, and I got 4!) that unlock digital packs back on the app, with (I believe) exclusive insert cards (again, digital) in them. Here’s some of how I did.

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These were the best of my base cards. As you can see, a solid if unspectacular base card design (definitely better than Topps’ flagship base design this year, though, and better than the planned design for next year, as well). Cool mix of current players and veterans in the set. I got a bunch of my favorite players, and I ended up putting together 1/6 of the set in 11 packs with no doubles!

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These were my inserts. Loving the Lightforce set (which they’d done a variation of in the digital Bunt product already), and happy to get some decent players. The Alex Gordon is for trade, and I know I have a Gordon collector who reads my other site, so hopefully they’ll jump on it.

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This is also available for trade! These come at a rate of 1:105 packs, so getting one in my first 11 is pretty good, I reckon!

As I mentioned, there were scratch-off code cards in 4 of the packs (they mercifully keep the number of insert cards in each pack to 1, for optimal set building), and I’ve redeemed those already. Let’s have a look at what happened there…

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This is what it looks like when you successfully redeem a digital pack via your web browser. Over in the app, the packs show up in your “Bulletin” dropdown. I opened them, and here’s the best of the best…

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Hey, it’s a platinum Nolan Ryan! Now, to me, the platinum cards just look like the base cards, but they’re super-limited (there were just 21 of the Ryan last I looked). I’m not a Ryan collector in physical or digital (I’ll keep a great looking card of his here and there and I keep the ones I need to finish sets, but mostly I flip his stuff for cards of different players who I do collect), so this is being made available elsewhere, along with the cards below that I mention as being stuff I’m unloading.

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Billy Hamilton, on the other hand, I do like a bunch! Always did like base stealers (the rookie card of Rickey Henderson, whose cards I’ve just started formally collecting again, was in my first pack of Topps cards, after all). Keeping it!

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The confetti you see in this James Shields picture is what happens when the app is like “HOLY SHIT YOU GOT SOMETHING GOOD!”. It’s a fairly limited card, but I don’t collect Shields. Unloading it.

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Love Jose Fernandez! Keeping this.

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I think Stephen Piscotty’s a pretty solid ballplayer, and I’ve had him on and off my fantasy team a few times now, but I’m not collecting him (I generally don’t collect Cardinals players; I’ve had a grudge dating back to Davey Johnson’s Mets…). Unloading it.

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Hey, it’s a Lightforce! I don’t collect Gonzo, though, and I’ll probably have a real hard time finishing the digital set, as these are hella limited. Let me look at the checklist and figure out what I’m doing here.

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Dee Gordon screwed up this year (or got caught for it this year, anyway), but he has always been a fun player to watch, and this is a fun card. Keeping it, and hoping he keeps his shit together from here out.

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BO. Keeper.

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These cards score 3X in the Bunt contests (kinda like fantasy baseball, you create a lineup on the app and your players score according to what they do in the day’s games), but I haven’t been playing contests lately (not enough hours in the day, and the freeplay ones have gotten weak), and I’m not a Votto collector. Unloading it.

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Hey, it’s one of them new Cubbies that isn’t Kris Bryant! Let me put it in the hands of someone who’s a bigger fan than I am.

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Sometimes, the app gives you “HOLY SHIT” stars, too! Severino’s available.

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I’m not sure where Boston and their fans are on Henry Owens, who seems to have stalled out a little, but hey, it’s a limited card. I’ll see what the open market will fetch. Update: it moved before I even finished this post! I guess folks still like him!

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More confetti, and I haven’t seen enough of Ozuna to really be a fan just yet. Unloading it.

So, remember how I had that Lightforce I was gonna try and trade for another Lightforce (the Luis Gonzalez) up yonder? Well, I found out that Bernie Williams was in the Lightforce set, so I made a trade offer to a few people on the Bunt app, and minutes later…

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YAY BERNIE

And that’s how I did!

Well, I got a bunch of “base” Bunt digital inserts too (they look like the base physical cards, but are not like the Bunt base, which still resemble flagship; the synchronicity between app and cardboard still needs some work), but you’ve seen what those look like out here in meatspace already, so there’s not much to see there.

So, did I get my $10 worth?

Absolutely!

Best time I’ve had opening a new trading card product in some time. Lots to like, lots to do. Well worth your money, if you just like to crack open packs and have a good time with this stuff.

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The world, it done ate me.

I’ve been crazy busy, but the worst of what was scheduled to be crazy busy is done now (and hopefully, there isn’t much unscheduled crazy in the offing), and I’m actually doing hobby-type things at the moment.

Among them:

Preparing to sell a bunch of cards, from the 10,000 or so I’ve gotten in lots that I decided not to keep or already had.

Setting up a proper room for my hobby stuff, once it’s painted and whatever we decide to do to the floors there is done. (This also entails moving the literal ton of stuff I have in the room next to it, after the painting and flooring is over.)

Figuring out where my focus is going to be on these hobbies of mine, both short-term and for the forseeable future.

It’s coming along, all of this.

Oh, and if you want to get chatty with me, I am on Twitter, at @INeedNewHobbies. I should be a bit more active there in the coming days. Follow and engage!

May 2016 Brimfield Antique Show Finds

This morning, I spent some time at the first Brimfield show of the year. If you’ve never been, this will begin to give you some idea as to the scope of it, but hardly The way I’ve described it to people is this: imagine a good-sized, busy flea market with a few hundred vendors or so. Then imagine about a dozen of those (in total, there are 21 dealer fields at Brimfield, but they’re not all open simultaneously; some only operate on certain days of the week), lining either side of a highway for about a mile, right next to each other, with nothing but the good stuff. This was my 3rd show and 5th trip out there overall, and while rain and sleep dep (it’s been a long week at my house, lots going on) cut today short just slightly (I was going to check out one more field), I had a lot of fun, and picked up a couple of great things.

I’ve never had a Mego Spock before, and he’s my first new original Mego in close to 30 years. Missing his belt, insignia and accessories, but he’s a clean lookin’ figure without much wear on his joints or costume. Welcome home, Spock!

The card to his left is from the 1959 Fleer Ted Williams card set. I’m *very* slowly building the set (not even in double digits yet on an 80 card set with one very tough card in it), and this is one of the cards I wanted the most from it, as it’s a picture of Ted with Jim Thorpe. It’s a gorgeous picture, one of the best in the set, and, again, it’s Ted Williams and Jim Thorpe on the same card. Here’s a scan, for more detail…

It can admittedly be tough to find bargains at Brimfield (though the window shopping is unparalleled, even if you decide not to buy much; you are guaranteed to see something amazing that you’ll only see once in your life, every single time you go there), because in an environment populated by about 6,000 (not a typo) antiques dealers, everyone tends to know what they have and table fees are higher than they’d be in a local flea market, but both of these finds were very affordable.I probably won’t make it back out there this weekend, but I’m already looking ahead to the July show, which is happening between the 12th and 17th.

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I’m too tired to scan stuff, but let’s talk about comic books anyway.

As I’ve mentioned, I do read comics, mostly superhero comics, and at least for now (I’m admittedly gun-shy, because of all the reboots in superhero-land), I buy new ones weekly. Here’s a cross-section of some of the ongoing titles I’m reading these days:

The Astonishing Ant-Man: it’s probably the weakest of the books I’ll talk about here, and admittedly, the storyline could use a bit of a kick in the ass right now as it feels like it’s treading water a bit, but the premise, locale and supporting characters make this a fairly interesting book. If you’re a fan of B-list Marvel comic book characters, particularly villains from the 1970s and 1980s, I think you’ll enjoy this.

Astro City: 20 years or so in, I’m finally caught up, and Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross do some of the best world-building I’ve ever read. If by some chance you’re not already familiar, and you like pre-Crisis DC Comics superheroes, this is a book to invest your time in. Start at the beginning, if at all possible. It’s totally worth it.

Black Panther: a very deep read through just 2 issues, but it’s been pretty fantastic so far. Ta-Nehisi Coates is new to writing comics (though he’s a lifelong fan), but he brings nuance and great respect for both his readers and his subject matter to Black Panther. The best new comic of 2016.

Captain Canuck: I love this book so much. It manages to do justice to 40 years plus of backstory (albeit staggered backstory at times, because of the book’s somewhat irregular publication history), handles a difficult juggling act by being a smartly-written book and a lovably corny one in the same breath (territory usually only occupied by the best issues of that other Captain), and remains unabashedly Canadian. Highly recommended.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: maybe the most beautifully illustrated comic on the market right now, a hell of a lot of fun to read, a great twist on an old favorite, and one of the best horror comics I’ve read in ages. Fans of 1970s DC horror books will adore this. It’s been on hiatus for some months now, but the next issue finally comes out on May 18th.

Clean Room: Gail Simone comes up with some profoundly fucked up shit when left to her own devices. I’ve only read a little of this, but I think I need to pace myself on it, because wow. Holy mother of crap, it ain’t right.

Descender: optioned for what will be a very expensive motion picture before the first issue even came out, and living up to that hype thus far, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have created an intriguing world full of characters I want to know a lot more about.

Moon Knight: just when I thought my beloved Moon Knight’s story couldn’t get any weirder, Jeff Lemire (yup, him again) has managed in just two issues to turn everything we know about the character completely sideways…maybe…we’re not sure yet. I’m definitely sticking around a while to find out, though.

Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!: quirky and fun, with a character I’ve loved since I was a small child and her entire history being explored in a totally new way. If you like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (see below), you’ll probably enjoy this.

Saga: this one’s a little more complicated for me, and this might not sound like as much of an endorsement as the other books I’ve mentioned here, but stick with me. Some people seem to think this book is perfect, but I’m not one of them. I think there are times when, in the process of trying to realistically tell a story about imperfect, flawed beings, with a central focus on prejudice, the creators do seem to show their own asses on those fronts a bit. They’re rough moments when it does happen, but thus far, the rest of the story, and what its aim seems to be, does override *most* of the cringe-worthy dialogue, because yes, it is a pretty brilliant book, when it’s on. They’re telling what I feel is an important story, one that’s worth at least checking out to see how your mileage varies as compared to mine, and it is one of the most talked-about series of the past decade, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that, yes, sometimes, they do kinda fuck up in the process of telling that story. Check it out and draw your own conclusions.

Silver Surfer: Dan Slott and Mike and Laura Allred have created a terrific story about relationships, wrapped around story about a former herald of Galactus and his new companion meeting up with all manner of truly weird characters. Tons of fun, and really touching at the same time.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: REALLY funny (I laugh out loud through entire issues, every month), refreshingly different, and actually pretty inspiring. It’s basically the opposite of The Dark Knight Returns, and I love it for that.

The Walking Dead: 13 years in (it’s damned rare that a writer sticks with a book of any kind, even one they own, for that long, and equally rare that they have the same artist for nearly the entirety of that run), and still light years ahead of the television show, which I kinda can’t stand. It’s the ugliness of human nature on full display, but it still keeps me guessing, I still care what happens to the characters (even the truly monstrous ones), and I still want to know more about them.

Vision: I can’t imagine Disney corporate is thrilled about this book, because it takes one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new stars and…well…let’s just say it’s not what I’d call an action figure seller. I would be doing you an injustice if I told you more. Sadly, it’s only going to run 12 issues in its present form (we’ve at least been assured it will be a complete, self-contained story within those 12 issues), as writer Tom King is under exclusive contract to DC now, but it is well on its way to being a classic, just over halfway through that run.

Speaking of DC, if you’re wondering why I’ve mentioned almost nothing they publish (and none of their mainstream superhero books), it’s because they’ve made much more of a mess of their addiction to relaunches than Marvel have. (Even with “relaunch with #1s, then “hey, another set of #1s” in some cases only a few months later, Marvel did what I feel was a pretty solid job with Secret Wars and its aftermath, all things considered.) I am going to poke my head in to see how the latest iteration of “the new DC” looks, but from what I’ve seen of their plans for their entire line, I am not overly optimistic. It seems way, way too safe to me, but in more of a pandering way than a comfortable, familiar way. It feels like Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” album, which reeked of “We know we’ve been awful and destroyed your faith in what we do! Here’s something that seems like the old stuff, but doesn’t really have the heart of it!”. I really think the company needs new people in charge, from the top down. They’ve presided over at least 3 failed reboots (arguably more like 5+), and they’ve kinda broken the hearts of people who were lifelong fans not so much of the very specific characters who filled the roles of their flagship superheroes, but of the way their adventures used to make us feel. They claim their latest fiasco is an attempt to return to the best the company had to offer, but it’s been a long time (about a decade, when “52” finished) since they’ve given readers reason to trust them. DC’s superhero line feels like…1990s Image Comics used to, not in the good way, and we all got sick of that in a hurry. You’d think they’d remember that, with one of Image’s founders helping to run things, but apparently not. I hope they manage to pull a win out of their collective asses, but I’m not exactly hopeful.

Sorry. Got off on a bit of a tangent there. I’m just taking the decline of DC on an uber-nerd, uptight level of personal, admittedly, and the absence of the bulk of their books from this would’ve been a huge elephant in the room, had I not addressed it.

With that said, I do hope that “what I can’t recommend” didn’t detract from what I did recommend. Every single book I mentioned above is worthwhile and entertaining in the ways that I describe, even the ones I describe as not being perfect. Check them out if you haven’t, and in the comments, feel free to talk about what you’re reading (but please, do your best not to include spoilers, because even though I moderate comments here, there’s a bunch of stuff I haven’t read yet, and I’d like to get to enjoy it in real time, if at all possible).