Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yep, Scrooge McDuck got nothing on me !

It is said that you can´t go home again but when I received my comic order last week I felt like a kid again - or at least a much younger man than I am Today because of a hefty dose of classic VALIANT comics ( now that a new Valiant has started they are ) that were part of said order.

But not for the reason you might suspect. It didn´t have as much to do with the fact that these were comics from a company that was a big part of my pull list in the 90s and more with the price I paid for these issues.

And for that we need to back up a little bit further. Namely to my tribute post on artist Paul Ryan because in it I mentioned the awesome LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE : CRISIS - THE UNTOLD STORY special he had done.

For those who don´t know, LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE was a series that came out at the end of the 90s in which various big name writers and artists told stories that somehow fit into the overall continuity of the DC universe although they didn´t tie into the current storylines of that time.

I remember that I bought issues 7, 8 and 9 because they contained a Green Arrow / Green Lantern story by Denny O´Neill, Greg Land and Dick Giordano about their first meeting and issues 10 and 11 which contained a Batgirl story by Kelley Puckett, Terry Dodson and Kevin Nowlan. I may have bought one of two more issues but besides the special by Paul Ryan I didn´t read much of the series. Maybe nostalgia is tainting my vision here because the DC books suck so much right now but I wish I had gotten more of the issues. Maybe I was trimming down my pull list at that time or maybe I was just not ready for this kind of stories ( or maybe I was spending too much money on Valiant books to add more titles to the pull list ) but for whatever reason I only saw the issues that landed in my comic book store at that time which were what customers didn´t want.

Which is the only plausible explanation that I never bought issues 20 and 21 by Steven Grant, Mike Zeck and Klaus Janson. I mean, I´m such a huge Mike Zeck fan and how can you pass up on a story about Abin Sur meeting an ancestor of Hal Jordan in the Wild West ? This one really has it all !

So after finishing my Paul Ryan post I went looking for these issues and I did find them but not at the online comic shop where I usually do my orders because they give you a FREE COMIC BOOK DAY or GRATIS COMIC TAG comic for every 10 EUROS worth of comics from you overall order.

Which was not a problem since I am still waiting with my usual order until they get the free comics for 2016. I have already gotten all free comics that interest me of 2015 so now I´m waiting to see what 2016 has to offer. Anyway, the problem was that I didn´t want to just order two comics because that way you have to pay more for postage and packing than for the actual comics. Now there are still a few series I read on a regular basis but it hadn´t been that long since my last order and I had added some issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA by George Perez to boost that one. With the prices that you pay for the reprints of those issues the original back issues are way cheaper and this is probably the only way for me to read the anniversary issue 200 which not only has art by a star studded ensemble like George Perez, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert and Brian Bolland but also pages by Jim Aparo so I couldn´t pass that up. 

So I was looking for some issues to add and at first I was thinking about the DARK HORSE presents anthology because I had read every issue of the second volume but I never got around to continue with the third volume.

The only problem with that was that all issues I found at the online comic shop with the LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE issues by Mike Zeck were more expensive than at my regular online comic shop so I tried to come up with other comics to add to my order. The next thing I tried were one dollar like the ONE FOR ONE comics form Dark Horse but after some time I had to realize that I would never get over 15 bucks that way. So instead of series I went with favorite creators since this online comic shop has the comics categorized by name or by creators. Besides Mike Zeck I was looking for the usual suspects like Gene Colan and George Perez but also Norm Breyfogle since I always try to add some of his issues to my comic collection. That brought me across the BLOODSHOT issues by Norm but I already had the two issues they had. But since they were priced at 90 cents and 1 Euro I thought that maybe I could add some VALIANT issues to my order as long as they were at 1 Euro or below. There are always some missing issues on my special dollar bin diving list and lately I have been more interested in old comics like those from Valiant or Hero ( there is a CAPTAIN THUNDER AND BLUE BOLT post coming up in the near future ) so I looked up all the Valiant series I used to read and lo and behold I found some issues for 1 dollar but most issues went for 50, 40 cents or less.

And this is really the part which brought me back to when I started buying american comics because back then they cost 75 cents and soon a dollar.

The exchange rate was 2 Deutschmark for 1 Dollar but after a few years the german D  Mark was so strong that the exchange rate was 1 : 1 which made me especially happy. Sometimes I wonder why I read so many series back then but when you only pay a buck for a comic it is easy to follow twenty or thirty books a month. I tell you, I was adding more and more issues and for the life of me I could not break the 50 Euro mark which is when you get free shipping. Anyway, Today the comic industry feels that more expensive comics are the way to go inflating prices to 4 and even 5 dollars for a meager floppy but I disagree. Anyway, I also looked for other books that might be at bargain prices and in the end I had too many - as usual. There were over 2 dozen Marvel ESSENTIALS and DC SHOWCASEs priced at 10 and 12 Euros of which I could not add any to my comic order in favor of the fourth THOR VISIONARIES WALTER SIMONSON trade ( in fine condition ) which I found for 6 Euros, MARVEL MASTERWORKS IRON MAN 4 hardcover ( in very fine condition ) for 15 Euros and the MARVEL MASTERWORKS MIGHTY THOR 10 hardcover ( brand new ) for 30 Euros.

It´s weird, two years ago I had zero MARVEL MASTERWORKS because they are just frikkin expensive and now I have ten hardcovers. What can I say ? I´m a sucker for bargains. Now I know that part of why the IRON MAN hardcover was priced so low is that a big part - if not all of it - is also part of the new IRON MAN omnibus hardcover and who is going to buy it at the regular price when you can get an omnibus at the same price or paying a bit more ? Me I will probably never have the necessary money to buy the omnibus anyway and 15 bucks is not too much to have the chance to read the comics again I only got in the translated version from the Williams Verlag. I also think that the paper quality and color restoration is better. 

Now the THOR hardcover was not as reduced in price as I thought - the original price was 55 dollars not 70 dollars like I suspected - but my limit for MARVEL MASTERWORKS is 35 bucks, 40 if it´s really good. I have paid the full price for some but those are exceptionally important volumes.

A few months ago I bought the IF ASGARD SHOULD PERISH hardcover for 15 bucks and that was by John  Buscema but the second half was inked by Tony DeZuniga. Now I have nothing against his inks but they tend to be a bit heavy and are better suited for artists who don´t have a distinctive style yet. But the THOR MASTERWORK is also by John Buscema with inks by his brother Sal Buscema and the great Joe Sinnot for the most part. It´s the story where - I think - Thor gets really old, Hela is killed and Loki becomes boss of Asgard and tries to marry Sif. Weird but good weird.

Speaking about bargains and MARVEL MASTERWORKS THE MIGHTY THOR, some of you may recall that I mentioned that I got the 12th volume at a bargain price and it´s right now at 24 Euros at amazon which is a pretty good price for a 70 dollar book. Yeh, I know, it´s " only " 69.99 but come on, that´s 70 and everybody knows it. So if you always wanted to read the story about Thor and Loki fighting in Rutland, Vermont, during the world famous Halloween parade that has been mentioned in so many comics here´s your chance to find out. Last but not least I picked the THOR VISIONARIES WALTER SIMONSON volume 4 trade because even if it´s banged up a little 6 bucks is a good price and I already have the first two trades but then let it kind of slide and now it´s difficult to find them in the original re - coloring instead of the one where they bury the art under a ton of fancy airbrush effects. And it also has one of my favorite THOR stories in it, which was not drawn by Walter Simonson but Sal Buscema ( who doesn´t get nearly enough credit for his work on the series ) and even better it ends with a quote from my favorite Edgar Allan Poe story. 

But before we finish ( yes, once again it took me quite a while to find a picture of Gene Colan´s DER EISERNE from the Williams Verlag and now it´s time to wrap things up ) I should tell you more about the Valiant comics I got since this is what the post was initially supposed to be about.

So I got one issue of HARBINGER which as an added bonus had X - O Manowar in it, two issues of SHADOWMAN I was still missing, five issues of TUROK, DINOSAUR HUNTER and thirteen issues of SOLAR. It would have been fourteen issues but I was not sure that I didn´t already have one of them. Anyway, all in all twenty one issues and they only cost me twelve bucks. So tell me, what do you get from Marvel these days for twelve bucks ? Three comics when you don´t pick a five dollar book and bad ones at that. Okay, I don´t want to bash Marvel or DC but I just want all those comic readers out there to consider that there ARE options and if you have seen some of the videos Terry Hooper posts with great comic hauls, well you can get these kind of bargains at almost all comic shops if you try. For as long as I can remember there have always been some comics which you could get at bargain prices if you are prepared to stray from the mainstream. Now in our next episode about Valiant comics ( not in our next episode because I don´t want to have two Valiant centric posts following one another ) we will see if the comics I bought are any good. Which means we will be talking a lot about SOLAR which is the series I have read the least and from which I bought the most issues.  

By the way, this whole thing started with a comic by Mike Zeck and it ends with a comic by Mike Zeck because I found out that he did a comic for Valiant called BLOODSHOT : LAST STAND which I now have to track down.

Speaking about tracking down things it was quite difficult to find some of the material for this post so as usual I want to give kudos to the guys and gals that provided the content like the good guys from SCANS DAILY who provided the stunning final page from THOR issue 374 by Sal Buscema.

I have already linked to HAMMER FILMS in a previous post so you might have already read his posts on MARVEL DOUBLE FEATURE 19 which has some Gene Colan Iron Man pages, IRON MAN 139 Facades, Ruses and Masques ( which will come in handy in one of my next BOB LAYTON`S IRON MAN posts ), Marvel´s Unsung Hero Don Heck , DAREDEVIL 47 Brother Take My Hand ( which is included in the MARVEL VISIONARIES - STAN LEE hardcover so this will be featured in an upcoming post ), DOCTOR STRANGE 6 Lift High The Veil of Fears , DOCTOR STRANGE 38 Eyes of the Beholder , DOCTOR STRANGE 41 Maelstrom at the End of Time and DOCTOR STRANGE 42 The Black Mirror ( which are all included in my ESSENTIAL DOCTOR STRANGE so they will also be featured in an upcoming post ) the Dracula / Doctor Strange crossover The Montesi Formula , DOCTOR STRANGE 183 Beware the Undying Ones , The Wedding of Dracula and his Gene Colan tribute in 5 parts ( 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 ).

COMIC BOOK RESOURCES shares some Mike Zeck love with their great post on Mike Zeck´s G. I. Joe covers and they even count down the Top Five Mike Zeck G. I. Joe covers . Last but not least I think I already linked to MARVEL COMICS ONLINE but just in case I didn´t here are the links to Der Eiserne ( Iron Man ) by Williams Verlag , Die ruhmreichen Rächer ( Avengers ) by Williams Verlag - which is where I found the Gene Colan splash page - and Die Fantastischen Vier by Bildschriftenverlag . Not only do they have a lot of the german splash pages but also all the editorial pages which is one of the reasons I was reluctant to post this since I know my friend Terry Hooper will spend a few days checking them out. As will I.

Coming from the Williams Verlag to another William we start Today´s celebrity birthday round up with William Shatner who turns 85 Today. Here in Germany they like to put him in the STAR TREK corner and label him as a one - hit - wonder but he has given us so much more than the coolest guy in science fiction with a hot babe on every space harbor or alien planet with T. J. HOOKER, the TEKWAR universe which he created and last but not least as a performer. I hope he´ll be around for a very long time.

Somebody who is also not a one hit wonder is Hubert Kah who was a big part of the Neue Deutsche Welle, a movement to get more german singing artists played on german radios which was sweeping the nation when I was in Realschule. Hubert was one of the main artists whose hits Der Goldene Reiter or Rufe Engel Null Sieben topped the german charts and even were translated to english. He celebrates his 55th anniversary.

We also have a comic related birthday as Bud Sagendorf who was one of the main artists on the POPEYE comic strip was born 101 years ago.

Somebody who knows more about the history of Popeye might have even done a whole post about him but since all I can say about him is that I was bummed that all the cartoons in the Deutsche Comic Bibliothek edition by the FAZ were by some other artist I am posting this cartoon instead.

As always I have kept the best birthday for last which is Hugo Egon Balder who turns 66. Anybody who has read my posts on dutch sexbomb Monique Sluyter knows that Hugo was the presenter of the most important german tv show for a whole generation of men and adolescent boys called Tutti Frutti on one of the first private tv stations RTL when they started out.

I have already done it in my post about ITALIAN SOCCER MOM SIMONA VENTURA but for the benefit of new readers who might have missed this I should probably explain what TUTTI FRUTTI was. There was a show called COLPO GROSSO from Italy with some dancers dressed as certain fruits who would dance to a special song and when the last refrain said " chin chin " they popped their tops and the candidates had to bet ( before they opened their tops ) if they had stickers of fruits on their breasts or not.

If they had fruits - or rather stickers with fruits - on them the candidates would win points and if they had enough of them they could get the women who presented the european nations to strip. Who could get the most women the most naked was the winner and the points they would score were called country points or Länderpunkte, a word that has become a household expression in Germany. It´s not unusual to hear german tv viewers say : Well, we´re not going to see any Länderpunkte in this movie. Anyway, the show was done to promote the Ecu, the new currency for a United Europe ( no, that really didn´t work out that well ) but the important part was getting to see girls strip. Although the men always couldn´t remember which girl represented which country and so often the hottest looking girls never got their turn. The one in the middle was my favorite so naturally she was picked very seldom if they picked her at all.

The show was adapted by various countries and it was called AY QUE CALOR in Spain and TUTTI FRUTTI in Germany. In Germany it was the show nobody watched ( or admitted watching ) but everybody saw.

When it was first shown in the 80s I was doing my military service in Munich and in my room there was cable tv - unlike at home. So every Sunday afternoon I took the ICE to Munich, bought some american comics at the station, went to the barracks, showered, shaved and watched TUTTI FRUTTI before going to sleep. And I always made sure to catch the beginning, I didn´t want to miss the big breasted hottie from the intro.

Boy, she was something else. I had some happy dreams back then.

And if you want to know who this Simona Ventura woman is and how she connects with TUTTI FRUTTI click the link above to head on over to her.

Since there really is no particular subject in this post it´s hard to find fitting videos and since most videos I found from Tutti Frutti are not safe to post here´s one about Enki Bilal for my german readers. I really love his art but I doubt he´ll be the topic of one of my posts anytime soon.

I also wanted to post a Doctor Who related video and at first I thought about the trailer for DC´s Legends of Tomorrow series which I finally started watching. Now if you ask in which way that is Doctor Who related I can take a breath of relief because I´m not the only one who needed a few episodes to note that time traveler Rip Hunter is played by ex time traveling companion Rory Williams. So the reason why I wanted to post a Doctor Who video was that I just re - watched the final episodes of the latest season with Peter Capaldi where Clara takes her goodbye. There are rumors that both Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi are leaving but I don´t give in to the gossip and like to be surprised. I mean this is not the first time it was announced that Jenna is leaving and Peter Capaldi has been doing it for quite some time now so I wouldn´t be surprised if he only stayed long enough to show the new companion the ropes.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

I will fear no evil, for I illuminate the darkness with the light of justice, the justice of the Green Lantern !

1 comment:

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Sadly, comic shops in Bristol -there are only three -Forbidden Planet part of a big chain of stores, and independent shop I will NOT publicise and Area 51 which is mainly a gaming shop. The first two do not do back issues beyond a year or two while Area 51 is the place for back issues from the 1980s but it is right across the city. Not been in a comic shop for 5 years now.
I actually just got two b&w Alan Class late 1960s tiles with the Man Ape story and a previous 3 part Ultron story (one with art by Barry Windsor Smith). 3 comics and cost less than a new comic.
I will check out the Williams Marvel covers at some point.
Buy more comics? I have no room though I am concentrating on my Bronze Age -20 issues and I have volume 1 of the Avengers complete.
Comics and boobage. I seem more interested in the comics than boobs (them I've seen enough of!)