Posts Tagged ‘wildguard

08
Feb
12

Everything But Imaginary #435: ERROR-Image Cannot Be Found

It’s Image Comics’ 20th Anniversary, and there’s bound to be a celebration of some sort! Somewhere! I dunno! I’m just here to talk about Image Comics of the past that I wish would come back. Here are a few old favorites that should still have signs of life…

Everything But Imaginary #435: ERROR-Image Cannot Be Found

14
Jul
10

Classic EBI #56: The Thrill of the Hunt

Not long ago, I came across a column on the Wall Street Journal Online that argued that To Kill a Mockingbird does not deserve to be considered a classic of literature. His reasoning, I thought, was so flawed, that it illustrates not only what prevents people from wanting to read at all, but also what keeps other artforms like comic books in the gutter of public perception. This week, I take that concept head-on:

Everything But Imaginary #359: What Gives You the Right?

And for this week’s classic EBI fix, let’s look at an old column about the thrill of seeking out a back issue when you don’t quite know where to look…

March 31, 2004

Classic EBI #56: The Thrill of the Hunt


For a long time, friends, one of the best things about being a comic book geek has been the thrill of the hunt. I have what is known as the collector mindset. I like to have collections of things – action figures, books, DVDs – but few things are as specialized as the collecting of comic books. You can tailor your collection any way you want: get every book by a certain writer, get every book featuring a certain character, get all of the John Byrne Fantastic Fours, get all of the Mark Waid Flashes. I knew a guy once who didn’t even read comic books but he collected first editions of magazines, and I watched as he picked up the first issue of the Amazing Spider-Man relaunch despite the fact that scientists had measured with highly-tuned, precision instruments that the title would suck until issue #30.

When I was younger, the hunt wasn’t always easy. I’d go to bookstores and gas stations, spinning the comic book racks, having no idea what came out this week or how long I’d have left to wait. I didn’t know if it had been a month since the last issue of Action Comics because I didn’t know if it had come out the week I got it. I just looked and tried to find the things I wanted and crossed my fingers and hoped.

When I discovered comic book stores it was a godsend.

Not only were all of the comic books there every week (this was a circumstance one could not count on when buying comic books at the local K&B drugstore), but there were dozens of titles I’d never even heard of, and thousands of old comics sitting in cardboard longboxes waiting for me to rifle through and fill in the gaps that had appeared over the years when the bookstores and gas stations had sold out of Avengers before I got there.

Comic book conventions were the same as discovering a comic book store for me, only multiplied a thousandfold. Comics everywhere, toys, people autographing books… Let’s just say it was lucky that I packed a lot of underwear when I went to the Chicago Con in 2002.

Through it all, though, there has been one thing that has remained consistent for me: looking for comics I’m missing to fill in the gaps. Like most comic book geeks, I’ve got a “want list.” A list of the last nine issues of Adventures of Superman I need, the ten remaining Crisis on Infinite Earths crossovers I’ve got to find to have the entire story, the five lost issues of Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham that must be mine so I can say I have the complete epic. Not long ago, on one of my frequent visits to the comic book shop with my friend Ronée, I asked her if she thought our friendship could withstand the visual of me with a computer printout on my hands and knees rifling through old issues of Excalibur. To my relief, it could (and since her 18-month-old son was busy running behind the counter at the time, she wasn’t paying that much attention to me anyway).

With the advent of the trade paperback, it’s becoming less and less difficult to find those issues you want, especially if (like me) being able to read the story is more important than saying you’ve got a valuable first edition slabbed under a bulletproof plastic shield somewhere. These days, if a comic book is worth being hunted down, chances are it will see print in a trade paperback in the near future. For readers, I think that’s a great thing.

For the collector, though, I kind of miss having something to search for, and although I’m not adding to it as much as I used to, I’ve started to go back to the old want list more often these days, searching for older titles I may have forgotten I wanted for one reason or another that aren’t necessarily out in paperback. Stuff like old Keith Giffen Justice Leagues or Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge comics. The problem, is, there are not many comic book stores in my area, and I’ve already pretty well scoured their back issue bins. I know what they’ve got, and if they had anything I really, really needed, chances are I would have bought it already.

Furthermore, ever since the city of New Orleans bumped the Big Easy Con for a Shriner’s Convention in 2001 (I am not making this up, folks), nobody who organizes a decent-sized comic book convention has come back to this area, so if I want to go to a con I have to plan an out-of-state trip, take vacation time… it’s not as easy as it should be.

I wanted that thrill of the hunt back. And I have found it. It’s out there on that big, beautiful and incredibly frightening plane of existence we call the Internet.

There have been mail-order comic book companies for as long as I can remember – they used to advertise in comic books and I would think it was weird that a DC Comic would have an ad for a store selling tons of X-Men comics, then I’d order some anyway. The Internet is the same thing, only more convenient. Again, though, wonderful online stores are, they deal mainly with newer titles. If you’re looking for something old, for instance that last issue of ALF you’re looking for so you can say you have the full library of the funniest extraterrestrial Muppet with brown fur of the mid-to-late 80s, where can you go?

Auction sites, of course.

Not long ago I stumbled across a great website called Comics Price Guide.com. At this site you can not only log your entire collection and track its value (for a nominal fee), but you can look at other people’s collections and offer to make deals, trades or sales. Furthermore, there is a place on the site where people auction off old comics and another function where people can list a title as being “for sale” and you can simply make an offer. It’s great. It’s a lot of fun.

But it doesn’t completely have that “want list printout hands and knees longbox search” feel to it that I so crave. There is one place out there in cyberspace that does, however. Oh yeah. You guessed it. I’m talkin’ ‘bout eBay.

I resisted eBay for the longest time, determined never to sacrifice the fun of physically sifting through a comic book box for the title I want, until one day someone who should have known better (thanks a lot, Uncle Todd) told me about a new line of Batman action figures that looked really cool and that I could probably find a picture of them on eBay because surely somebody had some for sale. Well, I looked, and sure enough, there it was, and for a really cheap price so…

…so I placed a bid.

I know. Gasp. Shun. Flee me and know despair.

It didn’t stop there, of course. Once I placed that first bid, I had to look for other things to bid on. Old Dell Peanuts comic books, or a super-cheap set of the Madballs series I remembered loving as a child. Thanks to eBay, I now own all 20 issues of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, scored a complete set of the X-Men epic “Age of Apocalypse” storyline for a price that averaged about a dollar an issue and am only three more issues away from owning a complete set of Don Rosa’s brilliant “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” comics that Gladstone printed across 12 issues of Uncle Scrooge some years back.

Almost as good as the thrill of the hunt, though, is the thrill of the serendipitous find. I’ve dropped $10 on a lot of old Dell Disney comics because I wanted an issue of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories only to find that the lot includes an issue of The Hardy Boys that is actually worth $150. I’ll do searches just to see what comes up, and as a result I now own an issue of DC Comics’ Showcase series from the 50s that has one of the first G.I. Joe stories ever to appear in a comic book.

And eBay, of course, is not exclusive to comic books. I’ve bought action figures there… DVDs… Christmas presents (my mother collects Barbie dolls, and I got her a collector’s edition “Gone With the Wind” Barbie, her favorite movie, for about a quarter of what it’s actually worth). My latest obsession is mini-figures… DC’s Pocket Heroes, Mini-Mates, Kubricks… I love those things.

That old thrill of the hunt is back, folks, and I know I’m not alone. After my purchasing shifted from drugstores to comic book stores, I lost some of that. With drugstore comics almost nonexistent these days, I feared I would never know that thrill on a regular basis again. The Internet has restored it to me, and I know I’m not alone. What are some of the best scores you’ve ever seen on the Internet? The luckiest purchases you’ve ever made? The weirdest things you’ve ever found? Tell me, because I want to know.

In the meantime, I’m just waiting to nab that issue of Power Pack that just went up for sale. And if that kid from Peoria snipes me again, I’m gonna clobber him.

Favorite of the Week: March 24, 2004

Some weeks it’s easy to pick a favorite comic, friends, but other weeks nothing really jumps out at you. Nothing strikes you as Earth-shattering. And so the winner of the Favorite of the Week for March 24 isn’t a world-changing comic book, it’s the one that was the most fun.

Todd Nauck really landed on his feet after Young Justice ended with his Wildguard: Casting Call miniseries for Image. Spoofing reality TV shows, this six-issue miniseries about a group of superheroes all competing to win five spots on a new team was funny and a kick all the way through to this last issue, where the five winners were revealed (including a fifth member that was selected by an Internet vote of the readers). I had a blast reading this miniseries, and I hope Nauck has plans to bring back the winners (and even some of the more interesting losers) very soon.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at Blake@comixtreme.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.




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