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The Spock/Jaws crossover we were all waiting for.

§ March 9th, 2020 § Filed under collecting, eyeball, sterling silver comics, video games § 5 Comments

Okay, I’m back, barring any further shenanigans. Quick update on the eye…still a little cloudy, but it’s very close to being clear and I suspect I’ll be back to whatever passes for normal in short order. Then it’ll probably be time for the other eye to go south on me again. Sigh.

Next…I did my jury duty service Monday. Waited around all day, wasn’t called in as part of the three different groups of jiuror pools pulled into courtrooms. Free for another year, hopefully!

Before that…the previous Friday, a construction crew behind my shop, building an addition to the restaurant, somehow managed to cut through the shop’s internet and phone lines. THAT WAS DELIGHTFUL. And of course the repair crew showed up Monday while I was at jury duty, where they managed to fix one of the problems and not the other. Hopefully we’ll get that final problem fixed Tuesday. Here’s hoping. …I had workarounds for both services, so the shop was still able to function, but…bleah.

In addition, since my vision hadn’t been that great in my good readin’ eye, leaving it difficult to read any print comics, I availed myself of the DC Universe app and my iPad to read some of the digital comics they had available. And that’s how I, at long last, finally read Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman run. I actually read the first four or five issues when they were originally released, but for some reason didn’t keep with the series. It’s the usual combination of serious war stories, thoughts on what it means to be a good person, and outrageous/weird/grossout humor, mixed in with Mr. Ennis’ general and hilarious contempt for superheroing (the exception being Superman, natch…and maybe Catwoman). Interesting that the title caaracter has been left mostly untouched outside of the creators’ work (though I seem to recall there was a New 52/Rebirth/whatever namecheck).

Anyway, it’s a good series, even if I kinda had to cover the screen now and again whilst reading it in the juror waiting room.

And one last thing…at long last, my Blip collection is finally on its way to becoming a thing, with the acquisition of issue #5 in a recent purchase:


It has all the latest and hottest tips for playing Zaxxon, which is good because I’m terrible at it.

Blip was Marvel’s short-lived video game comic-sized magazine from the early 1980s, of which I owned one copy originally, but had since discarded and now of course I wish I had back. But as I recall, the series hadn’t been terribly popular at the time, and just kinda stunk up the back issue bins as unsellable stock. But it was also the first place a comic book version of Mario from Donkey Kong (and likely other video game characters) appeared, making those particular issues quite the pricey items. This issue just has a Tootsie cameo on the cover, which frankly should make it a collectors item all by itself.

Anyway, send me your spare Blips. I might even pay you a nickel or two for the more notable ones.

Low content mode for a while…

§ March 1st, 2020 § Filed under eyeball, low content mode § 8 Comments

…as my left eye (my allegedly “good” eye) had a little more bleeding, and it’s a little too rough on me to try to do extensive typing with only my diminished-vision right eye to check for typos. So let me rest the week and we’ll see where I’m at around Thursday or Friday. Or maybe it’ll all wash out right away and I’ll be back on schedule. Who knows?

Also, on March 9ths I’ve got to go in for jury selection, so I may not have a post for that day…and depending on whether or not anyone actually wants me on a jury, that may affect my schedule afterwards, too. I’ll keep you posted.

And I’m sure I’ll be griping on Twitter about stuff, so you can always find me there, or you can drop me an email.

Talk to you soon, pals.

This is no way to start a seventeenth year of blogging.

§ December 9th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, low content mode § 7 Comments

Hi gang! I am having what should be my final eyeball surgery tomorrow, and I know I’ve said “this will be my final eye surgery” at least three times before, so we’ll see. …Get it, “see?”

So the end result is I am probably taking the week off here while I recover/get adjusted to my new eyeball settings. If my vision is up to it, maybe I’ll be back at the end of the week, but I think I’m gonna shoot for next Monday.

In the meantime, please enjoy this swell bumper sticker Customer Brook picked up for me whilst on a business trip:


You can get your own right here!

Thanks pals, and we’ll talk again soon.

Which reminds me, someone tell certain comic publishers that having the prices on their covers in a 2pt font sucks.

§ November 18th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments

Don’t really have a regular post as such today, for which I apologize. I’ve been busy and preoccupied with work-type stuff and thus didn’t have the spare brainpower to dream up anything at least somewhat entertaining for the site.

You can read about it here on my Facebook page, but basically, what with all the stuff regarding my eyeballs and the related costs, plus another surgery scheduled for next month, combined with the usual fall sales doldrums but no shortage of product being churned out by the Big Two comic companies (well, it’s mostly the One)…I find myself in a…less comfortable position than I’d prefer to be in.

I’m sure I’ll be okay…Christmas is coming up, and that’s usually a good time for the store. But I thought maybe encouraging some of my pull list folks to come by, and maybe encourage other folks to step into the shop and maybe grab a book or two, or perhaps visit my eBay store or maybe even just call in with a want list or three, would help me ride out some lean times here.

On the plus side, several people heeded the call and contributed to the cause, which was much appreciated. And hopefully it will continue. Every little bit helps, whether you visit the shop or mail order or join the Patreon or whatever, it’s all great support and very welcome. I can’t thank everyone enough.

I took kind of a hit throughout the year because of my vision issues…as one might imagine, if my vision is cloudy or obscured entirely due to bouts of internal bleeding, that makes it difficult to grade and price comics, or put things on eBay, or read prices printed on comics or even my own price tags, or check invoices. At one point I couldn’t even make out covers. I had to have people peeking over my shoulder, mostly my dad, telling me what I was looking at in order to function. Plus, having to pay someone to cover for me on the days I absolutely couldn’t be in the shop (like, say, when I was in surgery) was an additional financial burden.

It’s all very frustrating. And it’s probably going to recur with my next surgery, which is on my left eye, AKA my “good eye.” I have vision in my right eye, but it’s not as strong and has some obscuring issues and I won’t be able to drive while my left eye recovers. I’ll probably be able to read prices and stuff but grading comics is going to be out. Plus, I suspect I’ll probably have to print out my Diamond invoices at a ginormous font size rather than trying to read the tiny light grey-on-white lettering on the invoices they send me.

And that will be in the middle of December, when I should be doing good business with the holiday season.

This is a lot of complaining, I realize, and I’m sorry to make you read it, you four people who made it this far. All in all, I’m doing better…haven’t had a rebleed incident in my left eye for a while, and my eyes do seem to be healing nicely, and I am a lot closer to the end of this than the beginning. And this coming surgery is relatively simple (a lens replacement) so recovery should be short, but my eyes are tricksey things, yes they are, so who knows how long it’ll actually take for my eye to be back on its feet. Er, so to speak.

Anyway, this is a problem I never anticipated when opening my own store, I’ll tell you what. But I’ll muddle through it somehow. I mean, what’s the alternative, getting a real job? P’shaw on that, I tell you.

No, not that Red Tornado.

§ October 28th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, retailing § 4 Comments

So that’s customer Mark, dressed as the second-scariest Michael Myers in Hollywood, visting my store and picking up a copy of what would of course be the Halloween star’s favorite comic book. “GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL [creepy Halloween suspense music plays].” Now, Mark’s come by the shop on previous Halloweens in this outfit, and since he’s “in character,” he doesn’t say a word. At all. An I know it’s Mark, a friendly, affable guy, and he’s just foolin’ around, but it still very much has the affect of being…very unnerving. Doesn’t helpt that Mark’s a pretty tall guy.

Anyway, go check out his Instagram for more cosplay goodness, as well as a pic of the two of us where you can get a good look at my bloody right eyenot makeup, but very Halloween-y just the same.

Speaking of Halloweenies, I certainly was one, spreading the spooky cheer at my store with this year’s assortment of the Halloween ComicFest comic book giveaways. Again, it’s not quite Free Comic Book Day levels yet, with wall to wall people all day, but it’s a comfortable level of travel ebbing and flowing throughout opening hours. I had several people waiting outside my door when I did open, including many children, which is always good to see. In fact, there was a family with a lot of children waiting outside not for my shop but for the Chinese restaurant next door…so I did what any good neighbor would do, and told them “HEY COME INTO MY SHOP, I’M GIVING AWAY COMIC BOOKS” and lo, they did that very thing and I fulfilled that very promise.

So, I gave away lots, and more still on Sunday, because I didn’t feel like breaking down the table where I had them all laid out and I always order more than I immediately need to have them around for future giveaways and donations and such. And, this year, I had more people preordering the ComicFest freebies in bulk for their own Trick-or-Treat giveaways on the actual night of Halloween, so that was nice.

And on that topic…yes, like my Free Comic Book Days, I easily made my costs back for the event, so, you know, success all around.

One of the tricky issues I had was that there was a lot of work to be done the Friday before, only part of which was prep for the event. Now, over the last week or two, I acquired and/or completed the processing on multiple boxes of old comics…more, in fact, than I could file into the current configuration of back issue boxes. So instead of waiting ’til after the event (probably ’til close to the following weekend, which would be the only time I’d have clear to attempt the project) I decided to get as much of it done as I could this Friday so I’d have everything out and ready for sale.

Needless to say, I did my best to get everything rearranged and comics sorted and resorted and fit into new places…I often refer to this as “playing Tetris with the store,” trying to get everything properly squared away in the areas I have available. And I managed to mostly get everything back together into mostly working order…still in the process of relabeling the boxes so the customers (and me!) know what’s in them, and I did have to leave a few empty spaces for boxes on some shelves as I’m awaiting a new shipment of short boxes to come in. I didn’t want to use up the few I had in stock for sale because, well, I want to sell them. And I used up all my spare used short boxes that I already had on hand.

Or I could have just said “I rearranged lots of comics and boxes and got everything mostly squared away before ComicFest,” which is probably easier on your eyes to read.

And about eyes…right when I got to the shop, I noticed another little swirl of blood in my right eye, which meant I had to make a quick emergency trip to the doctor for treatment (read: INJECTION IN THE EYE) to keep that little swirl from turning into a red tornado. So, on top of rearranging the store for back issues and prepping for the Halloween giveaway the next day, I had to take an hour-something out of the middle of the afternoon to go get that taken care of. As such, your pal Mike had himself a very long Friday. It all worked out in the end, though.

Except for all these back issues. I’d be happy to sell you some! You need a mostly-complete run of the Marvel/Epic Hellraiser, surely.

Just when I thought I was out….

§ August 19th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 5 Comments

Had another setback with one of my eyes over the weekend, which was annoying as my vision was very nearly back to (relative) normal. As such, I will continue our discussion of comic books and reprints thereof hopefully later in the week, after I get a little doctorin’. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll be back typing at you soon enough.

And reading Chris Ware comics was definitely out.

§ June 28th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 2 Comments

So for a while there, because of my eyeball situation, even aside from those moments of bits of blood from post-operative bleeding entering my eye, diffusing throughout it, and obscuring nearly all my vision, my ability to see things at a certain size was heavily curtailed. Now, for general things, like grading conditions of comics…okay, that was difficult, but on good eyeball days with proper lighting, I was able to do it.

The trick was reading the price guide. Even before the full extent of my eye health was clear to me, I was having trouble focusing on the tiny print in ye olde Overstreet. That’s what pushed me to finally buy a pair of simple reading glasses, about two years ago. They were pretty close to about as low-power as they come, +1.25, and that resolved the price guide pages to a nice non-blurry image.

Well, once the ol’ eyeball shenanigans hit in full force, that first pair of glasses didn’t do it any more. I slowly moved my way up to stronger and stronger lenses, picking up a variety of readers at the local dollar store, unable to get a real prescription until my vision problems settled down. Eventually, I had to resort to using a magnifying glass. And, eventually, in the most recent incident, where what was my good left eye had its own hemorrhage and I had to depend on my still-recovering-from-multiple-surgeries-and-already-weaker-to-begin-with right eye, I was barely able to see the prices on the page at all. I ended up having to use the camera function on my phone, hovering it over the page and zooming the picture in ’til I could read the text. Sometimes, I’d just take a photo and blow it up on the phone ’til I could read it, if I had a lot of pricing to do.

During all this, I could still see well enough to function, aside from, as I mentioned, those incidents were a small bit of blood would cloud the eye. But as I waited for my left eye to clear, my right eye was good enough to read prices on comics, see the register, grade stuff, read emails, watch television, tweet dumb stuff, blog dumb stuff, whatever. Wasn’t good enough to drive, and I depended on rides from my dad and my girlfriend to get to and from work, but what can you do.

However, I’m pleased to report that my left eye is finally just about recovered. There is still some mild hazy spots in there as the remaining blood continues to cycle out, but I’m back to being able to read the price guide again with just plain ol’ reader glasses (+2.50, but I’ll take it). And, at long last, I’m starting to read comics again.

Okay, not a whole lot…I spent a lot of time organizing the “to-read” stack I accumulated while my eyes were unable to absorb any four-color fun. This was on top of the unread stuff I’d sort of accumulated over the previous several months, as my reading speed steadily decreased due to my fading eyesight. But I did read a couple things.

A while back I read the new issue of Doomsday Clock, which I’d blogged about. Now that I pretty much had to do with a magnifying glass under a bright light to make out the lettering, so it was something of a chore. (Yes, yes, beyond the fact it was Doomsday Clock I was reading, I know.) But within the last couple of days, I did read on of those ’70s Charlton Popeyes I recently obtained, and I finally finished Heroes in Crisis (a story with good intentions, I think, but lots of “running in place” and a character development in the tradition of “let’s spend a decade or more trying to fix Hawkman/Hal Jordan”). I also read the opening pages of Superman: Year One, which I didn’t have time to finish right then, but will get back to it soon as I find the time. (Liked the opening sequence with Baby Kal-El’s perspective on the destruction of Krypton and flight to Earth…haven’t got to the bits everyone apparently hates yet.)

So anyway, I have lots of reading to catch up on. My eyesight went south just before that concluding issue of B.P.R.D.‘s long storyline, which I’d been looking forward to, and the last issue of Scooby Apocalypse, which I’m going to miss. Plus I”ve been missing all those Grant Morrison Green Lanterns…man, having eye troubles when you own a comic book store is the worst. I don’t recommend it.

Here’s hoping things continue to improve…and stabilize, so I can get some proper glasses. Until then…nobody spoil the last few issues of Justice League, since I’m way behind on that, too.

Regular service resumes Monday.

§ June 7th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 2 Comments

Hi pals! As stated last time, I had a bit of an eyeball situation over the past week. Things were up ‘n’ down a bit, but mostly “up” now, with said situation having pretty much resolved. As such, I’ll be back in action here on the site next Monday, with some of that funnybook blogging content that you crave. So, be sure to come back for that Swamp Thing TV show review I probably should write (and yes, I know the show’s canned already…I’ll talk about that too).

Thank you for your patience, and I’ll talk to you soon.

(sigh) Another brief eyeball-related hiatus.

§ June 3rd, 2019 § Filed under eyeball § 3 Comments

Had a little post-op bleeding in my right eye (AKA “the good eye”), and since my left eye (AKA “the previously good eye”) is still recovering from its own surgery, I was left pretty much blind all of Sunday. Now, that bleediing isn’t unusual, and it’s already washing out of my eye, so my vision should be back t what currently passes for normal soon…the fact that I can see well enough to even type this is a vast improvement over yesterday…I still need to take a little time off. Should be fine by the end of the week, if things continue as they are.

Sorry for the inconvenience (and what is probably a lot of typos) and I’ll talk to you soon.

The preop postmortem.

§ May 6th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, free comic book day § 2 Comments


PICTURED: artist’s rendering of the what the Free Comic Book Day logo looks like through Mike’s left eye


So I’m going in first thing the morning for what we can only hope is my final eye surgery for the time being, and as such I’ll try to keep my Free Comic Book Day report relatively short.

And in short…it was yet another highly successful FCBD event at my shop, the most recent in essentially an unbroken chain of successful FCBD events for me since their very beginning. We gave away lots of comics, saw lots of new faces, and did plenty of actual business of the coin-of-the-realm type. In fact, I had in my mind a certain amount of monetary expectations, and we easily blew right past that. Once again, Free Comic Book Day paid for itself many times over.

I didn’t do it alone…as always, my dad and pal Dorian were on hand to help out…especially needed this year since 1) my eyes still aren’t up to snuff given the last year’s travails, and 2) I was told by the doctor not to exert myself or really lift anything, so hefting boxes of comics and moving tables around was verboten. However, one of my very longtime customers, Deon, dropped by the store the day before offering his services if I ever needed them, as he had left his job to go back to school and was looking for the occasional odd job if I had any available. “Boy, do I,” said I, and that’s how Deon made the set-up and break-down of the store for FCBD such a breeze.

(Also, my girlfriend Nora had, and is still recovering from, some form of hideous plague and could not also assist, though she really wanted to come in!)

Speaking of set-up, here’s a look at the giveaway tables prior to the onslaught:

And here’s a pic I took of the back issue tables that were pushed together near the front of the shop and provided sale signage:

And here’s one of the very few crowd photos I took when I had a moment:

We were slammed from the moment we opened our doors — I knew we were probably in for a big crowd at opening judging by the huge number of phones calls and in-store queries asking when the event would begin. Before we opened, we had a line stretching across the strip of businesses I’m in, and when the doors did open, we literally had more people than could fit inside the shop…crowds were building up at the front anxiously awaiting entrance.

Nice mix of folks coming in, from preschoolers to grandmas, all taking advantage of the giveaways. And, once again, my policy of not restricting the number of different books one could take worked out just fine…as I’ve said before, when given the choice, only a few people take one of each, while others are happier voluntarily taking a smaller selection. Either way is fine with me! I did have to reassure some people that they could take more than a couple if they so desired, such as in this tweet I posted that day relating one conversattion:

“So all of these comics are free?”

“Yes!”

“And we can take one of each of them?”

“Yes!”

“And we can just walk out the door with them?”

“Yes!”

I think that poor girl still thought she was gettin’ away with something when she left.

Anyway, I said I was going to keep this short and failed miserably, but there’s not too much to tell, really. Like I said, lots of customers, lot of new people, gave away lots of comics (still have a few in a short box on the counter for anyone who couldn’t make it that day), and lots of sales. No real problems during the day…did have one fella who didn’t quite get that Free Comic Book Day was not the day to ask me to go through his collection and buy it, when, like, the store was at one of its busier points and I had a line at the register, but What Can You Do?

One odd thing…the exclusive Funko Pop for FCBD this year was John Constantine, and I ordered a small pile of them, as previous years’ exclusives went right quick. But ol’ Johnny just kinda sat there for most of the day…I was wondering it the Pop fad finally ran its course and it picked FCBD to start pushing up daisies, but suddenly in the late afternoon they started selling, thank goodness. Think I have one left…well, two, if you count the one that somehow maybe made it back to my house.

Eep. This isn’t short at all. Sorry about that. If I don’t get to bed soon, I’m going to be asleep the entire time the doctor is poking sharp objects into my eyeball, and I certainly don’t want to miss that! Thanks for reading, pals, and let’s do all this again next year!

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