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Basically I just say I’m behind on my reading but here’s a couple of things I do like reading.

§ February 8th, 2021 § Filed under collecting, eyeball, legion of super-heroes, star wars § 10 Comments

One thing I haven’t heard at the shop in a while is “wow, what a great job, you get to read comics all day!” Which is good, because that did get a little tiring to hear, and to explain (when I bothered to do so) that the one thing I really don’t have time for at the shop is reading comics. Particularly now, that I’ve opened my own shop, where the only hand on deck is me and spending the time to read a comic means less time pricing old comics or whathaveyou.

Does that mean I’ve never read comics in the shop? No, of course not…it’s just not something I’m normally inclined to do. The one time I can remember doing so at the new store was an issue of Doomsday Clock, I think. And, at the old store, back when DC and Marvel used to send out preview packs of full issues coming the following week, I’d make time to read Preacher whenever it showed up. However, beyond occasionally flipping through an issue to check for damage while grading or maybe briefly browse through one to find something for Instagram, and yes sometimes just to admire a page or two of art…I tend to leave the actual reading at home.

The big problem, of course, has been my eyeballs. At first, I just thought my vision was getting blurrier due to my encroaching decrepitude, causing my reading to slow down considerably (even with the assistance of progressively stronger dollar store reading glasses. And then once the actual problem was determined (“Oh hey the interiors of your eyeballs are bleeding.” “Wait, what”) and problems began to accelerate, clouding my vision or blacking it out entirely…well, “reading” became an activity that was off the table.

End result: huge backlog of reading. For nearly three years my reading habits have been impaired by my ongoing eyeball issues. For the first year, it was just “no reading,” as my eyes switched off being cloudy or dark or too blurry and so on. Then once my eyes stabilized a bit (with only occasional bouts of hampered vision)…I found I had fallen out of the habit of reading comics. Sure, I read one or two here and there (at least once using a giant glass lens as a magnifying glass) but mostly I just watched television.

Television, as it turned out, was a lot easier to enjoy with my sometimes not-clear vision, particularly with my TV’s large screen and the somewhat close proximity in which I sat. The bright colors tended to cut through whatever was in the way, and while things were still sorta blurry, at least I could make sense of what was happening. Ended up rewatching all of Babylon 5 during this period…it was all bright and colorful and those early CGI effects were crisp and clear and easy for me to see. (I do remember early on watching A Quiet Place on Amazon Prime, with one eye blacked out entirely, and the other essentially with rivulets of blood obscuring its vision…it was like looking through prison window bars.)

It wasn’t until relatively recently that I started making an effort at trying to keep up on the comics I like to read, to try to cut down some of the backlog. And I’ve made some headway…I’m still caught up on Immortal Hulk and the Superman books, for example. But it’s still slowish going, even with somewhat stable eyesight and real glasses. My vision isn’t what it was (my left eye being the strongest one, and my right eye, where all the problems began, being partially impaired and not able to easily read anything below a certain size), coupled with the fact that the backlog is…a little imposing, is still kind of putting me off a bit.

Plus, I’ve gotten into the habit of just watching TV instead, which is easier.

I’m working on it, though. I’m probably making it sound like I just have giant piles of comics teetering over me at home that I gingerly remove a single copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood from the top to peruse. I don’t actually pull aside a whole lot of comics for myself, but week after week after week of not reading them means to the “to-do” pile adds up faster than you’d expect.

THUS, THE CULLING BEGAN. I started going through the stuff I did pull for myself and deciding just what I can pass up for now. The big loser here, unfortunately, was Marvel’s many Star Wars titles. Not to say I didn’t enjoy them…I did, they were a lot of fun, but it’s just too much and with Marvel’s crazy publishing schedules, it just stacks up too quickly.

I am keeping one title around, however, even though I’m desperately behind on this title as well, is Doctor Aphra (which you may have been tipped off to by the inset pic here). I think of the new Star Wars series Marvel’s been cranking out, this is the one I’ve enjoyed the most. I believe I wrote on Twitter about the appeal of the character as filling the “morally ambiguous” role that Han Solo can no longer occupy after his turn in the original movie trilogy. It’s an exploration of this universe via a fresh yet cynical perspective, told with humor and the right amount of pathos. While there is some sort of redemption arc to her story, it’s a meandering one which means we get to see her be a space asshole, which is quite entertaining.

As I said, I’m way behind, so some of my above comments may no longer apply. The last issue I read was #26, which could mean I’m two years behind or six months behind, given Marvel’s aforementioned publishing schedules. But I’ve got ’em all stacked up here and ready to read, and all her previous appearances (in her own title and elsewhere) set aside for future reference. And all other Star Wars funnybooks…back to the shop with ’em. Hate to see you go, but what else can I do, really.

I plan on cutting other titles out of the backlog as well, though I haven’t quite decided what’s next. There are things I’ll always read, stuff I’ve followed for decades: any Hulk series, for example, or the main Superman books, or any Groo or Love and Rockets and related. But there’s the other stuff, the series maybe I just started, or comics I’ve been putting off reading for so long it’s pretty clear I’m not that interested in them. Or books I dipped back into reading, like Batman or Flash, decided “yeah, read enough of those” and stopped. Again, no critique implied of the books…they’re perfectly fine, I just don’t have time for everything anymore.

That said, I did pick up this book last week:


…continuing the complete reprinting of the Legion of Super-Heroes that began in the Legion Archives hardcovers and living on in these differently formatted, cheaper to produce hardcovers which picked up where the Archives left off.

This volume brings us up to Legion of Super-Heroes #271, plus the Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes mini-series. That means we’re in the very early ’80s, and just about to the point where I started picking LSH off the stands. I was bit of a late starter, sort of, to the Legion, but I was instantly a fan and kept reading the book ’til about the New 52 era, which was just one reboot too many for the comic that had pretty much become known for its incessant reboots and the hope the New, Improved Legion would get traction this time.

Anyway, I like these books, and I suspect I’ll likely continue picking them up even as they start to overlap with the Legion comics I do have. You know, just to get the Great Darkness Saga on paper that isn’t terrible. I may stop once they hit that initial “direct sales only” series, which already exists on nice paper!

Did want to note that Paul Levitz, one time DC president/publisher and writer of the Legion, provides the introduction. He says that the contents within may feel a little…disjointed, due to various creative team pressures and deadline issues and stuff, but honestly when has a Legion story not felt somewhat like some of the pipes are rattling a bit? But Levitz does make some space to say some nice stuff about longtime DC editor/writer E. Nelson Bridwell, a fella that, from some things I’ve heard, may not have been afforded much respect from other folks in the field. Well, Mr. Bridwell’s writing, whether for a comic story or his explanatory editorial pages, were eagerly enjoyed by a young me, so he’s got my respect for certain.

Also wanted to note the artists in this volume…Joe Staton (always great), Jimmy Janes and Jim Sherman (both wonderful draftsmen…Sherman’s got a great splash with Light Lass that’s a knockout), and, of course, Steve Ditko. I’ve read that Ditko story before (hence the link to the previous post) and it’s pretty well out there.

You know, for someone who’s been having a hard time reading, I sure wrote a lot for other people to read. There’s some form of base irony there somewhere. But thank you for putting up with my typing, and we’ll chat again shortly.

Eye’m doing okay.

§ January 29th, 2021 § Filed under eyeball § 1 Comment

Hi pals…just checking in to let you know that my vision is recovering and with any luck, I’ll be back to at least almost normal over the weekend. Thanks for your comments, tweets, and emails of support (including a surprise one amended to a receipt includeed in a package from an eBay purchase I made!). It’s nice to know that even with all the TikTokking and YouTubing and such such throwing content around, this old-timey comics weblogger can still garner some welcome support. It’s much appreciated.

See (heh) you on Monday.

Site on hold for a few days.

§ January 25th, 2021 § Filed under eyeball § 6 Comments

Been a while since I’ve had to give the ol’ “eyeball is bleeding, can’t see” excuse, but…feh. Sorry about that…with luck I’ll be able to function reasonably normally by the end of the week. Thanks for your patience.

Low Contrast Mode.

§ October 16th, 2020 § Filed under batman, eyeball, publishing § 15 Comments

So as many of you know (and I mostly can’t shut up about) I have had some eye trouble over the last couple of years, which has (among other things) interfered with my ability to read comics. Slowing me down at first, then, now and again, stopping me entirely.

While I’m still having the occasional bout of clouded vision, it’s a little less often, and my sight is pretty much as good as it’s going to be. My left eye is mostly good, my right eye is somewhat impaired, and my prescription glasses do help quite a bit, and I’m functioning more-or-less normally. I do have bit of a problem dealing with low contrast writing and images, but I’m adjusting best I can.

As my vision has stabilized, I’ve attempted to catch up on all those comics I’ve been accumulating but not reading. For example, I just finished reading something like 20 issues of the current run of Daredevil this past week. And I’ve done similar bulk-reads of titles trying to get current (and stay current as each new issue comes out).

One of the tools I’m using to read comics I’m behind on is the DC Universe digital library. While I do have print copies of the books I’m reading via this method, this actually makes it easier on the eyes to have larger (and sometimes clearer) panels that I can read a little more quickly than their on-paper counterparts. (And yes, I know I can get free digital copies of several Marvel titles, I’m just too lazy to go through the process of typing in the codes printed in the back of the books.)

Mostly I use my iPad mini to do the DC digital thing…my parents had ended up with a couple of free ones after buying a pair of iPhones, and gave one to me, which was nice. I have half-considered buying a larger iPad for my funnybook perusing, but that can wait for now. But I have used the DC Universe app via my television to read some material when certain troubles arose, in this case being the 2018 mini-series The Batman Who Laughs.

“Trouble you say?” I’m sure the three of you what still read the blogs are asking. Yes, the trouble is the very thing I’ve been having difficulty with ever since this particular evil Batman was introduced…his goldurned black-on-red word balloons:


It’s…not easy for me to make out in print comics, and even reading it on my iPad, zoomed in as much as I’m able, was a pain in the rear. I made it through an issue on my pad, and then opted to try reading it through my television instead.

That did the trick…blowing it up nice ‘n’ big on a large flatscreen made the red-on-black balloons a tad easer to discern. But apparently this mini-series realized it was being far too lenient on me, and unleased its secret weapon: RED ON GREY TEXT:


Man, there’s, like, almost no way I could have read this except for being blown up on a flatscreen, and even then it was a struggle. When I was doing screengrabs on my computer for this post, I found I couldn’t make them out, and I have a pretty good-sized monitor for my desktop computotron.

I eventually muddled through the series (I ended up enjoying it, despite everything), but man, I have a real distaste for these novelty-colored captions and word balloons. I think Swamp Thing’s black-on-orange dialogue is about as far as I’m willing to travel, and even that isn’t quite as legible to my peepers as it once was. If comics are going to continue to do that sort of thing, either bold the text more, or use higher contrast colors (the Batman Who Laughs seems to have white-on-black balloons in current appearances, which is a vast improvement).

And in short order DC Universe (when it becomes the digital comics only DC Univesre Infinite) is going strictly to tables/phones/computers, dropping TV support. I’m sure there are workarounds, but it won’t be as convenient as “selecting the app on my Roku” easy, so I may be losing that option for reading other comic lettering in this style.

Okay, okay, that’s enough waving my red-tipped cane at you publishers. I just hope they take things like “readability” into consideration when they do stuff like this.

I do have one more question arising from my Batman Who Laughs reading: what was the Gotham street planning commission meeting like that resulted in putting up an actual damn street sign that reads “Crime Alley?”


I mean, yeah, sure, it’s Gotham, this is probably the least crazy thing the city’s government has done. However, even assuming there are no businesses or residents on this particular stretch of road, surely anyone located nearby would be all “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO OUR PROPERTY VALUES?”

I always figured “Crime Alley” was the nickname inhabitants of Gothan had for the road, I never realized it was an officially sanctioned street name. Though I suppose we’re lucky millionaire socialite Bruce Wayne didn’t insist that it be called “My Parents Are Deaaaaaad Way.”

Post-poned.

§ August 31st, 2020 § Filed under eyeball, obituary § 2 Comments

Sorry pals…was going to have an End of Civilization post ready for today, but I had a small eyeball issue and decided the less time in front of the computer monitor, the better. Hopefully I’ll have it up later in the week. Thanks for understanding.

In the meantime, I hope you join me in mourning the passing of Chadwick Boseman. My condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

Excuses, excuses.

§ July 24th, 2020 § Filed under eyeball § 3 Comments

If you’ve been following my various social media outlets, both personal and the store’s, you probably know I had some eyeball work done today (paid for by you!) that, with any luck, will be the beginning of the end of that seemingly endless plague of bleeding that continually clouded my vision.

I’m feeling better as I write this, but as it turned out, I spent a lot of the day a bit headache-y and maybe just a tad disoriented after the procedure. I did go back to work, but I just kinda flopped down in my chair at the front counter and processed some back issues and helped the occasional customer (not too many of those, given that I was shut down part of the day while at the doctor’s, and had warned folks that I might not even be in at all). Once I got home, had some dinner, and crashed for a few hours, I think that mostly cured what ailed me, but the end result is that it didn’t leave me with a whole lot of time to write the comics post I was planning.

(I know I’m writing a lot right now, but this is fast blathering that’s only taking me a few minutes, not the hours of prep and careful honing usually required by a ProgRuin post, as demanded by my tens of fans.)

So…let me start fresh on Monday, with two mostly working eyes and a head as clear as I’m able to manage, and that’ll probably be best for all of us. Everyone have a good weekend, and thanks, as always, for reading. See you in a couple of days.

So it’s come to this.

§ July 6th, 2020 § Filed under eyeball, letters of comment, self-promotion § 4 Comments

Hi pals! I actually spent my blogging time Sunday night to work on this: a GoFundMe campaign to help me pay for more eyeball procedures. I didn’t want to have to do it, but also I want to see, and with my personal resources kinda stripmined after a couple of years of eyeball injections and surgeries, plus the recent economic COVID-19 downturn, I could use the help. If you can contribute, or at least share, it would be appreciated.

Okay, let me try to get a little comic book-y content into this post so it’s not all just me picking your pocket.

Longtime reader Wayne (who recently gifted me with a replacement copy of the Darkseid/Galactus crossover — thanks, Wayne!) asked about letter column writers:

“…Has anyone ever written to a prolific letter writer? I’m as old as dirt, but I wrote to T. M. (The Mad) Maple and even found Irene Vartanoff online with her own blog. I wrote Dean Mullaney long before Eclipse Comics was a thing. I don’t necessarily miss letter columns, but even Martin Pasko was prolific for awhile.

“Other names I remember are Danny Fingeroth and Elvis Orten. I’ve been meaning to bring this up for awhile.”

All familiar names, of course! I know at the previous place of employment I either sold via eBay or just direct mail order somethin’ or ‘nother to Mr. Mullaney. I suppose that counts as “writing” him, maybe.

Now I never really sought out and directly wrote any letterhacks (though I believe I’ve mentioned before how my one letter printed in an issue of Superman resulted in convention and club fliers being mailed to me). BUT…shortly after I started blogging here, I made a silly joke about how, rather than waiting for the trade, I was waiting for the microfiche. Well, Augie De Blieck Jr. was tickled by that and mentioned it in his column for Comic Book Resources. [Should tell you right now…plenty of linkrot in those posts, but not for the actual microfiche link, amazingly enough.] I recognized Augie’s name from letter columns and from the fact that I’d been reading his stuff on the comic sties for a while, so I was equally tickled by that. And Augie and I have had an online friendship ever since, which makes me very happy.

Now one of my habits, when I’m processing old comic books, is peeking at the letters pages to see if I recognize any names. Sometimes I’d see future pros, but every once in a while I’d catch a letter from a customer of mine at the shop! I once found one in a 1973 comic from someone I knew had to be the same person because he had a very unusual name…and when I asked, yup, sure enough.

Had another customer get a letter printed in…Green Lantern, I think, in the 1960s, back when they were giving away original art to “best letter of the month” or whatever, and he ended up with a chapter from a Flash/GL crossover. I remember him telling me (sometime in the 1990s) that he still had people tracking him down to get that art from him. He still has it all, far as I know.

A little more recently, my old friend Mark got the “featured letter” treatment in a couple of latter day Astro City issues, which were nice surprises to me.

UGH. Up too late again, so it’s off to the ol’ hammock for me. Thanks for reading, and for contributing lots and lots of money to my GoFundMe, nudge nudge. See you Wednesday.

And the rest of the ACAPCWOVCCAOE, if you remember what that is.

§ July 1st, 2020 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, eyeball § 3 Comments

My apologies for missing the first part of the week…I’m still undergoing some eye issues, which rose up over the weekend. I’m okay right now, but it’s very likely more signiciant treatment is coming in the future to correct some of the ongoing issues I’ve had for the last year or two. I ask your patience and the patience for my customers as well as I deal with this. Don’t worry, everything will be fine! Just have a few more things to do in order to get everything fixed.

Anyway, I want to add a couple of notes to the last way-too-long post on Your Pal Mike’s Blogging History:

First, I neglected to mention Alan David Doane as one of the foundational bloggers of the very early Aughts, and he’s written about what he’s up to in regards to the whole funnybook thing. Alan has always been very supportive of Progressive Ruin, and one of my favorite moments early on is when he made his list of Favorite Things About Comics and my dumb site was on his list. I’ve since worked with Alan on a few of his online projects which was a great deal of fun, and hopefully we’ll work together on something in the future.

SECRET FUN FACT: before I was menacing the world on the World Wide Web, and long before we knew each other, Alan once mail ordered some comics from my previous place of employment, which I personally packaged up and shipped.

Another point I should have mentioned was how the Comics Journal’s linkblog Journalista was very important in driving traffic to this site early on. Curator Dirk Deppey was very generous with the ProgRuin links, even saying about me (in a quote I preserved on my linkrot-enhanced About page):

“…Definitely one of the better new comics bloggers to emerge so far this year.”

This was of course well before my slow decline into this shadow of a man I am now, but I always appreciated those kind words. Particularly coming from a representative of The Comics Journal, a magazine I’d long read and respected.

I believe i may have pal Ian Brill to blame for bringing me to his attention, as he’d often bring me up in the ol’ TCJ message boards. So really, the blame’s probably all on him.

One person I’m especially remiss in not mentioning is my good friend and former coworker pal Dorian. Hours of just chatting about comics at the shop while we worked is probably a significant part of why we both ended up in comics blogging in the first place. A lot of our content was generated by trying to make each other laugh, and we often collaborated on material, not the least of which was “Doctor Doom’s Top Ten Euphemisms for Sex.”

Now Dor had to curtail his blogging mostly due to work stuff, but he’s still around, he’s still my pal, and I have to admit a lot of what I write has “I wonder what Dorian will think of this?”

The reason I call him “Pal Dorian?” Early on, before Dorian had his own blog, I’d often bring him up on my site, because, as I’d mentioned, much of the content here would come from our interactions. And rather than explain every time who Dorian was whenever I brought him up, I just called him “Pal” and figured that would get the point across. I’ve since used “Pal” for most of my real world friends.

One exception is Kid Chris, whom I started calling that and the nickname, like, just stuck. Everyone called him that. He’s now teaching English to kids in Korea and I’m pretty sure his students call him that.

Anyway, I owe lots of folks for the success (or “success”) of this site, including all my former coworkers and my old boss Ralph…other comics bloggers, my parents and my girlfriend Nora…y’know, all the people I generally bring up in my self-aggrandizing anniversary posts in December.

Okay, enough of all that. Back to actual comic books next time.

“Buy a CD,” said the guy obviously in his 50s.

§ June 18th, 2020 § Filed under eyeball, real world stuff § 16 Comments

Okay, I do plan on getting back to the whole intercompany crossover business we were talking about last time. What I was going to talk about today was the fact that I finally got prescription glasses (my eyes finally being stable enough for them, but still prone to occasional bleeds) and have started to try to read the enormous backlog of comics I’ve got waiting for me at home. I’m literally a year behind on some titles.

But something needs to be said about comics writer Warren Ellis and writer/artist Cameron Stewart, both of whom are facing allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. You can read about what’s going on with Ellis here, and Stewart here. No word that I’ve seen from Ellis, but I saw Stewart locked down some of his social media presence.

Now…okay, I don’t really know anything about Stewart, aside from seeing his name on some comics here and there (and I know I enjoyed the Batgirl run he worked on) but I am quite familiar with Ellis, as I suspect most of the folks reading a comics blog like this would be as well. I think it’s safe to say that Ellis had cultivated a persona of being someone who did not suffer fools, was encouraging of new work by independent creators, supportive of the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. So of course it’s greatly disappointing to hear these reports coming out about him. I mean, it’s disappointing to hear them come out about anybody, but Ellis, in particular…you can’t help but think “but surely he was smarter than that?”

I have no idea how this is going to shake out…while I’m all for “innocent until proven guilty,” I’m also for “believe women,” and there is a lot of stuff just kinda pouring out right now. I am curious as to what Ellis, and Stewart too I suppose, are going to have to say in response, whether they’re apologies of varying levels of sincerity, or just a flurry of self-defensive libel suits, I don’t know.

But I do know that I hate seeing these stories come out of the comics industry, a business primarily built on telling stories about good conquering evil, in which evil is continually inflicted on good people and so often goes unpunished. Or worse, unmentioned.

Reader Hooper left a comment on my last post regarding these recent events. You should read the whole post, but I did want to respond to one part of it. Hooper says

“…I feel guilty for contributing to their careers by seeking out their work and purchasing their art.”

Well…you really shouldn’t. How could you have known? It’s not your fault. I mean, you have to go through life and make your decisions based on the idea that folks whose work you’re supporting are operating in good faith. You can’t buy a CD thinking while you hand over the money “I sure hope this guy isn’t a child molester!” You’d drive yourself crazy second-guessing yourself like that. Don’t feel bad that you supported someone who turned out to not be a good person. Don’t even feel bad that you enjoyed the work in the past. Just think “I know better now” and stop supporting that creator. Maybe that creator will make amends, work to better himself, do proper penance, and someday be worthy of support again. Or maybe not. But it’s all on the person who did wrong. It’s certainly not on you, the consumer who didn’t know.

Sigh. Sorry, I don’t have a funny or pithy wrap-up to this post. These are just ugly situations, and I hate that these things happen. I really do.

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.

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