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Double your variants, double your fun.

§ July 12th, 2021 § Filed under Uncategorized, variant covers § 11 Comments

So when I was a kid, there were only two comics (that I recall anyway) that I purchased off the stands and were “double-covered” — in other words, an error in the manufacturing process attached a second cover attached over the first. One was this issue of Star Trek:


…and the other, this Batman Special:


And being a Comic Book Collector, I of course removed those second covers and used them as decoration in my bedroom.

Now double-covers are sort of pushing the line a bit in my ongoing variant cover-age, as these aren’t usually created by publishers on purpose as sales incentives (titles like Lobo’s Back and Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book excepted, of course).

However, they are cover-related alterations to your standard comic book that can attract buyer attention. Technically an “error,” but not one that affects the intended usage of a comic (like missing or misordered pages). It’s a value add, in a way, and for collectors of older books it creates the possibility of finding a cover in good shape beneath the extra outer cover that protected it all these years.

I’ve heard tell of comics with three or four covers accidentally affixed to a standard comic book, but I would guess that too many extra covers slipping through to a single book would gum up the printing works. And speaking of which, as time has gone on, this type of error was decreased as technology improved. The modern double-cover is a rarity.

But on older comics…well, they’re still rare, but they’re out there. Amazingly, over the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of older comics I’ve processed for sale at the previous place of employment and at my own store, I can’t honestly remember the last time I found a double-cover. Which may be why it was such a surprise when a couple of days ago I came across an example on this copy of Daisy and Donald #2 from 1973:


Well, that was pretty neat, thought I. Then, on Sunday, my former boss Ralph (who was at the shop helping me get more old comics processed) found this Flash #345 from 1985:


Now hopefully you can see why I had double-covers on the brain of late.

These comics 1) aren’t necessarily valuable or in huge demand in the first place, and 2) aren’t anywhere close to pristine condition and the difference in the shapes of the covers is relatively negligible, so I don’t know if the premium these comics will carry will be of any significance. However, given this crazy comics secondary market we’re existing in right now, I hesitate to say for sure what items such as these will go ultimately go for. Research is necessary, but again, the highly-mercurial nature of demand for collectibles in the presumably-latter-pandemic days may keep me from nailing down any price beyond “somewhat educated guess.”

Also, the double-covered Flash contains a Mark Jewelers ad bound inside:


…which is yet a whole ‘nother thing. As Ralph said about this comic, “you probably have the only double-covered Flash #345 with a Mark Jewelers ad in existence!”

A quick Googling to kick off my research turned up a page on identifying fake double-covered comics, which is not a thing I’d ever considered. But I suppose it’s the sort of thing that probably seems like an easy thing to do (along with reinserting inserts like Mark Jewelers ads or trading cards into comics where they were removed, or never these in the first place). Plus, once again, we’re in a marketplace right now where people are desperate for collectible comics, so this sort of activity has probably only increased.

And yes, I’ve looked at eBay too, and prices for double-covered books don’t seem to be too far out of range with what I’d expect for many of the featured comics. Lots of other variables are involved (whether it’s slabbed and graded, is a “key” issue, is Golden Age or not), so further investigation is needed as to whether or not I’m charging $1,000 for that Daisy and Donald. (That Flash, however, is at least $2,000, easy.)

That author is Alan Moore, in case you didn’t know or couldn’t guess.

§ April 9th, 2021 § Filed under collecting, fantagraphics, Uncategorized § 7 Comments

So when I crack open the shipping boxes from my distributor(s), it’s not often that I’m caught off guard by what I find inside. …Okay, wait, scratch that, I am frequently surprised by stuff like getting a single plastic Legion of Super-Heroes ring by itself in a full-sized box, or even this week, when I received 53 extra, unordered copies of a variant for the new Magic: The Gathering comic.

What I mean by “surprised” in this case is a good surprise, as I’d completely forgotten that I ordered copies of this for the shop:


This is a treasury-sized reprint of the classic story from issue #2 of the 1986 Anything Goes anthology. It was a surprise because I 100% forgot I’d ordered it and that it was coming.

The story itself is 13 pages, presented here in full color and looking possibly even more beautiful than it did in its original appearance. The rest of this 24-page publication is mostly text (with some illustrations), addressing the creation of the comic, what Anything Goes was for (raising legal costs for Fantagraphics), talking a bit about the fact The Author’s name isn’t on the cover, that sort of thing.

Now, to be fair, I haven’t read this yet. I mean, the original comic I read plenty of times since its initial publication, as I was one of those guys buying Anything Goes as it came out, and I was in the bag for anything The Author was writing (thanks to his Swamp Thing work, natch). But there are a couple of nice alternate covers for In Pictopia by the story’s primary artist, Don Simpson, in here, which apparently were art commissions or for a planned reprinting that didn’t happen.

I did catch somewhere in here where it said the story was “much anthologized,” which I wondered about. The only place I could come up with off the top of my head is the 1990 Fantagraphics collections Best Comics of the Decade (which I also own), and the Grand Comics Database entry I linked above mentions a 2016 collection. I don’t know of others, but honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me.

A quick Googling around seems to reveal at least some of the backmatter in this book had appeared on Simpsons’ own blog, but that’s fine. It’s nice to have a print copy in hand that I can still read long after the internet is destroyed for the good of humanity.

What’s funny is that I almost missed ordering this…it’s stuck in my head as being titled just “Pictopia,” and that extra preposition was enough to throw me off just a tad. Plus, not seeing The Author’s name in the credits also misled me to a degree…look, when I’m doing my orders, I have tons of different solicitations in the catalog all vying for my attention so sometimes even the most obvious things can take a moment to make it through my occasionally-working eyeballs and into my brain.

And then on top of that, once the hamsters started to turn the wheels in my head a little more quickly and I realized what “In Pictopia” was, not seeing The Author’s name made me think “wait, are they doing new Pictopia stories without him?” Yes, I actually thought that for half a second. Well, okay, maybe a full second. It just didn’t dawn on me that maybe Mr. The Author wanted his name off more than ancillary Watchmen products. (And actual Watchmen and other DC releases, too, but given the existence of Doomsday Clock it’s fair to say the “Keeping The Author Happy” boat has long sailed, at least for the comic books.)

Despite all that, this In Pictopia tabloid is a great looking package, presenting the comic in a good ‘n’ big size, with what looks like pretty dense discussion of it accompanying the story. The comic itself is an allegory for the comics medium and the crushing of the old in favor of the new…so on the nose that it barely counts as an allegory and is more an explicit description of what The Author thought was happening at the time. I suppose the follow-up I briefly imagined would involve a thinly-disguised Raina Telgemeier rushing in to save the day.

It still holds up a good, and melancholy, tale. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. It remains a concise, pointed masterpiece.

Should also note the contributions of Mike Kazaleh, Pete Poplaski and Eric Vincent, so that the guy who doesn’t want his name involved isn’t ironically the person I refer to the most here.

whynotboth dot jpeg

§ October 9th, 2020 § Filed under comic strips, publishing, question time, Uncategorized § 10 Comments

So this got brought up in a discussion I happened to witness between Twitter pal Ben and another person, and decided it was something I needed to acquire for my own self. May I present to you, from the co-creator of Twin Peaks, the creator of Eraserhead, and the guy what did that one Dune movie…a collection of David Lynch’s comic strip The Angriest Dog in the World:


For those of you unfamiliar with the strip, each installment is a series of the same panels (an introductory caption box, three panels of the Angriest Dog growling and straining at the chain in a yard, and a final panel of the same scene at night. Only the dialogue balloons of someone speaking off-panel change. A look at the Wikipedia page will give you a sample strip.

Anyway, this book is not in any way a comprehensive collection of the strip, which had run for about ten years. This is a short book, presenting only a very few strips, each one separated by a page that’s black on one side and white on the other. It’s more of an art piece than anything else, purposefully strange in the way you’d probably expect from anything that would come from David Lynch. It’s a handsome looking item, measuring 11 inches wide by 5 inches tall, 36 pages plus covers. A neat curiosity, but if you’re waiting for the Definitive Compleat Angriest Dog Hardcover Set, I’m afraid that’s not yet a thing. There was a previous collection, now out of print, but I don’t really know anything about it. Strips were also reprinted in Dark Horse Comics’ Cheval Noir a couple of decades back.

You can find this new book at Rotland Press.

• • •

FROM THE QUESTION POST, Paul asks

“What is your reaction to Gerry Conway’s recent screed?”

What Paul is referencing is this message [WARNING: pop-up ads my blocker didn’t block, which locked up my machine for a minute] from longtime comic writer/editor Conway in regards to improving the comics industry. His idea is basically for Marvel/DC to cancel everything, repurpose properties into books aimed at a younger market and get ’em into bookstores/grocery stores/movie theaters/anywhere that’s not a comic shop, and cater to the older fans with occasional trade paperbacks with new material.

I mean, this isn’t a new idea, and the fact that the best-selling comics in the U.S. are in fact books aimed at kids. I mean, DC and Marvel both had their eyes pop out of their heads shaped like giant dollar signs when they saw how well Raina’s books were doing and immediately started their own line of reasonably successful young reader graphic novels.

Now my response is a bit biased, as I’d see this drastic of a plan as being the end of comic shops, or at least comic shops as we generally know them. Eventually DC/Marvel/etc. will have to come up with some kind of format for their regular titles that’s more cost effective in regards to size and cost and so on. Probably a shift away from the periodicals to a regular trade paperback format, but I don’t think the market is quite ready for that yet.

That doesn’t mean that Conway’s idea of getting comics into other retail spaces isn’t a good idea. Of course, you’d have to convince these other retail spaces to consider even carrying comics, assuming whatever format these will be in will be at a price point that’s profitable enough for these other venues to be worth the hassle. And frankly, I can’t see movie theaters wanting to deal with them…I’m picturing a few months of theater employees having to clean up The Book Corner because folks are just standing around reading grpahic novels while waiting for the movie to start, and tossing them back on the shelf haphazardly, if at all, when showtime starts.

But whatever they do I don’t see any real reason to “kill all the comics” in order to do this. Can’t see why there can’t be a parallel to get graphic novels into new places and getting the regular monthlies, or whatever they eventually become, into comic shops. Or everything just goes to digital, leaving print for eventual collections of that material, or throwback releases for a niche collectors market, which the comic book industry already kind of is but you get my meaning.

Basically, everyone has ideas on how to “save comics,” and Mr. Conway’s isn’t any better or worse or even that much different from what’s been proposed. The big trick is getting other industries to cooperate with any of these schemes.

Money on the table.

§ June 15th, 2020 § Filed under dc comics, marvel, Uncategorized § 6 Comments

Continuing from Friday’s post, where I was going on about intercompany crossovers…well, once again I ran out the clock on my blogging time, so let’s see what I can cover at least briefly here. I did want to mention a couple more favorites of mine…though, oddly enough, I ended up putting a couple of them on sale here at the shop, like a big dummy, but I suppose I can replace them someday.

The first two Marvel/DC ones I wanted to point out as being particular notable, and the first tow have one thing in common: John Byrne. Now, Byrne seems to be most in his wheelhouse when playing in Jack Kirby’s playground, and that’s definitely the case with Darkseid Vs. Galactus: The Hunger:

It helps that Galactus is a character I’d liked since I was a kid, and that Byrne’s Galactus is the one that I was really into, so it was nice to see Byrne returning to him. And pitting two of Kirby’s big baddies from either side of the publishing aisle is hard to resist. Sadly, it’s been a while since I’ve read this, so I forget most of the details (again, wish I hadn’t given up this comic) but the conclusion, as I recall, is a pretty good and clever defining moment for each character.

The other Byrne-produced crossover was Batman/Captain America, presented as a period piece with both characters in the World War II-era incarnations. You’ve likely seen the much-scanned-and-posted sequence from this book where the Joker, discovering that his partner in crime, the Red Skull, is a Nazi, turns on him, declaring himself an all-American criminal (shades of The Rocketeer movie). It’s a good scene, and the comic overall is a lot of fun…Byrne gets to play with Kirby’s Cap, and I’ve always liked his version of Batman.

Of note, I had a copy of this in the shop recently, and posted a pic on the store Instagram. I received a lot of requests for it (not just on Instagram, but in email, via Twitter DMs, etc.). Alas, had but the one to sell, but it certainly demonstrated the demand for these things.

Another book I wanted to mention was Incredible Hulk Vs. Superman, featuring beautiful art by Steve Rude (and honestly, would you expect any less from The Dude?). As was noted in the comments to my last post, it’s a nice retro-presentation for both characters, with the early ’60s version of the Hulk and the Golden Age-esque style of Superman, which nicely matches Roger Stern’s story placing this encounter early in the careers of both.

It’s a common thought I have about comic works of notes, but it’s a real shame material like this is out of print and difficult to come by. A nice, permanent edition of this (or any of thse intercompany crossovers) would be perennial sellers. I realize there are economic reasons that make it difficult to keep these in print, but still, what a waste and what a shame.

Was this ever in the New Super-Man series?

§ May 24th, 2019 § Filed under Uncategorized § 4 Comments

So customer Brook told me his brother Nick was currently visiting China, and whllst there he took pictures of this statue near his hotel:


I’m sure thre’s an explanation, and I can probably Google it up, or someone will send me a link, but for the time being I’m just going to appreciate the mystery.

“I’m a collectible!”

§ November 26th, 2018 § Filed under retailing, Uncategorized § 1 Comment

So anyway, I was just Googling around (“mike+handsomest+comic+shop+fella”) when I happened upon this:


Yes, that’s a back issue catalog that I put together and mailed out way back in ye olden tymes of my funnybook selling days at Ralph’s Comic Corner. And that’s all it was…despite being described as a “catalog/fanzine” in the list, and despite Bully’s wishes for inclusion of my Swamp Thing fan-fiction, it’s just titles, issue numbers, grades, prices, and where to contact us to purchase said items.

That had almost completely slipped my mind that we even did that. I am curious about the 1990 date on it, however…I seem to recall assembling this catalog from the files we used to list comics on our then-fledgling website, but 1990 seems awfully early, considering the World Wide Web was only available for surfing in 1989. Maybe I’m thinking of a second mail order catalog we put together? And assuming that seller there has the correct date listed, of course.

The actual domain name “ralphscomiccorner.com” was acquired in 1998, according to the WHOIS data, and that sounds about right. But prior to that, we just had our 5 megs or whatever of webspace with our local internet provider. I remember we were all pretty proud of securing our space online with that initial website, and had a big banner printed out with “http://www.fishnet.net/~ralphs” hanging in the store, extolling all our customers to go visit. I seem t remember we were one of the first comic shops to have a web page…Ralph has often said that at the time he went looking to see what other shops were doing, and he had trouble finding any, so we must have been up and running on the web quite early. Exactly how early, I can’t recall, though.

I’m sure I still have the original files for this catalog on a floppy disc somewhere…the problem here of course being “a floppy disc.” I did back up a bunch of floppy files to CDRs and DVD-Rs, but these didn’t seem to make it. It’s a bunch of documents for the old Mac desktop publishing program Ready Set Go, Version 4.5, so I’d probably have trouble opening ’em up anyway with whatever nonsense I have on my computer now. But I could at least look at the file creation dates and figure out just when I did this thing. Oh, if only I was blogging back in the early ’90s, but I was too busy being EXTREME.

Oh, and I keep meaning to mention the format of the catalog…at the time, old pal Rob and I were still doing the comics ‘zine thing, mostly in the format of 8 1/2 by 11 inch pieces of paper folded in half and stapled, with a thicker outer cover (as seen here). So, we were old hands at making up little booklets like this, and the catalog was essentially in the Wood-Eye format, only with fewer naughty jokes. Yes, I do believe some paste-up was involved…printing out the listings page by page, cutting ’em up, pasting them into our work copy, and then taking the whole shebang to the local printers and begging them to make it look purty.

So anyway, that’s that…I’m tempted to ask Ralph if he still has the mock-up so I could borrow it and print up a whole bunch more copies and make my fortune in the fanzine market. But I will ask him if he can remember when we first put up our earliest website…the online web archive only started saving webpages sometime in the mid 1990s or so. My own early website, Progressive Ruin 1.0, is archived starting in 1999, but my “What’s New” page (essentially a proto blog) started in ’96, so I’m still not sure how far back the store’s page went.

But there you go…if you want any early examples of my comics writing, it’s yours for around $50 at that link at the beginning of this post. A bargain at any price!

I think posting a picture of those glasses on my site about once a decade should be okay.

§ September 13th, 2018 § Filed under Uncategorized § 9 Comments

SO CONTINUETH THE PARADE OF OLD PROMO GOODIES THAT MAY OR NOT BE ON MY EBAYS AS I WRITE THIS:

“Prophet: The Quest Begins” poster from 1994:


…featuring the artwork of the Wizard Top Ten Artist (I’m presuming) Stephen Platt. His work always kinda reminded me of a slightly less goofy (and I mean “goofy” in a 100% positive way) Sam Kieth. He also has the perfect pen name: “SPLATT.”

Straight outta 1986, becaues when else, is this promo poster for New Wave from Eclipse Comics:


…a short lived experiment in a cheaper comics format…16 pages for 50 cents. It was a buck and a half by the end of its 13 issue run, well, that still sounds like a pretty good price to me nowadays. Anyhoo, check out pal Andrew’s write-up no this book, if you dare.

Here’s a particuilarly low-rent..er, I mean, “artistic” black and white poster for that new 1990 Marvel teen sensation, Darkhawk:


Well, okay, I shouldn’t tease. It’s actually a striking image, and really doesn’t need color, That logo could use a tad bit of work, however.

Now this next item isn’t a poster, but rather some store signage…an “OPEN/CLOSED” sign from Oni Press and View Askew (1999):


…with art by Michael Avon Oeming. Never did use it at the store…I mean, the “OPEN” part is okay, but the “CLOSED” part:


…seemed maybe just a tad too crass. Okay, look, that’s a feature, not a bug, I realize, but we weren’t sure how some of our clientele would take it seeing it in our front window.

Oh hey, here’s an Archer mousepad promoting season 2 of that show from 2011:


Never seen a single second of this show, though I understand it’s funny. The mousepad is approximately 1 micron thick. Do people even use mousepads anymore? Sure, I do, because I’m an elder, But I feel like that’s one of those things that’s becoming increasing obsolete, like CDs, phone books, and comic blogs.

This Eclipse 3D comics poster is undated, but c’mon, it’s from the 1980s:


I wonder how many more people we would have had coming into the shop asking just to straight-up buy our 3D glasses, had we had that in the window? We didn’t sell the glasses separately, of course…we had just enough to cover our back issue stock of 3D comics, and God forbid we didn’t have a pair to go with that 3D copy of BraveStarr should it have sold.

Didn’t keep me from claiming a pair of 3D SCRATCH AND SNIFF GORILLA GLASSES for myelf, however:

I swear this isn’t just a commercial for my eBay store, but if you happened to go there and buy something, I would not disapprove of your selfless behavior.

§ September 11th, 2018 § Filed under advertising, how the sausage is made, promo, self-promotion, Uncategorized § 3 Comments

So here’s the thing: I’m still planning on an End of Civilization post, but I just haven’t had the time to start putting it together yet. I’ve barely even cracked open the new Previews…I have no idea if that deluxe hardcover edition of Swamp Thing Meets Jesus is finally announced, or if the last issues of the Sonic Distruptors mini-series have finally been solicited. Could be in there, I have no idea.

But anyway…usually when I’m having a lunch break at work, I’ll buzz through the Previews and pick out some likely suspects for my EoC post, and then write up the “humorous” “gags” at home. Alas, this month my lunch breaks have been less leisurely and more “cram this food down my throat so I can get back to processing these huge collections I have to process” and “oh Lordy I gotta get all these things on eBay” and…well, you know, actual work. So, no Previews perusal has occurred as of yet. But soon…soooooooon. Hopefully before the DC Universe streaming service starts up next weekend and I suddenly disappar into binge-watching the Constantine series at long last.

Soooooo…let’s shoot for next Monday for the new End of Civilization. Agreed? Agreed! (I totally spoke for you there, I hope you don’t mind.)

In the meantime, let me tell you about some of the stuff I’ve been working on and processing (and may eventually get to my eBay store, if it’s not there already, and if it’s ite> already sold). Basically, former boss Ralph (I’m trying not to call him “old boss Ralph,” y’know) broght me more boxes of promotional funnybook items from the Good Ol’ Days, back when there was only one (or two) X-Men series, when many titles still had triple-digit numbering, when the only “-gate” we had to worry about had “Water” in front of it. I’ve been digging though them, and within I found:

Malibu Sun #13 from 1992:


…featuring a preview of Spawn #1, back when Image and Malibu Comics were briefly iinked together. As others have commented when I posted a pic of this on the Twitters…”that’s some logo.” Anyway, there are some black and white pin-ups by McFarlane inside, and a short (very short, since it had barely existed at this point) history of Image Comics and where it came from and why, and boy howdy do these things go for a pretty penny on the eBay.

Valiant Comics loved its chromium, as evidenced by this wee little “Ninjak on Sale” display piece from 1994 (I presume):


Measures about 5 by 8 inches, and is basically just a miniature version of the cover to the first ossie drawm by future Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada.

“Hey, where’s the new issue of Thor Corps?” “Why, right below the Thor Corps ‘New Arrivals’ sign, of course!”


Dated 1992. Odd choice to represent Marvel’s publishing line for All Time on a sign that’d be posted about the new comics and left there ’til it sunfaded into nothingness, but who am I to judge?

Speaking of odd choices, please enjoy this unopened pack of First Comics stickers from 1983:

And a closer look at said stickers:


Now, I read and enjoyed Mars as it was coming out, but even I’m like “…what would I do with a bunch of Mars cover stickers?” But stickers featuring First Comics mascot Teddy Q — well, those have no end of uses!

My favorite piece so far is the one that’s in the worst condition (a lot of dings and creases, but somehow never actually displayed!)…this promo poster for the second issue of the original magazine series of Nexus, from 1982:


Never did buy all those original mag-sized Nexus issues…got the third one for the flexidisc, but was otherwise satisfied with the trade collection First released years later. Also, that’s Paul Gulacy art on that nice-lookin’ cover, which I misidentified as “Steve Rude” in my rush to get this thing listed. Ah, well…fixed now.

You know, every time I’m reminded of Nexus, it makes me want to go back and reread all the comics. Man, I don’t have time for that…I’m behind on the new comics as it is. Anyway, Nexus is a good comic, is what I’m trying to say.

Next time…more stuff!

“BRIAAAAANNNNN!!!” [shakes fist]

§ August 13th, 2018 § Filed under collecting, Uncategorized § 4 Comments

So this Twitter discussion with Pal Andrew got me nostalgic, in a way, for my days of comic collecting just prior to my frequenting dens of iniquity, er, I mean, comic shops…well, okay, same difference. Anyway, I was thinking back to my comic buying progression, from occasional purchases from grocery stores and newsstands, to buying those three-packs of Star Wars comics at Toys ‘R’ Us, to digging through stacks of old comics at used bookstores, to making the rounds on my bicycle of all the local convenience stores and that one nearby grocery store.

It was one day in 1983, while going to one of those convenience stores that was a little farther afield trying to track down an issue of something or other, that I ran into a friend of mine from school. I told him what I was up to, and he said “oh, you should check out Ralph’s Comic Corner, it’s a comic book store in Ventura, they should have what you’re looking for,” and thus did my long association with that store begin, leading to my evenual employment there, and of course to opening up my own store. So, should anyone ever ask how I ended up in my current situation, you can blame old schoolmate Brian Lindquist, wherever he may be now.

Not to say that Ralph’s was my first-ever comic shop. I visited one in Simi Valley prior to that, after having seen an ad or a coupon or something cluing me into its existence. That was a slightly further trek to make than the relative closeness of Ventura, so we didn’t go to that store very often (I think ultimately only about a half-dozen times, at most, including that one time I met Chris Claremont).

But, as I was saying, before delving deep into the world of THE DIRECT MARKET and all its horrors, I had various places around town that I’d hit up for comics, some relatively close, some requiring a little more of a journey, and you’d have to check them most of them out on a pretty regular basis to make sure you were seeing all the newest releases. The aformentioned grocery store usually had a pretty good selection, and, especially during the summer, more than once I’d show up on New Arrival Day just a little too early only to see the uncut bundles of comics sitting in a cart, waiting for some probably overworked employee to finally find the time to open ’em up and toss them on the rack.

The one place that was more of a “last resort” was a convenience store that was a little farther away than the rest, so I didn’t go there too often, especially since they inexplicably charged tax on comics (something that periodicals weren’t subject to in Califoria at the time), and even worse, sometimes the comics would have a price sticker directly affixed to the front covers! Eep! On the other hand, that particular shop was the one place I ever saw the Superman Spectacular out in the wild, which is still one of my favorite Superman stories, so I can’t think of it with too much disdain.

The best place in town to get comics was a place deep in Oxnard called the Strand Newsstand, which had pretty much everything. Tons of magazines, lots of paperback books, the extensive porn wing, and, of course, multiple spinner racks of comical books. Once I started going there (and we went there weekly, both my dad and I), my need to circulate amongst the other convenience stories pretty much declined (though I’d still pop in once in a while to tide me over between Strand visits). The weird thing about this newsstand, which has me wondering about their distributor situation, is that they’d occasional get stuff that primarily would go through the comic shop direct market. PC Comics, such as Groo and the Berni Wrightson Master of the Macabre, I found there. Fanzines like The Comic Reader. The first issue of Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories. The Comics Journal. And they seemed to get things a little bit earlier than my other funnybook sources, too.

Whatever the reason for their comic stocking advantages, this store became the place for me to get my regular comics fix…even after discovering Ralph’s Comic Corner, this place was still closer to us and I split my purchases between both shops. Eventually, I did more or less fully migrate over to just buying from Ralph’s, especially once I started seeking out back issues.

A lot of those places I used to buy from have since closed up shop, or stopped carrying comics…presumably for reasons unrelated to my no longer visiting them. It’s certainly a lot easier for me now to stay on top of gathering the comics I want to read, since all I have to do is wait for them to show up at my store after I order them. (I mean, theoretically, given the usual vagaries of our supplier.) Definitely more convenient, but somewhat…lacking in the mystery and excitement I used to feel traveling from shop to shop wondering what will be there, what new comic will I discover, what new stories will I hardly be able to wait to get home to read.

§ July 21st, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on …

Our sorrow for the victims of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, and our sympathies for their family and friends.

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