Thursday, March 26, 2020

Project Firsts

It's really happening! The project is really coming true. With the start of any project, there's some they are.

First book scanned:
First book reread:
I don't know yet when I will find one of the books I have yet to may be a while. I'll post about it when I do.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

it begins...finally!

Today, March 25th, 2020. the project that I've been talking about doing since at least 2015 has finally begun. It's actually a two-fold project. I'm going to be scanning the covers of my entire collection, and finally reading my entire collection! I don't know exactly how many books I've got but have not read, but it's a lot. In the mid-1990s I was given a collection of over 500 Marvel and Independent comics that I've never read...and haven't even seen since 2002. My aim is to change that.

This is not going to be a quick project. Scanning is fairly quick, but reading them takes more time. I do not know how long it will be before I finish, but there's no time limit.

I'm also going to be trying to find which issue of the Dark Horse Star Wars comics I have a letter in. I don't remember which title or what year it was...I'm going to have to check every single letter page until I find it!

I will have more info on this project as it develops, I just wanted to get this commemorated in a post on the actual day I began...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

34 years ago today

It was on this date in 1984 when my brother read me a comic for the first time! It was DC Special #29, the origin of the JSA. I've never left the hobby! I can't post any images because my computer died today, but I couldn't let the day go by without a quick post written up on my tablet.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Back to reading again!

I've taken a bit of a vacation from comics. Reading them, anyway. I've never been far from the hobby- I've read Back Issue and Alter Ego regularly, and I'm on the Back Issue Facebook group on a daily basis, so I've been reading about comics...just not actual comics. It isn't as bad as the lack of posts for 14 months would show- I did read quite a few back in June when I brought home a whole bunch from the Albany Comic Con. I just never got around to writing about them here. I kept saying to myself "don't forget to post them" but I kept putting it off and off some more and eventually I ended up forgetting whatever it was I planned to say.

So, now that I'm back to reading again, I knew I couldn't let that happen this time and I needed to write about what I read. And so, without further blabbering, here's the five comics I read on October 19th, 2018:
Hot Rods & Racing Cars #31
I began with an old favorite series- Hot Rods and Racing Cars is my favorite of the Charlton Car Comics. It's also the longest tenured, as the series began all the way back in the early 1950s, 1951 to be exact! It ran to #120, in 1973- but #31, dated July 1957, is now my oldest Charlton produced book. And not just of this series, but overall! It is, in fact, my first Charlton comic from the 1950s.

I have to say, the later issues were better. This issue had multiple stories and they were all pretty formulaic- guy has a car, guy fights with other guy with a fancier car, guy beats other guy and then they make plans to work together in the future. Most of the stories also focused on "The Girl" who initially was with the guy, spurned him for the other guy, and then gets back with the original guy. In one of the stories the girl was the sister of other guy. It did feature the standard stereotype of the girl not knowing anything about cars, too.

The shortest story in the book was a three page tale of the 1955 Monte Carlo Grand Prix (F1 race). It was truly the best of the three, even if everyone in the book spoke in typical Charlton style dialog, already present at this date.

The later issues in the series, they were much more entertaining. The  series did eventually develop continuity, although slightly loose, and that era is lots of fun. With that said, I would gladly collect other issues from this earlier time, but this is the first one I've ever seen.

By the way, there are no stories with motorcycles in the book.  The Grand Comics Database notes that the cover art may be an early effort by Dick Giordano, but it's not known for sure.

I followed that up with a quartet of military comics, something I've been on a kick of as of late:
Combat #36

Combat #40

Combat #35
Although War-Stories appears on the covers, the title of this publication is just "Combat"

The painted covers here are fantastic! The stories inside are pretty decent, as well. What's interesting is that two of them were true stories with real people as the feature, while the third- the Midway issue- tells a true story but appears to have "prototypical" people, not specific real people. It didn't hurt the quality of the story. Midway is my favorite battle of the war to read about, so there was little doubt in my mind that I would enjoy it. The art is good as well. Each issue featured a long lead story, a short backup that didn't feature real, documented events and a text page. The text pages all carried copyrights from the 1960s so they must be reprints but I don't yet know enough about military comics to know from where.  Issues #35 and 36 are from 1972, while #40 is from 1973.

Unfortunately, the issue number does not appear on the covers. That's one of my pet peeves in comics.

I also find it interesting that the indica states that the book does not feature any persons living or dead, yet, it clearly DID. Various personalities of WWII are mentioned by name, and have very clear images that could not be mistaken for anyone else- the fifth page of the first issue I read (#35) is mostly presented as word bubbles spoken by Winston Churchill, for example.

I'm pretty sure that these are the first books I've ever read from Dell. Certainly the first that originated from Dell and not licensed books, as I know I have some Hanna-Barbera comics published by Dell. The question is, Have I read them? I don't know. Hopefully that question can be put to bed in the not too distant future, but that's a topic for another time.

As I just learned while researching this post, #40 is the final issue in the series. According to the GCD, #40 is a reprint of #14, while #35 reprints #9 and #36 reprints number 10. That explains the dated text pieces!  Also, most of the art was done by Sam Glanzman, so that explains why it felt like I recognized it...I did!

I finished up with a DC book, of course.
Blitzkrieg #4
Blitzkrieg was unusual in that it was told from the German point of view. I have to wonder if this sprung from the success of Enemy Ace, but it didn't quite resonate as much- Baron von Hammer is a sympathetic character, the Nazis are not.  That might explain why Enemy Ace has been popular for years, and this title ran for only 5 issues, all contained in 1976.

There doesn't appear to be any continuity to the series, with each story being standalone and and featured German not even surviving in each case.

The cover "kinda-sorta" happens in the issue, not something guaranteed, especially in the 1970s.

This is only the second issue of the series I've read, as I didn't begin to collect military comics until very recently, having focused almost solely on superheroes for most of my life.

Honestly, I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as the Combat issues that I read, but I can't say it was bad. Not something I'd list as a favorite though.

Hopefully, I will actually remember to keep posting when I read, although I can't guarantee detailed reviews every time, especially if I start reading a whole bunch in one day- it's not uncommon for me for me to go on a reading streak and read more than 10 or even 20 books in one day. (my personal record is 53 comics in a day)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Two new Military additions

When my COMC order came in, it also included four comics. I finally read the two military comics, and as is my usual pattern, scanned them after reading.
 Our Army at War #249 dates to 1972.
Our Fighting Forces #70 is a full 10 years older, from 1962. If it wasn't for the water damage, which I knew about, it would be in pretty darn good shape.

It had been a while since I added any new military comics so it was a nice surprise to find them on there.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A lifelong Dream come true, a comic from the 1930s!

If you've been reading my posts for a while, you know I've been in this hobby since I was 5 days old. I've always dreamed of owning a comic from the 1930s, but it always seemed like an impossible dream. DC Comics from the 1930s are expensive...not to mention rare. The ones that I've been able to find for sale are above what I can afford, by a wide margin.

A few weeks ago I was messing around on my tablet and discovered that it came with an Ebay app built in. I've had it since September but I didn't discover that until April. I got to looking around in comics and found my way to sorting by the decade. I naturally checked the 1930s, without expecting anything in my price range, but I still wanted to look. But...I was shocked to see, there WAS something I could afford! It wasn't DC, but it Was 1930s! Finally, today, it arrived!
Cover dated February, 1939, is Famous Funnies #55. It is my first issue of the title, and my first comic from Eastern Color- I think.
It predates my oldest comic by about a year, although since I have not had my collection out since 2002, I don't remember the exact age of my oldest comic previously, an Archie book.
It's not DC, which is what I've always imagined,'s 1939! And It's mine!!
It smells awful, but I kind of expected that as the water damage was known to me from the auction.

The condition and the fact that it's not a super hero comic meant I was able to add this to my collection for only...get this....$20!

What a shock, what a thrill! I do plan to read it, but it might have to be in small doses, due to the smell. The mail just got here about 2 hours ago so the "high" is still very fresh.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 5, 2017

The End

At 6:25 this morning, I completed a project that has been ongoing for the past 10 years...and completing it has me in a rather foul mood, to be honest. In August 2007, I began a project of reading or rereading every DC Comic from 1975 on. Originally, the plan was to stop at Crisis. Then, when I was still enjoying it, to stop at Zero Hour. When I was still enjoying it then, even though by that point there was very little I hadn't already read once (or more) before, I decided to go to the end. Of course, when I began, in 2007, I didn't know there would be an end. Who knew then that DC would throw away everything I loved about the universe with the New 52 stuff? In 2011 I found out that the project would end. Today, for all intents and purposes, it did. I still have a little bit of reading left to do, but it's outside the continuity or a bit of a throwback.. Ahead of me is DC vs Marvel and the Amalgam books, and I will conclude with the Millenium books, the reprints of important DC books issued in the year 2000. Finally, for the something like 7th time, JLA/Avengers, my all-time favorite comic book story.

But really, this is the end.

Now what do I do? This project- and DC Comics- have been a part of my life since Day 5. My brother read me my first comic at 5 days old and I've been reading DC ever since. (Well, in the early years, he read them to me). While I despise the New 52, I did stay on with the Green Lantern titles, but I bailed on them in 2016 when it was just the same 4 stories being told over and over again. For the first time in my life, there is no DC Comics to be read on my horizon, not a presence in every day.

I do have a plan. I have a bunch of comics I've never read. More than 500 Marvel, several hundred others, that I was given but never read. I have not even seen them since 2002. The last time I had them out, I was doing a survey of my collection when my dad lost his battle with cancer. I put them away and have not taken them out since. My plan, once I finish the Millenium books, is to get them out and read them. It would be nice to say I've read every book in my collection.

But it won't be the same. I won't be reading an entire history of a universe in chronological order. Don't have anything to look forward to in that regard. Many of the books are just single, random issues, possibly/probably partial stories that I may or may not even like. I've never really been a Marvel fan. I've read a few stories from time to time and to me they are just "simpler" than DC's books...not as complex, and more condescending to the reader. Granted, it's a small sample size. Also, there is nothing I hate more than spiders. Considering that one of Marvel's mainstay characters is Spider-Man, that does not bode well for me. I certainly do enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the JLA/Avengers series, though.

It's possible that I will enjoy what I read, and start to chase titles that aren't DC. I'm not sure, though, I may have a mental block against non-DC books, to be honest. Also, due to health concerns, I don't have a lot of money to spend on any hobbies anymore.

One other thing I'm going to miss....For DC's third continuity, I've been keeping track of how many cover appearances each character makes. Not just heroes, but villains and supporting cast as well. When I type in the October 2011 cover date books, I will do a post about that as well. I'm going to miss compiling that information. Since 2003 or 2004 (I can't remember exactly) I've kept track of first appearances.  My brother created the chart years ago but eventually got sidetracked and trailed off. I took over and built off what he created. (The cover count was something he created as well, but was lost at some point. I recreated it as a gift to him)

There were a couple of things I'd do differently were I to do this project again. Most importantly, I'd keep track of just how many books I'd read. I didn't do that, and now, I wish I had. I suppose counting them would be possible, in retrospect, but it would be a challenge to get at the books and I may accidentally count a book with multiple covers more than once, or count one of the non-continuity books I didn't read. Of course, I can also count a stack of something multiple times and get different results each time as well! If the idea had occurred to me, I would have kept track of how many issues of each title were included. (Yes, I'm OCD!)

Secondly, I have my scanner plugged in at all times. I wish I had made a visual recognition guide of each character, especially the obscure characters. I look at the listing of the cover appearances and there are names I have no memory of, and this is stuff I typed up myself! The idea came to me too in earlier this year. Why didn't I think of that sooner?

I do know this project is a once-in-a-lifetime event. I will never do it again...there are books that I really, truly hated. I never plan to read them again. Legends. New Guardians. (Not the Green Lantern series), The Wanderers, Dial H. Pretty much every Doom Patrol title post Crisis. I could go on. What may surprise some is that I include Crisis on Infinite Earths among the list of titles I don't plan to ever read again. I've read it either three or four times in my life, and with each rereading I despise it more and more. So much was much that never recovered from. Yes, there were some great things in DC's Third continuity, but the Silver Age was something special...and it was mostly lost because of the Crisis.

There were some titles, however, that I never really thought about- but I ended up loving. The 1978 Black Lightning series is one of the best ever. I am not even sure I knew the series existed before I did this project, but it turned out to be one of my favorites. Sadly, it ran only something like 11 issues. There are other great titles but that one really stood out.

My favorite series, during the project, was All-Star Squadron, at least until the Crisis killed it. Before that started, it was Legion of Super-Heroes and later, when they finally got their own series again, the JSA.

My favorite single issue was the 1978 Brave & The Bold Special. It was so bizarre that my brother and I still talk about it, even though I read it in either 2007 or 2008. In it, Batman fought historical criminals, and Guy Fawkes, the only one who didn't succeed in killing anyone, was leading all the worst people in history. Really? It was so bizarre. Hunt down a copy and read it for yourself!

My favorite line, and I don't remember which issue, is when Aquaman is going to meet some of the other heroes, and thinks to himself "I hope they aren't eating sushi!". This was in a 70s book but I don't remember which one.

My favorite in-continuity story is 1991's War of the Gods. Building out of and around Wonder Woman's title, it was incredible...and it could have been so much more. The writer/artist, George Perez (My favorite artist in DC history, mind you) had a temper tantrum because DC ran two crossovers in 1991 and quit mid-project. I constantly wonder what might have been, what we got was nothing short of incredible. Yes, I'm aware I used that word twice in regards to this storyline. It earned it.

My favorite out-of-continuity storyline is JLA/Avengers. It's beyond incredible. I have read it more times than I can remember. And I will read it again, as noted above. And I will read it again after that at some point, for sure. While I mentioned above some storylines or titles I never want to read again, this one is one I will read again and again.

My favorite character evolved over time. In the 1990s, when the books were being published, was Impulse. As time went on, they took away what made him interesting, though. Eventually, Golden Age Captain Marvel took the #1 spot, but technically that wasn't DC, but Fawcett. I'm not really sure who I would list as my favorite DC character. I like most of them, pre-2011.

My favorite team, by a wide margin, is the JSA. I will always be happy that my first letter in a DC comic appeared in a JSA book. (I also got one in Red Robin). In fact, it was when I read that not only was there no JSA title in the New 52, but that they had never existed in DC's 4th continuity...I knew then I was done.

And because of that...I'm now done with my project. I wish it wasn't ending, but I have no control over that.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Some new back issue additions

Saw a little shop and stopped in. Packed full of stuff, but mostly stuff I wasn't looking for. Still, I managed to find a few.

 Fightin' Marines #105. The only military comic I found in the entire store, not counting a few GI Joe which I already had. The area by the All in All-New was folded down, I thought it was missing a chunk of the cover when I bought it. Instead, it was there. At least mostly. I didn't mind it being missing so I viewed it as a bonus that it was actually there.

Famous cover. Story's kind of simple. Later became part of the DC Universe.
 Got it for the blue foil. I've always loved "special covers" and will pick them up when I see them in the cheap bins. I have not read this one yet.
 Cover is embossed and has silver foil. Did not enjoy it, but didn't expect to. I don't care for John Byrne's writing or art.
 All silver foil and embossed. Actually not a bad story. First Valiant comic I've ever read. Might pick up more if I see them cheap. Ran for 65 issues, this is #25. Condition is not that great due to it being loose in the dollar bin, no bag. I don't care.
I was surprised to find this one in the dollar bin. Most everything else was from roughly 1989 or later (all the way up to New 52 crap) but this book, from 1977. which is in pretty good shape was an outlier. I love the pre-Crisis Legion so I had to get it even though the story is not new to me...this is actually MY copy, instead of just one I have access to.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Scan Catchup- Everything else

Here are the covers of the other books that do not fit into the previous posts.
Hate that somebody wrote on the cover. Otherwise in very good shape for a book from 1966. 

 This one and the one below are the free comics that sometimes show up with comic orders. They count.
Since I only have one DC comic and one DC trade I decided to put them here, instead of making a separate post.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Scan Catchup- DC Military

2016 is when I really started collecting DC's military titles on a full time basis. I have had more than a few of my rather limited post output about them, but it wasn't all. This finishes them off. At least until I can get to one of our local cons or shops and buy more.

This is #284. The cover was not printed properly and the last digit is not present.