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2015’s Annual Inventory Revisited, With Added Impulse Buys

by  in Comic News Comment
2015’s Annual Inventory Revisited, With Added Impulse Buys

With Julie safely at a nice new job and our finances slowly recovering, I am finally in a place where I can buy comics again. So I decided to revisit the pull list, catch up with the books that were piling up, and so on.

There’s just one problem.

There wasn’t really anything to catch up with. Almost all the books I was getting were canceled. I already knew Spider-Man 2099 was going on some kind of break but Princess Ugg and Hulk going away as well surprised me. Moreover, both Shaft and Star Trek/Planet of the Apes are done now. So, just as I’m actually able to buy stuff again, a lot of the stuff I was buying has ended.

Yes, yes, I know that there’s probably going to be all sorts of rebooted versions and whatnot spinning out of events like Secret Wars and Convergence, but the truth of the matter is that I have zero interest in these events; they tend to chase me OFF books I’m reading, rather than get me interested in the rest of the line. Spider-Man 2099 damn near lost me with “Spider-verse.” (Incidentally, am I the only one that feels like the through-line of Convergence is DC saying, “Yeah, all those books we used to publish that you liked a lot? Well, those are all gone now.”)

But the bottom line is, I was down to four books on the monthly pull list– Star Trek, Batman ’66, Daredevil, and Aquaman… and Aquaman and Daredevil both have creative-team changes in the offing.

Cullen Bunn has done enough work I’ve enjoyed that I’ll probably give his Aquaman a chance, but who the hell knows how Daredevil‘s going to end up?

I did decide to officially add a couple of books that I’d been getting anyway. The TV Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie-in book and the Star Trek New Visions photo-collage books are both great fun and I wanted to support them in the forlorn hope that maybe THEY won’t get the axe after a year or so.

I figured the new Richard Benson Avenger series from Mark Waid and Ronilson Freire would be right up my alley so I reserved that too.

But knowing Dynamite, it’ll likely be six issues and out for that one, as well. So the end result is that even though I don’t have a lot of money to blow on comics on any given day, the budget was such that I had an extra few dollars to burn on whatever I felt like.

Nothing new was really catching my eye, though, and after seeing Age of Ultron in the theater last weekend, with all its riffing on Ultron Unlimited and “Cap’s kooky quartet,” I was in kind of a retro-Marvel mood.

(Weird to realize that Ultron Unlimited is ‘retro’ for a lot of you out there. Geez I’m old.)

So I went trawling for used and remaindered paperback Marvel collections online and wound up with these…

Savage Hulk by Alan Davis and company.

This collects a four-issue miniseries that came out not too long ago, plus the original X-Men #66 to fill out the page count. Bit thin even so, but I loved the story from start to finish. It’s a romp through Silver Age Marvel with Bruce Banner and the X-Men vs. the Abomination and the Leader. Banner on the run, trying to get his personal thing together but the Hulk keeps screwing it up; so the X-Men decide to lend a hand but they screw things up even worse.

That’s my favorite incarnation of the Hulk, and I’m glad that it’s the one they’re sticking with for the movies. Alan Davis has a great feel for these retrofitted Silver Age things and he’s done a great job with this. It was even kind of nice to see X-Men #66 again… I’d only read the black-and-white Essential version, so it was pleasant to see it in color.

All in all, considering that I only paid a dollar for the whole thing, I didn’t feel cheated by the page count, either. If I’d paid retail I might have felt shorted, but as it was it made me ridiculously happy.

What else? A couple of Marvel titles I’d kinda been meaning to get to for years showed up in a couple of used trade collections at ridiculously low prices, so I went for them both. Volume one of New Warriors Classic and of Quasar Classic.

Idle curiosity, really, coupled with the fact that the total expenditure for both collections was less than five dollars– for books that were essentially brand-new except for a remainder mark. And I enjoyed both of them well enough for that price.

New Warriors is a book that reads like something I’d have loved when I was a kid, but as an adult, well… it’s not really for me. It’s classic superhero-team stuff with a teen spin and about all I can say for that is that Fabien Nicieza has a slightly better feel for this kind of thing than Bob Haney did on the old Teen Titans.

But only slightly. The sheer nineties vibe of the thing– mullets, ponytails, and extreme slang everywhere– makes it seem horribly dated somehow. Check out the evil super-team Psionex, below, if you think I’m exaggerating here.

I don’t know why this gets to me here more than it does when I read blaxploitation-era Luke Cage, or stories from the sixties where Spider-Man is talking about the grooviness of Aretha Franklin, but it does. Nevertheless, New Warriors was solid straight-ahead superhero team stuff. I suspect that a lot of the affection for this book stems from the fact that it was hard to find solid superhero books from Marvel back then, or maybe just that everyone I know waxing nostalgic for that run was at the right age for it. But it didn’t get me all wound up for volume two.

Quasar from Mark Gruenwald and Paul Ryan was rather more interesting. Same kind of old-school Marvel superhero stuff, but this is also a title that seemed like it was shaping up to be Mark Gruenwald’s thesis statement on all of the Marvel cosmic history. Pretty much anyone could show up here and get integrated into the Quasar cosmology he was building.

I remembered the stories with Quasar at Project Pegasus and also dealing with the Serpent Crown, and Gruenwald did too; he spends a fair amount of time squaring up all that stuff and setting the stage for the new era. The good news is, he kept it moving and didn’t get TOO Roy Thomas about it.

And it was a pretty hefty chunk of comics for five dollars. I don’t know about New Warriors but I would probably be up for volume two of Quasar Classic if Marvel’s thinking about doing that.

In any case, I think I’m probably going to be spending more of the budget on used book collections like this than on padding out the pull list. It’s just a better cost-benefit ratio.

See you next week.

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