To Slab or Not to Slab…

 CGC BooksThere are great reasons to slab a comic (slabbing is slang for getting a comic professionally graded and encased in an un-openable hard plastic shell from CGC, PGX, or CBCS).  We’ll do a subsequent blog talking about the merits of the various companies that offer grading/slabbing services, but for right now, let’s concentrate on the general concept of slabbing your comics.

If you’re purely interested in protecting your comics, mylar and acid free boards will protect the books just fine.   Have a look at the Blog entry on bags & boards for more info on this.  If you want to go the extra mile, stick your mylar bag into a top loader.  This will provide really sound protection for your comic for considerably less than you will pay to have it slabbed.

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Shawn purchased Avengers #58 slabbed because there are often accuracy issues with grading a cover with a lot of white

On the other hand, if you are buying an expensive comic over the internet and want a 3rd party graded copy to ensure you that you’re getting what you’re paying for, getting a slabbed book is a way to ensure that.  Third party grading will alleviate any worries about misrepresented grades and restoration.  However, you will often pay for that privilege.  High-grade slabbed books will frequently sell for multiples of what an unslabbed (also called “raw”) book will sell for.  In fact prices can vary quite a lot in the Near Mint to Mint Range.  The Overstreet Price guide doesn’t assign price values to books over 9.2 stating that prices in these grades are “frequently considered extremely volatile”.

When buying over the internet, slabbed books are protection against the non-professional graders out there (even among dealers) who have a wide variety of skill on grading in the fine, very fine and near mint categories.  Each grading point can sometimes amount to a non-trivial increase in price so a misgraded book can cost a buyer some money.  Slabbing is a benefit in the internet age not only for the buyer since almost everyone can become a potential dealer; slabbed books are more ‘liquid’ and are generally easier to sell .

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Bob bought this slabbed variant cover because (1) it’s a really cool homage to the classic Green Lantern #76 – and- (2) He wanted to have a perfect “Gem Mint” comic in his collection

What about if you want a “perfect comic”?  If you do you’d better get 3rd party verification.  If you’re a stickler for 9.8 or higher, you NEED 3rd party verification.  The differences in grade are so minor at the very top end of the grading scale that the slightest flaw can change the grade.  Once you get a really high grade verified by a 3rd party, you never want to physically touch that book again.  Any kind of handling could easily drop a grade to 9.6 or lower.  That’s why slabbed books cannot be opened and slabbing will turn your comic into something that just can be displayed (or stored away).  Opening the slab (also called ‘cracking the slab’) invalidates the grade and it will need to be re-submitted to get it re-slabbed.

So, lots of reasons to buy books that are slabbed.  What about slabbing your own books? Slabbing your own books can be done for a variety of reasons;

  1. You are interested in preserving the book (see above, use mylar if this is your only motivation)
  2. You are interested in re-selling the book down the line (having the book slabbed will make it easier to re-sell, but not necessarily at a premium)
  3. You want the opinion of a 3rd party grading service
  4. You want 3rd party assurance that your comics are a certain grade or above (you want a certified “high grade” collection)
  5. You think slabbed books are “just cool

Be very careful when deciding what to have slabbed.  High grade books are great candidates, as are “keys” (e.g. a #1 comic, a 1st appearance, death, or other significant event).  Slabbing a random non-key book is often not likely to pay off in increased value, nor will slabbing books under 6.0, after grading costs you may in fact lose you money if ever attempting to resell lower grade non-keys.  As with anything, slabbing lots of books make the “per each” cost less.  A dealer that sends in a whole bunch of stuff is going to get a better price than a collector who slabs a couple of books every now and again.

Our philosophy on slabbing below 6.0 is “Do it if that plastic case makes you feel happy, because it’s not necessarily going to make you $$$.”  If it makes you happy, no one can take that away from you.

Cerebus_12

Bob bought this Cerebus #12 for about 75% of guide value (shipping included), even though it was graded 9.4

Many people interested in buying slabbed books are primarily interested in buying higher grade books.  Lower grade slabs seem to be a buyer’s market on many books.  Bob knows from the personal experience of buying CGC’d 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 books significantly BELOW guide prices (including keys like Amazing Spider-Man #1 and Showcase #22) that slabbing books that are not considered “investment grade” will often not pay off from a resale point of view.  This is not to say that they are not worth money, or that you may not be able to find some buyer somewhere willing to pay full guide or even a bit more for that slabbed book in 4.5.   In fact, depending on the age price and significance, some lower grade books may pay off for you if slabbed, it’s just not as much a sure thing as a slabbed high grade comic. Keep in mind that if you need to sell, those lower grade books may not be worth MORE if they are slabbed but will likely sell quicker since they buyer has an assurance as to the grade.

For recent books, the market is even more volatile if you don’t get that 9.8 (or the ever elusive 9.9 or 10.0).  We’ve seen books from the past few years in 9.6, 9.4, and 9.2 selling for less than what a regular collector not getting bulk dealer pricing would pay to get them slabbed.  This is where having some really strong advice on pre-grading books that are submitted could save you big bucks.  Anything from the past 10 years that is not a “super-key” book should be as high a grade as possible  if you are slabbing it as an investment.

So, To Slab or Not to Slab?   The answer is “it depends”.
If you do it for the right reasons it can be fun and enhance your collecting and/or re-sale experience.  Hopefully you’ll have enough knowledge going in to make the right choice.

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com -and-
Shawn Hoklas:
shawn@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Guest Blog: Con Report – Wizard World Chicago 2014

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Wizard World Chicago at the Rosemont Convention Center.

Chicago has two major comic book conventions; C2E2 in April taking place at the McCormick place in downtown Chicago, and Wizard World in August, which takes place in the city of Rosemont about 30 minutes outside of the city. What for years was known as Chicago Comicon, was purchased by Wizard in 1997 and Wizard has expanded their lineup ever since, and quite dramatically this past year and into next, with a planned 22 shows that includes nine new cities. That’s quite a bit of growth for the company as they look to expand in areas where there may not be so many established cons, like Des Moines, Greenville and Raleigh. You can see a more complete list of conventions on the ComicSpectrum Convention calendar.

Although it can be a bit popular to pick on Wizard when compared to the other major cons, I felt that this year they did quite a bit right and was one of their more enjoyable conventions in recent years. Below are just a few reasons why;

  • They split the show into two areas, one focused primarily on Comic Book Dealers and Artist’s Alley, and the other side of the con for the autographs, toys and miscellaneous dealers. These two area were separated by the large lobby where photos can be taken and the cosplayers can hang out and mingle. Last year Artist’s Alley was away from the comic dealers which didn’t make a whole lot of sense, so to see them back together was a pleasant and smart change. Because of the split, it also made the show feel less busy and less congested which was much more enjoyable compared to previous years. It will be interesting to see how the attendance compares to past years, but once the show started it never felt crazy which made the whole weekend seemed relaxed.
  • In terms of Artist’s Alley, there was a smaller amount of big time artists, but because the layout of the floor was planned so intelligently, getting to the artists was nice and easy. I was able to meet quite a few artists and writers and they all had the time to talk. They weren’t the main attraction at this show though, and it’s not surprising why the major publishers don’t attend.
  • Wizard doesn’t tend to get all the big comics publishers and as a result they put a focus on the big names just outside of the comic world. With names like Norman Reedus, John Carpenter and Patrick Stewart, they cater to a wider range audience that includes a nice gender balance.  There are also fewer panels targeted at comic fans, the panels they do have attract the diverse media oriented pop culture audience they seem to be targeting.
  • The dealers of comics seemed a little less than previous years, but there was still plenty to buy. CGC was doing on-site grading which is always a plus, and one of the rare shows where they actually do this. The CGC booth is always crowded and is a big reason for many local/small dealers and comic collectors to attend the show.
  • Pop culture oriented conventions have become very popular and tickets sold out early this year. If you plan on going next year, I’d strongly advise ordering your tickets as soon as they go on sale. Having to buy the individual days if you plan on going for more than just one day is not cost effective ($60 for just Saturday!).

Wizard World made a lot of improvements to their show this year and successfully managed the thousands of attendees, so much so that at times it had a “small show feel” despite the large size. As they add more shows to their calendar, it’s clear that they’re making things better. That benefits everyone, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they improve even more next August.

Shawn Hoklas for https://comicspectrum.com/
Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Marvel’s 75th Anniversary Omnibus

Marvel75
CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Marvel is producing a HUGE 1000 page omnibus featuring 75 of the top Marvel stories as voted by fans.  Keep that last part in mind: “as voted by fans”.

By doing the selection based on an online poll on Marvel.com this project has turned what could have been a cataloging of the best of the best into a popularity contest amongst fans who tend to hang around on their web-site.  A side-benefit is that they’re able to shrug off any questions about why something placed at a certain location on the list or even why some selections were on the list at all by pointing at the fans and saying “That’s how the vote turned out.”

I’m not trying to say that this is bad stuff, there are some truly great comics here, just that the specific rank order looks a bit off of what I’d expect (and I’m sure everyone has their own unique order).  The full list is on Marvel’s web-site, let’s look at the Top 10:
1. SPIDER-MAN: THE DEATH OF GWEN STACY
2. CIVIL WAR
3. SPIDER-MAN: KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT
4. DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN
5. X-MEN: THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA
6. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
7. THE INFINITY GAUNTLET
8. MARVELS #1
9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
10. AMAZING FANTASY #15

This is pretty balanced: 3 Spider-Man stories, 3 event-type stories with a plethora of characters from the Marvel Universe, 2 X-Men, Daredevil, and Captain America.  I’m a bit surprised there was not more X-Men or an Avengers story in the top 10.  Spidey for the win!

Looking at the specifics, I was kind of astonished that Civil War came in as #2 from the entirety of Marvel’s 75 year history.  In my opinion this is more due to a lack of awareness of the fans voting than anything to do with how awesome Civil War is as a story.  In general, we see a lot of things on the list that have either been made into movies or that are reprinted with regularity and so are in the front of people’s minds.  In the case of Civil War, it’s probably that it’s the fan favorite Marvel “event” of the past 10 years, which could be the entire time most voting fans have been reading Marvel.

Many recent Marvel events are on the list; Annihilation, House of M, Planet Hulk, Secret Invasion, World War Hulk.  That they all paced in the Top 75 of 75 year history of Marvel is a tribute to Marvel’s marketing machine, and good evidence why they keep doing several events every year.  Fans love them and they sell a lot of comics.  Selling comic is, after all, why Marvel is in business.  If events make this happen, then events they shall publish.  It’s also a re-assertion that the “window of awareness” for fans is likely about 10 years with selected classics kept available as reprints also scratching on their awareness.  That Amazing Spider-Man #700 charted at #46 is probably as far as one needs to look to confirm a really narrow window of awareness for fans voting on this list.

This Omnibus will ship in November (and will be on next month’s September Previews order form).  At a list price of $99.99 for 1000 pages, it’s a pretty decent price for that many pages of comics, as long as you don’t already have most of the stuff being included.  Amazon has it for $76.88 as of this writing and I suspect other on-line sites (like DCBS) will have it for an even more attractive price.

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Collecting Variants in the Phantom Zone

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I’ve talked about variant covers before (differentiating them from chase covers, look here for a reminder of the difference).  I like comics art and as a result, when they are reasonably priced, I will often pick up a variant cover for the sole reason that I like the art and I buy it as an object d’art.

If you like to collect variant covers you may have noticed the sub-genre of variants that are offered by a specific store with the store logo.  Forbidden Planet in the UK, Midtown Comics in NYC, Jetpack Comics and many more work with publishers to offer variant covers with some very nice art. The Phantom Group is a collective of more than 30 comics retailers (some of whom also offer store exclusives) that got together and pooled their resources to offer shared variant covers with the Phantom variant logo (seen at the head of this blog).  This allows collectors to get some really nifty things like the Paul Pope cover to The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (also seen above).

Revival

Another fun aspect of Phantom variants is when there is a series of covers that join together to form a connecting image.  An impressive example of this is Revival #1-10, which is challenging to display in a way that shows off the full scope of the art (the best way would be to put them on a wall, but I don’t have that kind of wall space).  Tradd Moore has a cool image of the combined image from issues #1-6 of Luther Strode on his Blog.

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An alternate to the Phantom variant is the “Ghost variant” which is also available through a select group of retailers but is released with no promotion prior to the day of release.  A few of my favorite examples of this type of variant are the Paul Pope variant for Saga #7 featuring The Stalk and Yuko Shimizu’s variant for Sex Criminals #1.

Low1-ExclusiveStore exclusive covers are usually nice but sometimes come with some really not nice prices (Jetpack is a big offender here, the Low #1 Jetpack/Forbidden Planet variant is $14.99 from Jetpack and £4.99, which is $8.40, from Forbidden Planet).  I’m not that big of a fan of paying $10+ for a $4 comic just to get a different cover image, but I’m often happy to kick in an extra buck or 2 over normal cover price and pay $5-6 for a comic with piece of art I really like.  If you wait around you can often find bundles of these on eBay, I recently got a bundle of the phantom variants to Bedlam #1-6 for $25, which came out to be $4.16 each, not much over normal cover price for the issues.  These end up on display on my spinner rack for several months and I justify them as both decorations for the comics room and cool collectibles.

The Phantom Group web-site has some useful information about the program but is really out of date.  As of this writing (in August 2014) it appears to not have been updated in over a year (since May 2013).  Phantom variants are still coming out, but whoever was in charge of keeping up the web-site has been asleep at the wheel.

If you like variant covers and cool artistic takes on favorite characters/series look into the sub-genre of collecting Phantom/Ghost/Store Exclusive covers, but shop around.  These are worth what consumers will pay.  If customers refuse to pay outrageous prices to a store for these variants they’ll ultimately lower the price to a more reasonable level to move their stock of exclusive covers.

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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Flying Below the Radar: August 2014

flyingbelowthe-radar-logo-Aug

This is a Blog I do once a month as I read through the advance solicits for comics shipping in two months.  Every month your local comic shop (LCS) places orders with Diamond Comics for what comics will be on their rack two months down the road.  That means in August they’re ordering the things that they’ll be selling in October, 2014.

This month we have a Free Comic Book Day preview come to light, the continuation of one of the best modern war comics, a scratch-and-sniff comic, a $1 primer on philosophy (and a bunch of other $1 comics, WOW!), a meme that could end the world, the return to print of a Grant Morrison classic after 20 years and many more comics that could have easily flown below your radar!  I cover lots of cool stuff that you may miss if you’re not reading though all the solicits like I do…  I scour the solicits so you don’t have to!

Comic shop owners are typically aware of the books from the big publishers particularly superhero stuff and “hot” indie books (usually AFTER they become hot) - beyond that there are no guarantees.  Even if they know about a particular comic they may not order it to put out on their racks.  I keep track of advance solicits that get posted on-line on the ComicSpectrum website each month, if there is something you really want that’s not guaranteed to be on the rack (like Batman or Avengers), you should consider letting your comic shop know you’re interested so they’ll know to order it.

I’ll point out stuff here each month that catches my eye and I typically do not see on the racks in every comic shop.  If it looks cool to you, make sure you ask your LCS to order it.  Heck, start a pull list at your shop and add the books you’re interested in so your shop will save them for you and you don’t have to worry about them selling out.

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CREDIT: Aspen Comics                                CREDIT: Avatar

THE ZOOHUNTERS #1 [Aspen]
Peter Steigerwald (writer/artist)
I’ve been looking forward to this since I saw the Free Comic Book Day preview!
There IS life on other planets — THEY find it. Abros Kel is a ZooHunter — a man who is hired to capture animals for zoos on alien worlds. He and his young son Ty have lost everything due to a tragedy, and together this uncomfortable pair set out into the stars to train Ty as a ZooHunter. Along the way they encounter scores of alien life-forms on far away worlds including Qaurecoan unscrupulous rival ZooHunter who is hunting Abros down. Can Abros and Ty stay one step ahead of his villainy and prove successful in their quest?
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

WAR STORIES #1 [Avatar]
Garth Ennis (Writer) • Matt Martin (Artist)
Garth Ennis’ War Stories find a new home at Avatar with the launch of this ongoing monthly! Pulling tales from real conflicts throughout modern history, this series is where a master storyteller brings the horrors of war to life in comics. Ennis travels the timeline to pull some of the most harrowing tales of valor and bloodshed from history’s most violent battles with his trademark wit and spot-on dialogue to show the humanity within the inhuman horrors. The first story is Castles in the Sky, a tale of early bomber pilots and their incredibly difficult missions.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

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CREDIT: Image Comics

BLACKHAND COMICS HC [Image]
Wes Craig (writer/artist)
Check out a preview of these comics on-line.  I’ve checked these out and they really appealed to me!  Presented in original landscape format.
Attention purveyors of fine comic products everywhere! You won’t want to miss this incredible offer! From the co-creator of DEADLY CLASS comes a collection of stories that stretches the limits of sequential storytelling itself!  Includes the instant classics “The Gravedigger’s Union,” “Circus Day,” and “The Seed!” Perfect for the casual hobbyist and obsessive collector alike! First time in print!
FC / 104 pg / $19.99

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CREDIT: DC Comics                                       CREDIT: DC Comics

GOTHAM ACADEMY #1 [DC Comics]
Becky Cloonan & Brendan Fletcher (writers) • Karl Kerschl (Writer)
After lamenting the general ‘sameness’ of DC comics New52 books they announced this book and it sounds different. I’m going to give it a chance!
WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange is the students!
Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!
GOTHAM ACADEMY is a new, monthly teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City, with new characters and old plus a secret tie to Gotham’s past…
FC / 32 pg / $2.99

HARLEY QUINN ANNUAL #1 [DC Comics]
Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (writers) • John Timms (artist)
The “scratch & sniff” issue Jimmy & Amanda were talking about at their SDCC panel!
We have to warn you, readers: This issue stinks! Seriously! Like, unpleasant odors are literally in the story! In this first-ever HQ ANNUAL, take a trip to Harley’s home of Coney Island in a groundbreaking “scent-ticular” issue, featuring actual, honest-to-gosh smells. This issue comes polybagged to contain the stench.
FC / 48 pg / $5.99

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CREDIT: Dark Horse                                      CREDIT: Dark Horse

#1 for $1: Action Philosophers [Dark Horse]
Fred Van Lente (writer) • Ryan Dunlavey (artist)
For one buck you need to try this great series!!
Get a taste of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s award-winning, best-selling Action Philosophers! Read about Plato, the wrestling superstar from ancient Greece, and learn the lessons of Nietzsche, the original übermensch!
• Plus, read a preview of Fred Van Lente’s exciting new creator-owned series Resurrectionists!
BW / 32 pg / $1.00

Father’s Day #1 (of 4) [Dark Horse]
Mike Richardson (writer) • Gabriel Guzmán (artist)
As a mob enforcer he was called the Eastside Butcher, but twenty years later Silas has found peace. That is, until his abandoned daughter shows up to give him a piece of her mind . . . and unwittingly leads a legion of hit men to settle accounts with Silas!
FC / 32 pg / $3.99

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CREDIT: IDW Publishing                             CREDIT: IDW Publishing

Edward Scissorhands #1 (of 5) [IDW]
Kate Leth (Writer) • Drew Rausch (Artist)
I was not excited about the announcement of this series until I heard 2 things:
1) It’s an all-new adventure revisiting Edward Scissorhands two decades after the end of the movie.
2) It’s by Drew Rausch who I’ve admired since I saw his art on his creator-owned series Sullengrey and the Haunted Mansion series from SLG in 2007. His style is perfect for this series.
In castle just outside a sleepy suburban town, a brilliant inventor created Edward Scissorhands…but left him tragically unfinished. Two generations of exile have left Edward digging through abandoned experiments, but once he wakes up a creature left buried, he discovers he isn’t the only one missing a vital piece. As Edward tries to fix a grave mistake, he comes face to face with a teenage girl who was sure he was only myth… despite the stories her grandmother told her, about the man she could never touch.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

The October Faction #1 [IDW]
Steve Niles (writer) • Damien Worm (artist)
The creative team behind Monster & Madman would like to introduce you to the ongoing adventures of retired monster-hunter Frederick Allan and his family… which include a thrill-killer, a witch, and a warlock. Because sometimes crazy is the glue that binds a family together.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

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CREDIT: IDW Publishing                                  CREDIT: Image Comics

Joe Kubert’s Enemy Ace: Artist’s Edition [IDW]
Bob Kanigher (writer) • Joe Kubert (artist)
Enemy Ace has always been my favorite DC war comic from Kanigher & Kubert. Getting the opportunity to see this is full-sized Original Art format will be a rare treat! Perfect for fans of original comic art, this is not meant for someone who just wants to read the story, but for someone who really wants to appreciate the comics pages as they were originally drawn and put together for publication.
In 1968, Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert launched a new kind of war book, one that showed military conflicts from the other side of the coin. Thought by many to be Kubert’s most powerful work, Enemy Ace told the story of a World War I flyer who had a keen sense of honor and deep-rooted nobility. Kubert took this new concept and rose to the challenge. Collecting Star Spangled War Stories #139, 140, 141, 142 144 (and added bonuses!)
HC / BW / 152 Pages / 12” x 17”

WYTCHES #1 [Image]
Scott Snyder (writer) • Jock (artist)
Snyder & Jock on a creator-owned book? I’m there!
Across the globe, century after century, men and women were burned, drowned, hanged, tortured, imprisoned, persecuted, and murdered for witchcraft. None of them were witches. They died protecting a terrible and hidden truth: witches, real witches, are out there. They are ancient, elusive, and deadly creatures that are rarely seen and even more rarely survived. We’re introduced to a world of unimaginable horror in a special EXTRA-SIZED FIRST ISSUE with 30 pages of story and no ads.
FC / 32 pgs / $2.99

Birthright_01 Rasputin_01
CREDIT: Image Comics                                  CREDIT: Image Comics

BIRTHRIGHT #1 [Image/Skybound]
Josh Williamson (writer) • Andrei Bressan & Adriano Lucas (artists)
For the Rhodes family, losing their son was the most devastating thing that could’ve ever occurred… but it couldn’t prepare them for what happened when he returned. Skybound’s newest original series turns fantasy into reality in this EXTRA-SIZED FIRST ISSUE.
FC / 40 pgs / $2.99

RASPUTIN #1 [Image]
Alex Grecian (writer) • Riley Rossmo & Ivan Plascencia (artists)
DRACULA AT DOWNTON ABBEY!
In one night Rasputin was poisoned, beaten, stabbed, shot in the head, drowned, then tied up and thrown in a frozen river. It was really bad timing. His beard was just coming in nicely. Grecian & Rossmo reunite for the first time since their critically acclaimed series PROOF!
FC / 32 pgs / $3.50

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CREDIT: BOOM! Studios                             CREDIT: Oni Press

MEMETIC #1 (of 3) [BOOM!]
James Tynion IV (writer) • Eryk Donovan (Artist)
A Meme is an idea that starts with an individual, and then spreads throughout multiple persons and potentially entire societies. Richard Dawkins suggests a meme’s success comes from its effectiveness to the host. But history shows that destructive memes can spread just as rapidly through society. MEMETIC shows the progression of a weaponized meme that leads to the utter annihilation of the human race within 72 hours. The root of this apocalypse is a single image on the internet, a “meme” in the popular sense. A meme that changes everything.
FC / 48 pgs / $4.99

HELLBREAK #1 [Oni Press]
Cullen Bunn (writer) • Brian Churilla (artist)
Try it for a buck!!
There are thousands of Hells, each unique, each terrible. Mega-cities ruled by vicious gangs. Empires where the most perverse are well-respected. Wastelands roamed by prehistoric monstrosities. With the proper tools and know-how — you can infiltrate Hell whether you’re dead or not. With the proper tools and know-how, you can break out. Project Kerberos has developed this forbidden technology, and a special forces extraction team is dispatched to rescue lost souls from the infernal realm.
FC / 32 pgs / $1.00

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CREDIT: Valiant Entertainment                CREDIT: Valiant Entertainment

One-Dollar Debuts [Valiant]
Archer & Armstrong #1 / Harbinger #1 / Quantum & Woody #1 /
Rai #1 / Unity #1 / X-O Manowar #1

If you have not yet given any of these titles a try yet, jump on them for $1 each!
All these series are well worth checking out and the cost barrier to entry is VERY low at $1 each.  Each has their own strengths and all are great comics reading.  Ask you local shop to order these for you and you can try out the new & improved Valiant Universe on the cheap!
FC / 32 pgs / $1.00

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CREDIT: Hermes Press                                     CREDIT: New Paradigm Studios

The Phantom #1 [Hermes Press]
Peter David (writer) • Sal Velluto (Artist)
The original Ghost Who Walks — The Phantom— returns in this late-1940s adventure.
This classic tale pits The Phantom against the Singh Brotherhood and their metal-handed leader who are intent on plundering an ancient fabled City of Gold. Only The Phantom, Diana and a newly found alley —taken from the pages of the first Phantom adventure— can stop them!
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

World War Mob TP [New Paradigm Studios]
Vito Delsante (writer) • Giancarlo Caracuzzo (artist)
Finally in print! I reviewed the digital release of issue #1 here.
World War II! Five men, all members of different crime families, all US soldiers, undertake a clandestine mission ordered by the heads of New York’s Five Families: for crimes against the Mafia, Mussolini must be killed. They must overcome bad blood, the Nazis, the men loyal to Mussolini and go behind the Army brass’ backs to do it for “La Cosa Nostra!”
FC / 100 pgs / $12.99

ZenithAsylumV1
CREDIT: Rebellion/2000 AD                                 CREDIT: Storm King Productions

Zenith: Phase One HC [Rebellion/2000 AD]
Grant Morrison (writer) • Steve Yeowell (artist)
Available for the first time in 20 years, the legendary early work by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell! Berlin, 1945: The allies unleashed the World War II hero Maximan upon the German super soldier Masterman. Maximan’s defeat was only kept secret by the nuclear bomb which destroyed both men. Forty-plus years later, and twenty years after a generation of ’60s British superpowered heroes came and went, the teenage pop star Zenith is the only superhuman left – and his only interest in women, drugs, alchohol and fame. So when he is contacted about the threat from the many-angled ones and the impending destruction of our world, his first reaction is to steer well clear. But the superhumans of the past have other plans!
B&W HC / 112 pgs / $25.00

JOHN CARPENTER’S ASYLUM VOLUME 1 TP [Storm King]
Bruce Jones & Various (writers) • Leonardo Manco (artist)
I’ve seen (but not yet read) a review copy and the art is AWESOME!
There’s a war coming to the City of Angels. In the tunnels and dark alleys of the city, demons lurk… and Lucifer bides his time. One man knows and sees the truth. Father Daniel Beckett has seen demons and he’s spoken to the Devil, but he can’t say the same about God or his angels. Obsessed and driven as much by betrayal as righteousness and anger as redemption, he walks the smoke-filled homeless encampments of lost souls, like Dante’s nine rings of the Inferno. He is God’s warrior… at war with God. With this step into the comic book world, John Carpenter brings it all to the serial world he’s loved since childhood. Supernatural horror with that twist of fate that only flawed mankind can provide!
FC / 128 pgs / $19.99

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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SDCC 2014: Bob’s Top 10 – Summary of List

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Full write-ups for each item (with pictures) if you follow the links!

Honorable Mention: Image Expo: SDCC

#10 – Spotlight on Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner

#9 – Oni Press Comicstravaganza featuring Table Read of “The Life After #2″

#8 – Archie Forever: Life, Afterlife, and Beyond

#7 – That ’70s Panel

#6 – The Lost Comics Documentary

#5 – San Diego Comic-Con Mobile App

#4 -The Eisner Awards

#3 – Hanging out with friends (old and new)

#2 – Art & Comic Book Art by Arlen Schumer

#1 – Buying my first piece of Alex Ross original art

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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SDCC 2014: Bob’s Top 10 – #1

Bob_Doc8
Photo credit: Daniel Corey

<< #2                               >> Summary of List

#1 – Buying my first piece of Alex Ross original art
I happen to LOVE Alex Ross art; ever since I saw his work on Marvels in 1994.  His work on Kingdom Come in 1996 cemented his position as one of my favorite artists of all time. I have several lithographs of his work in my comics room at home right now.  But no originals.  Not before SDCC 2014.

Slap an Alex Ross cover on a comic and I’ll buy it (well, not if it’s a 1:75 chase cover, but I’ll buy it if it’s a regular priced comic!)  I also LOVE Doc Savage, as people who have noticed my Collecting Doc Savage Blog will know.  Add Alex Ross & Doc Savage together?  Wow!  I’m very happy! Now I need to get this framed & onto the wall!

That’s it for this year!  What a FABULOUS time of year.  Now to look forward to next year’s convention from Weds July 8th (Preview night) through Sunday July 12th!

<< #2                               >> Summary of List

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum Comic Blog Elite  Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

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