thrift store finds: rejected finds, part two

It’s time once again for Thrift Store Rejects: Books I bought at my local thrift stores that are sorta-kinda interesting… but not interesting enough to rate an entire Thrift Store Finds post of their own. You can find the first rejects post here, if you are so inclined.

I gave author/novelization guru Craig Shaw Gardner some props when I rediscovered his Batman novelization amongst the paperbacks a few months ago… and then last week, I found Back to the Future, Part III, written by the man. I don’t have as much residual BttF love to reread the novelized adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Hill Valley, 1885, but I remember buying this at my elementary school’s Book Fair and reading it to pieces.

Interestingly, on his website, Gardner mentions the tremendous amount of sales of these books brought through Scholastic Book Clubs. I always remember buying novelizations of popular movies through Troll or some other school fundraiser.

Gardner also mentions how closely he worked with Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale on these novels, to the point where Gale insisted that no scenes be written from the point of view of the trilogy’s bad guy, Biff… or I suppose, in this book, Biff’s distant relative, Buford “Mad Dog” Tanen. I have to say, I admire Gale for being so involved in the ancillary material for Back to the Future. It shows a level of care and commitment that you don’t normally see. Most Hollywood folks are simply content to cash a check, regardless of how cruddy thef final product turns out.

I will here refrain from mentioning the NES Back to the Future video game at any great length.

A stack of comics just popped up at the thrift store, fifty cents apiece. They are not pristine, “put ’em in mylar bags and save ’em to pay for your kid’s college tuition” comics… they’re just slightly worn reader copies. The store had a pretty nice variety of books, but I scrounged a couple I’ll likely parcel out and talk about over the next few weeks.

I was a pretty big fan of writer/artist John Byrne growing up- when I was a teenager, I regularly bought back issues of his run on Superman from the gigantic flea market in my hometown.

For some reason, I never managed to find Superman #18 in the longboxes of my youth- a one-off where Superman visits the rubble and wreckage of his home planet Krypton. I don’t know if the dealer I was buying comics from simply did not have this issue, or if I willfully skipped it because the artwork wasn’t by Byrne, but instead a fill-in issue by Mike Mignola. Mignola’s went on to huge success with his Hellboy character at Dark Horse Comics, but I wanted to take a peak at his take on Supes.

There’s definitely a Byrne influence on Mignola’s pages here, but his signature angular style peaks through to great effect.

Here’s my Mike Mignola story: When I was 13 years old, I went to my first comic book convention at the Javits Center in New York City. Mike Mignola and Geof Darrow were sitting in Artist’s Alley, signing books. I asked Mr. Mignola to sign my copy of Hellboy #1… and he was visibly taken aback when I asked him to personalize his signature to me. He was clearly pleased at the request and said something like, “Not many kids ask me to personalize my signature these days. Good for you!”

I assume he meant that most kids see dollar signs when the get a comic signed, thinking that it will be worth big bucks somewhere down the road… that price being offset somewhat if the author or artist writes “Dear Chris” or whatever.

Anyhow, I still have the comic and took away a valuable lesson. Artists like to know that you’re going to appreciate their work, rather than sell it for a quick buck somewhere down the line.

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