thrifty special edition: gem city comic con 2014 finds!

Every time I go to a comic convention, I devote some bloggin’ time to showing off what I got. At last week’s Gem City Comic Con, I splurged on so much stuff, I thought I’d split these posts up: one about my comic buys and one about the toys I picked up.

This was a GREAT con for me insofar as it allowed me to fill in a bunch of holes in my comics collection.

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I could NOT have been happier with the amount of Christmas themed comics I found at GCCC. Collecting Christmas comics is a small pursuit within my larger hobby and I found no less than three books I’ve been searching for for YEARS. The first, and most important of these is DC Comics’ Christmas with the Superheroes #1I wrote at length about Christmas with the Superheroes #2 a few years ago – it remains one of my favorite comic books ever and I’ve been looking for the first issue practically since I originally bought #2 all the way back when I was in elementary school. It’s a reprint collection of some of DC’s best holiday stories.

I was also thrilled to find an affordable copy of The Batman Adventures Holiday Special, another old favorite. Essentially a “jam” issue created by the artists and writers responsible for B:TAS, I snagged this book for $2 bucks which is a pretty good deal considering a lot of the earlier issues of The Batman Adventures are starting to go for big money on the secondary market thanks to the early appearances of Harley Quinn.

I’m hoping to write at length about some of these books come Christmastime for 2014’s Christmas Comics Cavalcade, so stay tuned for that.

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I’m slowly filling in my collection of Kyle Baker’s run on Plastic Man. I don’t know if this comic was underrated during its’ inception but it’s pretty fantastic. Back to the Future #1 is one of the worst drawn professional comics I’ve EVER seen but I picked it up because I like these adaptations. The California Raisins (in 3-D) #1 is about as fantastic as you might expect. The X-Files/Ghostbusters crossover issue just struck my fancy as I’m a regular reader of IDW’s Ghostbusters series.

I also picked up one of these blank covered modern comics – I was thinking of drawing something on the cover somewhere down the line.

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As always, these cons are a great place to catch up with modern runs on recent books that, for monetary reasons, I had to pass up during their original stay on comic shelves. To wit, I more or less finished out my run of Jason Aaron’s time on Wolverine & The X-Men. I’m emphatically NOT an X-Men fan but Aaron’s ability to effortless move back and forth between humor, pathos and action on this title completely won me over. The book also had some amazing artists during Aaron’s tenure, including Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw. I’ve heard good things online about The Superior Foes of Spider-Man so I thought I’d give that a shot. I also finished out my run of FF; wish that book could have gone on longer.

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Finally, I picked up a more or less complete run of Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker’s runs on Detective Comics post No Man’s Land. I wish I had appreciated these books more when they were originally on stands – Rucka and Brubaker are two amazing comics writers and their take on Batman is one I prefer greatly to the one DC is currently publishing.

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So, my favorite finds from GCCC are these two toys from ToyBiz’s DC Comics Superheroes line: Robin and Mr. Freeze. This line was released concurrently with the 1989 Batman toys ToyBiz produced and a few months ago I talked about how much I loved that Batman toy as a kid even though objectively, it wasn’t a great toy. I also owned these two action figures as a kid. Both of them are based on Kenner’s DC Super Powers sculpts, just a little bit crappier… but as the only game in town, I loved ‘em. The Robin toy especially was a favorite as it was to scale with the Michael Keaton Batman. These are pretty much pristine on card but I’m planning on ripping them out sometime soon.

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As a Minimates collector, I had next to no interest in Art Asylum’s reboot of the classic 1980’s toy property Battle Beasts. As far as asthetics go, I prefer simplicity in my Minimates; when they more resemble a brick figure like LEGO or Kubrick, that’s hitting my sweet spot. Recent Minimate efforts have been more highly sculpted and I tend to avoid those… but these three Battle Beasts were marked down to $2 bucks apiece so I figures I’d give them a shot. Turns out, they’re pretty cool.

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At that same “clearance” sale, I picked up these DC Pocket Heroes, an idea that seems now to be a little ahead of its’ time. During the late 1990’s, early 2000’s, DC Direct made a bunch of these ultra-simplified action figures, harkening back to the days of Mego and Kenner 3 and 3/4th inch toys. DC was able to make a fairly wide variety of characters because of how basic the sculpts were on these little guys. I picked up Lois Lane and Bizarro for $2 bucks.

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Finally, I bought one of the ReAction Alien figures – I really love this idea Funko has of doing “lost” toy lines of the 1970’s and 1980’s and beyond in this simplistic style. It helps that these toys are based on the aborted Kenner Alien toy line of the seventies. I’ve run into a problem with this toy, however: The packaging is so wonderfully vintage, I haven’t been able to bring myself to rip it open!

…and here’s the thing, that’s not even everything! I’m leaving off a bunch of trades, comic paperbacks, and other stuff! I’ve babbled enough at this point though – I’m already looking forward to 2015!

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