Archive for the thrift store finds Category

Thrift Store Finds Hallo-Weekends – Halloween III: The Season of the Witch movie novelization

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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This week, we return to my old beloved stomping grounds, the movie novelization. We’ll be looking at Halloween III: The Season of the Witch, written by Jack Martin, the pen name of horror writer/editor Dennis Etchison.

Season of the Witch Cover

The book is based on a screenplay by Tommy Lee Wallace and was published by Jove Publications in 1982. Cover price was $2.95, I paid fifty cents.

I’ve written about a bunch of these film tie-in books in the past. I’ve even written about the Halloween franchise novelized before!

As a pre-teen, I was an avid reader of novelizations as a way to carry my love of a movie out of the theater and into my everyday life. I had few friends who would buy the novelization to read about a movie their parents were never going to let them see (usually R-rated action and horror flicks). It was sort of a literary methadone to the pure heroin of cinema.

I picked up this novelization of Halloween III at the thrift store because I’m a HUGE fan of the first Halloween movie. I’ve seen it dozens of times and it remains a masterful work. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me I’ve also seen most of the other Michael Myers Halloween flicks (including Halloween H20 but excluding the Rob Zombie remakes) so I’m fairly up to speed with the series. I’ve seen them all… but I’ve never seen Halloween III.

If you’re at all a fan of the horror genre, you probably know why this is. Halloween III: Season of the Witch was something of a noble experiment. John Carpenter and the various producers decided to turn the franchise from a series focused on Michael Myers into a yearly Halloween-themed anthology. This third entry in the series told an entirely new story with no ties to the characters and situations that had made the previous two films such a success. Halloween III ended up being something of a disaster and the anthology idea was chucked out the window in favor of bringing Michael Myers back for another go-around not too soon after.

Halloween III has gained some cult traction in horror circles of late but like I said… it’s the one movie in the franchise I skipped. I decided to do an experiment of my own this Halloween season: I would read the novelization… then I would watch the movie for the first time. I wanted to see how my enjoyment of the movie would be either increased or tempered based on having read the tie-in book first.

First things first. How is the book? Click through to find out what I thought.

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Thrift Store Finds Hallo-Weekends: Ghostbusters comic books!

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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It’s three for the price of one on this second week of October. We’ll be looking three different Ghostbusters comic books published in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.

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These comics were purchased for me by my father last year in New Paltz, New York. Thanks Dad!

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Thrift Store Finds: The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #10 (DC Comics)

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

This week, we’ll be looking at The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #10, a digest-sized collection of comics published by (you guessed it!) DC Comics in 1981.

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Cover price is .95 cents… I paid $4 dollars.

I know what you’re thinking: $4 bucks is kind of a big purchase for me book-wise, you’re right! When I’m at thrift stores, I mainly stick to lower priced paperbacks. I found I couldn’t resist this one, mark-up be damned.

DC Comics got out of the digest business in the mid 1980’s but for years, digest sized presentations of their comics were a regular feature at newsstands and grocery stores across the country. These days, Archie Comics is the last company standing in regards to the digest… and there’s a very definite reason for that. Most Archie comics are meticulously drawn in a house style pioneered by cartoonist Dan DeCarlo. Comics drawn by the company today match DeCarlo’s style from the 1960’s. This gives Archie Comics a wealth of back catalog from which to draw for their current digests.

The art and writing for superhero comics has always been a bit more faddish – trends and artistic styles come and go with the times. A Superman comic from the 1960’s looks almost nothing like a modern day Superman comic, save for some cross-generational touches (the “S” shield, the cape, and so on). While Archie can seemingly reprint stories forever with consumers being none the wiser, most of DC’s back catalog has been rendered quaint by time.

This Best of DC Digest is subtitled Secret Origins of Super-Villains and contains six stories focusing on the baddies of the DC Universe. The majority of these stories look to be drawn from DC’s Silver Age of comics but although creator credits are given, the digest doesn’t give any notation of where and when the stories come from. I found this to be somewhat annoying but it makes sense given the time this book was published that this information would not have likely been at the forefront of reader’s minds. Some Googling does reveal the sources of these books and I’ll include them in my appraisals, but as far as I can tell, the first comic story in the collection is original to this digest.

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Thrift Store Finds: Cincinnati Comic Expo finds

Posted in thrift store finds with tags on September 21, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

Two weekends ago, it was the Cincy Comicon. Last weekend… the Cincinnati Comic Expo.

There’s a long, involved story as to how The Queen City came to have two comic conventions within two weeks of one another. Suffice to say, these two cons are very different beasts. If I had to define the difference, I would say that the Cincy Comicon is more purely a comic book show whereas the CCE leans much further toward a lot of the other aspects of pop culture that often get parceled with comic book shows. The CCE would be your choice destination if you wanted to shake hands with former Star Trek actors or extras from The Lord of the Rings movies. If you want to talk comics, you’d have better look at the Cincy Comicon. If you’ve read this blog at any length, I’m sure you know which side of the equation I’m more interested in… and indeed, from my perspective the Cincy Comicon was a FAR better show.

Yet, even keeping that in mind, I wanted to check out the CCE this year, if only because I’ve done it in the past and I didn’t have quite the shopping experience I was looking for at the Cincy Comicon.

Above are my spoils; below the cut, I’ll talk a little about them.

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Thrift Store Finds: Cincy Comicon Finds!

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

I’ve been posting stuff about the Cincy Comicon on my Tumblr all week and I thought I’d take today to post some of my comic book finds. Most people going to comic conventions have agendas they like to follow. Some folks are there to cosplay. Others are all about buying toys or art prints.

My agenda is to dig through longboxes and find cheap comics, both new and old. If I’m being honest, I was a bit disappointed with this con in terms of my finds – I try to concentrate on finding far-out weird stuff and there weren’t many of that to be had. Still, I did manage to bring a ton of funnybooks home with me, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Here’s what I picked up.

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Thrift Store Finds: Roger Rabbit #1 (Disney Comics)

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

This week we’re looking at Roger Rabbit #1, published in June of 1990 by Disney Comics.

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Cover price was $1.50, I got it out of a longbox for two bits. No shave and a haircut, sadly.

Quite a lot of the detritus from my childhood looks all the poorer when I look at it as an adult, but Who Framed Roger Rabbit remains a very good film even on revisiting. It has a solid script with a great mystery element, top of the line special effects, and the gags remain, for the most part, funny.

I know I was in love with the flick as soon as I saw it in 1988 and I wanted to carry that love out of the theater. Luckily, Disney was ready to oblige, with a bunch of merchandise and junk in stories branded with Roger Rabbit, Baby Herman and all the other ‘Toons.

Disney would have obviously wanted a Roger Rabbit comic… but producing one seems to have meant dealing with a couple of logistical hurdles.

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Thrift Store Finds: Crazy Cartoons by VIP

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , on August 31, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

This week we’re looking at Crazy Cartoons by VIP, published by Fawcett Crest in 1956.

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Cover price is fifty cents, I paid a quarter.

Although his style wast instantly recognizable to me the moment I picked this book up, I didn’t know VIP were the initials/pen name for cartoonist Virgil Partch. He was a well-known gag cartoonist throughout the middle of the 20th century, working in magazines and the syndicated comics market for much of his career. Partch’s style was surreal and strange; the tone of his offbeat strips ended up influencing quite a few comic artists up through today. It’s not a big jump to say that a modern gag strips like The Far Side owe a distant debt to VIP’s work.

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Thrift Store Finds: August’s Half-Off Sale

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

On the first Monday of every month, our thrift store marks everything in the store down to half off. During summer vacation, Ellen and I make a point to go to the store first thing on these Monday mornings, so as to have full range of choice in whatever secondhand wares that strike our fancy. Although we’re about out of August now, I thought I’d rundown our last half-off sale of summer 2013.

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BOOKS –  Lover Boy by Stan and Jan Berenstain was one I grabbed because I had already talked about the sequel to this book, Office Lover Boy, in a previous post. Seeing the husband/wife duo behind the wholesome Berenstain Bears work blue was something of a shock back when I wrote that post… and it’s still a little strange to see now! This book’s falling apart but for a quarter, I figured it was worth it. I also found The A-Team 5: Ten Percent of Trouble, the fifth in a series of novelizations adapting episodes of NBC’s 1980’s action series. I collect novelizations when the mood seizes me and… c’mon! Mr. T! George Peppard! The guy who originally played Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica!

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VIDEO GAMES – I picked up four GameBoy cartridges for $2 bucks apiece: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (LJN), Top Gun: Guts & Glory (Konami), Bugs Bunny – Crazy Castle 3 (Kemco), and Pokemon Pinball (Nintendo). This was a mixed bag of carts. I don’t know why I picked up Top Gun; the Nintendo game was awful and this just seems to follow suit. Crazy Castle 3 is fine; it’s just an incredibly boring game. Terminator 2 is (quite surprisingly considering it was published by LJN, purveyors of the worst licensed games ever) the most fun out of all these, however it’s wicked hard. They only give you one life and I can barely make it to the second board without dying. Pokemon Pinball… I haven’t tried yet. I want to wait until I can scrounge a AAA battery for the Rumble Pak.

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COMICS – Paul Dini’s run on Detective Comics yielded some fun Batman stories but his work was  overshadowed at the time by Grant Morrison’s Batman work. I’ve been going back and checking Dini’s Detective Comics’ work and it’s about as solid as you’d expect from one of the main architects of Batman: The Animated Series. The best of these are a two-parter featuring Scarface as the main baddie and a team-up with Zatanna (one of Dini’s favorite DC characters). The next few issues dovetail with Grant Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. storyline. Dini’s stories are aided by Dustin Nguyen’s capable artwork. I got these for fifty cents apiece.

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VIDEO CASSETTE – I have the first ten seasons of The Simpsons on DVD and watch them on an endless loop. I probably don’t need a VHS cassette collecting the first two episodes of the first season of the series, which is lucky because despite what the colorful box says, that’s not what I got here. The Best of The Simpsons Volume 1 includes “There’s No Disgrase Like Home” and “Life on the Fast Lane” but the cassette here includes “Bart the General” and “Moaning Lisa.” It’s a weird mistake and a little Googling reveals that the cassette I have is The Best of the Simpsons, Volume 2.

Thrift Store Finds: Georgie (book and LP)

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

This week, we’ll be looking at Georgie by Robert Bright, originally published in 1944 by Doubleday and Co, republished in 1968 by Scholastic Book Services.

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I paid 50 cents for my copy, which included both a small version of the original book and a vinyl recording of the story.

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Thrift Store Finds: Def Leppard #1 by Rock Fantasy Comics

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , on June 15, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

OHHHHH DAMN.

Today we’re looking at Def Leppard #1, published by Rock Fantasy Comics in 1990. Cover price on this was $3 bucks; I got it for a quarter at Half-Price Books.

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A couple of things before we dig in. I am not a fan of this band. I am sure there are legions of fans who worship Def Leppard’s feet at the but, if I’m being honest with you, I’ve always viewed DL as something of a joke. The “glam rock” era of music offered many bands worth of derision; I lump Def Leppard in with those groups in my mind. Before I started writing this, the only song I could identify with confidence as a Def Leppard song is “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

I also know nothing about Rock Fantasy Comics, an outfit that published many comic books centering on famous rock musicians. If this book is indicative of the type of work the company regularly published, there’s a reason I’ve never heard of Rock Fantasy Comics before this week. In the introduction to Def Leppard, publisher Michael Valentine Smith explains the reasoning behind this comic, saying:

Rock has often taken the attributes of Science Fiction or Fantasy to fire the imagination of its’ audience. We thought it might be fun to turn the tables and combine Rock and Roll with Fantasy/Science Fiction for the printed page. So we’ve created an imaginary universe and peopled it with characters in the guise of some of our favorite Rock Stars. We make no claims of accuracy, since the stories are “Work of Fiction”.

I had to clean that up a bit; Smith might be a titan in the rock ‘n roll comic publishing industry, but his grammar and usage is pretty atrocious throughout this comic.

“Atrocious” is probably a good place to start concerning the content of this book; it’s an anthology of four stories featuring Def Leppard. Anthologies can often prove to be a mixed bag, with some good stories and some bad ones. This is NOT a mixed bag. All the stories are uniformly bad.

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