Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Charlotte Comicon Haul - 03/23/19

This past Sunday I took my oldest daughter (9) and drove up to Concord, NC for the Charlotte ComicCon spring show. I wasn't planning on taking my daughter, but due to some last minute changes off the two of us went.

I've been to this show for years and it's always a great show. It's family friendly and the variety of dealers that come are always great. The size of the dealer's room is a pretty large, with the dealers set up around the perimeter and the guests set up in a row down the middle of the room.

Usually I like to walk the room first to get a lay of the land. I'm always on the look out for the $.50 boxes for starters so I'm looking to see who has what. After I've walked the room at least once, then I'll dive into the boxes with my CLZ Comics app on my phone.

This time however we stopped at the first table w/ $.50 boxes. My daughter knelt down on the floor with me and thumb through the boxes herself. I did have to show her and remind her how to safely look through the box without bending the books, especially since not all of the cheap books were bagged and or boarded. We went through about 7 short boxes at the first dealer. I ended up finding about couple of bucks worth of books. As I was paying, the elderly lady helping run the booth handed my daughter an old Disney Scamp comic book (that was amazingly in good condition) as she noticed how well behaved and patient she was!

Eventually my daughter put the breaks on me and wanted to find something for herself. She was upset that we hadn't walked the entire room so off we went. I've had to teach her that at shows like this you can't always buy the first thing you see because you may see something else that you want more. Surprisingly she did an awesome job showing her patience as she turned down several items that interested her. Later in the day she settled on a large plush Pokemon of Vulpix, but this was the "winter" version. After that she was happy and just wanted to find something for her sister...which ended up being a Hot Topic exclusive Mary Poppins Returns POP! figure.

Now that the kiddo was happy I could return to my $.50 boxes...which I found plenty. I didn't even get to all of the various dealers that had cheap boxes before it was time to go. Did I mention my daughter was my vocal conscience about how much money I had to spend?! I had a blast that day. It was fun spending time with my daughter and the show was great as usual.

Enough small talk, let's get to some of the stack of books I brought home with me!

This is a (mostly) toy blog so here are a few books based on 80's toy properties. I now have issues 1-3 of Air Raiders, only two more to go. I often wonder why this appeared as Marvel title and not a Star Comics title since that's where other toy properties like Inhumanoids and Thundercats were.

I had forgotten DC had a series based on the C.O.P.S. cartoon/toy line. I wish I had found more, but I was happy with this one.

I've been picking up books of different storylines, such as Siege of Darkness. My list is getting smaller and smaller as the books I needed are getting tougher to find. This issue of Darkhold was a pleasant surprise.

I'm not the biggest Doctor Strange fan, although I do like the direction of his current title. I knew this issue was later in the original run of his series, but that is all I knew. I thought it looked cool so it was one of those "hey, it's just $.50" type of purchases. Now I'm on the look out for a few more issues to finish out the series.

This issue of Crypt of Shadows is from 1974 and isn't in the best condition, but again it was $.50 and looked interesting. I love horror stuff so this purchase was just for kicks.

Last summer I was able to pick up several great issues of Gen 13 from early in the run. I didn't have issue 7 so this was an easy purchase. Flipping through the issue last night I'm starting to wonder if Jim Lee's art style has changed a bit. I don't really follow him anymore since I'm more of a Marvel fan, but I do appreciate his style none the less.

Long before my older brother got me into comics, he was reading most of the mutant titles. I've heard great things about some of their bigger stories, like Inferno, but have never read them myself. When I started seeing several of these issues in the $.50 boxes I decided to see how many I could find. I added them to my want list in the CLZ Comics app and kept looking. I'm really looking forward to sitting down and reading some of these older stories for the first time.

I worked in a drug store during my high school years so I was able to basically get any magazine I wanted for free...including Wizard! The only cavaet was I had to rip off the cover to return to the magazine vendor. I really didn't care as I got to keep the magazine and anything included in the polybag...like this issue of Uncanny X-Men. This was the issue that kicked up my reading of X-Men, the first issue of the Legion Quest story that would eventually lead into the Age of Apocalypse.

I loved that story as well as the follow up storyline with Onslaught. I've toyed with the idea of picking up these books (again) for awhile...well as you can see I'm on my way of reclaiming some of those great memories. I really loved the art and the stories from this era of the X-Men.

John Romita, Jr. has a very distinct art style and while he isn't my favorite artist, I did love his run on Iron Man. I felt his style was well matched with Tony Stark and his various suits of armor. Plus the Armor Wars II storyline is great. I don't often find issues form this story so I was more than happy to grab these.

Another goal of mine is to complete all of Marvel's 2099 series' and while I only pictured Ravage 2099, I was also able to find several issues of Doom 2009, Ghost Rider 2099 and Punisher 2099. Several of these Ravage 2099 issues are at the tail end of his run which have proven hard to find in the past.

Back in January I picked up a few books from Marvel's New Universe imprint, including Star Brand and an associated one shot called The Pitt. My brother told me about a four issue mini series called The War that also fit in and he found three of the four books for me. These were square bound books and while I don't know much about them, they do look interesting.

Let me start off by saying I'm NOT a Rob Liefeld fan. Actually I can't stand his art...but I kinda like most of the books that Awesome released. I don't often see these books in any boxes period so I was surprised to see several, especially this "comicon edition" and the gold foil version of the 1st issue.

Not shown, but I also found two issues of the follow up mini series that featured Ed McGuiness' talent.

The last book featured is one that I still can't believe I found in a discount box, especially a $.50 box! This issue of The Incredible Hulk features the first appearance of Devil Hulk. It is rumored that this character will re-appear in the pages of Immortal Hulk, the current Hulk book. I only knew about this book thanks to the awesome Key Collector Comics app and Comic Tom from Instagram. I don't usually buy books because they are "hot" or whatever, but I couldn't pass this one up. Sometimes it pays to be cheap!

I didn't bother to show everything I purchased, but I thought these were some of the more interesting books. So, how do you think I did overall? Every book purchased was $.50...that I feel good about. The last dealer we hit up also gave my daughter a comic, but they let her pick any $1 book she wanted. She grabbed an issue of Spider-Girl (the old M2 title from Marvel) to go along with two other books I let her buy. I may have indirectly started her own comics collection after this ComicCon trip!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hot Wheels: Fast & Furious '70 Dodge Challenger (Screen Time 04/10)

As a kid I loved Hot Wheels. I had more cars and trucks than I did of any other toy. To this day I still like to thumb through the pegs to see what's new and some time ago I noticed that Mattel was doing a Screen Time series featuring vehicles from different movies.

Fast & Furious has never been a series of films that I've followed, in fact I'm not sure I've seen any of the movies from beginning to end! However this '70's Dodge Challenger was just too cool to pass up.

I do remember seeing this car in the trailer for the movie and I thought it looked pretty awesome. The lifted suspension, larger tires, the rollbar on the front and the (spare?) tires on the back of the car gave it an edgy look. What I didn't realize until after I took the car out of the packaging was there was real working suspension on the car!

Regardless of this car being from a movie, it's an awesome Hot Wheels car and one that I know I would've played an awful lot with as a kid. As of the time of this post there are new Screen Time vehicles out at retail, but nothing as a tough as this.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Charticon 2013 Exclusive - Baleful

I had the privilege to be on the staff of Charticon 2013, a Transformers convention held in my hometown of Charlotte, NC back in the summer of '13. The brainchild of a friend of mine, Arkvander, one of the exclusive items available only at the show was a new head for the Botcon exclusive Spinister figure. The mold Botcon chose to use for Spinister was pretty good, but the head looked off. Arkvander worked with Wheeljack's Body Shop to cast a new head. Also included in the package with a G1 style tech spec.

The head itself looked much more like the G1 character and was a much needed add-on to the Botcon exclusive. The head attached via a simple ball socket on the neck so it was as easy as popping the old head off and popping the new head on.

Sorry for the glare. I never opened my specimen so the plastic bag it was contained in gave off a reflection of the flash that I couldn't edit out. For a garage kit piece, the head looked amazing and the paint job was spot on. I really don't know much more about how this came to be a Charticon exclusive, but it was nicely done.

On the back of the cardboard packaging was an add for a set of exclusive Mastershooter Collectibles "Targetmasters" Nit-Picker and Firebrand that was available at the show. This really helped round out the new look of the Botcon exclusive Spinister.

Charticon was a blast and we recently got the guys back together to celebrate it's 5th anniversary. Lots of great memories were made that day and if the show were to ever rise from the grave, I'd be there with bells on.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mini-Con Sabotage Team

In 2006, Fub Publications took the Transformers Armada mold of Jetfire and repurposed him as Astrotrain for their Transformers Collector's Club. Bundled w/ Astrotrain was a repainted Transformers Cybertron Giant Planet Mini-Con team, dubbed the Sabotage Team.

(from right to left) Astro-Hook, Astro-Line, Astro-Sinker

If those names sound familiar it's because it's a homage to Hook, Line and Sinker - heralds to Unicron in the original (US) Marvel Comics run.

The toys themselves were some of my favorite toys at the time they were released. Each of these molds would see various releases and at one point I owned them all. The submarine (Astro-Sinker) was always one of my favorite Mini-Con molds. The molds for this release feature only a deco change as there were no changes made to the molds.

Astro-Hook is some sort of double crane truck? He reminds me of one of the old original G1 Micromaster Combiners in vehicle mode, especially with the two crane arms. The mold does feature a pretty cool transformation w/ the rear wheels forming the upper torso of the robot. Unfortunately the arms really aren't articulated beyond 360 degree movement at the shoulders.

Astro-Line is one of those designs that looked better on paper than in plastic in my mind. While the alt mode is pretty cool plane, the missiles are a little overkill...in either mode. The nose of the jet covers up much of the robot mode and his legs/feet are thin and small. If you remove the missiles from his hands the robot mode does look a little better, but it's the weak link in this trio if you ask me. The new purple and yellow paint scheme doesn't do much for me either. If you want this mold in your collection, stick with the original release.

In my book the clear winner in this group is Astro-Sinker. This is one of those Mini-Cons that looks good in both modes...something that didn't happen all that often. The submarine is very detailed and translates to a nice robot mode. Yeah the arms are a little long, but I can live it with. I love how the wide the legs and feet are. It not only gives him stability in robot mode, but makes him look more beefy and intimidating. Mix in the new darker color scheme and this is one of the better Mini-Cons released anywhere, period.

I originally kept these trio of Mini-Cons when I was downsizing my collection, opting to sell Astrotrain (and Astrocatcher). Before I gave up my quest to own every Mini-Con/Micron toy, these guys were some of my favorites. The molds were pretty good and the new paint decos were interesting. I have no idea what these guys go for on the secondary market these days, but I know you can find the original Cybertron Giant Planet set for decent prices around the internet. Recommended, but this set is for completionists only.