BACK ISSUE FINDS – April 27, 2020

Welcome to the first installment of what is simply called “Back Issue Finds”. I didn’t want to make the name difficult to understand what you would be getting out of each entry. Every Monday I’ll post what back issues I bought during the previous week and tell you a little about the comics, where I bought them, who I may have bought them from, and anything else I might find relevant at the time I’m writing the post. Let’s get started!

WHERE / WHO: I want to make sure every time I write about the back issues I buy that I point out where and who I bought the comics. I think that’s as important to the story of searching and buying the comics as buying the actual comics. For the next month or two I will probably focus a lot of my local comic book shop, Tangled Web, here in Spartanburg, South Carolina because there’s no where else I can buy comics on a local level with COVID-19 being a thing we are all dealing with. While the state’s leadership thinks we can slowly start opening businesses with safeguards in place, driving all over the Upstate is not something I plan on doing for a while longer.

Tangled Web has been my local comic shop primarily for the last three or four years. This is where my pull list resides. Even before I had my pull list here it was a shop that I frequented often to buy new and old comics. Everyone who works there are always incredibly friendly and helpful. If you’re ever in the area and looking for a shop to try out, drop by there and give them a look. They’ve always had a good selection of $1 books and I do my best to buy a stack of them of varying heights a few times a month. They have been a great source of back issues for me as I’ve slowly begun to rebuild my collection, especially my X-Men collection. This week is no different.

WHAT DID I BUY: When you’re trying to buy “all” the X-Men comics you might try and buy as much of one particular title as you are able to and then move on the the next. You might try and buy a series in numerical order, or as close as you can, so that you can read the series with as much of the story being intact as you can. I do that in some degrees, and others I just say, “I’m spending this much money, and I’ll grab the first stack of comics that equals that amount.” This week was a mixture of the two because I started just buying a stack of X-MEN comics and then found a nice batch of X-MEN 2099 books and thought, “I don’t have any of these” so I focused a little more on the X-MEN 2099 books. I ended up finding #3 through #7, and then #9 through #14. I looked through a few more boxes buy couldn’t find #1, #2, or #8. I had more boxes to go through, but with current safety precautions in place at the store, I had only a 30 minute window of time to shop, and I spent some of that time just chatting with the shop owner about his current situation and keeping the store open.

I was a big fan of Mavel’s 2099 line of books, but I didn’t get in to them until after they had started. I think I picked up SPIDER-MAN 2099 when it launched, but DOOM 2099 was one I needed to go back and pick up back issues. I never dove into RAVAGE 2099 beyond the first issue, and PUNISHER 2099 wasn’t one that spoke to me too much, but X-MEN 2099 – that was where I got hooked. The problem with the whole 2099 line was that sales began to decline and much like the New Universe, Marvel bailed as soon as it got tough. Either way, I enjoyed it for what it was and for how long it lasted. These issues I bought this week are ones I’ll dive into and re-read once I pick up #1, #2, and #8 because I do want to re-read them in order and not break up my enjoyment. I will hopefully find those issues soon, and when I do I’ll let you know.

After I found those issues of X-MEN 2099 I stumbled across some issues of EXCALIBUR, but at passed them by at first. There was only a few issues and I knew I didn’t have too much time to keep looking for more issues and the issues I found were ones late in the series’ run. I stopped reading EXCALIBUR before issue #75 and didn’t pick it up again on a regular basis. I do remember reading some of the later issues, but I don’t think it was because I was collecting it. Either way, I was a big fan of the early issues and had already picked up most of the first twelve issues and the original graphic novel that launched the series earlier in the year on a trip to Wake Forest, North Carolina. I switched long boxes at Tangled Web and ended up running into a small run of EXCALIBUR issues from #13 through #30 or so. I made the decision to pick up to #25 and actually found #5 (one I missed during my earlier purchase of #2 through #12). With the “Cross-Time Caper” ending in EXCALIBUR #24 and #25 being a “milestone” issue as they usually are at Marvel I picked them up. While I’m missing #1, I know what happens and I’ll probably jump in these books to read this week. I cannot remember anything that happens during the “Cross-Time Caper” so I’m looking forward to getting into that mess.

The next few books I picked up were from EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN, a series I remember reading the first issue for a podcast, and then never picked up another issue. I didn’t find a lot of issues for this series, but I didn’t currently have any issues in my collection so I picked these up to get started. I picked up #2, #5, #6, and #20. Issue #5 is a second print so it doesn’t go toward “goal” but it is nice to have to read. I actually didn’t realize it was a second print until after I got home, but I can’t complain. Issue #20 is the last issue of the series and last issues are usually harder to find for various reasons, so I’m glad I found it. I’ve already read #2 and enjoyed it. I’ll probably hold off on reading more issues until I pick up the rest of the series, and since it’s only twenty issues I will probably focus on these issues for the next couple of months to finish the series. I don’t think it’ll be that hard to find these back issues, but I’m sure as soon as I look on Ebay there will be an issue that’s a key or something and cost me $20 or more to buy. We’ll see.

The last batch of books are random X-MEN and X-MEN LEGACY issues. X-MEN LEGACY is not a “new” series, but continued the numbering from X-MEN after the “Messiah Complex” storyline. Why did it change names? The series was changing focus from a team based series to dive more into solo character stories. This was one of those time periods where I jump on for the storyline, “Messiah Complex”, but jumped off right afterwards. I really enjoyed Mike Carey’s writing, but I just still wasn’t hooked into the X-Men comics so walking away again wasn’t a problem for me. It will be fun to dive more into X-MEN LEGACY as I get more consecutive issues, but I’ve jumped ahead. What issues did I get?

I picked up X-MEN #42, #48, and #49 which are the issues I was reading right after “Age of Apocalypse” and building up toward “Onslaught”. I’m still missing a few issues before I start re-reading these issues, but I do look forward to it. I’m very excited to get into the “Onslaught” storyline, and will probably spend a good amount of time and money looking for those issues for a stretch of time. As I come up on major storylines, or events, like this I want to focus on those back issues so I can own them and read those arcs again (or for the first time).

I picked up X-MEN #165 which is a Chris Claremont written issue with Salvador Larroca and Danny Miki on art. This is a self contained issue that was a palette cleanser from Chuck Austen’s short run on the series and the launch of Peter Milligan’s run on the series. I think I picked this issue up when it first hit the shelves because it had Claremont’s name on it and I had enjoyed his short run on the series starting with X-MEN #100. It wasn’t his best work, but when you give me Claremont on an X-Men book, even for one issues, I’m going to buy it.

The remaining issues that I picked up are X-MEN LEGACY #212 and #215 and are definitely new issues for me. I flipped through both after I got home and nothing on those pages rang any bells for me which is great. X-MEN LEGACY starts with issue #208, so I want to go back and pick up from there to at least #215 before I read these two issues.

At the end of the day, looking back, I’m glad I picked up these issues because it is a nice selection of books I remember fondly from the first time I owned them and books I know I didn’t buy when they were on the shelves originally. There are quite a few more books to fill in on some of these before I read them, and I’ll focus on some of those in the near future so I can read them. And that’s something I will repeatedly tell all of you as I picked up back issues, when I plan on reading these issues. Collecting them is only part of the end goal. The other part is reading these comics so I can revisit old friends and remember their tales – new and old.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll have something new for you on Wednesday of this week. Another “first” entry for the site.