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Sunday, November 27, 2005

the power of blog compells you

Well it looks like my Blog has some far-out powers.
After getting on my high horse last week and writing what was more or less an obituary to my long lost M-bag, the little bugger showed up yesterday

I was pretty sure the package was lost in transit and writing my blog was my way of finding closure and moving on...

So there you have it, stay tuned for more upcoming blog-episodes where I'll be writing how I still haven't won the Lottery, how I'm still waiting to be picked for our national football team and why I've yet to meet that little old lady who has a few 1000 of her husband's Golden and Silver Age comics and is willing to sell for the price of old paper...

Hey you never know....come on Blog, work your magic

Sunday, November 20, 2005

M is for...Misery

Actually "M" is for M-bag...but I wanted to start on a low note.
The M-bag (or Mail Bag) has been a godsend to me over the last 4 years. It's the only way to get a large number of comics from the US to Europe for a decent price. On average shipping 70 comics will cost about $15.00....how's that for a deal ?
Only snag is that it takes 6-8 weeks...

I had no trouble living with these long transit times, Surface mail often takes 6 weeks as well, but is almost 3X the price...to cut a long story short ; M-bags rule !
Or so they did.

You see, I've been waiting for a particular M-bag for a while now, in fact I've been waiting for it for over 11 weeks...and still no sign. A fella I deal with on a regular basis (and he's not to blame in any way) had quite a large number of Thors I wanted and I asked him to M-bag them to me. He also ordered quite a large number of Silver Age bags & boards and Mylar sleeves + fullboards. Supplies which I can't get in my little corner of the world and which cost an arm and a leg to ship. So the logical conclusion was to "smuggle" the supplies together with the comics in a trusty old M-bag.

I've had about 15-20 M-bags sent to me over the years and most of them have arrived after 7-8 weeks. Some took 9 weeks and I remember one that took almost 10 weeks. But never 11 weeks+. So I'm slowly becoming aware that the law of averages has caught up with me and that this will be the first one to be "lost in the mail". I figure I'm out about $200 but it irks me more that I have to chase down those 70 Thor comics and don't have any supplies at all anymore...how I'll eventually get my hands on them is a mystery at this point.

Dontcha just love Human Nature ? I just wrote all this down and when I reached the end, a little spark of hope ignited and a little voice told me...."Maybe it will arrive tomorrow"....I really hate those little voices and I hate false hope...My M-bag has been dumped somewhere in a ditch in New Zealand, is fish-food of the coast of Senegal or maybe just maybe some kids in Lithuania are getting their kicks out of reading my Thors and making funny hats out of my Mylar sleeves...But hey I could live with that...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)

Ok, I'm not a Pet Shop Boys fan (by a long shot) but I thought one of their song titles really caught the spirit of what I'm thinking right now. I've just been to my aLCS (almost Local Comic Shop) and I feel...well violated

You see, I gave up buying tons and tons of new comics about a year ago, in fact I'm no longer buying ANY regular DC or Marvel Universe title anymore, but I'm still buying a handful of titles which I've really been enjoying. I came back to comics when Marvel had a Renaissance at the turn of the century, and for 3-4 years they published some dang good books, but the last 18 months have seen steady decrease in quality and it has come to such a nadir (House of M...) that I'm glad I got rid of that monkey on my back in 2004. As for DC...well I've never been much of a DC fan and let's leave it at that.

So why am I pissed off ? Well first of all, it's important you know that I know of 5 comic shops in my country. That's 5 ! Only one of them has a decent selection,the other 4 work with pull-lists only. None have comics older than 1980.
Two of the shops are in my state, the other three are on the other side of the country. The one closest to me was so expensive that I almost quit buying new books back in 2002. But the other one which is about an hour's drive has a better pricing policy,even though any book has to be pre-ordered 3 months in advance.

For the better part of 3 years they have been getting my business, each month I set aside an entire morning and make the trek to get my "monthly dose". Today was such a day, and to my dismay the prices had gone up.Not the cover price mind you, no the price the store charges. Because I'm in Europe I pay in euros, and because of the exchange rate $<->€ I know prices can vary. Well, when I first started to buy comics, a $3.00 comic was €2.80, which comes down to $3.30. So I was paying 10% more than the cover price, that's after I got a store discount because I had pre-ordered. Then the euro weakened and I had to pay €3.00 for a $3.00 comic, so now I was paying $3.50 per comic. The people at the store told me that this was out of their hands as they were just following the exchange market. And then last year, the euro started to trounce the dollar and became a lot stronger. Did my comics become cheaper ? What do you think ? The store told me they were now setting a "firm" price because the market was fluctuating too much....$1.00 = €1.00....in other words I was still paying over $3.50 for a $3.00 comic.

Today I had to pay €3.40 for a $3.00 comic, yes I am now paying the nice round sum of $4.00 (for a $3.00 comic)...and yes that's the 'cheap cheap after discount loyal customer price). Why ? Well the euro has lost some ground against the dollar didn't you know ?

So what's the alternative ? I'm already shopping at the cheapest store that I can get to without having to pack a suitcase...Stop reading new books ? Maybe, I don't know.
I'm currently only getting :
  • Planetary
  • Y, The last Man
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four
  • Supreme Power
  • Astro City
That's it.... It's not that paying a dollar over cover price will kill me, and maybe some might think it's a bit small of me after dropping $500 a month on backissues, but I just don't like the feeling they expect me to drop the soap every time I enter my local comic book store.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Quartet of Spideys

Well with all the Thor buying and the FF-hunting of late, Amazing Spider-man has been left on the back burner lately. Still next to the FF run it's the biggest series I'm collecting.

And as I still need about 30 issues to get #1 to #500 complete, it's probably the series I'll be buying the most of in the next year or so.

This week a nice package from "The Blob" arrived featuring the following books.
  • Amazing Spider-man 10
  • Amazing Spider-man 31
  • Amazing Spider-man 36 last Ditko issue
  • Amazing Spider-man 41 first Rhino

#10 is a solid VG- and my oldest Spidey book to date...yay I cracked the top 10

Issue #41 has always been a favorite due to the sheer dynamism...

Friday, November 04, 2005

3 Down...2 to go

Well it's been over 5 months since I bought my last Fantastic Four comic and ever since I've been three issues short of getting the full series. This week I finally got my hands on one of the threesome.

Not the prettiest of specimens, but I love it just the same

Now I'm down to issues #1 and #11... end of the tunnel etc etc...
I have a good lead on a decent #11...but that #1 is getting more elusive (read expensive) every day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Thora Thora Thora !!!

After a very busy October month, where I didn't have
time to read comics, let alone hunt them down on eBay, I'm back in the fold and hungrier than ever...baby

I've been actively chasing down
Thor books, hoping to get the full series (#126 upwards) up to 400 complete. After about 5 months of collecting, I'm down to just 16 missing issues.

This week I received 38 books from my buddy
"Aces", fav cover of the bunch is this one...

ya gotta love those big galactus hands reaching for Thor's hair

One of my biggest worries was filling the #300 -#336 gap. I needed every issue, but wanted to buy them from a single seller to save on shipping. Problem was that most sellers who sold the run, also had a bunch of other books in the auction and I didn't want to buy even more "doubles'. And then I spotted a seller selling these books, and just these books. I was lucky enough to win them for $12.00.
Who said you can't score a bargain on eBay anymore,
best to keep quiet about the $25.00 shipping I had to pay

Looking at the covers of these 75 books was pure joy, can't wait to start reading them all back to back, having only read about 20 Thor books in my life, a run of nearly 300 books will hopefully be a lot of fun