Friday, December 31, 2004

"Last Day of '04"

And here we are at the end of the year (already?!?). Gee is seems like this has been a short year. Before I know it I'll have a vacation due again. 'Think there'll be some major housecleaning done in that week. Just open up the shed doors and start throwing stuff into the back of a pick up and haul it off! If it's been there for 5 years, then we just don't need it!

They say whatever you're doing on the 1st. of the year you'll do ALL year. That's good as I'll be working, so I guess that means I'll have a job ALL year! Hey? In these days and times you never know.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading and supported my blogger sites this year! I've had a lot of help with it, and for that I am truely appreciative! (A special thanks to Pete Shorette who continues to let me use his image-hosting site free of charge!)
May this upcoming year be better for all of us, and The World at Large. May we all keep healthy and sane and absent of sorrow, and may we all remain that way always.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

"Fab Day"

Today I went on my semi-annual pilgrimage to my comic book shop because they were having a 25% off back issues sale. A friend of mine went along and wanted to stop at the bookstore in the mall first, so while he was looking for some various sf paperbacks, I looked on their discount table and found the 2000 Paul McCartney: Paintings over-sized hardcover for just $4.99. That made that stop worth while! But as we were exiting the mall area, I glanced to my right side and just inside of the video store the first thing I saw was a Beatles' DVD for sale. Then, all of a sudden over the intercom system, Paul McCartney's Jet started playing, and to top it off not 10 seconds later a kid, probably 17 or 18 at the most, passed me wearing a Beatles' t-shirt! Geez, what a strange grouping of coincidences, and all within 10 minutes of one another of The Fab Four!

Oh yeah; I DID finally make it over to the comic shop where I bought my usual 100 bags and backing boards seems like that's a regular purchase anytime I'm IN a comic shop), and found 4 different silver-age issues of Doom Patrol I needed including a much needed replacement of #99 (1st."Beast Boy"), 2 issues from the 3rd. series and 2 from the 4th., as well as New Teen Titans #'s 14 & 15 (which are DP app.'s), a Sgt. Fury #2 from 1963 as well as a #18 ("Death" of Pam Hawsley, as well as the comic talked about in Tarentino's True Romance), and out of the 50 cent box a Marvel Spotlight 27 ("Sub-Mariner"). I was VERY tempted to buy a Fair/Poor copy of Fantastic Four #1 they had on the wall, but even with 25% off with tax and all it'd been $200., so I passed. hated to as that's probably the cheapest I'd ever find a copy of it these days, but it looked a bit fragile and maybe brittle. (Oh,well.)

Great Day, all the same! (Say? "Fab" Four---"Fantastic" Four---other 4's, and I've played triple 4's on the pick 3 lottery tonight....hmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

P.S>: Since I wrote the above I checked today's midday Pick 3 Kentucky Lottery: It was 4 - 4 - 6! (Almost...!)

Monday, December 27, 2004

"Here's To Good Friends"

My good ol' long time friend and fellow local comic book collector, David A. Jones, stopped by last night for a visit and brought me a nice Christmas present: a copy of the children's book he and his wife Theresa had published this year called Pumpkins On The Vine. Theresa wrote it and Dave illustrated it. Pretty neat! Dave always has some interesting stuff on his blogger site as well which goes by the name of The Johnny Bacardi Show.

I've known Dave for a lot of years. In fact, the first time we met he was still a kid and I was probably in my late teens. I forget the circumstances exactly; either his mom told my mom that Dave collected comics, or maybe we first met at a drug store both looking at comics originally. I'm afraid my mind isn't what it used to be on memories sometimes, but I do recall going over to his folk's house and trading comics and getting a copy of Detective #359 (1st. app. of the Barbara Gordon "Batgirl") those many years ago, and we've been friends ever since, making numberous trips together to comic book shops in Bowling Green and buddying around together. Mr. Jones has introduced me to many a great comic book and much good music over the years that I would have otherwise gotten in late on or missed altogether. Dave was even my Best Man at one of my weddings! If he's not my Best Friend, he sure makes a damn close resemblance! So, here's to ya D. Jones (and Theresa as well whom I've also know since the days they were still just dating) and the friendship we've shared over the years! Oh was Dave who first turned me on to blogger too, so now you know who to either thank--- or blame! X^D other news...

Looks like I've closed a comic book deal on a dozen or so issues of the Classics Illustrated series The World Around Us, a title that ran in the late 1950's and early 60's which contained some really great art by Kirby, Crandall, Evans and a host of others. Each issue of that title was dedicated to a single subject, much like Classics Illustrated dedicated each issue to an individual book. Some of the WAU issues are on things like: The Civil War, The French Revolution, American Presidents, when others would be on such diverse things as: Ghosts and Pirates, or even Horses and Dogs! Anyway, I always loved the title and there was 36 issues published, so after this deal I think I'll only need about 5 issues finishing a set.

Another title I've just about completed due to yet another deal is a set of the Kirby 1970's series The Demon. This was my favorite of the later 70's Kirby books he did for DC, and The Demon is one of the few reoccuring characters of his that still has some sort of evolving history in the DC Universe. He was even animated here recently on an episode of Justice league Unlimited, and has become part of the DC-Vertigo dimension now. Although I always liked Kirby's other stuff, like the "4th. World" books: New Gods, Mister Miracle, Forever People, I think why I liked The demon more is because of the mystical aspect to the stories. But then again, I was always more a fan of Marvel's "Dr. Strange" than some of their other stuff at that time when it ran in the 1960's.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

"Just Thinking Back"

After posting that Classics Illustrated cover yesterday it got me to thinking about my personal "history" with comic books. That particular issue was given to me at Christmas in 1955; in fact, everyone in my Sunday School Class got one as a present from my teacher then. It's the earliest comic book I can remember owning, therefore, Christmas 2005 will mark 50 years of my love of the comic book.

I regret, occasionally, on what comics I've had and let go over the years. I think I first started seriously collecting in the middle of 1963. Comics had always been around my household. My late brother was 6-1/2 years my senior and had bought them (mostly DC titles), and my Aunt Katy would get a stack of comics almost every week from a local grocery distributor. They'd be retainer issues which the company sold to her wholesale and then she'd resell them for a nickle each. I read many a issue of some late 1950's/early 60's issue of some Archie, or Super Comic there. The Super Comic reprint issues were my first exposure to Golden Age characters (although I didn't realize that at that time).

I think the first time I noticed I actually had a "collection" of sorts was mid-1963 when my brother came home for leave from The Marine Corps and I showed him a box of comics I had stuck under my bed. He asked me "Where I had gotten so many comics?" And I told him I had been collecting them, so I date that as the beginnings of my first actual collection.

They were mostly DC titles like Blackhawk and Tomahawk and Jimmy Olsen, Superman, Lois Lane, Justice League,(etc.) with a smathering of war and western titles. There were some Marvel titles, like Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt and Gunsmoke Western, among others, and I had been asking other kids in my class if they had any comics, which a lot of them did, so we'd trade. I'd get rid of books I didn't care for and that's when I pretty much discovered Marvel Comics. I can recall trading book-for-book for such issues as Amazing Fantasy 15, Journey Into Mystery 83, Sgt. Fury 1, The Avengers 1, The X-Men 1 and MANY more! It was a GREAT time to be a comic book collector because of the beginnings of so many characters at that time.

A couple of years later I got a job working part-time washing dishes at a local restaurant which paid me fifty cents an hour. I'd work maybe 8 to 10 hours some weeks, and my mom would make me save back 1/2 of what I made; but I was free to spend the OTHER half on whatever I wanted. Naturally, I bought comics with the money and it was usually more than enough to purchase most anything that was new out that week. My collection grew quickly that by the end of the 1960's I had amased over 5,000 comics, which included a full set of Marvel silver-age books (except for that elusive Incredible Hulk #1, a large run of Showcase (including a #1), full runs of the silver-age Flash and Justice League's( in their own titles ), large runs of titles like Brave & The Bold, Superman, Action, Adventure,,etc.,etc.,plus full runs of the Archie, Tower, Charlton, Dell, Gold Key, Lightning, ACG super-heroes and probably anyone else who was publishing super-hero type titles at the time. I had so many comics from the 1940's to the late 1960's, that a reporter caught wind of it and wrote up a story with photos and published it in the magazine section of a local newspaper. I caught a lot of flack from that article, people calling me childish and the like, and I think that's part of the reason that I ended up selling that first great collection around late 1970.

Oh, I'm sure that's not ALL of the reason "why", but a good part of it. By then my attention had moved on towards girls, and cars and the like. The world was changing around me, and I with it, so I sold that wonderous collection to a fellow collector for a for a lot less than its true value.

I never lost my interest in comics altogether, however. Friends of mine still bought them and I'd read their issues, and I started buying some more off the stands around 1972 or so, but didn't put together a large collection until around the mid 70's. In 1977 I moved to Bowling Green to take a job at a "head shop" as manager, and got involved in things I really shouldn't have, I guess, and ended up selling that collection as well. But, know me. After that whole job thing was over I moved BACK North in Kentucky to my hometown and yet another collector showed me some titles and there I went back into it again. This time I collected pretty good up until the mid 1980's and put together yet nearly another complete set of Silver-Age Marvel's, and tons of DC's and others until around the Winter of 1983 when I fell on some hard times and simply needed cash and sold my collection, yes, again. I really don't regret selling it that time because it got me through that time and paid a lot of bills. And later on I started back collecting around the late 1980's.

At one time in the 1990's I had what was the largest collection of comics in my life; around 15 thousand of them! Even tho' I had a lot more books than I did in the first collection, it was nowhere as good; in fact, I'd traded it even for my original collection at any time, but still, it was a damn good one! I had many EC's and Golden Age comics in that collection. But once again, bills kept sticking their ugly heads up, plus I needed some essentials like dental work and new eyeglasses which I didn't have the extra money for, plus some credit card bills that needed paying off, so a dealer who I'd been buying from offered to buy my collection. I told him I would "think about it". First I went thru the entire collection and pulled out 9 or 10 boxes of what I really wanted to keep. Not all of them were high value books (I had probably 40 boxes,total); most were just things I enjoyed or of which I had certain memories. Then I called him to come down and look at the collection and make an offer. He went through several boxes and told me he'd get back with me as he had a partner who he'd have to consult first. That was fine, but I didn't rely on just him as a buyer. I told a couple other dealers who ALSO looked at the boxes and they made me an offer "on-the-spot". I told them I'D think about it and get back to them. I called the other guy up to see what his offer was and told him I'd already had one offer; he told me that he'd top anything they offered by fifty bucks, so I told him he could buy them,and he agreed to a price and set a date to come by the pay me and pick up the books.

After he loaded the comics into his van, he gave me a check, but it was only for 1/2 the amount, saying that he'd have to sell some of those to make up the difference but that he'd have the balance in 30 days. I told him that was alright; it was more money at one time than I'd ever gotten before for a collection, and I trusted him because he'd ALWAYS done me okay in the past deals. That was a bit of a mistake it turned out. The 30 days came and went and he never got back to me, and I had to finally call him to see when he'd pay me the balance. He said he'd be down in a few days to bring me "some money". He made a couple more payments, then finally just to get anything more from him I had to end up taking other books back as part of the balance. After my dealings with him, I never offered him another thing for sale. BUT...

The books I had kept were still worth quite a bit of money, so I went thru them yet again and pulled about 1/2 of what was in the boxes. Some of them I sold in a "lot" to one dealer, and later on when ebay began, some friends sold the others on commission for me. In the end, I made MORE than the initial offer, plus got some things free, like money for new eyeglasses, the dental work, plus my first computer, all of which I didn't have an extra dime invested in due to the on line sales.

And, you can't keep a good collector down. I started back collecting again after that. My collection currently totals over 6,000 comics, about 25% silver and golden age, 50% bronze and the rest modern. That's my current collection and the one I plan on having until the day I die (I hope). I figure in the past 50 years of comics with me I've had something like 40 to 50 thousand comics, the same issues several times, maybe 25 thousand different books. There's a LOT of comics I'll never have again, just because today they are so darn expensive, so I collect reprint volumes of them instead (which helps keep me from buying pricey books and re-selling them later on).

So, here's lies the story of a man who loves comic books. I'm still collecting.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

"Christmas '04"

Wishing everyone who reads this only The Merriest of Christmas's & The Best of Holiday Wishes!" Thanks for reading my various posts over the year. May your household be blessed this Christmas day! And remember:

"This is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Winter Solstice Blog"

A good, cold wintery greetings to all. Actually here in South Central Kentucky today it's not too bad; the temp's are in the high 40's. But rain is predicted to start again soon and with it plunging temperatures, which will result in ice and probably a lot of (my much hated) snow. When I was a kid it was nice to see snow as it meant we'd probably have a day called off from school or I could get out there and build a snowman or go sled riding, but as I grew older it became nothing but a nuisance to try to drive in. A "White Christmas"? Sure. Just as long as I don't have to go anywhere that day and it's all gone by the next. Personally if I could control the weather here it'd be 70 degrees year round.

Well I've decided to start eliminating any photos and pictures I've posted on my blog site after 30 days max. A good friend is letting me use his photo hosting service gratis anyway and it just ties up space to much and too long. So if you click on something I've done a month ago, don't expect illustrations. I don't use a whole lot of them on my posts; I try to save them only for something ;"special", and that will continue to be the rule here in the future.

I'm going to try to get the rest of my Christmas shopping done today. I still lack the rest of my wife's gifts so I'm taking her over to "Wallyworld" later on and see if I can finish that up. Just haven't had the time and/or extra cash AT the right time to do all of that before. In fact, I'm still awaiting any sort of Christmas "bonus" from my employer. Looks like they'd already given those out so their employees could enjoy a little of it before the holidays, but as usual, they'll wait until the last moment.

Had more bad luck with my teeth (again). This time a front tooth broke while eating a sandwich. It's not really noticible due to it being offset to one side on the front, but still it peaves me. This was one of those my dentist rebuilt rather than pulling and simply adding another to my lower partial plate. I've asked him numberous times, "Don't you think I should just have the rest of the lower ones pulled and dentures made?" Always he'd say, "No! Try to keep what teeth you have as long as you can!" Of course, by now, I only have something like 5 of my original lower teeth, one back one that is rebuilt to hold the back of the partial in place, and with all the money I've soaked into this over the years I could have had the denture made and been done with it. Naturally, that'd meant my dentist would have been out-of-business with me(which I'm SURE he doesn't want to happen). I've ALWAYS had tooth problems. I was born anemic and couldn't drink whole milk. In fact, only less than a year after my birth I had to be rushed to Children's Hospital in Louisville for transfusions. The doctors said I had a calcium deficiency which would cause things like "soft" bones and poor teeth. One dentist told me I'd be lucky to keep my original teeth until I was 40. I'm 53 now; time to have some lower ones made that'll "do the job". On top of everything else, I called my dentist and he's on vacation now until January 3rd. I'm fortunate this stub of a tooth left hasn't started aching.

And with this New Year nearly upon us one of my resolutions is truely to never buy anything off of eBay again unless it's insured, and not to buy from anyone that I don't know, have bought from before, or really trust. I've harped on all the bad luck I've had since last September with auction wins and not receiving my merchandice. I finally gave up on some items I won back on Nov. 30th., and I have just one item left that hasn't arrived (altho' it's "due" anytime). After that I buy only from my friends from which I've ALWAYS gotten my goods, or I just save up my money and wait until stores that carry what I want have some sales. It's really been just too much of a hassle with these (supposingly) lost packages.

Other New Year's Resolutions: Maybe look around for another job. I've been at my current position for 5 years, never had any real insurance, and my patience is running thin with the continuous and ever-mounting hassles and obligations put upon me. If they'd get some "decent" help for me I might reconsider, but otherwise I think it's getting closer to that time for me to just move on to something else. I'd also like to get a personal loan paid off so I can have the extra $200. a month for other bills, and I want to get my huge trees trimmed in the yard, or cut back (or down) just to eliminate a lot of big, falling limbs and the increasing number of leaves I always have to rake every year and clean out of the gutters. Sort of like to do some repainting of the walls inside the house as well and maybe lay new carpet in the living room and dining room, and perhaps as well, new tile in the bathroom. I'd also like to add a "shower kit" over the old claw-foot, antique tub we have, as I really do miss my hot showers.

I think this year I'll, comic book-wise, try to concentrate on completing my collection of Doom Patrol titles and app.'s and complete my set of Strange Adventures from #100 to the end of the title. I need something like 50 books to do that. (I'm not as keen on pre-100 issues of ST because I have them all on CD's where I can read them any time I'd like.) I'd also like to concentrate on completing any issues of silver-age Marvel Annuals and Giants I need. I might need about 14 or 15 of those now (mostly some early annuals). And I'd like to pick up some more of the Charlton or Tower silver-agers I've had at one time or another. All of those are books/titles I've always really enjoyed reading in the past.I'll probably buy some more Archive and essential reprint volumes,too as it's cheaper than trying to buy the originals these days.

So here's ~D.Puck' Wishing anyone reading his blogger site only The BEST of CHRISTMAS WISHES and The HAPPIEST of NEW YEARS!

I sincerely hope that 2005 proves to be a better year for us all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"Scan THIS!"

I'd been having some problems with my scanner leaving yellow lines on the images here lately and figured that old scanner I gave a mere fifteen bucks for at the flea market was just about on its last legs, until a friend sent me a link to THIS site. Really good information about a simple "clean-up".

Seems like this has been my month for pc problems, but, fortunately, not my own for a change! You see, I've been trying to get a system together for my 80 year old mom. All she wanted was one where she could email some old friends of hers as well as email her sister, all of who live out-of-state. I figured getting her even a good used one at the moment was sorta unrealistic as I just didn't have the extra funds, but one day while my wife and I were visiting her father, he gave me this old pc. And, I do mean, old. It had this two foot tower with it that actually had a "turbo" button. Well, I thought maybe now would be the chance to get her On Line, so I hooked it up and actually was able to get it to Connect up to The Net, but never could get the email working right for it. Neither was I ever able to get a Windows Update to download on it right where the Outlook would be restored, so those hopes were somewhat dashed again.

Then, where she works as a librarian, they told her she could have their old pc, so I took it home and hooked IT up, but something was wrong with one of the cards and I never could get a phone connection to work on the thing, so here I had two pc towers(both unusable), and a couple of keyboards and mouse lying around, plus at least a decent monitor.

Still determined to get her a computer that worked, I contacted an aquaintance who works on pc's and he had a Dell modem which contained neither a CD Rom OR a floppy drive ( but neither was needed for her use ), and it had Windows ME, so I bought it off of him for $50. He showed me it was connectable and had Outlook, so I took it home to test it. NONE of the keyboards I had as extras would fit the ports! In fact, the only keyboard I had around that would was the one on my own computer! Remembering that the guy had a keyboard on it when he showed it to me, I got back in touch with him and asked him if he'd sell that to me as well, which he did for five bucks, so now I was ready to give it to my mom. She got the Net folk over and they connected up her DSL and I went over and tried to install her email address. Figuring I'd screw that up, I called the "help center" and they walked me thru it, but---although she could receive email, she couldn't send it! (As well you could imagine, I was getting a bit more than frustrated with the whole situation.)

After talking with two Help Line "experts" for a good three hours off-and-on, I finally gave up and tried to figure out what the problem was on my own. I knew it HAD to be something really simple. I mean, I could go to where her email was on her Server and send and receive both, but just not send mail on her pc. So, I posted a question on one of the Chat Boards I frequent and someone mentioned looking for "typos" in her server addresses, and that made me remember that once I reverse just two letters in something and it took me forever to find out where that problem was; I rechecked the addresses on both her incoming AND outgoing email to see if they were the same. BINGO! A mere two letters were reversed! I corrected same, and the problem was fixed and now she has her computer and email and all before Christmas.

And now, what really peaves me about that whole situation. Here I talked with two different supposingly highly qualified technicians who work for this company that supplies her Net Connection, and both of them looked at the very same information that I did, and neither of them could tell me the cause of a extremely simple problem. One of them had a "solution" of up-dating the Windows to see if that'd fix it, which it did not. The other recommended uploading Mozilla "Thunderbird" as the mail server to fix it, and that was, of course, not a solution either. But here I am, practically computer illiterate with any information I have on the repair of a pc being based on five years of experience of just "having one", reading some tutorals and asking one hell of a lot of questions, and I fixed it! Geez. What are they paying these guys for?!?

And this is not the first time they've not been able to fix a minor problem. A couple of years back my computer slowed down to a crawl. It was taking forever to download anything, and when I went to post a message on a Board, it always had this 15 second hesitation before a letter would appear. I called my "help center" numberous times, told them all the information I could about my system, what was downloaded on it and everything, and they never were of any help until somebody reminded me that the Spy-Bot I had downloaded was a form a spy-ware itself. So I went and eliminated that from the programs and my computer went back to acting like it was new again.

I think now the lesson I've learned from all of this is, Never to listen to anything my server has to suggest, but just ask around to people who have suffered the same sort of ills with their computers as well. At least they know what they're talking about!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

"A Real Prince of A Fellow"

For the best artwork since Hal Foster did the strip, I highly recommend everyone finding a Sunday newspaper that carries Prince Valiant in the color comic section. Gary Gianni took over the art chores back in May, and is really hitting his stride these days!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"Strange Ways"

One of my favorite time periods of Steve Ditko's art was actually right after he left Marvel and was working for Charlton Comics. Of course, I loved his work on such characters as Captain Atom, Blue Beetle & The Question but also his horror-type art on titles such as Ghostly Tales, Space Adventures & The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves.

Dr. Graves especially. This character was started out as a bit of a second-rater in Ghostly Tales No. 55 in 1965 (a title continuation from Charlton's attempt at reviving the original: "Blue Beetle") as just a back-up feature. It wasn't long tho' until the company had given him his own title (in 1967). And, like many characters associated with horror-type comics, his part in the book was more or less to introduce the stories. Ditko took this character and improved upon him by making him into another "Dr. Strange".

Case in point was issue #12 of Dr. Graves where the good doctor was in in sanctuary located in The Village (sound familiar?) and senses the pressence of an "ultimate evil". He uses spells to release his ecto-plasmic self which grows to a gigantic size and confronts a huge evil alien in space. They battle one another with various spells and the alien cannot find a weakness in Graves, so he attacks the earth itself sending a huge firey mass towards it which literally destroys the planet!

Beside himself with guilt of not being able to save Earth, Graves sends his spirit back in time to join with his physical form some days before. His past self doesn't realize this has happened, but does have a premonition of some approaching danger, and soon discovers the evil menace he's yet now to confront.

He tries to come upon a plan that will defeat the menace by trying to weaken himself so that the alien will attack him rather than the earth, and travels into another dimension. But he fails and returns to his physical self, only to later discover how to do what he was wanting with a weakness, then the story begins anew back at the point where he leaves his physical body again to confront the menace. This time, the alien does indeed sense his weakness and attacks Graves, but expends so much energy that he grows weaker. As the alien grows weaker, Graves grows stronger and then actually fights the aliens hand-to-hand until he's defeated. His strength renewed, his grows back to a gigantic size and tosses the Ultimate Evil far from our galaxy, then returns back to his form on the Earth.

The story concludes with him wondering how he "knew" that this was all going to happen in the first place!

The story isn't as well written, dialogue-wise as a Dr. Strange tale, but Ditko didn't have Stan Lee to handle that part (and you can say a lot about ol' "Smilin' Stan", but you gotta admit he wrote some great word balloons!)
Ditko went on to do artwork in many issues of this title all the way up til it ended with #72 (in 1982).

Saturday, December 04, 2004

"I'd rather NOT Judge"

Yesterday was the last day, finally, of my 6 month jury duty. No. I haven't been sitting ON a jury for 6 months; just one day each month (the first friday) I had to go to the circuit court in case I was picked AS a jurior. Oddly enough, in all that time, I was never picked. Surprizing, because the odds were against me. In circuit court they pick 12 juriors, then from that 12, they pick 6. Usually there's at least 2 trials at a time, so there's 2 juries picked; looks like I'd been on at least one of them.

Not that I'm complaining, and not that I don't want to do my civic duty, but those 6 days having to attend court were pretty much just a waste of time. For one thing, circuit court wasn't even in session every time. Two different months I was informed by a court officer that the cases had been solved OUT of court, so really, I just went there in July, August, October and December. Another odd thing was, that there was only one criminal trial and all the other were competency hearings. One was for an 102 year old woman, who was the oldest person ever to have such a trial in our county.(All competency hearings must be tried by jury.) Another trial that was odd, was one today, where the state was wanting to declare someone uncompetent and "take care of them" against the families wishes to have him at home where they could do so. In all hearings of this sort, the trial is confidential, so everyone else MUST leave the courtroom if they aren't part of the trial.

And since I didn't get picked any time, after jury selection was done, I was free to leave which was around 10:30 Am each time (court started at 9AM), which was just enough to pretty much ruin your day, especially when then I had to go on to work until 5:30 PM each time.

And yesterday, right here at Christmas time, was especially bad for me. getting up early, going to court, then rushing to work to "try" to get everything done and the store stock prepared for weekend customers. On top of this, about a mile from the court's location I had a blowout. I mean a really BIG one! The hole in the tire was big enough to stick my fist through. I got it fixed tho' and still got there with 10 minutes to spare.

But now that's over with at least for a year and I won't have to worry about getting picked for jury duty again for a while; you can only serve one time in 12 months in the same county. That's good. I think I'd enjoyed this whole deal a lot better had I actually gotten picked to serve (and it'd been a nice "juicy" criminal offence).

Friday, December 03, 2004

"It's Just A Fantasy"

Back in the Summer of '65, Marvel published their second annual edition of Marvel Tales Annual. As usual, it contained reprints of various 1st. app.'s and/or origins of some of their characters, but as an addition that year they reprinted a Steve Ditko fantasy story that had appeared a few years earlier in their defunct Amazing Adult Fantasy title. To my knowledge, that was the first time Marvel had reprinted one of their old fantasy tales. A little later on in the 1960's, they created a new title called Fantasy Masterpieces which was totally devoted to reprinting such stories from a time before such heroes as Iron Man, of The X-men were in existence. Of course, I loved them! All of those hokey monstery and fantasy tales by the likes of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Don Heck (and others) were great! To my disapointment, however, with issue #3 of that title, Marvel changed the format from a 12 cent comic to a 25 cent Giant. The fantasy tales were pushed to the back and Golden-Age stories of Captain America (and others) were reprinted. It's not that I didn't love the G-Age tales; I did and still do, but I'd rather seen a seperate book devoted entirely to that.
Then, Fantasy Masterpieces was changed again, title-wise, to Marvel Super-Heroes and the super-hero reprints from the 1940's and 50's took the place of fantasy tales and new material was added as the headliner. That title went on far into the 1970's eventually being composed of reprints of "The Incredible Hulk" from issues of Tales to Astonish as well as his own title (which had continued from TTA). So after a while, the fantasy reprints pretty much stopped, but then Marvel created new horror-fantasy type books such as Tower of Shadows and Chamber of Darkness. These led into another wave of fantasy reprint stuff in the early 70's so I was once again back in seven-heaven with titles the likes of Where Monsters Dwell and Where Creatures Roam devoted entirely to my much loved Ditko and Kirby fantasy classics. But, all good things come to an end. These titles in the latter 70's all either were discontinued or changed or new characters from Marvel took them over, or characters were adapted from sf and fantasy literature, like "Gullivar Jones", and "Thongar", or even Marvel's own "Man-Thing" and "Man-Wolf". The fantasy tales went into hiatus for a good while there.

Then around 1990, Marvel did a trade paperback reprint of fantasy tales. Not sure "why" they credited the stories as being from the reprint titles rather than the originals, but they did. It was a nice little collection, but nothing big time ever became of it. Later on still Marvel did a couple more short-lived fantasy reprint titles. Still, nadda results from the fans I think. And today, I'd like to see one of their "Essentials" tpb devoted soley to the fantasy reprints. maybe "someday" they'll do one.

So? What has any of this have to do with "anything". Well for years I've tried to collect all of the various fantasy reprint titles; in fact, here recently I aquired around another 40 different issues of such and figured I must have fairly close now to a full set? No way!

Although I probably have 150 issues of their various titles that reprint both the fantasy stuff as well as some of the 1950's "horror" type stories (titles like "Beware" and "Vault of Evil"), there must be at least that many more that I don't have! In fact, I estimate Marvel having put out about 300 issues of various titles of such. And realize, that I'm not counting later issues of some of these that were devoted to new characters or am I counting Fantasy Masterpieces 3 thru 11 (although I DO count the titles with NEW fantasy material).

Gee. I still gotta lloooonnngggg way to go yet!

Thursday, December 02, 2004


As usual, it's been a while since I've blogged. Just not a whole lot going on in my life and I really rather post when I have something "interesting" to say. But then again, I don't want to get completly out of the habit of posting, so here goes.

One of my current peaves has been with items I've won off of on-line auctions. I've had just really some terrible luck. I mentioned on a previous post the various books that had gotten "lost" in the mail, or were late, or just not received at all. One item I won back on Oct. 8th. A few weeks later I emailed an inquiry to the seller and he gave me this hardluck story about being ill, and promiced he'd FexEx the item right away, so I promiced I wouldn't leave him a neg'. Finally, last night here on Dec. 1st., I decided after other numberous inquiries to finally leave him feedback. I was going to leave a neutral since I promiced no neg', but wasn't allowed to due to him no longer being a registered user. (Figures.) Oh well, at leave I got a positive FB from him, so I guess that's one feedback I simply "bought" for seven bucks.

I'd really be better off just saving up my money and visiting my local comic book specialty shop during their twice-a-year 25% off back issues sale. No postage costs there; just the gas back and forth to the shop. Maybe then I could also afford to buy up some backing boards and bags for all these books I've yet to add to my collection boxes that have been piling up here in the computer/collection room floor. I just added another 100 boards today and what I have simply "swallowed them up"! I have around 3 short comic boxes crammed full, around 1/2 of which is bagged and boarded and another 25% bagged, and yet another 25% without either bag or board. Gets expensive buying all these comic book supplies, and I'm sure I'd be better off looking into purchasing such supplies wholesale, say, 500 at a time.

I'm seriously thinking about growing grapes next year, and have already bought a book on that subject. Was at my cousin's place out in the country on Thanksgiving and he has grapevines which is what gave me the idea. I could maybe make some homemade jams or jellys or even wine (if I have the patience). We have such a short growing season here in kentucky for such things, but my cousin has been fairly successful growing them, so it's a thought.

Work is its usually hecticness here especially during the holiday season. We were as expected very busy November 26th. and the following weekend, and every day has been very steady with fairly large sales figures, but perhaps a bit lower than last years. I haven't had time to buy much of anything yet. (I'm always late on picking up Christmas gifts.)

I was finally able to get my mom a pc and have to have my local "computer guy" clean it out and just reload what little stuff she really needs in it. All she needs one for actually is sending email to her sis in Indianapolis, or maybe looking for sewing patterns. And I have finally gotten a DVD player at long last. Actually, I got a DVD/VCR combo due to the fact that 99% of my videos are on tape and so far I only have around a dozen on disc. I'm going to obtain copies of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hellboy and Spider-man II in a few days tho', and they will be exciting to rewatch with all the extras. Never seen Spider-man II, so that'll be the first I'll view. Probably I'll be writing a review of some sort on that flick here later on.

And, let's see now..."what else"? Oh, yeah. My glasses broke here the other day. Not the lense, but the stem right where it connects at the side of the left lense. Took it to the optometrist to see if it could be repaired (it couldn't), so now I'll be having to get a new pair sometime after the first of the year since, well, I really can't afford a new pair at the moment. It's not like I didn't know that's eventually happen to them; I haven't had a new pair in a good 5 years or better. I did dig out my old pair, but they're only for distance (I am required to wear corrective lense when driving a vehicle), so whenever I read or am at the computer I have to take them off, or I just see this blurry image. My boss was nice enough to offer to loan me the funds to purchase a new pair, but I really hate getting into a personal debt and my last pair cost me around $450. due to having to have bi-focals. Think I'll shop around a bit before I go to any local eye doctor this time.

Also I may shop around here after Christmas for a good little color t.v. of some sort so I can connect my old VCR into it and have something to play tapes while I'm here at the computer or working in this room. Would be nice. All I currently have in here is a little B&W set w/a 5" screen and that only picks up a couple channels. May look for a good used one, but I certainly wouldn't want to pick one up at a flea market unless they plugged it in first. Electronics are not a wise thing to buy at such places unless you can see it operate first, since, most things are bought "as is". Then again, small color t.v.'s are cheap enough I could probably pick one up at Wallyworld fairly inexpensively and it'd have somesort of warrenty.

Re: the above mention of "wine", I keep trying to complete my set of Eddie Campbell's BACCHUS, the god of wine, but am always getting outbidded on a set (which just goes to show me I am not alone in my admiration for his writing). Trouble is that there's 60 issues in a full set, but---I don't need a full set (only about the last 20 issues of so). Although I enjoy the series, still they're only worth about a buch each to me so I usually have bidded $20-$25 on a full set, although that'd still give me around 40 issues that I'd have to turn around and re-sell. Usually a full set goes for at least a buck and issue and the final bid's around $60. That'd be $3. per book for what I need, so each time I just let them go to some other bidder. It'd be nice to see just the issues I need at around $25., but that just probably isn't going to happen, and the only other issues I usually see are priced per issue at $2. or $3.. Maybe I can find them in a back issue bin ("somewhere"- "sometime") 'cause I'd really like to finish reading that series one day.

'Been watching the Teen Titans Go! animated show (whenever I can remember it's on). I've gained a bit more respect for this series than I had originally. I'm just not much on the manga-type animation, but later episodes don't seem to play up that style as much and I've enjoyed watching several of them. There's been some interesting guest-appearences, like "Terra" and "Nightwing", and one episode had both Aqualad, and Green Arrow's old sidekick, Speedy, which was sorta neat. I think the one that I disliked the most was the oine where "Beastboy" went inside of "Cyborg" in the form of an amoeba; that one was just a bit too childish even for me to like.
The episode where "Raven" was somewhat possessed by a character in a fantasy book was pretty decent; there's been episode I've liked, didn't like as much, and some I just didn't care for at all, but, overall, it's gotten better, I think.

I still was Justice League Unlimited, but I believe I've finally seen all of the episodes released thus far. The one with "Booster Gold" is a favorite. I thought it was pretty funny when he wasn't picked as a part of a team during a battle, but "Elongated Man" was instead and "Plastic Man" was already helping as well. He made a comment something like, "Two rubber guys? What do you need TWO rubber guys for?"
Gee. For a person without a lot to blog it certainly seems like I've got a lot to say this time, but really I'm just "catching up" for the past couple of weeks.

Well, someone recently asked me "why" I didn't do any new artwork anymore? Why I didn't create new comic strips or self-published small press stuff like I did years ago? You's not like I don't want to do such things again, but back around 1990 I stopped doing them for a myriad number of reasons. You can take your pick: Ran out of ideas...The copier a friend of mine was letting me use broke down...Just got tired of it....But I think more to the true reasons I stopped was simply because there are no new ideas to explore that aren't something someone else at sometime hasn't already tried. On top of this folks, I'm getting on in years. I'm not ready for the grave, but "if" I was was ever going to make it in the comic book business I feel that'd been a long time ago. Writers/Artists working in that field today are a third of my age, twice as fast and three times as talented; those are the simple facts. Really, I have tried to do new work in the past 14 or so years since I stopped putting out small press stuff. I do them now and then, just 'whevever" I feel like it and have the time or have something that I think's a fresh idea, but I can never seem to get past that dreaded seven pages of any one strip before I lose interest, or decide someone else has already explored that idea (and better than I) or just get bored with it. IF (and you'll notice that that's an awfully big IF) I had tons of money, then YES, I'd go back into small press but in a much larger way. I'd publish things at least comic book SIZE. Maybe not in color, but B&W format with a 3 or 4 color cover and I'd probably start out with collecting a lot of short strips into somesort of format that are already finished but no one besodes myself (and maybe a couple others) have ever seen. For the time being, tho', such plans are on an indefinate hold.

Chat Boards: I post sometimes on The Comic Book Chat Board on EBay, but not as much as I once did. Dunno. Maybe the novelty of such a thing has worn off a bit. Maybe I feel like some of the people that post on them have been doing so a lot longer than my three years doing so, and have formed some clique groups and I feel like an outsider. None of them have ever met me personally. To some of them I'm just this eight-eyes mutant that lives in Nowheresville, Kentucky, and I can understand that. I've always been a bit of a loner. Well, maybe not "always". When I was 25 years younger I buddied around a lot more, but all my friends were younger as well and we didn't have the complications of life, or the problems that I'm certain we all share today in common. Not that I don't post anymore at all, but I just don't sit here for hour after hour chatting back and forth, sitting on the edge of my seat and reloading the Board every few seconds to see if I got somesort of reply. I've made an utter fool of myself on such boards more than once anyway, and once In print, always so, and really I don't need anyone to think of me as any bigger an a$$hole than I really am. (On top of which, the two weeks all of the chat boards were flooded with Every Joe's political statements--- many of such showing signs of lunacy--- during our last president election rather turned me off. During that time I tried to avoid making comments like the plague simply because I knew it'd make a lot of unneeded and unnecessary enemies.)

And, I just checked my mailbox for the day, and once again an item I won on an auction is way overdue in arriving. So, I guess I give the seller yet another week then email his sorry behind ask ask him "where" is my merchandice? Yet another reason to stop bidding on such auctions at all. You pay them for priority mail, then they wait three weeks to mail your item. Could have drove to the comic shop, bought the blasted thing and saved postage and had it immediately instead of this day-by-day waiting just to see if that's an honest and reliable seller. Maybe I'm wrong in this, but when I sold on auctions, I'd mail the item out either that same day or the next, plus I'd always email the buyer and let them know it's been mailed. Is it really too much to ask a seller to give one the same courtesy? If they want to give you the excuse that they have a LOT of auctions and it takes time to mail everything out, then they're doing well enough on sales that they can hire some extra help. Either that or just not list as much. (*sigh*)

I've ranted enough. For what it's worth, here's my post (maybe for the next several days). I'm not even gonna proof-read it; you can just have me typos and all.