Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"In Loving Memory"

This blog is closed this week in respect and loving memory of my father, William E. Puckett (April 2nd.,1920- March 24th.,2008) who passed away yesterday after a lengthly and agonizing year of failing health and alzheimers.

Dad died quietly Monday afternoon at 1:45 P.M., with myself and his wife (my mother) by his side. Had he lived yet another couple of weeks, he would have been 88 years old on the 2nd. of April, and he and mom would have had their 65th. Wedding Anniversary on April 8th..

My father was a man of little education, but a very hard worker who always provided for his family. In his many years he did everything from shoveling coal, to working on farms, delivery milk and working countless hours at a gas station, to driving a taxi. His final job was as an employee for the local water company for 21 years from which he retired. Even so, after retirement he worked odd jobs and mowed yards. He never failed to keep a roof over his family's head and supply them with the essentials of life.

He was an avid square-dancer, loved to bowl and fish, and was never one to just sit around and do nothing with his life. It was very full with not only his own activities, but the love of his family and many, many friends.

We all grieve in our own ways. To my mother and myself it began a year ago when alzheimers took what we always knew as a loving husband and father from us. Still, it makes it no easier.

He will be very missed.

May you rest in peace now, my father.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Day 1 (of 2)"

It would have been nice to have slept in this morning on one of my every-other-weekend-days-off, but I had a plumber that was to come by between 7-8AM to work on my washer. After about an hour's work and $40. later, it was determined that the only real way to completely repair this old machine was to unassemble it partially and remove some filters which have disabled the use of hot water for washing the loads. However...that'd be rather costly, and with this machine being used when I purchased it (a good 15 years or more ago) it wasn't worth doing that, so instead he attached a new hose to prevent the leaking and spraying that it had been doing and it's now still usable, but only with cold water. Which is okay by me as we usually wash everything in cold water anyway. Looks like I'll still get some use out of this old washer for a while before I have to eventually break down and purchase another. But I can't complain about that as I've definately gotten my $50. or "whatever" I paid for back then.

So after he left I went by the local flea market (didn't find anything) and then over to look thru that one comic dealer's stock that I'd previously only sort'a glanced through, and this time I took my inventory list along with me just to prevent my purchasing any duplication.

There were a few minor comics in this lot that I'd liked to have bought but considered them well over-priced, and I stayed with issues that were in the $2. or less range, purchasing a total of 24 total for about $1. averaging per book (some were more and some less).

Mostly it was just comics I wanted to read, but there were a few interesting things in it, such as a Demon Limited Series (DC/1987) #2 (with the "error" cover) that I needed in my set, copies of DC's limited series from 1994, Zero Hour #'s 4, 3 & 1 (with Ordway artwork), an Eclipse Comics Mr. Monster's Schock! #1 (1987), a Marvel Comics Lee Falk's Mandrake the Magician #1 (1995), a Marvel The Incredible Hulk #355(1989) w/Peter David and Jeff Purvis, a Dark Horse G.I.Joe #1(1995) w/a Frank Miller cover, 3 misc. Marvel issues of Groo (from the late 80's), a DC Green Arrow Limited Series #3(1983) w/Von Eeden artwork, a DC Green Lantern #13 (2002) w/a Kevin Smith script, an issue of Fury of Firestorm #44 from DC (1986), pus a little handful of others including one comic that would bring much joy to someone such as my old pal "Johnny Bacardi" due to it's combinations of artists. It's a copy of DC's Mystery In Space #113 from 1980, with a Joe Kubert cover and interior artwork, plus the likes of Michael Golden, Trevor Von Eeden and Jerry Grandenitti (shown ABOVE).

Returning home I decided to start the loads of laundry and filled the washer, only to remember that my wife wanted it straightened back out and sat as it was originally before pulling it out from the wall to work on...which was a big mistake since I didn't have the plumber help me do this before he left. I over-strained and pulled a muscle in my back and now that's hurting like krazy. When will I learn...

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Spring Has FINALLY Sprung"

With Spring here (at last) I've finally got some people coming by to do some work on this house; things that had I the knowledge to repair, would have already been done.

For one thing, this back roof over my kitchen and pantry area. A location over the sink in two places has been dripping this past Winter: One over the mat in front of the sink, and the other above where the cabinets are attached. With the fear that it might destroy this plaster and cause not only parts of the ceiling to come down but perhaps an entire cabinet area as well, I knew that this was the main concern, i.e., keeping a roof over my head.

I've had two different repair people look at it and give estimates. I believe we're going with the one man who did the shingling and gutter/flashing repair of a couple of years ago when we had a terrible hail storm and wrecked much havok to this old place. He's reliable and does good, quick repair work. We contacted our insurance people and lo' an' behold, they may even pay for said repair which would leave us more money available to pursue having the interior paneling in the ceiling replaced in our entranceway, dining room and bathroom.

Yet another person is coming by early tomorrow to finish putting an extension up from our sewer cleanout valve outside, plus to fix our washing machine so we don't have to tote several heavy loads elsewhere just to wash and then bring back here for the drying.

Things are...finally...coming along.

Looks like I've completed another DC set from the 1980's. 1986-87, to be exact, as I've won a full run of 'Mazing Man 1-12 & Specials 1-3, and from another seller, won the "'Mazing Man Poster" complete with the letter of apology from DC Comics due to its delay in shipping. Other sets from the 1980's DC lineup I'll continue to work on will be Captain Atom, The Question, Suicide Squad, Secret Origins, Jonah Hex, HEX, All-Star Squadron, and then perhaps Young All-Stars.

The local flea market is now in full swing and tomorrow (as well as Easter Sunday) I'm off work. With a fair-weather day in the forecast I plan to go to the flea market as early as I can, then stop by a place that I know has many modern comics for sale. I've checked my "lists" and know that this place has at least one comic I need in a set, and probably more, but last time I was there I just guessed at what I actually had,so this time I'll take my inventory list just to make sure I don't end up buying several needless "dups".

Although I was just off work last Tuesday, the rest of this week has been very hard and hectic at work. Yesterday I was called "next door" to the wholesale department to help check out a customer and it took literally 2 full hours. This buyer had probably 20 grocery baskets full of merchandise, plus 5 flatbeds crammed full of tools and the like. I personally checked out ALL of the flatbeds as well as well as 6 or so full baskets. This is not to mention a good 5 pages of tools I had to order and put out/price over in the retail section.

Then today I had yet another good three pages, mostly of new merchandise to order, plus restock, plus getting odds and ends such as cash register paper, charge machine paper, invoices, going to the bank for our change fund,answering a telephone so many times I was ready to take a sledge hammer to it, etc., etc., and loads of customers out due to the pretty weather, Easter and Spring breaks from schools. Par usual, we only had two people working (including myself), and the other person was ordering merchandise all day for the other part of retail. It was a fight between waiting on customers, ringing them up, pricing and stocking all day long.

If all goes well I plan on taking my vacation this year during the week of May 3rd. so I can be sure to be off when the "Free Comic Book Day" happens at my regular comic book shop. Guess I need to start saving up now since they usually have some percentage off their back issues as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Late breaking news worthly of a double-post today.

I've just got information that writer Arthur C. Clarke has died at age 90.


"Comics and...Whatever"

It was the early 1960's...1963, to be exact...and I read a lot of comics. In fact, I was just getting into actually keeping and collecting my comics, stashing them into a large, cardboard box that I kept under my bed.

And it didn't matter much "what" sort of comics I read since I liked them all, but even back then I had more of a lean towards the super heroes (especially Superman). But I read whatever I could get. I read Marvel. I read DC. And I read many an issue published by both Archie and the American Comics Group (aka, "A.C.G.").

Up until that time, only my family members and a close-netted group of friends knew I loved comic books. Until I got a fan letter published in a letter's page of an Archie title (and, no. I still won't say which one as it's been a source of embarrassment for 45 years; not the the fact that it was published, but "what" I wrote and got published!)

So's...anyway...this makes my 45th. year of being "recognized" by "the world at large" as a comic book fan and collector.

But...getting back to Archie Comics...

I got in 6 various silver-age comic today that I'd won on eBay auctions. Three of these were published by A.C.G....and three by Archie. Now it's not like I just randomly purchase an old Archie Comic. The majority of these are composed or just Archie's flirtacious antics with Betty & Veronica, or pestering "Mr. Lodge", and the such. I only buy such if they are somewhat special. So I'll begin with the copy of Archie Comics #185 (pictured ABOVE), dated September, 1968.

This comic is of importance...historically so, as far as music goes, as it features the very first appearance of "The Archies" rock group. I'll admit to listening to "The Archies". It was difficult not too with as many AM stations as we had locally in 1968, but also due to the number of hit singles that were produced from a studio group. Most notably was "Sugar, Sugar", which broke all sales records for any single. This one little story spawned many another tale of The Archies as a rock group, and led into the introduction of yet a second singing group in their titles called "Josie and The Pussycats". Both were made into animated Saturday morning cartoon shows, and there were other Archie-type spinoffs.

The second Archie title I got is a copy of Jughead #132 (dated May, 1966). Nothing of any interest inside the comic, but the cover features three of the then popular heroes from that company, "The Fly(Man)", "The Black Hood", and "The Shield". All three characters were part of their super hero team, "The Mighty Crusaders". The Shield and Black Hood were revived Golden Age characters...in a way. Shield was produced in the late 1950's as a book called "The Double Life of Pvt. Strong", but was a somewhat different character. He was later dfetermined to be the son of the original Shield (who had appeared in MLJ/Archie Comics in the 1940's).. The Black Hood had appeared in Golden Age Archie/MLJ's, but used in the early 1960's in "The Fly's" title as well. Both the Pvt. Strong/Shield version, as well as The Fly (later simply called "FlyMAN") were Simon and Kirby creations.

The other Archie is a copy of Laugh Comics #139 (Oct., 1962), and as with several issues of both Laugh and it's sister-title, "Pep", at that time they ran Fly & FlyGIRL, or "The Jaguar" stories within these titles.

In the ACG titles, I got copies of Magic Agent(aka "John Force") #3, and Unknown Worlds #'s 50 & 52. All of these are Magic Agent appearances. The MA #3 was the last issue of his own title. The MA #3 is from 1962, and the UWs from 1966. UWs #50, besides having Magic Agent has, as well, one of those rare ACG stories drawn by Steve Ditko (albiet a short 3 pager).

Then I got in a couple of modern things like DC's Suicide Squard #'s 1 & 2 (first series from 1987). I still need a LOT of those to fill out a set!

Thus ends what I bought with winnings that were paid to me via PayPal from previous auctions this year.

In other news...

I can't say that I'm happy in the least over the amount of the settlement given to Heather Mills. In the first place, whoever even heard of her before her involvement with Paul McCartney? From reports I've been reading she's had less than a perfect past, but that aside, I really think that she planned all of this from the start. Maybe I'm wrong, but it looks that way to me; just something to get a lot of money and publicity from, and now, very sadly, a hold on part of the McCartney Estate due to having one of his heirs.

On the other hand...

Although I don't like the fact that she's getting the money, I think Paul should have to pay every penny of it simply for being STUPID enough to marry her (or, for that fact, ANY woman that's young enough to be his daughter) in the first place. That much money, fame and fortune, getting married when there's thousands of women who would give Paul anything from simple companionship to kissing-whatever-part-of-his-body-he-wanted-them-to just for being "who" he is? Come one! Let's get serious here, folks. An escort service would have been a lot cheaper. (Even a high-priced "hooker" would have been.)

"And that's all I got to say about that".

Now I think I'll rant a little about people who simply don't want to work. Let's start with interior house projects that I've been trying to find people to fix.

I've got this leak over my kitchen, and I'm afraid that it's going to ruin the plaster board there (possibly even weaken it enough to collapse). Can I get anyone to come and give me something as simple as an estimate on new shingles on that side of the house? Nope. I've contacts, thus far, at least three different people on this and have yet to see a single one here.

I've got some problems in the utility room related to my washer and can't even get a plumber to stop by to see what it'll take to fix that. So for the past several weeks I've had to wash my clothes elsewhere, then bring them back here to dry them.

I've contacted at least three different people to give me estimates on replacing old ceiling panels with nicer, larger ones. One of the three showed up so far.

So's...whats the deal with getting people to work? Are they that covered up they can't make it? Nope. I think it's because they're self-employed, so they can pick the easiest jobs that they can charge the most for, and ignore the rest. Lord knows I wish I knew exactly how to shingle a roof or fix these panelings properly, but even after looking at instructions on various web sites, I'm pretty lost about the subjects. However...IF I could...these problems would have already been repaired.

(Rant over.)

St. Patrick's Day was just the usual back at work. After 2 days away from ordering I ended up with a good, full 5 pages worth of tools to restock. Busy, busy all day long.

Interesting... St. Patty's Day..."Ran all of the snakes out of Ireland with a shamrock", or so I'm told...which is just another way of saying he put the Christian religion (a shamrock being just another symbol for the cross) in place of any pagan one (symbolized by a snake, representative of Satan). Just yet another day we celebrate where Europians have come into a country (or, U.S. citizens for that matter refering to The Native Americans), and destroyed both the original culture and religion. Yes...something we should be proud of indeed!

Let's see...Christianity has done this to The Norse...Native Americans...various African tribes...attempts in India and Japan and China...and whereever they've set their feet and tried to claim as their own.

They've stolen such celebrations and changed them, making them their own such as Easter, and Christmas... and May Day...(but reversed the true meaning of Halloween 'cause it didn't quite fit into their mode.

Ooookay. E'nuff o' dat.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"At Least DELL Tried"

Super Heroes #1 came out in the latter part of 1966 with a cover date of 1/67, and it was one of those titles trying to ride the fame of the Batman-Adam West t.v. series. (If you'll click onto the link Here it'll give you more information including the writer and artist credits.)

There was only four issues of this published by Dell Comics, shortly after their divorce from Western Publications, so by the end of 1967 this title had gone its way.

It was the tales of four teenagers who accidently had their minds transfered into super-powered android bodies. Just another rather drab title among the scores of other super hero books trying to cash in at the time, but one I remember well as a teenager. There's an odd scene, one panel in fact, at the beginning of the first tale in issue #1 where these teens are at a "Dell Museum", and they're looking at these statues of other Dell characters: "Nukla", "Kona" and "Toka the Jungle King". It was like the writer wanted to remind anyone reading this comic that Dell had already gotten into publishing original characters, superhero or otherwise, before the whole craze began.

Perhaps the best super hero title this company published in the 1960's was Nukla, greatly reminiscent of Charlton's "Captain Atom" and with similiar powers. That series, as well, last about 4 issues before oblivion, as did their other tries such as "Frankenstein", & "Dracula", and even a one-shot super-powered "Werewolf". Truthfully, there were only three issues each as the first issue of these titles were the classic Universal Pictures versions before their revamping into heroes.

On the cover of Super heroes #1, the blurb reads: "The FAB 4", which "almost" got me to add it as a side notation to my "Beatles & Bizarros" blog site (almost, but not quite enuff for such an esoteric reference).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"The Back Issue Review"

Okay, I admit it.

I'm a closet Shi fan. In fact, I've read many of the comics that were published by Crusade back in the 1990's, and liked most of them; the various Shi titles, Tomoe, Dogs of War, etc. What stood out for me with Shi (in the midst of many a "bad girl" title such as "Glory", "Avengeline", "Firefox" and all the others) was the clean-line artwork of William Tucci, and the well-defined storylines. His work was very researched and accurate. The coloration of the stories were striking and not over-played. There was more to it that some chick with a sword hacking her way thru myriad villians.

Tomoe was also very good.

About the only thing I didn't like about Crusade was their confusing cover variations. They'd put out a "regular' edition, then a Fan Appreciation Edition (with a variant cover). And when they published Tomoe #1, it was actually Shi The Way of The Warrior #6 as well. In fact, thewre was three different versions of just that book: Shi TWOTW #6 "regular" edition, #6 FA Edition, and #6 aka: Tomoe #1, all of which had identical interiors and indicas.

Demon Gun was another very interesting Crusade title, lasting three issues is chronicled the tale of a western gunfighter possessed with The Avenging Power Of God (pre "Saint of Killers" theme). Although in B&W, the story overwhelmed any art flaws. This series lasted three issues (of which I'm aware).

Regarding some other series that I've just recently read, I got in the full 3 issue each limited series of City of Silence (Image) and Mek (Homage). Both of these series were written by Warren Ellis. Although I enjoy his "longjohn" stories of characters such as those in "Stormwatch" and "The Authority", I find myself more drawn to his other work non-related to the superhero field (such as Transmetropolitan), and these two series were far from disappointing. Each set in a futuristic city of some sort. Each deals with future technology.

COS deals with using computors to crack the code to actually communicate with God, and MEK is about using techical enhancements to the body, some of which are deemed illegal for the common person to have due to their dangerous and military developement(aka: "bad" Mek). I was impressed by both series and recommend them as do I all of Mr. Ellis's work. A couple of nice series for a good read to look up in the back issue bins of your local comic shop.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Passing of Dave Stevens"

I never personally knew Dave Stevens, but there wasn't a single piece of his work that I've seen of his that I didn't think was anything but that produced by a craftsman.

His work was so very good...so detailed...so alive that it was instantly recognizable.

Back in the early 1980's I wrote to Dave Stevens telling him how much I enjoyed his work on "The Rocketeer", and I also wrote Pacific Comics urging them to produce a solo Rocketeer comic. Dave was kind enough to send me the above pictured postcard, and on the reverse wrote a nice, personal, hand-written note thanking me. I have had that postcard framed and hanging on my collection room or pc room, ever since, and treasure it.

From what I've read about this man, I know that he was sincere, and that he thought very much about how his fans viewed his work, and would only produce the best that he could possibly do.

Mark Evanier wrote a very nice piece about him on his blog site, and I urge you, whether you know of Dave Stevens work or not, to read this.

He died way too soon. His talent will be missed. Thank you, Dave Stevens, for the pleasure of your existence upon this planet and the joy you created through your artwork.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Beatles and....Image Comics???"

287 Different issues of various IMAGE COMICS! 287! And that's not counting comics from their off-shoot companies; "Top Cow", and the like. Where in the hell did I get that many Image Comics??? When did I ever become a fan of Image? It's not like I never bought any of their books. When they first appeared in 1992, I bought the first few issues of probably every title they were publishing, just to see which ones I'd like. I was buying many comic titles from groups other than DC or Marvel back then; most notably, Valiant and Topps.

The Image titles I found I enjoyed the most were The Maxxby Sam Kieth, PITT by Dale Keown, Tribe by Larry Stroman, & Shaman's Tears by Mike Grell, but I found I could tolerate most of their other stuff, such as WildC.A.T.S., Stormwatch, Cyber Force, and yes, even some issues of Spawn and Youngblood.

I think maybe I started reading more of their titles when such titles as Stranger In Paradice and Bone and Jack Staff came into view under their banner. I do know that 287 is NOT all of them, however.

I've gotten this wild hair to start the reorganization of all of my comics into their seperate publishing companies. Thus far, that number quoted is merely all I could remember without looking over an inventory list.

I decided to reorganize my books after the fiasco of having a couple of guys some months back really screwing over me on a deal to sell probably 2500+ comics on eBay. When I put that to an end and got back what remained of the comics, they had mixed all of the duplication in with the NON-dups, and I had no real good list of everything which had sold to remove those comics from my "collection list" (making said list obsolete). So now I'm undertaking the search for any duplication to remove for selling on my own and trying to one day prepare this collection where I can begin the long task of making a complete RE-listing of it "just to know what I have and don't have", and see if I can get a handle on my grand total. No easy task considering I still estimate that number in the 12K+ range.

But I still don't know "how" I've ended up with so many Image Comics.

Anyway... above you will see two different "Beatles Gum Cards" from the 60's that my old friend of 40+ years, Steve Wright, dropped off for me today. The top one is Card No.116 from the 3rd. series and the bottom is Card No.45 from the Color series. Looking at the Ringo pic makes me wonder if Frazetta didn't use a reverse image of this to do his famous portrait for MAD Magazine (which led to his illustrious painting career).

Well... our 6 inches of snow's about left here. It's warmed up way above freezing. Sounded like a hail storm earlier with all of the ice dropping from the trees on the roof. Maybe...just "maybe" Spring isn't that far away now.

Friday, March 07, 2008

"Getting Some Down Time"

A bit worn...the cover's loose from the comic...a little foxing about the staples...but a complete and very readable copy of Fantastic Four (Marvel) #16 (1963). It's a comic that I just got in from an auction win.

Of the issues of FF published with a '63 cover date, I'm not sure if that one's my very favorite (just because it's difficult to pick just one), but it's definately up there with the top two due to it featuring both the FF AND, another personal favorite Kirby creation, "Ant-Man". It also has a very small cameo of "The Wasp"; possibly her second app. since she first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44 (6/63) and FF 16 is dated 7/63.

This issue contained other important bits of Marvel-FF history, with the 4th. app. of "Dr. Doom", and the introduction of "the micro-world". Par usual, Doom escapes the FF at the end of this issue, but you know he'll pop up back into their lives just a few issues later. Great artwork by Kirby and unforgetable dialogue by Stan from Marvel's sweetest silver-age period. A time which will end with the early part of '64, post John Kennedy's assassination, and the introduction of The Beatles to U.S. audiences.

Many "things" have occured since my late post.

Today, for one, where we began the morning with a light snow, which turned over to sleet, then rain, back to a frezing rain, and back to sleet and into snow. Most of Kentucky is under a Winter storm warning until 3 PM tomorrow with chances of local accumulation up to 6 inches(Ouch!). Sunday the temperatures will break a bit up above freezing and the roads may once again become passable. I'm slated off the next three days, which is good as I don't want to be out there in this mess. Guess it'll give me some time to catch up with some reading, artwork, house chores and the like. Maybe I'll even get a chance to list a few more items on eBay auctions.

Currently I have three items listed: a lot of bronze-age misc. comics, a lot of "Jonah Hex" comics and a pocket knife. I think I'll probably make up at least two large lots (40+) of various Image comics which date back to its beginnings in the early 1990's. So, if you're an Image fan and missed those and wanna get them probably cheap, in the next day or so you can see those listed HERE.

Thus today ended my straight run of 8 days working. I had to be there every day at work this week since I was the only other person available that was trained to ring up customers in our wholesale department which the boss and his wife were on a buying spree for the store out west. They're back now, tho', so I guess I can get back to doing just my regukar work in retail.

Tomorrow I think I'll get around to watching a copy of the DVD, "Across the Universe". I'll let you know what I think about that soon.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

"In Like A Lamb"

To begin this first post of 3/2008, I'd like to caution those who bid or are thinking about bidding on any of the live Heritage auctions on eBay. THIS link will tell you "why".

And I just hope that this weather is a good indication of times to come this last few weeks before Spring. Temperatures were in the lower 50's today with plenty of sunshine. Of course, we're supposed to have a chance of colder weather moiving back in theis coming week...probably hitting us when I finally have a day of, natch.

In today's mail: X-Statix 25 and Adventure Comics 459. It gave me a full run of the Milligan/Allred "X-Statix"s, and the Adventure Comics had Part 1 of the conclussion of the New Gods story from the last bronze-age issue, #19. I still need that Kirby "Hunger Dogs" Graphic Novel, Adventure Comics #460, and a copy of X-Statix presents Deadgirl L.S. 3 before I can completely call these specific collections "complete".

There were other features in the Adventure besides New Gods, such as The Flash, Green Lantern, Deadman and Wonder Woman in this, the first of their $1.-sized issues beginning in 1978. jim Aparo did the artwork on the cover + the Deadman strip, and Don Newton the artwork on New Gods.