Quick Report: Listing Comics For Sale

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I’m not going to get rid of the comics unless I can sell them off. So this week I started listing comics on the Clutter For Sale section’s comic page. I actually had a few up there I didn’t realize I had already priced. I was going with the “new comic every day” plan but this week had numerous stop gaps and while I tried I fell a bit short. So yesterday I popped a whole bunch on there. Apparently I also need to add to the books for sale section and I though I had gotten them all. I must have lost some when I reorganized the section so I’ll have to fix that.

I’m actually low on long-term projects. The comics I do almost every day as far as going over them. The books I only get to read a chapter a week. The Transformers reviews may bring bonus traffic to the site (now that one I have completed of the ones I’ve gone over) but that’s not the mission of the site and it’s not like I couldn’t organize better. Plus I’d like to sell some of the ones already on the toy page before building that pile any further. And I just noticed one figure I didn’t list like a dummy so I need to fix that.

Now I have to see what the new computer can run software wise and what I actually need. That’ll be “fun”. The real clutter is my schedule. This is what I need to work on the most as far as getting my life back on track but that’s actually harder than you think. I’m also taking on another video project that requires specific artwork. Timing is probably my biggest barrier for anything. That and figuring out how to get rid of stuff I can’t just throw away. The work goes on. Advice is welcome.

Comic Organizing Mega Project: Sort To Sell

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More of a quick report this week but the project did take all week to do. Granted it’s only because of other projects I had to do. This is an old picture but I broke out the sorting table and organized the piles (well, three bags) of comics I plan to sell. I want to look up what they’re worth and slowly add them to the comics for sale section of the site. I put them in a better order to post them to the section, using the same layout I use in my regular comic collection (like combining titles of the same continuity: i.e. DC universe, Marvel universe, Elementals universe, franchise, etc.)

I have two more comic I know are going into the pile after I review them over the next two weeks and there may well be more in the future, but I do plan to do a comic a day minimum (though we know how my plans work out) if I can and add them to the sale section, so keep an eye out in case one you might be interested in shows up. By the way I’m STILL finding comics in the wrong order but at least it’s not as bad as it was and adjusting is easier than before this megaproject began. This is still far from being done.

Book Report: Spider-Man–Carnage In New York

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While comics being turned into movies and TV shows are nothing new I wonder how many people realize that even prose has seen superheroes cross over from the panel to the text? Here at The Clutter Reports I’ve already reviewed The Death & Life Of Superman by comic writer and novelist Roger Stern. I have very few prose stories based on the DC and Marvel heroes but most of them are DC, mainly Superman and Batman. (I also reviewed a “Which Way” gamebook starring Superman.) I only have one Marvel novel, a co-authorship between a comic writer and a novelist.

In the 1990s Marvel published a series of novels starring their superheroes through Byron Press, one written by another crossmedia writer, Peter David, focused on a character he knew very well, the Incredible Hulk. David Michellie is mostly known for his run on Iron Man in the comics but did spend some time on The Amazing Spider-Man so he does know the character. (I do not know if there was a novel about Iron Man but if there is I hope he worked on it.) Aiding him was novelist Dean Wesley Smith. Together they penned a story about Carnage, an offshoot of Venom. Venom has a long backstory even before Marvel tried to fill out the symbiote race. Symbiotes are goo-like beings that bond with hosts, forming a sort of costume and granting the host special abilities while symbiote feeds on his I think adrenaline and sometimes uses the host to feed on other lifeforms. Carnage is a spawn of that symbiote that found a willing host in mass murderer Cletus Kasaday, forming a bond so perfect Carnage speaks in “I/me/my” rather than “we/our”. He is one of if not the most dangerous foe in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, making him a good choice for this novel.

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Comics & Cardbacks: An Actual Cleaning Project

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Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve actually done one of these, hasn’t it? Between computer issues and time I haven’t been able to work on a day-long anti-clutter project. So this week I was lucky to actually be able to work on one. At issue was the set of cardbacks left over from a previous organizing project. I cleaned out the folder box but there was another set of these and I thought I’d go over them at the same time. Then the delays happened. No delays this week.

You’re probably wondering why I save cardbacks from the various Transformers figures. Perhaps you don’t remember the days of tech specs on Transformers figures, something that’s fallen out of fashion for various reasons. One of them was the need for multi-language packaging at one point. When that ended they never really went back to the old spec cards, something you’d clip off of the back of the packaging. These would include the character’s personalities and stats. While Hasbro has included this in packaging the old tech specs remained at a set size (sometimes reduced for smaller figures) but that doesn’t exist anymore. It had been a goal of mine to create new tech spec designs, but with the internet serving as a way to find examples and information I don’t really have to have this big pile of cardboard. So this week I planned to cut that down a little.

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Comic Book Report: Star Trek–The Mirror Universe Saga

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Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Saga trade paperback

DC Comics (June 1991)

collects Star Trek issues #9-19 (December 1984-July, 1985)

WRITER: Mike W. Barr

PENCILER: Tom Sutton

INKER; Ricardo Villagran

COLORIST: Michele Wolfman

LETTERER: John Costanza

These issues of DC’s first series of Star Trek comics ran into a slight problem. They came out around the time of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, in which the ending would lead right into the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, a whole two years to wait to resolve the events of the previous movie. And yet somehow the writers of the comic, Mike Barr for this story (he was also one of the editors according to comics.org), had to keep the adventures of the crew going without interfering with the next movie. Admittedly they may not have been as successful in hindsight, but these are the only comics I have from this period so I could be wrong. Crafting a good story on the other hand was a success so take the victory you can on this one.

The “Mirror Universe” dates back to the classic Star Trek episode “Mirror Mirror”, in which a transporter accident switches Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura with their counterparts in a reverse dimension, where things are similar but not exact. In this universe the Federation is replaced with an Empire and are very cruel. This allowed the other actors (although Spock is still mostly Spock, just with a nasty streak) a chance to do something a bit different and the episode is a favorite among fans. There’s also a running gag in sci-fi fan circles that Mirror Spock’s goatee has become a symbol for evil universe counterparts.

I don’t have the individual issues but I did get this trade collection for the entire eight chapter story, originally subtitled “New Frontiers”. At the end of the article I’ll link to the individual reviews I did of each issue for my other site. This is an overview of the arc and a review of the trade collection.

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Untranslated Manga Report: Mach Go Go Go remake

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This wasn’t your father’s Speed Racer.

Known in the US as Speed Racer X, this was a new version of the classic manga and anime series about auto racer Gō Mifune and his amazing race car, the Mach 5. It received wide popularity when brought to the US as Speed Racer and a resurgence when MTV reaired the original dubs. There have been two attempts to create an American spinoff, only one of which went past one season, a series of comics, the most influential being the NOW Comics run, and a recent live-action movie that had mixed reviews.

I had heard about the remake and some of the changes. Go’s new last name is Hibiki for some reason, Spritle’s counterpart is now the brother of Trixie’s counterpart, and Racer X (the only brother Speed keeps is the one thought dead) has a new outfit that’s something Batman or Gatchaman/G-Force would wear. Also no chimpanzee pet for the little boy. While the show didn’t have a comic in the US a two-volume manga for kids was created, and that’s what I ended up ordering. I’m pretty sure I knew this one was in Japanese but curiosity won out.

In deciding whether or not to add this to the manga I want to purge I have to figure out if this is something I can still enjoy despite not reading the language. The only English is Go’s name, the letters on the steering wheel that activates the car’s famous gadgets, and oddly a couple of computer displays when the “Safety Seven”is activated or when the engine overheats in one story. That means the art is really going to have to get the story across, or at least enough of it to enjoy reading. How does it do?

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Comic Organizing Mega Project: Manga Sorting

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Time for more with the project that doesn’t end. I have collected a lot of comics and some of that collection comes from Japan. I don’t just mean the translated stuff either. As noted in a previous report before the Mega Project began I ended up with these sometimes out of curiosity and sometimes because the solicit from the catalog failed to mention it was in Japanese. With so much manga being translated I didn’t always know what was and what wasn’t in English. I had considered translating this but the Japanese grammar system is so far removed from Western languages that it’s a lot more work than I care to do. I have other projects that interest me more.

However, as of this writing, the four listed in that report I still don’t know how to sell off. I tried eBay but there were no takers. Still, I decided to organize all my manga, translated or not, and move forward on the attempt with the others. I still need to look over the untranslated stuff and see if I can still follow the story enough to keep any of it. While I have collected some translated manga put into typical Western comic style I still have plenty in Japan’s usual digest form, just in my language. That I’ll go over as I do the rest of my comic collection, but first I need to sort it all alphabetically and by language. That was this week’s project.

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Book Review: He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe: The Newspaper Comic Strips

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In the 1980s one of the biggest toylines was Masters Of The Universe, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy series with a hint of science fiction with advanced fighting machines and Skeletor’s original origin being a space alien who wanted to open a doorway so his people could conquer Eternia, with himself as ruler. The lore changed over the years with the addition of DC Comics and later the animation studio Filmation, who added a secret identity for the hero, He-Man, and created a lot of what we know about He-Man, his allies, and his enemies. Additionally there were books, some of which came with adapting audio dramas, and of course the minicomics that came with the figures. Most people know about all of these, but did you know there was also a comic strip? I didn’t until a friend of mine bought me this collection for my birthday one year.

The Masters Of The Universe newspaper strips (He-Man added to the name later) was Mattel trying to find a new avenue to promote their toyline. While a pitch strip was created (which included the famed Stan Sakai among them) it was deemed too expensive but a new team would still arrive to bring the comic into existence. Jim Shull wrote the first story, with Chris Weber (edited by his wife, Karen Willson) taking over for the rest of comic’s run. Gerald Forton was the artist and Connie Schurr as colorist were there for the entire run. Despite having an international release the comic has gone largely unknown even within the fandom.

Enter Danielle Gelehrter, who talked Val Staples, head of the fan website He-Man.Org and a fellow collaborator on a Masters Of The Universe art book for Dark Horse Comics, into working on bringing the strips to a full collection. This required the effort of many fans who did know about the comics to find the original strips, translate the ones they could only find in Spanish or Greek (among other languages), create a font based on Forton’s handwriting for consistency, and convert it all to digital. Weber and Willson also helped out with the years they were able to keep on hand, and finally the strips were restored and put into the collection above. I’ve already reviewed the individual stories on my other site but this is a look at the book itself.

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Comic Report: Batman Chronicles–The Gauntlet

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I got back the laptop I use for the art corner but I haven’t had time to work on my comic or do some other stuff I wanted to set up on the old thing. That was my project this week, but probably not very interesting to you guys. So here’s another recent “Scanning My Collection” article from the other site so you have something worth reading. And in light of the recent Titans streaming series on DC’s new streaming service even more appropriate now than when I first posted it. Enjoy.


 

The art of the sidekick is dead or dying. Merriam-Webster defines the sidekick as “a person closely associated with another as a subordinate or partner“. Often mistaken for just being comic relief the sidekick is learning from the hero or is there to provide back-up for the hero. In the world of superheroes, sidekicks are…or were…receiving training from the hero but not yet good enough to go completely on their own. From Robin the Boy Wonder to Kid Flash to Bucky Barnes, the sidekicks can graduate to take over a mantle or become their own hero, but they start out aiding their mentors.

Nowadays that doesn’t happen. The Robin of today is already highly trained by assassins and an equal to Batman despite his young age. If he’s learning anything, Damien has to respect others, including and especially his teammates. But as Tim Drake noted, Robin also served another purpose. He keeps Batman from going too far over the edge, from falling into the proverbial abyss. Meanwhile, Batman chose the first Robin before the memory of his parents’ murder ruined Dick Grayson the way it did Bruce Wayne. We all know how Batman trained Dick Grayson to become the first Robin, but do you know the story of his final exam?

Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet isn’t some huge, Earth-shatteringly epic story. It’s a one-shot story in a short graphic novel. It’s the story of Robin’s “final exam”, the last step in proving he’s ready to become Batman’s partner. It’s one of my favorite Robin stories. So why does it stand out for me?

“Shadow puppets? Really, Bruce?”

Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet

DC Comics (1997)

WRITERS/ARTIST: Bruce Canwell & Lee Weeks

COLORS/SEPARATIONS: Matt Hollingsworth

LETTERER: Albert DeGuzman

EDITOR: Darren J. Vincenzo

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Quick Project: Comic Shifting

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This wasn’t the project I planned to do this week. I wanted to take my steno book and make a listing of the PC software I have and list what goes to which computer (my desk and laptop) and further divide them by games, productivity, creativity, and standard drivers and stuff. But I’ve lost the steno book. I don’t even think I can blame this one on the clutter. I put it somewhere and now I don’t know where. Luckily this isn’t an important project right now. I’m just upset I lost my steno book. Remember, it has all my video game scores and other listings on there. So until I figure out where I put it that project’s on hold.

So I did the project this week I was saving for next week. As I continue to go through my comic collection I’ve pulled out a bunch of comics from my collection, leaving a big gap in at least one longbox. So this week I moved some comics around, putting a few more in the box and condensing the collection. So at least I did something this week, and considering how hot it is in Connecticut (and thus hotter in this attic) I’m lucky I was able to do that.

By the way, for my fellow Americans, have a happy Independence Day!

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