Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Thoughts and Musings

Well, it's official. My New Year's resolution to blog more is in the toilet. I am mad at myself, and I can't see it getting better anytime soon. I am busy at work and frantically working out. I miss the days that I got home before 8 p.m. at night. It will improve sooner than later, especially with the days getting longer again. I hope to entice my hubby into going walking with me sometimes.

The economy sucks more than ever. When even Microsoft lays off people, you know times are tough. I just can't believe how bad unemployment is and am very thankful that I have a job. When I open the news in the morning and at night, I feel bombarded with new crappy news. I hope that all of you are being able to continue to have work, and that you are doing alright.

At this point, I am not worried about my comic book cutbacks. I am just thankful I can pay my bills. Someday I hope to catch up on back issues or get some new trades, but for the time being, at least I have the comfort that I can surf the 'net for free... at least for now.

How's it going for you? How are the comics buying habits? How are the local shops you frequent doing? I am very curious. Let me know if you have a chance.

Until than, take care.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Comics for January 28

January is already almost over, and it continues to amaze me how quickly time flies. As I get older, it seems that the days get away from me more than ever. I don't know how much of it is the hours I am working, followed by the workouts, or just the fact that I need more sleep, but it is almost Valentines Day and I haven't even considered plans.

At any rate, my comic list this week features multiple titles, so I am quite giddy. My books this week are:

Final Crisis #7 (of 7)

Justice Society of America #23

Wonder Woman #28- cover pictured

Woo hoo! Three of my five titles are coming out this week! That means that when my DCBS order ships this Wednesday, I will have almost 45 minutes of reading... if I take it slowly. LOL.

Here is a list of the books I would have picked up before the cutbacks.

Batman #685

Superman #684

Teen Titans #67- kind of relieved to have dropped this, but kind of irritated because I have so many years of continuity. Must get past that!

Captain America #46- someday I would like to pick this back up.

Daredevil #115- ditto on this one.

Ms Marvel #35- I miss Carol's adventures.

Punisher War Zone #6 (of 6)- I may end up getting since I have the first five issues.

She-Hulk 2 #37- I miss Jen too.

Ultimate Spider-Man #130- surprisingly not too upset about this one.

That is the list for this week. What are you picking up? What have you dropped that you might have picked up before?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Catching Up With the Past

The last year I have been cleaning my basement a little at a time, and finding treasures and memories there along with the clutter. I found old comic books that I had a fondness for, pictures of beloved family members, college "party" pictures, old yearbooks, and lots of letters. Those made me a bit nostalgic and I enjoyed looking through those memories with fresh eyes.

Then my high school and college friends started finding each other on Facebook. At first I was very surprised, and my memory a bit spotty, but I can now say I have fully embraced it. My 25th (!!!!) high school reunion is this coming summer, so the timing couldn't be better. It has also been wonderful reconnecting with some of my best friends from college. I have had a lot of fun catching up.

What is strange is how the memory works. As I have gotten older, my brain has filled with many of my job functions. I have also made many new memories, like getting married, losing loved ones, and meeting new people who are now good friends.

I had to go pull my junior high and high school yearbooks. What I found there amazed me. I was on the yearbook committee in 9th grade, and after looking at the book, I remembered so much! I had a couple of girls I was really close with- Alice and Carol- and I really lost track with them after that. It makes me a bit sad. I also recalled really enjoying my time in yearbook class and realized how much the teacher Mr. Allen helped me.

My yearbook from my senior year at high school sucks and it makes me really sad. I was on the ASB council, which made me very proud back in the day, and the page isn't even titled correctly. My FFA club was completely ignored, and most other groups were as well. The yearbook focused on a couple of yearbook members and their friends. All I can think of is that the teacher must have just let the kids run wild. My yearbook from my junior year is much better and fills in a lot of gaps.

I am just amazed at how much more I have forgotten than I remember. I had blocked a few things out- like getting picked on by the senior girls when I was in FFA and being too scared to kiss my boyfriend in junior high. Those were memories I could have lived without!! I also realized that I was trying way too hard to be cool, when I should have just been myself. That makes me sad.

Looking at a yearbook elicits much the same reaction looking at an old comic book does. I can look at Justice League of America #115 and remember where I was and what was going on around me when I read it. I look at my May Fete court pictures the same way. I can remember betraying two friends who were fooling around behind another friend's back and suffering anguish over it. I can also remember just wanting to be done with high school so badly. It all got in the way of enjoying the fact that for the first and last time in my life I was a princess. LOL.

At any rate, I am curious about this- have you had the same experience? Have you forgotten certain things and found mementos that bring a memory back? How has it made you feel?

Reconnecting on Facebook has been cathartic, and I love every minute of it. These are the people that have shaped my life and made me who I am. I can only hope they think of me kindly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Catching Up..

In the midst of a holiday and a change of power here in the USA, I have noticed... well, none of it! I have been working long days and trying to get a workout in after, which gets me home after 8 p.m. It has been challenging, but it has also been interesting. Now if I could just get things balanced out again, life will be swell!

I managed to watch the first episode of The Tudors Saturday night. What an awesome show! I can't believe I hadn't seen it before. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is deadly as King Henry, bringing a passionate, ruthless side of the legend to life. After reading several books and watching many a special about Henry VIII, it is fascinating to see what a fantastic job Showtime has done. I hope to get a chance to watch more of it soon.

Jim and I got our first small comic book order, and I got Boys, Final Crisis, Witchblade, and Sword. It wasn't bad at all, and I think I will be okay with it. Ideally I would like to pick up Fallen Angel and Birds of Prey for the last issues, but I know I can live with the cuts.

My workout partner and I are working to ramp up our exercise regimen, so hopefully I will be dropping all my winter weight soon. Expect to hear much complaining about soreness soon!

Have a good night!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Comic(s) for January 21

Last week went so fast, and I blogged so little, that I am in shock. My friends and I started a new "Get in Shape" contest, and I have had changes at work, so it has been exciting to say the least. I appreciate all your comments and vow to get caught up on them soon. Tonight I had to help my friend set up his new cell phone before heading home, so I am just now sitting down to relax. It is amazing how crazy life gets.

Jim and I are doing well with very few comics. I have been going back and reading old books and perusing back issues. Jim has undertaken the thankless task of organizing my comic book collection. The whole mess hasn't been organized for at least four years, so it is a total and complete disaster. Jim is still working on getting the books that are on top of boxes into new ones in a semblance of order, so I feel sorry for him. Anyone else in the same boat?

My comic for the week is:

100 Bullets #99

This means next issue is the final one. I don't want it to end!! The only good part of that is being able to give another book a try as I maintain a level of five books a month.

Here are a few books I would have picked up before the cuts.

Birds of Prey #126- which I might actually pick up since the series is ending.

Green Lantern #37- because the different colors fascinate me.

Justice League of America #29- not excited right now about the current stuff. but I have every issue since the late 1960's.

Darkness #74- because I love the Jackie Estacado character.

Punisher Frank Castle Max #66- I miss my Punisher fix.

X-Factor #39- because the baby is being born, I think... the art is killing me here at times.

X-Men Legacy #220- for the return of Rogue storyline.

Fallen Angel #33- which I may also pick up because I believe it is the final issue of the series.

The only other bummer is that I dropped the Superman books in the middle of the storyline. Maybe someday I will pick it up in some fashion in some kind of sale... I just don't know yet.

I apologise for my lack of comment answering in a timely fashion. I am very ashamed right now. I keep promising myself to be better and I keep failing miserably!

Have a wonderful evening! See you back here soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why Isn't This Man a Superstar?!?

When Jim and I went to the Tri-Cities Comicon a few months back, we were fortunate enough to see our friend Jason Metcalf. He is a talented artist who was working with Jim on Space Goat Fine Arts, and continues to pursue a career as a comic book artist. Jason was doing sketches for $20, so I slapped my money down and asked him for a sketch of my hubby as a super hero.

Fast forward a bit, and the idea soured in my head. I told Jason just to not worry about it, but he was kind enough to ask me if I had an alternative in mind. For whatever random reason, the Marvel character Darkhawk was selected. I sent Jason a mildly decent example and didn't worry about it again.

Last week Jason was talking to my hubby and Jim mentioned his birthday was this week. Jason teased him a bit, telling him a surprise was on the way. Bless his heart, Jason paid the shipping and sent Jim the sketch you see before you.

Amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. Awesome.

Those were some of the words my hubby and I used to describe this gorgeous work of art. Jason went far beyond the call of duty and made magic happen. This piece is wonderful.

Which made me wonder, why isn't he a star artist working on a major book? He has the chops and his flare for redesign and detail are mature and well reasoned. Jason can handle a book, and he is talented. What is wrong with this picture!!??!!

At any rate, I wanted to share Jason's wonderful work for Jim's birthday with you. What an amazing gift from a class act. Thank you Jason!

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Comic! for January 14

Here we are at Comics Fairplay, experiencing the joy that is week two of five titles a month. Woo hoo... not. As explained in the previous post, after much soul searching, it was decided that major cutbacks were in order. Because of said cuts, my comic for the week is:

FINAL CRISIS #6 (of 7)

Supposedly the you-know-what really hits the fan, so it should be good reading.

If I get lucky and obtain enough extra money I may pick up two more books. They are:

Army @ Love #6 (of 6)- because it is the last issue of a mini-series that I own the first five of.

Manhunter #38- because it is the final issue of the series and I have all the other ones!

Ones I would have gotten before the big cuts are:

Action Comics #873

Fables #80

Green Arrow Black Canary #16

Nightwing #152

Titans #9

Trinity #33

Witchblade #123


Punisher War Zone #5 (of 6)- which may end up on the purchase list down the road.

Not getting those eight above-mentioned books is a savings of $23.92, which will pay a good portion of the electric bill. Not nearly as fun, but pretty important!

What are you picking up this week?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Comic Economics- The Comparison

For awhile now, I have been talking about how the price of comics has affected my spending habits. Quite bluntly, the price and the economy have forced me from a 60 comic book a month habit to a five comic book a month habit. While this has been a hard change to make, and may eventually force me out of the hobby for good, I can't stop thinking about what I can buy with the money I have saved, and how it has helped turn around an unacceptable financial situation. Life is livable again, at the cost of a hobby.

Let me give examples of what I have found.

1 comic book at $2.99
3 cans of generic vegetable beef soup at .99 = $2.97
Three meals for one book!

3 comic books at $2.99 = $8.97
1- 24ct package of Cup Noodles Beef flavor at $6.75
24 meals for 3 books!

5 comics books at $2.99 = $14.95
1- 50 pound bag of ice melt = $14.97
The price of not falling and hurting myself on ice is impossible to measure!

8 comic books at $2.99 = $23.92
1 pair of blue jeans at $21.95
Clothes are pretty damn important, right?

12 comic books at $2.99 = $35.88
Monthly electric bill at $34.76
That is a big one, right?

16 comic books at $2.99 = $47.84
Cell phone bill at $49.95
Unfortunately, some form of communication remains a viable expense.

20 comic books at $2.99 = $59.80
1 month of garbage/water bill = $61.32
Another requirement of modern living.

For the price of 65 comic books in one month I can pay all those bills. It is mind boggling, to say the least.

Here is a bigger consideration.

One month of collecting:
60 comic books at $2.99 = $179.40
That is enough money for a car payment, right?

Another consideration:

6 months of comic books at $179.40 = $1076.40
I could buy a flat screen hi-def television.
I could also put extra principal on my house.
That kind of extra money can pay for a trip or at the very least maintain a nice, middle class lifestyle.

So why the hell didn't I cut back sooner?

When comic books were under $2 it was a lot easier to justify. I bought them when they were 20 cents, for goodness sake! I know that the cost of living has skyrocketed, but I also think that the price of luxury items such as comic books have been pushed way over the line. A person has to be making good money or be willing to sacrifice a lot of other things to stay in this habit.

That is why I have changed my life forever by cutting back so much. I don't even feel like the same person anymore. My hobby isn't fun anymore. I have lost my childlike wonder for the medium, which makes me really upset. Don't get me wrong- I will always pick up a couple of books. As long as I am gainfully employed, I consider it my "vice".

I plan to continue to blog, and I hope to find less expensive ways to stay in the mix. I just don't know how yet. I just really felt I had to spell out what the price of a hobby really COSTS. It took a very honest couple of hours on an excel spreadsheet to prove it to myself, but it is all about making ends meet, having a decent lifestyle, and planning for the future. How can I ever consider retiring if I can't put any money away now? Thank God for my 401K, but I know it isn't enough.

Twenty five years from now, will I be using my comic books to keep me warm in the fireplace when I can't afford to heat my house or will I smell the coffee now and make the changes needed to hopefully grow old? Being a grown up sucks. LOL.

What have you found in your collecting and how are you getting around the financial hurdles that having a growingly expensive hobby causes?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Random Thoughts and Musings

It is 7 p.m. and Jim and I are waiting for our DCBS order to come in. It is showing that it has been on a delivery truck since 6:59 a.m. this morning, so for 12 hours now, some poor UPS employee has been out trying to make deliveries. We are hoping to see the order soon as it contains all our comics for December, the last big month we have before the "five books a month" takes effect.

The hold up may be due to heavy flooding and high winds in our area. It has been a crazy last four weeks for weather. First we had below zero temperatures and snow, then more snow and ice. Last week was more snow and lots of ice, and now it is warm enough to flood us all. A friend lost their home today to flooding. They got there in the mid-afternoon and there was two feet of standing water. By the time they left, it was up to their waist. It is a terrible situation.

I truly feel that the economy has changed buying habits, and that includes comics. I look at myself as a prime example. I have been a diehard fangirl for years, and I have always found a way to keep collecting. It has only been the last six months that have realy told the tale. Right now money is so tight that the general population is focusing on having groceries and putting gas in the tank. This is truly the first time I can say that a hobby takes the back seat, and I feel that many other folks feel the same way. Reading your comments here and talking to some of you reinforces that.

Will I start getting more books down the road? Maybe, but probably not. The price is too high and I have other priorities. Once a person starts weaning themselves, it is truly possible to make that separation. My hubby and I focus on the books that we love now. We don't just try books out anymore. We can't take the risk.

On that note, I am going off to find dinner and relax a bit. The last two days at work have been especially busy so it is overdue. Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Comic for January 7

This is the week that our comics cuts really take effect and suffice it to say, I have one comic that I am buying this week! It is Boys #26 from Dynamite Entertainment. What is ironic to me is that even if I had not cut back, I would still only be getting five books this week.

The other ones I would have picked up are:

Detective Comics #852

Secret Six #5

Trinity #32

Sword #14

This actually makes me feel quite a bit better. I figured I would go through horrible withdrawals, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

On that note, many thanks to you folks who have shared that you have cut way back or discontinued collecting. It made me feel a bit better, and it made me sad at the same time. Is it the economy, the price of comics, or a bit of both? I feel a rant coming on!

Have a great night and I will see you back here soon!

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Comics for January 2

After a week of recapping the best and worst of 2008, and looking forward to 2009, it is back to business as usual. Here is the list of comic books coming out today, January 2.

Batman #684

Green Lantern #36

Justice League of America #28

Justice Society of America #22

Superman #683

Teen Titans #66

Captain America #45- cover pictured

Incredible Hercules #124

Ultimate X-Men #99

Wolverine #70

As you can see, my cutbacks are starting to take effect. For the next month or two, it will be reflected on my list. God willing, things will turn around a bit, and I can build back up, but for now, once the next couple of months kick in, I am only collecting five books.

Have a great weekend and a wonderful new year!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009- Things to Look Forward To!

Happy New Year! It is the day that is filled with special promise of things to come. It is also the day that folks make resolutions and look forward to the year. Here are a few of the comic book related things I am looking at.

1. Wolverine and Watchmen movies. I LOVE Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and the trailer for the movie looks amazing. Exhilirating action, beefcake, and a chance to delve into the origins of Wolverine make for a hit movie! This is the movie I have my eye on. If Watchmen can get past the battle of the studios that is currently such a hot button topic, it will be the other movie to watch. I am crossing my fingers.

2. Batman- Race for the Cowl. Though I admit to still feeling a bit dazed by the psychadelic trip that was Batman RIP, I am interested to see where the battle for the cowl goes. This is a chance to bring some new energy to the Bat titles, though I am sad to see the end of Birds of Prey, Nightwing, and Robin. I hope those are temporary ends, and that we see new, energised titles by the end of the year.

3. Wonder Woman on DVD. The animated adventure is coming to DVD in March and I can hardly wait! The preview looks amazing, and this promises to be a fun ride. A fresh take on the Amazon princess is just the tonic this reader needs.

4. Secret Six by Simone and Scott. This book flies under the radar, and I haven't seen a lot of promotion by DC. I just want to bring to attention the fact that this is one of the most underrated titles out there now. Gail Simone is at her finest here, complete with wise cracks and amazing cast chemistry. Nicola Scott is an able partner for Simone, and her art has brought a new dimension to her work. This is a team supreme, and one to support.

5. 100 Bullets ends and the search for new titles begins. I have talked a lot about 100 Bullets this past year. It is a brilliantly done book that has captured my imagination and my heart. I am sad that it is ending in February, and am on the lookout for new material to fill the void. Hopefully there is something out there that will inspire and thrill!

Other wish list items include:

The X-books imploding to bring sense to that particular universe.

No major "events" for awhile.

A DECREASE in comic book prices. Yeah, right.

What about you? What are you looking forward to this year?