I left my money (and my sanity) in Portland, Oregon

The comic shop I frequent in Portland, Excalibur Comics, had one of their twice-yearly 50% off sales this weekend.  Even though it takes me two and a half hours to get there, it's well worth it because of how much I end up getting there.  I always spend the night before getting my want list prepared, massaging it so that my main list shows the books that I'm most wanting to find, and that my secondary list shows the books I want if I can't find the "first priority" ones.

I decided this time that I was going to go in looking for the "Dollar Comics" that DC put out around 1978.  I chose the Dollar Comics because I knew that, at least toward the end, the Daily Planet pages that served as a DC house ad at the time were usually printed in those books.  There are still a few of those that I need to complete the collection here on my site (which you can see under the Features link to the left), and I was hoping to get that much closer.

Coincidentally, while I was digging for the Dollar Comics, I also came across a couple of the DC Salutes the Bicentennial covers that DC put on its July 1976 books.  I'm getting closer and closer to having a complete set of those.  I probably have about half of those now.  There's nothing in them that even refers to the Bicentennial, outside of the covers, but I was always fascinated by them as a kid.  I always wanted to collect the whole set, even though I wouldn't be able to send away for the Superman belt buckle.  I wonder if I could find one of those buckles now?

At any rate, I found nearly all of the Dollar books.  As far as they go, I found the last three I needed to complete the Adventure Comics books, including the one that started the JSA's run in the book.  I picked up four of the Detective Comics; I still need eleven of them, since they weren't a priority this time. I am missing 35 G.I. Combats (which isn't bad since there are 81 of those), six Superman Familys, two Unexpecteds, seven issues of World's Finest Comics, and the small but complete run of House of Mystery.  There are also a variety of special and anniversary issues that I still need, but I came alot closer to completing this set after my trip yesterday.

In addition I came very close to completing both my Catwoman and my Hellblazer runs.  Right before I got married, I decided that I needed to stop collecting comics in order to pay for the wedding.  I've since been picking up the books I missed at sales like this one.  I am still missing quite a few over all, but Hellblazer was the last major series of which I was still missing a chunk.  I'm down to mostly single issues left on any one title.  Oh, except for Nightwing, Birds of Prey and Lobo.  Yeah, I know, it's an odd mix.  Nightwing and Birds of Prey have just been hard to find, and I'm not really motivated to pick up those last Lobos, since the series just didn't grab me that much.

The other thing I did while I was in Portland was to use the Ikea gift card my wife got me to purchase some cool enclosed glass shelving for the mini-busts I've been buying to display in my comic room.  Now, I've never been to Ikea before.  Having been there, I will probably never go again.  It's not a place that was designed with a shopper like me in mind.  I like to go in, find what I want, and get out again.  However, Ikea have designed their stores to reward browsers.  The place has one path that you have to walk to get through the store.  The aisles are narrow, so you can't get by the people who don't know what they want and have to see everything in the place in order to decide, and you are forced to see every item in the place regardless of whether you know what you want or not.  Once I found my item, you have to write down where it is in their warehouse, continue the maze to the warehouse, and then try to find your item there.  Then it's a bit of a maze to get from the warehouse to the check stands, where they've once again designed things to prevent people from moving along on their way.  But I did finally get the cabinets I wanted, and I plan to construct them tonight or tomorrow and fill them with my statues, finally.


Yes, it has been a while.  The holidays have been particularly busy, what with my new job.  I ended up having to work a number of Sundays, which cut into my already small reading time.  My spare time hasn't been helped by a new project I have going on also.

My wife and I volunteer at a local historic theater, and in particular I'm part of the movie committee, helping to decide what we will show, and to manage the costs and the volunteers and other minutiae.  At the end of the last season, we found out that a local hotel owner was hoping that, once he got his hotel remodelled, we might want to work with him to run a special series that the hotel would sponsor.  After batting around a number of ideas, I ended up volunteering to run a series of classic movies.  I've spent quite a bit of time deciding the first year's worth of movies and learning what all goes on with getting the rights to show the movies.

Because of this new project, I've been watching quite a few older movies.  Amazon had quite a number of box sets in which I was interested for more than half off, so those were impossible to resist, especially as they were movies I planned to show this year (Shadow of a Doubt and My Little Chickadee).  And for Christmas we also bought ourselves a Bluray player, along with a bunch of movies (most of which we already own on DVD, we are such suckers).

So in the past few weeks, I've watched all the movies that the Marx Brothers did for Paramount (Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and Duck Soup), Gaslight, a couple of movies by W. C. Fields (The International House and The Bank Dick), and The Princess Bride and Amadeus on Bluray.  I have another 8 movies by W. C. Fields, 10 Alfred Hitchcock movies for Universal, and 7 or so Blurays to go.

This all means I'm consistently about two weeks behind on my comics now, because of all these other hobbies I have.  With the lull that most television shows are going through right now, I might actually be able to catch up, but this weekend I will putting myself even further behind, since the comic shop I go to down in Portland is having their semi-annual 50% off sale. I always end up buying about 200 books on these weekends.

On the plus side, Larry Marder recently released the newest work in his Tales of the Beanworld series.  I intend to review it, but I've wanted my first reading of it to simmer a bit.  This one book encompasses about half as much material as he had previously published in the regular series, so having that much new stuff makes reviewing it a bit overwhelming, especially without a second reading to pick up on things I might have missed on the first, excited, breakneck read-through.  I hope to get to that in the next couple of days.

At any rate, I hope your holidays have been festive, and that the new year brings you everything you deserve, and thanks for reading!