Sunday, September 27, 2009

What I Bought - September 26, 2009

The first stop on my end-of-September comic book buying spree was Barbarian. I was there to pick up three items that I had asked them to order for me a couple weeks earlier. Two of the three had arrived:
  • Daredevil: Lady Bullseye - next-to-last collection of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's run.
  • Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit v1
I also bought an item that I had been thinking about buying for the past few months. It was expensive but it was also on sale, 20% off:
  • The X-Men Omnibus v1 - collects X-Men # 1 - 31
I spent a total of $113.39.

My next stop was the Wheaton Library Book Sale. I was there primarily to look for books but I also browsed the two or three shelves that they have dedicated to cartoons and comic books. I found a couple items of interest, each of which only cost me $1:
  • Blue Monday v4 - link - I'm in the midst of reading v3 and I don't usually buy ahead like this but it was inexpensive and I think there's a reasonably good chance that I will want to read it after I finish v3.
  • Rex Libris: I, Librarian - link - This series has caught my eye a number of times over the years in the Previews catalogs. The price was right so I decided to take a chance on it.
My third and final stop was the Small Press Expo. It had been quite some time since I last went to one of these. They used to hold them in downtown Bethesda but this year's event (which continues today, although I won't be going back because I've got other stuff to do) was in North Bethesda near the White Flint Metro Station.

It was $10 to get in but that's nothing compared to what you pay to get into some of the big shows, like the Baltimore Comicon.

I meant to sit in on a panel or two but I ended up spending all my time at the expo browsing the exhibitor booths looking for things to buy. I originally intended to buy stuff from a couple of creators that I know from their web comics, Diesel Sweeties and Octopus Pie. Business seemed to be brisk for them, besides which for the most part all they had for sale were collections of their web comics. There was lots of other creators with other stuff for sale, some of which I had heard of on various comic book podcasts.

I made my first purchases at the Oni Press booth based on recommendations that I heard on the Dollar Bin podcast:
  • Crogan's Vengeance - link
  • Black Metal - link
I like Oni quite a bit. They've published a number of series I've read including Queen & Country, Blue Monday, and Love Fights.

I did a lot of walking around. At first I moved quickly to get a feel for what was there. The floor was fairly crowded. Some booths had more people crowded around them than others.

The Fantagraphics booth had some very beautiful looking reprints of old work that certainly caught my eye (Prince Valiant v1: 1937-38; Blazing Combat) even though I decided not to buy either of them just yet.

The guys on 11 O'Clock Comics have talked about Jeff Lemire's comics lately and I stopped by the Top Shelf booth to get an idea of what it is the 11 O'Clockers see in his work. I flipped through Essex County Tales. I wanted to flip through The Nobody but they had that wrapped in plastic. I wasn't ready to buy a 500 page book by a creator that I am unfamiliar with so I kept my $30 and kept looking elsewhere.

One of my goals in going to SPX was to find new comic books by people that I had not heard of before. The books at Just Mad Books' booth caught my eye the first time I walked past. On my 2nd, 3rd, or possibly 4th time around the floor I finally stopped to take a closer work. I couldn't figure out what it was (until just now) but something felt familiar about the look of creator Justin Madson's artwork. I'm thinking now that his artwork reminds me of Guy Davis work, at least on Nevermen.

I asked him about the books he had on display, Breathers # 1 - 4. I was really liking the artwork and wanted to know what kind of story there was to back it up. What he pitched to me was a story about a world in which the air is no longer breathable. People have to wear gas masks most of the time, at least when they are outdoors. It made me think dystopian future which in turn made me think of Y: The Last Man and Walking Dead. I bought the first two issues, which cost $5 each. He said he was planning to wrap up the series with # 5.

Walking around the con floor I saw a number of things that didn't appeal to me. I wanted to spend my money on books and stories. I wasn't interested in buying artwork, no matter how pretty, if it didn't have a story attached to it. There were also a few tables/booths that seemed to showcase topics (farts, politics) that just did not appeal to me.

After leaving the Just Mad Books table and walking around a little more I had yet to buy any mini-comics even though I wanted to. I finally stopped in front of the Last Dollar Comics table. I took a quick flip through some of creator Jim8Ball's comics. I liked what I saw. He was asking for $1 per mini-comic. I was trying to decided which ones to buy when I noticed that he also had a box full of mini-comics available: 25 mini-comics for $10. Seemed like a pretty good deal, given the price per comic and the fact that I liked the look of his work.

I made my final purchase at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) booth. They had a number of very good looking books (including some by Will Eisner) available at very reasonable prices. I was tempted to pick up a book or two by Eisner but bought something else instead. I bought a non-comic book which only cost me $10:
  • Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk
I looked around a little more but I had spent more than $65 at this point and I needed to get going.

Altogether I spent about $190 yesterday. It blows my mind. I now have a fairly large stack of books to read. I need to lay off buying more comics until I have made a significant dent in my current pile.

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