On the 29th-30th August, my home town had their very first comic convention in the form of Film & Comic Con Bournemouth. It was a great first attempt, and you can read my full review of it here! Today though, I just want to give you a quick run-down of the comics I bought at the convention. While there was a fantastic array of items on-sale - everything from action figures, statues, t-shirts, jewellery, posters and more - I focused my attention almost exclusively on comics and graphic novels. I think conventions are different things for different people, and to me they're an opportunity to get some awesome comics at a discounted price! So, without further ado these are the items I took home from FCCB 2015: VENDOR: John Wright Comics One of the first stalls I visited was John Wright Comics, where I managed to pick up three graphic novels that I've been planning on reading for some time:
The Sentry is a character that I find myself really fascinated by. Upon making a splash with his superb debut in the 2000 Marvel Knights series simply titled The Sentry, this very new character (at least in comparison to the other heroes of the Marvel Universe) quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the most significant members of The Avengers. Sadly for fans, the character has fallen into the background since the events of the 2010 book Siege, and so when I saw this paperback collection of The Sentry's second (and seemingly final) miniseries I couldn't stop myself from buying it. I've heard that this sequel series doesn't quite stand up against the first, but nonetheless it will be nice to see Bob Reynolds donning the cape again as it seems he's to play a much smaller role in the Marvel Universe going forward.
As much as I love The Sentry, Man-Thing might just be able to nab the title of my favourite Marvel character purely because he's so darn weird. Last summer I burnt my way through Essential Man-Thing volumes one and two, and really enjoyed almost all of the stories involving Marvel's most macabre creation, although it has to be said that those written by Steve Gerber were the strongest. You can tell Gerber had a real passion for this character, and in his stories with Man-Thing he introduced to us numerous other fun characters including Dakimh the Enchanter, Howard the Duck, and the young sorceress Jennifer Kale (more on her in a second). In this collection is a reprint of one of Gerber's stories from the 70s, 'Song-Cry of the Living Dead Man' and it's never-before-seen sequel 'Screenplay of the Living Dead Man'. Gerber wanted to get this story made for years, and sadly didn't live to see it finally grace the page; indeed, it will be a bitter-sweet experience finally reading Gerber's last story with the character.
As I mentioned while talking about Infernal Man-Thing, Steve Gerber brought many memorable characters to life during his run writing Man-Thing stories. One such character was Jennifer Kale, the granddaughter of the leader of the ancient Cult of Zhered-Na, she became psychically linked with Man-Thing and frequently appeared in his stories. I thought she was a cool character, but upon further research was disappointed to see her appearances in the Marvel Universe are few and far between - that's how Witches came onto my radar. This book was originally intended to be an ongoing put together to cash in on the then-popular TV shows and movies Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charlie's Angels. After editorial changes the book ended up delayed, finally seeing release about three years after it was announced now as only a four-issue miniseries. What with the cover art embodying the over-sexualised aesthetic of a Marvel porn parody, my expectations for this series were rock bottom. But as I was unlikely to find the book any cheaper than at John Wright's convention stall, I decided to give it a shot. It's one of the few books I've had a chance to finish since the convention, and while it wasn't terrible it really wasn't all that great and I don't think it's one I'll rush back to for a second-read. Disappointingly, Kale was nowhere near as well-written here as in Gerber's stories and actually came off quite bitchy and a little racist. Still, I'm glad I caught this book at such an affordable price at FCCB, as it's another title I can now cross off my reading list.
VENDOR: 1234jackkirby I later stumbled upon the stall of eBay seller 1234jackkirby, whose selection of £5 trade paperback's was hard to resist searching through...
Amongst all the trades at this stall, this one literally stood out on account of it's bulky size and page-count. An oversized hardcover, just under three hundred pages in length for £5? Add to that that this particular hardcover features the first ever appearance of the fan-favourite Marvel Zombies, and this offer seemed a little too good to be true. Later that day, I found out that it was. Indeed, I would discover the reason for this huge discount when I got in that evening: the final page of this hardback has for some bizarre reason been glued to the back-cover of the book, making the final issue in this collection essentially unfinished with the last page or two completely unreadable. At first I was disappointed, but upon further thought I decided this book was still a good buy. Even with the damaged pages at the back this book still contains eleven unscathed issues of Mark Millar's run on Ultimate FF, a run which I can say having now finished the book is very enjoyable. Although I would have appreciated some indication that the book was damaged before I bought it, I'm still glad I did and fortunately I should be able to get a copy of the single issue damaged in this collection for about £3.
A few years ago back when the New 52 was in its infancy, I read a mini-series by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray introducing a brand new version of DC Comics super-hero The Ray. The series wasn't fantastic, but it was quite a fun read and got me excited to see more of the character they had created; strangely, the mini was never collected into a trade paperback, nor has the character been seen since suggesting that perhaps DC weren't happy with the results of the book. Nonetheless, it has dawned on me that Palmiotti and Gray's creation Lucien Gates is likely never to return, and so when I came across this series featuring a different version of The Ray from some years ago I decided to give it a try. I'm yet to read it and I'm not sure what to expect, but with art by Joe Quesada I'm hoping The Ray will at least be a nice-looking book if nothing else.
Perhaps one of my more pointless purchases (especially considering what I found on Sunday), Essential Handbook of the Marvel Universe 89' was something of a carefree impulse buy. Recently, I've really been getting back into the Marvel Universe and with that has come a desire to better my knowledge of the characters within it. Additionally, I have a soft spot for Marvel's essential books; while they are all black and white and the paper isn't great quality, there's often no better way to catch up on a character's history as the books are cheap and Marvel make them as thick as the binding of the book can withstand. Some of the information in this book - ok, a lot of the information in this book - is going to be a little out of date now, but I'm still looking forward to reading through and discovering the history of some of Marvel's more obscure creations. Admittedly though, it is a shame that I bought this book before I found the next stall I visited...
VENDOR: Chapter 12
After buying the 1989 Handbook on the Saturday, I later found a few volumes of Marvel's far more recent Official Handbook series in hardback on the Sunday. At a reduced price of just £5 each, and without the risk of Ultimate FF-style damage due to them still being packed in their plastic wrapping I picked up volumes ten and twelve - by that point I couldn't really afford to pick up any others. I've started reading volume ten, and have since become an expert on Marvel characters beginning with the letter 's'. Seriously, I've read up on Sandman, Satana and even the Marvel version of Santa Claus (which proved to be one of the weirder entries in this book). While I'm not sure if I have the time, money or energy to track down all the volumes in this encyclopaedia series - especially as many are now out of print - these books are still a handy resource for a Marvel fan to have around.
I hadn't even heard of Valiant Comics before their relaunch back in the summer of 2012, but since their relaunch they've become one of my favourite publishers. I've loved being introduced to characters like X-O Manowar, the Eternal Warrior, Ivar Timewalker and of course Peter Stanchek. So, when I saw this low-priced paperback of the pre-relaunch Harbinger series my curiosity got the better of me and I had to give it a go. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the 90s Valiant Universe stacks up against its rebooted counterpart.
NOTE: I did also pick up the crossover X-O Manowar/Iron Man in Twisted Metal #1 at FCCB as part of my ongoing endeavour to get a grasp on what the old Valiant Universe was like - all I'll say is yikes, that issue was bad.
I'm not the type of person who tries to track down first issues, mainly because I'd much rather have good comics than valuable ones. However, I've already talked about how Man-Thing is one of my favourite Marvel characters and so when I saw the first issue of his 1979 series going for such a cheap price, I allowed myself a moment of weakness. While his 1979 ongoing is weaker than his 1974 series written by Steve Gerber, it's still enjoyable and I'm happy to add it to my collection.
That's my haul for this years FCCB, if you want more details on the convention be sure to check out my review here or visit their website!