Aquon Forever!

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My good friend Dave sent me a link a while back to an ebay action for the art pictured above.  If you are a fan of this blog at all than you know my fondness for the Hulk foe Aquon and his premiere issue The Incredible Hulk #165.  This page features the work of the celebrated artist Herb Trimpe – whose recent passing has made his original art even more expensive.  This was a curious page as I was interested but knew it would reach, at the very least, a grand.  Amazingly enough, this is the second time he posted this page as the first time the auction ended just south of $1,600.  Apparenty, the auction winner has second thoughts and did not pay.  With that the owner of the art has to relist it and this time the auction ended just over $1,000.

That’s still just slightly over what I would have paid for it – so congrats to the new owner – but the price is still pretty impressive if you consider this: The art doesn’t feature any heroes!  Well, sure, that’s the back of the Hulk’s head – but you can’t see much of the jade giant at all – and that’s the very cool Captain Omen – but again, his presence in the MU these days is negligible.  Still, you can’t deny owning Hulk art from Trimpe is amazing in itself.  As for me, don’t feel too bad about me missing out on this art.  Truth is, I already own a original Trimpe Aquon drawing.  You can see it here: 165 Review

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Gladiator Hulk Mini-Mates (2017)

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I find Mini-Mates fascinating.  This is a toy line that by all means should not really exist.  I’ll explain: Most of the time when a toy or figure line comes out they will run their course and leave plenty on the table for rabid fans complaining they never got to their favorites.  Mini-Mates has been around for a while – at least 7 years and counting.  They have released a staggering amount of figures – even beyond the Marvel franchise.  So many Hulks in fact, take a look at this tally.  I don’t think I even have the complete line up!  There maybe 1 or 2 I am still missing.

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One that hasn’t hit that website yet is the new figures for the Thor: Ragnarok line which, of course, features the Gladiator Hulk!  The figure is certainly worth the pick up as Mini-Mates continue to impress with the amount of detail and articulation in such a small package.  Hulk is teamed up with the Valkyrie this time around – which makes sense and I love!  I don’t have a extra to open yet – but hopefully soon!

A Name like No Other: A Year’s Worth of Hulk Confusion – Week 41

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The great thing about the Hulk is that he doesn’t need to understand what’s going on in order to smash it.  His ability to fight beyond what he even comprehends is one of the Hulk’s endearing qualities!

Hulk Key Chain (2017)

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There is certainly no shortage of Hulk keychains.  In fact, if there was an apocalyptic event that left us with very few resources I could safely say I would not worry about running low on Hulk keychains, like, ever!  This one features a very classic Hulk stance made of rubber.  It has some real great detail for something so small – but keychains like this would not last on my keychain rotation.  It’s too big for my liking (that’s what she said) as I clip my keys to my belt loop (like a janitor) and… I don’t know, it’s just too big.

Rocket Raccoon II Dorbz (2017)

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The original GoG Dorbz set had a pretty great Rocket.  This one is not much different except the clothing.  The original Raccoon had an orange jumpsuit and this one, being more fashionable, rocks this blue space overalls.  He also sports a couple of guns – which is Rocket’s specialty – so, you know… it fits.

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Newstand “Variants”

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A few years ago I walked into a comic shop – one of the worst shops I visit (and with that glowing review I’ll just leave that statement there without identifying the place) where the whole place smells like smoke and the books are severely over-priced.  Why do I visit there?  Well, they usually have a better selection that the other stores in that particular area.  What can you do?  Well, I was looking for a certain issue and the man asked back “Do you want the direct edition or are you looking for the newsstand variant?”

I was taken aback a bit as I had yet to hear this description used.  When I asked what the “newsstand variant” was he said “It’s the same cover but instead of the little box on the bottom having a superhero it has a barcode”  This also left me shook as I had seen many, many of these kind of issues that, for years, were not looked at as any different than the other kind.  I decided to do a little digging (on ebay) and sure enough I saw a few sellers listing books as “Newsstand Variant” and asking for a slightly higher price than the direct edition.  This left me completely baffled because, well, let’s be real honest.  It’s all bullshit.

Yeah, you heard that right, it’s all bullshit.  It’s ridiculous!  This is collectors trying desperately to cling to something that is abundant but fooling themselves into thinking that it is a rare gem.  You want to know how I can claim that it is all bullshit?  Well, easy.  See, people are looking for these issues because they (wrongly) believe they are rarer – but they look EXACTLY the same as the regular cover except one small difference  – the “stoopid” barcode on the bottom.  Well, there’s also another thing you will see these days – on the new release rack, in fact: Second Printings.

Second printings used to have completely new covers – sometimes they were the best panel in the book used for the new cover which I loved – but these days second printings look no different then the first printing covers – except one little thing.  The color of the title is changed and it says “second printing” somewhere on the cover.  I like these issues and I usually snag one when I see it.  I’m not sure why but I just like them.  These “variants” are actually rarer than the regular covers – we know this because they keep really good records these days of what is selling so we know how many have been produced.

Keep in mind, we have no idea how many newsstand “variants” exist because they didn’t keep great records of how many were sold and then returned.  Because of this mystery people have now decided these issues are worth more – even though they are easily obtainable and practically everywhere.  People are paying higher prices for these covers because they BELIEVE they are rare – yet when I went into a comic shop one week and asked about a second printing that was supposed to be released that day the owner responded with “I didn’t order any of those.  They aren’t very popular”

That’s right.  Second printings don’t sell very well – even though we KNOW they are extremely rare.  The man behind the counter said it’s because the covers are practically identical to the first printings.  Yet, newsstand variants are EXACTLY the same except for the pesky little barcode.  So in essence, people are paying top prices for the tiny little barcode on the bottom of the cover.  If that sounds silly to you, well then you’re not part of the problem and I congratulate you.  If you’re reading this just after paying a premium price for a little barcode on a cover of a comic then, well… nice job wasting your money.  Keep on trucking!

Hulk Ooshies (2017)

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This is yet another one of those little Hulk figures that you have to buy a whole package of characters you don’t want just to get a Hulk figure that you do want.  These little guys don’t even try to pretend to be detailed or even painted well.  In fact, look at it from the side it sort of looks like one of those old wrinkly dogs where you debate if it’s cute or not.

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