Comic sale tales and spoils

I love a good comic book sale. The retailer up the street was celebrating his 22nd year in business and offering some good deals, including a 22-cent bin on the sidewalk in front of his store that was attracting all sorts of people walking past. I had just arrived when an old Italian woman walks by the bin, sees the kid next to me walk away with 50 comics and says to nobody in particular: “You buy all that cheap?” She then proceeds to flip through the boxes and pull out books because she wants to get in on this great deal – she knows a bargain when she sees one. “They lose money when they do this, you know,” she says.

So she’s building a stack of books, making her selection based on criteria only she can possibly understand – the colors or picture on the covers and who knows what else. She nearly yanked a book I was holding out of my hands, but I guess common sense kicked in at that moment and she pulled her hand away. Who might she be buying these books for, you ask? She claimed to have two grandsons, who may or may not be aged 9 and 14, and may or may not be comic readers. She asks if the books have all the same jokes in them, and many other random questions. I nearly bust a gut laughing so I had to walk away.

Business was brisk. People were buying, some walking out of the doors carrying two full bags of books. The gentleman in front of me at the cash slapped down nearly $140.

I picked up a bunch of trades – 100 Bullets, DMZ, Wasteland, and Exterminators – and the following from the 22-cent bin:

– a beat up copy of “Secrets of Haunted House” from 1981 (cover art by Joe Kubert and a plug for the Superman II movie on the cover) that includes one story drawn Steve Ditko – easily the best art of the entire pack

– four issues of a ’90s era Image series titled Man Against Time – I fell for the covers by Walt Simonson and John Paul Leon (I adore his work on The Winter Men)

– the final issue of the 1989 Epic Comics mini-series Powerline that was part of a three-series event called “A Shadowline Saga.” I found the other issues some time ago on eBay.

– and a copy of Marvel’s The Nam. I’ve been reading some war books recently – The Other Side; Army@Love, Shooting War – and I wanted to compare the current era with its predecessor. I’m eager to read the new Unknown Soldier and Haunted Tank once those collections are made available. Ideally, one big omnibus-style book with a selection of recent war titles.

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