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Back Issue Grail Hunts

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  • Back Issue Grail Hunts

    Back in the day, I carried around a list of back issues I needed to complete my collection. The hardest-to-find of those became Holy Grails, the thing for which I quested above all else, and when I finally got the last missing chapter of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, it was oh-so-sweet.

    Digital comics have largely done away with this thrill. If you just want to read a comic, if you're not looking to resell it, that makes sense. Easier to find, no storage space issues, and it's almost always going to be cheaper.

    Still... I miss the thrill of the hunt. I wanted a new project. But it needed to be something that isn't digital or probably won't be any time soon, or else i know I'll just cave and get it that way. So I asked myself... what's something that's of a considerable (but not absurd) scope, that has plenty of issues actually worth reading, that I'll probably find lots of in quarter or dollar bins, but that the publisher refuses to release on Comixology for some reason or another?

    Long story short, I've decided to collect the Ultraverse.

    Yesterday I started by fishing Rune #3 out of a dollar box. Eh, you've got to start somewhere.

  • #2
    You could always add Crossgen to that list. Lots of good stuff to hunt down there! But Ultraverse is a good call.

    I have switched things up to fill that itch - it's classic Doctor Who for me. I need as high-quality version as possible for every classic episode, even if it is just audio. Sourcing as much as possible off of Region 2 DVDs when that's the best official source.

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    • #3
      I've already got a TON of the CrossGen stuff, but if I ever finish the Ultraverse, maybe that will be next.

      Good luck with Who!

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      • #4
        Excellent choice on the Ultraverse!

        I finally (mostly/overall) completed my Ultraverse collection last year (a "reading copy"). Loads of variants and specials and ashcans and such that I won't mind getting if I come across them cheaply, but I believe I have the entire STORY put out by the Ultraverse.

        I remember a few years back being surprised at how many Ultraverse issues I'd actually managed to get over the years, and then started more consciously filling in the gaps and such.

        Now as I'm rereading from Prime #1 onward, it's rewarding to know I have it all...

        Rune #3's the flipbook with Ultraverse Premiere #1, right?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Walt Kneeland View Post
          Rune #3's the flipbook with Ultraverse Premiere #1, right?
          Yep, that's the one. I'm not going to concern myself with the variants. Fortunately, this was before the day when EVERY comic had 15 covers, so it probably won't be too difficult to keep it all straight.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Blake M. Petit View Post

            Yep, that's the one. I'm not going to concern myself with the variants. Fortunately, this was before the day when EVERY comic had 15 covers, so it probably won't be too difficult to keep it all straight.
            Ditto. I don't mind a lot of the Ultraverse variants, especially at this point 25-ish years later. They're fun little oddities and such.

            And I often find that for all the bad rap '90s comics (and '90s covers) get, a large chunk were essentially a/b, but with logic (newsstand vs. direct market makes sense to me where 15 versions to the direct market does not). Heck, I remember many of the covers that get a bad rap for the die-cut holofoil gold-inlaid leatherbound treatment were the only cover, which in retrospect is a small "evil" to the 15 covers per issue.

            Hope your journey's as fun as mine was!

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            • #7

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              • #8
                You need spies.

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                • #9
                  Is this a common thing? Shops that don't play well together? Because I've noticed similar behavior in my area as well...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Blake M. Petit View Post
                    Is this a common thing? Shops that don't play well together? Because I've noticed similar behavior in my area as well...
                    Depends on the area, and if the owners actually talk to each other instead of letting customers/other owners pit them against each other with games of telephone and misinformation.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, I suppose that would be the sort of thing that's dependent on the personality involved. Competition is one thing, but the world of Comics isn't so big that you need to be a jerk to everybody else in it.

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                      • #12
                        I've been in shops that have actually referred customers to other shops in the area. Like "Sorry, I don't have that, but you might try _____ over in ______, they usually have stuff like it in stock."

                        And I'm pretty sure from overhearing stuff that a couple of the shops work together on stuff, buying from each other if one sells out and the other has a lot of extra.

                        I've wound up with three "main" shops and a fourth "backup" shop, though; between job layoffs and geographical logistics. Each shop has certain strengths, different markets; and I'm definitely an odd one with my willingness to drive 50-60 minutes to "keep up with" a couple of the shops, along with the shop that's 20 minutes away.

                        The one shop has a huge selection of bargain collected volumes, AND a shop cat (seriously, I'm the guy that'll drive 50 minutes to a shop for a chance to interact with the cat!). And the one shop has an amazing stock (usually) of 25-cent bins that are ACTUALLY still only 25-cent bins (enhanced by a 50-cent/$1 bin). And all three have different back-issue collections...so to ME, living in the area I do, all 3 kinda work together in MY experience (regardless of how they feel about each other).

                        Sadly, none of them have had Uncanny X-Men 266 in a $20 condition, and original Mirage-published TMNT comics and some of the later TMNT Adventures from Archie are hard to come by.

                        (I have a copy of Harbinger #1 from the 1990s (Valiant) that the one shop sold me for 25 cents, albeit tattered, cover separated, etc. But I have the actual issue; going for the same thing with UXM 266).

                        Pardon the choppy randomness.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Walt Kneeland View Post
                          The one shop has a huge selection of bargain collected volumes, AND a shop cat (seriously, I'm the guy that'll drive 50 minutes to a shop for a chance to interact with the cat!).
                          If I'm ever in your neck of the woods you need to direct me to this shop. My wife would spend all day there.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Blake M. Petit View Post

                            If I'm ever in your neck of the woods you need to direct me to this shop. My wife would spend all day there.
                            Absolutely! Cleveland, OH area...

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                            • #15
                              Mighty Con hosted their first ever New Orleans Comic-Con today. It was a nice little show, mostly for shoppers and collectors. I dove into the bargain bins and made a nice-size dent in my Ultraverse quest. I also got a bunch of bronze Age Superman and the entire original Star Trek: The Next Generation miniseries for three bucks. Plus, I got a print of the first Secret Wars cover signed by Mike Zeck and Jim Shooter, both of whom were in attendance.

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