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Mama I’m coming home!

I leave the US of A on Monday night.

In the last one and a half months, I have –

  • been part of a team that’s delivered a feature-complete product a day ahead of deadline.
  • seen my first Monet, Titian, Manet, El Greco and Gainsborough. And these were names I remembered off the top of my head.
  • visited my first comicbook shops.
  • bought out full runs of comics and manga and exceeded my weight limit by 20 kilos.
  • been to my first Comic book convention. Woo Hoo!
  • indulged in Major Comic art acquisitions, 32 in all.
  • managed to buy Perfect Gifts.
  • visited 5-level used record/CD/DVD outlets, each of which made me want to sit in a corner and whimper to myself.
  • held original first printings of the first three Dark Tower books in my hands, caressed them for about twenty minutes, put them back gently in their display cases and cried on the way out.
  • eaten The Crappiest Biryani Evah, and priced at 8.99$ to boot.
  • had surprise packages mailed to me from Spain.
  • become part-time Web Elf for the coolest Electronic Dance Music site ever.
  • not had the time to write about all these. Mostly because of point (1), but that will soon be remedied.
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Hitman is back!

F**K YEAH!

And the comic shop owner quoted too much on that Hitman cover. Higher than my initial estimate. Goddamnit. I will try to bargain him down, but…erm….I don’t think it’s happening. Sucks.

But I picked up a complete run of Michael Zulli’s Puma Blues ( 23 issues) and a complete run on Ted McKeever’s Metropol ( 2 volumes, 15 issues), both for a cumulative price of 20$. And two old Heavy Metal issues for 2$ each. Cheaper than in Best Book Stall, and in better condition at that.

I have earmarked quite a bunch of stuff for the upcoming sale. Most likely I will be cleaning up their stock of complete runs. There are sets of Sam and Twitch, The Human Target ( the Vertigo series by Peter Milligan), a complete run of Longshot, and all the issues look like they are signed by Art Adams ( I am greedy, so I didn’t buy that off immediately because they were 15$ for 6 issues, but 50% discount next week – yum! ). Quite a bit of other stuff too, I don’t remember for sure. And seems like there’s more full runs coming in.

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Update

So I am in Palo Alto, California right now.

Right opposite my hotel, there is an Indian Chaat place, where you get thaalis and panipuris. I am not interested in either. ( “Panipuris? You are not interested in panipuris??” “Well, not when they are $3.95 for six pieces. It’s un-Indian that way.”) But. But. There’s a comicbook store right next to that eatery. Unfortunately for me, the time it closes is much before the time I get back from work, except on weekends.

Luckily enough, yesterday I came back from work just about half an hour before closing time.

And went inside My Very First Comic Book Store.

It was a cool experience. The salesman really knew his stuff, and pointed out the stacks of Asterix and Tintin they had right next to the door, because of the Indian population who inquired about them frequently. Because I did not have too much time, I decided to ask him about the art collection they had advertised outside, and he came back with two huge folders. Yum. Got to looking at the pages. Saw some nice Buscema/Severin Weirdworld pages, a couple of excellent Thor splashes, a Son of Satan splash by Ed Hannigan and Sonny Trinidad that set my heart a-flutter, especially when I saw the low price marked onto the pages. ( The salesman explained that those were the prices the owner had paid for them when he bought the pages himself. Damn.) And then, just at the end of the second folder, I saw…

A Hitman cover.

There was a Hitman cover for sale at the store.

Ok, let me set this straight. There are 60 John McCrea Hitman covers in existence right now, 61 if you count issue 10 Million. I own one of them, I have reserved three more, there’s one on sale right now on Comic Art fans, Romitaman.com has the cover to #34 marked at an exorbitant price because it won an Eisner award, and I have accounted for about six or seven more of the covers.

That leaves us with about 40. And I just found one opposite my hotel room.

I would probably preen a little, but let me figure out how much the owner quotes. Fingers crossed.

And did I tell you about the sale that begins May 20th, which involves a 50% discount on all back issues and 25% on statues?

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Naanda bakayero?

Heh, now that the Spider-man 3 movie featuring Venom is out , there is a flurry of eBayers who are selling their Hot Copies of Amazing Spider-man 300 at very Hot ( read: expanded) prices. Now if only someone would tell them that Venom made his first (though admittedly brief) appearance in Amazing Spider-man 298. 298 also happens to be the first issue in which Todd McFarlane elbowed his way into Spider-man history. I think I shall go take out my autographed copy of ASM 298 and gaze at it fondly for a minute or two today.

Bought Absolute Watchmen off White Drongo the day it landed. Whoo hoo. What is Absolute Watchmen, you ask? It’s the remastered version of Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, newly coloured, oversized with a couple of pages of extras in which Dave Gibbons shows off his thumbnails, Alan Moore shows off how he can write a page describing a single panel, and DC figures out a new way to get you to buy an old favourite. You ought to be happy with the trade paperback, really, leave the Absolute versions to the maniac Completist Bastards. Either ways, I am happy I got it at a discount and proceeded to reread it again. As always, Moore’s characters are too talky, and all of them, including Rorschach are quite erudite when it comes to explaining their motives and writing in their journals. The book is magnificent, the story is a landmark effort, but I still think Miracleman is better, and From Hell knocks both of them out of the park with its glory.

And then Vasu sent me Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman’s second collection of short stories which was released last year and made it to India just last month. I love you, Vasu.

( Sidetrack: Ennio Morricone on my playlist after a long, long time. )

52, DC’s 52-issue-long series which was released weekly over a period of one year, has just gotten over. eBay, here I come!

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Right here, right now.

One of the major art pieces that went on eBay sometime back was a page by Neal Adams that features the first appearance of Ra’s Al Ghul. Quite possibly, The Neal Adams Batman page. The price was stuck at 10000$ for about a week, and at the last minute, finished at 27000$. I am surprised. Everybody is, actually. The page doesn’t even feature Batman per se, and Neal Adams Batman covers go for less than the final price. And it’s tax season, forchrissakes.

Dave McKean’s cover to Sandman 18, Dream of a Thousand Cats is up on eBay right now. One of the last McKean Sandman covers that the man still had, and it’s going to go for quite a sum, I can assure you. At 17000$ right now. The work is a combination of acrylic, ink, and a collage of wood, framing, resin crow skull ( used to be an original crow skull which fell apart), transfer type, cardboard and gold acrylic paint.

I finished all my Paul Grist books last week. What. An. Experience. Just when I thought the likes of Bendis, Azzarello, Chaykin and Miller had done whatever could be done for crime fiction in graphic literature, Grist has gone and set a new standard with his Kane books. Set in the fictional city of New Eden, the series follows the eponymous hero, Detective Kane and his cohorts at the local Precinct. The story starts with Kane being reissued his badge following an unfortunate incident involving his ex-partner. The thing with Grist’s work is – in the space of a couple of pages, he switches timelines, plotlines and characters, and with a flair that leaves the unwitting reader gasping for breath. Equally stunning is Jack Staff, one of his superhero works which, like most of the modern-day classic comics – by which I mean comics that go beyond the monthly schedule and try to use the superhero cliches in ways that mess with your mind – pays tribute to familiar characters. And introduces its own.( Betsy Braddock, vampire reporter has a ring to it, don’t you think? ) An amazing mixture of twists, humour and good storytelling.

As it turns out, there are two Jack Staff books and two Kane books that I don’t have yet. Soon be remedied, nyahahahahah.

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