2012 was a definite lull in baseball card collecting for me. Perhaps you noticed. I've had a few of these over the years actually. Two I remember distinctly were in 84-85 and in 97-98. I can pinpoint these dates because my Topps sets from '85 and '97 were not really up to snuff for a long time. I'm pretty sure I got about 80% of all the 1997 Topps cards in my collection out of a large box of random cards I bought at a shop in Knoxville for twenty bucks on a business trip. And by box, I don't mean a box of packs or a storage box. I mean an actual cardboard box that used to hold supplies or Becketts or something. Skipping out on much of '84 and '85 sets was an absolute disaster about twenty years ago. I missed out on all those super high priced can't miss future Hall of Fame Rookies! Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Doc Gooden, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire! Ok, the disaster has somewhat lessened over time.
Even in periods without baseball cards I still had several money sinks at that time. In the '80s it was coins, Mad Magazines and Bill Cosby tapes. In the '90s it was gaming cards, comics, sci-fi books and a girlfriend. Yes, it is possible to have all four of those things at one time. You can probably guess last year's money sink. But back to the comics... Just like my baseball collecting habits have been a long plateau of excessiveness with a few lulls here and there, my comic reading/collecting has been just the opposite. Long periods of ignoring comics completely with a few short bursts of comics mania here and there.
My last burst of comic reading came about 10 years ago when an adaptation of the anime Battle of the Planets was released. If you don't know what that is, you may be familiar with the chopped up version that was syndicated in America called G-Force. If you don't know what that is, Google it for Pete's sake. G-Force was my very first taste of animated Japan and I loved it. When the comic came out I actually started a hold list at a local comic shop so I could get my dose of kindergarten TV nostalgia. That led me off into a few other titles like Fables, Planetary and just about everything Alan Moore ever did. Eventually my work schedule made it difficult to get to the comic shop every week and I fell off on my comic reading.
Then late last year I took my son to the dollar store for something or other. He went to the toy section as kids will tend to do and in that aisle was a box of comics. Two comics for a buck, plus a trading card. You could see the comics through the plastic bag and I found one that had an issue of Spawn vs. Batman on the back. Had to snag that one. Here's what the package looked like:
You can see the bonus card on the front in each pack. Most of the cards in the packages were stuff from the '90s but I got lucky on this one. The A-Team!
Then in another bag was an issue of Battle of the Planets. I had most of the run already but this was a Special Edition! Limited Edition! Limited to only 5000! All of which were now probably in the comic repacks! Well of course I had to get it. Limited edition variant cover for a buck! There was a problem...
Here's the card that was inside.
The card slightly redeems itself with a trivia question on the back. "What name is given to the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? The answer is given is the form of a code where the number = the letter of the alphabet:
20 8 5 - 2 9 12 12 - 15 6 - 18 9 7 8 20 19
Coincidentally, 2085291212156189782019 is the amount of money lobbyists have thrown at Congress in order to get them to pass laws ensuring that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution don't mean a goddamn thing anymore.
How about one more horrifying thing to close out the post.
Here's the cover of that comic in the bag that I posted above. Long story short, it's the first issue and origin story of some long forgotten superhero from an oddball press. The cover looks like standard comic book fare. Hero in spandex battling an ugly monster who is menacing a damsel in distress. Ho hum. So I read the comic thinking it would be boring. You wanna know what is actually going on here? Ok, but hold on to your butts.
So the guy in the tights is in a science mishap and suddenly gains a super power. Anyone he touches with his bare hand is infected with a fungus that consumes them in minutes leaving a moldy fuzzy corpse. Ick.
That monster? THAT'S THE SAME GUY. He gets like that when he's really, really pissed off. Of course, the evil government who use the dude's powers for ill really, really piss him off halfway through the comic.
*OMG, DON'T EVEN READ THIS PART*
The chick that is being menaced? Is his girlfriend. Who ends up betraying him in the part where he gets pissed off. Dude totally EATS her! Gobbles her right up! Om Nom Nom! Doesn't even spit out the bones or nothin'! Holy Shucking Fit!
Comics were frickin' weird in the '70s man. Just as weird as kids' shows were in the '90s.