The past 4 months have been pretty busy for me. I spent a week working a Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (as written about here). I was back at work for a week, and then I was away again in B.C. visiting Vancouver first to run my first marathon, and then spending some time in Victoria before heading home. My time at home since and in between has also been filled with exams and homework. So, the blog has had to go on the back burner. But that does not mean that my nerviness has not.
I won’t rehash any of my Calgary experiences, but before I talk B.C. let me take you back 8 Months. (No, Marvel fans, this will not fill in the 8 month gap in the Avengers: Times Runs Out story, but I am just now realizing that the 8 month countdown on the covers did coincide with my Vancouver trips, literally to the day.)
My wife and I, (check out her stuff over at here) had visited Vancouver last year, when she ran the Lululemon Half Marathon and, as I usually do in any city I visit, I took the day to check out several of the comic stores. My plan that day was to bus out to one of the furthest stores, and run back to our hotel room, checking out as many stores as I conveniently could. Now, I have a fairly large collection, so I am usually just looking for rare books, or common books at a good discount. Over several hours I went from store to store and found nothing that peaked my interest, with the exception of a used book store that hadn’t even been on my planned route. I ran 15 km before I finally found a store that brought out the wallet. Wanna know how far it was from my hotel. 4 blocks. Thats it. 4. Some of these stores were nice, 1 was the worst I’ve ever seen, but they weren’t anything that peaked my interest.
The store I did find is called Golden Age Collectables. And the reason I got excited? They had a section with $25 omnibuses and $5/$6/$7 trades. That trip I spent just under $200 dollars for $700 worth of comics. I had to buy a new suitcase because of them, but still, worth it.
So naturally, that was the only store I went to this time. I was hoping for the same deals, but was expecting to be disappointed. Fortunately I was not. Same types of mark downs, and I filled in a few holes in my Avengers collection. I even got several Marvel Masterworks volumes for 5 bucks a pop. Got all but 1 that I’m looking for. My only gripe, was that I was there for Free Comic Book Day, and they didn’t do anything special. They just had a table at the back with all the books, plus a bunch of overstock #1s from series such as the new Thor and Cap series, but nothing special. I walked in, picked up my 4 comics (they had a limit), and left. I didn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t spend any money. I know that I am biased from my experience on the other side of the till, but I feel like they weren’t taking advantage of the great opportunity to make a few extra dollars, and get kids into something other than what they are already being exposed to. Just my 2 cents. I regret not taking the hour long bus up to North Vancouver to the store that had Daniel Way and Ed Brisson doing a signing. Big mistake. Still, I am very happy with what I got. They were also close enough to the marathon finish line, that I was able to hobble on over to cool down, and grab a book to read while I waited for my wife to finish.
But Victoria is where I really hit the jackpot. The downtown area has 3 comic stores. The odd thing is they are all in 1 block. 2 of them are adjacent. But they all have very different feels. The first was like Father Bear, too dirty, and only the new stuff. The second was Mother Bear, tons of books, no order. But the third store? Guess what. It was just right. Curious Comics. The staff were friendly, and more than willing to discuss comics with me and the store had a great selection. But the prize from there was Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience. It was written by Stan Lee with art by Jack Kirby and is the first “graphic novel” that Marvel ever put out. At first I wasn’t sure if it was what I thought it was, and after talking about it with the owner decided not to buy it, until I could confirm what it was. I didn’t believe it, it just seemed to easy. So I went home and looked it up and, sure enough, it was exactly what I thought it was and I went back first thing the next day. Couldn’t have anyone else getting their dirty paws on it.
Downtown Victoria also is home to the largest new and used book store in Canada. Essentially 3 stores, that is where I found my second gem. New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. This book cost me 10 bucks, even though it is selling at $35-$100 on Ebay. I have only been able to find this story in and omnibus that I have the majority of already. So at this point, I’d bought lots of cheap stuff and found a couple rarities. I was quite happy with my loot.
And thats when I found her.
Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight/New Dawn. The book that Geoff Johns has spent the last 12 years trying to make people forget. Which is probably why it hasn’t been reprinted. Even though it should be. This was a great book and I feel shows off exactly how brilliant Johns is. I found it in a dirty ol’ hole in the wall shop filled with 1950’s sic fi pulp, bad music, a worse smell, and a stack of comics at the front of the store. It was at the bottom of the stack. I had to slowly struggle to pull it out, but the minute I saw it, I knew I just couldn’t go home without it.
And I did go home with it. In fact, my plane ride gave me the perfect amount of time to catch up on Arrow and read that book. I literally finished Arrow as we landed in Edmonton and GL as we landed home in Saskatoon.
I also had the opportunity in Victoria to check out the museum and an IMAX film about travelling to Mars. Super fantastic. Sarah didn’t dig the museum and did not want to go to the IMAX, but all I heard her say the entire film was “Oh. Wow.” and “Wow” and “Wow” some more. To be fair, she is just vocalizing what I myself was thinking. I highly recommend both though.
The point of the trip was to spend some time with my wife, run a marathon, relax, kayak a little, eat some seafood, , and still to geek out a little. I did all of the above plus more. so I am a happy man right now!
So now, I’m back home, my homework is done for now. My tests are done for now. and by the time I hit “publish” it will be my birthday and I will be heading back into a regular stint on the blog.
I’ve decided to quasi-abandon the week by week formula, and just go by feel, taking opportunities to get ahead and catch up to where I should be when I can. I left off in 1978, which was a good year and I don’t want to skip it just for the sake of my own expectations. Seriously, some great stuff from 5 mediums to look at. Yep, 5, radio this time. Coincidentally that Silver Surfer GN came out that year, so my next post will be on that.
Thanks for reading! See you then!