04th Mar2013

Thrift Justice – Injustice For All

by Will

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Every now and then, I get requests to point out some of my Thrift Fails. Contrary to how the posts come across, my success rate varies. For instance, a lot of my thrift stores recently did floorplan resets, which I HATE. This happens every 2 years or so, and it just kind of ruins the flow of things. Not only are product quantities at low levels, but it takes awhile for everyone to get used to the new location of certain aisles. As a result, I haven’t really bought anything in about a month from that particular chain. The last time, though, was the fault of management. This is going to come off as “Will’s being a whiny bitch”, but whatever – it’s MY site. Still, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s inconsistency in rules, and this is a prime example of that.

Last Wednesday, I stopped by a thrift store near home, and noticed  they’d gone through the dreaded aisle reset. They had a few “quirky” things, but nothing really awesome. That was, however, until I got to the VHS aisle. Only recently have I even started paying attention to tapes, as everything good is on DVD now, right? Right? Wrong. A lot of stuff has yet to be transferred to DVD, while certain things in the format have skyrocketed in value (like WWF tapes with the old logo). Well, on an endcap of children’s movies, I found this:

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Not actual pic. I stole this from some site.

An unopened, non-special edition boxed set of the Original Star Wars Trilogy from 1992. Just look at how beautiful that box is! The best part, however, was that it was still shrinkwrapped. Whenever I see tapes, I wondered how battered they are from being shoved in and out of old VCRs, but these tapes wouldn’t have that problem. They were virgins! This store sells VHS tapes for 3 for $1, so this was a great score. Or so I thought. When I got to the register, the cashier tried to pull the “there’s no price on this” routine. Let me back up a minute. I’m not sure if this is common for all stores, but this particular chain has a policy where they can’t sell anything that doesn’t have a price listed on it. This is a far cry from the “No Price? Finders keepers” policy of the local Goodwill! Anyway, this “rule” is some bullshit because it’s been broken MANY, MANY times. They look at it, they appraise it (usually at about $2-3 dollars), and we both go on our merry way. Not this time. She called over the Latina manager (this is important, because I’m going to play a race card soon). She turns it around in her hand, and goes “No…I cannot sell. No price.” I proceed to tell her that I got it over at the tapes. Tapes are usually 3/$1, as she knows, so why is this any different? It’s 3 tapes. Then, she looks at it some more, and tries a tactic that I know and hate: trying to side with me in how unfair the rules are. I know this game because I’ve played it. I worked retail, too, hon. She says, “I soory. Be can’t sale without the price. It’s reely a domb rool, but I canno sale.” I told her, Hell, I’d even pay $3 dollars if it was that big of a deal – that’s 9 tapes! Surely, she wouldn’t get in trouble over that. Then, remember that race card I mentioned? Well, I told her “The white manager usually assigns a price.”

There are many different managers at this store. One of them, seemingly the queen of them all, is this mean old white lady. She lords over her staff of Ecuadoreans. While it’s true that she had made some cash register verdicts on prices, she’s sometimes the real hardliner when it comes to the rule. Still, I was banking on exploiting this manager’s fear of her in order to get my way. It’s really kinda sad the person I’ve become since I started this whole racket. Anyway, IT WORKED! She sighed, and told the cashier to ring it up as the 3 tapes for $1. I was in the clear! Long Live The Man! Until this other dude came up out of nowhere. He was also an employee, and manager chick decided to show it to him. They started talking to each other in Spanish, while pointing at different things on the box. Since I was worldly enough to take French in school, I can only assume they said, “This is Star Wars. This shit’s worth something. Fuck this guy. Viva La Rasa!” What? Most of the Spanish I know was learned from WWE wrestlers after the Attitude Era! She comes back over to me and says, “No, I canno sale.” By this point, they had already rung up some of the stuff you’ll see below, and the cashier asked if it would be credit or debit. I stood there a few seconds, and said, “You know what? Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be taking any of this.” And I walked out. See? I told you I was a petulant little bitch.

I can’t win ’em all. I get that. I just feel like they should be consistent – the same with everyone, all the time. I’ve had that rule broken, and I’ve watched them break it for others. It just seems odd to me that something like this is when they’d decide to go by the book. It makes it look a little fishy on their end, if you ask me. It really kinda pissed me off, mainly because I’m an only child and used to getting my way. It’s a shame I never grew out of that. Anyway, I’ve got high blood pressure now, and this isn’t a hill on which to die, so I went home, smoked a cigar, and recorded the first ep of Classick Team-Up.

To close things out, here are some things I’ve seen recently that, while quaint, just weren’t coming home with me.

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The only reason I didn’t buy this was because I already own it. I’m not a hip-hop head, but I LOVE this album. I also love that awesome Bill Sienkiewicz cover. Bobby, Bobby Bobby, Digi, Digi, Digi!

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Never saw this movie, but I love a good vintage, carded figure. Still, I hate dragons and shit.

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The store had a bunch of ALF puzzles. Ya see, 20 years ago, families used to gather around the “boob tube” every Monday. Before watching the riveting adventures of a middle aged newswoman, they tuned into NBC to watch a show about a cat-eating alien with a cornucopia for a nose. This is his story.

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In my mind, the only people who owned LaserDisc players were Patrick Bateman types. Still, I almost bought this just to frame it.

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I almost bought it, but the die was missing. Kinda regret leaving it behind, come to think of it. C’est la vie…

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I’m ashamed by how much I wanted this. I didn’t want to own it, per se. I just wanted to see it. Were they basically bum fights? Did the crackheads know they were being filmed? Were they authentic crackheads, or were schizophrenics unfairly being thrown into the mix? And it was the New York edition! Does this mean there’s a Real Housewives-esque Crackheadz series covering different cities? I had a lot of questions that needed answers. The second time I saw it, I was prepared to buy it. I needed answers! Sadly, the disc had been stolen from the case…probably by a crackhead…gone wild.

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Finally, this is what I left behind in my huff. You may not be able to tell, but this was a Dolly Parton doll from the 70s. Since the aisle reset, I found myself in the middle of the doll aisle, and noticed the selection looked a bit older. When I saw the face on this one, I thought, “That looks like Dolly!” Checked my phone, and I was right. The funny thing about it is her suit was glued on to her, so you couldn’t strip her nekkid like a Barbie. Not sure if that was in her likeness contract, or if that was a modification made by the previous owner. I was set to buy her, but I was thwarted by PriceGate. So, I can only assume Dolly is at home with Juan or Maria. Yup, that’s the note I’m choosing to end on.

19th Feb2013

Thrift Justice – The One With All The Books

by Will

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I love books. The real kind, with words and few (if any) pictures. Before I even discovered comics, I used to beg my mom to take me to Crown Books to get the latest Hardy Boys paperback. Once I got into comics, pictures took over for words, but I still get in a book every now and then. In the world of thrifting, I tend to stay away from books. Why? Because of motherlovin’ book scanners. I’ve probably gone over this before, but there’s a group in the reselling community known as book scanners, who just camp out in the book aisle like it’s the manga section of Barnes & Noble. At that point, they either use a phone app or a dedicated scanner to scan the barcode of each and every book to find out if it has any value on the secondary market. Long story short, you won’t find many great books due to these vultures. I know some of you are thinking, “Why do you hate them so much, Will? You’re a reseller, too!” You see, my “gift” is that I have an eye. I don’t scan. I don’t use Google. I see things and notice there’s something unique about them. If they could do that with books, I’d have more respect for them. Instead, they use technology as a crutch. Without the scanner, they wouldn’t know what they have. It’s like a guy with a metal detector – even if he finds something, he probably won’t know what it is unless he truly knows coins and whatnot. Every now and then, however, I happen to find something before they do (usually it’s a book that doesn’t have a barcode; that’s too much work for them). I thought I’d share a few of those finds with ya today.

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I actually got this on my honeymoon, but didn’t fit it into the Thrift Justice Road Trip post at the time. I’ve never read Bone, and always kinda thought it was overrated. I mean, it looks like the “Adventures of Albino Smurf”. Still, you can’t really have an opinion on something you haven’t experienced, so I picked this up. “One Volume Bone” has been available for years, but I never really wanted to spend the money. There’s even a full color version now, but it was never high on my list of reading priorities. This B&W copy, however, only cost me $3 at a roadside thrift store in the Outer Banks. It’s not pristine, but it’s a good “reading copy” at about 10% of its original price.

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Like everyone else, I’d been a fan of the Boondocks series on Adult Swim, but I never really read the newspaper strips. I remember them being controversial and getting kicked out of a lot of papers, but I never gave them the time of day. So, when I came across this collection, I decided to take a chance. It also helped that the store considered this a children’s book, which meant it was $0.69. I honestly don’t even think they charged me that, which I’ll explain later…

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I’m no fan of Doctor Who. It’s not that I have anything against it, but it’s just too vast of a franchise for me to get into. I mean, it’s a 50 year old franchise! Sure, people tell me “You don’t need the old stuff. Just start with Eccleston”, but I don’t believe you! If I get into something, I go ALL IN, and that’s not easy to do when half of the series is only on tapes allegedly owned by some African warlord. So, that has kept me from giving The Doctor a chance. Still, these books are from that earlier era, and I love a good sourcebook, so I grabbed all of these. I’m still not sure if I’ll ever read them or just try to sell them.

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This is a nice coffeetable book that I got the week after Disney bought LucasFilm. Nice pictures. Still gonna sell it, though. I’m no Warsie. #Trekkie4Life

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So, this was a nice find and I’m sure I only got it because there was no barcode (I love that scanners are too lazy to type in a simple ISBN). This was a 3-volume hardcover reprint set of the Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson Star Wars newspaper strips. Remember how I thought I got Boondocks for free? It was because of this set. I don’t think the cashier saw that book because it was between these. That wasn’t strategic or anything – just coincidental. So, as she flipped through them, she decided that they were children’s books. Signed & numbered children’s books. In GREAT condition. So, after a quick trip to my friend eBay, a $2.07 investment eventually netted me $160. Man, there are times when I LOOOOVE thrifting! This was  one of them.

So, there ya have it. Book scanners make things a bit more difficult, but there are still treasures to be found. For all of their tech, they’re still missing some gems right in front of their faces. And that’s just fine by me!

15th Feb2013

West Week Ever – 2/15/13

by Will

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Let’s get this party started: I can’t stand Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’d probably say “hate”, but that would be un-Christian of me, and he’d jump at the chance to point out my spiritual folly.

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Only a smug motherfucker would dare wear that vest out in public.

For those not familiar with him, Neil deGrasse Tyson is apparently the only black scientist in America. He’s the go-to personality whenever some media outlet wants a scientific take on things. So, he’s like the Toure or Al Sharpton of Science. Somehow, this guy has risen to the top of the pile, while still looking like the night manager of a KFC. I know, I know…we shouldn’t judge books by their covers. If that were true, books wouldn’t HAVE covers!

Anyway, he’s an astrophysicist, and he’s the pope of the “I Fucking Love Science” cult of the internet. On twitter, someone told me that they thought deGrasse Tyson made science more “approachable”, which I just couldn’t grasp. Bill Nye made science approachable. Mr. Wizard made science approachable. Hell, even Beakman and that giant rat made science approachable. deGrasse Tyson does NOT. He’s antagonistic, as he tries to foster “belief” in science, while using the delivery style of a condescending atheist. While what he’s saying might be true, he comes off like the Debbie Downer of science. He’ll say shit like, “You may think the stars in the night sky are pretty. What you don’t realize is that they are in their death throes, light years away, and don’t even know that you exist.” Yay, science? If a small child went up to him and said, “I wanna be an astronaut and go to space.”, deGrasse Tyson would just shake his head and say, “Well, son, nobody’s ever really been to space. Most space expeditions are basically low Earth orbit. You could get the same experience by going to the top of the Eiffel Tower.” He’d walk away, smirking to himself that he had educated another fool.

I have nothing against science. Science is cool and all that shit. But I’d rather be in the blissfully ignorant masses than to be talked down to by some Magical Science Negro. Yeah, that’s fucked up, but that’s how he makes me feel.

I also want to give a HUGE “thank you” to Dr. Matt Guzy of Awesome Toy Blog! He sent me the new Donatello, reuniting my toy turtle brothers! There was a pic but this site’s acting wonky today. Anyway, check out his site for some great Toy Fair coverage!

 

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LEGO has the BEST customer service! Like, I don’t even know how they’re still in business it’s so good. This was gonna be a Thrift Justice entry, but it’s a slow West Week, so here it goes. I bought this DC Super Heroes LEGO set at a thrift store. It was taped shut, so I figured someone had opened it, stolen the minifigures and chucked it. Still, it was only about $7, which is a fraction of its retail cost. So, I decided to take a chance. Well, once I got home I was surprised to see that the minifigures were still there. Oddly enough, it was smaller pieces that were missing. I was able to complete about 80% of Lex Luthor’s robot, but couldn’t attach the top to the bottom (missing rod).

I’ve never purchased my own LEGO set before (yeah, I know that’s strange), so I didn’t really know how replacement parts worked. Well, they had a list of parts in the manual (which was also still in the box), and directed me to a website. I went to the website, which asked me to specify what I needed. Well, since there wasn’t a “I bought this on the secondary market, and some little bastard named Cody or Juan clearly pilfered some important pieces” option, I simplified it and clicked “missing parts”. I entered the numbers specified in the manual, and submitted the order. I waited for them to give me a total. Instead, I got an email confirmation that my pieces were on the way. That’s right, the parts were FREE! HOLLA ATCHA BOY!

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I tend to hate “save our show” bandwagoning, but this awesome post about Community’s Easter eggs proves why this show deserves a longer life. Folks who appreciate tight continuity will LOVE this!

 

Memorex from Smash TV on Vimeo.

I only made it through 3 minutes of this video because my nostalgia boner was raging so hard! If you’re a child of the 80s, just see how long you make it. I may have stolen this from one of you reading this. If that’s the case, then…thanks?

I actually like this version better. “Losing My Religion” falls into the “A Cappella Killed This Song for Me” category. Yup, my group used to sing it, and I got tired of it. I actually like it better in a minor key. It could be a TV theme song now!

Another week, another podcast. A guy could get used to this! Last Sunday, I was invited back to the Cold Slither Podcast to talk about breakfast cereal. As always, it was a great time, and you can listen to it here.

I didn’t blog this week, so here are some posts that I enjoyed:

What Happened to My Childhood (Toys)? -Underscoop Voltron member Joe discusses how he get back into collecting toys. This seems to be a going theme over there lately, and I’m loving these posts!

Has Pitbull Ever Actually Had Sex? A Scientific Investigation – the folks over at Popdust dissect Pitbull’s lyrics to determine whether or not he has actually had sex. Hint: signs point to No.

This Week’s eBay Auctions

And go buy some stuff from Will’s World of Wonder! There’s NEW stuff. Promise!

29th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – Bipartisan$#!+

by Will

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Lord knows I’ve been sitting on some stuff for months, but I really wanted to commit this to the page before I forget all of it. This was just such a crazy scenario to me that it HAD to be a TJ post. So, where to begin? OK, last week, the country celebrated not only the second inauguration of Barack Obama, but also the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. As those events also brought with them a day off work, I decided to use that time to check into some things on Craigslist. One item kinda caught my attention, even though I didn’t really want it. The ad was for a Playmates Star Trek Starfleet Officers Box Set, unopened, for a great price. As a reformed Trekker, that line has always held a special place in my heart, and it hadn’t been opened. Game on! I’d actually started emailing with the guy the day before, but we’d never set up a time. Late Sunday night, I emailed him saying that I was off the next day, and could come by then. Well, I woke to an email saying that he was at work, but his wife was home and I could set up a meeting time with her. Ugh.

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Let me backtrack here. While unassuming, I’m still a random black guy from the internet. No matter how awesome something may sound, I was always raised to think that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. I don’t wanna meet some random dude’s wife, and end up in a Dateline special, as either the victim or the offender. The last thing I need is meeting random white women in their homes, Star Trek be damned! Still, it was a great price…I called the number the husband gave me, and she seemed a bit taken aback. I explained I’d been speaking with “Rick”, and she said that she would have to call him to find out where he had even stashed the thing. OK, fine. She calls back, and she’s found it. Great. She tells me “They usually tell you not to give out your home address to people on Craigslist”. See, she’s just as wary as I am! I tell her that I could meet her somewhere public or even wait until her husband gets home. No, she says it’s OK and proceeds to give me her address. Then, she tells me that she’s in the middle of a homeschool lesson (red alert! red alert!), so to come by around 5. Yeah, it might make me judgmental, but I’m still not in a place where I’m fully comfortable with the homeschooling movement. What makes me think I could do a better job teaching my kid than someone who’s been trained to do it? Hell, my kid would only get As in “Batman”, but he’d fail Math. But I digress…I’ve often said that I judge folks for the stuff they sell at yard sales, and I was beginning to judge this situation.

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At 5, I end up in a small neighborhood, and pull up outside their house. As I walk up to the door, I notice about 3 Romney stickers on the back of their van. THREE?! Then, I notice a big ass Romney sticker in their living room window. You don’t put stickers in a place like that! Stickers aren’t for the home, unless it’s a Fathead, and those people are still douchebags. I kinda thought about turning back, but duty called. I am the Toy Whisperer, after all (don’t worry – I felt like an asshole just typing that). She meets me at the door, and closes the door so the dogs won’t get out. That’s fine, I don’t want this transaction to last any longer than it needs to. I pull out the money, grab the box, and get ready to leave. Before I got away, she began to tell me that the set had been purchased by her father because he thought that stuff would be worth something someday, but he had since died and none of it was really that valuable. Remembering a tip from Brian over at Cool and Collected, I asked, “You mean there’s MORE?” She said that there was, and she invited me in.

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As soon as I got inside, it was like a Romney Wonderland. More posters and whatnot. She told me that the rest of the stuff was in the attic, and she trusted me to hang out with the dogs in the living room as she climbed up to get it. That’s when I heard it: Sean Hannity was playing on the kitchen radio. Aw, shit. “Calm down, Will”, I say to myself. “You’re freaking out for nothing. It’s not like she’s gonna come down and ask you who you voted for.” She comes back down with the stuff, and she proceeds to the kitchen to turn the volume a little lower on the radio. She comes back to me and asks, “Did you vote for Obama?” WHAT IN THE FUCK?! So many thoughts rush through my head: Who asks that? What do I say? Is she asking me that ’cause I’m black? Is she about to make an example of me that will end up on the 11:00 news?! Why did she have to pull this on MLKmas? Didn’t she at least like the Kelly Clarkson performance today? SO MANY THOUGHTS!

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It’s a TRAP!

I wish I could tell you that I became a hero that day. I wish I could tell you I looked her in the eye, and said “You’re damn right I did!” But I can’t. When you’re in an environment like that, “Yes We Can!” because “No We Ain’t!” While still looking over the items, I simply mumbled, “Yeah, the first time”. Careful choice of words. Make her think, “Sure, he did it the first time, ’cause well, the coloreds have to stick together, but he realized that Barry wasn’t the best choice for America. He came to his senses!” At least, that’s what I was going for. Don’t worry black people/bleeding heart liberals: I voted for him both times, but I feared for my life, and what I said wasn’t exactly a lie. I did vote for him the first time. She didn’t need to know about the second time. So, there was a beat, and time stood still. That’s when she said “Well, I turned off the radio. I didn’t want you to be offended.” What an odd sentiment. First off, it was kinda nice that she didn’t want me to be offended, but then it begged the question WHY are you listening to something that you know is offensive? Still, she didn’t have to turn it off. She could’ve turned it UP, so that was considerate of her.

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Diplomacy!

As I look over everything, I ask her what she’d want for the lot. ANOTHER amazing price. But there was a catch: I had to renounce my political affiliation. No, I’m kidding. I hadn’t brought enough money, but I didn’t want this to pass by. I remembered seeing a 7/11 on the way, so I told her that I’d run to the ATM and be right back. She was just fine with that. Fast forward to 10 minutes later, and our transaction was complete. She even helped me to my car. But I also noticed her kinda eye-searching my car. Had she never seen the inside of a black person’s car before? Was she shocked that I didn’t have THREE Obama stickers on my car? Did she notice the Inauguration Edition of The Washington Post on my passenger seat? These things matter not. I got what I came for, and I could escape back to safety!

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So, here’s the my entire haul. As always, if ya see anything you like, shoot me an offer. It saves me from having to list it somewhere. But you can’t have Lando. After my experience on Inauguration/MLK Day, I’m keeping Lando to complete the triumvirate. I Have A Dream That Yes We Can Have A Colt 45!

15th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – I Don’t Want No Scrubs

by Will

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Well, as we’ve covered before, I just can’t bring home everything I see. Sometimes this bothers me. At other times, I’m relieved. You see, I’m sometimes AMAZED by the lack of quality I see on shelves. Every now and then, I like to show you a few of those items, as we wonder what might’ve been.

 

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Originally part of the G1 Transformers Pretenders line, this guy looks like Reginald Denny. It’s been 20 years, so I’m fairly sure I can make that joke now. Bonus points is you knew that name without resorting to Wikipedia!

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This is another one of those supermarket toys we talked about last time. I actually kinda wanted this, though. It had a nice, shiny cockpit for two 3.75″ figures, and it’s almost like a bootleg Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors thing.

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AAHHHHH!!!!!! Gott In Himmel!! They look like they were in the tub too long (or, for you comic folks, like they were drawn by Frank Quitely). Do they even have tubs in Heaven? Are these things FROM Heaven? Oh, Jesus! Who would pay $81 for these?!

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Speaking of Jesus, what’s going on here? I’m pretty familiar with the Easter story, and I don’t remember the part where the Savior is crushed by a beam because the temple wasn’t up to code. Poor Jesus. He’s like, “Don’t mind me. Just got this beam on me. Yeah, no…can’t really help you with that pitcher of water over there.” I picture it like that old Will Ferrell/Rachel Dratch skit, where He’s probably really nice at first, but as people continue to ignore the beam, he’s all “My back, you bitch! MY BACK IS KILLING ME!” Yeah, I really need to get back to church…

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OK, one more for the road. I actually kinda considered getting this one. If you must know, I was never allowed to have Biblical action figures growing up because they were idols or something. It wasn’t that deep, but I think it was something along those lines. We used to go to this Seventh Day Adventist store for dried apricots or something. No, we aren’t 7DA (is that a real abbreviation? Looks like a boyband from the UK), nor do I know why we went there for dried fruit. In any case, they always had these 3.75″ Jesus action figures, but my mom wouldn’t let me get one. She was probably right, because I really just wanted him so he could perform battlefield resurrections for my G.I. Joes. “Fear not, Flint. Today is not the day that you meet my Father!” Anyway, I wasn’t paying $15 for this! They don’t even come with spring-loaded missile launchers!

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“Grandpa! Viacom’s on the phone! They say they wanna talk to you about our album! Maybe they wanna sign us!” No, they want to SUE you. What the fuck is this?! Talk about false advertising! There isn’t a Spongebob, or a Carly Shay, or even a pair of shorts being saluted here. If anything, this is some kinda of multigenerational CD released by the most boring white people who ever lived. And I’ll bet $20 that at least one of them is named Seamus.

Welp, that about does it for this round. Maybe next time I’ll show you something I actually bought. Or maybe we’ll talk about pop music. Ya never really know what you’re gonna get around here!

07th Jan2013

Thrift Justice – Sign Your Name Across My Art

by Will

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Welcome to the first Thrift Justice of 2013! Oddly enough, the stuff you’re seeing today is probably the stuff I’ve been holding onto the longest. Before I ever really envisioned the whole Thrift Justice thing, I used to frequent thrift stores to rummage through the longboxes of long forgotten comics. Longboxes are a funny thing for me – while they’re sometimes filled with treasure, they simultaneously fill me with a sense of anxiety that I can’t even convey. I have this tic where I feel like I HAVE to go through each box because you never know what might be in them. I HAVE TO. So, a room with 14 longboxes is both a blessing and a curse. Luckily, the thrift store only had about 2 boxes, but I never really expected to find what you’re going to see here today: autographed comics!

The thing with autographed books is that you never really know if they’re authentic. I mean, unless you watched it get signed, anyone could’ve put that signature on there, certificate of authenticity be damned! Still, I’m a bit familiar with the signatures we’ll see, so even if fake, they’re good forgeries.

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First up, we’ve got the Top Cow “classic” (can you see me making air quotes?) CyberForce #1.  I actually recently read the first volume of this series, so I’ll cover it in the upcoming return of Adventures West Coast. For now, let’s just focus on this one issue. It appears to be signed by EVERYONE at Homage Studios (except Jim Lee). Sadly, they gave it the gold Sharpie treatment, so I can’t read most of them. Because I have history with Dynamic Forces limited editions, I can make out some of it. For example, that’s Top Cow CEO/series creator Marc Silverstri’s signature across the title. Anyway, this book is from the early 90s, so it’s got the requisite holofoil gimmick cover, and will probably give you lead poisoning if you breathe in too much around it. Man, I can’t wait to review that book. It was GOLD!

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Anyone remember Devin Grayson? Well, if you’re new to comics, there was actually a woman who once worked for DC Comics NOT named Gail Simone! While Gail was off writing Agent X (Deadpool Who Wasn’t Deadpool. Don’t ask), Devin was a key writer in the Batman corner of the DCU. She had long stints on The Titans and Nightwing (she actually wrote a controversial issue where he got raped. Not even lying), plus she wrote the majority of the Batman: Gotham Knights series. Then, she went on to Marvel to write the forgotten Ghost Rider: The Hammer Lane series, and just kinda faded away. At one time, there was Devin, Christina Z, and Louise Simonson, yet people act like Gail was some sort of trailblazer.

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If you were a comic creator in the mid-late 90s, chances are you went through a Titties & Monsters phase. It was something of a rite of passage. This was that phase for Tony Daniel. Oh, you know who he is. He likes to be called Tony S. Daniel or Anthony Daniel now, but same guy: he took over the art on Grant Morrison’s Batman once Kubert bailed. He also wrote the New 52 relaunch of Detective Comics. I actually bought this series when it was out. Published by Image Comics, The Tenth was about some jailbait that hung out with a big ass monster. It probably had some kinda plot, but I was 16 and I liked how he drew girls. At least Spawn was “What if Satan Were Batman”, but 15 years later and I still can’t tell you what the Hell it was about. Anyway, this was an exclusive cover offered by American Entertainment – they were a mail order company that used to have ads in all the comics.

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This is the final issue of the JLA: Year One maxiseries, signed by inker Michael Bair. I’m familiar with his work because he inked Rags Morales’s art on Identity Crisis. In fact, I initially got his autograph when I met him and Brad Meltzer at a signing for Identity Crisis. So, while flipping through the longbox, I said aloud, “I know that guy!” Anyway, I’ve never actually read this series. Mark Waid wrote it, so it’s probably good. That said, it’s pre New 52, which means it “doesn’t count” anymore. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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This is Wonderlost #1, signed by writer C.B. Cebulski. This was an interesting project. I actually read this when it was originally released, as I got a comp copy some years back. CB was an editor at Marvel, but had the option to do work for other publishers, so he delivered this anthology of anecdotes from his adolescence. While it entertaining read, it still left you wondering “Why?” Like, it read like one of those collections you’d get from a company like Top Shelf, where they call them “comix”. Each anecdote is handled by a different artist, and the cover was by Leinil Francis Yu.  It’s clear that it was a bit of a love letter to his teenage years, but it was just such an odd fit for Image at the time. In fact, it probably still would be. He’s currently the Senior VP of Creative and Creator Development for Marvel.

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I put these two together because that’s how I found them: sharing opposites sides of the same bag/board combo. Also, they seem to go together thematically. Here, we have Hitman #5 and Preacher #17. These clearly came from the same collection, as they’re both made out to “Bob”. Hitman is signed by series artist John McCrea, while Preacher is signed by cover artist Glenn Fabry. Plus, the chick at the register just seemed to think it was one really thick comic, so two signed comics for $0.50! Anyway, I haven’t read much of either series. I think they’ve finally collected all of Hitman, so I’ll definitely check that out. Meanwhile, I’m still on Vol 2 of Preacher.

So, there ya have it. My mild obsession led to some interesting finds, and I never paid more than fifty cents for any of them. Try paying a creator fifty cents for his signature at a convention! Are they all legitimate? I think they are, but who knows? WHO CARES?! I got a good story out of it, right? And, really, that’s all that really counts.

03rd Jan2013

West YEAR Ever – 2012

by Will

intro

A year that began pretty shitty turned out rather well. I started the year with a bad cold, which led to me being sick every 3 months throughout the year. Then, I lost my job in May. Once summer hit, things started to get better. I got a BETTER job, I attended the weddings of 2 great friends, and I got married. Yay! I spend a ton of time online, so I figured we’d talk about that a bit, with a twist: we’ll cover the wedding in pics and the online in words. DEEP!

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Don’t worry, black folks. There was another black girl. She was late. Go figure…

I no longer feel the need to be Top Dog in the nerd game. I was discussing this with someone who has ambitious goals to take over the internet toyverse. It’s admirable, but I asked, “What then?” It’s like the supervillain who wants to rule the world. What does he do once he gets it? I used to want to be Nerd King. I wanted to be America’s Next Top Blerd. Try as I might, no one was looking to fill that position. Hell, at this point, I’d settle for “Top Blerd of Lower Montgomery County Between The Hours of 6 and 8 PM”. I mean, I’ve worked hard, but there are others who have worked harder and longer. Plus, what’s to be gained at the top? It just makes you a target for others “gunning for the title”. It can be lonely at the top, the middle, AND the bottom.

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I got to marry HER. I already won. 

I’ve been doing this 10 years. Some years were more active than others, but I’ve come to realize that I just want to carve out my own niche, rather than unseat someone. I think this has been more pronounced since the recent changing of the guard over at Topless Robot. When the job was posted, a lot of us started wondering if we had the chops. I thought I could do it, but I simply didn’t have the readership. Hell, it’s just 3 parts linkblogging, 2 parts snark. Still, no one knows who I am. I’m not active on any boards, nor am I a regular commentor anywhere; I tend to keep to myself. Also, I said it then, and I’ll say it again: I don’t wish that job on my worst enemy. There’s NO WAY you’re going to “properly” replace Rob Bricken in the eyes of fans, nor should you really be expected to do so. Still, that person is going to have to prove himself, as Luke Y. Thompson is learning. No matter how hard he works, for now, he’s simply “Not Rob”. Just look at the comments on recent posts. Rob-era posts had comment threads into the hundreds, while most recent comment threads max out at about 14. Village Media can’t be too happy about this, but I don’t think LYT is to blame. TR was popular BECAUSE of Rob. It WAS Rob. THAT is what we should be striving toward: creating something that is OURS. No more of this “I want to rule the toy internetz” stuff. I mean, do we even understand the scope of that goal?

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I talk to a lot of different people online, from those who used to run toy sites to those who currently run them. Do you realize how many “top dogs” on the toy scene aren’t even aware of each other? Everyone’s “winning” a race without even knowing who their competitors are. Isn’t that odd? Is anyone really leading or is it simply a matter of scope and perspective?

I’m not doing a What Would You Like To See More Of? post because I already know. I get it. You like Thrift Justice. The thing is, I’m kinda writing for me, and I’m inviting you along for the ride. There’s gonna be a lot of stuff coming up that you’re not gonna give a shit about, like when I looked back on lesser known TNBC shows. I can’t cater to a readership that I’m not even totally sure exists. Hell, I don’t know who all is reading this post. I don’t deserve to be top dog because I simply don’t know enough. Case in point: I still don’t get the reasoning behind website ads. I mean, sure, they can generate revenue for your site, but I’ve also heard too many stories of people getting $5 checks every three years. Why go through all that to make your site the equivalent of a NASCAR entry? Is it REALLY worth it? My site may look like shit to some, but I did that. I can’t blame Snorgtees for any of that. And how many people realize you’re supposed to clear your cookies for those Amazon Affiliate links to register?

Because there’s so much I don’t understand, I enjoy doing this as I also learn a lot from it. The internet is such a funny place, filled with fiefdoms and arbitrary measures of success. Page hit counts are whispered with the same gravitas as asking someone the size of their penis. We boast of having 10,000 followers, omitting the fact that we follow 9,000 (your follower/followee ratio is key). I dunno. I guess I’m just saying it’s hard to rule the world when you don’t even know how big it is. To me, my greatest challenge is getting people I KNOW to read my stuff, let alone strangers. Back to the follower thing, I have over 700, but I can count on about 25 of them to click any links I send out. And it’s FREE! I can’t imagine how it must feel to write and charge for a book. Anyway, that’s not “reach”. BUT it’s a small community that I cherish, and it should be nurtured. As I get older, it means more to me to foster those kinds of interactions than worrying that some Millenials aren’t sharing my post up on Digg.

I’ve already talked about future plans for the site, so I’m not gonna rehash that here. My main goal for 2013 is to build a sense of community. I’ve made a lot of friends online, and I’d like to do more of that. None of this “competition” stuff, as we’ve all got challengers of whom we aren’t even aware. And what are we trying to “win”? Anyway, if people want in, I welcome them. I’m just tired of pissing in the wind; ya just end up wet. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.

end

Funny Update: Just as I wrapped up this post, I got an advertising inquiry from a home furnishing firm. Clearly, they haven’t read this site…

20th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – Taking It To The Next Level

by Will

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I always feared this day would come. I don’t know if you’ve listened to any of my podcast appearances (there’s a handy list of links over on the sidebar!), but I’ve likened my thrifting to an addiction. That’s exactly what it is. I’ve tried to keep it at bay, and I definitely feel things could be MUCH worse. I mean, I’m not frequenting glory holes for vintage G.I. Joes, but all addictions end up going to the next level. You see, The Hunt is no longer enough for me. I need more adventure, more mystery. I’ve fallen prey to the world of the Mystery Box. Pop culture has taught us that you should probably NEVER choose the mystery box, but I’ve never listened to groupthink. My new approach is like the corporate raider model: I find a large lot for sale, I keep the good stuff, and divest myself of the junk. This has been especially helpful since Yard Sale Season has pretty much ended. As you can imagine, this is a gamble. Sometimes I buy the stuff sight unseen and sometimes I have a few pictures to go on. For example, there’s a story I’ll probably tell you later, as it’s quite the saga, but let’s just say I recently spent $40 on a box of what basically amounted to broken Transformers. That wasn’t a good example, but I had a haul the other day that somewhat validated my new approach to things. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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This was pretty much all I had to go on. Still, I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff, and figured I should just take a chance on the whole bin. Boy, am I glad I did!

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So, this is what it looked like when I dumped it out on the dining room table. Things are looking a bit more promising, right? Got more TMNT, got some G1 Transformers, and more. Here it is broken into groups:

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So, here we have 65 M.U.S.C.L.E. guys. If you remember, this isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled onto a sizable lot of these guys. Some of them have had their features/textures “outlined” with a ballpoint pen, but they’re still in great shape.

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We’ve got some G1 Transformers, as well as the Optimus Mighty Mugg. I actually always kinda wanted a Soundwave, and this one is too rough to sell, so it’s nice to add him to my collection. Plus, I’m glad to get that Goldbug. He’s close enough to Bumblebee for me, and I’ve mentioned my love for Bumblebee in the past.

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More Army Ants! And unlike the ones here, most of these still have their butts. Huzzah for having butts! Gay Ant Sir Mix-A-Lot will be pleased.

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A few figures from Blizzard. I don’t even feel like researching them right now, so I’ll just say it’s a Level 3 Rylon, next to Dragohorn, and Fake Brood.

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The sooner these are out of my house, the better. I do NOT do well with Aliens, or any “scary” thing, really. Anyway, the one on the left explodes, while the one in the middle whips around and does the whole “my tiny mouth is coming out of my big mouth” thing. And the one on the right has a water squirting head.

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Are you seeing this, Shezcrafti?! Anyway, this was quite the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coup. As your favorite infomercial would say, “But wait – THERE’S MORE!”

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Ace Duck with his wings! Usagi Yojimbo! This little batch is almost my entire dream list from 20 years ago. How fortuitous…and sad.

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These Muppets are from 1974, but I don’t know much more than that. They’re almost like fast food premiums, but I didn’t think they were giving the good stuff way back then.

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Here we’ve got some DragonBall figures. Let’s see how many people get pissed off by this: Green Swami is apparently from 1989. Yeah, you’ll all chime in and say “THAT’S NOT HIS NAME!” Well, I never watched DragonBall growing up. Unlike many of my compatriots, I didn’t have ADD. It’s also why I didn’t watch Teen Titans.

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At the moment, I don’t know what any of these are. I know Clown Reagan is from Mego. And there’s an interesting story about that dolphin. You see, I had one JUST like it growing up, and I chewed off her flippers. That was common for me back then. I’ve since gotten help. But now, it’s like Toy God has restored Flippy (that’s what I’m calling her now, and it’s close enough to Flipper to reap the benefits, whatever those might be) to her former glory! PRAISE HIM!

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This picture is like something put together by the folks at Dynamite Entertainment. “Quick, which licenses are available?! OK, Street Sharks..uh huh…Austin Powers…right…Mega Man…really? Huh…OK…Seaquest…but only DSV. Gotcha…and throw the lamest Gargoyle in there. Let’s see if Disney notices.”

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Oh, you thought we were done with Turtles? Well, you were wrong, son! We’ve got a Foot Clan Knucklehead, a Cheapskate, and one of those battle inner tube things.

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If anyone out there ever wanted 12 inches of Kevin Sorbo, I’ve got ya covered!

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Finally, we’ve got a box of what appears to be a complete set of Burger King Star Wars toys. No, I didn’t take them out to show you because A) this post has gone long enough and B) my feelings on Star Wars should be well known by now.

So, who said addictions were bad things? This was far more exciting than the usual thrift store run. Those places have been overrun by book scanners and entrepreneurial grandmothers, anyway. No, it’s time for me to live on the edge! It’s time to take Thrift Justice to the next level!

NOTE: If you’re curious about the source of my forced bravado, I was listening to this while I wrote this. If you’re a child of the 80s, you’ll thank me later.

14th Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/14/12

by Will

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So, I can’t say this has truly been the WEST week ever. Last week was good, so I guess I had this coming. I’m just not “feeling” the internet right now. Between all the Gail Simone bullshit, and the endless speculation over things that are 1-2 years away, it just gets tiring. Plus, I’m slipping into my whole “Why do I do this?” thing again. I mean, seriously, I could switch to only doing Thrift Justice posts, and I’d probably be more popular. We don’t do this for “fame”, but I kinda wish I got more out of it. I’m not entirely sure what I want, but this ain’t it. I don’t get invited  to the reindeer games of the blogging world. Starting to think I need a team or an umbrella under which to do things. Just sorta tired of feeling like it’s Me Against the Net, in a battle that only I’m aware of. Anyway, the show must go on, and all that jazz!

 

Here’s something cool I found the other day:

Apparently, Pentatonix won the 3rd season of The Sing Off. I totally forgot there was a 3rd season. Anyway, that was pretty cool. Nice to see they pulled it off. Back in college, there was a 6-person coed group called RL Six (say it fast, and you’ll get the “joke”), and the rest of us swore that you couldn’t get a great sound from just 6 people. If you had 6 guys, sure. 6 girls, maybe. But a 6-person coed group would be missing too many voice parts. Pentatonix pull it off with 5, though the chick is probably the weakest member.

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Any of you kids of the 80s/90s remember ProStars? It aired on NBC Saturday mornings for a season, and it featured Wayne Gretzky, Bo Jackson, and Michael Jordan as a team of heroes who always helped kids who were in trouble. Lately, I’ve been watching it on THIS is For Kids (THIS is a free digital subchannel that probably hangs out near whatever channel is The CW for you), and it’s a shame it didn’t last longer so we’d just see the wheels fall off that concept. I mean, from what we now know about Jordan, he was way too much of an asshole to be a part of such an enterprise. Seriously, the show includes pretaped vignettes where Bo or Wayne describe the day’s episode. There’s pretaped stock footage of Jordan, but he’s usually shooting a basketball or saying something like “Stay In School”. He couldn’t even be bothered to record pertinent interstitials! I’d love a followup special, as Bo currently Knows Anonymity, Gretzky’s hot daughter is more famous than he is, and Jordan would’ve lost all of the ProStars tech to pay off gambling debts. I’m not really a sports guy, and I already asked this on Twitter, but who would be on a present-day ProStars team?

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Someone on Twitter recently said that, in Pokemon terms, Krysten Ritter was the evolved form of Zooey Deschanel. I kinda agree, but I think there’s more to it than that. Just like Pichu evolves into Pikachu who evolves into Raichu, Zooey evolves into Krysten, who then evolves into Lizzy Caplan. If you’re curious as to why, ask me in the comments…

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OK, so WordPress is being all weird, so I’ll wrap things now. Before I go, don’t forget to enter Geeks For Tots!

Also, check out this week’s posts:

Can We Talk About Gail For A Minute?

Thrift Justice – All Filler, No Thriller

Thrift Justice – We’ll Never Know What Might’ve Been

And if you wanna give me some money, or buy holiday gifts for the geeks in your life, visit Will’s World of Wonder!

13th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – We’ll Never Know What Might’ve Been

by Will

So, if you were here yesterday, you know the drill. If not, WHERE WERE YOU?! We’re looking at stuff I found at the thrift store that, while conversation pieces, weren’t worthy of being brought back to Casa Oeste (That’s “West” in Spanish. I think). Let’s jump in!

It’s the Double Dragon Cruiser! When Billy and Jimmy Lee aren’t busy fighting Shadow Master, they tool around town in this monstrosity. Cue Xzibit: “Yo dawg, I heard you like dragons!”

You know why you never see Mexico in post apocalyptic movies? BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL DRIVING AROUND IN SHIT LIKE THIS!!! Nobody’s going to Mexico when the streets are filled with fucking Datsuns painted metallic red, with afterburners and gatling guns! And there’s no way that tint is street legal.

To the Clapmobile! I think this is a bootleg toy of the limo from Beverly Hills Teens. Ya know, a limo with a pool in the back. Sounds awesome, unless you’re the driver. I’ve seen Elimidate. I know what happens when you introduce a pool or hot tub to drunk people. I hope he’s got some rubber gloves.

One modified Walkman spelled the downfall of 2 white men. No, this isn’t a Dateline special. This was Home Alone 2 – ya know, the one before Home Alone: The Adventures in Child Protective Services. I always wanted one of these, mainly because I planned to use it as a Walkman, and then I’d be able to use it for spy shit, should the need arise. Alas, I think I decided I’d rather have G.I. Joe stuff that year, so no Talkboy. I was really tempted to get this, but then I wondered if I’d be able to find a blank cassette tape. And then I wondered if it would provide more than 30 minutes of fun. Then I weighed the resale potential. Then I left it on the shelf.

This is the kind of car you used to find in the grocery store. Usually, I’d classify this as “Toys For Poor Kids”, but that’s not the case. Ya see, this was a special designation: “Toys, Just Because”. Nobody ever really wanted these things, but grocery store toy selection was poor in the 80s. It was either this, a rubber ball, some play money, or those shitty handcuffs. At least with this, you could maybe fit a M.A.S.K. guy in it. It wasn’t really about payoff – you only asked for this to see if you could get it. Depending on how nice your mom was feeling that day, you had a good shot. A child’s first taste of power comes when he/she seemingly manipulates a parental unit into buying them something that they don’t even want. Wow, I got deep there, huh?

So, there ya have it. I had one more pic, but WordPress just didn’t wanna load it, so this is the end of the road. Hope you enjoyed it, tell your friends, and come back tomorrow for West Week Ever!

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