Yeah, you should read that title like Brad Pitt at the end of Seven.
Continuing this week’s theme of the Cape Comic Con in Cape Girardeau, MO, today I thought I would look at a grab bag that I picked up at the show. Grab bags are an interesting thing. They can be exciting and fun. While also being totally disappointing. Every now and then I am confronted with them at comic shops and cons. You never know what you’re going to get and that is the mystery about them. That’s what drags you in an tempts you to pick one up. All the while you know that if there was a valuable book in here, it would be on the wall, not in a bag. But who knows?
Back in high school, there was a small convention I would go to at the Signature Inn in Bloomington, IL. It’s probably the smallest convention I’ve ever been to, but I was young and it was local. Basically, it was just a decent dealer room with 10-20(?) dealers at a time. Samuel Clarke Hawbaker of Nomad fame, was there one time. As far as I know, he was the only creator who attended. Again though, at my age, a big room where I can buy a bunch of comics was right up my alley. Actually, it still is and I would totally go to that again if I could.
There was a dealer there who had a longbox of grab bags. I don’t think they were over 5 bucks, because I probably wouldn’t have paid more than that for one. Some of these bags though had cards in them. If you purchased a bag that had a card in it, you received a prize. There were 6(?) limited edition/variant books he had on display that corresponded to a card in a bag. This was the mid 90’s so there were plenty of those to be had. The first bag I bought from him had a card in it. He seemed perturbed that I had won. He didn’t say anything to that effect, but that was the impression that I got. I won a gold edition of Shadowhawk II number 2. I know, try to calm the jealousy you’re feeling right now. It was fun at the time and I knew then that it wasn’t rigged. The other dealers gave him hard time and joked that they would let me pick a bag for them.
I suppose it’s that experience that compels me to pick up grab bags. No one tells me there is a prize inside and in my heart I know that these are books they are trying to get rid of. But c’mon, the heart wants what the heart wants. Plus, every now and then you find something weird you never knew existed.
So, this past weekend at the Cape Comic Con, I decided to buy a couple grab bags. Here are the contents of the first bag I got.
So, not the Giant Size X-Men I was looking for. Still, 3 books for a buck isn’t bad. First we have not 1 but 2 issues of Heathcliff’s Funhouse. If you didn’t know Heathcliff is the chubby orange comic strip cat that isn’t Garfield. He had a cartoon when I was younger which is how I assumed he got a comic at Marvel. Heathcliff started out as part of Marvel’s kid-oriented Star Comics imprint. Apparently, it was so successful that it survived the death of Star and continued under Marvel. So I guess suck it far superior Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
The real interesting thing about this is that these are issues of Heathcliff’s Funhouse. Not the main Heathcliff title. That means that there was a time when Marvel was all like, “Heathcliff is selling amazingly! We need more of this!” and added a SECOND Heathcliff book. These books are all pretty much standard, made with kids in mind stories. You pretty much know what you’re going to get with these books.
The final comic I got in this package was Koosh Kins #1. This was a mini-series made by Archie as a tie-in to the then new Koosh Kins toys. When the koosh ball manufacturer decided to add faces and limbs to koosh balls and pretend like these were toys someone would want and not just something your aunt would give to you that she thought was cute or something.
This. With a face and a “personality”. Yeah, screw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (who had a much better comic with Archie). I want more of these.
The weird thing about this book is that I already have it. I remember buying it when I was younger. I know I wasn’t into koosh balls so I probably bought it because it was something different. Back in the day, there were times when the newsstand I was at only had four or five books and I had all but one of them. That may have been the case here. Can’t really remember.
However, if you think I’m going to read this again and tell you what happens in it, you are sadly mistaken. I read this once, that’s it. Especially now that I have 2 of these. All I know is that these things were pussies compared to Madballs.
Pictured above: the epitome of hardcore.
The dealer I bought this one off of told me about a deal he had going. If you bought a grab bag and told someone else, and they bought one, you got a free one. He said a lot of kids did this and would get their friends to buy one. Seems like something fun for kids to do. Not enough of that in comics anymore.
Tomorrow, what’s in bag number two? To Be Continued…