Marvel Legends

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Scored a bunch of Marvel Legends action figures last week. Three, to be exact, at P700 each, down from P1,499. Hulk, Iron-Man, Hellcat — all part of what is known as the Thanos wave, so called because each contains a part of Thanos, and if you complete the set of six, you get to build a Thanos figure, and feel mighty high for the accomplishment. This is common knowledge among Marvel Legend collectors. But since I’m new into this game, I only learned about it last week.

Anyway, new Marvel Legends. Apparently, the Facebook buzz was no bullshit. Toy Kingdom was indeed selling Thanos wave characters (the three aforementioned characters, plus Captain America, Spider-Woman and Batroc) at 50% off. When I asked the salesperson in Toy Kingdom at SM Megamall why is that, he said because there’s just too many of these characters at their warehouse. I imagined forming a small army and raiding that warehouse, but dismissed the thought right away. I’m no hooligan for toys. At least not yet.

Too many of these action figures… but stocks quickly ran out. When my brother went to Toy Kingdom in Megamall hours after I made my purchase, he arrived to disappointment. Only Hellcat was available. I went there two days later, and they did not restock. On Facebook there was wild talk of hoarders. Argh! Such despicable creatures. More businessmen than collectors.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the next additions to my collection. Must save money first, though. Last week’s purchases kind of made a dent in my savings.

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Last week in Booksale loot

Last week was an awesome week as far as comic books were concerned, thanks to Booksale. Now, Booksale isn’t really a go-to place when it comes to comics and graphic novel fix, although regular customers (like yours truly) would know that from time to time some interesting Marvel titles would pop up in selected branches. Such was the case last week. A visit to Booksale’s two branches in Cubao bagged me this amazing haul.

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Nine graphic novels for about P2,000. That’s a sweet deal right there, made sweeter by the fact that the loot included three Marvel Max titles, one of them a Garth Ennis-penned Punisher story. Been reading digital versions of that particular Punisher run lately, and it’s turning out to be a favorite. So finding a physical copy of that book in Booksale was a surprise experience, and one that punctuated the workweek in a beautiful note.

About reading

51grf62dn1l-_sx277_bo1204203200_It’s always a good feeling to finish a book. I got that today when I finished The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It’s the 8th book I’ve read so far this year. That number could’ve been bigger if comics and films and TV series weren’t competing for my attention. Once upon a time I could finish 50 books in a year. When I got a regular job and started missing that target I trimmed it down to 30. And then 20. This year I ditched the target altogether. It’s an unnecessary pressure anyway.

As is always the case, it took me awhile to chose the next book to read. Since I’m done with The Strain, the first book in a trilogy, the next logical step is to pick up the sequel, The Fall. But fearing vampire fatigue, I reckoned I would be better off picking something else. Not an easy task, though, considering my super bloated backlog, both in actual books and the stuff on my Kindle. Still, after digging into boxes and boxes of books, I ended up with Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury (got intimidated by Stephen King’s Duma Key with its over 600 pages, and I couldn’t find my copy of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys). It’s light reading, and I think I can finish it in 10 days or less.

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Then, afterward, perhaps I can proceed with The Fall. Then another non-vampire book — thinking of a rock star biography, why not? Or a detective noir novel — before finishing off the trilogy with The Night Eternal. Sounds like a plan.

Among the fishes: A night at Manila Ocean Park

Two big events I missed over the weekend: Pacquiao’s fight vs. Jeff Horn, and the three-day ToyCon 2017. I don’t care about the former, as I’m not really big into Pacquiao and boxing and “people’s champ” and all that jazz, but the latter? Man! Bad enough that I missed the chance to check out awesome toys and action figures, most of them sold at discounted prices, but the chance to gawk at Liza Soberano in person? Man. Oh, man…

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But toys and the new Darna (the Philippines’ version of Wonder Woman) aside, my weekend had not been totally uneventful, as I spent it at H2O Hotel in Manila Ocean Park with my family, celebrating the kiddo’s 8th birthday. For the occasion, we picked an “aqua room,” which is like a typical hotel room but with a big-ass aquarium as wall. We preferred it over the “ocean view room” since we had something like that when we were in Batangas in late May.

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At Manila Ocean Park, we checked out some of the attractions the place has to offer, among them the Oceanarium (fish galore, and a lot of blue), the Barnyard (rabbits, rodents, etc), the Birdhouse (well, duh), the Sharks and Rays Encounter, the Jellies Exhibit (jellyfish galore, and more blue to warm the heart), the Sea Lion Show, and the dazzling Symphony Evening Show, which capped of our Saturday night in a merry dance of light and music and water fountains shooting up to several meters high.

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Then there was Yexel’s Toy Museum, just one of the three toy museums of Yexel Sebastian, a renowned Filipino collector who, according to Wikipedia, owns over 10,000 toys and over 300 lifesize statutes, including various Iron Man armors that were on display at Manila Oceans Park. Fans of Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Cinderella, and the movie Up can have their fix at this particular museum.

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All in all, it was a memorable experience with the girls, and I don’t think I’d trade it for a dozen Marvel Legends figures (my brother, who went to ToyCon, scored me some, by the way). Still, it would’ve been nice seeing Liza Soberano in flesh.

*Liza Soberano photo from ABS-CBN

Along came a spider

Been on a Spider-Man kick lately. It sort of just happened. I was thinking about the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming movie the other day, when I realized I haven’t seen the two previous Spider-Man movies, the ones with Andrew Garfield in them. I have a vague recollection of seeing parts of the first one, but that’s it. Can’t even remember if I saw it on a bus or on Cable TV. In any case, I intend to rectify that lapse pretty soon.

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Hasbro’s Spider-Man Web Warriors Edition 2015 from my, uhurm, personal collection

For the meantime, I read Spider-Man comics. Finished the controversial One More Day the other day, and its equally controversial follow-up, One Moment in Time (gah! Whitney Houston in my head!), this morning. And then I amused myself by reading how both got thrashed by fans in the comments section of Goodreads and Amazon. Man, Joe Quesada really got flamed for those two, especially One More Day, you’d think he’s Donald Trump. Moral of the story: you don’t fuck with comic-book fans.

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I’ve no dog in this fight. I’m not a longtime Spidey fan (he’s too wholesome!) and have no emotional investment whatsoever to the Peter Parker-Mary Jane Watson love affair. So One More Day did not really hit me as hard as it did avid readers. In fact, methinks if you remove it from the Spider-Man context, a story about a man who makes a pact with the Devil to sacrifice his marriage in order to save a loved one from the throes of death is not at all bad. It’s like something teenage Gothic freaks would sink their vampire fangs into. However, use that to get rid of the status quo and start fresh is, indeed, lazy writing, and smacks of insensitivity to the fans who followed Spider-Man’s story for decades. I give the critics that.